• 11 Arianna Mclawhorn at gates Four Country ClubWhen the 53rd annual Cumberland County Golf Championship tees off in October, it will have a new look.

    A youth division for players in middle and high school has been added for the tournament at Gates Four Golf & Country Club.

    “The reason we created it is to grow and develop the champions of tomorrow,” said tournament director Bill Bowman.
    “I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. Everyone thinks it’s a great idea and they have been very supportive.”

    There will be divisions for boys and girls in age groups of 12 to 14 (middle school) and 15 to 18 (high school). The CCGC will be held Oct. 15-17 at Gates Four. The youths will play the final two days for a 36-hole event. The entry fee is $145 which includes the Champions Reception & Pairing Party, a practice round, range balls, food and on-course beverages and the CCGC Winners Reception.

    Billy West, an 8-time champion of the CCGC, first played in the tournament when he turned 16 and became eligible.

    “I am very excited to see the CCGC add a junior division,” he said, “When I was a junior golfer growing up in Cumberland County, I could not wait to turn 16 so I could compete in the CCGC. I admired and looked up to local golfers such as Gary Robinson Gene Howell, Mike Williford, Gary Moore and David Hinkamp. I dreamed of one day having my name on the CCGC trophy.”

    Bowman and West hope the addition of a Junior Division will develop players for the main CCGC tournament in the future.

    “I think the addition of a Junior Division will not only help grow junior golf in our area but also will help sustain the adult divisions for years to come,” West said.
    “We have many great junior players right now in Cumberland County who are some of the best players in the state and country in their age divisions. I hope they will compete in the CCGC Junior Division.”

    Bowman added “the talent is out there. We just need to groom it. I think the kids are going to have a good time. I think they can learn a lot by watching some of the veteran players we have signed up.”

    Anthony Carstarphen, the golf coach at South View High School and a teaching pro at Gates Four, is helping Bowman get the project off the ground. He believes interest in the Junior Division will be high.

    “I had kids trying to sign up before the site was even up,” he said. “So, we definitely have got the interest.”

    There are players in the county to tap into. Gates Four, Cypress Lakes, King’s Grant and Highland Country Club all have junior golf programs — not to mention the many high school golf teams in the county.

    “It’s going to give us players for the future,” Carstarphen said. “That’s what will allow this tournament to keep going.”

    Kevin Lavertu, the general manager at Gates Four, said he had discussed with Bowman about adding a junior division for a few years.

    “We thought we would take a shot at it,” Lavertu said.

    Bowman said he is limiting the Junior Division field to 30 players this year.

    “We have to be able to manage the field and get our hands around it,” Lavertu said. “We host U.S. Kids Golf here two times a year and we get 80 to 100 players. If it gets to that point, maybe we need to have a Cumberland County junior tournament that would take place in the summer when the kids are out of school.”

    The 53-year-old main CCGC tournament has struggled in recent years since losing its major sponsor. Bowman, the publisher of Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper, took up the mantle in 2017 and has led the effort trying to rebuild the event. With the support and encouragement of businesses like the Richardson Law Firm, Healy Wholesale, Fastsigns and dozens of other local businesses who realize how important it is to maintain this golfing tradition in Cumberland County for future generations.

    “We want to start the kids young in tournament play and hopefully build the county tournament back up,” Lavertu said. “It used to be 200-plus people playing multiple golf courses.”

    Junior players who are at least 16 years old can still choose to play in the main tournament instead of the Junior Division. Spencer Oxendine won the CCGC in 2018 when he was a senior at Jack Britt High School and Toni Blackwell won the women’s division in 2019 when she was a senior at Cape Fear.

    “This is kind of a test in the water and see what the interest level is,” Lavertu said. “We’ll evaluate it and assess it and see what makes sense moving forward.”

    If junior players need any encouragement to sign up, they can listen to West.

    “For me, there has been no greater honor in my golf career than winning my county’s golf championship,” he said. “I hope our local junior players will feel the same way about the CCGC. It is a special tournament and always has been the most important to me from the age of 16 to present.”

    Junior players must reside in Cumberland County and must sign up by Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. Players can register online at cumberlandcountygolfclassic.com or by returning an application to Kevin Lavertu at Gates Four Country Club. Application forms are available at all local golf courses. Players who register by Sept. 30 will receive a free round for a foursome at Gates Four, Baywood, Stryker and King’s Grant.

    James Sherrill local businessman and owner of sweetFrog premium frozen yogurt thinks this a great opportunity for developing young athletes, and has signed on to be the Title Sponsor for the CCGC Junior Division.

    Local businesses and organizations can support the Junior Division by sponsoring players. All sponsors are invited to the champion’s reception and pairings party and the awards and trophy presentations. They also will have their name and logo on youth commemorative shirts and promotional materials.

    To sponsor a child or for more information, contact Bill Bowman at 910-391-3859 or email bbowman@upandcomingweekly.com.

    Pictured above: Arianna Mclawhorn prepares to tee off on Hole #1 at Gates Four.

  • 11EvilDeadThe Gilbert Theater is known for its eclectic seasons. No two shows are similar; instead, they reach many different demographics within Fayetteville. To kick off the 2017-18 season it has a truly unique show running from Sept. 22 to Oct. 8.

    “‘Evil Dead: The Musical’ is based on the original Sam Raimi film that was released in 1981,” Matthew Overturf, the Gilbert’s artistic director, said. “A group of college students travel for a spring break getaway to a creepy cabin in the woods. There, they find a mysterious book, which when read unleashes horrors and hilarity beyond imagination. It’s a fun, campy send up of the original film.”

    As the show is based on the Raimi film, there are many tongue-in-cheek references that are recognizable to fans of the film. That said, seeing the original film is not necessary to enjoy the show, as it has a fun and engaging story of its own. “Evil Dead: The Musical” is based on a horror movie, but it’s not the same as watching a horror film. “Horror can definitely be intimidating for some,” Overturf said. “But I want to be clear that this isn’t just a horror musical, it’s a funny and hilarious show with some horror and gore mixed in. If you are a fan of ‘Rocky Horror,’ you will enjoy ‘Evil Dead the Musical.’ One other important thing to note is that this is definitely not a show for children. This campy, raunchy, horror tale is full of fun and hilarity for adult audiences. Leave the little ghouls at home on this one.” 

    The show is challenging in many ways. The actors must walk a thin line between comedy and being deathly serious. There is also a musical aspect of the show that may present a new challenge to many. It covers several different musical styles, but it has a strong focus on rock, which requires a certain vocal quality that is not prominent in live theater. There are also tremendous technical aspects to this performance.

    “This is a highly technical show,” Overturf said. “From a severed hand and head (to) phenomenal makeup and costume changes, this show presents some unique challenges. This will definitely be an interesting show for audiences that love the spectacle of great effects.”

    The rest of the Gilbert season features performances of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Venus in Fur,” “Antigone” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

    “I truly am excited for every show this season,” Overturf said. “We are offering a vast array of options for Gilbert audiences, and I think that people will not be disappointed. In my first full season as artistic director, my hope and desire was to bring a season that hearkens back to the types of shows audiences expect from the Gilbert while also bringing new and innovative works to the stage. I firmly believe this season does that.”

    For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.gilberttheater.com.

  • 02PubPenNo doubt about it — starting today, it’s another yearlong celebration of Fayetteville and Cumberland County’s best of the best. Good things last, and Up & Coming Weekly’s Best of Fayetteville readership survey is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It’s a proud tradition of honoring the people, businesses and organizations that have proven themselves to be this community’s finest.

    Each winning entity has distinguished itself within the community by reinforcing our values, defining our community’s personality and contributing to our quality of life. You need to know these people, businesses and organizations. They are the ones who will continue to impact our community. They are the ones who leave a positive and indelible impression of pride on us and future generations of residents,  visitors and guests.

    The Up & Coming Weekly Best of Fayetteville edition you are holding in your hands will serve you well throughout the year. It is a valuable visitors’ guide, service directory and cultural and event resource. Every page touts the best of the best of what the Fayetteville and Cumberland County community has to offer.

    The rules, format and guidelines of this sanctioned, time-tested survey have been designed and audited to provide residents, local businesses and organizations the recognition they deserve for their dedication and perseverance in their quest for excellence. Every category winner has achieved the highest level of excellence in what they do. For 20 years, we have successfully told their stories and revealed their secrets without a single regret or complaint.

    There is no ballot stuffing, pay-to-play shenanigans, presale gimmicky advertising packages or dubious mischief designed to sway the result. Each winner is distinguished in its own way. There is no faking it when the community consensus selects you as the best in your field. This being the case, why not have your business or organization recognized as the best? After all, in a competitive world and tight economy, only the best (and the strongest) survive. This is why we are proud to be associated with and supported by with the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau. To build a better community, real leaders know that success comes from building on a sound foundation. Here, that foundation is this community’s best of the best people, businesses and organizations.

    So, please join me, the staff of Up & Coming Weekly and the Best of Fayetteville sponsors as we begin this yearlong celebration. Pick up an extra copy of this special edition of Up & Coming Weekly at any one of our 500 countywide locations, or stop by our corporate offices at 208 Rowan St.

    For 24/7, 365-day access to the Best of Fayetteville winners list, visit www.upandcomingweekly. com. While you’re there, sign up for our free electronic subscription and receive the Early Bird edition Tuesday afternoons. I promise you will be in the know and stay in the know. I also want to welcome Mark Pezzella and Five Star Entertainment as a corporate sponsor of Best of Fayetteville as well as thank Jimmy Keefe of the Trophy House and CPA Lee Utley for nearly two decades of supporting and partnering with us in this valuable endeavor.

    Remember, the next time you hear someone say, “There’s nothing to do in Fayetteville.” Hand them a copy of Up & Coming Weekly and say, “BUSTED!”

    Enjoy! And, as always, we sincerely thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly and making us your only locally-owned newspaper.

  • 11DreamgirlsCape Fear Regional Theatre will kick off its 2017-18 season Sept. 14 with “Dreamgirls,” the Tony Awardwinning Broadway musical that follows the rise of The Dreams, a singing trio, in the 1960s.

    Some audience members may be more familiar with the 2006 film version starring Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce than the Broadway show decades before starring Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine.

    The story is based loosely on Diana Ross and the Supremes and other girl groups in the Motown era who found that stardom often came with compromises, said Mary Catherine Burke, CRFT’s new artistic director. Every character has a compromise to make to achieve their dream.

    “It’s a film onstage,” Burke said. Director Suzanne Agins does “an exquisite job of changing the perspective of the audience with constant motions.”

    The progression of time from the ’60s R&B era when The Dreams are discovered to the ’70s disco era will make the production fun for the audience with a variety of music, dance and costume changes, Burke said.

    “The thing that is most exciting,” Burke said, “is 20 people singing their faces off with a live band of nine onstage.”

    The large cast of 14 local and six non-local performers is indicative of one reason CFRT has been so successful and still thriving after 55 years, said Leslie Flom, marketing director for CFRT. “The whole cast, mostly young, are representatives of local, regional and national artists working side by side,” she said.

    Many in the cast said being in “Dreamgirls” was on their bucket list of shows.

    “The underlying theme of the show is that dream of performing,” said Ricardo Morgan, who plays Tiny Joe Dixon. A local performer and veteran of several CFRT productions, Morgan said it resonates with the audience because “everybody, no matter what walk of life, has a dream.”

    Darius Jordan Lee, from Charlotte, said playing C.C. White “is one of my dream roles. Since I was a kid growing up in my grandfather’s church, I knew I wanted to be a performer.”

    For cast member Marktavious Patton, who plays Curtis Taylor Jr., performing onstage is a dream he relates to his own life. From Newark, New Jersey, Patton is facing his own compromise to reach his dream of entertaining audiences like he did last year as the Tin Man in CFRT’s production of “The Wiz.”

    Despite having a master’s degree in technology management and a pending job offer working for Amazon in Arizona, Patton said his ultimate dream is to make a name for himself and his family from the stage.

    “I am from a poor family, I was the first to graduate college, and I faced prejudices,” Patton said. Although grateful for his opportunities and the pending offer for a “solid career,” he said, “my compromise is that it is not what I want to do.” On the heels of what he believes will be a successful run in “Dreamgirls,” Patton has given himself a time limit to book another show before his deadline to report to Arizona. “If I book a show, I’m gonna go for my dream.”

    The entire cast has that kind of passion for performing and is very talented, said Burke. The cast includes leads Nattalyee Randall as Effie White, Diamond Essence White as Deena Jones, Stephanie Rocio as Lorrell Robinson, Kwame Remy as Jimmy Early, and Wilson J. Randall as Marty.

    “Dreamgirls” book and lyrics are by Tom Eyen, music by Henry Krieger. The show is choreographed by Randy A. Davis.

    “The cast is phenomenal,” Burke said. “You’ll leave here singing.”

    “Dreamgirls” runs through Oct. 8. There will be a Military Appreciation Night on Sept. 20 with childcare and a pre-show reception. Girls Glam Night will be Sept. 22 with a pre-show hair and makeup party.

    For ticket information, call the box office at  (910) 323-4233 or visit www.cfrt.org.


    04BudgetsDear Editor: Any chance the editor can pass along to Karl Merritt that Trumps fiscal year and budget does not start until October? He seems to be unaware of either that and what that might entail, in this article where he complains about the media unfairly condemning Trump.

    To explain like Karl is five years old: With Trumps fiscal budget not even being a factor this year (due to this starting in October) in regards to our low unemployment numbers and strong stock market means that this is the product of Obamas presidency. Not Trumps. 

    A correction should be made in your publication, because that type of mistake is just embarrassing and the result of fake news. Please have your contributors research their “facts” and provide sources in the future.

    Thank you.

    — Cassie (Last name withheld upon request)

    Dear Editor: The comments here are in response to a letter to the editor of Up & Coming Weekly from a reader whose first name is Cassie. She took issue with statements I made in my recent column titled, “Searching for Why America is Off-Course.”

    The objection appears to be to my giving President Trump credit for the lowered unemployment rate and record high levels in the stock market. She contends that credit should go to former President Barack Obama.

    Regarding both these objections, I contend that the record is clear that Trump’s agenda and his actions are the drivers of lower unemployment rates and the stronger stock market. In the matter of the stock market, consider the following quote from an article by Eshe Nelson, May 25, titled, “Six months later, the ‘Trump trade’ is over.” “To be fair, currency traders were never as pumped by Trump as stock traders were. Trump’s pledge to cut taxes, spend big on infrastructure, and slash regulation sent stock markets surging to record highs—the “Trump trade,” as it came to be known.” This statement reflects the assessment rendered time and again by various sources.

    As to reduced unemployment rates, Cassie does not deny gains or that the outlook is good. She challenges attributing this positive outlook to Trump.  Again, support for my position is plentiful. One source is an article by Paul Davidson, March 14, titled, “Trump’s agenda spurs CEOs’ hiring and spending plans.” It states:“The nation’s top CEOs stepped up their hiring and investment plans in the first quarter amid a burst of confidence over President Trump’s pro-business agenda, showing no signs that early political roadblocks had dimmed their optimism.

    Forty-one percent of CEOs plan to increase hiring in the next six months, up from 35 percent in the fourth quarter, according to a Business Roundtable survey. Just 18 percent expect to reduce employment, down from 30 percent late last year.

    And 46 percent of the top executives intend to increase capital spending, up from 35 percent. Just 13 percent plan to rein in such investment, down from 21 percent.”

    As Cassie contends, I have heard others say that our improving economy is due to the actions of Obama. Obviously, I disagree and hold that information referenced above is representative of a body of commentary in support of my position. The bottom line is that Trump’s actions, along with his agenda, created an atmosphere conducive to improving the economy. I find it amazing that progress has been made in spite of Democratic obstruction and the multitude of ongoing efforts to destroy Trump’s presidency.

    To this point in my response, I have not addressed Cassie’s contention that Trump not having submitted his first budget is a relevant consideration in her objection to what I wrote. I have not addressed it because I did not mention “budget” in my column and nothing presented above references the budget process. Items in Trump’s agenda will be affected by budgeting, but I do not see how that is relevant in this discussion.

    As for her “To explain like Karl is five years old” statement regarding budgeting and the fiscal year arrangement, I served 21 1/2  years in the U.S. Navy as a Supply Corps officer. In two assignments, I was comptroller. My responsibilities included budgeting for and expending millions of dollars. I understand budgeting and fiscal years.

    I appreciate feedback regarding what I write, whether that feedback agrees or disagrees with me. My aim, however, is to prompt thoughtful, productive examination of issues so that problem-solving civil discourse results. A major destructive force to this process is when the feedback is lacking in fact-based reasoning and/or conveys personal insults. In my estimation, Cassie employed both of these destructive tactics. I suppose the tactics are intended to intimidate me into silence. We are, in part, disintegrating as a society because far too many people in America use this approach. Those who will inherit this country from us deserve much better.

    — Karl Merritt


  • 03NamingAs I write this, Labor Day has come and gone. School is back in session, families are settling into normal school year routines, sportscasters are talking about Friday night football, and students in shorts and T-shirts wearing backpacks walk down my street every afternoon.

    All of this brings memories of my student days in the old Fayetteville City Schools system and the Precious Jewels’ days in its successor, Cumberland County Schools, from the perspective of a parent. The three decades that separated these experiences brought significant changes in education, including subject matter, teaching techniques, classroom design and function, greater diversity among both students and educators, not to mention what we used to call “school clothes.”

    But much was the same, too.

    Most of my generation and those of the Precious Jewels attended the public schools to which we were assigned. Our curricula were standardized for the most part, with some electives available in middle and high school. The experience was not exactly “one size fits all,” but there was not much variety in academic offerings. Some teachers were willing to help students pursue an area of special interest, and some were not, so most students had similar academic and social experiences during our school years. Anything outside those we explored on our own.

    Things are changing in American education and changing fast. All over our country, and certainly in North Carolina, families have expanding educational options. In my day, the only children not in public schools were probably not there because of an illness or disability. There were a few independent and religious schools, but no one I knew had ever heard of charter schools, magnet schools, much less home schools where parents do double duty as moms and dads as well as teachers and athletic coaches.

    Most of us, including this columnist, believe that choice is a positive development, but there are downsides. A big one is that many public school systems are losing students to the various options, including charter schools, which taxpayers also fund. Also, North Carolina offers taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools, including religious ones, which further lessen funding for public schools.

    Teachers are different as well. In my day and to some extent in the Precious Jewels’ day, women had fewer career options, with teaching remaining a popular one, in part because of its traditional calendar year and state-sponsored benefits. Today, women have far more career choices and are taking them in droves. More men are also in classrooms, but, generally speaking, teaching has become a less attractive option. Enrollment in college and university teaching programs is way down, with some schools actually closing. While Americans, including we North Carolinians, pay homage and loud lip service to the professionalism of teachers and how much we appreciate them, we pay them such low salaries that many are forced to take second and thirds jobs to support themselves and their families. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, North Carolina teacher pay adjusted for inflation has dropped 13 percent over the last 15 years, ranking 47th in the nation in the school year 2013-14. If we were honest with ourselves, we would admit that many of our best and brightest, even those who yearn to teach, are choosing other careers out of economic necessity.

    All of which brings me to a nagging worry that sometimes keeps me awake at night.

    As the United States follows Western Europe in becoming more diverse and more secular, the “glue” of common experience that has historically bound us as a people is fraying.

    Vastly different from the millions of veterans who were drafted into service in earlier generations, volunteer military service has resulted in well-educated, well-trained and dedicated personnel, but far fewer of them. Today, only about one-half of 1 percent of Americans are on active duty, making military service a rare rather than common national experience.

    Millions of us are active in our faith, but religious diversity means this is also a less than common national experience. And, while most American children still attend public schools, more options mean that, too, will become a tie less binding.

    All are reminders that the decisions we make for our own families, multiplied by millions, impact all of us and our understanding of what it means to be an American.

  • 02VoteIt was a long and hard-fought path to the “Rock the Vote” campaigns and dismal voter turnout of recent years.

    In the early days of our country, voting really was a privilege, one reserved for property-owning or tax-paying white men over the age of 21.

    In the 1790s, the Naturalization Act gave men born outside the U.S. who became citizens the right to vote, and various states started dropping the property requirement.

    In 1870, the 15th Amendment gave nonwhite men and freed male slaves the right to vote, although several states continued to suppress this group of voters.

    Native American men were granted citizenship in 1887, giving them the right to vote, but only if they would disassociate themselves from their tribes.

    It was 1920 before the 19th Amendment passed, giving women the right to vote. By 1924, Native Americans, regardless of tribal affiliation, won the right to vote.

    It was 1943 before the Magnuson Act granted Chinese immigrants a voice in American politics.

    In 1964, the 24th Amendment declared voting cannot be denied “by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax” for federal elections.

    It wasn’t until 1965 that the Voting Rights Act guaranteed protection of voter registration and voting for racial minorities.

    In 1971, thanks to the 26th Amendment, the voting age changed from 21 to 18.


    Today, the voting requirements are:

    • Be a U.S. citizen

    • Be at least 18 years of age

    • Reside in the county and election district in which he or she presents to vote

    • Not be serving an active sentence for a felony conviction

    In just over a week, on Sept. 21, onestop voting begins for the Fayetteville primary election. It includes candidates vying for mayoral and city council/commissioner/alderman positions. Voting ends Oct. 10. One-stop voting starts for the municipal winners Oct. 19 and ends Nov. 7.

    Find out more about local candidates and voting policies at www. co.cumberland.nc.us/election_board/ voter_info/guide.aspx#.

    Also, we are proud to debut our Hope Mills News & Views section in this week’s paper. Check it out on pages 22 and 23. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 18Fred McDanielThe second of two annual Region Four Coaches and Officials Emergency Fund golf tournaments is scheduled Oct. 15 at Gates Four Golf and Country Club.

    Fred McDaniel, retired student activities director for Cumberland County Schools and one of the original organizers of the tournament, said the event is doing everything it can to raise money for a good cause after the organizers tried to spread charity a little too far.

    At one time, money from the fund went to anyone facing a personal crisis due to health or other concerns, McDaniel said. They even sent money to high schools whose athletic facilities had been damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

    But as the account balance dropped and the annual tournaments didn’t replenish the money already given away, McDaniel said the fund had to change directions. “At the moment, we’re back to where we just help coaches and officials,’’ he said. “We had to go back to the people we were looking to start with.’’

    The fund began when the coaches and officials united to help former coach Mark Heil, now retired, deal with the expenses his late son incurred in dealing with serious health problems.

    The first tournament was a success, but as the organizers were congratulating themselves, McDaniel said former Pine Forest and E.E. Smith football coach Dean Saffos spoke up. “He said, ‘Fellows, we need to do this all the time, every year, to look after our own,’’’ McDaniel said. “He said if we don’t look after ourselves, who’s going to do it?”

    The result was a union between coaches and officials to hold the golf tournaments annually as fundraisers for the cause.

    “We can’t make everything well, but we can make it better,” McDaniel said.

    This year’s tournament will follow the format of past tournaments. There are slots for 32 teams. Check-in begins at 11 a.m. with lunch at 11:30 and play beginning at 1 p.m. with a shotgun start. The entry fee is $75 per golfer before Oct. 10 and $85 after. The entry fee covers a round of golf, lunch, beverages and prizes.

    For further information on the tournament and how to enter, go to the official tournament website, www.regionfour.org.


    PHOTO: Fred McDaniel

  • FFIt’s late on a weekday night. You’ve gotten stuck at the office trying to finish up that big project. As you leave the building, you realize that you are the only person there. The parking lot is empty except for your car. Until that moment, you never realized how dark the parking lot was or how many bushes are situated around it. As you walk quickly, you hear a noise … panic starts to rise. You see a man standing between you and the safety of your vehicle-what do you do?

    That’s a scenario that women all across America may face at some time or another. It might not just be you by yourself. It might be you and your small child or you and your teenaged daughter. Knowing how to act when faced with danger is important. If you don’t have a plan before you come face to face with it, you probably are going to freeze and then the unimaginable can happen.

    Candy Sugarman, a California native who now calls Fayetteville home, doesn’t want any woman to find herself  in that position. To that end, Sugarman has organized Feminine and Fierce: A Self-Protection & Defense event on Saturday, Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the AIT Building at 421 Maiden Lane in Downtown Fayetteville. 

    Surgarman, who is also a member of the Gun Powder Gals, an area shooting organization for women, realized that many women may not feel comfortable with guns and may want another alternative for self-defense. That idea had Sugarman looking for a way to educate and inform women on how they can protect themselves.

    “For the last several months I’ve been working on putting this event together,” said Sugarman. “A lot of women don’t want guns or they can’t take them the places they have to go like to Fort Bragg. So there has to be a means to teach women how to defend themselves so they are not wandering around defenseless.”

    Sugarman becomes passionate when she talks about the need for women to be able to defend themselves. She sees too many women who, by lack of information, make themselves victims. The event is not going to focus only on the physical means women can defend themselves, but also the common sense steps they can take to ensure their own safety.

    “Something as simple as looking under your car before you walk up to it is a big deal,” said Sugarman. “I had a friend tell me she refused to do that because she refused to spend her life being afraid.”

    Sugarman believes that recognizing that the world is a dangerous place and taking common sense steps to protect yourself is not living in fear, rather it is taking control of the situation. And that’s what she hopes to achieve with the upcoming event. She wants to give women common sense ways to keep themselves from becoming a victim.

    She noted that there is no one size fits every situation response. One solution is not very often the answer to a problem. Women need multiple methods of self-protection and defense, such as martial arts or physical self-defense, non-lethal forms of defense such as knuckles and stun guns, firearms training, information about situational awareness, home defense and even identity theft.  That really gave root to the idea of the upcoming event that brings together various methods of self-protection, defense, situational awareness and home protection. To do that, she has pulled together a number of community resources. On tap to present at the event are:

    North Carolina Concealed Carry Firearms Group who will discuss using firearms to protect and defend your home

    The Range Complexdiscussing the importance of training and practice using a firearm for defense

    Damsel in Defense by Misty (Independent Damsel Pro)who will share non-lethal ways of self-protection (stun guns, etc.)

    Jackie Carter of Legal Shield who will talk about ways to protect yourself from identity theft. 

    Personal Defense Concepts are covered through the Refuse to Be A Victim program that is sponsored by the NRA.

    Gill Security Systems Incwill cover securing your home via cameras and alarm systems.

    Academy of Christian Martial Arts will teach women that their body is their weapon by teaching women what they can do to get away or protect themselves from an attacker

    The Fayetteville Police department will be on hand to talk about the current crimes that are committed against women and girls.

    Tickets for the event can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/feminine-fierce-a-self-protection-defense-event-tickets-26523604816Fe. Individual ticket are $67 and groups with more than 20 members can purchase tickets for $58. 

  • free fallOn Saturday, Oct. 29, Fayetteville residents will have the opportunity to avail themselves of a unique adventure: a tandem free fall with members of the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights. The chance comes with the opportunity support research into a rare form of cancer: Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

    The event, hosted by Kevin and Shawn Grullon, local realtors, honors their memories of their son, Zach, who died from the disease on Jan. 28, 2012. Those who knew Zach refer to him as energetic, adventurous, outgoing and strong-willed. A graduate of Jack Britt High School, Grullon dreamed of serving in the United States military and considered a tandem jump with the U.S. Army Golden Knights a dream come true.

    All of that changed in 2010, when he was diagnosed with Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma. The disease, which primarily attacks teens and young adults, is a rare liver cancer. Annually, 200 young adults die from this disease. Some 72,000 teens and young adults are diagnosed with various forms of cancer every year, according to a 2010 Wall Street Journalarticle, of that number, 10,000 die. Until 2008, little research was done in the area of Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma because it is so rare, but that changed when Tucker Davis, the founder of the Firbrolamellar Cancer Foundation, was diagnosed with the disease.

    Davis founded the foundation with the hope of finding a cure for this often fatal disease. The foundation’s mission is threefold: Find a cure and treatment options; raise awareness of the disease; and bring attention to teen and young adult cancers.

    Grullon’s parents, Kevin and Shawn, have been contributing to that mission since Zach’s death. Zach was diagnosed with FHC in March 2010. He had been dealing with severe stomach pain and nausea for a couple of months. Friends and family didn’t think much of the pain because Zach worked out so hard. After numerous tests and scans, a grapefruit-sized tumor was found on his liver. In April 2010, he had a liver resection, but the cancer had already spread to his lymph nodes. Zach began an intensive round of chemotherapy, but he didn’t let it stop the way he lived his life. He continued to work out and play sports. And, in August 2010, just a couple of months after his high-school graduation, he jumped with the Golden Knights.

    The memory of that jump inspired his parents to host the first Free Fall to Fight Cancer on Saturday, June 2, 2012. The event gave individuals the opportunity to perform a tandem jump with former and off-duty members of the Golden Knights, who volunteered for the cause. It was so popular that the Grullons have continued the event and this year, the event is slated for Oct. 8 at Skydive Paraclete XP, located at 132 Airport Drive in Raeford, at 9 a.m. For a $350 donation, individuals will get to jump with the world-famous team and receive a video and photos of their jump to share with friends and family. If you are only interested in the jump and not in having a record of the event, the tandem jump without video or pictures is $225. Those interested in participating in the fundraiser must be at least 18 years of age and weigh less than 235 pounds.

    All proceeds from the event will go directly to the Firbrolamellar Cancer Foundation. To register, or for more information, contact Kevin and Shawn Grullon at 910-257-3027 or 910-229-1100 or email grullonteam@gmail.com.

  • UAC09292101 Wow! For over two decades, our community newspaper has provided residents, visitors and guests insights into the people, businesses and organizations that invest extra time and effort into making our community unique.

    Our Best of Fayetteville survey is also unique. Our dedicated readers pride themselves on making sure they are the ones who define and determine who Fayetteville’s Best of the Best are. No nominations, no ballot stuffing. Only well-defined enforceable voting guidelines have elevated the honor and integrity of the Best of Fayetteville designation.

    However, the survey is not scientific. It is an informal survey, and we make no claims otherwise. However, it has proven to be highly accurate.

    Following a frustrating year of staying at home, social distancing, vaccine confusion, mask-wearing, and an overall lack of social interaction, we are slowly beginning to get our lives back to normalcy. So, now, let’s celebrate!

    As our faithful readers know, Up & Coming Weekly’s biggest celebration of the year is recognizing and honoring our community’s outstanding people, businesses and institutions. This year we are celebrating the occasion at the Crown Coliseum, one of our newest Best of Fayetteville sponsors.

    Here is where the Best of the Best will congregate to celebrate their achievements and contributions to our All-American City.

    Over the past 25 years, our community and our newspaper have changed immensely. However, the Best of Fayetteville readers survey has not. It continues to reflect the best aspects of the Fayetteville community. Annually, we receive thousands of ballots and painstakingly record the comments and sentiments of our readers.

    This process allows us to get to know who, what and why they value our community members. It is these people, businesses and organizations we want to showcase and introduce to Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County residents as they continue to work hard year after year to improve, impact and elevate our local quality of life.

    The Up & Coming Weekly Best of Fayetteville edition you are holding in your hands will serve you well throughout the year. It is a valuable visitor’s guide, service directory and cultural and event resource.

    Please share it with your friends. The format and guidelines for this sanctioned, time-tested survey have been designed and audited to provide residents, local businesses and organizations the recognition they deserve for their ethics, dedication and perseverance in their quest for excellence.

    Since the first ballots were counted more than two decades ago, Up & Coming Weekly has successfully told the Best of Fayetteville winners’ stories. With your votes and support, we are extremely proud to share this year’s Best of the Best winners with you. Please join me and the entire Up & Coming Weekly staff and all our 2021 Best of Fayetteville sponsors as we begin this yearlong celebration.

    For 24/7, 365-days-a-year access to the Best of Fayetteville winners, visit www.upandcomingweekly.com. While you’re there, sign up for our FREE electronic subscription and receive the Early Bird edition of Up & Coming Weekly every Tuesday

    I want to thank Mac Healy of Healy Wholesale and Jim Grafstrom of the Crown Coliseum for their help and support. I also want to thank Jimmy Keefe of the Trophy House for creating the beautiful Best of Fayetteville plaques they designed and his service as a Cumberland County Commissioner. Of course, every legitimate survey needs a competent CPA, and we have the best. Lee Utley has supported and partnered with us for nearly two decades, and his services have been invaluable.

    Again, we hope you enjoy this special edition of Up & Coming Weekly. Keep it handy and refer to it often.

    We sincerely thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly and supporting your only locally-owned community newspaper.

  • 01 ManPointingGunHC1607 sourceNorth Carolinians were horrified by not one but two school shootings earlier this month — at least I hope
    we were.

    The first was in Wilmington where a 15-year-old student at New Hanover High School was charged with attempted murder in the wounding of another student in his leg. Officials released few details because of the accused’s age, but his mother said the boy was new to the school and that his family had been concerned about his safety in the new setting. She said she had spoken to school administrators about those concerns.

    Days later a student at Mount Tabor High School in Winston Salem was shot dead at the school, and a suspect, believed to have been a fellow student, was later apprehended.City and county authorities have been even less forthcoming with information about the second shooting in a single week, presumably because of the age of the person taken into custody.

    At a time when students are just returning to classrooms after more than a year of COVID shutdowns, these shootings are shocking and deeply disturbing. Questions that pop up immediately include these.

    Where did the guns involved come from and how did the shooters get their hands on them?

    How did they get them into schools, supposedly safe places for learning, both academically and socially?

    What should parents do when they fear their children are walking into unsafe situations when they are entrusted to others in charge of our schools?

    These are questions to which there are answers, whether we like them
    or not.

    We may find that the shooters took licensed weapons from another person without permission. We may find they smuggled them into school in backpacks, somehow bypassing school resource officers or even metal detectors. We may find that schools have procedures for parents to voice concerns and channels to pursue if they feel administrators are not listening to them. Law enforcement officials across the nation are voicing concerns about young people and guns, among them North Carolina’s Attorney General Josh Stein. Stein has contacted Facebook regarding gun sales on its platforms, including Instagram, especially to underage buyers.

    More difficult are the larger, less specific questions, these among them.

    How did we become a nation whose culture embraces firearms, with all their attendant dangers and losses? How did we become a nation where my right to own a gun supersedes your right to be safe in my presence? How much more gun violence among both adults and children are we willing to tolerate?

    When twenty 6- and 7-year-olds were gunned down nearly a decade ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, millions of Americans thought, “Surely, murdering kindergarteners will shock us into facing the magnitude of our gun violence problem, something no other developed nation on earth faces.”

    But that did not happen.

    The carnage, both small and large, continues in churches (Charleston, South Carolina), in concert venues (Las Vegas), in schools (far too numerous to enumerate), in businesses, in homes, on roadways and hiking trails. It happens to people of all ages, from infants to the elderly.

    Name a place in the United States, and odds are that someone has been shot there — or will be.

    Often the shooter is someone disaffected from his community and/or family, striking out at people he believes have wronged him somehow. Some times he is taking aim at strangers for reasons known only to himself.

    Whatever the situation, it is increasingly apparent that Americans have lost our capacity to be shocked by violence — that the lives lost and the people who took them are now part of the wallpaper of our culture, even when they are too young to have their names made public.

    My guess is we feel that way until it happens to someone we love.

  • 07 Cumb Cty SchCumberland County Schools recently received the "Outstanding Website" award from the 2021 WebAwards.

    The webstie was evaluated based on its design, ease of use, copywriting, interactivity, use of technology, innovation and content. A judge lauded the website for excellence in every category.

    "The amount of diversity of the families within the school system (military market/federally connected) with 75 countries and 89 languages is a challenge to master... WELL DONE!"

    Since 1997, the WebAwards have been recognized as the premier industry-based Website Award program in the world.

    The WebAwards include sites from 97 industry categories which go head-to-head with other sites from their categories.

    Check out the district's award-winning website here: https://www.ccs.k12.nc.us/.

  • 03 IMG 2909 Brave ClubMembers of Fayetteville Academy’s BRAVE (Bringing Real Adolescent Voices Empowerment) club recently held a book drive to benefit Connections of Cumberland County and the Fayetteville Police Department Foundation.

    Books for both children and adults were collected. The children’s books were donated to the Fayetteville Police Department Foundation and will be shared with the FPD Youth Services Unit. Some of the books will be given to children who are victims of abuse and some will be shared with the Human Trafficking Division for juvenile victims.

    The books for adults were donated to the single women’s Day Resource Center operated by Connections of Cumberland County.

    The BRAVE club has a service focus and works to spread kindness and acceptance among the Fayetteville Academy student body and the community with different activities throughout the year working to promote a welcoming and supportive environment while giving back to the community.

    Fayetteville Academy is an independent, college preparatory school that encourages students to achieve their full potential by offering exceptional opportunities in academics, fine arts and athletics.

    Pictured left to right are: Officer Sway Rivera, seventh grader Austin Taylor, Capt. Todd Joyce and Sgt. John Benazzi. (Photo courtesy Fayetteville Academy)

  • 05 CityOfFay Logo Slide WBCFayOrgThe City of Fayetteville has vacancies for some advisory boards and commissions including the Board of Advisors for the Woodpeckers Capital Reserve Account, the Fayetteville-Cumberland Economic Development Board, Joint City and County Appearance Commission and the Stormwater Advisory Board.

    Applications will be accepted through Oct. 13. All qualified applications will be presented to city council’s appointment committee.

    City Council is expected to approve new members at its meeting in November. Applications can be made at www.fayettevillenc.gov. Residents should click on city council, scroll down to boards and commissions, and click on vacancies.

  • 08 ws11WoofStock, Fayetteville Animal Protection Society’s pet fundraising event, is slated for Friday, Oct. 1 from 6 to 10:30 p.m. It will take place at Cape Fear Botanical Garden. There will be dinner, drinks, live bands, swag to take home and a few new surprises will be featured.

    Fayetteville Animal Protection Society, Inc., or FAPS, is the only Cumberland County no-kill, non-profit animal shelter supported by volunteers, grants and individual contributions. FAPS receives no state or federal funding to operate and relies solely on the community to support its mission in rescuing and successfully placing companion animals in their forever homes. Currently, there are 79 animals housed at the facility that need to be adopted.

    While stores, restaurants and businesses came to a halt due to COVID-19, there was still a need for safe havens for animals. Despite missing out on their normal fundraising efforts and major changes in operating protocols, FAPS has continued to give second chances to discarded and abandoned pets in our community. Jackie Peery, Executive Director of FAPS said, “2020 was a difficult year financially without our major fundraiser. WoofStock is very vital to FAPS’s mission.”

    In lieu of WoofStock, last year FAPS hosted an online silent auction. “We got a lot of stuff for the auction,” Peery said. “It was a great to have something of no value to you be something that someone else could use.”

    COVID-19 also affected people at the organization. FAPS was not open to the public and staff hours were reduced. Volunteers helped out.

    “This is WoofStock’s ninth year,” Peery said. “Five hundred people are expected at WoofStock this year.” Proceeds help FAPS to continue their mission to not only spay/neuter, vaccinate and microchip each pet, but also provide food, shelter and veterinary care while under the care of FAPS.

    The event is strictly for adults. As much as all involved love their pets, they will not be at the event. If you want to adopt an animal, the hours the facility is open to the public is Friday from 1-5 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. FAPS will operate by appointment Tuesday-Thursday.

    There will be a variety of food at the event. Little Taco will be making taco boxes. Also, hot dogs and sausages will be available. A baked potato bar will also feed attendees. Dirtbag Ales is a sponsor. They are donating 3 beers – Blood Orange Kolsch. Old-Brew Mocha Porter and Crispy Boiz Seltzer - included with the ticket price. It is an open bar, but tips are appreciated. There will be fun activities with lawn games such as corn hole and Jenga.
    There is no dress code. Some people wear tie-dye etc. Don’t have anything tie-dye? There will be a station where attendees can dye their own shirt.

    All CDC social guidelines will be followed. While there will be indoor seating, WoofStock will primarily be outside. Tables will sit four to six people and will be spaced out to meet social distancing guidelines. With its groovy attitude and laid-back atmosphere, WoofStock is an event with a cause which is to continue to help our community’s homeless animals find forever homes.

    Check out FAPS on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fapspet or on their website at www.fapspet.org for more information on WoofStock
    and FAPS.

    Pictured: The WoofStock fundraiser for FAPS is scheduled Oct. 1. (Photo courtesy FAPS)

  • 02 Pitt IMG 8588Watching the news with its escalating daily death count from the ravages of the Rona got me to thinking about mortality.

    Dionne Warwick sang: “What’s it all about Alfie/ Is it just for the moment we live/ What’s it all about/ When you sort it out, Alfie.” Since Alfie is not available, I will explain one of the mysteries of life, the little matter of death.

    Class, open your laptop. This will be on the final exam. If you are reading this blot on world literature, by definition you are alive. However, at some point you will slip off this mortal coil and break on through to the Other Side. As the late Jim Morrison once said: “No one gets out of here alive.” It is unclear if Jim is aware he remains popular.

    Our version of human beings is called Homo Sapiens. Mr. Google reports that Homo Sapiens appeared about 50,000 years ago. The Population Reference Bureau estimates since the appearance of Homo Sapiens about 107 billion people have lived.

    Currently, the world population is estimated to be about 7.6 billion people. That means that roughly 100 billion people have already died giving us a ratio of 15 dead people for every living person today. So, death is pretty common. As Elaine once said to Jerry Seinfeld in another context, death has been done to death. We should not be surprised when it happens.

    Poets, philosophers and song writers have all grappled with the concept of death. Let’s take a look at some of the colorful ways four famous people have gotten into Charon’s boat and crossed the river Styx into the land of the dead. Why did Casper the Friendly Boy have to die to become Casper the Friendly Ghost? Some questions do not have answers.

    Our old friend and Greek playwright Aeschylus departed in a colorful manner. Aeschylus was a famous dude in his time. He was born around 525 BC. He is generally credited as being the father of Greek tragedy. He wrote about 80 plays with only seven of his plays surviving. An oracle told Aeschylus he was going to be killed by something falling out of the sky. Being a cautious sort, Aeschylus social distanced from the sky by mainly staying indoors. Fate will not be cheated. When your time is up, it’s up. One day in 456 B.C., Aeschylus broke his rule against being outside and went on a walkabout. Bad idea. Aeschylus was bald (another reason I like him, he is the godfather of all bald men). While he was out walking, an eagle flying overhead mistook his bald head for a rock. Ordinarily an eagle with presbyopia is not a danger to humanity. But this particular eagle was carrying a tortoise in his claws. Eagles have figured out how to get to the good stuff inside the tortoise shell by picking up the critter and dropping it on a rock below. The tortoise shell cracks open and voila! It’s tortoise tartar for the hungry eagle. The eagle dropped the tortoise on Aeschylus’ bald head. Lights out for the father of Greek tragedy.

    Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881 in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Various legends have grown up about Billy and the number of people he killed. His burial site has been vandalized so many times by souvenir hunters that a metal cage had to be built around it to keep the fans from destroying his tomb stone.

    Singer Dave Stamey sympathetically channels Billy’s ghost and sings an excellent song about Billy’s death called “The Skies of Lincoln County”. The chorus goes: “And the skies of Lincoln County were as blue as blue could be/ And the sun that shines on you, well it used to shine on me/ And I knew the smell of wood smoke and I liked the taste of beer/ The only difference now, is I’m not here/ I’m in New Mexico and it’s 1881.” I commend this song for your listening pleasure. We will all join Billy one day and miss the smell of wood smoke.

    The late great song writer Warren Zevon wrote a cheery little ditty called “Life’ll Kill You” in which he ponders the mystery of death. I saw Warren perform in Chapel Hill at the Cat’s Cradle when he was not well. He suggested to the audience that avoiding the doctor was not a good plan. His song included the lyrics: “From the President of the United States/ To the lowliest rock and roll star/ The doctor is in and he’ll see you now/ He don’t care who you are/ Some get the awful, awful diseases/ Some get the knife, some get the gun/ Some get to die in their sleep at the age of a hundred and one.”

    So what have we learned today? Life is fleeting. Enjoy it. Do you know what happens the day after you die? Everything. Politicians promise. Traffic jams. Lunch is eaten. Birds fly. People get married. Socks get lost. The only difference is you’re not there.

    Pictured: Aeschylus' time was up when an eagle flying overhead mistook his bald head for a rock.

  • 04 09 Chief Hawkins FPDFayetteville Police Chief Gina V. Hawkins presented 400 Nightlock® door lockdown devices to Cumberland County School Superintendent Marvin Connelly, Jr. earlier this month in support of Cumberland County schools’ safety and security project.

    CCS began installing the devices last year with money provided by the State of North Carolina.

    The donation from the FPD brings the total number of devices installed in local school classrooms to more than 3,400.

    “We all know, what's really important to us is our children, and making sure they're safe all the time," Chief Hawkins said.

    The police department used $20,000 of grant funds to purchase the door locks to assist in plans to respond to potential active shooter situations.

    “We appreciate Chief Hawkins and The Fayetteville Police Department for their continued support of Cumberland County Schools,” said Superintendent Connelly.

    For information about the CCS Safety & Security program visit their website- www.ccs.k12.nc.us/domain/1630.

  • 06 Tobacco FieldCumberland County’s Tobacco Research Referendum will be held at the County Cooperative Extension Office Nov. 18 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    The office is located at the Charlie Rose Agri-Expo Center on E. Mountain Drive.

    The referendum is being held so tobacco farmers can decide if they wish to continue a self-assessment program of 10 cents per hundred pounds of flue-cured and burley tobacco produced in North Carolina.

    A two-thirds favorable vote by growers will mean they are willing to continue supporting tobacco research and education.

    The law requires updated referenda every six years. Extension professionals in all 100 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee provide educational programs specializing in agriculture, youth, health, and the environment, according to Lisa Childers, Cumberland County Extension Director.

    For more information on the referendum, please call 910-321-6880.

  • 09 231473471 4449228905096548 1698743334211822553 nThe Gilbert Theater comes from humble beginnings. In 1994, Lynn Pryer started the theater in his backyard and basement in Haymount. The theater is now located at 116 Green St., above Fayetteville’s Children Museum. The entrance is on Bow Street.

    “COVID-19 forced us to lessen our capacity,” said Lawrence Carlisle, artistic director. “(The theater) holds 100 people. Since 2020, no more than 50 seats in the house.” Patrons, staff and, sometimes, performers wear masks. Temperature checks are conducted at the door.

    The Gilbert is featuring “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels — The Musical” Oct. 1-17. Two con men, a beautiful woman and the elite of the French Riviera collide in this sexy and irreverent farce.

    It is based on the 1988 movie by the same name starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine.

    In the exotic French Riviera, Lawrence Jameson makes his living by smooth talking rich, single women out of their money. He has been in the trade for many years and has got his technique down to a tee. But then he bumps into Freddy Benson. Freddy takes a humbler, more laid back approach, swindling women with emotional lies about his grandmother's failing health and his own economic struggles.

    The two men initially decide to form a double act but their egos soon clash and the French coast isn't big enough for the two of them. To settle their rivalry, they agree on a bet: the first to swindle $50,000 from the latest young heiress in town, Christine Colgate, can stay and the other must leave town. However, is Christine really all she seems? Hilarity and confusion ensue as the two men pull out all the steps to prove they are the best con man in town.

    Actors were selected by open auditions. Lawrence is played by Chris Walker, who Carlisle calls a talented singer and actor and comedically well-versed. Freddy is played by Dan Adams. “Dan just blew us out of the water,” Carlisle said. The female lead, Christine, is played by the very funny Megan Barnes. There are about 10 people in the show.

    Linda Flynn, assistant artistic director at the Gilbert Theater, is making her debut as director of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Flynn joined the theater in 2017 as an actor in the show, “Evil Dead the Musical,” and became an employee in February 2020. “I have always had a great passion for theater. In my position I have learned a lot about every aspect of the theater. I get to do every job there is in theater and I enjoy every aspect.”

    Having been both actor, and now, director, Flynn explains the difference. “Acting you don’t see everything that goes into a show. You focus on lines and blocking and how you are coming across to your audience. Directing, you focus on everything. Find ways to make the show look good. Everybody looks good and knows where they need to be and what they need to do.”

    “The most rewarding feeling directing ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels — The Musical’ is watching my vision come to life with this particular production,” Flynn said. “It is more than I hoped for and it makes me proud.”

    Carlisle hopes the audience will have fun at the show. “The goal for all shows is for the audience to have fun and come away thinking that was really funny. Let’s do it again.”

    The show runs from Oct.1 to Oct. 17. Shows are Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 with some discounts available.

    For more information call 910-678-7186 or visit www.Gilberttheater.com and www.facebook.com/gilberttheater.

  • 11 N1502P37008HIt may not cross our minds, but balance is essential and a prerequisite for movement and motor skills. When new participants come to class and I ask what is important to you, I often hear I need to work on my balance. Balance is related to our overall mobility, and we need balance for activities which include movement such as walking, crawling, getting out of a chair or leaning over to pick up an object. Studies have shown that a sizable percentage of ER visits for seniors are due to falls and a substantial number admitted to the hospital. Other factors that can affect balance are vision, hearing, medication, injuries, neuropathy and chronic ailments. Although falls may result from age, they are not an inevitable part of aging, and you can do something about it.

    Balance training strengthens the muscles that help you keep up right and promote stability for your core. All muscles work together in balance training to promote joint stability. Training also improves your reaction time, agility, coordination and concentration. Balance exercises become embedded in your memory and could be the reason that you do not fall when that unexpected obstacle or unstable surface comes your way. Beneficial exercises for balance training include resistance training, core, legs, glutes and back. As you progress your confidence increases as you add more time, movement and unstable surfaces which all help your focus and concentration. Another factor that effects our balance is flexibility and strength in our ankles. A large majority of injuries for sprains and breaks are a result of inflexible and weak ankles. Foot exercises that include pronation, supination, dorsiflexion and plantar flexion are beneficial by improving flexibility, strength, stability and are an important addition to your training.

    An article caught my attention with a bold headline that read “Balance Test.” It began with a duration of a minute standing on one leg which I thought was a lofty challenge and could be discouraging for someone beginning to work on balance skills.

    Balance is not always about a pose or how long you hold it. It is how your body supports stability and movement in everyday activities.

    Working on your balance can begin in your home. A chair or counter offers stability to practice at any time and you can do it while you are brushing your teeth or working at the kitchen sink.

    Begin while standing on one foot and then the other. See how long you can hold it or begin by holding for five seconds and you may also notice that balance is better on one side than the other. Soon you will begin to see your time increasing, less need to hold on and confidence to practice on unstable surfaces, movement and direction. There are other opportunities to practice balance other than home or the fitness center. I have found that waiting in line at a store or the grocery store with the aid of a cart can be fun to do by standing on one leg and then the other.

    You can search for balance exercises online that include standing and seated and a good start for you to begin in your home. Fitness centers are another opportunity for balance classes with group fitness, personal training and classes such as yoga and tai chi. Balance training increases our awareness in how we move with more confidence. The bottom line is no one wants to fall and balance training along with exercise can help reduce the odds of falling and sustaining fall-related injuries.

  • 06 TONAPE Witnessing 2017 pastel on paper 19x19For anyone who sees the pastel drawings in this article, it’s obvious Vilas Tonape is an extraordinary artist in our community. A nationally and internationally known artist, Tonape is known for his masterful portraiture, still lifes, and non-representational paintings. Celebrated in his mother country of India since 1993, Tonape has returned to India each summer to teach workshops.

    This article will not only explore the strengths of Tonape’s works, but the end of the article will share information on how the public can attend an hour-and-a-half online portrait demonstration by Tonape in October, at no cost.

    Before the portrait demonstration, visitors to Rosenthal Gallery, on the campus of Fayetteville State University, will have the opportunity to see more than 25 works by Tonape in his one-person exhibit titled Ways of Knowing: Works by Vilas Tonape. The opening reception for Ways of Knowing is Sept. 23 from 6-8 p.m. If attending the public reception is not possible, visitors to the Rosenthal Gallery will be able to see the exhibit through Oct. 23.

    Tonape earned a B.F.A. in Painting at Sir JJ School of Art at the University of Bombay in Mumbai, India, and an M.F.A. in Painting at Texas Christian University at Fort Worth, Texas. Employed since 2015 at Methodist University in the Department of Art, other art related teaching positions include, but are not limited to, the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia., and a visiting artist at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

    Tonape’s exhibition record is extensive, his work is in many private and corporate collections, and he has received many honors and awards. In 2018, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, First Friday Forum, Government Museum and Art Gallery in Ghandigarh, India.

    Most recently, he was interviewed and published in a 6-page article titled "Celestial Color" by John A. Parks, Fall, 2021, Pastel Journal Magazine.

    Another highlight in Tonape’s career is when he received a call from President George W. Bush’s manager in 2018. Bush had seen one or more of Tonape’s 11 YouTube instructional videos and was enthralled with his process — a private teaching session was eventually scheduled between Bush and Tonape.

    Looking at Tonape’s images can cause different reactions. Many will admire his skill and the beauty of his images. Tonape masterfully understands how to recreate the representational around him in pastels, watercolor and painting.

    One argument against realism is why an artist in the 21st century would choose to replicate reality when a camera is sufficient. What is the relevance and relatability of realistic art in the digital age?

    A second argument is that artists learn how to control materials and work from observation; then the artist will leave the realism nest and move in a stylized direction.

    Among the diversity of styles, I argue that realism is still relevant in the 21st century. Tonape’s realism convinces us that what we are seeing is how it looks — yet he actually creates a type of hyperreality. One of his greatest gifts is being able to broaden our ways of knowing by recognizing the transcendent qualities of a still life or a portrait.

    One of Tonape’s earliest works presented in the exhibition is “Moments of Gloria” from 2002. The 22” x 17” gouache on paper was created after Tonape graduated with an M.F.A. in 1996, and the year before he was employed as a visiting artist at the Ringling College of Art and Design. In this work, he allows the sitter’s essence to emerge from observation while mixing realism with abstraction.

    This painting, perhaps, is a pivotal moment in time and reveals Tonape’s future journey of exploration and love for both the human form and nonobjective expression.

    Whether it is figurative or a nonobjective work of art, “Gloria” is an example of how Tonape creates the experience of time for the viewer. We are drawn in by the burst of shapes and brilliance of color, but also have spaces of rest in the mimicry of push and pull, activity and rest in the pictorial space.

    While Tonape’s pastel drawings convey the feeling of effortless spontaneity, his process is never random.

    Viewers will discover his masterful way of using a piece of pastel or a dab of paint into an expressive image.

    Tonape gives evidence to the idea that material is integral to the overall meaning when he shared the following: “I leave marks in the borders of the paper on a pastel portrait and include them in the framing of the portrait — they are evidence of the process.”

    Tonape creates a story in both his figurative and nonobjective works, objects and the figures are placed in the composition for viewers to ponder the story.

    The pastel drawing, titled “Witnessing,” is a good example of an intentional story-telling composition. Three portraits are included in the 19” x 19” pastel drawing. The luminous, warm skin of the seated figure contrasts with her cool, stare — we sense her guarded gaze. A photograph of Frida Kahlo, a well-known artist and woman activist, is on her right. Tonape has painted himself into the background as an onlooker.

    After our senses acknowledge the skill of the artist, we then wonder about the relationship of the three portraits. Tension in the work emerges, Tonape’s use of emotion, space and a well-known iconic image leave us with questions to answer about the meaning in Witnessing.

    In addition to Tonape’s overall approach to building a composition, the way he performs in a specific medium also influences how we experience each work.

    For example, a pastel drawing in the exhibit titled “Moments of Gloria,” is evidence of his performance or the act of making: broad sweeping strokes of color are the result of paint as it leaves the brush onto a surface. Later, in his pastel drawings, the performance become a specific, focused, repetitive act of adding a multitude of points of color on the surface of the paper. In the words of Tonape, “the large shapes across the surface of a portrait became a mosaic of shapes.”

    It's easy to see that color is very important to Tonape, but his response to shape is also highly relevant. Tonape responded: “Color is structure. Shape without color, for me, does not mean anything … I think of the shape of color. When color seems to take over, shape is always the underpinning.”

    At the end of the interview, I asked Tonape what some of his influences have been that helped to shape his work as an artist.

    Tonape was quick to say, “the biggest influence is Picasso’s dedication and engagement as an artist, three of my undergraduate teachers and two of my graduate professors, being in America for 27 years, seeing works of art in museums and galleries, and just being around people.”

    Visitors to Ways of Knowing will need to spend time in the gallery to study the large body of work being exhibited and become aware of Tonape’s subtle and underlying formal structure.

    The exhibition includes figurative and nonobjective works next to each other to reveal underlying sources and influences — a stark reminder of the artist’s diversified knowledge.

    Anyone interested is seeing Tonape do a portrait demonstration will need to mark their calendar for the free online demonstration that takes place towards the end of the exhibition. On Oct. 19, from 5–7 p.m., Tonape will be doing a live online demonstration from a model. (The surprise model is a well-known member of the community). Before the event, the public is invited to log onto Fayetteville State University’s Fine Art Series Live on Facebook.

    Rosenthal Gallery is located at 1200 Murchison Road on the campus of Fayetteville State University.

    Ways of Knowing is open from Sept. 23 – Oct. 23. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    For information on the exhibit or the call 910-672-1057 or 910-672-1571 or email smartin@uncfsu.edu

    Pictured above: "Witnessing" by Vilas Tonape

    Pictured below: Artist Vilas Tonape conducted a private teaching session with President George W. Bush in 2018, after the former president watched one of Tonape's YouTube insructional videos. 

    07 BUSHtonape7



  • 05 FOrt Bragg signFort Bragg will be renamed and officials are seeking input from community stakeholders on recommendations for a new name. Officials are working to compile a list of possible new names that will be submitted to DOD for consideration.

    According to a release from the Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office, Congess is mandating the renaming and removal of all Department of Defense items that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily within the confederacy. Fort Bragg is one of ten Army posts identified as requiring a name change.

    The U.S. Army post Fort Bragg was first stood up as Camp Bragg on Sept. 4, 1918, as an artillery training center. Fort Bragg was named after Confederate General Braxton Bragg for his actions in the Mexican-American War.

    “We’re amplifying the opportunity for the community to be involved with the name-changing process,” said Col. Scott Pence, Fort Bragg Garrison Commander.

    “We are engaging the community to solicit their feedback on name recommendations. We want to ensure our stakeholders, soldiers, families, civilians and members of the community have the unique opportunity to provide a name recommendation for our installation.”

    Per the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, the other nine military installations set to be renamed are Camp Beauregard, Louisiana; Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia; Fort Lee, Virginia; Fort Pickett, Virginia; Fort Polk, Louisiana; and Fort Rucker, Alabama.

    Information about the base renaming is available on the following podcast episode.
    Podcast Link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-57-renaming-fort-bragg/id1547996961?i=1000534546046

    For more information about the Naming Commission or to provide your name recommendation, visit the following links:

    Fort Bragg Naming Commission Facts and name-recommendation survey: https://home.army.mil/bragg/index.php/fortbragg-renaming

    Naming Commission website:

    Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fbncgarrisoncmd (Note: Survey is pinned to the top.)

  • 04 teacher of year CCS facebook"One of my personal responsibilities as an educator is to never stop being a student," said Daniel Smith, the Cumberland County Schools' 2022 Teacher of the Year.

    When faced with the limitations of virtual learning, Smith seized the moment and opened the door to an entire world of opportunities for himself, his students and his peers, said a spokesman for the school district. Smith serves as chairman of the Social Studies Department at Westover High School.

    “I listen to my students; they often have more insight than we give them credit for,” Smith wrote in his nomination portfolio.

    The announcement of Smith as this year’s Teacher of the Year winner was made during the district’s virtual celebration event, themed: The Great Comeback: Defying All Odds to Educate Each Child. Smith started his teaching career with Cumberland County Schools in 2014 after graduating from State University of New York (SUNY) at Old Westbury.

    Pictured: Daniel Smith (center) from Westover High School, was named the 2022 Teacher of the Year. (Photo courtesy CCS)

  • 03 Social Media Posts 4Cape Fear Regional Theatre is resuming a near-normal schedule of activities in the 2021-2022 production year. Professional theatre performances and a variety of educational and outreach initiatives are programmed thanks in part to a $250,000 grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. Ticket sales account for less than 40% of CFRT’s funding.

    “We are deeply grateful to the Arts Council for its incredible financial support; this funding is essential to our operations and enables us to produce high-quality productions and enriching education programs,” said Ella Wrenn, CFRT’s Managing Director.

    CFRT is committed to presenting an annual series of plays, performances and special events. Marketing Director Ashley Nicholl Owen says since 1962, CFRT has strived to tell the stories that resonate with all members of our diverse community and be a place for the entire community to come together to laugh harder, think deeper, share experiences, and grow as a community.

    CFRT is a three-story complex in the heart of Haymount. It has a 300-seat main stage and contracts actors, writers and designers from throughout the country. CFRT’s six-show season and education programs serve over 49,000 audience members of all ages and varying socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds including nearly 22,000 school students.

    Mainstage productions will resume in the 2021-22 season in a new, fully renovated auditorium. Patrons will enjoy deeper rows of seats, wider chairs, improved accessibility, a custom sound system and a new, fresh-air heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

    The theatre’s 60th Anniversary will be highlighted in December with a production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” The season will also feature “The Wizard of Oz” in January of 2022, “Welcome to Arroyo’s” in March, “Clue” in April, and “The Color Purple” in May and June.

    “Since the onset of COVID-19, CFRT has adapted to the changing health landscape to create safe and innovative ways to serve our community,” added CFRT Artistic Director Mary Catherine Burke. “We look forward to another season of collaboration with the Arts Council as we continue to serve the community with award-winning productions and nationally recognized education initiatives.”
    CFRT notes that it made the most of unique and changing circumstances throughout the pandemic to include education programs and outdoor/open-air theatre productions. Enrollment in CFRT’s Winter Studio classes grew by 89% over the previous year.

    “Cultural Organization Resource Grants support the backbone art organizations of Cumberland County," said Bob Pinson, Interim President and CEO of the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. “The Arts Council is proud to partner with Cape Fear Regional Theatre as a C.O.R.E Grantee.”

    In the fiscal year 2020-21, the Arts Council distributed $1.1M in grant funds and allocations to Cumberland County arts and culture nonprofit organizations, artists and municipalities. The Arts Council’s grants, programs and services are funded in part through contributions from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the N.C. Arts Council.


  • 01 service pnp cwpbh 03100 03132vWell, who would have ever thought the U.S. Congress would take on the task of trying to rewrite history, or maybe I should say erase history. Yes, it's distressing to most Americans, but that doesn't seem to matter to the woke minority. Crazy as it may seem, we are living in a nation of gross "hypocrisy." Yes, our proud and mighty Fort Bragg, along with many other military installations that bear the names of Confederate heroes, has been mandated by Congress to be renamed. Look it up. The National Defense Authorization Act.

    Now they are authorizing and organizing virtual town meetings, asking the general public to comment, and making them feel that they are actually participating in the process of renaming the traditional and proud home of the 82nd Airborne Division and the U.S. Army's Special Operations Command. Again, the hypocrisy of this arrogant woke style of national thinking is frustrating and distressing to most Americans. That is if they are thinking at all.

    How do you declare a word like Confederacy taboo, socially unacceptable and obscene, not unlike the N-word or the C-word? Then we have to ask ourselves: Where does this end? Indeed, not just with military bases. There are literally thousands of institutions, schools, roads, businesses and organizations named after some aspect of the Confederacy. Here in our community of Fayetteville, Murchison Road was named in honor of a local wealthy plantation owner, Duncan Murchison. He not only owned slaves but had three sons that served in the Civil War. It gets better: Two of the Murchison boys, John R. and Kenneth, were commissioned officers in the Confederate Army. So, what we have here is a "twofer." The Murchison's were both slave owners and Confederate soldiers. So, as the NDAA mandate dictates, will they embrace Fayetteville's historical past or strip our community of the Murchison name that has meant so much to so many in our community and rename Murchison Road? I think not. And, I hope not.

    This newspaper is on the record advocating with Grilley Mitchell. Mitchell is a U.S. Army veteran, VFW member, program coordinator for ALMS House in Hope Mills, and candidate for the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners. Mitchell is a voice of reason representing the Cumberland County Veterans Council. They put forth their common sense recommendation: The installation should be renamed after Edward Bragg, Braxton Bragg's cousin, a Union officer in the Civil War. He put forth this recommendation on behalf of the CCVC, stating, "That's the decision that we also believe that belongs to the men and women that have served this nation, as well as their family members because they paid the price to have that choice to make that decision."

    There are numerous common sense reasons that Fort Bragg (and Murchison Road) should remain Fort Bragg. Trying to change history is futile. And, trying to change history selectively is divisive and destructive to our nation. Again, when and where does the canceled culture and hypocrisy end? When will America again start focusing on the real issues facing our country? It's idiocy to concentrate on changing streets signs when Americans are abandoned and being slain in Afghanistan. Why mandate vaccines and threaten American citizens with fines and punishment when 40 thousand illegal and unvaccinated immigrants cross into the U.S. every week? Hypocrisy and setting priorities — two of America's biggest challenges.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    Pictured above: Many are calling for Fort Bragg to be renamed Fort Bragg in honor of Union General Edward S. Bragg. (Photo courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)



  • 10 mask winnersTickets are on sale now for the 7th Annual Child Advocacy Center’s Pinwheel Masquerade Ball and Auction to Unmask Child Abuse. The event is scheduled for Oct. 2 from 7-11 p.m. at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens.

    The Pinwheel Masquerade Ball is one of the CAC's signature fundraising events and the public is invited to participate.

    The CAC was founded in 1993 by a group of concerned local professionals seeking to coordinate services provided to child abuse victims and their families. The CAC provides a safe and child-friendly environment where professionals from community agencies come together to interview, investigate and to provide support for abused children and their families.

    This results in a collaborative approach of professionals from Child Protective Services, the District Attorney’s office, law enforcement, Guardian ad Litem, Military Family Services, social workers, victim advocates as well as medical and mental health professionals to provide a coordinated, comprehensive response to victims and their caregivers.

    By having a collaborative approach, the CAC reduces the number of interviews for child victims of abuse by providing specially trained professionals to conduct forensic interviews in a centralized location. National research has determined that this type of coordinated approach can help alleviate trauma for children, increase the prosecution rate of perpetrators, and be fiscally beneficial to the community.

    CAC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization funded through the generosity of corporate, state, organization and foundation grants; corporate and individual donations; in-kind contributions; and event sponsorships. There is no charge for services provided to child victims of abuse referred to the CAC.

    Organizers for the Pinwheel Masquerade Ball invite everyone to don a mask and enjoy a gala evening of dancing and food and drinks from our culinary sponsors. Entertainment will include a DJ, dance demonstrations, photo booth fun, live and silent auctions for amazing prize packages, and mask contests.

    Standard pricing is $100 per person or $175 per couple, and reserved tables of 8 are $1200. Tickets and tables can be purchased in person at the CAC or order online at www.cacfaync.org/.

    If you are unable to join this year’s Pinwheel Masquerade Ball and Auction, you can still help to provide healing and hope to the children at the CAC. Donations are always welcome and very much appreciated and can be done online or in person at the CAC.

    Attendees at this year’s Ball are offered the chance to get a “Trip of a Lifetime.” It is a chance to give now and travel later as winners will have three years with no blackout dates to enjoy their prize.

    A sampling of this year’s trips include:
    The Wine, Wonder and Romance of France
    The excitement and beauty of Paris and the romantic chateaux and vineyards of the finest wine region of France.

    The Pleasures and Treasures of Tuscany
    For food, fun and laughter, there’s no better place than Tuscany where, on your seven-day trip, the two of you will see incomparable treasures and art in Florence and learn to be spectacular chefs during your cooking class in an authentic Tuscan kitchen.

    Sedona Spa Getaway
    Get away from it all, unwind and relax during your four-day, three-night spa retreat in breathtaking Sedona, Arizona. Along with your day trip to the Grand Canyon, this oasis of personal pampering will refresh your mind, body and spirit.

    Iceland — The Land of Fire and Ice
    Discover wild wonders in the land of the Vikings! Glistening glaciers, therapeutic hot springs, thundering waterfalls and amazing wildlife make Iceland the “Land of Fire and Ice.”

    The best of Spain — Barcelona a cultural hub — rich in history, fashion, architecture, food, music and dance. Then you are off to the island of Mallorca, known for its breathtaking landscapes, sun drenched beaches and exciting cultural experiences.

    Alaskan Cruise
    As America’s last frontier, exploring Alaska is an adventure you’ll treasure forever. Ten thousand-year-old glaciers, as well as whales and polar bears, are some of the sights and sounds of Alaska that will thrill you! Our winning couple will jet to Seattle where you’ll begin your cruise with a comfortable outside cabin, creating memories of an adventure as big as Alaska itself!

    This annual fundraiser for the CAC could not happen without the hard work and dedication of many people in the community. This year’s event is co-chaired by Jackie Davis and Julie Lee-Jacobs. Committee members include Jennifer Britt, Tim Edwards, Beth Lee, Chris Lee, Juelle McDonald, Robin Hurmence, Lucy Jones, Mary McCoy, Sharon Mozingo, Jennifer Taft and Christina Quantock. This energetic committee has been working diligently to ensure that this is a not-to-be-missed event.

    Organizers are thankful for all of the Pinwheel Masquerade Ball Event Sponsors, Culinary Sponsors and Corporate Benefactors as their support helps the CAC to continue to provide hope, help and healing to victims of child abuse.

    Platinum Sponsors: 5-Star Entertainment; Debbie Bender Designs; Healy Wholesale; A New Leaf Therapeutic Services PLLC

    Gold Sponsors: Up & Coming Weekly; Saam’s Party Tents, Inc.

    Silver Sponsors: The Law Office of Robin Weaver Hurmence

    Blue Sponsors: Berkshire Hathaway All American Homes; Callahan & Rice Insurance Group; Clerk of Superior Court-Lisa Scales; District Attorney Billy West; Gift of Dance & Photography; Firehouse Subs Glensford Drive; Healing Minds Therapeutic Services PLLC; James H. Cooke, Jr., Attorney at Law; TRP Sumner, PLLC; Valley Auto World; Valley Radiology; Valley Regional Imaging; Williams Printing & Office Supply

    Other sponsors include: Timothy D. Edwards, Attorney at Law; Hardin Law Firm PLLC; Beaver Courie Law Firm; Hatley Law Firm; Le Bleu Central Distributions; Keller Williams Realty; Movement Mortgage; Cape Fear Distillery; AmFund

    Culinary Sponsors include some of the best restaurants and shops in town: Aisha’s; The BarBQue Guy; Burney’s of Fayetteville; Carrabba’s Italian Grill; Dorothy’s Catering 2; Metro Diner; Elite Catering; Southern Coals; Bees and Boards Charcuterie Company; Nona Sushi Asia; Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux; Blue Pineapple Bakery; Harris Teeter; Luigi’s Italian Chophouse & Bar; Superior Bakery and The Sweet Palette

    For more information about CAC’s Pinwheel Masquerade Ball, to purchase tickets or become a sponsor visit www.cacfaync.org/.

    08 pinwheel ball09 Group 3

  • 08 N1507P22019HCumberland County Public Libraries no longer charge late fees for overdue items like books and DVDs. The library will also not charge for long overdue or lost fees on these items. The goal is to increase access to library services for previously blocked customers, particularly young borrowers. The change does not include laptops, hotspots or Playaway Launchpads.

    The library system charged $.20 per day per item with a maximum of $5 per item charged. Borrowers were blocked from checking out materials if they had $10 in late fees. Approximately one-third of library card accounts are inactive, with fees preventing those cardholders from using library resources.

    Public Library Director Faith Phillips requested the change to the County Board of Commissioners, who approved dismissing charges in their August meeting. Phillips told the board that library systems that have gone late-fee free have experienced a huge return of customers, broken down barriers to access, increased the community members they serve, experienced a huge amount of good will within the community, ensured their practices meet industry standards and been fiscally responsible.

    Phillips estimated that late fees generate about $33,600 a year in revenue for the library system and that the County could recoup that funding by no longer paying a collection agency to recover lost materials and by seeking grant opportunities.
    September is National Library Card Sign Up Month and Cumberland County Public Library is inviting all residents to join the library. This card will give you access to technology, resources and services to help encourage expression, enlightenment and exploration.

    For more information about signing up for a library card, returning long overdue items, or in-person and virtual programs at the library, please visit cumberlandcountync.gov/library and follow them on social media.

  • 05 N1704P59004HCumberland County Animal Services is participating in the nationwide “Clear the Shelters” event from Sept. 13-18.

    During this week, adoption fees will be waived for all shelter pets.

    The shelter is located at 4704 Corporation Drive in Fayetteville and will be open for adoptions from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-5 p.m. on Saturday.

    Adopters must have a photo ID and be at least 18 years old.

    All adoptions will be on a first-come, first-served basis and up to two pets can be adopted per household.

  • 06 franThis month is the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Fran, the 3rd most powerful storm to strike North Carolina since record keeping began. In 1954, Hurricane Hazel set the standard by which others have been compared.

    Hurricane Fran formed from a tropical wave that emerged from the west coast of Africa in mid-August of 1996. In early September, the category 3 hurricane struck North Carolina near Cape Fear. The Tar Heel state got the worst of the storm, and therefore experienced the worst of the damage.

    The highest wind gust of 137 mph occurred at Wilmington. The Kure Beach Pier was destroyed along with the Emerald Isle fishing pier. Storm surge in North Topsail Beach created a 100-foot-wide inlet. Swansboro and New Bern experienced 10 feet of storm surge, causing many waterfront businesses to be destroyed.

    Fran remained at hurricane strength as it moved inland. The eye of the storm passed over Clinton, 30 miles east of Fayetteville. Raleigh and Fayetteville each reported wind gusts of up to 79 mph.

    According to Associated Press reports, Fran was responsible for 37 deaths. Most of the deaths were caused by flash flooding in the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Of those deaths, 21were in North Carolina. Wind damage and power outages were widespread. Rainfall exceeding 7 inches caused flooding along the Cape Fear River. Fran caused an estimated $2.4 billion in damage in 1996 dollars, or about $3.65 billion today.

  • 04 N2107P21007HAcross Cumberland County Schools there are more than 4,600 employees in the classroom who are dedicated to helping students succeed. To support teachers and help those who are interested in seeking leadership opportunities, CCS is beginning its third year of CCS Talent Pathways. The pathway, which is part of the district’s strategic plan, will offer fully licensed teachers an opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to assume leadership roles.

    Employees can choose to begin preparations to become assistant principals, instructional coaches, national board-certified instructors, or impact instruction through the Instructional Assistants Pathway.

    “We have an amazing staff in our district who are positively impacting our students every day,” said Dr. Theresa Perry, director of Professional Development. “Through this initiative, we are offering them a chance to reach beyond the classroom and impact even more students and educators throughout the district.”

  • 03 8d44b05a65200c0ac782d378c5491fb0America lost a great man this summer, a man who rivaled Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford in inventiveness: the incomparable Ron Popeil. Ron passed away in July leaving us alone and friendless. Readers of a certain attenuated age will recall his many contributions easing the way in which Americans encountered life’s vicissitudes in the last quarter of the 20th century. Ron was the King of late-night TV, the impresario and inventor of the Informercial, the founder of Ronco, the purveyor of gadgets to the masses. What was so rare as a Ron Popeil invention? Let me count the ways. Would a Kitchen Magician Food Slicer by any other name smell as sweet? Nay, a thousand times nay. I am not just saying that because I have been taking pumpkin spice Ivermectin to ward off the Rona. My personal physician, Dr. Mr. Ed the Talking Horse asked me to request both my readers not to buy ivermectin from the farm supply as the shortage of ivermectin is causing horses to walk around full of parasites. But I digress.

    Allow me to return to Ron Popeil. To misquote Marc Antony at Caesar’s funeral oration: “Friends, Romans, Cumberland County countrymen, lend me your ears and Visa cards, I come to bury Ron Popeil, not to praise him. The evil men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” Let not the great and good inventions left behind by Ron be forgotten. We should cherish them, honor them, and hold them up as a bright light against the darkness that currently enfolds us. Is it not better to use a Chop-O-Matic hand food processor than to cut off your thumb slicing tomatoes? Opposable thumbs are all that separate humans from banana slugs. We must preserve our opposable thumbs as well as our precious bodily fluids. Without opposable thumbs mankind and womankind, (note: gender sensitivity on display here) humans would be condemned to compete with banana slugs eating moldy bananas and be unable to text while driving. The horror, the horror as Colonel Kurtz would say.

    Consider some of the Ronco products which made life in the 1970’s more tolerable. The 70’s were a hard time for everyone. Disco was popular then creating a bleak time for anyone who had ears to hear. Ronco commercials were a light in the gloom of the post-midnight forest of television when only 3 channels were available. Who can forget the happiness that GLH-9 Hair Spray in a can brought to millions of bald men? Spray on hair was the bee’s knees. The GLH stood for Great Looking Hair. No one could tell your bald head was covered in black paint. The Chop-O-Matic begat the Bass-O-Matic on Saturday Night Live as sold by Dan Akroyd. Ponder the wonderful Electric Food Dehydrator from
    Ronco. To quote Sir Walter Scott: “Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own native Electric Food Dehydrator!” Wouldn’t it be great to dehydrate a rutabaga by merely dropping it into your Electric Food Dehydrator?

    If you give a man a fish, he can eat for one day. If you give a man a Ronco Pocket Fisherman he can eat for the rest of his life. He will always have a food source for an endless supply of Bass-O-Matic protein shakes. How many times have you been trying to crack an egg to scramble it only to have the egg shell splinter into tiny pieces in the frying pan? You futilely try to fish out the egg shells with a spoon only to have the slippery little devils evade capture. Ultimately you stick your fingers into the frying pan to get the shell out thereby burning your fingers and endangering your all-important opposable thumb. Ron knew of this silent kitchen tragedy and invented the Inside-the-Shell-Egg-Scrambler. The scrambler inserted a pin into the egg, swirled it around, thus producing a perfect scrambled egg every time. Ron must have shouted “Eureka” just as Archimedes did when he discovered buoyancy while bathing. After the invention of the Inside the Egg Scrambler, the yolk was on anyone who was foolish to try to scramble an egg the old-fashioned way.

    Ron brought us possibly the greatest invention since Turok the Caveman invented the wheel- the amazing Mr. Microphone. Mr. Microphone allowed teen age boys to drive around yelling sweet nothings at teen age girls. Who can forget the immortal lines from the commercial when a carload of boys uses Mr. Microphone to yell: “Hey Good Looking! I’ll be back to pick you up later.” According to the commercial this was a surefire way to pick up girls. Results may have varied in real life.

    As my readership becomes older and grip strength declines, who wouldn’t want the Cap Snaffler? Hard to open caps came off in a jiffy. It “snaffles caps off any size jug, bottle, or jar.” Who among us wouldn’t delight in spending an afternoon snaffling the caps of every container in the kitchen, including those jars of pimentos which have been sitting in the back of the cabinet since the first Bush Administration? Snaffle away America, your opposable thumbs will be safe.

    Have we learned anything today? Finally, the answer is yes. Ron Popeil was a great man. We shall not see his like again. As Marc Antony concluded: “Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Ron. And I must pause till it comes back to me.”

    Pictured: Ron Popeil was an inventor, pitchman and television star who popularized the phrase “But wait, there’s more!” He introduced Americans to the infomercial.

  • 02 NC flagiconStatistics can be cold and clinical to the point that we put them aside.

    Not so for the stats coming out of the COVID-delayed 2020 U.S. Census. These numbers continue the fascinating story of a still relatively young nation as it grows and matures. The numbers are critical, because they determine how and where federal dollars are spent and how much representation communities have in Congress and in state legislatures.

    The U.S. Constitution requires a census, a count of our nation’s population, every decade and a census is now conducted in the years ending with a 0. The first census in 1790 was taken by U.S. Marshals, the young nation’s total population was estimated at just under 4 million people. Over the next two centuries-plus, census data has expanded so that we know more about the people who live in our nation than just how many of us there are.

    Here is some of what we know in 2021.

    We are now a nation of more than 331 million souls, more than 10 million of whom live in North Carolina. The U.S. population is more diverse than it has ever been, with large increases in people who identify themselves as Hispanic, Asian, and more than one race. People who identify as non-Hispanic white remain the largest demographic group, but that group has shrunk from 69% in 2010 to 58% in 2020. More and more Americans live in metropolitan areas, while our smaller, more rural areas are losing population. More and more of us live in the South and West, while there is less growth in the Northeast and Midwest. The United States does continue to grow, but our growth is now at its second slowest rate since counting began in 1790 because of less immigration and a declining birth rate.

    Here is what is happening in our neck of the woods.

    Fayetteville has grown since 2010, but not as dramatically as other cities. It has dropped from North Carolina’s 4th largest to 6th. Cumberland County grew by roughly 15,000 people. Charlotte, on the other hand, grew by nearly 20%. Raleigh grew as well, and Wilmington and Asheville are also booming.The metro areas surrounding cities are expanding, attracting younger and often highly educated people more likely to have births than deaths. Together the Charlotte and Raleigh metro areas account for almost 39% of our state's current residents.

    Rural areas have less happy news. Half of North Carolina’s 50 counties lost population over the decade, mostly in the eastern part of the state. Tyrell, Hyde and Northampton have each lost 20% or more of their residents since 2010. There has even been talk of combining several of those shrinking counties into one larger one. Jim Johnson, a demographer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says deaths exceeded births in 23 Tar Heel counties. Our neighbor, Bladen County, lost nearly 10% of its people over the same period. Our metro gains and rural losses mirror what is happening in many other states and are worrisome for all.

    On balance, the 2020 census looks like good news for North Carolina. Our state is now the 9th largest in the union, just behind Georgia and ahead of Michigan. Our gain of another Congressional seat — we will have 14 in the next redistricting cycle — means we will have more clout in Congress and in the Electoral College. And our size, thriving economy, educational, cultural and natural resources paint a portrait of a state not without problems but also poised for a successful, even thriving, decade ahead.


  • 14 rockn logo jpegThe next Rock’n On The River concert on Sept. 17 will feature Cool Heat and Bad, Inc. at Campbellton Landing (1122 Person St. behind Deep Creek Grill). The concert is free, but parking costs $5 per person. Parking begins at 5 p.m. and the music begins at 6 p.m.

    Cool Heat is a variety cover band playing rhythm and blues, soul, funk, beach and classics from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Members grew up listening to R & B which is prevalent in their music.

    Donnie Egan, a member of Cool Heat, says, “Old school music is the greatest era of music, and we love to keep old school going.”

    The local area band includes: Chris Imber on lead guitar; Richard Warren on percussion and trumpet; Allen Jones on bass and vocals; lead singer Ron Warren on keyboards; and Egan on drums.

    Bad, Inc. is known as the ultimate Bad Company tribute band. Based in Raleigh and composed of some of the state's most accomplished musicians, Bad, Inc. is a national touring act, wowing audiences up and down the east coast with their recreation of one of the most iconic British supergroups.

    The group is lead by Neil Wells on vocals, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Bad Company front man Paul Rodgers, both in sound and looks. For decades, Wells has been a successful lead singer with a passion for paying tribute to one of his singing idols.

    Members of Bad, Inc. — Kevin Segrist, Amy Hall, Jack Getz, LP Hitzigrath and Wells — have won musical awards, including "Best Tribute Band," and have performed on television.

    The band has opened for Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson, Scotty McCreery and Mother's Finest. The band has also played such prestigious venues as House of Blues, The Fillmore, Rams Head, Jannus Live, as well as festivals, weddings, private parties, and casinos from New York to Florida. For more information on the band visit their band at https://badincnc.com/.

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

    Guests should bring chairs for lawn seating. Pets, coolers and outside food are prohibited at the event. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Healy Wholesale and Deep Creek Grill.

    The event is first come first serve, as the venue can only host 1200 to 1400 people. For more information, visit the Rock’n On The River’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rockn-On-The-River-271048666818630/

  • 10 Red Cross Emergency KitThe American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina urges everyone to plan for emergencies by making preparedness a priority this September during National Preparedness Month. We have recently seen emergencies impacting people who don’t usually experience a major disaster or extreme weather, while other communities are going through the devastation of disasters multiple times a year.

    “Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime. We urge people to prepare now and be ready if an emergency occurs in their home or in our local community,” said Barry Porter, Regional CEO, American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina Region. “Helping people during disasters is at the heart of our mission. Help keep your loved ones safe — get Red Cross Ready today.”

    Help keep your family safe by taking three actions to 1) Get a Kit. 2) Make a Plan. 3) Be Informed.

    First, build your emergency kit with a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.

    Next, plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans. Don’t forget to include your pets. Know in advance which pet-friendly hotels are in your area, and where your pets can stay in an emergency situation.

    Finally, plan to stay informed by finding out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.

    Depending on your household’s needs, there might be additional considerations to take into account as part of your emergency planning. For example, older adults or people with mobility, hearing, learning or seeing disabilities may need to create a support network of people that can help during an emergency.The Red Cross recommends creating a plan that considers each person’s capabilities, any help they may need and who can provide it. This is especially important if evacuations are called for or if the power goes out for several days.

    Disasters can be scary for children. It’s important to talk with your kids about preparing for common emergencies, how to stay safe and what to expect before a disaster happens. The Red Cross has free programs and tools to help, visit redcross.org/youthprep for more information.

    National Preparedness Month is also a good time to take steps to help your community get prepared for emergencies of all sizes. By volunteering, donating blood or learning lifesaving skills, you can be ready to help your loved ones and neighbors when needed. Visit redcross.org to learn more.

    Red Cross volunteers play several critical roles in their local communities, including providing aid after disasters and educating people about home fire safety. People can also support local military members, veterans and their families, or volunteer as a blood donor ambassador or a blood transportation specialist to be the critical link between blood donors and recipients.

    Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps to save lives in an emergency. To help prepare your community, make an appointment to donate blood or platelets and help save lives.

    Learn lifesaving skills so you can help people in a crisis until medical professionals arrive. Sign up for a first aid, CPR or other classes available online or in-person.

    Pictured: Learn what to pack in an emergency kit at https://rdcrss.org/3tolVEv (Photo courtesy American Red Cross)

  • 09 cleanupOn Sept. 18, community cleanups will take place in Fayetteville, Hope Mills, Spring Lake and unincorporated areas of Cumberland County. The goal is to combat health, environmental and economic harm caused by litter.

    At the Fayetteville Beautiful cleanup, volunteers will be given free t-shirts and other giveaways. You can choose to clean around your school, street, church or other faith organization, or right in front of your home. Cleanup teams can enter a photo contest for a chance to win milkshakes for every team member, donated by Duck Donuts.

    Fayetteville Beautiful is organized by the city of Fayetteville and the nonprofit Sustainable Sandhills. It is a bi-annual city-wide cleanup, held to raise awareness about litter prevention and help residents take pride in their city and neighborhoods. In Fayetteville, litter has been measured at a 14-year high, and litter crews pick up more than two tons of litter each week.

    Litter is not only harmful to wildlife, but it is costly for businesses and city litter crews to clean up. It can also lower property values by around 7%. Wind and rain can also wash litter into and pollute waterways such as the Cape Fear River, which is a source for drinking water.

    On Sept. 18, Fayetteville Beautiful volunteer team leaders can pick up supplies in front of Segra Stadium between 8 and 10 a.m., and then join their team to clean up the area they are registered for. Volunteer registration and more details are available at fayettevillebeautiful.com. All cleanup supplies will be provided.

    Fayetteville City Council Member Yvonne Kinston is one of the event organizers. “Sign up online now to participate in this wonderful event,” Kinston said. “Clean up with friends and relatives or do this yourself to show that you care about the place we call home. The big win is that we’re helping ourselves, our futures and the earth. I challenge you to show up in a big way.”

    "We want to go beyond cleaning up litter, and also convince people not to litter in the first place," says Jonelle Kimbrough, executive director of Sustainable Sandhills.

    Kimbrough hopes that large community cleanups like Fayetteville Beautiful can help bring awareness to the problem and reach people with the message to not litter.

    "Reducing disposables is also part of the solution," says Kimbrough. "That's why it's so important to use reusable water bottles, coffee cups, and grocery bags."

    Fayetteville Beautiful partners include Duck Donuts, Beasley Media, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, the Rotary Club of Fayetteville, 4imprint, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Dunkin' Donuts, Biscuitville, Starbucks, Lidl and Navy Federal.

    Pictured above: Volunteer registration and details on how to sign up for the Sept. 18 cleanup event in Cumberland County are available at fayettevillebeautiful.com. (Photo of previous cleanup courtesy Sustainable Sandhills)

  • 01 Jackie Warner Hope Mills MayorThe following editorial is written for those who love living and working in Hope Mills. It reiterates the age-old adages "seeing is believing" and "believe in what you can see and not what you hear." The Town of Hope Mills is a model community in our state, and there are many good reasons for this. History has dictated that Marxists, Socialists, fascists and communists all object adamantly to the Free Press (newspapers), media in general and free speech concepts. The first thing one must determine if objecting to this editorial is which category do they fall into. Dissenting opinions are encouraged and welcomed — but only if the writer takes ownership of it. We do not acknowledge anonymous comments or points of view. We'll leave that to the unsavory Facebook trolls. Thank you and enjoy. — The Publisher

    Hope Mills' progress reflects the dedication and leadership of Mayor Jackie Warner.

    Being Mayor of Hope Mills is a full-time job and Jackie Warner will say it has been a blessing and the highlight of her career. Serving the residents of the Hope Mills community is a passion, honor and privilege and watching her hometown grow and prosper is anything but work for this dedicated public servant.

    Being Mayor of a thriving and growing community like Hope Mills is much more than showing up for public functions, networking and ribbon cuttings. It takes heartfelt dedication, organization, planning, forethought and teamwork to protect the interests of 17,000 residents. Warner is the catalyst for why Hope Mills is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in North Carolina.

    It takes hard work and full-time dedication to keep up with the ever-changing laws and regulations that impact residents. Many of these things take place behind the scenes outside Hope Mills proper and the general public's view. Warner's decade of involvement and leadership in organizations like the Mayor's Coalition has saved Hope Mills over one million dollars yearly after negotiating the Sales Tax Distribution agreement. More importantly, her leadership and Mayor Cliff Turpin of Falcon have all Cumberland County municipalities working together in solidarity and cooperation.

    Another example of the Mayor's investment in countless hours of study that benefited Hope Mills is her involvement in the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. She is also chairman of the Transportation Policy Board. Hope Mills benefited from the Multimodal Congestion Plan and governmental grants for community sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks. A joint resolution was signed by the Hope Mills Board and Fayetteville City Council to change the designation of Highway 59 to Main Street (Hope Mills Road), moving trucks and other commercial vehicles going from Raeford Road to Highway 162 as a by-pass. The new configuration of the Highway 59 bridge completion came sooner than expected, along with better access on and off-ramps to Business 95. Warner is a participant with state and national DOT's which have designed and planned significant road improvements in and around Hope Mills — two I-295 interchanges that will assist in alleviating traffic congestion.

    These are only a few of Mayor Jackie Warner's tireless but essential tasks in a working day. I could go on if I wanted to mention her involvement with:

    *Mid Carolina Area Agency Advisory Council as a Senior Tarheel Alternate Delegate that works to establish and advocate "Legislative Priorities" for seniors with the NC General

    *National League of Cities — Community and Economic Development Committee with discussions related to economic development and recovery after COVID

    *American Rescue Plan Act virtual meetings with Congressional representatives and Cumberland County Commissioners and Legislators. Warner appointed a Hope Mills Tier I Committee seeking funding for the town's most vulnerable populations, including seniors, veterans, youth and special needs residents. She spearheaded developing partnerships that will benefit the community like FTCC, YMCA, Cumberland County Schools, Cumberland County Commissioners, Advocacy Groups and the Department of Commerce, to name a few.

    Warner also serves on the Gateway Study Committee, Fayetteville Cumberland Economic Development Corporation, promotes arts and culture in Hope Mills by advocating and grant writing and working with the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Arts Council. Warner established the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council in 2015 with membership from Grays Creek, Jack Britt and Southview High Schools and received State Youth Council Charter in 2021.

    She actively supports our veterans and Hometown Heroes by working with the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitor's Bureau to support the Heroes Homecoming annual event. As a small business owner, she advocates for business and is involved with the Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce.

    As a wife, mother of two, grandmother of five, a former teacher and principal, Warner has made a heartfelt commitment to make Hope Mills a better town and community for future generations.

    The ever-improving environment, image and reputation of this former "sleepy" little town have the indelible fingerprints of Jackie Warner's relentless public service. The citizens of Hope Mills are the beneficiaries of Warner's outstanding leadership. She is a doer! Honesty, integrity and work ethic is her trifecta for success. Jackie Warner is an authentic "public servant," and Hope Mills is a better, safer and more prosperous community because of her.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    Pictured above: Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner

  • 13 USE in AD 014RS Live 08 8x12cAfter the 2020 COVID hiatus, venues around Fayetteville and Cumberland County have begun to rebound and the 2021 season of music and entertainment is off to a promising start.

    Last week, The Isley Brothers kicked off the 86th season of Community Concerts. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performers delivered a stellar show and set the tone for the rest of the season.

    “The goal of the Community Concerts program is to bring quality entertainment to the more than 400,000 residents of Cumberland County and neighboring counties of the Cape Fear Region,” said Bill Kirby Jr., the president of Community Concerts of Fayetteville.

    Jim Grafstrom, the general manager of the Crown Complex, calls the Community Concerts line-up a “great season.”

    Next up is Rick Springfield on Oct. 2 at the Crown Theatre.

    As a Grammy Award-winning songwriter, musician, actor and best-selling author, Springfield is a man of many talents. For many, he is the image of the 1980s rockstar. He has sold 25 million albums and scored 17 U.S. Top 40 hits including “Jessie’s Girl,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “An Affair of the Heart,” "I've Done Everything for You,” “Love Somebody,” and “Human Touch.”

    As an actor, Springfield has an impressive list of credits. Although he had several guest spots on American TV in the 1970s, Springfield’s acting career gained momentum in 1981 when he became Dr. Noah Drake on daytime television’s “General Hospital,” a role he has revisited over the years, much to the delight of fans of the show. More recently, his credits include starring opposite Meryl Streep in “Ricki and the Flash,” a performance as Dr. Pitlor in the HBO drama “True Detective,” a portrayal of Lucifer on the CW hit “Supernatural” and as Pastor Charles on “American Horror Story.”

    As if making music and performing for more than five decades isn’t enough, Springfield is also a New York Times best-selling author, and collaborates with his friend and fellow rocker Sammy Hagar in the rum business with Beach Bar Rum.
    Springfield is sure to deliver a high-energy show. The show starts at 7 p.m. The opening act for the Rick Springfield concert is Fayetteville-based band Rivermist.

    “Not every concert has an opening act, but Rivermist is a local group with talented musicians,” Kirby said. “We could not be more pleased that they will be a part of the Rick Springfield concert. It’s an added bonus for the concert.”

    Rivermist’s Greg Adair said the band is looking forward to the experience. “It will be our first time playing in the Crown Theatre,” Adair said. “It’s on our bucket list.”

    Fans of Rivermist know they do a good job on a few Springfield covers, but “it’s hard to find a local band that doesn’t play ‘Jessie’s Girl,’” Adair said.

    “I’ve always been a fan,” he said, adding that he saw Springfield in concert a few years ago in Raleigh.

    “We are looking forward to opening for him and his band,” Adair said. “We have eight songs in 35 minutes, we hope to make the whole show better.”

    Rivermist includes Adair, Doug Bass, Cliff Bender, Tony Harrison and Allen Pier.

    Tickets for Rick Springfield range from $40 to $100 and can be purchased on www.crowncomplexnc.com. Face coverings for staff and guests are required in the Crown Theatre.

    After the Rick Springfield show, Community Concerts will welcome Straight No Chaser on Nov. 4. Styx will perform on April 23, 2022. “Jersey Boys” is scheduled for April 28, 2022.

    The final show of the season will be the Oak Ridge Boys on May 13, 2022, a show rescheduled from last season.

    “The Oak Ridge Boys is the only repeat performance from the previous season, and we are grateful these musicians kept their promise to perform,” said Kirby.

    With such a variety of accomplished performers lined up for the 86th season, Kirby said he is pleased and grateful for all those who worked to make the season a reality.

    “I have to give credit to Cape Fear Valley Health and City View magazine as our new Master of Ceremonies lead sponsors,” Kirby said. “This 86th season likely would not have come to fruition without support from Mike Nagowski, chief

    executive officer of CFVH, and Tony Chavonne, our former city mayor and publisher of City View.”

    Kirby also thanked The Arts Council, the Riddle family, and the support of community leaders like Ralph and Linda Huff, Lonnie Player, Dr. Dave Dickerhoff, Dr. Gary Jones and many others.

    Kirby said the board of Community Concerts dedicates the 86th season to the late Tony Ragan, the Crown Complex production director, who died in April.

    “This difficult season took more than a village,” Kirby said, “This difficult season took a community.”

    2021-2022 Season
    Community Concerts will welcome Straight No Chaser on Nov. 4. The a cappella group makes music through the captivating sound of nine human voices, with a sense of humor. The group has sold more than 1.6 million albums and has made numerous national TV appearances. The audience can expect to enjoy a pitch perfect night of hits and Christmas favorites from the group that has become an a cappella world-wide sensation.

    Styx will perform on April 23, 2022. The American rock band from Chicago became famous for its albums released in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are best known for melding hard rock guitar balanced with acoustic guitar, synthesizers mixed with acoustic piano, upbeat tracks with power ballads, and incorporating elements of international musical theatre.

    The band established itself with a progressive rock sound in the 1970s, and began to incorporate pop rock and soft rock elements in the 1980s. Styx is best known for the hit songs “Lady,” “Come Sail Away,” “Babe,” “The Best of Times,” “Too Much Time on My Hands,” “Mr. Roboto” and “Don’t Let It End.”

    Styx has had 16 Top 40 singles in the U.S., eight of which hit the Top 10.

    “Jersey Boys” is scheduled for April 28, 2022. The Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical is directed by Des McAnuff. “Jersey Boys” is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.

    The musical is the behind-the-music story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard and the radio just couldn’t get enough of them. While their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story — a story that has made them an international sensation all over again.
    The show features all their hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.”

    The Oak Ridge Boys will perform on May 13, 2022. The group has one of the most distinctive sounds in the music industry. The four-part harmonies and upbeat songs have created dozens of country hits and a #1 pop smash. The group has earned Grammy, Dove, CMA and ACM awards and garnered a host of other industry and fan accolades.

    Their string of hits includes the pop chart-topper “Elvira,” as well as “Bobbie Sue,” “Thank God For Kids,” “American Made,” “I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes,” “Fancy Free,” “Gonna Take A Lot Of River,” and many others.
    The group has had more than a dozen national number one singles and more than 30 Top Ten hits. Having sold over 41 million albums, the Oak Ridge Boys were also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015, inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

    The Oak Ridge Boys have earned 5 Grammy Awards, 2 AMA Awards, 4 ACM Awards, 4 CMA Awards, 11 Dove Awards, 5 Billboard Awards, 8 Cashbox Awards, and many others.

  • 12 N1807P38007HMost of us can probably remember our first trip to the fair. Holding tightly to mom or dad's hand as the exciting sights and sounds swirled around us.

    Teenagers darted around the midway as carnival barkers beckoned them closer and food vendors offered meals and treats of every kind.

    I love to visit the place the fair holds in my memory. It's full of music and family and sweet aromas that remind me of a time when life was simpler.

    Now that I'm a father and a grandfather, I realize the fair is far more than the things that excited me as a kid.

    It's a celebration of farmers and artists, an opportunity to compete and recognize the accomplishments of our friends and neighbors, and even to
    reward those we all agree was the most impressive of all with a cherished blue ribbon.

    And most of all – above the nostalgia, the competition and the celebrations – the fair is about community.

    The Cumberland County Fair is only one of dozens of gatherings which went unmet in 2020. From concerts to holidays, church to business meetings, we were encouraged by those we put our collective trust in to stand a little further apart and, indoors or out, to keep our groups a little smaller.

    That's only part of what makes the return of the County Fair on September 3rd something worth celebrating.

    From Sept. 3-12 the grounds and buildings that comprise the Crown Coliseum Complex will turn into an exciting emporium of fun.

    You may be wondering “In a world filled with iPhones, X-Box, Facebook and Netflix, does a county fair still matter?”

    It does. Maybe now more than ever. Not for the games. Not for the rides, not for the exhibits or the pig races. But for community.

    If we've learned nothing else in the past 18 months, we've learned how important we are to one another.

    Leveling the ground around us and knocking down the walls between us is as important as it's ever been, and while it may be unfair to hang that much expectation on a County Fair, it's a great place to start.

    When we come together to celebrate the same things, we can begin to erase the things that keep us apart.

    And as we get close enough to smile and laugh together, we'll quickly find ourselves on the road to healing. As individuals, as families, as neighbors and as a community.

  • 11 Picture1The 4th Annual Lumbee Film Festival returns with 18 new films directed by indigenous filmmakers screening over two days at the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub on Main Street in Pembroke. This year’s festival is scheduled for Sept. 17-18 and is presented by the North Carolina Museum of Art and includes live music, film, food and fellowship.

    “Each year the Lumbee Film Festival gets better and better,” said festival Founding Director Kim Pevia. “I am so excited about this year's line-up of short and feature films. Some are traditional and some have us thinking out of the box. Some are local and some are far away. Just like in real life. Something for everyone. Come join us. You will be glad you did."

    The festival witl begin with an outdoor screening of “RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” an electrifying look at the Native American influence in popular music despite attempts to ban, censor and erase Indian culture.

    The film reveals how early pioneers of the blues and jazz had Native American roots, and how artists like North Carolina’s own Link Wray helped to define its evolution and forever changed the trajectory of rock 'n' roll.

    Before the film, Robeson county native and Lumbee Tribe member Charly Lowry will perform a mix of her songs. Lowry appears in “RUMBLE” along with mentor Pura Fé and many other well-known Lumbee musicians. Lowry first gained international recognition as a semi-finalist on “American Idol” in 2004, but has since built a following for her energetic and captivating performances. She is also active as an advocate for Native rights and women’s rights.

    The festival is organized through a partnership between the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and the Cucalorus Film Foundation with the goal of showcasing films made by American Indians while raising awareness about the legacy of indigenous artists. The festival creates a platform for emerging Native artists, especially those working in the Southeastern United States.

    Three shorts blocks will screen at the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub on Sept. 18 at 2 p.m. with the “The Sun Shines, The Water Flows” shorts block which includes films by Lumbee youth like “Climate Change” made through the Unlocking Silent Histories project as well as films from the Wapikoni Mobile collective from Canada who use media to raise awareness about Indigenous cultures, issues and rights.

    The “Roots Run Deep” shorts block starts at 3:30 p.m. and includes the poetic and observational documentary “Concrete 49” by LFF Alum Justin Deegan. The short is a subtle and effective examination of the lives of indigenous people living in New York City. The “All My Relations” shorts block brings together five dramatic works to close out the afternoon’s survey of short form indigenous cinema.

    A special screening of “The Trancscenders,” a feature film by Montana Cypress (Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida) will be screened immediately following an awards ceremony at 8 p.m. on Sept.18 at the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub. The film follows the struggles of two brothers who find a remedy that promises to “transform their primitive behavior” as they transition from life in the city which differs greatly from their upbringing on the reservation.

    For tickets, passes and the full festival schedule visit www.cucalorus.org/lumbee-film-festival/.

  • 10 familyAs summer winds down and the kids head back to school, many families start thinking about the fall … cooler weather, football games and, of course, the Cumberland County Fair!

    The Cumberland County Fair has been a constant in the lives of many families in Cumberland County for several generations. Held at the Crown Coliseum Complex, this year’s theme is “Agriculture, Food and Rides! Oh My!” While many people visit the fair for the rides and the yummy fair food, it’s important to note that the Cumberland County Fair is rooted in the agricultural heritage of Cumberland County.

    That being said, one of the big draws to the fair annually, is the agricultural competitions that see kids of all ages vying for Blue Ribbons and accolades. According to organizers of the fair, there will be livestock shows and exhibits every day. If it’s been a while since you were in FFA (Future Farmers of America for those of you not in the know) or FHA (Future Home Makers of America), it’s not too late to pull your old blue corduroy jacket out of the closet or pull out your favorite recipe for pickles of jams and join in the fun.

    Of course, the fair is more than that. There are fun events like the interactive petting farm. Some of these animals are cute and cuddly and some are slippery and slimy. If you like to live dangerously, you can also check out the toddler driving school, which, if done correctly, could morph into a demolition derby! If that isn’t something that gets you excited, let’s be honest: Who doesn’t want to see the mayhem created by toddlers driving while hyped up on cotton candy?

    If toddlers crashing around isn’t your idea of fun — there is still more. Cumberland County citizens of all ages submit various works of art for the annual arts and crafts show. Beautiful baskets, paintings and pottery are just some of the works of arts you will see on display - and yes, the artist can win a ribbon! If you have a talent you would like to share, it is not too late to enter it into the show.

    The Cumberland County Fair is also known for great music, and this year promises to entertain. Music is on tap throughout the fair’s run, and includes a variety of musical genres.

    Reflections II band is a Fayetteville-based band that plays a variety of music that leaves their fans asking for more. Playing mostly cover tunes, one of the band’s fans noted, “Great guys … awesome talent, great set list. Top shelf entertainment.” You might want to do what one fan suggested — get on your dancing shoes and boogy on down at the fair.

    •The Throwback Collaboration Band plays the best of rhythm and blues, dance and old school music.

    •If you are a little bit country, the Steel County Express has something for you. The band plays modern country and some rock and roll.

    Rivermist, also a Fayetteville-based band, started its musical journey in 2014. Rivermist is a variety, party band that plays a little something for everyone. They have a great local following and a number of kudos such as several Up & Coming Weekly Best of Fayetteville awards.

    Another kind of talent will be on display at the Fair, and it includes some of the most beautiful people in the county. The Cumberland County Fair Pageant is Sept. 4. There are 10 pageant categories for contestants from birth to ages 20 and up.

    Of course, we saved the best for last: Rides, lots and lots of rides! Bumper cars, ferris wheels, scramblers, etc. Anything that spins, turns, goes upside down and back up again will on be center stage at the fair. so, grab your sweetie and lock into the ferris wheel and check out the view from the top — or get on a rollercoaster, and let your stomach drop.

    With all of the amazing things to do, you won’t want to miss it! So, review the schedule with daily specials listed below.

    Admission is $8 per person (adults and children ages 3 and up). Single ride tickets are $1.25; unlimited ride wristbands are $25. Residents can purchase tickets in advance at CapeFearTix.com, Fort Bragg Leisure Travel Services and in person at the Crown Complex Box Office. The fair schedule and special ticket prices are listed below:

    Sept. 3: Gates open at 5 p.m. Free admission for healthcare professionals. Children ages 3 - 12 get in for $5. Admission is $8 for all other individuals ages 13 and older.

    Sept. 4: Gates open at 1 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and children 3 years of age and older.

    Sept. 5: Gates open at 1 p.m. Day of Giving. Free admission with six non-perishable food items. One free ticket for every six items donated. Admission is $8 for adults and children 3 years of age and older.

    Sept. 6: Gates open at 1 p.m. Pay One Price Night $15 admission and rides are unlimited.

    Sept. 7- 9: Gates open at 5 p.m. Pay One Price Night $15 admission and rides are unlimited.

    Sept. 10: Gates open at 5 p.m. Free admission for school personnel with valid ID. Admission is $8 for all other individuals ages 13 and older.

    Sept. 11: Gates open at 1 p.m. Free admission for military and first responders with valid ID. Admission is $8 for all other individuals ages 13 and older.

    Sept. 12: Gates open at 1 p.m. Admission is $8 for all individuals ages 13 and older

    For all indoor events at the fair, masks must be worn.

    For more information about the Cumberland County Fair, including entertainment and exhibits, go to cumberlandcountyfair.org.

  • 09 DSC 0593Each September, The Lafayette Society and the City of Fayetteville celebrate the birthday of the Marquis de Lafayette, the city’s namesake. This year, focus will be on the popular French music concert and a ribbon-cutting and dedication of the new Lafayette Plaza East.

    The Lafayette Society’s Hank Parfitt said the annual celebration promotes the significance of Lafayette’s contributions to Fayetteville while educating and entertaining the public through music and the arts. The events are made possible mostly by the efforts of volunteers.

    “I am proud of our board, as well as our general membership, for their time, energy and enduring support of our mission as a civic as well as an historical organization,” Parfitt said.
    On Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Dr. Gail Morfesis and Friends will present “L’ensemble de la Famille: Musical Families and their Historical Significance” at Hay Street United Methodist Church in downtown Fayetteville.

    Morfesis has been organizing and performing in concerts as part of Lafayette celebrations since 2014. She organized this year’s concert with a grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts Council awarded to help promote music in the community.

    “The concert is basically performed in French,” she said, “we try to educate the audience about Lafayette and French musical traditions.” There will be translations and notes in the program.

    This year, Morfesis wanted to recall an era before electronic devices to highlight the tradition of families entertaining themselves with music — singing and playing instruments and “making music in
    their homes.”

    “I want to point out that during COVID, because families were at home together, we saw a resurgence of a tradition — families creating and entertaining themselves with music” Morfesis said.

    The concert will showcase the talents of professional musical artists from eastern North Carolina and will include married couples, a father-daughter duo, and two groups who are “just like family.”

    This lively, fast-paced concert will appeal to a broad audience, Morfesis said. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased at City Center Gallery & Books on Hay Street or online at www.lafayettesociety.org/events. CDC precautions will be observed with safe distancing in the sanctuary but attendees are asked to wear masks.

    On Sept. 12 at 2 p.m., the Lafayette Society will be joined by the Mayor and members of the City Council and County Board of Commissioners to dedicate the new Lafayette Plaza East. The existing brick plaza and stage with seating walls on the west side of the Lafayette statue was funded by the Society and dedicated in 2013.

    This past year, the Society’s Park and Statue Committee worked with the City to develop a performing stage on the east side of the statue with new landscaping. This created an outdoor amphitheater downtown suitable for concerts and other performances. It also made the entire park more attractive as a place for recreation and gathering.

    The Camp Flintlock Fife and Drum will be there to help Mayor Mitch Colvin, Commissioner Glenn Adams, and District 2 Councilwoman Shakeyla Ingram with the ribbon cutting. Lafayette himself will also make an appearance, thanks to re-enactor Stanley Seay.

    Pictured above: City officials will help The Lafayette Society dedicate the new Lafayette Plaza East on Sept. 12. (Photo by Dylan Hooker). The music concert will be Sept. 9 at Hay Street United Methodist Church.

  • 08 PONDEROSA2Residents of the new Ponderosa community off Bonanza Drive and city leaders were on hand for a neighborhood ribbon-cutting last month.

    Residents, officials of the city’s Economic and Community Development Department and Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation worked to refurbish the community entryway. The program fosters neighborhood pride in moderate income communities by providing funding for erection of neighborhood signs, landscaping and placemaking.

    The objective is to create quality neighborhoods. Residents interested in learning more about the Neighborhood Beautification Program should contact the Economic and Community Development Department at 910-433-1590. Additional information: www.fayettevillenc.gov/city-services/economic-community-development/neighborhood-resources.

  • 06 MilitaryGravesHC1405 sourceThe attack last week at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, claimed the lives of 13 service members including 11 Marines, a Navy corpsman and an Army soldier assigned to a unit from Fort Bragg.

    Several Marines were wounded in the attack, said Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger. The attack was one of the deadliest of U.S. forces in the 20-year history of the war in Afghanistan.

    “Freedom comes at a cost,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said while visiting Camp Lejeune, N.C. “I think the best that we can do from where we sit here in North Carolina is send them our prayers,” Berger added. “These fallen heroes answered the call to go into harm’s way to do the honorable work of helping others. We are proud of their service and deeply saddened by their loss.”

    There were more than 2,000 Marines in Kabul, Afghanistan. They had been rushed to the airport to aid in the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghans attempting to flee the country. They mostly came from the Central Command’s 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force.

  • 05 SSG Ryan KnaussStaff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, a soldier assigned to Fort Bragg’s 9th Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) died as a result of wounds sustained from an attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, where he was supporting non-combatant evacuation operations Aug. 26 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    “We share in the tremendous grief over the loss of Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, and we stand in support of his wife and entire family during this tragic time,” said Col. Jeremy Mushtare, commander of 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne). “Ryan was the embodiment of an Army Special Operations Forces soldier, a testament to the professionalism of the non-commissioned officer corps, and a steadfast husband and teammate. His loss is devastating to our formation and Army family.”

    Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tenn., joined the Army in May 2016. Following Initial Entry Training and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., Knauss was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2017 as an infantryman. Upon returning home he attended and completed the Psychological Operations Assessment and Selection Course and the Psychological Operations Qualification Course. Upon graduation, Knauss was assigned to 9th Battalion, 8th POG (Airborne).

    Staff Sgt. Knauss’s military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, Basic Leader Course, Advanced Leader Course, Psychological Operations Assessment and Selection Course, Psychological Operations Qualification Course, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course (Level C).

    His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Action Badge, and the Army Basic Parachutist Badge.

    U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), Fort Bragg's Congressman, released a statement Saturday that read "Renee and I join our country in praying for the family of Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, including his wife in Pinebluff and his extended family in Tennessee and Florida. His loss is felt by our entire Fort Bragg community and our nation will never forget his sacrifice, as well as that of all of our fallen service members. They put their lives on the line to save our fellow citizens and allies in harm's way. They are heroes."

    Pictured: Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss (Photo courtesy 1st Special Forces Command)

  • 04 IMG 8290Jack once said: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” t is possible that Jack came up with his admonition about the proper use of a club after hearing the nursery rhyme about Little Bunny Foo Foo. If you haven’t read “Call of the Wild” in the last 40 years, read it again. Excellent book filled with Alaskan gold rushers, city slickers falling into crevasses, mean dogs and wolves. Discover what Buck the Dog has been doing since 8th grade. Rumor has it that in the most recent edition Buck set sail on the Pequod with Ismael to chase Moby Dick. Maybe this time the whale will lose. Captain Ahab might win with the help of Buck.

    Now to refresh your recollection of Bunny Foo Foo. “Little Bunny Foo Foo/ Hopping through the forest/ Scooping up the field mice/ And bopping them on the head/ And down came the Good Fairy and said: / Little Bunny Foo Foo/ I don’t want to see you/ Scooping up the field mice/ And bopping them on the head/.” The Good Fairy then threatens to turn Bunny Foo Foo into a Goon. Undeterred, Bunny Foo Foo continues mice head-bopping behavior.

    What are we to make of this situation? A homicidal rabbit armed with Jack London’s club engaged in the serial killing of rodents. Why does the rabbit take this hideous action? What did the mice do to warrant such vengeance? Who appointed the Good Fairy as judge, jury and executioner of Ms. Foo? Why did generations of adults recite this murderous ode into the innocent ears of pre-school children? Ms. Foo gets her just comeuppance when she is transmogrified into a Goon. Given the choice between being a cute little homicidal bunny or a creepy goon, clearly the Good Fairy has imposed harsh punishment on Ms. Foo. This leads to the question of what is a Goon? Read on, MacDuff.

    Take Jack London’s club and head down another road less taken. Ride on Mr. Peabody’s Way Back Machine into the land of 1950’s cartoons. “Popeye” was the first cartoon character to take on the Goons. Attend to what Mr. Google has to say about Goons. Unsurprisingly, Goons live on an uncharted isle called Goon Island. The Goons originated on the moon but somehow came to Earth. The details of how they got here remain murky. Goons are tall, somewhat human in appearance, and have well developed chests like steroidal NFL players. Their arms and legs are quite thin. They have bald heads and fur covering their naughty bits. The Head Goon is a female named Alice who fought Popeye. Being a gentleman, Popeye stopped fighting her once he discovered Alice was female. It is lost in the mists of time whether Little Bunny Foo Foo and Alice the Goon are the same being.

    While pondering ancient cartoons let us consider a few more classics. The first cartoon I can recall was “Crusader Rabbit” and his pal, Rags the Tiger. Crusader wore a suit of armor and fought Dudley Nightshade and his evil helper Bilious Green. If you can personally remember Crusader Rabbit, then you probably should not drive at night. Another classic cartoon was Tom Terrific who appeared on the “Captain Kangaroo” show. Tom wore a funnel hat on his head. His faithful but dumb companion was Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog. The animation was primitive but Tom made up for it by fighting Crabby Appleton and singing a really fine theme song. “I’m Tom Terrific/ Greatest hero ever/ Terrific is the name for me/ Because I’m so clever/ … When there is trouble/ I’m there on the double/ From Atlantic to Pacific they know Tom Terrific/” This ear worm song will stick in the head of someone out there. You can thank me later.

    “Winky Dink” was an interactive cartoon. You sent off for a piece of plastic to stick to the TV screen and some magic crayons to write on it. When Mr. Dink came to a place he needed a ladder, you drew the ladder on the screen and he would climb up your ladder. Many kids got into trouble by drawing directly on the TV without the plastic cover. I deny doing this.

    Undoubtably, the creepiest cartoon of that period was “Clutch Cargo,” his boy side kick Spinner, and his dachshund Paddlefoot. Clutch was a pilot who fought a lot of pirates. The weird thing about Clutch was the cheapness of the animation. Most of the time the background didn’t move. When Clutch and the other characters talked, the animators just inserted real human mouths into the face of the characters. The moving lips in frozen faces was disturbing but not in a good way. Even Paddlefoot the dog had a human mouth.

    So, what have we learned today? Sadly, almost nothing. All this blot on world literature has produced is the regret of having wasted a few moments of your lives reliving useless information from decades ago.

    However, if you can now recite the “Ballad of Bunny Foo Foo” or sing the “Tom Terrific” song to irritate your significant other, then perhaps it is not a total loss. Blame Jack London. Or you can blame it on the Bossa Nova. Just don’t put the blame on Mame.


  • 01 USMA DVIDSI spent 33 years in Special Operations as both an active duty soldier and civil servant. My son also served in Special Operations and did five tours between Iraq and Afghanistan. I have been trying to follow the chaos and the situation changing hour by hour in Afghanistan. Folks, as of the writing, it is not good lucking for anyone. Therefore, Americans are angry, perplexed and confused about how our President, Vice President, the intelligence apparatus, the State Department and military leaders have made so many miscalculations.

    A few years ago, on Veterans Day, I was at Buffalo Wild Wings. I looked over and saw a veteran and his friends. They were drinking, eating and laughing. As I looked at this man, his legs were gone, scars and burns were noticeable on his hands and face. At that moment, my heart was happy because this veteran was being the best he could be, having a good time and enjoying every moment he could.

    On September 18, 2001, President George W. Bush signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF. It states: "That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

    December 2009: President Barack Obama spoke about Afghanistan, "As we know, these men belonged to al Qaeda a group of extremists who have distorted and defiled Islam … After the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden — we sent our troops into Afghanistan."

    May 2, 2011: Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by the U.S. military.

    December 2018: To deliver on his longtime pledge to exit from "endless wars," President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon to withdraw about half of the 14,000 U.S. troops currently deployed to Afghanistan. In November 2020, President Trump ordered the Pentagon to accelerate a drawdown of U.S. troops to 2,500.

    April 14, 2021: U.S. President Joe Biden announces that all troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
    He accelerated his timeline to August 31.

    May 4, 2021: The Taliban launches its first major offensive on the Afghan military in Helmand and surrounding provinces.

    July 2, 2021: The U.S. quietly withdraws soldiers from Bagram Air Base, which was their main military base throughout the war.

    August 13, 2021: The Taliban took Kandahar, Afghanistan's second largest city.

    August 14, 2021: U.S. President Joe Biden puts out a statement confirming the deployment of approximately 5,000 U.S. troops to help with the evacuation from Afghanistan.

    August 15, 2021: Kabul is seized by the Taliban. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani leaves the country. The U.S. embassy is evacuated.

    As the images of Afghan people hanging onto airplanes flooded the news, Americans realized that something was still happening in Afghanistan. For Fort Bragg, Fayetteville and hundreds of
    thousands of military personnel and their families, the wars for the past 20 years have been part of their lives.

    For many Americans, the decision to pull out of Afghanistan was way overdue. For most, it was not the pulling out of Afghanistan that has the world baffled; it was the stupidity of it.

    After the killing of Bin Laden, many thought that the authority under the AUMF was complete. Still, every president has used it to continue to neutralize bad people around the globe to keep terrorist groups from growing and bringing their terror here.

    President Biden left an estimated 10,000 – 50,000 Americans in that country to fend for themselves and the embassy. Didn't he learn anything about Benghazi (he was V.P. at the time)?

    Somewhere in the military, some Specialist is getting an Article 15 for losing a pocket watch, and we left C-130s, A-29s attack aircraft, UH-60 Black Hawks, and other helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. We left thousands of armored vehicles, HMMWVs, MRAPs, night vision goggles, and yes, we left drones. The State Department left their helicopter, for crying out loud. It appears that the only published report of any guidance came from a Washington Post article which reported that a leaked memo to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul read "destroy items which could be misused in propaganda efforts, which included American flags."

    I heard the President's speech about how they did not think the Taliban could take Kabul so quickly, but it did come out that they knew it would happen within a month or more. To be honest, it is hard to put a date on something when it is evident that people are just trying to spin a bad decision. Or was it a bad decision? If you knew the Taliban were already on the move, then why would you leave all the goodies unless you intended to give the Taliban a modernized army and air force.

    They knew the Taliban was going to be in power. Those reports came out under Trump's administration. We watched the Taliban leaders do a press conference announcing their place on the world stage as the new government of Afghanistan. We knew some of them because President Barack Obama released five of those leaders because they were Taliban commanders from the Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for American deserter Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014. At the time, President Obama assured the public that the dangerous enemy combatants would be transferred to Qatar and kept from causing any trouble in Afghanistan. They didn't know that much of the Taliban was hanging out in Pakistan. It has been the back door the whole time we have been in Afghanistan. With all of the intelligence services we have out there, yet no one knew that there was an offensive coming?

    It has been tough to comprehend this mess. I know that a lot of military and their families are mad as hell. I know a lot of civil service people are mad as hell. I know the families of their fallen soldiers and the contractors who have died there are mad as hell. As of April this year, 2,448 American service members have been killed in Afghanistan, and an additional 3,846 U.S. contractors also lost their lives." That is a total of 6,294 lost. It is hard to find out how many U.S. personnel have been wounded in Afghanistan, but it appears to be over a million when you count the post-war physical and mental issues, and sadly, the suicides.

    We do not account for the hardships on the families. The lonely nights. The single parent who is trying to keep things together. The joys, difficulties and emotional roller coaster ride when they return from war. For the fallen, the nightmare of the parents, spouses and children cannot be measured. Nothing can fill that void.

    So how do we comprehend this? For everyone mad as hell, you have every right to be mad as hell. For all of those who have friends or family left behind over there, you have every right to be mad as hell.

    You may question. Why? What was this for? What about all of those precious years wasted? What about all the lives and destruction? You have every right to ask those questions.

    But I would like to remind you of a few things. It was not you that threw the first punch. You joined the military and did your job. For 20 years, Americans and other countries provided a generation of people freedom from a tyrannical regime. You gave little kids a chance to grow up. You gave some people a chance to see a better life. You have let them see a different way of life. You gave them medicine and healed their sick. They heard the music they would have never heard. They have read books they would have never seen. You will be in their minds for their lifetime, and you gave them a vision of a better life. That is a lot to be proud of!

    For those still in the military, continue whatever your orders are and do it well. The American people still need you. We are proud of your service, your sacrifices and for always being on guard for us.

    Although it is tempting to be mad as hell, try to focus on your well-being, enjoy your family, your friends and your freedom. Please do not let this be an excuse to mess up your life. Be the best you can be, have a good time and enjoy every moment you can. From all of us, to all of you: thank you again for all that you do every day, and may God keep watch over you.

    Pictured above: U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, provide assistance at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 21. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla)

  • 03 Ruth Bader Ginsburg official SCOTUS portrait croppedIn the days following her death, we have all been reminded of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legal legacy — championing of women’s rights in all areas of American life. By the time she arrived on the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993, she had already wiped more than 200 discriminatory laws — many gender-based — off the books, and she authored some of the most powerful dissenting opinions in American judicial history. She even wore a special collar on her robe when one of those dissents was coming.

    Very personally for millions of American women, we now hold credit cards in our own names only because Ginsburg sued to remove formerly mandatory names of husbands and fathers. Born during the Great Depression and living well into the 21st century, it is more than fair to say Ginsburg’s steadfast and brilliant legal work changed the lives of women and families across our nation. She was an intellectual prize fighter disguised in the body of a tiny woman.

    Historians will debate her legal legacy for generations, but it is important to understand that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a working wife and mother, and later grandmother, facing and knocking down the same challenges as other women of her generation. Even as a graduate of an Ivy League law school, she could not find work as an attorney because she had a young child. She was helped more than many of her contemporaries by a strong and supportive husband and enjoyed and happy 56-year marriage and remained close to her children and grandchildren until her death. In her later years, she unexpectedly became a pop icon, the notorious RBG, nicknamed after a rap singer, and she used her status to speak to generations of younger Americans.

    Pundits are writing about RBG nonstop in the days since her death, but the Justice herself spoke about her life and career. It cannot be said that she did not understand exactly what she was doing and why.

    On her career, Ginsburg made these observations.

    “Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

    “Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. They just zap energy and waste time.”

    “I don’t say women’s rights — I say the constitutional principle of the equal citizenship stature of men and women.”

    “I am sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough (women on the Supreme Court)? and my answer is ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked. But there have been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”

    “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she has to do her work to the very best of her ability.”

    On life in general and her life in particular, Ginsburg commented. “My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”

    “Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”

    “I remember envying the boys long before I even knew the word feminism, because I liked shop better than cooking or sewing.”

    “Every now and then it helps to be a little deaf. … That advice has stood me in good stead. Not simply in dealing with marriage, but in dealing with my colleagues.”

    “If you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it. I had a life partner who thought my work was as important as his, and I think that made all the difference for me.”

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her life, both public and private, making sure that “we, the people” includes all of us, men and women of all colors, backgrounds, and experiences.

    Hers was a life very well lived.


  • 08 Fay FirefightersThe Fayetteville Fire Department has been awarded a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The grant will fund all salary and benefit costs for 18 additional firefighters for three years, after which the city will be responsible for funding the employees. “We currently staff a minimum of three fire fighters on all fire engines and ladder trucks,” Fire Chief Mike Hill said. Five of the department’s 15 fire stations house single units — stations 2, 12, 16, 15 and 19. The new positions will be assigned to these stations so they will have a minimum of four firefighters on their respective engines. “This ensures that we provide a minimum of four firefighters on the initial arriving response force,” Hill said.

    “This is much safer for the firefighters and more efficient as they initiate critical tasking elements” prior to the arrival of additional engines. Hill told Up & Coming Weekly he hopes to have the new positions on board for training in December and available for assignment by July 2021.

  • Methodist University’s David McCune Art Gallery is showcasing the “Rembrandt: The Sign and the Light" exhibition through Nov. 18. The exhibition displays a series of 59 etchings by the well-known Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn and is a part of the gallery’s 10-year anniversary celebration.

    “One of the things that’s very attractive about this show is Rembrandt's way of storytelling,” Silvana Foti, Art Director and Curator of McCune Gallery said. “The way he captures human quality, almost seems like his subject matter was staged, they're extremely theatrical.”

    Rembrandt was a 17th-century Dutch artist who established himself as one of the greatest storytellers in art history through his ability to render people in his work. Rembrandt’s work is known to approach "real life" through theatrical transposition.

    Foti described the etchings to have a psychological emotional drama that's connected between the images when looking at them.

    The etchings on display offer a variety of subjects, including religious figures, scenes, portraits, figure studies and famous beggars from Rembrandt’s 35-year career. The name of the exhibit is derived from the technique used by Rembrandt in the etchings that are on display.

    “There will be some etchings that are very dark, and when you begin to examine them there will be sparks or light that will just illuminate,” Foti said. “A kind of technique used by Rembrandt known as Chiaroscuro, creating a strong contrast between light and dark.”

    Each visitor is provided with a magnifier to witness the details in Rembrandt's etchings.

    Most people think of Rembrandt as a painter and are surprised by his etchings that profoundly changed the course of art history, Foti said.

    “It would be an awful shame to not be able to see this exhibition in person, this is a once in a lifetime for many people,” she said.

    The David McCune Art Gallery is known to host two shows per year, a regional show and an international show. Shows are planned a year or two in advance. The different exhibits are selected based on things like familiarity with the artists' names, different time periods, different styles and likes, Foti said.

    "The Sign and the Light" exhibition is a part of the gallery’s 10-year anniversary celebration. The gallery has brought some well-renowned names like Picasso, Rodin and Chagall, among others, to exhibitions in the past.

    “I think we have been a pretty big gem here in Fayetteville, offering art not just to the university but community,” Foti said.

    The gallery has attracted many art lovers from across different states like New York, Georgia, Virginia and more who are surprised to see such shows come to a small university like Methodist University, she said.
    Senior graphic design major Tom Gore said that it was amazing for him to see these great pieces of art, right here at Methodist University, without having to travel to New York.

    “Methodist sets itself apart from other universities in many ways, but for a university to bring in master artist exhibits such as Picasso, Rodin, Chagall and Rembrandt year after year is just unheard of,” said Bradley Johnson, director of Marketing & Communications at Methodist University.

    He said he toured the exhibit with his wife last Friday, and there were visitors in the gallery from Nebraska.

    “With Methodist allowing in guests to see original, 17th-century works from Rembrandt at no charge, it is truly a gift to the Fayetteville community and beyond," Johnson said.

    The museum has attracted fewer visitors due to the pandemic. The ticketing and limitation rules in place may be the issue since people are usually more impromptu and didn’t have to commit to a time and date in the past, she said.

    Foti emphasized the importance of witnessing the exhibit in person and not just virtually to experience and understand the talent, details and technique of Rembrandt’s etchings.

    “The main thing is you’re going to be surprised by the etchings, the amount of detail and the way that Rembrandt has the ability to capture your human quality and the world around him,” Foti said.

    The exhibit is free to the public but with reserved days, times and face covering requirements due to COVID-19 restrictions. Visitors can go to https://davidmccunegallery.com to reserve a date and time and to access the free ticket.

    The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 4 p.m. The gallery will be closed Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.

    For more information about the gallery, exhibit and to access the free tickets, visit https://davidmccunegallery.com


    01 01 Aurie and Edward Parker of Wake Forest

    01 02 Debbie Stewart of Fayetteville








    Pictured: (Left) Aurie and Edward Parker of Wake Forest visit the Rembrandt exhibit at Methodist University's David McCune Art Gallery. (Right) Debbie Stewart of Fayetteville views an etching by Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn.


  • 04 Timmons Goodson headshotI owe a tremendous debt to the military. I am the proud daughter of a veteran, an Army 82nd Airborne Ranger, who was twice deployed to Vietnam. Early on in life, I learned the value of service and honor because I saw it up close in my father, who instilled those values in me. The military also became a support system that cared for my family after my father passed away and provided me with opportunities that changed the trajectory of my life. It’s because of this debt that I’ve dedicated my life to public service, giving back to my community here in Cumberland County, and why I’m running to represent North Carolina’s 8th Congressional district.

    It is not fair for our country to ask for the kind of sacrifices required of our service members and their families, and then fail to uphold our promises to them. Time and time again, our leaders in Washington have failed to deliver on their promise, but I will put our military community’s needs at the forefront of my agenda.

    The Veterans Affairs Department, an organization that my father depended on, currently has about 50,000 personnel vacancies. These staffing shortages make delivering quality, timely services to veterans more difficult during regular times, and has crippled the institution during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of late-September 2020, there were more than 3,000 active COVID-19 cases in the VA, with more than 3,300 deaths (including 56 employee deaths). It is absolutely unacceptable that the brave men and women who’ve risked their lives abroad are now dying at home because of failed leadership that’s kept their health care system understaffed and undersupplied.

    But it’s not enough to just care for our veterans and active duty service members. Growing up with a father who was twice deployed to Vietnam, and with a mother who served as the primary caregiver, I know that when a service member serves, their family serves with them. Far too often, I meet military families who are struggling with the stress and challenges of having an active duty service member while also juggling the challenges of work responsibilities and child care needs brought on by the pandemic. Military families from all over Cumberland County need leaders who understand their struggles.

    The voters of Cumberland County have my commitment that I will champion a well-staffed and well-funded Veterans Affairs department that: expands mental health services, addresses the alarming rates of suicide among our veterans, and receives COVID-19 funding that is specific to its needs. I will also always fight to make sure that our military families have access to high-quality healthcare, and that the educators of military children are well-equipped and well-trained to understand the unique experiences these children face.

    It doesn’t stop there. Our veterans and military families will need a partner in the White House that respects and honors them, someone that knows from personal experience what it means to have a member of your family be deployed. We need a Commander-in-Chief that recognizes the heroism of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, not one that calls them “losers” and “suckers.” Joe Biden is the right person for the job, for this moment.

    This year has been tough on everyone, but it’s been especially tough for the thousands of families in Cumberland County who have been left behind and disrespected by leaders who simply don’t care to understand their reality. I grew up right here in Cumberland County, and I know the struggles and the resilience of this community. It’s time to bring change to Washington, and for our county to be represented by leaders who keep their promises.

    Pat Timmons-Goodson is a former associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court and served on the United States Commission on Civil Rights. She is now running for Congress for North Carolina's 8th Congressional District.

    Pictured: Patricia Timmons-Goodson

  • 18 chopped firewoodI recently added a new table to the WCLN studios. Nothing fancy. It was crafted from rough and flawed pieces of walnut boards I picked up somewhere. I decided to leave many flaws untouched and even finish it with raw steel hairpin legs as a nod to my oldest son — an artist whose chosen media was metal, before passing not long ago. Seeing the table each day has caused to me think about what craftsmanship means to me in the first place.

    Like many people I know, my life is busy. My calendar would be full of gatherings of all shape and form if I dared to keep one. In fact, not acting surprised when I'm reminded of a birthday, anniversary, dance recital or social gathering I should have remembered is something I've developed into almost an art form. And as much as my wife and I are able to participate, we do. But I love to retreat, too.

    More often than not, a retreat for me doesn't mean a getaway to the beach or the beautiful North Carolina mountains. Instead, it's more likely to involve an invitation for the family dog to join me on the short walk to the workshop behind our house.

    In that calm respite from the busyness of daily life, I create things. Sometimes I work in the quiet with just my thoughts, and other times, I'll turn the music up to drown them out. I work with a number of materials, but wood is easily my favorite medium. The wood in my shop is comprised largely of castoffs. From exotic hardwoods to common lumber, I gather small or otherwise insignificant pieces from industries that see no need for them. To others they are scraps — one step away from firewood — but to me, each piece is a treasure.

    More than a hobby, woodworking has become a reflection of the life I've been given to live. Occasionally, I'll make something on commission, but I rarely sell what I create. The whole idea changes the game. Woodworking is about seeing the individual beauty and usefulness of each piece of wood — large or small — and starting a process of preserving, preparing and giving that piece a new purpose. In short, it's about redemption.

    Without the grace and redemption I found in Jesus Christ, my life would be nothing. I was probably considered a castoff by many when Jesus found me, but he saw something useful and has been preparing and preserving me since 1981, and even in the times when I feel I have nothing to offer, He assures me there is a greater purpose for my life. For every life.

  • 12 pharmacyDiabetic state employees soon won’t have to swallow the rising cost of insulin.

    State Treasurer Dale Folwell waived co-pays on insulin prescriptions for members of the State Health Plan, starting Jan. 1, 2021. Folwell hopes to save members $5 million.

    Insulin has become a flashpoint in the debate over drug pricing.

    The cost of the drug has nearly tripled since 2002, forcing patients to start rationing their insulin. Some have died. Others have gone blind.

    More than a million North Carolinians suffer from diabetes. Some 12,000 state employees use insulin, and they’re paying an average $467 out of pocket each year for brand insulin. But that price tag can rise as high as $1,000.

    The State Health Plan Board of Trustees voted to nix insulin cost sharing earlier this year.

    It hopes to prevent patients from rationing insulin and putting themselves at risk for expensive and potentially life-threatening complications.

    “This is a good investment by the State Health Plan,” Folwell told Carolina Journal. “Insulin adherence saves lives and saves money. We all don’t want the cost of insulin to be a barrier.”

    Insulin was prohibitively expensive for some families, says Ardis Watkins, executive director of the State Employees Association of N.C. She has talked to patients who rationed their insulin, saying that their diabetes hurt family finances.

    “It’s a huge deal, what just happened,” Watkins told CJ. “Insulin can mean life or death. It’s immoral for those medications to make the difference of the family’s budget every month.”

    Folwell has long railed against the rising cost of health care. The Republican treasurer forged an unlikely alliance with SEANC after he started a war with hospitals over medical billing transparency.

    The State Health Plan risks going broke within four years. It faces some $35 billion in unfunded liabilities.

    Folwell wants to save the plan by linking prices to Medicare payments. The plan now faces a significant risk of overpaying or wasting tens of millions of dollars, based on a report by the state auditor. Folwell has described the current system as a blank check.

    Folwell hoped to usher providers into the Clear Pricing Project — his plan to drive down costs with billing transparency. But the plan sparked a feud with local hospital systems, who refused reforms.

    But enrollment has reopened for providers. Folwell seems to be focusing on recruiting independent providers to join the plan. They can’t charge patients as many fees as hospitals do.

    “We’re having fantastic negotiations, especially with independent providers of health care that are excited for the first time that someone recognizes that they exist,” Folwell said.
    “We want independent, profitable, accessible, high-quality health care providers.”

  • 07 County Commissioner logoDuring its regular board meeting on Sept. 21, the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners amended an economic development incentives agreement with Campbell Soup Supply Company and approved contracts for Workforce Development Services and Sheriff’s Office uniforms.

    Commissioners approved extending the deadline by one year to Dec. 31, 2020, for the company to add at least 100 new employees. The company requested the extension because construction on its new distribution facility in the Cedar Creek Business Center was significantly delayed by hurricanes. The company projects it will have hired 112 employees by the deadline. The board also approved an associated budget amendment for $248,000 for the economic incentive payment due in March 2021 based on the contract terms of reimbursing the company 75% of the county tax.

    The board also approved contracts for workforce development services for fiscal year 2021. Two Hawk Workforce Services, LLC, a North Carolina limited liability company headquartered in Lumberton, was selected by the Workforce Development Board to be the provider of both program delivery and one stop operator services. Each of these contracts commences October 1, 2020, for a term ending June 30, 2021, with an option for two one-year extensions.

  • 09 i 95 exits 13The N.C. Department of Transportation is seeking public feedback on plans to widen a 9-mile section of Interstate 95 in Robeson County. DOT proposes to increase the number of travel lanes to four in each direction from Exit 13 to just south of Exit 22 in Lumberton. Three interchanges (Exits 17, 19 and 20) will be significantly upgraded, and bridges that cross the Lumber River and CSX rail line will be replaced. A presentation of what the improvements should look like was given during a recent virtual meeting. People will find videos and other project information on DOT’s project webpage.

    Questions or comments on the project may be submitted by Oct. 15. The project has an estimated $418 million construction cost, and the department is scheduled to award a design-build contract next summer.

  • 11 online schoolSchool districts can allow elementary grade students to return to the classroom next month, Gov. Roy Cooper announced during a Sept. 17 news conference, but middle and high school students won’t have the same opportunity.

    The announcement — allowing local school districts to provide in-person instruction full-time to younger students — comes a day after Republican leaders urged the governor to offer that option at all levels statewide and let parents decide.

    The move is a step in the right direction, Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said in a Thursday news release, but the governor should have gone further with his decision.

    “His new plan ignores the needs of low-income and exceptional students in middle and high schools for in-person instruction,” Berger said.

    On Sept. 16, Berger, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and Catherine Truitt, the Republican candidate for state superintendent, called for schools to fully reopen. A handful of parents took part in the news conference to share their desperation with the remote instruction plans.

    Cooper said the move wasn’t connected to Wednesday’s news conference at the General Assembly.

    Over the summer, the state told school districts to create three reopening plans, from most to least restrictive. Plan A had the fewest restrictions, allowing in-person instruction with minimal social distancing of students and staff. Plan B required more stringent social distancing and fewer people in the school building. Under Plan C, schools could use only remote learning.

    On July 14, Cooper announced school districts could either use Plan B or Plan C. No school district was allowed to offer Plan A, regardless of the COVID-19 metrics in the area.

    But now, starting on Oct. 5, school districts can switch to plan A for kindergarten through fifth grade, but older grade levels must stay on either plan B or C.

    “We are able to open this option because most North Carolinians have doubled down on our safety and prevention measures and stabilized our numbers,” Cooper said.

    Face masks and social distancing are still required under Plan A, but unlike Plan B, schools won’t have to reduce the number of students allowed in the building at the same time.

    Neither Cooper, nor Mandy Cohen, the secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, gave a timeline for when middle and high schools grades can return to classrooms full-time.


  • 17 Gilbert Theater Ad barefoot 092320 475X587 1 2Local actors are returning to the stage to deliver the fun and creative performances we’ve been missing since the pandemic closed curtains and theater doors in March.

    This month, the Gilbert Theater brings “Barefoot in the Park” to stage Oct. 2-18 with limited seating and social distancing in effect. There will only be 25 seats sold per performance, in order to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines for public gatherings.

    “‘Barefoot in the Park’ is a classic Neil Simon comedy,” said Larry Carlisle, the show’s director and the Artistic Director for the Gilbert. “It’s about two newlyweds who move into a tiny apartment in New York City and deal with being newlyweds, weird neighbors and mothers.”

    Simon, who died in 2018, was a playwright, screenwriter and author. In his lifetime, he received more combined Oscar and Tony award nominations than any other writer. Widely considered to be a Broadway icon, Simon wrote more than 30 plays, including “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Biloxi Blues” and “The Odd Couple.” Simon won the Pulitzer Prize for “Lost in Yonkers.”

    The “Barefoot in the Park” cast includes Tanisha Johnson and Gage Long as newlyweds Corie and Paul; Deannah Robinson as Corie’s mother; Gabe Terry as neighbor Mr. Velasco; and James Merkle as the telephone repairman. Carlisle will also have a small role as a deliveryman.

    Despite performing to a quarter of the theater’s capacity, Carlisle and the cast agree that producing the show is worth the effort.

    “Everyone’s gotten stir crazy,” Terry said about closures due to the pandemic. “The show’s a lot of fun to do.”

    Providing live entertainment is something the performers enjoy, no matter the crowd size, Carlisle said. With COVID-19 restrictions, the cast and crew have been able to explore some interesting ways to adapt their performances.

    “I’m just excited to get back to stage,” Robinson said. “Granted, it will be limited capacity.”

    Safety precautions in place will include masks for theater attendants, hand sanitizer stations, no-contact concessions, temperature checks upon entry and cleaning between performances.

    “For all the performances we’re asking all patrons to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” Carlisle said.

    Preparing for the masked performances has been a fun challenge for the cast.

    “It is interesting because there’s so much (in the story) that involves intimacy,” Terry said.

    Robinson added, “We’re working around it, having fun with it, even with the mask.”

    The team at the Gilbert is optimistic that the audience will attend and enjoy the show, if only for a short respite from the daily headlines.

    “It’s two hours to take your mind off your trouble, don’t worry about everything going on outside,” Carlisle said. “It’s a light breezy sitcom-esque

    Johnson added, “Come out and laugh, have a good time.”

    Recognizing that some patrons might not be comfortable even with all those precautions, Carlisle said there will be two performances where the actors will also wear masks. Those shows are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

    The Gilbert Theater is located at 116 Green St. in downtown Fayetteville. There are several discounts available including student, military and first responder. Contact the box office for more info on the show or to purchase tickets at boxoffice@gilberttheater.com.

  • 10 PrismaticaAn internationally celebrated exhibit of 25, 6-foot tall, pivoting prisms will be staged in some outdoor areas of downtown Fayetteville as a part of an effort to draw visitors downtown to play, shop and dine. The unusual displays will be posted during October. The Cool Spring Downtown District is partnering with Fayetteville’s Public Works Commission to present "Prismatica."

    The Toronto-based, architectural firm RAW Design is responsible for the conception and execution of this art project, in collaboration with ATOMIC3. Prismatica made its debut in 2014 at the Place des Festivals in Montreal, where 50 pivoting prisms transformed the outdoor space into a giant kaleidoscope. Since then, "Prismatica" has been on a world tour, lighting up 26 cities in five countries, to include Fayetteville, Houston, Jerusalem, Israel, London, Lugano and New York City.

  • 16 HOW day campHis Outreach Worldwide Ministry will host a BBQ Fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 3, to support the construction of a school building in Tamu, Myanmar. The barbecue will be held at the ministry's "log cabin," located at 2770 Breezewood Ave., from 1-5 p.m., for takeout or a picnic on the grounds. The food will be priced at $10 per plate.

    “We are praying we will have a huge turn out, we need at least $5,000 for the school, and it has to be finished by January,” said Lynne O’Quinn, president of H.O.W. “We are really needing this funding now and needing it quickly.”

    The barbecue will benefit over 100 children in the Tamu area attending His Outreach Worldwide School, the only government-licensed English-teaching school in the area.

    The event will offer great food by Hopkins Barbeque and great music on the patio by Currie Wayne Clayton Jr., O’Quinn said.

    The ministry is excited to have the accomplished musician Currie Wayne, who has played with the rock band Molly Hatchet in the past and has won many musical championships.

    O’Quinn said she believes the fundraiser will be a great event that will be outdoors, and a lot of people are looking forward to it, especially since the pandemic.

    “We'd love for people to come that day, purchase tickets, enjoy the entertainment and just have a great day,” she said.

    H.O.W., a Christian ministry, was founded in 2008 in Fayetteville by O’Quinn and supports several activities around the world, including providing funds, food, clothes and more. The faith-based organization is founded on prayer and God’s word.

    “In a nutshell, God woke me up one morning and wrote a book through me sharing Jesus to children around the world,” O’Quinn said. “That one little book is what founded this worldwide

    The barbecue is one of its many fundraising events, including an annual 5K, which was cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

    "We are praying for a great sunny, fall day and attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs to comply with social distancing and have a picnic on the grounds," O'Quinn said.

    “Bring your own chair, grab a plate of barbecue, sit here and have great entertainment and fellowship,” she added.

    For more information about H.O.W. or the BBQ, visit http://hisoutreachworldwide.org/

    Pictured: His Outreach Worldwide Ministry President Lynne O'Quinn entertains children at a H.O.W. project at a day camp in Brno, Czech Republic.

  • 15 electric car plugged inSustainable Sandhills will host its second annual "Drive Electric" event Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum.

    The event, which is a part of the National Drive Electric Week, will feature various opportunities for drivers to learn about electric vehicle options in the region.

    “The goal is to provide awareness to the community about electric vehicles and the benefits they have — like improving air quality, reducing our dependence on foreign petroleum, and just showing people that ‘EV’ can be very fun to drive,” said Joenelle Kimbrough, executive director of Sustainable Sandhills.

    There will be multiple Teslas available at the event for the public to test-drive. Visitors can sign up online for 15 minute test-drive slots and register at https://sustainablesandhills.org/driveelectric2020/.

    If anyone owns an electric vehicle, they are welcome to bring it to the car show and talk to people about the experience of driving an electric vehicle and the value of its ownership, Kimbrough said.

    The family-friendly event will see food trucks and activities for children like a "build your own car" craft and a book signing by local children’s book author Alison Paul Klakowicz, author of "Mommy’s Big Red Monster Truck."

    The "Drive Electric" show will comply with COVID-19 health precautions. The cars will be wiped and sanitized between each user, there will be mostly touch-free activities and children will each get their own set of crayons.

    “We would love to have you come out and learn about electric vehicles and benefits they offer our community — see how fun they are to drive,” Kimbrough said.

    The event will host community partners involved with "EV" infrastructure, incluuding the Fayetteville Public Works Commission, The Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Central Electric Membership Corporation, which will inform the attendees on where to find chargers for their electric cars, and of new technologies regarding "EV" that are out on the horizon, she said.

    All of these organizations have charging stations throughout the area or they have electric vehicles in their fleets.

    Kimbrough said the two-fold motivation behind the event was that Sustainable Sandhills is the “air quality program manager” for the region and the second being the national drive electric week.

    “Electric vehicles are important to air quality because they don't use gasoline; they help cut out on emissions which can help improve the area's air quality,” she said.

    Based in Fayetteville, Sustainable Sandhills started about 15 years ago with the mission of creating resilient environmental, economic and social resources. The organization has a nine-county reach, serving about 1 million people.

    “Our goal is to connect with people and help them understand how natural resources affect their lives and vice versa,” Kimbrough said. “We just want people to understand that we need to be responsible with our resource use now in order to have what we need for the future generations.”

    The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum is located at 325 Franklin St. in downtown Fayetteville. For more information about Sustainable Sandhills and the event, visit https://sustainablesandhills.org

  • 14 money puzzle WashingtonYou’re probably aware this is an election year. During the next several weeks, the candidates will discuss issues that should greatly interest you as a citizen. But as an investor, how concerned should you be with the results of the presidential and congressional elections?

    Maybe not as much as you might think. At different times, the financial markets have performed well and poorly under different administrations and when different parties have controlled Congress. And after all the votes are counted, outcomes in the investment markets can be unpredictable.

    Consequently, you’ll be helping yourself greatly by not making big moves in your portfolio in anticipation of new legislation or political moves down the line.

    Of course, that’s not to say that nothing emerging from Washington could ever have an impact on your investment decisions.

    For example, if a future president and Congress decide to change the capital gains tax rate, it could affect some of your choices, such as which stocks and stock-based mutual funds you should buy, and how long you should hold them.

    Overall, though, your investment results will ultimately depend on actions you can take, including these:

    • Making changes for the right reasons — While the results of an election may not be a good reason to make changes in your investment portfolio, other factors can certainly lead you to take steps in this direction. For one thing, as you get closer to retirement, you may want to shift some — though certainly not all — of your investment dollars from more growth-oriented vehicles to more conservative ones.
    Conversely, if you decide, well in advance, that you might want to retire earlier than you originally thought, you may need to invest more aggressively, being aware of the increased risk involved.

    • Following a long-term strategy — In pretty much all walks of life, there are no shortcuts to success — and the same is true with investing. You need to follow a long-term strategy based on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon, and you need the patience and perseverance to keep investing in all markets — up, down and sideways.

    • Avoiding mistakes — Many people think of an investment mistake as failing to “get in on the ground floor” of some company that ultimately grew to huge proportions. But it’s pretty hard to become an early investor in companies like these, many of which start out as privately held businesses without any stockholders.

    Furthermore, companies with shorter track records can be much more unpredictable investments. However, you do want to avoid some real mistakes, such as chasing “hot” stocks. By the time you hear about them, they may already be cooling off, and they might not even be appropriate for your needs. Another mistake: failing to diversify your portfolio. If you only own one type of asset, such as growth stocks, you could take a big hit during a market downturn. Spreading your dollars over a wide range of investments can help lower your risk exposure. However, diversification by itself can’t guarantee a profit or protect against all losses.

    After Election Day, regardless of the outcome, you can help keep your portfolio on track by not playing politics with it.

  • 05 podium speakersWhat is more interesting than the debates between candidates for major political offices?

    Of course, it is the debate about the debates.

    Some friends, well-informed and experienced in political activities, say the importance of such debates is vastly overrated. For instance, one said the recent first debate between North Carolina U.S. Senate candidates Republican Thom Tillis and Democrat Cal Cunningham was meaningless because nobody was watching.

    They reminded me about the 1992 U.S. Senate televised debate between Terry Sanford and Lauch Faircloth. Most viewers agreed that Sanford won the debate with sharp authoritative responses to questions while Faircloth fumbled. But Faircloth came out on top when it counted.

    Republican campaign consultant Carter Wrenn strongly disagrees. He thinks debates are critically important. Undecided voters are the key to winning elections.

    To win their votes, they have to see a difference between the candidates on an issue that is important to them or on a difference in the way they handle themselves under pressure.

    Wrenn is a legendary expert on developing hard-hitting campaign materials such as the ones Jesse Helms used to defeat Jim Hunt in the 1984 U.S. Senate race.

    In a recent radio interview with Wrenn, I agreed with him about the importance of televised debates. Citing the 1960 presidential debates between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, I argued that demeanor of the candidates is a key factor.

    Kennedy looked calm, cool, and collected, while Nixon was nervous, sweating, and fidgety.

    A candidate who appears authoritative, courteous and nice has the edge, I said.

    But Wrenn does not go along with my reasoning.

    He says a debate is the place to take advantage of your opponent, to show the differences on matters important to potential supporters, to set traps and jump on the opponent who falls into one.

    It is a battle, not a beauty contest, he said.

    In their first debate, Tillis turned the tables on Cunningham and tried to trap him for saying that he would be hesitant taking a coronavirus vaccine if one were available by the end of the year.

    Tillis called that irresponsible.

    “We just heard a candidate for the U.S. Senate look into the camera and tell 10 million North Carolinians he would be hesitant to take a vaccine. I think that that’s irresponsible.”

    In the next two debates Cunningham will have the opportunity to push back on the issue of irresponsibility of the Republican president’s campaign organizing coronavirus-spreading rallies in North Carolina.

    These Cunningham-Tillis events are a warm-up for the presidential debates, beginning Tuesday, Sep. 29.

    Wrenn took me back to his work in the Hunt-Helms race in which Helms overcame a 25% early lead by the popular Hunt. Wrenn remembers discovering inconsistencies in Hunt’s views on controversial issues. Then the campaign developed ads and debate themes in which Helms set out his positions on the then-current issues such as the Martin Luther King holiday, busing, school prayer and the Panama Canal "give away." Then Helms would ask, “Where do you stand, Jim?”

    Wrenn said again that debates give candidates the opportunity to tell voters where they differ from their opponents.

    Carter Wrenn and I do not agree on lots of things, but I think he wins the debate with my friends who say candidate debates do not matter.
    Debates are gold mines and minefields for candidates and important for voters searching for candidates whose views and character are worthy of their support.

  • 13 holley robinson debate“I don’t consider myself to be a Black leader. I consider myself to be a leader in N.C. who just happens to be black.”

    That’s how Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Mark Robinson introduced himself at a debate hosted by the N.C. Institute of Political Leadership and Spectrum News.

    The two candidates running to become North Carolina’s first African-American lieutenant governor have dramatically different views on race, law enforcement, education, economic policy and the role of government.

    The election pits Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley, D-Wake, a liberal, against conservative gun-rights activist Robinson. Both stand to make history. Both are unapologetic about their views. Both highlight contrasting visions of race in America and what it means to be an American.

    If Robinson wins in November, he will become the first Black Republican elected to any major statewide office since the 1800s. He describes himself as a successful businessman who grew up as the ninth of 10 children in a poor family.

    Robinson says he doesn’t believe in systemic racism. For him, many problems afflicting Black communities result from lawlessness, and police are part of the solution. Defunding the police, he said, is “a ridiculous idea.”

    “Systemic racism is not the problem,” Robinson said. “We have far too many communities that are ruled by lawlessness. We need to take a good long look at that, stop putting the police under the microscope, and start putting the criminals under the microscope.”

    Holley disagreed.

    “We need to start protecting people, as opposed to policing them,” Holley said. “We have other ways we can do things that are less restrictive and less bullying than going in all the time with a gun and the only resource is to arrest and physically restrain and harm people.”

    But the two clashed at a more fundamental level. Holley sees a world riddled with “rampant” systemic racism. Robinson doesn’t. He eschews “so-called race relations.” Where Holley decries differences, he promotes similarities.

    “Every day, someone reminds me that I’m Black,” Holley said. “We’ve come a long way. But what is happening now is systemic racism that has kept us from economic development, kept Black and brown people from safety on the streets. We’re in fear of our lives from just getting a traffic stop.”

    But Robinson harks back to the idea of America as a melting pot — ditching the more modern metaphor of the American salad bowl, where distinct cultural and racial identities co-exist. When identified as a Black leader, he bristled.

    “The best thing we can do for racial relations in this nation is stop calling ourselves by different races,” Robinson said. “We’re all one race, the human race, and one nation, America. We start calling ourselves human, American, and I think we’ll see a lot of those issues go away.”

    Robinson flipped the normal dynamic of these debates.

    While conservatives often find themselves defending the past, Robinson stood for the future. He aggressively reframed questions into optimistic quips. Fear became courage, the minimum wage became “maximum talent” — always with a heavy emphasis on progress.

    “North Carolinians aren’t afraid. They’re courageous, and they’re ready to move on in this state under some real progress,” Robinson said. “They’re ready to get past these issues, ready to work through this [corona]virus, and ready to see violence in the street ended.”

    Holley found herself holding up the burden of history. She was a child of the civil rights era, one of the first African-American students to desegregate Raleigh’s Enloe High School. She argues that she has the experience of the past and the will to create a better future.

    That vision of a better future differs dramatically from Robinson’s.

    Holley supports stricter gun-control laws, including red-flag laws tagging people thought to be possible threats, higher taxes on corporations, more taxpayer subsidies to the poor, and Medicaid expansion. She opposes the Opportunity Scholarship Program, though she praised charter schools as an alternative for parents. And she rejects any voter ID requirements.

    The Holley-Robinson debate was the first of this election’s IOPL Hometown Debate Series. It took place Sept. 20 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The series continues Oct. 4 with a labor commissioner debate featuring Democrat Jessica

    Holmes and Republican state Rep. Josh Dobson. The final debate is scheduled for Oct. 11, with incumbent State Treasurer Dale Folwell, a Republican, facing his Democratic opponent Ronnie Chatterji.

    None will have studio audiences, because of COVID-19 restrictions.

  • 02 gavel on flagPublisher Bill Bowman yields his space this week to former Up & Coming Weekly contributor Karl Merritt. This article first appeared at www.karlmerrit.com.

    I am watching with sadness, but with a higher level of hope, as the wheels of government churn to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. My sadness regarding the general state of our country is not new, but this higher level of hope for America is a rare experience for me in the context of the past few years.

    I suppose my hope comes from the fact that Republicans in the Senate have apparently awakened to the truth of something former President Obama said to a group of them years ago.

    In a meeting with Republican Congressional leaders during 2009, then President Barack Obama said to them, “Elections have consequences and at the end of the day, I won.”

    This was a time when Democrats had a majority in the House and Senate.

    Then came 2016 and a Supreme Court vacancy during the last year of Obama’s second and final term. Republicans held the majority in the Senate. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader (Rep), said there would not be a vote on a nominee until the next president was in office. Democrats were outraged. Trump won the 2016 presidential election, nominated Neil Gorsuch, and he was confirmed by the Senate that still had a Republican majority.

    Now comes the current vacancy and McConnell says when President Trump submits a nominee, there will be a vote prior to the 2021 inauguration. Democrats are outraged again because they say this is hypocrisy on the part of Republicans.

    As of 25 September, it appears Republicans have the votes to confirm a person nominated by Trump.

    Democrats are making all kinds of threats as to what they will do if this nomination goes forward. These threats are being made even though Trump has a constitutional right and responsibility to put forth a nominee. One threat is to impeach Trump again and, by so doing, slow the confirmation of a justice. Beyond that, they are threatening to, if they win the presidency, House and Senate, add seats to the Supreme Court (making it more political); ending the filibuster (requires 60 votes to stop debate on some issues) in the Senate; making the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico states because they are very heavily Democratic areas.

    As I finish this post, several Democrats are backing away from some items in this threat package and moving to talking about how health care and some other issues, by Democratic priorities, would be adversely impacted by a Trump nominated justice.

    In the face of these threats, I would expect Republicans to “roll-over” and do as the Democrats say.

    Apparently, enough Senate Republicans recognize that elections have consequences and they won. Beyond that, they understand that if Trump loses and Biden gets to nominate the Ginsburg replacement, it will be a liberal who believes he or she gets to make laws according to their views rather than simply interpreting the Constitution and laws legitimately passed by legislative bodies.

    Forthrightly examining the facts and adjusting course is not hypocrisy. In this case, that means looking at the destruction brought on America by liberal justices making laws instead of interpreting laws that have been, by proper procedure, put in place.

    Be advised, there are at least two Republican senators who apparently do not understand this argument that says there are times when one must stand up and do what is right for the country. They are Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. These two senators hold that the next president should make the nomination. Under pressure from Democrats, I expected this kind of response from more Republican Senators. So far, surprise-surprise.

    Here is a closing question: Who out there believes that if Democrats were faced with the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice under the conditions now faced by Republicans, that Democrats would leave the selection to the next president?

  • 06 little girl book bagFayetteville Technical Community College has been chosen for a project aimed at better preparing early childhood education teachers to meet the needs of children in their communities.

    The project focuses on helping instructors with associate degrees to be better prepared to assist young children, including those with diverse cultures, languages and abilities, and their families. It’s guided by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and supported by a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

    Beginning next spring a team from FTCC will work with the FPG Child Development Institute to enhance the department’s courses to ensure they provide practical experiences, diversity and inclusion for all students. Instructor Karly Walker will lead FTCC’s team.

    “We are overjoyed in being selected to participate,” said Dr. Rondell Bennett, chair of the Early Childhood Education Department at Fayetteville Tech. “This opportunity will further enhance what we are already doing.” FTCC is one of three North Carolina community colleges selected for participation in the employee development plan.

  • 12 N1601P38005CIs it safe to donate blood right now? Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said not only is donating blood safe, it’s essential. “People are scared to go to the doctor’s office right now and I really think that’s an unfounded fear.” At most doctor’s offices, you sit out in your car until you’re texted and told you can come in, so nobody’s in the waiting room. “I would think that blood donation sites are in a position where they can adopt those exact same kinds of measures,” he added.

    The Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center, in cooperation with Up & Coming Weekly and Carolina Specialties International, is conducting a mobile blood drive Sept. 30 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in Up & Coming Weekly’s rear parking lot at 208 Rowan Street. Donors will receive free COVID-19 antibody tests and gift bags. Residents who pre-register will be eligible to win a door prize.

    The Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center is a community program that serves patients in Cumberland, Hoke, Harnett and Bladen Counties through donations made by individual donors, community organizations and businesses. Dianne Carter, Cape Fear Valley’s Mobile Recruitment Coordinator, said our area is critically low in blood supplies and has been for several months. Donations from local high school students stopped abruptly in March as the result of the coronavirus pandemic. Students have historically provided 40% of the blood donated in our area, Carter said.

    To qualify as blood donors, individuals must be at least 16 years old with signed parental consent. Teens 17 years of age do not need that consent. Prospective donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Positive proof of identification is required. Be sure to eat a nutritious breakfast or lunch. Donors should be well hydrated in the days before and after a donation. Avoid caffeine. Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be easily rolled up above the elbow.

    According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is essential for surgeries, cancer treatments, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets or plasma, this lifesaving care begins with one person making one donation. In our community the Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center receive and distributes blood units, not the Red Cross. All donations made here stay here. “It is very important for the people in our community to donate to maintain a safe, sufficient supply of blood to save lives locally,” Carter said. “It can literally mean life or death.”

    The American Cancer Society says more than 1.8 million people nationwide are expected to have been diagnosed with cancer this year. Many of them require blood, sometimes daily, during chemotherapy treatment. “Roughly 38% of Americans are healthy enough to donate and the national average shows only 10% of them are donating,” Carter added. “In our community, only 2%... are donating at least once a year. We need the other 98% of the community to step up.”
    Officials say this area requires 1,200 units of blood per month to meet the needs of Cape Fear Valley Health System patients. The blood type most often requested is type O. Under normal circumstances, “We struggle to collect 900 units of blood a month,” Carter said. But currently only 300-400 units are contributed on average. Carter told Up & Coming Weekly the health system purchases the rest of the blood from other blood banks, but donor centers across the nation are experiencing shortages.

    On the day of donation, individuals will complete a brief health questionnaire. Some donor contributions may be temporarily delayed. Tattoos and body piercings received from licensed North Carolina parlors are acceptable, if the tattoos have healed. Tattoos and piercings received outside our state will result in a 12-month deferral. Having a cold or flu or recent surgery or being under a physician’s care will result in delay. Recent or current diagnosis of cancer could result in a delay. Pregnant women have to wait six weeks after delivery to donate.

    Some people are permanently rejected: Anyone who has lived in Europe between 1980 and 1996 for periods totaling five years or more or specifically traveled to or lived in the United Kingdom for more than three months between 1980 and 1996 is ineligible. Members of the U.S. military or their dependents stationed six months or more between 1980 and 1990 in Belgium, Netherlands or Germany or six months or more between 1980 and 1996 in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece or Turkey will be denied.

    Anyone with questions about eligibility, can call the Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center at 910-615-LIFE or visit www.savingliveslocally.org.

  • 16 InheritanceWe are now on the threshold of another Civil War; one misfire, one wrong word, or a suspicious look can ignite a conflict. This is not the world I want my children or children's children to inherit. We have turned our backs on our integrity and humanity. Our Declaration of Independance recognized that the Creator gave us our liberty, but we have legislated it to the point that many want the document burned.

    The Creator gave our Founding Fathers the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to be this land's law. A few have used these documents to remove the Creator from our vocabulary. Removing the Creator from the foundation that America is built upon is now making her collapse. Today, we find our country divided like a torn-up photograph.

    Our country is not moving towards a perfect union but destroying justice and hijacking domestic tranquility. Our justice system, which is supposed to be blind, is now making judgments based on the color of our skin and blurred by the colors of blue and red.

    Our country is not providing a common defence, nor promoting the general welfare of the people. There is no safety or defence when thugs are allowed to kill, destroy and burn the blessings of liberty and the posterity that our brave military and people have fought for over the centuries.

    Many leaders no longer lead by democracy but rule by the hegemony pack because they believe their ways are the best. All of this, while other Americans are quietly arming themselves, biting their tongues and clenching their fists readying for if the government cannot or will not govern.

    Broken families, population issues, poor decisions, economic hardships, addictions and misguided road maps to success have confused our abilities to seek what is righteous and sound. We have let our feelings and emotions run our lives, and we mistake the feelings of happiness with satisfaction that joy brings.

    Once the "right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances," is no longer "peaceful," or done by "petition," it violates the law, and we are wrong for allowing and condoning it, no matter the issue.

    Mayors and governors have handcuffed law enforcement officers who have sworn to protect us and sworn to enforce the rule of law. Many leaders have ordered their police to step away and watch while criminals assault, kill, rob, destroy property, and loot businesses. Worse, our police officers, politicians and citizens have been beat, spit on, sued, cancelled and killed by mob rule.

    When those in power and who serve in high places view the world by race, ethnicity or political affiliation, they no longer serve "We the People" because their actions show us that they are the racist, the prejudice and the partisan political puppets. These actions manifest themselves by evil hearts and self-serving people who are destroying our way of life.

    We need strong leaders. We need heroes … not cowards. We need more of Sherriff Buford Pusser and less Officer Derek Chauvin.

    America has not hit perfection. We continue to struggle with that part of the Declaration of Independence that states that "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator." Yes, America does get sideways at times, but our system lets us try to correct wrongs.

    Our Constitution gave us the greatest gift of all humanity. The ability to use our minds. The mind provides us with the wisdom to provide for our physiological needs — safety, belonging, self-esteem and the ability to achieve self-actualization and to improve our lives according to our abilities.

    Unlike wars of the past, there will be no uniforms because there is no one side, no leaders, no geographical boundary because there is no end goal. We are faced with those who believe that education is more important than an honest day's work. Those who think that they deserve something that they have not worked for. There are those who think that invisible cash is better than real money. Some believe that a counter-revolution demanding a free ride is nobler than buying goods and services at the counter of a store.

    For this, we compromise our self-accomplishments, our abilities for what is right, fruitful and honorable. We compromise our prosperity for those not willing to earn theirs. Politicians deceive us by making us believe that a strong government is better than a strong person.

    We allow our pop-culture media to tell us what we should think instead of thinking for ourselves. We compromise not for man's good but to destroy our self-worth as we blindfold our own eyes and handcuff our own mind.

    I ask you what is the price of war? Violence, destruction, starvation and disease? The first Civil War took one million people.

    World War I was ignited over the assassination of one man. Nine million combatants and 13 million civilians died.

    Furthermore, World War I brought an additional 500 million people who died from the 1918 influenza pandemic. Worldwide, this was about one-third of the world's population.
    World War II had approximately 85 million fatalities. Tens of millions of people died during the conflict due to genocides — including the Holocaust, starvation, massacres and disease.

    In 1994, the president of Rwanda was assassinated, and unrest occurred. The United Nations pulled its peacekeepers out (the same as un-funding the police), and genocide followed, killing about 850,000 souls.

    History has shown us that once the law is gone, the justice system fails, the economy collapses and the food supply chain is broken, war, both urban and countryside, will follow.

    I do not want another war, another wasteland, another lost generation in my lifetime. I do not want us to repeat the horrors of our past. For those that do want war, who are you willing to sacrifice, bury and starve for these things?

    I believe restoring order in our land is our fastest way to peace. The government at all levels must restore law and order because they are the only ones with the capacity and means to do so. Yes, people are wrongfully killed every day, and those who commit a criminal act should be brought to justice.

    But we also have many more good people, good citizens, who are willing to help those less fortunate. But they do so because they want to help, not by force or wealth redistribution but because they find joy in doing so.

    We must ensure that everyone has the right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." We must be reminded that happiness is a pursuit and not a right in itself. We should remember to respect one another as ourselves for harmony and peace of the land. It would be good for us to remember to practice mercy, forgiveness and love, which are the virtues we desperately need. However, we must remind ourselves that for those who cannot abide by the rules of the land, that justice must be served.

    I pray that my children and my children's children never see a war on our homeland. I pray for a country abundant with beauty, opportunity and peace, for this is their inheritance.

  • 02 manning johnsonWith the national election only a few weeks away, many Americans feel antsy about the possible outcomes. Many of the people I have talked with represent a cross-section of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents from all backgrounds, religions and ethnicities. They have one thing in common: they want a civilized and peaceful outcome that will provide the leadership that moves our nation forward.

    Yes, there are significant issues under consideration with this election. The economy and the coronavirus pandemic being the two biggest concerns. Now, with the passing of the highly respected liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the results of this election will have an even more significant impact on America.

    With this being the case, I feel compelled to share a few thoughts with you about the hostile dialogue, riots and devastating destruction in over a dozen major cities. I believe that we need to be more sensitive to the needs and concerns of our minority populations. I also think we have a few bad cops and perhaps some questionable restraining and apprehension tactics that need to be reviewed and corrected. However, do I think we need to disband the police force and eliminate law and order? No. Should criminals go free without bail, a hearing, a fine or punishment? Of course not! Just the thought is nonsensical. What is the logic and where are the demands coming from? These are questions I can answer and debate with anyone.

    I believe that the unrest and destruction plaguing America today have little to do with race, social injustice or debate about what lives matter the most. I believe demonstrators marching peacefully in the streets are exercising their Constitutional rights. However, peaceful protests are now being hijacked and infiltrated by paid hoodlums and mobsters whose only objectives are to disrupt, loot and destroy property and our American way of life. Antifa and Black Lives Matter are not about justice. They are political organizations that are all about disrupting our government, our American way of life, and turning our country into a Socialist, Marxist and Communist nation.

    Socialism and the Communist Party have been active in the United States since the 1930s. We published the entire Communist Manifesto in the July 22 issue of Up & Coming Weekly and outlined in red their successful accomplishments to date. It is scary and should concern all freedom-loving Americans. This document was copied directly out of the U.S. Congressional Record. Need more proof that Marxist and Communist influences are in play? Read on.

    Few people have heard of Manning Johnson (1908 – 1959). He was a unique, intelligent and influential Black man from New York who was successfully recruited by the American Communist Party at a very young age. His job as a communist community organizer was to convince Black Americans that white America would continue to suppress them and that their lives would be so much better under a Socialist/Marxist/Communist government. He was very good at his job, and rose fast through the ranks of the Communist Party until he held one of the highest positions on their National Committee. There he was trained to disrupt cities and towns, organize mobs, incite riots, attack police to include how to strategically and tactfully “throw a brick and hide.” Does all this sound familiar? It should.

    Miraculously and mostly because of his Christian upbringing, Johnson had a revelation and realized the communist strategies, tactics and lies were not at all beneficial to Black Americans and only causing more hardship and suppression. He saw the deception and how the rejection of traditional American values and contempt of Christianity lowered the value of humanity and quality of life. This is when he turned government witness opposing Socialism and Communism.

    Many people are not familiar with this American patriot who preceded Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Johnson loved America and loved his people and, like Dr. King, ultimately gave his life spreading the word, educating and warning Black Americans of the cruelty and diabolical strategies used by the angry liberal left in their attempt to hand over the U.S. to the Socialist and Communist Party. This was Johnson's mission and passion until his untimely death in 1959.

    Johnson testified before Congress several times about the Communist plot to take over America. His testimony is a matter of record. His testimony and the threats to our democracy are as relevant today as they were then. After he left the Communist Party in 1940, he authored an amazing book titled “Color, Communism and Common Sense.” This book could have been written yesterday. He details his experiences with communist leaders and the liberal left conspiracy and the sordid tactics they use. Ending democracy and capitalism will never bring us peace and prosperity. No one can name even one country where socialism has been successful. Manning Johnson's 1953 government testimony is available:


    I encourage everyone to read Manning Johnson’s book and listen to his Farewell Speech online. Remarkable! He was a great, great man. This book is extremely relevant and could have been written yesterday. Nothing happening in America today is new. Socialism and Communism are NOT a good thing for America, and in the end, the Constitution of the United States will endure. Americans will unite together regardless of religion, race, color or political affiliation. Together we will reject these un-American attempts to disrupt and dismantle our country. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 05 Szoka engaging public masksNorth Carolina is a great state, and I enjoy working for the residents of Cumberland County as their District 45 representative.

    We have much to be thankful for. Just this month we remembered and honored the brave citizens and first responders that lost their lives on September 11th. Let us never forget the everyday sacrifices made by our military men and women, local firefighters, EMS and law enforcement officers who dedicate themselves to protecting our lives and our freedoms so Americans we never have to live in fear, and forever continue the tradition of life, liberty and the pursuit of

    To secure our freedoms, we must exercise our right to vote. There is still time for citizens to register and a number of ways to cast their ballot.

    There are less than 30 days until one stop early voting begins. Early voting is available from Oct. 15-31. To find your nearest early voting site visit https://vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/.

    Many people choose early voting to avoid crowds, pick their polling location, or enjoy the convenience of registering and voting all at one stop.

    Commonly known as “early voting,” one-stop absentee voting allows voters to register and then immediately vote, unlike on Election Day when voters must have already completed registration.

    On Election Day registered voters can only vote at their specific precinct, but one-stop voting allows registered voters to vote at any one-stop absentee voting site in the county.

    Voter resources including information on voting in the 2020 General Election can be found at https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting.

    Other important dates to remember:
    Voter registrations ends Oct. 9
    The deadline for absentee ballots is Oct. 27
    The General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 3.
    I'll see you at the polls!

    Representative John Szoka serves North Carolina House District 45 which encompasses Fort Bragg and much of southern Cumberland County including the Town of Hope Mills, parts of the City of Fayetteville and the Gray's Creek area. He is a retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. And has owned and several successful small businesses in Fayetteville. For more information about Rep. Szoka visit https://szokafornchouse.com/.

    Pictured: Rep. John Szoka engaging a constituent.

  • 07 Nicole Rivers 2Nicole Rivers, an English teacher at Gray's Creek High School, is Cumberland County Schools’ 2021 Teacher of the Year. From creative assignments to starting a poetry club, Rivers goes above and beyond to form authentic connections with her students.
    “My job as an educator is not to just get what I deem as valuable information into the minds of my students,” Rivers wrote in her nomination portfolio, “but how to effectively and responsibly use their words to change the world around them.”

    A 15-year veteran educator, Rivers graduated from Fayetteville State University. As the 2021 Teacher of the Year, she received a trophy and flowers from Cumberland County Schools, $300 from the Cumberland County Board of Education, $500 from Olde Fayetteville Insurance and Financial Services, $3,000 from Lafayette Ford-Lincoln — $2,000 for use at her school and $1,000 for her personal use — a commemorative custom Teacher of the Year ring from Jostens, an engraved desk clock from Herff Jones and a gift basket of edibles from Zazzy Treats.

    Pictured: Nicole Rivers

  • 03 student maskThey did.

    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect every aspect of our daily lives—who we see, where we go, what we do or do not wear, what activities feel safe to undertake.

    For North Carolina families with school-age children, the upheaval and uncertainly is magnified many times over by concerns over education.

    Initial virtual education efforts were well-intended but largely a mess, because schools were unprepared for the sudden shift.

    Educators and families have mixed feelings about the current virtual and occasional on-site learning efforts as COVID continues, but the consensus appears to be that the fall is more organized and will be more effective than the spring.

    Truth be told, though, our schools were in trouble long before COVID struck.

    Education Week, a news and analysis organization covering K-12 education in the United States earlier this month ranked North Carolina 33rd out of 50 states, with a solid “C” for the quality of our educational efforts. This is despite the fact that our state Constitution guarantees that every child have access to a “quality” education.

    What is more, Ed Week ranks North Carolina 44 of the 50 states in school funding, which translates into an embarrassing “F” for our funding efforts.

    It has not always been this way, and it does not have to be now. North Carolina has traditionally been considered a leader in public education, particularly in the South, but over the last decade, we have squandered that reputation.

    Since 2011, the General Assembly has systematically cut public education funding, shifted public education dollars to private schools, including private religious ones, and put a greater funding burden on counties. This shift has resulted in inequitable schools, with high-wealth counties like Wake and Mecklenburg spending far more per pupil, and low-wealth counties like Cumberland and most rural counties spending far less.

    This funding inequity was the basis of the long-running Leandro lawsuit which went on for the better part of three decades and in which Cumberland County was a plaintiff. Courts finally ruled that, yes, school funding in North Carolina is unfair, but remedies remain elusive.

    Layer COVID and virtual school on top of an already problematic public education system, and we have what one of my former neighbors, an educator herself, would call a “pluperfect mess.”

    Even if you do not have school-age children, you likely know that schools are woefully short of nurses, counselors and other support personnel, that “frills” like art, music, and physical education are long gone from many schools. You have likely heard that we now expect our teachers to buy their own classroom supplies. The General Assembly actually considered a $500 stipend for this purpose.

    The decline of public education over the last decade, crowned by the plague that is COVID, is an exacting lesson in “elections have consequences.” Our General Assembly has betrayed the people of North Carolina with its mean-spirited and stingy approach to education. Its short-sighted and tight-fisted decisions are hurting our state’s more than 1.5-million public school students and damaging our state’s economic potential well into the future.

    As you ponder your votes for members of the North Carolina General Assembly this fall, look carefully at who and which political party moved us down to C, D, and F territory in public education and who and which party wants to lift us back up.

    Vote accordingly.

  • 10 health plex poolFayetteville’s largest health and wellness center is up and running again. New, temporary hours and safety precautions are in place at Cape Fear Valley’s HealthPlex off Skibo Road because of COVID-19. Hours of operation are 5 a.m.–8 p.m., Monday – Friday.

    The pool closes at 7:30 p.m. Saturday hours are 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Temperature checks are performed at the main entrance as members check-in. The rear entrance is closed. Members are required to wear face masks when not exercising, and physical social distancing is requested. Modified group fitness classes have resumed with limited capacity. Massage services have been suspended. Pool lanes provide for one swimmer at a time for a maximum of 45 minutes. Whirlpools and steam rooms are off-limits.

    Learn more about new safety precautions at www.capefearvalley.com/healthplex/index.html.

  • 08 Thomas PayneGunfire ripped through the air and explosions rattled the ground as then-U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Patrick Payne peered into a burning building where dozens of ISIS hostages were locked in cells in the northern Iraqi city of Hawija. He knew he had to act or the hostages would die. Payne entered the building, exposing himself to machine gun fire. He used bolt cutters to free the prisoners. For his actions in the Oct. 22, 2015, raid, which ended with the first American service member killed by ISIS since the U.S. return to Iraq in late 2014, now-Sgt. Major Payne, 36, was presented the Medal of Honor by President Trump. The award is an upgrade of the Distinguished Service Cross that Payne initially received in 2017.

    He is “one of the bravest men anywhere in the world,” Trump told an audience in the East Room of the White House, which was filled with senior Pentagon officials and Payne’s family.

    Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, who was killed by enemy fire during the raid, posthumously received the Silver Star for his actions that day. Payne received the Medal of Honor on the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the primary event that convinced him to join the military, as thousands of other Americans did.

    In 2007, Sgt. Major Payne joined the Army’s most elite unit in Special Operations at Fort Bragg. He has since served several deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq and in support of counterterrorism operations in Africa. Payne is now an instructor at Fort Bragg, having earned numerous valor awards for battlefield heroics. He is also a Purple Heart recipient.

    “I still want to serve to this day,” Payne said. “We're still a nation at war, and I still want to serve my country.”

    Pictured: President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Maj.Thomas Payne.

  • 14 remote meetingThe financial crisis of little more than a decade ago masked a technological revolution, and everyone shelled out small fortunes for smartphones. The scientific fantasy embodied in "Star Trek’s" tricorder had become everyday overnight.

    Today, the revolution has been digital rather than technological. This time, the revolution is coming for your job and staging its coup in your home. And it’s happening faster than we originally predicted. Only a decade ago, we were still struggling with what to call the phenomenon of working while not being at work. Telecommuting? Teleworking? E-work? Flex work? Virtual work?

    Eventually, what the job market collectively settled on calling “remote work” was something that 44% of global companies didn’t allow as recently as 2018. Contemporary predictions estimated that by 2020, around 50% of the United States workforce would clock their hours from home. An UpWork study from 2017 postulated that more people will work remotely than not by 2027.

    Little did they then know that their predictions would be realized before the end of 2020’s Q1. According to a Gallup study, by midMarch, 49% of workers in the U.S. reported having worked from home in the past seven days. Mere weeks later in April, that statistic leapt to 63% — even while some states announced plans to reopen.

    Shortly thereafter, several companies announced that they would be shifting most if not all of their workforces to remote or in-office/remote hybrid arrangements.

    This means that if your role is a good candidate for remote and flexibly-scheduled work, then you’re potentially competing against 7.8 billion other people for the job. Potential employers will be sizing you up online well in advance of ever offering an interview. Here are three skills to become a digital-based, remote working master and maintain an attractive digital portrait:

    Mastering Communication Channels
    If nothing else, the sudden shift to remote work has illuminated how time-intensive, in-person meetings could be replaced by a well-written email. There are now means far beyond email for keeping up (Slack, Zoom, Google Meetings, Jira, even video games like Red Dead Redemption), not to mention calendar, content and project management platforms.

    Knowing When to Switch Platforms
    When it comes to the platforms, apps or software you use to do your work, one size rarely fits all. This became clear to me when my students and I had to make the shift from face-to-face classes to “online-only.” Blackboard served us very well for some remote-based learning but not for everything or everyone. In the end, we added several other digital platforms as satellite learning channels to Blackboard. We shifted to an environment where coursework could be completed as long as you had an internet connection. Our virtual classroom worked because we took stock of what needed to be learned and achieved and then asked what tools work best for achieving those goals.

    Designing Your Digital Self to become Discoverable
    Search engines favor accounts which publish frequently and regularly. Engagement via likes, shares and external links is also important. To appear in the first page of a search engine’s results involves an amalgam of algorithms, web crawlers, cross-linking, keywords and content.

    Maintain your dominance by picking a topical lane (or two) and staying in it. Be consistent, use the same photo for each online account, find a reference guide for what types of content perform best, and make meaningful connections with others online.

  • 11 N2011P47007CSpeaker of the House Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, says nearly 50 N.C. Democratic House lawmakers and candidates have backed a dangerous pledge to defund the police, but House Minority Leader Darren Jackson, D-Wake, says that’s a lie.

    During a Monday, Sept. 14, news conference, Moore attacked Democrats for signing a pledge to accomplish a list of policy goals by 2030 as outlined by the left-leaning advocacy group Future Now. Joining Moore’s news conference were Rep. Carson Smith, R-Pender; Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford; and a handful of county sheriffs who shared Moore’s concerns for what they considered a radical agenda.

    Future Now’s Pledge to Achieve America’s Goals includes promises to provide affordable health care, boost education spending and ensure equal opportunities for all. Dozens of N.C. House Democrats and Democratic candidates have signed the pledge since 2018.

    While the pledge doesn’t explicitly call for defunding the police, such a proposal can be found under the subsection for “Equal Opportunities For All” on the America’s Goals website. Included is model legislation to create a commission to study taking money from police departments and giving them to other community programs like youth shelters.

    “Right now, law enforcement officers across our nation are being targeted and attacked,” Moore said. “I consider signing this pledge a direct attack on North Carolina law enforcement too.”

    Rep. Marcia Morey, D-Durham, told Carolina Journal that when she signed the Future Now pledge in 2018, defunding the police was not part of the stated goals. She told CJ the police proposals must have been added this year and she doesn’t support defunding law enforcement.

    Carolina Journal sent an email to Jackson asking him if he would pledge his support today now that a proposal to defund the police is listed on the America’s Goals website. Jackson didn’t respond.

    Instead, Jackson sent out a news release challenging Moore’s statements.

    “Speaker Moore has given us another set of blatant lies. No, we didn’t pledge to defund the police but we did pledge to invest in quality Health Care and Education for all North Carolinians,” Jackson said.

    If House Democrats don’t agree with the proposal to defund the police then they should come out and disavow Future Now, Moore said. They can also give back the money that Future Now gave them.

    Future Now has given thousands to Democratic candidates in 2020, including incumbent Reps. Christy Clark, D-Mecklenburg; Sydney Batch, D-Wake; Joe Sam Queen, D-Haywood; and Ray Russell, D-Ashe.

    While some House Democrats may have signed the pledge in 2018, Democratic candidates running in 2020 likely signed this year. Future Now has given money to challengers, too: House Democratic candidates Nicole Quick, Kimberly Hardy, Brian Farkas, Aimy Steele, Dan Besse, Frances Vinell Jackson, and Ricky Hurtado have received campaign donations from Future Now.

    The America’s Goals pledge is not an endorsement of any specific bill, Future Now Executive Director Daniel Squadron said in a news release following Moore’s news conference.

    Future Now funds America’s Goals, which on its website says it is a policy library with model legislation, 50 state report cards, and everything needed to turn a bill into a law.

  • 06 N2008P23005CThe Cumberland County Board of Elections is in urgent need of voters who are registered as unaffiliated or Republican to work at precincts during the Nov. 3 General Election and the early voting period in October.

    The General Assembly has allocated additional funding to the State Board of Elections to increase election day worker pay by $100, and precinct officials’ unemployment benefits will not be affected by the compensation received for working the polls during the 2020 General Election.

    The Board of Elections will follow state guidelines to protect the health and safety of election workers and voters.

    Social distancing measures and routine cleanings will be put into place and precinct workers will be provided appropriate personal protective equipment. Duties include setting up and breaking down voting enclosures, checking in voters, issuing ballots and assisting voters upon request.

    Interested individuals must be registered voters in Cumberland County and available to attend required training.

    You may check your registration status at https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/. To register to vote, go to https://www.ncsbe.gov/Voters/Registering-to-Vote.

    Precinct workers are compensated for attending training and for working during early voting and on Election Day. Interested registered voters can complete the online application by going to electionready.net.
    State Employees Can Get Paid Leave to Help During Elections

    The N.C. Office of State Human Resources announced on Sept. 10 that State employees may use up to 24 hours of Community Service Leave (CSL) to serve in roles needed by their County Board of Elections during Early Voting (Oct. 15-31) and on Election Day (Nov. 3). For additional information about using CSL to volunteer as a poll worker, please review the FAQs posted to the Office of State Human Resources website or contact your Agency Human Resources Office.

    Absentee Ballot Requests
    Absentee ballot requests must arrive at the Board of Elections office by 5 p.m. on Oct. 27. On Sept. 4, the Board of Elections mailed more than 14,800 absentee ballots to voters who had requested them.

    To obtain an absentee ballot you must complete an Absentee Ballot Request Form, which can be printed at www.ncsbe.gov. If you have any questions or are unable to print an application, please call the Board of Elections Office at 910-678-7733 to receive one in the mail.

    The State Board of Elections announced on Sept. 11 that North Carolina voters who vote by mail can now track the status of their absentee ballot with a new online service called BallotTrax. The service is available through links on the State Board of Elections’ website, NCSBE.gov.

    For more information, go to co.cumberland.nc.us/election-board. The Board of Elections is located at 227 Fountainhead Lane. The office is now open to the public. You may call 910-678-7733 or email boardofelections@co.cumberland.nc.us Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for assistance.

  • 15 employ benefitsIt’s that time of year again, where, if you work for a medium-to-large employer, you’ve got some decisions to make because it’s open enrollment time. Of course, depending on your situation, you may have been working remotely for a while, but, even so, you will likely have the opportunity to review your benefits package and make changes. And you’ll want to make the right moves because your choices can have a big financial impact on your life.

    So, take a close look at these key areas of your benefits program:

    Health insurance — Think about your health care needs over the coming year — will you or someone in your family be coping with a chronic illness or facing a surgery? Will you need to at least consider testing and possible treatment for COVID-19? In any case, make sure you’re choosing the right plan for your needs. And pay close attention to any changes in your health insurance, such as whether the plan’s provider networks have changed — you may want to make sure your own doctor is still in-network. Also, check to see if you can reduce your health care premiums by taking part in a wellness program or health-risk assessment.

    Life insurance — Your employer may offer a group life insurance policy for free, or for a small amount. It’s probably worth your while to take this coverage, but it may not be enough for your needs. If you only had this group policy, but your family situation has recently changed through marriage or the addition of a new child, you may well need to add some private insurance.

    Disability insurance — In addition to offering group life insurance, your employer may provide short-term disability insurance. Like group insurance, this disability coverage may not cost you anything, but it may not be adequate — typically, short-term disability only replaces part of your income for three to six months. And while you may never need to miss work for an extended period of time, you never can tell — after all, more than one in four 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration. You may want to consider purchasing your own long-term disability policy on top of the coverage offered by your employer.

    Retirement plan — You can probably make changes to your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan at any time, but why not look at it now, when you’re reviewing all your benefits? If you can afford to increase your contributions, you probably should, because a 401(k), with its tax advantages and ease of contribution through paycheck deductions, is a great way to save for retirement. At a minimum, put in enough to earn your employer’s match. You’ll also want to review your 401(k)’s investment mix. Is it still providing you with significant growth potential within the context of your individual risk tolerance? You may need to make some adjustments, either because an investment is underperforming or because you’re getting close to retirement and you need to reduce your risk exposure. In any case, it’s a good idea to check up on your 401(k)’s investments at least once a year.

    Your employee benefits are an important part of your overall financial picture — so do what you can to get the most from them.

  • 04 Resized 20200913 1008171347Do you believe in Corn Dogs in a young tree’s heart? Apologies to the Lovin’ Spoonful. The world is full of wonders if you know where to look. Many wise men have said this better. Yogi Berra said: “You can observe a lot by just watching.” The 18th Century English poet William Blake wrote, “To see the world in a grain of sand/And a Heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand/And Eternity in an hour." The baseball player Satchel Paige opined: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” Today’s stain on world literature will ponder what you can see if you stop watching Netflix to pay attention to the wide world around us.

    A friend of mine who shall remain nameless (John Bantsolas) sent me a picture of a Corn Dog in a tree. Someone had sent the picture to him. John’s friend did not know how the Corn Dog got into the tree but he realized it was something special. He immortalized it with his handy smart phone. And now you, Gentle Reader, will also get to marvel at the spectacle of a Corn Dog sitting in a tree.

    The Corn Dog in the tree raises more questions than it reveals answers. How did the Corn Dog get there in the first place? Can Corn Dogs climb trees? Did someone put it there? If so, why didn’t he finish eating it? Had the Corn Dog escaped from a county fair and run away to the country to socially distance from other Corn Dogs who might have The Rona? How long will the Corn Dog remain in the tree? Do the semi-eaten remains of a Corn Dog prove there some things that even Turkey Vultures won’t eat? Will it be there until the end of time? Had the Corn Dog been placed there by Ozymandias, the King of Kings of the desert? Did Ozzie put the Corn Dog in the tree and recite the words of Percy Shelley’s poem chanting: “Look on my Works, (My magnificent Corn Dog), ye Mighty and despair!” Did Ozzie think the Corn Dog would be an eternal monument to his greatness? Who knows? But we shall try to puzzle out why the Corn Dog was in the tree and what it may mean to we poor inhabitants of the ugly year 2020.

    First a bit of Corn Dog history to set the stage. The origin of the species of Corn Dogs is shrouded in the mists of time and conflicting folk tales. According to legend, Corn Dogs originated millennia ago in the lonely plains of the Dakotas, when a native warrior stuck a deer sausage on a cat tail to cook it over an open fire. The warrior fell asleep and dropped the cat tail/sausage into a puddle. Upon hitting the water, the cat tail/sausage spontaneously generated and became the first Corn Dog. A phenomenon like when a horse hair falls into a puddle and morphs into a snake. The Corn Dog rolled away from the warrior’s camp into the night. Fun Fact: Corn Dogs do not have legs; they can only move by either rolling on the ground or curling up and stretching out like a Slinky. Once safely away, the Corn Dog reproduced itself into the millions of Corn Dogs that you can still see growing in gently undulating fields along the High Plains and Bad Lands of the Dakotas. Modern agricultural methods have revealed that annual crop rotation between Corn Dogs and Dental Floss will keep the land arable and the yield of both Corn Dogs and Dental Floss profitable.

    As JFK said: “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” This is evident with the many cooks claiming to have invented the Corn Dog. Boring tales of the origin of Corn Dogs from Mr. Wikipedia credit German sausage makers with inventing the stickless Corn Dog consisting of a sausage dipped in corn meal deep fried in oil. In 1926, Albert Barth marketed in his restaurant supply catalogue a “Krusty Korn Dog” baking machine. A U.S. patent was issued in 1927 for a “Combined Dipping, Cooking, and Article Holding Apparatus” for cooking this tasty snack. Carl & Neil Fletcher birthed Corn Dogs at the Texas State Fair in the late 1930s. Mr. Wikipedia says the “earliest known preparation of Corn Dogs was in 1937 during a high school baseball game in Iowa when the ballpark vendors ran out of hot dog buns in the third inning. Roger Newman took the remaining hot dogs and breaded them in cornmeal, which he had prepared for a fish fry.”

    Another pretender claimed to invent Corn Dogs as the Pronto Pup at the Minnesota State Fair around 1941. A culinary genius at the Cozy Dog Drive-In claims credit for being the first to put Corn Dogs on a stick in 1946. The rest is Corn Dog history.

    So, what have we learned today? A Corn Dog by any other name would smell as sweet. Ask not for whom the Corn Dog in the tree tolls, it tolls for thee. Never look a gift Corn Dog in the mouth. Beware of trees bearing Corn Dogs. One Corn Dog makes you larger/And one Corn Dog makes you small/And the Corn Dogs that Mother gives you/Don’t do anything at all. A Corn Dog is only perfect for a very short time. Carpe diem — seize the Corn Dog.

    As Joyce Kilmer once almost wrote: “I think that I shall never see/A Corn Dog sitting in a tree/Corn Dogs are made by fools like me/But only Roger Newman can bread a hot dog.”

    Pictured: The Corn Dog in the tree raises more questions than it reveals answers.

  • 01 02 IMG 0314When Billy West is not prosecuting cases as the district attorney of Cumberland County, he is trying to win golf tournaments.

    When Gary Robinson is not building houses or working at the golf course he co-owns, he, too, is seeking victories on the links.

    West, 46, and Robinson, 61, have been the two best amateur golfers in Cumberland County for decades. They have each won the county golf championship eight times, far more than anyone else.

    They will renew their friendly rivalry when the 52nd annual Cumberland County Golf Championship is held Oct. 9-11 at Gates Four Golf & Country Club.

    Time would appear to be on West's side to eventually win the most titles since he is 15 years younger than Robinson.

    “I hate the fact I'm 61 and he's 40-something,” Robinson laughed. “It's not a fair fight. I've enjoyed playing with Billy throughout the years. He's a great competitor and it means as much to him as it does to me. We might both say the proper things but we both want to win more than the other guy. I want to have the most titles and I'm sure he feels the same way. I need to get one or two more because I know Billy is going to.”

    West shrugs off the age difference.

    “Gary is kind of ageless,” he said. “He still hits the ball a tremendous long way and the rest of his game is solid. I would love to win this year and break the tie but I'm very aware that Gary may not be finished adding championships either.”

    Robinson holds the amazing record of winning the county championship in four different decades. He won it the first year he played in the tournament in 1982. He added titles in 1987, '89 and '90.

    Then he didn't play in the event again until 2001 and, naturally, won again. He added titles in 2002, '13 and got his last victory in '15. Five of his championships have occurred at Gates Four.

    “I have an incentive this year to win in five different decades,” Robinson said. “That's a pretty lofty goal. That would be something special. I still feel I can be competitive. I wouldn't play if I didn't think I could win.”

    West said, “One thing that has made Gary so fantastic is winning titles in four different decades. He certainly has the game to win it in a fifth decade. He is one of the best senior players in the Carolinas.”

    To reinforce that, Robinson shot 3-under to tie for third place in the Carolinas Senior Amateur Championship early in September.

    If West wins this year, it would give him county titles in four different decades, as well. He first played in the event in 1990 and won his first title in 1994 at the age of 19. His other wins came in 1997, 2004, '05, '10 and '11, '17 and '19. He has won five of the last 10 county tournaments including last year with a 7-under total of 209. Twice, he has won back-to-back titles. Three of his wins have come at Gates Four.

    He has missed only one county tournament since he started playing in them 30 years ago. That came in 1993 when he was a golfer at N.C. State and he had to play in a collegiate tournament.

    “I hate that I missed it,” West said. “I regret that kind of broke my streak.”

    The tournament clearly means a lot to West, who has lived in Cumberland County his whole life.

    “For me, this is my favorite tournament,” he said. “It's always the one that meant the most to me through the years. If you win it, you are your county's champion for a year.”

    The tournament is recognized as one of the longest running county golf championships in the state. Its most famous champion is Chip Beck, who went on to a storied career on the PGA Tour. He won in the early years of the tournament in the late 1960s.

    “We've always had great players, great champions and a great history,” West said. “It's always been the most special tournament to me. It's been the one I've always wanted to win the most. One reason is the tournament has kind of followed me through my golf life. When I won it in 1994, I was a young 19-year-old kid. When I won it last year, I was 45 years old with a wife and two kids.”

    West holds the distinction of winning the tournament at all four public golf courses in the county where the tournament has been held. Besides the three titles at Gates Four, he has won three times at King's Grant and once each at Baywood and Cypress Lakes.

    For West, the tournament is about more than golf. It's about friendships made and the sense of community that he feels by playing in it.

    “Life has changed a lot but one thing that hasn't changed is competing every year against the same group of golfers who I became very close friends with,” he said. “I really believe it's the premier county championship in the state. It has a special feel to it that other tournaments don't have.

    “I often say when I'm in the drug store or the grocery store the week after the county tournament, everybody's going to say, 'Hey, Billy. I saw where you played well or I saw where you came up a little short.' There's not another tournament all year where you get that kind of reaction from the public. A lot of people in the community follow it year to year and that's what makes it special.”

    Another strong contender is Thomas Owen, who won the title in 2016 and has finished second the last three years. Originally, Owen had decided to skip this year's tournament because a jammed fall golf schedule caused by COVID-19 would have forced him to be away from his family for six straight weekends.

    “I just had to pick and choose which ones I'm playing in,” he said. “It's just a matter of balancing everything between golf, family and business.

    “Coming in second three years in a row leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I need to get back out there and see if I can Billy and Gary a run for their money. I like my chances. I'm playing pretty well, I've just got to make more putts.”

    Owen has won the county match play championship for the last five years and is ranked among the best players in the Carolinas Golf Association.

    West and Robinson know that at some point their stranglehold on the tournament will end and they both feel the 31-year-old Owen may be the player to take over.

    “I think Thomas Owen is the guy,” Robinson said. “He's the guy who is going to play in the most number of them if he doesn't move. He definitely has the game. He's got a couple of bad breaks the last couple of years where he finished second. He's just got to get comfortable in that last round.”

    West likes Owen's chances to be their successor, too.

    “Thomas has been incredible,” he said. “He's either won or been the runner-up the last four years. Thomas is not only one of the best players in the area but he's one of the best in the state. He doesn't have any weaknesses. He hits the ball a long way and he has a good mental game. He's going to win many more county championships.”

    But whoever takes over as the best golfer in Cumberland County won't do it overnight. It will take decades for anyone to beat West and Robinson's accomplishments.

    “It's going to take some serious golf over quite a bit of time to catch up to what they've done,” Owen said.

    Robinson agreed.

    “There will be somebody to come along at some point to beat us,” he said. “But they're going to have to play for a long time. You don't win eight, nine or ten times by just playing in it eight, nine or ten times.”

    One top player who will be missing from the field is Spencer Oxendine, who won in 2018 when he was a senior at Jack Britt High School. Now, he is a sophomore on the golf team at N.C. State. Although the Wolfpack fall season has been cancelled because of COVID-19, Oxendine still has team activities and school work that will prevent him from playing.

    This marks the fourth straight year the tournament will be held at Gates Four. Bill Bowman, the publisher of Up & Coming Weekly and a major sponsor of the event, took over as tournament director in 2016 and has staged it at his home course.

    Gates Four has a large clubhouse to host the pre-tournament Champions Dinner and pairings party and an outside pavilion for the awards presentation after the tournament. Of course, the pre-tournament events have been cancelled this year because of COVID-19 and the awards ceremony has been scaled back.

    “We're going to do everything virtual for the awards on Sunday,” said Gates Four general manager Kevin Lavertu. “We don't encourage everybody to hang around and we're taking all the precautions like trying to provide single-rider carts.”
    Bowman is attempting to build up the tournament participation to where it was years ago when nearly 200 golfers played and two courses were used to accommodate them. Last year, there were 88 players.

    Lavertu is hoping for at least 100 players this year.

    “Because of Covid there hasn't been the event fatigue like we've had in years past,” he said. “People have not been traveling and playing in a lot of events so I'm thinking registration and participation might be up. The rounds are up all over the county this year because golf is one of the only things you've been able to do during the whole pandemic.”

    West and Robinson like the Gates Four course but they would like to see the tournament rotate to Cypress Lakes, King's Grant and Baywood as it has in the past.

    “I think Gates Four is a great competitive test, particularly from the back tees,” West said. “But I would like to see it rotate. Each course presents its own challenges. I think that is one thing that makes the tournament special, the fact that it has moved around. Gates Four has been a great host while we have gone through a transition period with some of the other courses doing some renovations.”

    Robinson is a co-owner of King's Grant and said he would like to host the tournament “but not every year.”

    “I've won a lot of tournaments at Gates Four and I think it's one of my favorite courses in the county, other than King's Grant,” he said. “ But holding the tournament in one place is not how the tournament was founded and I don't think that's how it should be. I think it should be spread around at all the courses and let them enjoy it.”

    Lavertu said, “King's Grant and some others have shown some interest so I don't know what the future holds. I think some of the players would still like to see it rotate around, so whatever works the best for everybody.”

    The tournament was pushed back from September to October this year because of COVID-19 and Lavertu thinks that will make playing conditions at Gates Four even better.

    “We've always played the tournament the second week in September, historically, but that's really the worst time for the golf course coming out of the heat of summer,” Lavertu said. “We've usually just aerified and it takes two or three weeks for the greens to heal. The green speeds will be up a little bit. It actually worked out better this year to have a delay with all the uncertainty. It seemed to be a natural fit. It should be a tough challenge for three days.”

    Any golfer who lives in Cumberland County and is at least 16 years old is eligible to play. There are divisions for championship, men's open, senior men and super senior men (65 years old and up), women's open and senior women (age 50 and up). The super seniors and women will play 36 holes on Oct. 10-11 and the entry fee is $145. All other divisions are 54 holes and the entry fee is $175. The deadline to enter is Oct. 2 at 5 p.m.

    Players can register online at cumberlandcountygolfclassic.com or return an application to Lavertu at klavertu@gatesfour.com.

    Toni Blackwell won the women's title last year when she was a senior at Cape Fear High School. But she will not be able to defend this year. She is now a freshman on the UNC Pembroke women's golf team and their season starts in October.


    Pictured above: Gary Robinson and Billy West


    01 01 IMG 0117 Robinson









    Gary Robinson playing in the U.S. Amateur Fourball at Winged Foot

     01 03 IMG 3898 Robinson










     Gary Robinson

    01 04 IMG 1928









    Billy West

  • 05 N1809P26001CMany of us do not know life without social media, cell phones, texting, Facebook posting, tweeting, etc. As a baby boomer, social media, let alone cell phones, did not exist when I was a teenager or even in my 20s. One thing that is clear, however, is that no matter what age bracket you may fall into, everyone who uses social media tends to forget the permanent nature of it. While we have many reasons for posting, tweeting, etc., some of which includes getting likes, loves, cares and comments from our friends, what we have, after the fun and/or comfort fades, is a post, tweet, or picture that lasts forever … on the internet.

    Let’s put this into the context of litigation. When you bring a civil lawsuit as a plaintiff or are being sued as a defendant, your social media activity will be something that insurance adjusters, lawyers and paralegals on both sides will want to review extensively. There is a process in civil litigation called “discovery,” where both sides are entitled to seek documents, information and ask written questions that require written answers from each other. This process also includes “depositions,” where the other side’s attorney can ask you questions under oath before you ever get to court. Part of this discovery process will include asking you about your social media posts that are or may be related to the claim and/or litigation. If you put the information out there, you may have to explain it and answer questions about it and, possibly, watch and listen to the other side use it against you.

    I often advise people to limit their social media to “friends only,” which at least can help prevent someone who is not your friend from freely rifling through your content at will to use it against you. In the setting of litigation, however, the discovery process (or a judge) may require you to produce your social media content — or at least any content that may be related to your claim — to the other side. “Post regret” is not a good thing to have when it comes to litigation.

    If you are involved in litigation or an event from which you may bring a claim or end up in litigation, keep these three social media tips in mind:
    1) Do not post anything about it.
    2) If you are going to post something, do not post anything that you would not want the other side or a judge or jury to see.
    3) Really, do not post anything about it.

    It is far too easy to overshare information that, at first, seems innocent, but that can be used, misconstrued or misinterpreted against you later. The best course of action is to keep all information about any claims or litigation off social media.

  • 15 remote learningAn increased reliance on virtual home instruction has many students rethinking their organizational strategies and daily school schedules.

    Learning at home is different from being in a traditional classroom environment, but with some effective strategies, students can persevere without missing a beat.

    Stick to a schedule. Many students are successful because they follow a schedule. The Center for Social and Emotional Foundations of Early Learning says that routines and schedules are important because they influence a child’s emotional and cognitive development. Children feel secure with schedules, which may help them recognize what’s expected of them.

    When learning at home, students should strive to maintain as consistent a schedule as possible, including bedtimes, wake times, hours devoted to learning and time to get outside or engage in downtime activities.

    Connect live if possible. There are many free tools and resources available that enable teachers to provide live video lessons or to record them so students can watch them later.

    Similarly, social networking apps and virtual meeting programs enable students to connect digitally. This can be helpful for collaborative learning assignments or just to see a familiar face.

    Stick to tools that work. Once students find apps or systems that work, they should stick with them, offers Khan Academy, an educational tutoring resource. There are many factors outside of one’s control during virtual instruction, but maintaining consistency with tools and schedules is one way to feel more confident and secure.

    Check student accounts frequently. Just like students, teachers may be learning as they go in regard to remote learning strategies.

    Students should be sure to check school email accounts or other places where teachers post assignments a few times per day so that they stay on top of all assignments and are aware of due dates.

    Reach out to instructors. Allegheny College suggests students contact their teachers if they are unsure of how to participate in remote learning environments.

    Ask questions about assignments, get clarification on key topics and be sure to tune into any remote chats or virtual “office hours.”

    Stay in touch with guidance, if needed. Remote learning is a new experience for many students, and there may be certain struggles or road blocks. It can be easy to grow frustrated with equipment failures or lack of in-person interaction.

    Schools employ qualified therapists and guidance counselors who are just a click, call or email away if issues need to be talked through.

    Students should utilize all resources made available to them.

    Virtual home instruction can be made even easier with some extra assistance and guidance.

  • 09 Military Working Dog 2After more than a year’s separation, a Fort Bragg soldier has been reunited with a former partner. Army Sgt. Nicholas Milano got a big surprise when he arrived at his Nash County home the other day for a birthday party. A surprise gift was hidden among the well-wishers. But it didn’t take long for “Lion” to bolt from the crowd into Milano’s arms. Lion is a retired military working dog. He and Milano traveled the world in the Army for almost seven years. The pair even went to war together, serving two deployments in Afghanistan. The 10-year-old German Shepherd is in retirement now and gets to live on the couch.

    “And he’ll be sleeping in bed with me and you,” Milano laughed while looking at his wife.

    “I had zero idea, this is crazy,” Milano said of the surprise. “His [Lion’s] job was either to bite people, which he never had to do, or find bombs and weapons.”

    When Milano got orders for Fort Bragg, they parted ways. He had to leave Lion at the base in Germany. “This dog has saved my husband’s life, more than once, along with others,” said Kristy, Milano’s wife.

    Kristy secretly adopted Lion upon his retirement. She worked with Mission K-9 Rescue to make the dog’s adoption happen. The nonprofit paid to fly Lion from Germany to Houston, Texas. Once he arrived in Texas, a staff member drove 20 hours to reunite him with Milano in North Carolina.

  • The Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville and the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex in Haymount are doing business again. Both museums had been closed since March because of COVID-19 restrictions. The ASOM is now open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Weekend hours will be phased in gradually. Museum of the Cape Fear hours of operation have also changed temporarily. The new hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Attendance is limited at both facilities. Visitors are expected to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet from one another. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the buildings. Anyone experiencing symptoms of illness or who have recently been in contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19 are asked to postpone their visits.

    No tours of the 1897 Poe House are being provided for at least 30 days after reopening.

    At the ASOM, water fountains are off, but visitors may bring clear containers of water. Food is not permitted. Reservations can be made online. Upon arrival, visitors should scan the QR code at the museum entrance to complete guest registration. The gift shop is limited to five visitors at a time. Only debit and credit cards will be accepted for payment. Donations to support museum operations can be made online or during checkout in the gift shop.
    Some areas of the Museum of the Cape Fear remain closed to the public. They include the steamboat exhibit, the Civil War soldier teaching corner and the general store. Visitors will be able to view these areas but not enter them. Residents can keep up to date by visiting the museum’s website at www.museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov. The facility is located at the corner of Bradford and Arsenal Avenues and is operated by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

    In 2007, the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex Foundation received a planning grant from the North Carolina General Assembly to perform a benchmarking and assessment study to determine whether a new museum should focus on the Civil War and Reconstruction period in North Carolina. Because of the existing museum’s location on one of North Carolina’s most important Civil War sites, consultants recommended that a new facility replace the existing regional museum with a major statewide history center. Much of the planning has already been done.

    According to the history center’s website, planners concluded that the entire state’s story is the most compelling one. A feasibility study validated this finding, demonstrating that the completed project will attract wider attention and stronger support by reaching beyond Fayetteville to tell the larger story. The result is an $80 million project involving a phased, multi-year approach to both fundraising and the history center’s overall development.

    The site will include a 60,000-square-foot visitor center built just outside the Fayetteville Arsenal’s archaeological footprint, protecting the remnants of the asset seized by Confederate forces in 1861 and leveled by William T. Sherman army four years later. The existing 1896 E. A. Poe House and three Civil War-era structures will comprise “History Village” and are incorporated into the larger, interpretive plan.

    13 01 ASOM

    13 02 Ghost Arsenal Tower









    Picture left: ASOM is now open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Weekend hours will be phased in gradually.

    Picture right: Museum of the Cape Fear is set to reopen. The new hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


  • 07 N1804P17007CThe Cumberland County Tax Administration office is mailing tax bills to property owners. Residents and business owners have until Jan. 5, 2021, to pay taxes with no interest charges. After that, unpaid tax bills incur a 2% interest charge the first month and .75% interest charge each month after that.

    The tax collector’s office is closed to the public because of COVID-19. Still, the county can assist taxpayers by telephone and email Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Tax bills may be paid online, by mail, by phone or by using the dropbox located outside the tax administration’s customer service office on the fifth floor of the county courthouse.

  • 02 cuties netflix 918x612 1 e1599759200697It is sad and somewhat ironic that at a time when here in Fayetteville we are celebrating Marquis de LaFayette, the French aristocrat and American Revolutionary War hero who lead American troops into battle and successfully assisted our young nation in winning its independence, the French, with their American accomplice Netflix, would introduce us to the motion picture “Cuties.”

    It is a pathetic movie exploiting and sexualizing very young girls that has Netflix scrambling to conjure up a socially acceptable defense justifying what many parents, grandparents and concerned American citizens are categorizing as disturbing child porn and blatant adolescent exploitation.

    On the surface this film is without any redeemable social value. And, even if the French movie maker, Ms. Maïmouna Doucouré, intentions were to make a pertinent social statement about the social pressures and challenges facing young girls today she missed the mark disgustingly on many fronts. Actually, she would have been better off hiring liberal activist Michael Moore to do a legitimate documentary on the subject matter. Regardless of Doucouré’s intentions, there was no mistaking the intentions of the California based Netflix Corporation after they released a sexually explicit poster sensationalizing and exploiting the innocence and sexuality of these very young girls.

    This movie was released on Sept. 9 and the storyline follows an 11-year-old girl named Amy who with her newly found 11-year-old friends form a dance group. They refine their moves by dancing and mimicking the adult sexually provocative and suggestive chorography they see on social media. They dance to sexually suggestive music with pelvic thrusts, twerking, touching themselves and gyrating around in skimpy outfits while broadcasting their own sexual immaturity and attracting enablers who lure and direct such innocents into a world of human slavery and bondage. Yes, it’s a pedophiles dream come true!

    Well, now people are outraged and rightfully so. Netflix is experiencing tens of thousands of cancelations that are costing them hundreds of millions of dollars. This is bipartisan outrage and disgust as it should be. Sexual exploitation of young children has no bias. It has no advocates. What concerns me and should concern all God-fearing Americans is the gross hypocrisy that accompanies these outrageous assaults on children and how these deplorable acts coalesce into our culture negatively transforming our communities and corrupting our way of life.

    Only we the people can stop this transformation of our country and deplorable acts such as the suggestive, overly sexual depiction of young girls. I said people … not Sheeple! (Sheeple defined: those who are uninvolved and apathetic to the world around them. They keep their heads down and prefer not to voice their opinions regardless of their convictions. Sheeples have no resolve or intestinal fortitude and are apt to be mindless followers without question or resolve.)

    I could opine for days on this subject, however, I will conclude with these thoughts. It was only a few weeks ago when the Fayetteville community gathered at a successful and heartfelt awareness rally about human trafficking and
    missing children. I heard several speakers call out appeals for assistance in searching out and finding these victims. I heard one person yell out “…children, we’re coming for you! We’ll find you. We will bring you home!” This was just days after celebrating the rescue of 39 young children from deviate criminals in Georgia and surrounding states. Yet, it will be the Sheeple who will allow movies as corrupt, disgusting and influential like “Cuties” to exist only to empower criminals and deviates.

    Worst of all, while the Sheeple are voicing their sentiments and lame bravado behind the anonymous screens of social media their young and vulnerable children and grandchildren are in the next room being victimized utilizing the same unsupervised social media conduits. Social media becomes their teacher, their parents and, their role model. A young girl’s life is now judged by anonymous critiques and her worth as a human being is measured by how many “Likes” she can accumulate. No wonder suicide rates among teenage girls age 10-14 are rising at a rate of 12.7% per year. This is 5.5% higher than boys. Google it!

    Netflix is making big, big money. Many prominent Americans are associated with Netflix and they too are making big, big money. So, don’t expect things to change anytime soon. However, what you can do is encourage people to stand up and speak up for American and Christian values. Secure and defend what they believe in. Don’t become a Sheeple. America and our freedom will depend on this. We need more loyal patriotic Americans standing up for what is decent and right. “Cuties” is not decent or right, yet it is the near perfect example of what we are up against in the 21st century.

    Sheeple cannot and will not protect or children, our freedom or our country.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 04 harriet jacobsYou surely recognize the name Frederick Douglass and know the major role he played in American history after escaping his enslavement in Maryland in 1838. You may even know that the publication of his memoir — "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" — was a turning point in American letters.

    But do you recognize the name Harriet Jacobs?

    She also emancipated herself through acts of courage and determination. She also wrote a widely read memoir of her enslavement and liberation. And she was a North Carolinian, one of the many of our state’s heroes who deserves memorializing in the form of monuments, statues or other works of public art.

    Harriet Jacobs was born in 1813 in Edenton, one of three children born to her mother Delilah Horniblow. After Delilah died in 1819, Harriet came under the care of her white owner’s daughter, who fatefully taught Harriet how to read and write.

    Her next owner, Dr. James Norcom, was a cruel man who soon made his lustful intentions clear. With few options available to protect herself, Harriet initiated a relationship with another prominent Edenton citizen, Samuel Sawyer, a University of North Carolina-trained lawyer later elected to Congress.

    Harriet had two children by Sawyer, fending off Norcom’s advances for a while, but eventually Norcom was able to remove her to a more-remote location and threatened to subject her children to great suffering if she didn’t do what he wanted.

    She refused, and this is where her tale took an even more remarkable turn. Escaping first to a swamp, and then to her grandmother’s house, Harriet Jacobs hid in the attic’s crawl space — only nine feet long, seven feet wide and three feet high — for nearly seven years.

    Finally, in 1842, she escaped to a ship, then to the North, where she found a home in New York. Her brother John Jacobs had made it to freedom, as well, and she took refuge with him in Boston the following year when James Norcom came hunting for her in New York.

    Both Harriet and John Jacobs became active in the abolitionist movement. During the 1850s, white and Black friends alike urged Harriet to tell her own story, as Frederick Douglass had done. But Harriet worried that readers would condemn her morals for initiating the affair with Samuel Sawyer in order to escape Norcom’s advances.

    Finally, after several false starts, "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" was published in 1861. Although presented as a novel with names and places changed, it became widely known that Jacobs had written her own story in its pages.

    Contrary to her expectation, readers across America and beyond admired her fortitude and perseverance amidst great suffering — among other things, her seven years hiding in the crawl space had permanently impaired her health.

    During the Civil War, Harriet first toured the Northern states as a speaker and fundraiser, then plunged into relief work in the South, cofounding a school for freed slaves in Alexandria and, later, in Savannah. She lived to be 84 years old, dying in Washington.

    One of my favorite passages of the book describes a visit Harriet makes to England with the orphaned daughter of a white friend. After a dinner in a London hotel, she and the girl retire to their room. “For the first time in my life I was in a place where I was treated according to my deportment, without reference to my complexion,” she writes. “I felt as if a great millstone had been lifted from my breast. Ensconced in a pleasant room, with my dear little charge, I laid my head on my pillow, for the first time, with the delightful consciousness of pure, unadulterated freedom.”

    Pure, unadulterated freedom is what she and so many other North Carolinians were long denied. Pure, unadulterated freedom is the goal for which so many fought, sometimes paying the ultimate price. By commemorating Harriet Jacobs, we can honor and advance that freedom for future generations.

  • 12 N1506P39009CSome N.C. felons who have finished their active prison time will be able to cast ballots in the 2020 election, based on a 2-1 ruling from a state Superior Court panel.

    The court’s order applies to any felon who is out of prison but still must pay fees or fines before his criminal sentence is considered complete.

    The ruling in Community Success Initiative v. Moore represents a partial victory for the “Unlock Our Vote Campaign,” led by an advocacy group called Forward Justice. The group’s lawsuit filed in November 2019 aimed to restore voting rights for almost 60,000 convicted felons not serving active prison time. Supporters argued that state laws regarding restoration of voting rights for felons violate the N.C. Constitution.

    The Sept. 4 ruling in the case offered plaintiffs mixed news. The judges refused to strike down voting restrictions for all felons who have completed active prison sentences. But two members of the panel — Judges Lisa Bell and Keith Gregory — agreed that money-related requirements for post-release felons create unconstitutional restrictions of voting rights.

    “As Defendants correctly argue, the express words of [the challenged state statute] do not in and of themselves create different classifications of persons convicted of felonies — all such persons remain disenfranchised until they have been ‘unconditionally discharged,’” the judges wrote. “However, by requiring an unconditional discharge that includes payments of all monetary obligations imposed by the court, [the statute] creates a wealth classification that punishes felons who are genuinely unable to comply with the financial terms of their judgment more harshly than those who are able to comply.”

    Bell and Gregory agreed to grant a preliminary injunction allowing those felons to cast ballots this year. The judges limited their injunction to felons now prevented from voting “solely as a result of them being subject to an assessment of fees, fines, or other debts arising from a felony conviction.”

    Felons on probation or parole with no outstanding fees or fines would not be affected.

    The third judge in the case — John Dunlow — agreed with his colleagues only in the parts of their ruling that rejected plaintiffs’ arguments. Dunlow would have thrown out the entire lawsuit and ruled in favor of the defendants.

    “The Plaintiffs, throughout their complaint, briefs, filings, and arguments, complain of North Carolina’s ‘disenfranchisement scheme,’ ‘disenfranchisement statute,’ and ‘disenfranchisement of citizens,'” Dunlow wrote. “The disenfranchisement of which Plaintiffs complain is in no way attributable to [the challenged statute]. No reasonable reading of the plain language of [the statute] could be interpreted to disenfranchise any person. Rather, the sole purpose of [the statute] is to provide a mechanism whereby individuals who have been convicted of a felony offense may be re-enfranchised.”

    The N.C. Republican Party responded to the ruling. “It is outrageous for these judges to change the rules for an election when absentee ballots have already started going out and voting has begun,” N.C. GOP Chairman Michael Whatley said in an emailed statement. “This is yet another example of why we need to elect Conservative Judges who will apply the law rather ran re-write the laws they don’t like.”

  • 06 James McConville 2President Donald Trump used to refer to military commanders as “his generals.” Recently, he claimed that “the soldiers are in love with me.”

    U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville has pushed back on Trump’s assertion that Pentagon leaders go to war to please arms manufacturers. “I can assure the American people that the senior leaders would only recommend sending our troops to combat when it’s required for national security and as a last resort,” McConville said during an interview with Defense One online. Trump told White House reporters that “the top people in the Pentagon” don’t like him “because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

    McConville made a point of saying he was not responding to Trump’s claims. A recent Military Times poll found that Trump’s support among active-duty service members has fallen over the past year. The Atlantic magazine this month reported that Trump disparaged U.S. service members as “losers” and “suckers,” allegations that have been confirmed by the Associated Press, CNN and other news organizations. The White House has vehemently denied the allegations.

    Pictured: U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville

  • 14 71C4RqYdxtLHe had to tell me that my beloved Uncle Remus was not coming back — ever. Randall Kenan was jovial, kind and wise, not unlike the Uncle Remus he was taking away from me.

    Kenan, died last week at a much too early 57. Like Uncle Remus, he was an expert on trickster stories, mainly based on legends from Africa and about animals and mischievous creatures who were cunning and smart and had an ability to somehow get around the powerful and the oppressive by tricking them.

    That, I said, is just like Br’er Fox who tricked Br’er Rabbit into hitting and getting stuck in a tar baby figure.

    Then the rabbit told the fox he could do anything with him, but “Please don’t throw me in the briar patch.” So, of course, the fox threw the rabbit in the briar patch, where the rabbit called out happily, “I was born and bred in the briar patch.”

    I told Kenan that I loved these stories told by the old African American man to the young white boy, the son or grandson perhaps of the owner of the farm where Uncle Remus spent his life.

    Kenan explained that the African-based trickster stories had been appropriated by a white man, Joel Chandler Harris, who put the stories into the mouth of Uncle Remus, who was a caricature of a subservient and happy black man, content with his subservient condition.

    I tried to persuade Kenan to take the trickster tales and repurpose them. Reframe them, I said, so that current and future generations would have the same benefit of the wisdom that I had found in the Uncle Remus stories.

    Kenan did not preach to me about the underlying racism in the Uncle Remus stories. He just smiled, shook his head, and said simply, “I don’t think I want to do that.”

    Kenan had multiple other projects that worked better for him. In 1989, he published his first novel, “A Visitation of Spirits.” In 1992 came a collection of short stories, “Let the Dead Bury Their Dead.”

    In 1999 he published “Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century,” a much admired account of his journey to African American communities across America.

    A book of his short stories, “If I had Two Wings,” came out just a few
    weeks ago.

    Most important for him, he had his students at UNC-Chapel Hill to care for.

    I liked him best when he wrote about food. In 2016, he edited “Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food,” a beautiful set of essays about food in the South.

    His essay in that collection was based on the foods served at funerals in his native Duplin County, specifically what neighbors brought when his great uncle died.

    “People showing up heavy-laden with food to the homes of the recently deceased. Hams, fried chicken, oven-baked barbecue chicken, pork chops smothered in gravy, dirty rice, Spanish rice, potato salad galore, slaw, sweet potato casseroles, candied yams, hushpuppies, cornbread, soup, chopped pork barbecue, collard greens, pound cake, chocolate cake, coconut cake, pineapple cake, red velvet cake, sweet potato pie, lemon meringue pie.”

    Kenan appeared on North Carolina Bookwatch twice and was guest host two other-times.

    Those four programs are worth watching just to see the cheerful smiling twinkling eyes shining from his dark face.

    At another time he could have passed for a younger Uncle Remus, but his wisdom, quiet intensity, and commitment to racial justice always shone through on Bookwatch whether he was asking or answering questions.

    Thanks to his wise counsel, I have learned to live without Uncle Remus. But I am not sure how I am ever going to learn to live without Randall Kenan.

  • 16 cyber safetyPeople rely on the internet every day. In recent months, reliance on digital technology was pushed even further as social distancing measures had the world going online for school and work and to maintain relationships with friends and family.

    A report from Pew Research Center indicated that nearly 25% of young adults in America reported being online almost constantly.

    Common Sense Media says teens spend an average of nine hours a day online, compared to roughly six hours for those between the ages eight and 12 and 50 minutes for kids younger than eight.

    Students must exercise caution when spending time online.

    Connectivity can be empowering, but it also puts students at risk from others and even their own, sometimes irresponsible behaviors. Staying safe online should remain a priority for students who must spend more time on the internet and using digital education tools.

    These are some tips for maintaining cyber safety.

    Exercise caution when sharing information like your name, address, phone number, and other personal data online.

    Check with a trusted parent or teacher before sharing private data.

    Report any online activity that makes you feel uncomfortable, scared or confused, whether it is directed at you or a classmate.

    Think carefully before you post comments online. Data remains online indefinitely, and your words and actions today can greatly affect your future.

    Respect others online by refraining from demeaning or bullying comments.

    Do not try to get around firewalls and blocked websites set up by school administrators. These limitations are there for your protection.

    Stick to school-sanctioned assignments and internet browsing when using school-issued devices.

    Administrators may have the right to monitor student activity without students’ knowledge and you can easily get yourself in trouble.

    It is easy to hide or fake one’s identity on the internet, so never take someone you meet or speak with online at face value.

    Never meet up with someone you do not know or only met online.

    Talk to your parents or educators about extortion and ransomware that tries to trick you into providing payment in some shape or form to prevent a perpetrator from releasing private information about you, advises the Readiness and Emergency for Schools Technical Assistance Center.

    Various steps can be taken to promote cyber safety among students, parents and administrators.

  • 17 littel white and green canoeThe little canoe my wife and I like to paddle across Hope Mills Lake is far from what I'd call a boat, a ship or anything else. I'm not a sailor. But in addition to the myriad shows I've watched, I have listened closely to the stories of those who set sail in larger craft on deeper waters.

    Here's one thing I learned: On the surface, the winds can sweep across the sea at stunning speeds, bringing with them blowing rain, lightning, thunder and an ominous darkness. Waves can grow to 20 or 30 feet high.

    During a storm like this, a ship can be tossed around like a toy boat. It’s not uncommon for an oceangoing craft to be lost in such storms.

    But underneath the surface, just 100 feet down, there’s no storm. All is perfectly still. No sound. No tumult. Not even a ripple.

    Let me take an intentional side journey and apply those verifiable facts to the people like you and me, caught in the tumultuous events that occurred (and are still occurring) in our city, nation and world.

    If you observe closely, there is a clear view of those who react much like the surface of the water in an ocean storm. They're tossed around, at once gathered and scattered, dissipating their own strength as the wind of another change blows them where it will.

    Then there are those who seem largely unaffected. Same sea, same storm, just more calm. The difference for those people is very much the same as the ocean — there's more depth.

    My family has endured some ridiculously weighty circumstances in our short time on earth. Probably not unlike you, I expect. Maybe different storms, but we've all been tossed around in one way or another during our lives.

    I've been surprised by the peace I had as we walked through some of the worst storms imaginable.

    So let me share what I know about peace — it's tied to something Jesus said as recorded in John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

    Author and apologist Ravi Zacharias tells of an Indian proverb that says, "whatever you are overflowing with will spill out when you're bumped. It has in mind, a village woman carrying a port or an urn of milk or water or something on her head. And it's right to the brim. And suddenly as some careless lad runs across her path and she stops for a moment and whatever is up to the brim there, begins to spill out.

    "It is intended to convey what your real character is about. Whoever you are in your character, that characteristic will spill out when somebody annoys you or cuts into your path.”

  • 08 Paratroopers in the middle eastThe U.S. will send about 2,200 troops home from Iraq by the end of this month, CENTCOM Commander and Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie announced from Baghdad.

    President Trump made the formal announcement. "That announcement will be followed by another one in the coming days on a further reduction in U.S. forces in Afghanistan," Reuters reported.

    This would be the first big reduction of U.S. troops deployed to the Middle East since the ISIS war started more than six years ago.

    The 82nd Airborne Division was among the first military units mobilized in response to the escalation of tensions in the middle easy earlier this year. Four thousand 82nd troops deployed to Kuwait and Syria as the result of Iranian threats.

    Actions by the Iranians and the U.S. increased tensions in the region not seen since before the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  • 11 KindredKindred Ministries announces a partnership with Cape Fear Regional Theatre and its Passport Series, with the help of a grant of $2550 from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.

    "Kindred Ministries is so grateful to have received this grant from the Arts Council,” said Dr. Scott Cameron, founder of Kindred Ministries.

    “It will enable our community of adults with and without intellectual disabilities to access an incredible arts program at CFRT!"

    Kindred Ministries exists to create opportunities for adults of all abilities to grow in friendship, primarily through the avenue of a daytime program.

    A valuable component of that daytime program is the Passports Series with CFRT. Throughout the course of the Series, participants gather weekly to create, write and eventually perform an
    original story.

    The community is then invited to the performance, encountering a stage where people typically pushed to the margins are at the center.

    Much of what Kindred does is dependent upon the gracious support of grants and other outside funding sources.

    “The Arts Council is pleased to partner with Kindred Ministries in support of the partnership with CFRT for the Passport Series," said Bob Pinson, interim president and CEO of the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.

    “Project Support Grants for 2020-21 will help fund 20 projects facilitated by 15 nonprofit organizations.

    These projects help strengthen our communities through festivals and concerts, youth education programs, art exhibitions and workshops, and more.”

    Project Support Grants increase opportunities for access to arts, science, cultural and historical programming in Cumberland County.

    The grants are awarded to nonprofit agencies in Cumberland County that demonstrate financial and administrative stability.

    Kindred Ministries exists to create a community where our friends with disabilities are at the center and, as a result, everyone thrives.

    It is built on the foundation of mutuality: that we can help each other, that we can learn from each other, and that when you really get to know each other, you might just encounter a kindred spirit.
    The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County serves more than 330,000 residents of Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

    Since 1973, the Arts Council has ensured growth in our children’s education, our community’s cultural identity and our economic progress.

    The Arts Council’s grants, programs and services are funded in part by contributions from businesses and individuals and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

  • 03 01 President Trump Official PortraitWe Americans talk a big game about voting, but we have not always and do not now walk the walk. When our nation was founded in the late 18th century, the only legal voters were white tax-paying or property-owning men, estimated at about 6% of the new country’s population. Gradually, voting qualifications loosened to include nonproperty owning white men. North Carolina was the last state to do this in 1856 and later included Black men after the Civil War. With the struggle for civil rights in the middle part of the 20th century, and especially the Voting Rights Act of 1965, women of all colors were the cow’s tail of voting, achieving suffrage only 100 years ago, in 1920.

    It is no exaggeration to say that Americans fought and died for the right to vote, as have people in other countries. So, to say that I was offended by President Donald Trump’s remarks in North Carolina about voting twice — once by mail and once in person — is no exaggeration. Voting is nothing to make light of, make fun of, or test the waters with. Voting, in my mind at least, is a scared responsibility for every American, every adult’s right to participate in guiding our nation in the path we find most appropriate for us and the rest of humanity.

    Trump suggested that North Carolinians and other Americans vote more than once — for him, of course, and what he was actually saying is “commit a felony.” In doing so, he cheapened himself, his office and us, the American voters.


    While we are on politics, North Carolina recently received a big fat “D” for women’s participation in the political process. The NC Council for Women and Children and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds that only 25% of our legislators are women, as are only two of 13 members of Congress.

    And why should we care? Women are not necessarily better legislators than men — some are, and some are not. We are different legislators with different life experiences and different priorities. Our points of view need to be at the public policy table when decisions are made.

    U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar says flatly, “Women are held to a higher standard.”
    Brianna Wu, a candidate for Congress from Massachusetts, agrees. “…men are given the most generous interpretation possible about who they are and what they want to do, and women are held to the most skeptical, cynical standard possible.”

    This is a real phenomenon. So is male privilege.


    03 02 N2009P35006CEveryone — man, woman and child — has COVID-19 fatigue. We are tired of confinement and not spending time with the people we care about. Conversely, we are also tired of spending time with the same people day after day, of working remotely and of shepherding our children through virtual school. We are tired of worrying about the pandemic’s economic effects, not only on our own families but on our state, nation and the rest of the world. That we are having occasional meltdowns and urges to “be free” is no surprise.

    That said, we are also having a great time with the amazingly creative and funny side of confinement. Being cooped up has brought out the wacky observer in many of us, and the rest of us are enjoying it. There is the at home COVID-19 test involving sniffing and tasting one’s favorite adult beverage to determine whether those senses remain operational. One friend said she took that test seven times one evening and planned to take it again the next day. My current favorite is an impersonation of a school administrator. Dena Blizzard bills herself as One Funny Mother, and that she is. Check her out for a good laugh, especially for teachers and parents trying to navigate virtual education.

  • The middle of September ushers in the unofficial beginning of fall, a time of year when many feel reenergized by cooler temperatures and are eager to spend more hours outdoors enjoying all the local area has to offer. Whether one is collecting leaves, picking pumpkins, exploring corn mazes, or biking one of the many trails, autumn is full of fun opportunities that can make the season that much more enjoyable.

    Fayetteville Cumberland Parks and Recreation offers a number of outdoor activities for the whole family, from a community garden, bike and jogging trails to the new skate park. Although COVID-19 restrictions have closed many facilities, all parks, trails and the Rowan Street Skate Park are open. Playgrounds reopened earlier this month. Basketball courts at all parks remain closed. Recreation centers remain closed. The pools and splash pads have been closed the entire summer due to COVID-19 restrictions.

    FCPR posts updates to hours and restrictions on its webpage and Facebook page. For more information on specific locations, visit www.fcpr.us/ or www.facebook.com/fcpr.us, or call the administrative office at 910-433-1547.
    Gardening can be a fun and educational activity for all ages and can be physically and mentally engaging. The potential benefits are endless.

    The Fayetteville Community Garden is a five-acre area with plots available for planting vegetables, flowers and herbs. Plots are raised beds about 20 feet by 20 feet. Patrons rent space, and FCPR supplies garden boxes, compost and water. The garden is organic in nature, therefore no chemicals or synthetic herbicides, insecticides, fungicides or fertilizers are allowed. Plots may be rented for $25. The garden is open year-round during daylight hours. The garden is located at the intersection of Vanstory and Mann Streets.

    Clark Park and its Nature Center join the Cape Fear River Trail and Moses Mathis “Bicycle Man” playground/trailhead to form a complex suited to hours of enjoyment and education. The city’s second largest regional park remains a natural area dedicated to preserving the environment, educating the public about nature, and providing the only camping in the area. The Nature Center's museum features displays and free viewing of live animals.

    Visitors can picnic overlooking the woods and one of the highest waterfalls east of the mountains. For those interested in walking or jogging, the park has its own set of unpaved trails and also serves as a trailhead for the paved CFRT. Well behaved, leashed pets are welcome on trails as long you clean up after them.

    Clark Park Nature Center offers nature and recreation programming for educators, groups, individuals and families. You must preregister for all programs. Contact the park office at 910-433-1579 for program information or visit www.facebook.com/fcprnature.

    The Cape Fear River Trail is a 10-foot-wide paved path for walkers, joggers and bicyclists. It winds for nearly 5.3 miles, one-way, through a beautiful blend of trees, plants and wildlife with views of the river. The terrain can be flat or slightly hilly. In addition to wooden bridges, including one covered bridge, there is more than 1,000 feet of boardwalk through the marsh and wetlands along the trail.

    Along the trail are signs explaining the wildlife and plant life found in the area. There are more than 700 species of plants and trees and 150 species of birds. Frogs, lizards and turtles are common sights, with an occasional deer. The River Trail area is home to an unusual combination and diversity of hardwood trees.

    The Cape Fear Mountain Bike Trail is a feature of the Cape Fear River Trail/Clark Park area with just under three miles of trail accessible off the CFRT. Access is located 1 mile north of Clark Park, traveling towards Methodist College (not far from the intersection with Eastwood Avenue). It consists of two sections on opposite sides of the trail. The first half mile is more technical with tighter turns and rollers, suitable for experienced riders. After crossing the CFRT it becomes a meandering woodland trail for beginners.

    The trails are open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk. Parking is available at Clark Park. Restrooms are located at the Jordan Soccer Complex and at the Clark Park Nature Center during Clark Park’s operating hours.

    For those interested in agritourism, Gillis Hill Farm is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

    The Gillis family has been farming the same land for nine generations, starting in the timber business, moving to traditional row crops and agritourism over the years.

    For the price of an ice cream (or a $3 ticket), visitors can go on a self-guided tour of the working farm.

    Gillis Hill also offers school and group tours that run twice daily at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday through Friday. Group tours consist of a "Farm Life" movie showing what it’s like as a kid growing up on the farm, a historic walking tour, a wagon ride, animal feeding and a seed kit to take home.

    The farm is located at 2701 Gillis Hill Rd. in Fayetteville. To schedule a tour or find additional information, call 910-867-2350 or visit https://ghfarm.square.site/.

    A visit to Gross Farms offers fun and entertainment for the whole family with sites and activities including a 10-acre corn maze, a pumpkin patch, hayrides, a play area and a picnic area. Visitors can purchase a combo ticket for access to everything or buy tickets for individual activities. Military and group discounts are available.

    Gross Farms is located at 1606 Pickett Road in Sandford. For information, call 919-498-6727 or visit www.grossfarms.com.

    Hubb’s Farm is another agritourism destination with activities to entertain the whole family, including a corn maze, pumpkin patch, animals and a long list of attractions. In addition to being a year-round venue to book parties and events, the farm offers school and group tours.

    In addition to regular farm activities, there are a number of seasonal events scheduled.

    Sunflowers Galore is scheduled to open today with opportunities Sept. 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25. Sunflower stems can be purchased and visitors can take photographs in the sunflower field.

    The Fall Drive-In Movie Series begins Sept. 26 and runs every Saturday in October. Gates open at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 8 p.m. Movie titles will be posted on the website.

    The corn maze and pumpkin patch will run Sept. 26 through Nov. 7 on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1–6 p.m. Weekday hours are yet to be set.

    The Flashlight Maze will be open 7-10 p.m. on Friday nights in October. Visitors can navigate the maze under the stars. Fire pits can be reserved.

    Hubb’s Farm is located at 10276 US Hwy 421 North in Clinton. For more information call 910-564-6709 or visit www.hubbsfarmnc.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/HubbsFarmNC/.

    18 01 hubbs farm sunflower

    18 02 Gillis Hill Farm Halloween from their Facebook18 03 CF Bike Trail


    Pictures left to right:

    Sunflowers Galore opens Sept. 16 at Hubb's Farm. For a small fee, visitors can pose for photos in the field, or purchase stems to take home.

    The Cape Fear Mountain Bike Trail is accessible off the Cape Fear River Trail. It offers areas for beginners and experienced riders.

    Gillis Hill Farm is open for self-guided walks or group tours through the farm.







  • 10 N1310P59003CMothers Against Drunk Driving, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of its founding on Saturday, Sept. 5, has released a new survey that measures the American public’s attitudes and knowledge about the impact of marijuana on traffic safety.

    According to the survey, one in eight U.S. adults admits to having driven under the influence of marijuana. And as more states legalize marijuana use, it’s no surprise that 76% of the American public believe that incidents of driving after consuming marijuana will increase.

    The alarming new findings came just ahead of Labor Day weekend, one of the most dangerous times for travel on America’s roads. Nearly 40% of all traffic deaths on Labor Day weekend in 2018 were caused by drunk driving. While traffic deaths caused by marijuana and other drugs are not yet tracked with the same consistency as alcohol, law enforcement officers have reported a steady rise in marijuana-impaired drivers, which increases the risk of more preventable tragedies.

    “MADD has spent 40 years changing the culture so that drunk driving is now unacceptable in America. Over that time, we have seen drunk driving fatality rates cut in half due to our efforts, and yet we still see major spikes in traffic deaths during busy travel weekends like Labor Day,” said MADD National President Helen Witty, whose 16-year-old daughter Helen Marie was killed by a drunk and marijuana-impaired driver. “We are deeply concerned about the combination of alcohol consumption and other drugs such as marijuana increasing the risk of tragedies on our roads.”

    To keep our nation’s highways safe, MADD is embarking on a broad initiative to educate all U.S. drivers of the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana. Through program enhancements, public outreach and corporate alliances, MADD will continue its fight to eliminate drunk and drugged driving.

    In February 2020*, MADD commissioned IPSOS, a global leader in market research, to conduct a nationwide study of adults 18 and older. The research was aimed at understanding the attitudes and awareness related to driving under the influence of marijuana, along with knowledge of the laws that surround it.

    “With two-thirds of the states now allowing some form of legal use of marijuana, MADD is concerned that a clear lack of understanding about the risks of marijuana-impaired driving threatens the safety of our nation’s highways,” Witty said. “The survey highlights the confusion that exists and the shocking number of people who are consuming marijuana and driving.”

    Additional findings include:
    • 27% recall a friend or family member driving within two hours of consuming alcohol sometime during the past three months.
    • 26% think that driving after recent consumption of marijuana is “not too concerning” or “not at all concerning”.
    • 31% of parents and grandparents report discussing the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol “often”. While 43% of parents and grandparents surveyed reported “never” broaching the subject of driving high with the next generation.
    • There is uncertainty whether it is legal to drive impaired by marijuana: 40% view this as a serious crime, 27% say it is only a minor traffic offense, 4% think it is legal, and 27% are unsure.
    • 41% are unsure or incorrectly believe that people who regularly use marijuana are generally not impaired, making it safe to drive.

    “This survey is critical to directing our outreach and education programs as we look to the next 40 years of our mission and our strategies to stop these 100% preventable and violent crashes, deaths and injuries caused by driving while impaired by marijuana and other drugs,” Witty said. “MADD is grateful to State Farm© and General Motors for their support in funding this important project. We thank them for their dedication to our shared mission to stop these tragedies that destroy families and devastate our communities.”

    To review the survey results, visit https://www.madd.org/the-solution/drugged-driving-prevention/

    *This survey was conducted February 14–18, 2020, before widespread impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. It is viewed as a baseline of perceptions and attitudes.

    About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
    Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped save more than 390,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50% and promote designating a nondrinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP (877-623-3435). Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD (877-275-6233).

  • 07 web design development Copy 2Beginning Oct. 1, the city of Fayetteville’s Development Services Department will be operating digitally. All development projects and plans will be serviced electronically through a new web portal, which will serve as a one-stop-shop for information developers need. The department oversees planning and code enforcement, zoning and rezoning, special-use and building permits as well as inspections, plus city engineering and infrastructure assignments. It’s a means by which city officials can be more transparent and accountable to its customers.

    “It also saves them time, money and headaches tracking down what is happening to their plans,” said Development Services Director Gerald Newton.

    In 2019, the city’s Development Services and Information Technology Departments caused the new portal for site plans to be submitted and reviewed electronically. To learn more about Fayetteville’s development rules and future land use plans, visit https://www.fayettevillenc.gov/city-services/development-services.

  • 02 02 VFNC groupThe Veteran’s Farm of North Carolina, Inc. will host its inaugural “Boots to Roots: A Farm Tasting” at the Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom in Hope Mills on Sunday, Sept. 20.

    After receiving a National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant in May from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the VFNC began organizing the launch of the Veterans Agricultural Training and Education Program.

    The VATEP is a new initiative designed to provide 60 military veterans with hands-on vocational training on a farm in the agricultural industry.

    VFNC Executive Director and Marine Corps veteran Robert Elliott will launch the organizations first VATEP class this fall, in a partnership with Fayetteville Technical Community College.

    "VFNC's ultimate goal is to train, network and equip veterans, allowing them to easily transition into the agricultural industry to further serve our country while experiencing a life of peace," Elliott said in a release announcing the upcoming farm tasting event.

    The VFNC is striving for program sustainability through efforts such as the “Boots to Roots” series of fundraiser events.

    The “Boots to Roots” events are collaborations with other veteran-owned businesses who will facilitate and host the farm-to-table tastings. The goal is to raise money to assist the VFNC with funding to support and expand its

    Transitioning from the military to civilian life can be challenging. The VFNC strives to assist veterans with training and networking while equipping them with a toolbox of skills needed to transition into the agricultural industry. North Carolina is home to many veteran-owned businesses, including veteran farmers. Creating a support network between these businesses and the general public is a win-win for the local community and veterans alike.

    Kicking off this VFNC series of events is veteran-owned favorite Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom, affectionately known as DBA to locals. This first “Farmer-Veteran Celebration” will be held under the DBA outdoor pavilion.

    Brewmaster Vernardo “Tito” Simmons-Valenzuela will serve up signature craft beer flights paired with the small plates created by Brian Graybill, veteran owner of the DBA on-site restaurant, Napkins.

    Graybill takes his inspiration for the fall-inspired tasting menu from the produce, meat, seafood and other products all grown, raised and produced on farmer-veteran farms in North Carolina.

    The menu includes fall bruschetta, autumn salad, empanadas de chorizo, catfish croquetas, lamb bulgogi, beef barbacoa and bisteca con chimichurri. Ingredients for the menu are being provided by Watson Sanders Farm, Pappy’s Urban Farm, CATHIS Farm, Cedar Creek Fish Farm, Purpose Driven Family Farm, Green-Eyed Farms and Spartan Tusk & Feather Livestock.

    Featured farmer-veterans will be located at various stations around the tent during the event. Each will serve attendees their featured small plate created by Napkins as attendees rotate from station to station.

    Ernesto Rivas, veteran and acoustic guitar player, will provide live music. Guests will have a chance to win harvest baskets donated by local veteran artisans and business owners in a 50/50 raffle.

    All staff and servers will wear masks and adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. Guests are asked to wear masks when not seated, drinking or eating.

    This farm-to-table event will be split into two seatings with the first from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and the second from 7-9 p.m.

    The cost is $65 per single ticket or $120 per pair, which covers food from Napkins, a flight of 5-ounce beers from DBA and live music.

    No refunds will be issued, but tickets may be transferred to others. The event is open to adults, 21 years and older. DBA is located at 5435 Corporation Drive in Hope Mills.

    For tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/boots-to-roots-a-farm-tasting-tickets-114750521900

    Pictured: The Veteran's Farm of NC, Inc. is a farm designed and dedicated to instructing and training servicemembers on all aspects of agriculture.

  • 08 Opioid overdose Copy 4The National Institutes of Health classifies the misuse and addiction to opioids as a national crisis. A mayoral proclamation issued last week observed that people who have substance addictions can accidentally overdose on prescription opioids.

    Opiates include morphine, heroin, fentanyl, tramadol and methadone. Overdose symptoms include breathing problems and unconsciousness. Fayetteville police and firefighters have used naloxone nasal spray to treat opioid emergencies, saving hundreds of lives over the last four years.

    Naloxone, also known by the trade name Narcan®, is given right away but does not take the place of emergency medical care. Emergency help is needed right away after a dose of the nasal spray is administered, even if the person wakes up, as symptoms may return.

    Opioid overdose information is available at www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/patients/Preventing-an-Opioid-Overdose-Tip-Card-a.pdf or by calling 911 if you suspect someone is overdosing.

  • 10 Business ResourcesThe Cumberland County Community Development agency is operating a new grant cycle to assist qualified local businesses that have suffered economic hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Small Business Resiliency Program targets small businesses with 10 or fewer full-time employees, providing grants up to $10,000. As part of an earlier cycle, 18 local businesses received notice of awards. Several more businesses are pending final review.

    The Small Business Resiliency program is supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. To be eligible, businesses must operate within the Cumberland County geographic service area outside the city of Fayetteville, which has its own program.

    To learn more, visit the Small Business Resiliency Grant Program link on the Community Development page of the Cumberland County website at co.cumberland.nc.us.

  • 04 IMG 3238Has the world been too much with you lately, Binky? Social isolation and mask fights with total strangers getting you down? Can you remember B.C., the time Before Corona? Recall those thrilling days of B.C. when you could go to a restaurant without worrying the patron who coughed was going to send you into the tender arms of a ventilator to enjoy chemically induced coma dreams. We are now living in A.T., or the After Times. The Rona, like the Force, is with us. Times are frustrating if you believe in The Rona.

    What if you don’t believe in The Rona? You are just as frustrated. In your world, the Rona talk is just fake news and fake dead people. Americans believing in Rona are sheeple to be scorned, or worse. You know the truth, and they don’t. The After Times is double-plus ungood because you are surrounded by dummies. According to Mr. Google, the QAnon believe “that a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles running a global child sex trafficking ring is plotting against Donald Trump, who is battling them.” That’s a pretty dark place in which to live. No wonder you are upset.

    One subset of Americans believes in A, and another subgroup believes in Not-A. This might not work out well. With the shutdown of much of the economy, many Americans are spending time binge-watching their personal cable news silo and social media feed, leaving little time for interaction with Americans who don’t believe as they do. If you don’t talk to people with different beliefs, it is easy to believe that your team is righteous, and the other team are evildoers who should be
    locked away.

    As the column ‘Can this marriage be saved’ in Ladies Home Journal used to ask back in the 1950s, can the American marriage be saved? Sure, it can. We need to find something both sides can agree upon. Like Merlin the magician, I have the answer to bring us together again. It is too much to expect both sides will like the same thing. Positivity is so 20th Century. If we can’t find something both sides like, admire the other side of the coin to find something both sides can dislike.

    Negativity, like Bit O’ Honey candy’s old slogan, goes a long, long way. Hate will bring us together.

    So, what should we hate collectively? Can’t be the Russians, as one side admires Putin’s strongman tactics. I pondered this question for at least five minutes before coming up with the answer. Like John Prine once said, “I’ve got muscles in my head that have never been used.”

    Suddenly, a muscle in my head twitched. Imitating Archimedes in the bathtub, I yelled” Eureka!” I found the solution. Obnoxious TV commercials were the answer. These ads show up on Fox and CNN. They reach both audiences in America.

    Everybody hates certain ads. Everybody sees them. Hate is all you need to reunite the country. As someone once said about the boxer Riddick Bowe, I had a spasm of lucidity which might save the country from Civil War 2.

    Ponder the Navage Nose Cleaner ads for a product that will make your sinuses so clean that you can eat off them. It has salt pods. It has powered suction. It will suck the dust mites and cooties right out of your head with a device that resembles the space creature from the movie “Alien.” Remember that great scene in “Alien” where a critter jumps out of a space egg and attaches itself to John Hurt’s helmet and then into his sinuses? Every time I see the Navage ad, I think of a hungry space alien yearning to suck out my brains. It would not be much of a meal. But it is an ad that Don Draper of Sterling Cooper would be proud of because it is as obnoxious as it is unforgettable.

    Another product which could unite Americans in dislike is “Pure Zzzs,” which Vicks advertises as Kidz Melatonin Gummies. It is a blend of “botanical essential oils, including lavender and chamomile,” which will put little Jimmy to sleep naturally without drugs. The ad says Zzzs are “natural berry-flavored gummies. Convenient and great tasting gummies that kids love — so you both will be looking forward to bedtime.” Remember candy cigarettes that tobacco companies used to push to get kids started on the sophistication of smoking? Mom, Pop and the little tyke will all look forward to Junior taking a hit of melatonin gummies to go to sleep and stop whining. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, particularly for Vicks. What could go wrong with a product that tastes yummy and puts kids to sleep? Kids would never think to dose themselves with what they think is candy would they?

    Hate will keep us together. Think of commercials you can’t stand. Call up a former friend you stopped speaking to due to their political views. Tell them about commercials you hate. Renew “Auld Lang Syne.” Sing them some modified love songs substituting “Hate” for “Love.” Ask them to sing along with you. Here are some suggestions: The Bee Gees “How Deep Is Your Hate?” Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Hatred.” Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Hate.” Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in

    Hate.” Sinead O’Conner’s “Nothing Compares to Hate.” Celine Dionne’s “The Power of Hate.” Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Hate You.”

    You get the idea. All you need is hate to make America united again. Find an ad you despise and share it with a former friend. Instead of hating each other, hate commercials. It’s the American way.

  • Back in 1984 when I was running for Congress, I ran into older people who explained why they could not support me, saying, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. It left me.”

    Even in those days, the Democratic Party still had many conservatives who were loyal adherents. They had grown up in the times when the Democratic Party was more conservative than the other party. Some of those older Democrats were slow to give up their heritage and break away from the group in which they grew up.

    But as the support in the Democratic Party for school desegregation, voting rights, Civil Rights, equal treatment in the workplace, and expanding the role of government in providing public resources to meet the needs of poor and underserved communities were viewed with skepticism by once loyal Democrats.

    Republicans responded with a “southern strategy” that played to these concerns and, more and more, as time passed, former Democrats left their party. “I didn’t leave my party. It left me.”

    Even after more than 35 years I remember that refrain.

    Today, in the age of Trump, some North Carolina Republicans are, with regret, leaving their party, explaining, “I didn’t leave my party. It left me.”

    In the Aug. 24 edition of The New Yorker, Peter Slevin wrote about three Republican members of the Transylvania board of commissioners who have given up their party affiliation.

    Forgive this personal aside. One of the happiest summers of my life was spent in that mountain county in 1958, when I was a counselor at Camp Carolina near Brevard. On overnight hikes I told my campers ghost stories about Dracula. I had them believing that there was a connection between Dracula’s home in Europe’s Transylvania region and the Transylvania County where they were camping.

    The three commissioners party change began when the commission’s chair, Mike Hawkins, heard about President Donald Trump’s speech at East Carolina University on July 17, 2019. The president attacked four Democratic congressional representatives and women of color, saying that they were “hate-filled extremists” and “You know, they don’t love our country.”

    In response to the president’s attack on Representative Ilhan Omar, the crowd at ECU chanted, “Send her back!”

    According to Slevin, at the next board meeting, Hawkins “called out the president saying that what happened was racist. It’s important that people identify hate for what it is—a poison to our state and to our country. And I wanted to say in a very public way that for whatever time I have remaining as an elected official, I will oppose this poison every way I can.”

    After Hawkins, two other Republicans on the board, Page Ives Lemel and David Guice, offered words of support. Five months later, all three resigned from the Republican Party.

    They could have been saying, “We didn’t leave our party. It left us.”

    Guice had been a long-time active Republican and served two terms in the General Assembly.

    Page Lemel owns and runs Camp Keystone near Brevard, as did her late father, Bill Ives, whom I knew when he served in the General Assembly in the 1990s. Bill Ives was conservative, public-spirited, open-minded and open-hearted, like his daughter.

    Another prominent Republican in the mountains, former North Carolina State Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr, has broken with the president. He spent his life supporting the party and working for good causes until 2016 when he could not support Trump’s candidacy.

    This year he is working hard against Trump, but refuses to leave his party. Obviously, he thinks he is more of a real Republican than the president.

    Lemel says she has no intention of reversing her decision. That, Slevin writes, raises questions about the future of the GOP. History and logic suggest that the Party must pivot toward the center to remain viable in the years ahead.”

    Or others will be saying, “We didn’t leave our party. It left us.”


    Pictured Left to right:  Mike Hawkins, Page Ives Lemel, David Guice.

    17 01 Hawkins Mike

    17 03 David Guice 517 02 Lemel Page

  • 11 Lafayette II Copy 2The American Revolutionary War was initiated by the 13 original colonies against the kingdom of Great Britain over their objection of Parliament’s direct taxation and the lack of colonial representation. The war of independence was not a brief conflict. It lasted for eight years (1775-1783).

    Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, was born into a family of noble military lineage September 6, 1757, in Chavaniac, France. He was only 20 when he fled his home country during the French Revolution. Lafayette regained prominence as a statesman before his death May 20, 1834. Inspired by stories of the colonists’ struggles against British oppression, Lafayette sailed to the newly declared United States in 1777 to join the uprising.

    He was initially rebuffed by colonial leaders, but he impressed them with his passion and willingness to serve. He had inherited significant wealth and agreed to serve without pay. In America, he served the Continental Army with distinction, providing tactical leadership while securing vital resources from France. Lafayette was named a major-general in the Continental Army.

    His first major combat duty came during the September 1777 Battle of Brandywine, when he was shot in the leg. Gen. George Washington requested doctors to take special care of Lafayette, igniting a strong bond between the two that lasted until Washington’s death. More troops fought at Brandywine than any other battle of the American Revolution. It was also the longest single-day battle of the war, with continuous fighting for 11 hours.

    Following a winter in Valley Forge with Washington, Lafayette helped draw more French resources to the colonial side. He had travelled to France to press Louis XVI for more aid. Lafayette assumed increased military responsibility upon his return to battle. As commander of the Virginia Continental forces in 1781, he helped keep British General Lord Cornwallis’ army pinned at Yorktown, Virginia, while divisions led by Washington and French forces surrounded the British and forced a surrender in the last major battle of the Revolutionary War.

    The Lafayette Society of Fayetteville was founded by Martha Duell (1924-2015) in 1981 to raise funds for a statue of Fayetteville’s namesake to be erected in Cross Creek Park. The statue was dedicated in 1983 as part of Fayetteville’s bicentennial celebration. The organization has funded scholarships for high school and college students and supported the establishment of the Lafayette Room in the Methodist University library. The carriage used by Lafayette during his visit to Fayetteville in 1825 is in the local library.

    Some members of the Lafayette Society also belong to the American Friends of Lafayette, an historical and patriotic association dedicated to Lafayette’s memory and to the study of his life and times in America and France. The organization was founded at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1932. The library at Lafayette College has a collection of over 2,000 items related to Lafayette.

  • 05 fayetteville police departmentIt has been reported that over 40 arrests have been made so far in the destruction and looting of the Walmart store located on Skibo Rd. during the violent protests and riots that raged in Fayetteville on May 30.

    More arrests are expected as the Fayetteville Police Department continues its ongoing investigation as to who was involved in the looting and destruction of personal property in downtown Fayetteville and the attempt to burn down Fayetteville’s National Historic Landmark Market House.

    The protest that began in downtown Fayetteville moved swiftly that evening to Cross Creek Mall, where J.C. Penney and other stores were looted and damaged.

    City residents were able to watch the melee on televison and the internet as glass doors were broken and items such as televisons, electronics and clothing were carried out of stores.

    Forty arrests are just the beginning of this enormous undertaking.

    Fayetteville law enforcement officers are working diligently sifting through hundreds of videos and photos trying to identify the suspects.

    Even with overtime and the publics assistance, it will likely take months to complete the full investigation.

    A myriad criminal charges could result from the rioting, breaking and entering, larceny and destruction of public and private property.

    Penalties for these crimes could draw up to two years in prison depending on a person’s criminal record.

    Many local residents and business owners are curious to find out whether these criminal perpetrators were local residents or outside agitators like Antifa brought in to cause chaos and mayhem in support of the emerging Marxist/Socialist movement.

    According to local news sources, District Attorney Billy West is on the record as being committed to handling each case individually to assure the rule of law is applied evenly and fairly to keep the process free of political influence.

    Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin agrees. “While the city is committed to the First Amendment rights of free speech and peaceful protest, this sends a clear message that we are equally committed to holding those accountable who chose to engage in riotous and unlawful activities in our great city.”

    These are reassuring words to Fayetteville citizens who are witnessing in real time the rioting, destruction, devastation and chaos taking place in cities where crime is ignored, police and law enforcement are disrespected, criminals go unpunished and crime victims are ignored as collateral damage.

    It is refreshing to know that our mayor, police chief, district attorney and the men and women of the Fayetteville Police Department are working diligently together to pursue justice and keep our community safe and out of harm’s way during these very trying times.

  • 12 logoThe public’s input is wanted to help shape and direct the future of transportation in Cumberland County. The North Carolina Department of Transportation, the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Mid-Carolina Rural Planning Organization recently launched an interactive survey that will help develop the Cumberland County Comprehensive Transportation Plan.

    This will be the first Comprehensive Transportation Plan for the entirety of Cumberland County, which includes the FAMPO and Mid-Carolina RPO planning regions. The plan focuses on conditions, safety and ease of travel for all transportation modes using a horizon year of 2045 so that today’s transportation concerns can be addressed and prioritized for the future.

    FAMPO wants you to evaluate the importance of modern roads, emerging technologies, shorter travel times, growth and development, and public or private transit.

    “This transportation plan can only be successful with the input of the community,” said Joel Strickland FAMPO executive director. “You drive our roads. You know where the areas of concern are. This survey will tell us what matters to you and what the recommended transportation plan should focus on.”

    Cumberland County residents and those who commute through the area can participate in the development of this plan by taking a quick online survey at https://cumberlandfampo.metroquest.com/. The survey is available in Spanish and English (La encuesta está disponible en español e inglés).

    There are questions about pedestrian and biking infrastructure, as well as mass transit and traffic congestion. A map feature allows survey takers to identify specific areas of concern using drag-and-drop icons.

    The survey is open until Sept. 25. FAMPO and NCDOT will use the confidential results to begin drafting the plan. After the plan is compiled, the public will have opportunities for review and for further comments before presentations to the local boards and the NCDOT.

    Follow the plans’ progress virtually at fampo.org/plans.

    FAMPO was established in 1975 as a result of the Federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1973. Any urbanized area with a population greater than 50,000 is designated as a Metropolitan Planning Organization. The Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization includes portions of Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke and Robeson counties.

    For more information on FAMPO, visit fampo.org or call 910-678-7614.


  • 09 child anxiety Copy 2Cumberland County Schools’ student services hotline has been reactivated and will remain available while the district is providing remote pupil instruction.

    Officials have anticipated that some students may experience difficulties because of anxiety or stress related to illness or school closure.

    The hotline number is 910-475-1950. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. This service is provided for CCS students in need of social-emotional support. Calls are answered by school-based review consultants and military family and youth liaison associates.

  • 13 GovOn Aug. 26, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper proposed a $25 billion General Fund budget to expand Medicaid, increase unemployment benefits, give teachers higher bonuses, and cut funding to Opportunity Scholarships.

    Republicans immediately blasted Cooper’s spending plan, calling it a risky “spend now, pray later” proposal. His budget proposal comes four months late, they said.
    Cooper says his plan won’t require new taxes. But the state would take out almost $5 billion in new debt, only $1 billion of which won’t need taxpayer approval, said Joe Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow.

    “It’s the least serious of the governor’s budget proposals, and that’s saying something,” Coletti said. “It’s not sustainable.”

    Among other things, Cooper’s budget proposal would expand Medicaid, increase unemployment benefits to $500 a week and double the maximum time to 24 weeks, and take out almost $1 billion in bonds for health care infrastructure. The plan would also place a $4.3 billion bond on the November 2021 ballot to borrow $2 billion for school construction, $800 million for water and sewer infrastructure, $500 million for UNC System facilities, $500 million for the community college system, and $500 million for affordable housing.

    In the education area, the governor’s budget would take $85 million from the Opportunity Scholarship Program in a one-time budget cut while spending $360 million to give teachers and principals a $2,000 bonus, support staff a $1,000 bonus, and community college and university employees a $1,500 bonus. North Carolina’s public elementary and secondary schools would receive $132 million for other needs.

    In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the plan would spend $175 million for health services, including testing, tracing, prevention, mental health support, and increasing access in marginalized communities. Related provisions would spend $49 million to develop a state stockpile of personal protective equipment, $50 million to expand access to broadband, $200 million to assist cash-strapped local governments, and $27.5 million for small business mortgage, rent, and utility support.

    Cooper says his budget invests in North Carolina to help people get back on their feet. Republicans say his budget is unrealistic and unbalanced.

    Legislative leaders say Cooper is wrong to rely on $457 million from the state’s unappropriated balance. After the state moved the deadline for income tax filing from April 15 to July 15, it collected more taxes than expected. The state’s budget staff warned the amount could be a false gain.

    “When my small business’s accountant tells me some money on the balance sheet might disappear next month, I don’t run out and spend it,” Sen. Warren Daniel, R-Burke, said. “Gov. Cooper’s ‘spend now, pray later’ proposal could very well result in teacher layoffs next year. That’s exactly what happened to former Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.”

    After the Great Recession, tax collections plummeted. The Democratic-led General Assembly and then-Gov. Perdue had to balance the budget by raising taxes and furloughing teachers.

    Cooper disagreed with lawmakers’ assessment of the estimated $457 million windfall. He argued his proposal is a balanced budget that won’t require future cuts.

    Cooper called the state’s current unemployment compensation “meager, bottom-of-the-country benefits.” He argued for Medicaid expansion, but didn’t say the General Assembly would support it.

    Republicans attacked Cooper’s plan, especially a move to axe funding for the Opportunity Scholarship program. Cooper says his budget cut won’t affect students who already have scholarships.

    “It strips low-income children, many of whom are black, from the chance to choose the education that best suits their needs,” said Sen. Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga. “Under the governor’s ‘equity’ plan, only the wealthy can attend private school.”

    This is the first time a governor failed to present a budget update before the beginning of the fiscal year since North Carolina began using biennial budgets, said Coletti.

    The governor normally sends a budget to the General Assembly by May during even-numbered years, according to the Office of State Budget and Management. This gives the legislature time to revise, negotiate, and pass the annual update before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

    “The governor is supposed to present his budget to the legislature before the fiscal year starts — because they’re supposed to pass a budget before the fiscal year starts,” Coletti said.

    Cooper blamed the delay on Congress, saying he was waiting for additional relief money to come to North Carolina.

    “We all thought Congress was going to act,” Charlie Perusse, the governor’s budget director, told Carolina Journal. “We’ve been waiting patiently for the last couple months … We have about $500 million in General Fund money, slightly less than $1 billion in coronavirus relief money, and we’re on the clock to spend it.”

    North Carolina usually passes a budget that lasts two fiscal years and edits the budget in even-numbered years. But the budget stalemate and the pandemic threw a wrench in that process.

    North Carolina is operating on the budget from 2018 and a series of mini-budgets. Last year’s budget sank after Cooper vetoed the 2019-20 budget over Medicaid expansion. Republican legislators passed the budget out of the House with a surprise veto override, but the budget remained stalled in the Senate.

    Cooper has vetoed three budgets sent to him by the Republican-led General Assembly. Republicans overrode the first two vetoes, but they lost their veto-proof supermajorities in the November 2018 election.

    North Carolinians should prepare for another budget fight between the governor and lawmakers, said Coletti.

    “They’re not going to agree,” Coletti said. “Cooper wouldn’t allow teacher raises this year because he thought that was more helpful than agreeing to the lower Republican raise.”

    Pictured: Gov. Roy Cooper

  • 03 01 PWC FHUIn spite of COVID-19 and Gov. Roy Cooper’s expansion to Phase 2.5, Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin and I had an in-depth conversation last week about the many opportunities (and challenges) facing our community.

    We both agreed we had much to be thankful for and even more to look forward to in the near future. Despite COVID-19, Market House debates and Proud Boy infiltrators, there are good things happening in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

    Recently, the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation, under the leadership of CEO Robert Van Geons, announced that Dansons, a manufacturer of BBQ pellet grills and related equipment selected Fayetteville as their newest location for a distribution and customer service call center.

    The facility will be located on Technology Drive and will create an estimated 118 full-time jobs for our community as well as a $10 million investment with growth potential two and a half times that. This is great news! Kudo’s to Mr. Van Geons, for shepherding this project through by working closely with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

    Other key partners assisted in the recruiting and coordinating efforts by securing $400,000 from North Carolina’s “One NC Grant” and, a $175,000 job creation grant from our Cumberland County Commissioners.

    In addition, the North Carolina Community College System provided a $91,000 training grant which will be managed by Fayetteville Technical Community College. This is a near perfect example that “it takes a village” to develop and secure successful economic development projects. It also takes dedicated leadership, keen minds and vision for what we want Fayetteville and Cumberland County to be for future generations.

    Another recent example of leadership and vision was the action taken by the management team of our hometown utility PWC with its responsive customer service and quick reaction in assisting local customers dealing with the financial hardships created by the pandemic.

    In March Gov. Cooper issued an executive order governing billing and utility cutoff procedures statewide. On July 29 these restrictions on billing and disconnects were lifted making normal utility usage payments due. Anticipating the difficulty and hardships some customers would experience in paying their bills, PWC automatically implemented special payment terms on past due balances extending payments over a six month period for all their customers. This was no small task since it affected nearly 30,000 local PWC customers and represented millions of dollars in past
    due fees.

    In addition, PWC has made customer service representatives available to counsel and direct those customers who still have difficulty with their payments to local resources and agencies for assistance. By being proactive and coming to the aid of local residents, PWC demonstrates the kind of dedication, commitment, talent, business leadership and vision that builds and maintains prosperous communities. It is doubtful that many utility companies across the country operate or respond to their customers like Fayetteville’s hometown utility.

    I admit these are crazy times for everyone. COVID-19 and this annoying pandemic won’t last forever. Neither will the masks! No doubt this community has the resources, people and talent to attract organizations and great industries like Dansons. By working together (city, county, media), communicating with one another, sharing ideas, visions, and encouraging dynamic leadership, Fayetteville can be one of North Carolina’s greatest cities. Agree? Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.


  • In an age when the most sensational tweet gets the most attention, the truth can get overlooked. Opinion and ‘alternative facts’ often become the message, so it’s not surprising that misinformation and conspiracy theories about 9/11 are still circulating. But it’s important that people know how to distinguish fact from fiction.

    The attacks of 9/11 were carried out by 19 men who hijacked four fuel-loaded American commercial airline jets that were bound for destinations on the west coast. These individuals were militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda. Three planes reached their targets. The fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

    The first point of impact was the World Trade Center’s North Tower, located in downtown New York City. American Airlines Boeing 767 left a gaping, burning hole in floors 93 through 99 at 8:45 a.m. Many people were killed instantly, and hundreds more were trapped on floors above the 99th floor. The plane crash was initially thought to be an accident. However, when a second Boeing 767 crashed into the South Tower shortly after the first crash, it became apparent that America was under attack and the first crash was no accident.

    This was not the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. A bombing occurred in 1993 in the building’s parking garage, killing six people. However, the events of 9/11 have since been deemed the worst terrorist attack on American soil.

    According to DoSomething.org, on a given workday, up to 50,000 employees worked in the Twin Towers, and an additional 40,000 people — including tourists — passed through the complex and underground shopping mall.

    Hijackers aboard Flight 77 that departed from Dulles International Airport crashed that Boeing 757 into the western facade of the Pentagon building at 9:37 a.m. Fifty-nine people aboard the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the Pentagon lost their lives.

    According to History.com, after passengers and crew members aboard hijacked Flight 93 contacted friends and family and learned about the attacks in New York and Washington, they attempted to retake the plane. In response, hijackers deliberately crashed the plane into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and crew aboard.

    Amid rumors that other high-profile buildings were being targeted, by 10 a.m. the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all flights over or bound for the continental United States. Various buildings were evacuated as well.

    The South Tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m., and the North Tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m. CNN reported that 2,753 were killed in lower Manhattan alone.

    Only 18 people were rescued from the WTC rubble. Many victims were never identified, even after intense DNA analysis of remains.


    The Fayetteville 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Segra Stadium is scheduled for Sept. 12 from 8:45 a.m. to 12 p.m. to honor and remember the FDNY firefighters, police and EMS who selflessly gave their lives so that others might live on 9-11-2001.

    Each participant pays tribute to an FDNY firefighter, police officer or EMS by climbing the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. Your individual tribute not only remembers the sacrifice of an FDNY brother, but symbolically completes their heroic journey to save others.

    Through firefighter and community participation we can ensure that each of the 343 firefighters, 60 police officers, and 10 EMS are honored and that the world knows that we will never forget.

    All monies raised fund the programs provided by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to support the families of local fallen firefighters and the FDNY Counseling Services Unit.

    Participants must register online no later than Sept. 10. You can register as an individual or as part of a team. Donations can also be made on the site. For more information visit http://events.firehero.org/site/TR?fr_id=2186&pg=entry

    Pictured:Reflection pools now reside in the footprints of the felled World Trade Center North and South towers in lower Manhattan.

  • 16 logoThursday, Sept. 17, The CARE Clinic hosts its 26th Annual Golf Charity at Gates Four Golf and Country Club. This annual event raises funds to help the clinic provide free basic medical and simple dental extraction services to eligible uninsured, low-income adults. By making it a no-frill tournament, the clinic can make sure the most of every donation and registration dollar benefits those in need. Breakfast, beverages and prizes are all donated.

    The CARE Clinic does not receive any government funding and relies solely on the generosity of donors, grants and fundraisers. The charity golf tournament is one of three major fundraisers The CARE Clinic hosts each year.

    The next Care Dinner is set for Feb. 6, 2021 at 7 p.m. Hosts provide the space, beverages and hors d’oeuvres. The CARE Clinic provides the meal.
    May 6, 2021, the annual Toast of the Town Wine, Beer and Spirits Tasting and Silent Auction will take place at Cape Fear Botanical Garden. To purchase tickets, or to find out how you can support Adult patients who qualify for The CARE Clinic services, may receive, free of charge, any of the following services.
    • Basic Medical Care
    • Dental Extractions
    • Chiropractic Care
    • Laboratory Tests
    • Additional Diagnostic Testing
    • Pharmacy Service
    • Health Education
    • Community Resource Information
    • Social Services
    • Referrals to Specialists

    To be seen in The CARE Clinic you must: be an adult resident of Cumberland County or surrounding areas; have no insurance, including Medicaid; meet an income requirement. Proof of household income required; and have a valid, NC DMV issued picture ID card or Driver License showing your current address where you are residing.

    Clinics are primarily staffed by volunteers. Medical clinics are every Tuesday, Thursday and the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Dental clinics are every Tuesday and second and and fourth Wednesday. All appointments are made on a space available basis. Patients are given the opportunity to make a donation at the time of
    their visit.

    The CARE Clinic does not take walk-ins. Appointments are made only by phone.

    For information about how to make an appointment, call 910-485-0555.

    The CARE Clinic also provides a page of excellent resources at https://www.thecareclinic.org/other-resources/

    To learn more about The CARE Clinic, visit www.thecareclinic.org.

  • 18 IT professionalThere are many reasons why one should consider Information Technology as a field of study. Information Technology includes many different areas you can choose from. The job market is constantly growing and a fundamental Informational Technology knowledge-base opens the door to pursue a vast number of different careers within the field. There will always be a demand for technology specialists, as new advancements are continually on the horizon and the financial reward is great.

    FTCC offers an Information Technology degree in PC Support & Services as well as Database Management. This curriculum prepares graduates to work in the Information Technology field as Help Desk Technicians, Technical Support Specialists, Field Service Technicians, System Support Specialists and a number of other positions.

    Students will learn about computer hardware and software in order to troubleshoot and solve problems. Students also learn the fundamentals of other areas in Information Technology like Programming, Networking, Security and Virtualization.

    Education and training in Information Technology can be an asset for an individual’s career. We are not limited to only those individuals who are seeking an associate degree.

    For those who are seeking that additional career training, we have several certificate programs that are condensed, focusing on one particular area of interest.

    FTCC also offers education opportunities for high school students. There are many certificates available to High School Connections and Cumberland Polytechnic High School students.

    Anyone interested in the program may apply to FTCC from the homepage www.faytechcc.edu by clicking on Apply Now.

    There is no application fee and everyone is accepted. During the admissions process, you will be able to indicate your area interest. You can select the Information Technology/Database Management or Information Technology/PC Support & Services program at this location in the process.

    Once the admissions process is complete, you can begin registering for classes right away. Students can begin their major courses their first semester.

    Interested individuals may also contact Tomica Sobers, at 910-678-7368 or email at sobersto@faytechcc.edu.

    Registration is currently open for Fall 8-week classes. Classes begin Oct. 15. New students can schedule an appointment with an admissions counselor or email admissionscounselors@faytechcc.edu for assistance with admissions, counseling and registration.

    FTCC offers over 280 curriculum programs of study where some academic credits transfer to some four-year colleges/universities and also offers a wide range of Corporate and Continuing Education (noncredit transfer) classes and programs of study.

    For convenience of study in a safe learning environment (online, virtual or traditional classroom), affordability, student club/organization experiences and a high-quality education, make the smart choice for education—Fayetteville Technical Community College.

  • 15 Stair ClimbThe Fayetteville 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Segra Stadium is scheduled for Sept. 12 from 8:45 a.m. to 12 p.m. to honor and remember the FDNY firefighters, police and EMS who selflessly gave their lives so that others might live on 9-11-2001.

    Each participant pays tribute to an FDNY firefighter, police officer or EMS by climbing the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. Your individual tribute not only remembers the sacrifice of an FDNY brother, but symbolically completes their heroic journey to save others.

    Through firefighter and community participation we can ensure that each of the 343 firefighters, 60 police officers, and 10 EMS are honored and that the world knows that we will never forget.

    All monies raised fund the programs provided by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to support the families of local fallen firefighters and the FDNY Counseling Services Unit.

    Participants must register online no later than Sept. 10. You can register as an individual or as part of a team. Donations can also be made on the site.

    For more information visit http://events.firehero.org/site/TR?fr_id=2186&pg=entry

  • 06 ballot request large Copy 2“No special circumstance or reason is needed to vote by mail in North Carolina. All registered voters in North Carolina may request an absentee ballot for the November 2020 general election,” the state board of elections says on its website.

    Three voting options are always available to registered voters — absentee voting by mail, voting at one-stop early voting sites across the county and Election Day voting at assigned polling places. The state elections board says North Carolina is the first state to send out ballots for the 2020 general election.

    The vote-by-mail process was initiated on Sept. 4, two months ahead of Election Day. Ballot requests can be made through an online Absentee Ballot Request Portal. Or voters can fill out absentee ballot requests by mail and turn them in to their county board of elections office.

    A voter’s absentee ballot request information is not a public record until the ballot is returned or until Election Day. Ballot request information will not appear in voter records through the Voter Search Tool. After a ballot is requested, allow a week to 10 days for it to be sent.

    When your ballot is accepted by your county board of elections, that information will be posted in your voter record. Absentee by-mail voting is safe and secure in North Carolina. Officials are encouraging voters to request absentee ballots as soon as possible. The cutoff date is 5 p.m. on Oct. 27.

  • 12 the ride academy NOfBhUOA79g unsplashOn Aug. 9, 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant was shot and killed while riding his bicycle outside his home in Wilson, North Carolina. Within days, the tragedy became national news, and people across the nation rallied to show support to the Hinnant family by way of messages, prayer vigils and charity events. When a local Hope Mills woman heard the news, she organized a local charity ride to raise funds for the Hinnant family. The Benefit Ride for Cannon Hinnant is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 5, starting at Fort Bragg Harley-Davidson on Sycamore Dairy Road in Fayetteville.

    “I am a mother, and it broke my heart,” said Angela Sajko. “I wanted to do something to show support.”

    A motorcycle enthusiast herself, Sajko has been riding for 22 years.

    “In the biker community, we do a lot of benefit rides,” she said.

    The ride is scheduled to end at the Nash County Community College in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Sajko said the original end-point was advertised as the Wilson Fair Grounds, then changed to Middlesex Elementary School, but law enforcement officials have changed it again to accommodate the number of riders expected. She has received interest from several out-of-state motorcycle clubs, including riders from Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and Texas.

    Any future updates to the route and/or destination will be posted on the Facebook page, she said.

    The route leaves Harley-Davidson and travels down Morganton Road to Glensford Drive then to Hope Mills Road. The ride will hit I-95 and travel to the end point, she said.

    The benefit ride will have a law enforcement escort the entire route to include Fayetteville Police Department in town, Highway Patrol while on I-95 and local police off the exit.

    Members of the Hinnant family will greet riders in Wilson, Sajko said. “We will be able to meet his mom and grandparents,” she said, “but there are no official remarks or guest speakers scheduled.

    “This is about showing support to the family, to let them know that other parents and grandparents are grieving with them.”

    The Sept. 5 Benefit Ride for Cannon Hinnant will begin at Fort Bragg Harley-Davidson on Sycamore Dairy Road in Fayetteville and end at Nash County Community College in Rocky Mount.

    Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and kickstands are up at 11 a.m. “Registration costs $20 for anything that is street legal,” Sajko said, noting that motorcycles will lead the way for cars and trucks. All proceeds from the $20 registration fee will be donated to the Hinnant family. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/fortbraggharley.

  • 02 Jeff Pub PenWe seldom get to acknowledge a journalistic colleague that has come to mean so much to our organization and to the entire Fayetteville community. This is why we have chosen to recognize Jeff Thompson, a dedicated and talented news media professional whose journalistic talents and expertise have touched every aspect of the media industry. Truly, Jeff has forged his way through decades of an ever-changing media landscape, forcing him to recast and reinvent himself umpteen times to succeed in the highly competitive and cutthroat industry of radio news broadcasting. Fifty years! Jeff went from spinning records at Steve’s Tower in the Sky as a rock n roll disc jockey in the 70s to mastering almost every aspect of media. Radio, TV, and yes, in his later years, even daily and weekly newspapers.

    Margaret Dickson, Up & Coming Weekly’s senior contributing writer and one of Jeff Thompson’s biggest fans has written a wonderful and heartfelt feature introducing our readers to Jeff and honoring him for his 50+ year career in the media industry. To infer that Jeff’s style of news reporting was “old school” would be an understatement compared to the coverage we have today. For decades, as WFNC’s news director, Jeff would tackle the most critical, spirited and controversial issues facing Fayetteville, Cumberland County and North Carolina. However, the difference between then and now was Jeff meticulously made sure the subject matter was covered fairly and accurately. If Jeff reported it, you could rest assured you had the whole story. This was Jeff Thompson’s legacy.

    Full disclosure: The Up & Coming Weekly newspaper is celebrating its 25th year serving Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. Our mission in January 1996 was the same as it is in 2020 — to showcase, accentuate and promote the assets and amenities that make the Fayetteville area a great place to live, work and play. In other words, if something was good for the Fayetteville community, we were going to support it, write about it and promote it. If something was not good for Fayetteville and we perceived it as detrimental to the community, we were going to take a stand against it. By 1998, our biweekly publication had been accepted and welcomed by the community, and it successfully took root — especially with the neglected cultural arts community. To this, the daily newspaper, The Fayetteville Observer, adamantly objected. Admittedly, as hard as I tried, I was no match for the multimillion-dollar publishing company and resolved that I was defeated.

    So, in a final act of defiance, I contacted Jeff Thompson, who at the time was news director of WFNC — Fayetteville’s local and most trusted voice in news media — and Margaret Highsmith Dickson, who at the time was at the helm of the WFNC editorial board. The intrepid request I made to them when we met for lunch, and to which they reluctantly agreed, is why Up & Coming Weekly exists today.

    I asked if I could appear exclusively on Thompson’s radio show the day we published an explanation as to why we were being forced out of business, along with an article on The Fayetteville Observer’s surreptitious tactics used to undermine our newspaper to eliminate competition and maintain its media monopoly — to the detriment of local businesses, organizations and community agencies. Jeff and Margaret allowed us to tell our story on the air to the adamant and arrogant denial of Fayetteville Observer management.

    But it was too late. Jeff Thompson and WFNC’s local audience, at that time, was the heart and soul of the Fayetteville community. Despite The Fayetteville Observer denials, Fayetteville residents and businesses were aware of the tactics and knew the allegations had substance. The community rallied in support of our newspaper. Twenty-five years later, and without changing our mission or mandate, we are extremely proud to include both Jeff Thompson, as our senior news reporter, and Margaret Dickson, as our senior and longest-running contributing writer at over 19 years, as part of the Up & Coming Weekly family. Both have made significant contributions to the success of our organization.

    Enjoy Margaret’s feature about Jeff Thompson, as she introduces you to one of her dearest friends and mentors. Continue to follow them both each week in Up & Coming Weekly. Neither has shown any sign of slowing down any time soon.
    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly. Please join our staff and me in congratulating Jeff Thompson for his first 50 years in media and his service to the Fayetteville community.

    Pictured: Jeff Thompson

  • 09 Fort Bragg SchoolThe U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity operates nine schools at Fort Bragg, serving students living on post in grades pre-K through 8. Students in grades 9 – 12, and those living off post, attend local county schools. Fort Bragg schools have a combined enrollment of about 5,000 students. Since Aug. 24, classes have been conducted remotely. When virus trends improve, the schools should start shifting students back to in-person classes. Parents who opted to enroll their children in the Virtual Academy administered by the Defense Department will continue online learning when other students head back to the classroom. Since learning from home has become the new normal for students, officials want to make sure they receive nutritionally balanced meals. “We try to promote a recipe that they would enjoy,” said Veronica Lee, Fort Bragg’s nutrition clerk. Three drive-thru feeding sites are providing both breakfast and lunch for all students up to age 18. According to foodservice staff, that equates to about 2,700 meals a day and nearly 19,000 meals a week.

  • 04 Galloway AbrahamWhether Democrat Yvonne Holley or Republican Mark Robinson wins the 2020 race for lieutenant governor, North Carolinians will be electing the first African American candidate to that post.

    But the victor won’t be the first Black North Carolinian elected to a Council of State office. That was Ralph Campbell, the longtime Raleigh city councilman elected state auditor in 1992. Even before that, Henry Frye became the first Black member of the North Carolina Supreme Court, having been appointed in 1983 and then elected statewide in 1984.

    If you follow state politics closely, you already know all that. But do you know the name of the first African-American to appear on North Carolina’s statewide ballot — and win?

    It’s a bit of a trick question, I admit, because the election I’m talking about wasn’t, strictly speaking, for public office. The answer is Abraham Galloway, whom voters chose as one of North Carolina’s presidential electors in 1868.
    Galloway is one of the most intriguing figures in the history of our state — and another North Carolinian who, in my opinion, deserves to be honored with multiple statues and monuments.

    Born a slave in what is now Southport, Galloway became a skilled brick mason and joined a thriving community of Black craftsmen, sailors, and activists in antebellum Wilmington. He escaped to freedom in 1857 in the cargo hold of a schooner bound for Philadelphia. Making his way via the Underground Railroad to Canada, Galloway soon became an active abolitionist.

    When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Abraham Galloway performed another brave act: he returned to the South to work as a spy, and later as a recruiter, for the Union Army. In his 2012 book “The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway & The Slaves’ Civil War” historian David Cecelski does a masterful job of relating Galloway’s exploits during the war — or, at least, the exploits for which there is a historical record, as Galloway was himself illiterate and narrated only some of his experiences to others after the fact.

    Cecelski uses a particularly dramatic scene to kick off the book. A New England abolitionist and federal agent named Edward Kinsley arrives in New Bern in 1863 with a mission to recruit African Americans into the Union Army. It soon becomes clear, however, that he’ll have no success unless he bargains successfully with Galloway, already a leader of the local Black community.

    Galloway demands equal pay and fair treatment for Black soldiers, as well as a pledge that the Union will fight for abolition, not just to reassemble the Union. Only after Kinsley agrees do Black recruits step forward — first in the hundreds, eventually in the thousands.

    After the war, Abraham Galloway helped organize the new Republican Party in North Carolina, played a key role at the 1868 convention that drafted a new state constitution, and won election to the North Carolina Senate several months later, all the while “defying nightriders and assassins,” as Cecelski put it.

    During his brief but momentous political career — Galloway died abruptly of natural cases in 1870 at the age of 33 — he not only championed the rights of Black North Carolinians but also fought for women’s suffrage and educational opportunity. If you’re a progressive, you’ll appreciate Galloway’s advocacy of new labor laws. If you’re a conservative, you’ll appreciate his advocacy of gun rights and deep suspicion of the state-subsidized railroad company.

    While unyielding in his quest for justice, Galloway sought to build bridges and conciliate former adversaries whenever possible. Picked to give the opening address at the founding convention of the state GOP in 1867, he insisted he spoke as “neither Republican Black man nor Republican white man” but for the party as a whole. “A man may be a Dutchman or an Irishman, a Yankee or a Southerner, and I tell you I will give him a hearty shake and a warm welcome upon the Republican platform,” he said.

    Whatever your politics, Abraham Galloway can and should be one of your heroes.

    Picture: Abraham Galloway

  • 03 EPA RoundtableFrom Cabarrus County to Cumberland County, our region is a special place with unique challenges and opportunities. This week, I was honored to welcome two of President Donald Trump’s cabinet officials to highlight some of these important issues for our community and state.

    On Tuesday, I invited Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to come to Fayetteville to discuss ways we are addressing PFAS chemicals like GenX in our water. When it comes to GenX, people in our community are angry, they are afraid, and we want answers. I first invited the EPA to Fayetteville in 2018 so they could hear directly from our community on this issue. This week’s bipartisan roundtable discussion continued that dialogue and allowed our local representatives to engage directly with the EPA Administrator.

    I urged the EPA to complete a final toxicity assessment of GenX and discussed my most recent efforts to combat PFAS chemicals, including GenX, through two amendments I secured in the latest appropriations bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. These amendments would study the relationship between PFAS exposure and COVID-19, and provide $2.4 million for the EPA to develop regulations to control discharge of PFAS in surface waters.

    Also at the roundtable, Administrator Wheeler announced the new Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS Challenge, a partnership between federal and states agencies seeking detailed plans for a non-incineration method to destroy PFAS in firefighting foam. I am happy to see the EPA pursuing this initiative as part of the PFAS Action Plan — the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern. It was great to have Administrator Wheeler in Fayetteville to discuss how we can continue to combat GenX and clean up the Cape Fear River.

    Also last week I invited HUD Secretary Ben Carson, a champion of efforts to make housing more affordable, to Kannapolis to talk about how we can improve housing in our community. Secretary Carson leads the Trump Administration’s White House Council of Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing, which was created by an executive order signed by President Trump to engage with state, local, and tribal leaders across the country to identify and remove obstacles that impede production of affordable homes. I also discussed legislation I am working on to modernize the low-income housing tax credit to make it more flexible and easier to use.

    Secretary Carson has also done a lot of work on Opportunity Zones, a program I supported in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. North Carolina has 252 approved Opportunity Zones, with 18 of them right here in our region. These zones incentivize economic growth in economically distressed communities, with an expected $100 billion in investment throughout the country.

    I sincerely appreciate both Administrator Wheeler and Secretary Carson making the time to visit our community at my invitation. I hope these visits will continue the great partnerships I have forged with the Trump Administration to tackle issues affecting our communities and I look forward to continuing to work together.

    Picture: Rep. Hudson hosts a roundtable in Fayetteville with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and members of the community.

  • 14 vaccineInfectious diseases can strike at any time. Some of them cause relatively minor interruptions to daily life and often can resolve of their own accord when the body’s immune system mounts a successful defense. Other diseases can cause serious, even life-threatening, symptoms or spread rapidly, which makes it essential for medical professionals to help slow down or stop the transmission.

    Herd immunity refers to the indirect protection from infectious diseases that occurs when a large percentage of the population has become immune to that disease. The term has taken on renewed significance as the world has been battling COVID-19.

    If enough people are resistant to the cause of a disease, whether it is a bacteria or virus, that disease has nowhere to go and the spread stalls, according to WebMD.

    There are two ways that herd immunity can occur. The first is when resistance develops naturally when the body is exposed to the virus or bacteria. At this point, the immune system will produce antibodies to fight off the infection. After recovery, these antibodies are still circulating, and should exposure to the same disease occur again, the body can defend against another infection.

    Another way that herd immunity occurs is through vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that when the majority of people are vaccinated, it creates the same disease lockdown, fewer people get sick and fewer germs are able to spread from person to person.

    Diseases are different and herd immunity is reached based on the pathogen’s reproduction number, or R0 (R-naught).

    The R0 tells the average number of people that a single person with the virus can infect if those people aren’t already immune.

    The higher the R0, the greater number of people will need to be resistant to reach herd immunity. Measles, which is very contagious at an R0 of 12 to 18, requires 93 to 95% of the population to be immune for herd immunity to be reached.

    The World Health Organization estimates the R0 for COVID-19 to be between two and three. This means between 40 and 70% of the population will need to be immune to halt the spread.

    In the case of COVID-19, it’s still unclear whether anyone can get re-infected, and whether antibodies produced for one strain can fend off another strain of this novel coronavirus.

    This reinfection mystery is what makes herd immunity, both through a vaccine or through natural exposure, challenging for epidemiologists in relation to COVID-19.

  • 07 hello i m nik dq7K3BywKOI unsplashFayetteville’s first skate park has been completed at Rowan Street Park. The skateboard park was built where the hillside amphitheater used to be. Voters approved a $35 million parks and recreation bond referendum in 2016, and about $1 million of it was devoted to this facility. Team Pain Skate Park Design & Construction of Winter Springs, Florida, built the park with an in-ground concrete design to cater to both novice and advanced skaters. The park features banks, ledges and humps. It has a concrete bowl for skaters to ride rapidly up and down to do tricks. There also is a large street skate area with ramps and fixtures to simulate skateboarding on public streets. The facility provides for open skating plus lessons, exhibitions and team competition.

  • 05 N1909P21002C A generation or so ago, people didn’t just retire from work — many of them also withdrew from a whole range of social and communal activities. But now, it’s different: The large Baby Boom cohort, and no doubt future ones, are insisting on an active lifestyle and continued involvement in their communities and world. So, what should you know about this “new retirement”? And how can you prepare for it?

    For starters, consider what it means to be a retiree today. The “2020 Edward Jones/Age Wave Four Pillars of the New Retirement” study has identified these four interrelated key ingredients, along with the connected statistics, for living well in the new retirement:

    Health — While physical health may decline with age, emotional intelligence — the ability to use emotions in positive ways — actually improves, according to a well-known study from the University of California, among others. However, not surprisingly, retirees fear Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia more than any physical ailment, including cancer or infectious diseases, according to the “Four Pillars” study.

    Family — Retirees get their greatest emotional nourishment from family relationships — and they’ll do anything it takes to help support those family members, even if it means sacrificing their own financial security. Conversely, retirees lacking close connections with family and friends are at risk for all the negative consequences resulting from physical and social isolation.

    Purpose – Nearly 90% of Americans feel that there should be more ways for retirees to use their talents and knowledge for the benefit of their communities and society at large. Retirees want to spend their time in useful, rewarding ways — and they’re well capable of doing so, given their decades of life experience. Retirees with a strong sense of purpose have happier, healthier lives and report a higher quality of life.

    Finances — Retirees are less interested in accumulating more wealth than they are in having sufficient resources to achieve the freedom to live their lives as they choose. Yet, retirees frequently find that managing money in retirement can be even more challenging than saving for it. And the “unknowns” can be scary: Almost 70% of those who plan to retire in the next 10 years say they have no idea what their healthcare and long-term care costs will be in retirement.

    So, if you’re getting close to retirement, and you’re considering these factors, how can you best integrate them into a fulfilling, meaningful way of life? You’ll want to take a “holistic” approach by asking yourself some key questions: What do you want to be able to do with your time and money? Are you building the resources necessary to enjoy the lifestyle you’ve envisioned? Are you prepared for the increasing costs of health care as you age? Have you taken the steps to maintain your financial independence, and avoid burdening your family, in case you need some type of long-term care? Have you created the estate plans necessary to leave the type of legacy you desire?

    By addressing these and other issues, possibly with the help of a financial professional, you can set yourself on the path toward the type of retirement that’s not really a retirement at all — but rather a new, invigorating chapter of your life.

  • 13 job huntingThe economy has struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many people are concerned by what the future may bring, particularly regarding their careers. Some fields may continue to scale back while others may increase operations. There is much uncertainty for those looking for new work or considering changing jobs.

    Even though the coronavirus may slow down the process of hiring and make it even more competitive, job seekers must avoid the notion that they should throw in the towel and try to wait out the lull. Many people have found new jobs during the pandemic, and these strategies can help men and women do just that.

    Many people may think that resume writing is a “one and done” process, but that’s not the case. The Balance: Careers says a resume should be updated and tweaked each time a person applies for a position. Keep a generalized outline for your resume, but be sure to modify your skills and accomplishments as they pertain to the specific job for which you’re applying.

    In many instances, a functional resume format, which emphasizes skills over linear job experience, is a good choice because it can gloss over gaps in the resume or frequent job changes. Remember to fill the resume with the same verbiage used
    in the job posting. If scanning software is used to cull resumes for key words, yours will have the right words and phrases.

    If you use a social media application like LinkedIn, Plaxo or Jobster to network, be sure to keep your profile current. It also may be helpful to join industry networking groups and organizations at this time, as they may have an ongoing aggregator of job openings in particular fields.

    While travel, hospitality and event planning have been hit hard due to COVID-19, other industries like online shopping, delivery, healthcare, grocery stores, cleaning services, and more, have experienced growth. Many industries also have revamped operations and may need a consultant or expert to help them change over their business formats. Do not assume that the pandemic has stalled all job prospects.

    Even after businesses have reopened, remote interviews will likely be the norm. Set up an interview spot in your home with good lighting, a neutral background, limited distractions and a desirable camera angle. Practice being interviewed digitally. Master various meeting applications by downloading necessary software in advance so that technical difficulties will not derail the process. The interviewer sees only your background, so utilize a paper or whiteboard in front of you with notes or talking points. A job search may be complicated by the coronavirus, but there are steps to make it easier to find a job. With patience and positivity, the odds can be in job-seekers’ favor.

  • 11 N2007P46002CUniversity of North Carolina leaders, students and faculty are blaming each other for the growing number of COVID-19 cases on campuses.

    But it’s unclear where the fault lies. Plenty of fingers were pointed at the UNC System, who left the blueprints for reopening with campus officials. Others blame the campus leaders for trying to squeeze too many people — socially active young adults — into confined spaces with inadequate safeguards. Some university leaders blamed students for holding large parties.

    Or perhaps the confusion was inevitable as tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff members tried to reopen bustling campuses as a pandemic rages.

    As of Monday, Aug. 24, four UNC campuses had scrapped plans to open the school year with some in-person instruction. Other schools in the system may follow.

    Weeks after moving into campus housing, thousands of students at UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State University and East Carolina University are packing their bags and heading home, while UNC-Charlotte students, originally set to arrive on campus in early September, have seen their move-in date pushed back several weeks.

    UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State announced the switch to remote learning last week after a handful of COVID-19 clusters were identified in residence halls.

    “The decision to switch to remote instruction was made in consultation with state and local health officials, Carolina’s infectious disease experts, and the UNC System,” UNC-Chapel Hill’s media officials told Carolina Journal.
    The campuses appear to be calling the shots.

    Carolina Journal sent questions to the UNC System to clarify the roles the system and the UNC Board of Governors had when deciding how campuses would operate.

    Did the UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State chancellors have to get permission from the UNC BOG or UNC system to move all undergraduate courses online? Did the UNC system prohibit universities from starting the fall semester with remote instruction only? Did the UNC system require universities to have full capacity in on-campus housing?

    “Any decision to modify campus operations will be made by the president, with each chancellor, in consultation with the leadership of both boards of trustees and the board of governors, and always grounded in reliable public health data and prevailing local health conditions,” Josh Ellis, associate vice president for media relations at the UNC System, told CJ in an email.

    Marty Kotis, a BOG member, told CJ last week the system’s board has taken some unwarranted heat.

    “We are blamed for [students] going back to school, we are blamed for [universities] closing,” Kotis said. “But there has been no BOG vote on either one of those issues. We didn’t vote for how they will reopen, or if they’re to reopen.”
    But Kotis thinks the board should get more involved.

    He offered four recommendations for UNC schools:
    Conduct more frequent testing of the entire student population, faculty, and staff, especially for high risk populations.
    Develop a contact tracing app that respects privacy but helps officials keep track of infections on campus.
    Create a data dashboard to track COVID-19 on campuses compared to the general population.
    Reconsider charging students fees for services and amenities they can’t enjoy while off-campus.

    Earlier this month, the board rejected proposals to refund tuition or fees.

    Meantime, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services issued updated guidance on Friday, Aug. 21, for higher education institutions.

    It included limiting on-campus housing, expanding the space between students and instructors in classrooms and banning large social gatherings as well as enforcing a mandate to wear masks. Closing game rooms, laundry facilities and lounges in dormitories and other communal settings. Closing or reducing the capacity of communal dining halls. Setting aside more space to quarantine students who tested positive for COVID-19 or who were exposed to others who are infected.

    Early lessons point to the virus spreading in communal living settings and social gatherings on and off campus, as well as with athletic teams, the updated guidance reads.

    “Since the pandemic began, we have listened to and collaborated with leading public health officials while closely monitoring changing conditions across the state,” UNC System President Peter Hans said in response to the updated guidance.

    “We will continue to do so because health and safety is our priority.”

    On Monday, East Carolina reported new clusters at two dormitories, The News & Observer reported.

  • 10 Fayetteville fire enginesThe Fayetteville Fire Department is equipping its fire engines and rescue vehicles with 60 automated external defibrillators. Each new AED costs $2,500. The department received a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for $137,000 to purchase the equipment. The city’s cooperative share is $13,700. The new AEDs will replace old ones that are carried on all fire department vehicles.

    “In the past five years, Fayetteville firefighters responded to nearly 2,000 cardiac arrest calls,” said Fire Chief Mike Hill. “An AED provides the greatest chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest and is the only effective tool for certain dysrhythmias.”

    According to the American Heart Association, early CPR and defibrillation can more than double a victim’s chance of survival. Since 2002, the Fayetteville Fire Department has won more than $1 million from the program, which was established after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

  • 16 N1403P46004HMusic. It can transport us to forgotten places or treat us to the opportunity to sit with someone who's long since left this world.

    Can you remember the song that played the day you had your first real kiss or as you pulled in the driveway after your parents first let you take the car out on your own?

    During a visit a few years back, my wife and I drove my parents to the mountains of western North Carolina to enjoy the colorful beauty of the fall.

    In her latter years, my mother would often complain about music — mostly the volume, but I decided to try something.

    As we were driving, I turned on the satellite radio to channel 4, which, at the time, played top hits and big band favorites from the 1940s.

    To my surprise, my mother sat with a quiet smile on her face, and my step dad sang along with nearly every song that played.

    From the melancholy sentiment of "You'll Never Know" from Vera Lynn, to lyrically twisted novelty classics like “Mairzy Doats,” the audience in the back seat seemed content to ride and reminisce.

    Whether providing an escape or connecting us more intensely to someone we're holding close, music is powerful.

    It's common as we honor a nation, celebrate a birthday, express adoration for someone we love or sing praises in worship to the very God who created us all.

    One of the greatest joys we have in radio is finding songs to connect with people throughout any given day.

    We owe much to the artists and writers who allow us the use of their deepest thoughts backed by melodies that stick in people's heads as they turn it up and sing along.

    In the process of reviewing new music just before Thanksgiving, I was listening to a song called “Run to the Father” from Cory Asbury. With the Christmas holiday music season upon us, I knew the song would be a hit, but likely wouldn't start airing for another five or six weeks.

    I paused as the lyrics reminded me that I wasn't alone and that I was never meant to carry the weight of the world and its problems by myself.

    I was encouraged to take the burden of my heartache, my struggles and my pain to God, who created us all.

    The song arrived the morning after the single most devastating event in the life of my family. Our oldest son, Chris, had been murdered the afternoon before.

    I was reviewing music after a mostly sleepless night because I didn't know what else to do.

    And every time I hear that song, I'm taken back to that moment, where a simple song from a barely known artist touched me in a way nothing else could.

    I didn't want it to be 'my song', but it is.

  • 15 fam friendly outdoorsChildren who spend a lot of time outdoors benefit from exposure to nature in myriad ways, some of which may surprise even the most devoted outdoorsmen.

    According to a study published in the journal Human Dimensions of Wildlife, fifth graders who attended school at a local prairie wetlands where lessons in science, math and writing were integrated in an experimental way had stronger reading and writing skills than peers who attended more traditional schools.

    Another study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that holding a class outdoors one day a week significantly improved the daily cortisol patterns of students, reducing their risk of stress and improving their ability to adapt to stress.

    In the era of coronavirus, outdoor adventures can offer a break for students and their parents.

    Parents who want their children to reap the rewards of being exposed to the great outdoors can encourage educators to incorporate nature into school curriculums and also embrace these family-friendly outdoor activities.

    Nature treasure hunt: A treasure hunt can keep kids engaged on family hiking excursions and provide an excellent opportunity for parents to teach children about the assortment of plants, birds and wildlife that live in the parks and along the trails near their home.

    Outdoor art class: Families don’t even need to leave their properties to spend quality time together outside. Pick a pleasant or mild afternoon and set up an outdoor painting station, encouraging everyone to paint what they see. Regular outdoor art sessions can add variety as each season can offer new landscapes and wildlife activity.

    Bonfire: Outdoor activities need not be limited to daylight hours. A post-dinner backyard bonfire can entice everyone outside, where families can tell scary stories as they make s’mores.

    Stargaze: Stargazing is another way families can spend time outdoors and learn a few things. Some blankets, a thermos and a chart of constellations can provide the perfect complement to a sky full of bright stars. If visibility is compromised in the backyard, find a local spot where everyone can get a clear view of the night sky.

    Fruit picking: Depending on the availability of farms in your area, fruit or vegetable picking can provide a fun and educational activity. Visit a local farm during its harvest season, teaching children about how the foods they love are grown and eventually make it to the family dinner table.

    Parents can expand on these ideas to offer outdoor learning even after students return to the traditional classroom.

  • 08 Dogwood Festival CrowdDogwood Festival officials asked the city of Fayetteville to give it $50,000 and forgive $1,000 in rent to allow the organization to continue to put on shows. City Council formally declined the request Aug. 24 but agreed to pay the organization $27,000 in previously budgeted funds. The city also said it would forgive $1,000 in Festival Park rental fees. Council agreed to a staff recommendation to spend $15,000 the city had budgeted last fiscal year that was never allocated to the festival, as well as another $12,000 it was planning to contribute to the organization this fiscal year. City funds will be donated only if a festival takes place held sometime in the coming year. The Dogwood Festival was canceled earlier because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 01 01 Jeff with news vehicle Jeff Thompson was my first boss.

    I was a teenager, thrilled beyond measure to be in a real newsroom and nurturing journalism dreams in my young heart. Maybe I had a small salary, but since I was a blank sheet when it came to reporting, I was essentially an intern.

    Jeff was almost certainly less enthusiastic about my summer job than I was since he did not hire me. I landed in his newsroom because I was the first child of the ownership of Cape Fear Broadcasting Company, where we worked, and there were six more siblings/cousins in line behind me for station jobs when they got a little older. But Jeff was game, though he cut me no slack, at least in my young and inexperienced mind.

    Jeff Thompson came to Fayetteville in the mid-1960s from upstate New York the same way thousands of others have come — courtesy of the U.S. Army. Once here, he worked part-time spinning records and broadcasting live from a glass tower above a local drive-in restaurant, the Tower in the Sky. Although he did not know it at the time, Jeff had found his home — in Fayetteville, in radio and at Cape Fear Broadcasting. A glib and good-looking DJ, Jeff became what was later known as a chick magnet, and in short order, he met and married a local girl, Jean Musselwhite, who was blessed with a large extended family. He and Jean started their own family, eventually including Jay, Phil and Angie. They left Fayetteville only once for a TV stint in Charlotte, but Jeff and Jean were homesick, so back they came. The same cannot be said for Jeff’s tenure at Cape Fear Broadcasting, which he left several times over the decades for competing radio stations and at least once to sell cars.

    Eventually, Jeff settled in, as did I, my family members and a handful of other treasured friends, to make our own little Cape Fear Broadcasting family, both related and created. Over time, we laughed together, cried together, celebrated together, got mad at each other, watched other people come and go and spent the better part of our working lives together.

    Jeff’s primary responsibilities revolved around news gathering and reporting, and he was — and remains — a force to be reckoned with if you find yourself standing between him and a story.

    Paul Michels, another young soldier who found his home in Fayetteville and at Cape Fear Broadcasting, had this to say about Jeff’s devotion to local news. “Jeff lived and breathed radio news. He had police scanners going in his office, his car and his home (not sure how Jean tolerated that). Sometimes on weekend nights, Jeff would ride around with police officers while they were patrolling the city. Jeff’s dedication to covering the news was never more apparent than the night of Aug. 6, 1993. That was the Luigi’s Restaurant shooting, when Fort Bragg solider Kenneth French killed four people and wounded six others. Because Jeff had that police scanner blaring away in his home, he knew instantly that something major was going on. He was at the restaurant within minutes, getting reactions and interviews from people who were there. I can imagine he was moving around the crime scene, getting his audio before the yellow tape was even up. He had enough content to put together a long-form feature about the crime on both of our stations the following morning. The news gathering that night was the epitome of a local radio newsperson doing his job.”

    Hannah Dawson Gage, who eventually ran Cape Fear Broadcasting’s operations in Wilmington, worked with Jeff and me in news for several years. She, too, has great respect for Jeff’s news abilities.

    “Jeff was an earlier version of the information highway. He knew everybody worth knowing and everything about them. His range of friends was vast, stretching from elected officials to court reporters to highway patrolmen and sheriff’s deputies to coroners and the guys running the 7-11 on Ramsey Street. He not only knew those people, he knew their individual stories. At some point, they had passed through one of this stories and had later become a source or a friend.

    “Jeff understood the tapestry of people that wove Fayetteville together; he had a deep understanding of all the moving parts and how things worked. I learned things from Jeff that they didn’t teach at UNC’s Journalism school.

    “As a cub reporter, Jeff was a wonderful teacher and mentor because he was absolutely fearless in his pursuit of a good story. He encouraged intrepidness. He was naturally curious about everything. He had cataloged stories about every important person and elected officials he’d ever met and, from time to time, would share those stories in the newsroom at the end of the week, the kind of stories that would ruin lives and could never be aired … but were enormously entertaining. He had dirt on everybody, but he never used it.

    “He understood that there was more power in not using everything you knew. I would put him up against any journalist across the state and bet on Jeff. He was that good.”

    Like most people, especially those in family enterprises, Jeff wore more than one hat. John Dawson, general manager of Cape Fear Broadcasting’s Fayetteville operations in its later years, finds Jeff’s versatility remarkable. “The thing that always amazed me about Jeff was that he started out as a very good DJ in the early 60s during the British Invasion days, then he slowly but surely morphed into a very good newsman. Most people know that about him. What they don’t know is that he was a good radio advertising salesperson. When I started at WFNC in sales, we tagged along with different salespersons to experience different styles. I shadowed Jeff on many days and learned a lot just watching him interact with his clients. So back then, his day went something like this: Donning his news director hat, he gathered the news from 4-6 a.m. At 6 a.m., off came the news director hat, and on went the talk show host hat. He wore that until 9 a.m. At 10 a.m., off came the talk show host hat, and on went the salesperson hat. Even riding in his car during sales calls, the scanner was always on. It was the definition of multitasking, back in the day.”

    Jeff’s partner on the morning talk show was Lynda “Wendy” Riddle, a talented radio personality and frequent performer in what we now know as Cape Fear Regional Theatre. As the saying goes, they go way back.

    “I met Jeff in the early ‘70s when I had just started on the air at WFBS in Spring Lake. Jeffrey McDonald was very much in the news, and I always counted myself fortunate to have had access to Jeff’s coverage of that grisly story. My respect for his abilities as a newsman sprang from those early days. But it was not until I made the move to WFNC … in 1977 that I really got to know Jeff. By the fall of that year, we started ‘Top of the Morning’ and began a partnership that lasted until 2003, when Cumulus took over and fired us all.

    “… Jeff and I squabbled in our early morning marriage, for you cannot be locked up in a small room the size of a walk-in closet every morning for your first five or six waking hours for years without noticing you’ve spent more time together than you spend with your own husband or wife each day. Sometimes our mornings were great, but there were times we would raise our voices and have a good old verbal knockdown drag out … off the air, of course. I remember fondly the year that, at the station Christmas party, we received the “loving couples” award from the staff and management. I was always aware when our battles got out of hand by the sound of doors closing up and down the hall as everyone tried to block us out.

    “One of Jeff’s favorite memories on the air with me was the time when he was trying to explain to the audience that he had no knowledge of computers. He couldn’t find the right words and kept asking me what it was that you called person like him. I answered, ‘technically challenged.’ And he’d say, ‘No, no.’ And I would say, ‘Computer illiterate.’ He’d say, ‘No, no, that’s not it.’ To which I said, ‘moron.’”

    “‘That’s it!’ he proclaimed happily. He has told that story a million times, saying ‘Remember when you called me a moron on the air?’ He thought it was wonderful.

    “His love for his children was undeniable and unending, and I have deep affection for Jeff for that. Actually, I have deep affection for him, period.”

    Radio, like most media, attracts creative people. Work was generally fun, and there were plenty of jokes to go around — some of Jeff’s instigation and some at his expense. Sales manager Steve Harden remembers that in an expansive burst of News Department pride, Jeff had the department’s one news vehicle painted with “Unit 1” on one side and “Unit 2” on the other, an effort to make us look bigger than we really were. Later, there were two identical vehicles, an actual Unit 1 and Unit 2.

    Steve also remembers a trick Chief Engineer Terry Jordan played on Jeff, which Jeff apparently never realized. Says Steve, “I remember the episode of ‘the pneumatic switch.’ Terry Jordan put out a memo saying that the pneumatic switch had been ordered, then played this trick to the max. Another memo said the switch was on backorder etc. The switch was bogus, and Terry let the rest of us in on the scheme, but JT had no clue. Finally, another memo announced the arrival of the switch. Jeff, by the way, had asked no one what a pneumatic switch was. Another memo informed everyone that the switch had been installed and was fully operational. Terry had installed a small light in the control room with a toggle switch that turned it on and off. That’s all the switch did! I don’t think JT wanted anyone to know that he, a veteran broadcaster, did not know what a pneumatic switch was.”

    Jeff is not shy. Human resources director Ann Highsmith remembers the day Jeff alerted her to what we now call a wardrobe malfunction. “I was standing at the sink in the small kitchen at CFBC. News Director Jeff Thompson’s office was directly across from the kitchen. My back was to him. What I didn’t know at that moment was that my professional dress was badly compromised as I had inadvertently tucked my skirt into my pantyhose, exposing my backside to Jeff and his guest that morning, Sheriff Moose Butler.

    “Jeff took notice and did the right thing in letting me know something was amiss. The way he let me know left a lot to be desired. He yelled across the hall, ’Hey, Highsmith, your rear end is showing.’ Embarrassment left me dumb; I don’t remember what I did next. I either ran out of the kitchen or untucked my skirt as I stood at the sink. Either way, it is not one of those professional moments I care to reminisce about too often.”

    Like many good things, life at the radio station as we knew it came to an end. Cape Fear Broadcasting was sold in 2001, and the cast of characters who had, in many cases, grown up together and came to love each other, scattered. Weyher Dawson, who ran another section of the company, says Jeff has “had a great career. I think his post-FNC career has been interesting and really kinda blossomed five or six years ago when” other local media were “flat and little WIDU slipped in their version of a news/information format that featured Jeff and Wes Cookman and Troy Williams and so on. They were really doing a good job reaching into the ‘mainstream’ and had some really good shows. … Jeff got involved in Up & Coming Weekly with Bill (Bowman), which has also been a late-career blossom. … All said, pretty remarkable from the Tower in the Sky, WSOC-TV, WFLB, WFNC, WFBS, WIDU, Up & Coming.”

    As for me, I feel so fortunate to have had Jeff as a boss, a teacher, and now a dear and precious friend. I still call him Boss, and he calls me Scoop. He and I have covered the news, written many an editorial, fought over politics, endlessly discussed the peculiarities of our community, celebrated our successes, mourned our losses and, generally, moved through life together. Jeff is a remarkable person who knows and loves our community, with all its attributes and its warts.
    It has been a joy to write this and to focus on one of my oldest friends and others in the extended Cape Fear Broadcasting family. To Jeff and everyone else, keep on keeping on, lots of love and Godspeed!

    Pictured: Jeff Thompson




  • 06 600x375 q75The final touches are being completed at Fort Bragg on its first subterranean range, which will simulate the difficulties of underground combat. The new range provides service members with unique training experience to help prepare them for the 21st-century battlefield. The tunnel complex ties into an existing urban terrain facility.

    Urban warfare often includes fighting in underground tunnels and caves. There is a long history of underground fighting stretching back to biblical times. For at least 3,000 years, embattled populations have used them to hide from and strike at stronger enemies. Archaeologists have found more than 450 ancient cave systems in the Holy Land, including many that were dug into mountainsides, which the Jews used to launch guerrilla-style attacks on Roman legionnaires. The Romans faced the same tactic, around that time in their fight in Europe, against Germanic tribes who would dig hidden trenches connected by tunnels and then spring out of the ground to ambush the Roman soldiers. That tactic was used regularly by the Viet Cong during the war in Vietnam.

  • Football 01The annual Region 4 meeting of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association was held this past Monday at the Educational Resource Center here in Fayetteville.

    I’ll have a more detailed report on the meeting in next week’s print and online editions of Up & Coming Weekly, but I wanted to share one important piece of news here, especially for football fans.

    NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker and staff shared news of a growing crisis in the area of high school officials available to call games, particularly in the sport of football where the biggest number of officials is needed for a single contest.
    In some states like Tennessee, the official shortage has gotten so bad they’ve had to schedule football games on multiple nights of the week to have enough referees available to call games.
    Many officials are quitting because they are tired of the verbal and in some cases physical abuse heaped on them by coaches and fans.

    Yes, officials do make mistakes, but there are ways to register your objections through the proper channels instead of attacking officials personally while a game is going on.

    The average age of officials in the state of North Carolina is 59-60. It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to realize those folks don’t have a lot of active years left.

    So if you’re a former high school athlete or the parent of one who still has some pep in your step and a desire to help out, consider becoming an official in one of the many sports offered by the NCHSAA. 

    To get started calling games locally, contact the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association. Visit their website at saoanc.org or drop a letter to them at P.O. Box 41441, Fayetteville, NC, 28309.
    The record: 29-9
    I’m still performing at a respectable if not spectacular pace. Last week’s record was 6-2, running the count for the season to 29-9, 76.3 percent. 
    Overhills at Cape Fear - To paraphrase the song from the old TV show Hee Haw, if it weren’t for bad luck, Cape Fear would have no luck at all.
    The Colts are a far better team than their 1-2 record indicates. I think they’ll show signs of that Friday against Overhills.
    Cape Fear 24, Overhills 14.
    Douglas Byrd at Pine Forest - A couple of weeks ago this would have been an easy pick, but Pine Forest has been somewhat inconsistent this year and appears to have major problems on the defensive side of the football.
    That said, this still should be a win for the Trojans, but the final score might be closer than I would have originally thought.
    Pine Forest 21, Douglas Byrd 12.
    Gray’s Creek at E.E. Smith - A frustrating season continues for E.E. Smith against a Gray’s Creek team that had a solid rebound last Friday against Pine Forest.
    Gray’s Creek 31, E.E. Smith 6.
    Scotland at Jack Britt- The dress rehearsal is over for Britt. The Buccaneers have gotten off to a great start in Coach Brian Randolph’s bid to restore order for his program.
    But this is a chance for Britt to make a big statement in a home Sandhills Athletic Conference duel with Scotland and Coach Richard Bailey, the guy who built the Britt football program from scratch. 
    I said last week I was still drinking the Britt Kool-Aid that Randolph is serving. I haven’t given it up. 
    Jack Britt 14, Scotland 13.
    Seventy-First at Pinecrest - I haven’t seen Pinecrest but I’ve spoken to those who have, and they’re unanimous on one thing. They’re surprised the Patriots aren’t getting any attention in the Associated Press 4-A football poll. 
    Friday’s game with Seventy-First could change that. 
    Pinecrest 21, Seventy-First 14.
    Westover at South View- South View seems to have fully recovered from that season-opening overtime loss to undefeated Jack Britt.
    South View 24, Westover 6.
    Terry Sanford at Rolesville - This is what you call a trap game for the Bulldogs. They’re coming off a huge conference win against a big rival in Cape Fear. Rolesville is a team the Bulldogs have no history with and it would be easy for them to overlook this one.
    I think the Terry Sanford coaching staff will do everything it can to prevent that from happening. 
    Terry Sanford 28, Rolesville 14.
    Other games:Cary Christian 22, Fayetteville Christian 20; Trinity Christian 27, Ravenscroft 12.
  • 05 City of Fay brandingThis year’s Fayetteville City Council primary may be the most lackluster election in modern memory. Only two of the 10 seats are contested — Districts 2 and 6. Fayetteville’s primary election is Oct. 8, with early voting underway through Oct. 4, at the Cumberland County Board of Elections office. The general election for the city and local towns is set for Nov. 5. The dean of city council, William Crisp, chose not to seek re-election after serving six consecutive terms as the District 6 representative. Three newcomers have filed to succeed him: Christopher Glenard Davis, Mary Johnson Ferguson and Carlos Swinger. Councilmember Daniel J. Culliton was appointed to represent District 2 on the city council on June 25, 2018. He decided not to run this year. His seat is also being sought by a trio of candidates: Janene Marie Ackles, Arnita Mace Bristol and Shakela Matrice Ingram.
    Fort Bragg commanding general returning home

    The latest leadership turnover within the U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria has taken place. Lt. Gen. Pat White assumed command of Operation Inherent Resolve from Lt. Gen. Paul LaCamera in a ceremony in Baghdad on Sept. 14. White commands the Army’s III Armored Corps, and LaCamera leads the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg. Both units have been trading off command of the coalition for the past several years. Both headquarters have “created an unstoppable momentum” in the anti-ISIS fight, said Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, who presided over the ceremony.

    LaCamera and his 400 headquarters paratroopers assumed command of the coalition a year ago and led the alliance of 76 countries and five international organizations during a period that included the ouster of the terrorist group from its last stronghold in Syria this past March. The unit’s soldiers returned home Sept. 15. During LaCamera’s tenure, the coalition trained nearly 60,000 Iraqi and Kurdish security forces troops to secure the region, the Army said in a statement.

    LaCamera thanked service members and coalition partners for their dedication to the mission.
    Seat belt safety project

    A unique program that seeks to educate people about the dangers of not wearing seatbelts starts this month in Robeson County. The program allows people cited for not wearing seatbelts to have the tickets dismissed by the Robeson County district attorney if they complete a free, two-hour course at Southeastern Regional Medical Center called “Saved by the Belt.”

    Robeson County officials are hopeful the program will reduce the number of people killed because they weren’t wearing seat belts during a crash.  Drivers will learn the physics behind a crash, the causes of most crashes, North Carolina laws and myths about seat belt use.

    “We want people to realize how deadly not buckling up can be if you’re in a vehicle crash,” said Skyla Pryor, the program coordinator for Southeastern Health.

    In Robeson County, 82 people who did not buckle up or use child car seats were killed in crashes between 2014-18. In May, the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program awarded Southeastern Health a $44,740 grant to launch the safety classes. Interested residents can register by going to southeasternhealth.org and looking under the “calendar of events” tab.
    E-cigarettes or vapes

    Service members are being told to avoid vaping after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the habit may be linked to hundreds of cases of severe lung disease, and at least six deaths, in dozens of states. The Army Public Health Center issued an alert last week warning soldiers and family members to avoid all electronic cigarette and vaping products, “particularly those sold off the street or modified to add any substances not intended by the manufacturer.” Soldiers and their loved ones may want to discontinue using products including e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, vape pens and electronic nicotine delivery systems until the CDC completes its investigation, the Defense Health Agency said in a post.
    Musical festival scheduled

    The All-American City Jazz Festival is the first city-sponsored event to be held at Segra Stadium following the end of baseball season. It will be held Friday through Sunday, Oct. 25-27. The festival will be presented by the Sandhills Jazz Society and Fayetteville-Cumberland Youth Council. Friday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m., the BlackWater Band and the Embers featuring Craig Woolard will perform. On Saturday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m., jazz stars Willie Bradley, Avery Sunshine, Julian Vaughn, Eric Darius and Brian Culbertson will hit the stage. And Sunday, Oct. 27, at 4 p.m., local high school and college jazz students will honor legends of the same genre with musical performances.
    “The Arts Council is pleased to partner with the city of Fayetteville in support of the All-American City Jazz Festival,” says Greg Weber, president and CEO of the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.
    A $7,500 Project Support Grant was given to the city to fund the jazz festival.
  • 12 NCMBCThe Department of Defense’s $7 billion boom in new, major construction projects on bases in North Carolina is now history. However, new construction at Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point and other installations remains strong — the third highest in the country for fiscal year 2020 at $616.3 million. Military installations are also turning to operation and maintenance funding to execute additional sustainment projects on existing facilities, and hurricane recovery work may drive military-related construction spending to new highs.

    Sustaining, restoring and modernizing existing infrastructure will be a primary strategy for bases in North Carolina to address their facility needs for the foreseeable future. Operation and maintenance-funded work provides new opportunities for North Carolina construction-related businesses capable of executing small, mid-size and even large sustainment, restoration and modernization projects either as prime, also called general, or sub, also called specialty, contractors. 

    Additionally, the destruction caused by Hurricanes Florence and Matthew in 2018 provided additional opportunities for the construction industry. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic recently announced a $1.7 billion program to restore Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point due to these hurricanes. The impact of Hurricane Dorian — either in new damage or exacerbating old damage — has not yet been determined. 

    To connect businesses in North Carolina to these opportunities, the offices of Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.,  and Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.,  and the NCMBC will co-host the 2019 Southeast Region Federal Construction, Infrastructure & Environmental Summit at the Wilmington Convention Center on Oct. 23-24. The Summit is the premier, best-established and most-recognized federal construction event in the Southeast — businesses that are already engaged or want to perform in the federal market should attend.

    The Summit brings together over 700 representatives of the Corps of Engineers, NAVFAC, Fort Bragg, Marine Corps Installations East, Seymour Johnson AFB, other Army, Air Force, Navy and USMC installations, the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Veterans Affairs, General Services Administration, other federal agencies and construction-related contractors from throughout the Southeastern United States.

    Attendance is encouraged for general and specialty contractors, design firms, construction supply firms and companies  provide facility-support contracts. The businesses must work in Virginia, N.C., South Carolina, Georgia and/or Florida.  Current federal contractors seeking partners and suppliers are also welcome.

    For more information on The Summit, visit: https://summit.ncmbc.us or contact the North Carolina Military Business Center (www.ncmbc.us).

    The North Carolina Military Business Center is a business development entity of the North Carolina Community College System, headquartered at Fayetteville Technical Community College. The mission of the NCMBC is to leverage military and other federal business opportunities to expand the economy, grow jobs and improve quality of life in North Carolina. The NCMBC’s primary goal is to increase federal revenues for businesses in North Carolina. The Department of Defense has an annual impact of $66 billion and is the second largest sector of North Carolina’s economy at  — 12% GDP.  With six major military bases, 116 National Guard and 40 Army Reserve facilities and the third highest number of uniformed military personnel in the country, the state of North Carolina created the NCMBC to leverage opportunities with these installations, DOD commands and federal agencies operating worldwide.

  • 17 Que TuckerReprinted with permission from The Stanly News & Press

    The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has put the North Stanly High School cheerleaders on probation for the rest of the football season for their part in holding up a Trump banner during the Aug. 30 game against Piedmont.

    The Aug. 30 incident happened before the game began, when some of the North cheerleaders and a couple other individuals gathered for a photo. A cheerleader and a young male held up a banner that read “Trump 2020 ‘Make America Great Again.'” The photo circulated on Facebook after a North teacher posted it.

    After talking with the central office, and since the incident appeared on social media and caused people to feel uncomfortable, the NCHSAA took a greater look at it.

    “One of the rules we have is that every contest should be conducted in a wholesome, athletic environment,” North Carolina High School Athletic Association Commissioner Que Tucker said. “We take that to mean that it’s in an environment where good sportsmanship is shown, where people feel safe … that respect for all people participating is being shown.”

    Due to the fact the incident caused concern for many and helped create a negative athletic environment, according to Tucker, the NCHSAA decided to reprimand the cheerleaders by putting them on probation.

    Superintendent Dr. Jeff James said Dean Shatley, of Shatley and Campbell law firm, reviewed the NCHSAA’s decision and felt it was appropriate.

    James said the school system did not discipline any of the students because there were no violations of the student code of conduct. He said school officials will likely update the code to include rules against political campaigning on school campuses during sporting events.

    Following multiple media reports about the North Stanly incident and a letter sent to the NCHSAA from Congressman Richard Hudson regarding the matter, Que Tucker, NCHSAA Commissioner, released the following clarification:
    While the NCHSAA does not have a specific policy prohibiting the display of political advertisements at athletic events, the behavior was contrary to the NCHSAA’s “Philosophy of Cheerleading” in the NCHSAA Handbook. This philosophy emphasizes the cheerleader’s important role in representing the school to its fans and others in attendance in a positive manner, while eliciting appropriate support for their team in accordance with the spirit and letter of NCHSAA and local school policies and expectations.

    It is our understanding that Stanly County Schools has a policy against political advertisements on campus or at school events. It is also our understanding that Stanly County Schools does not make political endorsements. As the district officials related in their release yesterday, ‘Because the cheerleaders were in uniform and were acting as representatives of the school, the display of the sign could be perceived as the school or school system endorsing a political campaign."

    NCHSAA probation, in and of itself, is not a punishment. It serves as a notice of behavior or action that is against NCHSAA Handbook Policy or contrary to expectations of sportsmanship and proper behavior. Should infractions occur during a probation period at a member school or within a team at a member school, additional sanctions such as fines or suspensions could be implemented. In the aforementioned instance, opportunities for participation were neither eliminated nor limited.

     The decision to place the cheerleaders on probation was made to highlight the NCHSAA’s philosophy of cheerleading as well as Stanly County Schools’ local district policy on political endorsements by individuals representing the school. The NCHSAA has no comment on the letter released by Representative Hudson.”

    Editor's Note: Late Friday afternoon, the Stanly County Schools announced that because of new safety concerns in the wake of the school’s cheerleaders being placed on probation, Friday’s Sept. 20 home football game with China Grove Carson was postponed to Saturday morning, Sept. 21.

    Pictured: Que Tucker

  • 16 Amanda LockamyLinda Lockamy is gearing up to put on the 10th Tee It Up For MS Charity Golf Tournament. It will be held Friday, Oct. 11, at Cypress Lakes Golf Course.

    But Lockamy’s passion for the event is just as strong as it was at the first one in 2009.

    That’s because her commitment to raising money for the fight against multiple sclerosis is personal, starting 18 years ago when her daughter, Mandy Lockamy, was first diagnosed with the disease.

    Currently in remission, the younger Lockamy’s condition has been improved by an assortment of MS drugs, including an infusion of a new medication a few years ago that nearly halted the disease in its tracks.

    But as Linda Lockamy noted, while Mandy’s condition is improved, she’s not cured. She continues to take medication for headaches and fatigue related to the MS, and she takes a special medicine designed to help her walk.

    Many of her treatments have come from the research that money from events like the golf tournament have helped to fund. Since it was created, Linda Lockamy said the tournament has raised about $72,000 for the fight against the disease.

    For Linda Lockamy, it all started in 2002 when friends of Mandy told her about the local MS Walk. Linda formed a team and has participated in the walk ever since.

    But she wanted to do more, and she got her chance when she got a call from the former Beef O’Brady’s restaurant about sponsoring a charity golf tournament.

    The original plan was for the benefit to rotate among local charities, and MS would be the focal charity once every three or four years.

    While she appreciated the help, Lockamy soon realized one tournament every three or four years wasn’t enough.

    “There were so many people in that first golf tournament that knew people with MS, we said we can’t wait three or four years,’’ she said. “We need to do this every year.’’

    And that’s what happened, save for one year when Mandy Lockamy was undergoing treatments. Since the first tournament in 2009, save that one year, the MS golf tournament has been held every October at Cypress Lakes Golf Course.

    “We’ve got people that have played in every tournament,’’ Lockamy said. “I have people call me in late summer asking when the tournament is and do you have it scheduled yet.’’

    The cost of this year’s tournament is $300 for a four-man team. The entry fee includes lunch, a goody bag, beverages and a dinner.

    Registration opens at 11 a.m. the day of the tournament with a noon shotgun start.

    While the deadline for registering is one week before the tournament is held, Lockamy said individual players often show up the day of the tournament to see if they can get on a team and no one has been turned away.

    For those who don’t play golf, some companies have paid sponsorship fees for first responders, allowing them to play. Hole sponsorships are also available for $100 a hole. If a team in the tournament sponsors a hole, the cost of the sign is only $50.

    Registration forms are available at the Cypress Lakes clubhouse and on Lockamy’s Facebook page, Linda Swanson Lockamy. You can email her at swanlock74@aol.com or call 910-977-8662.

    Pictured: Amanda Lockamy 

  • 02 RocksPublisher’s Note: There’s always something to do in Cumberland County! This past week was a perfect example of the diverse activities that are happening. We have theatres, festivals, car shows and even events celebrating the accomplishments of service organizations in our community. The Vision Resource Center, over the weekend, brought the community together in Downtown Fayetteville to thank them for their support and to raise money for the continuation of their relentless service to our blind and sight-impaired population. This kind of activity is popping up all over the county. I am yielding my space to Earl Vaughan, Jr. who has discovered an emerging cultural organization in Hope Mills. Their projects are aimed at enhancing the arts and cultural awareness in Hope Mills as well as the quality of life for its citizens. Without a doubt, Hope Mills ROCKS! Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    It could be said that the Hope Mills Creative Arts Council is off to a rocky start. Fortunately, it’s in a positive way.

    The newly created arts council recently got the help of a couple of local Girl Scout troops to introduce itself to the Hope Mills area and recruit more artists and volunteers to grow the organization.

    This past weekend, the council held a rock-painting event to create miniature works of art that will be given away at the upcoming Ole Mill Days at Hope Mills Municipal Park.

    “We were trying to come up with something we could do to announce our presence and be a small part of Ole Mill Days,’’ said Elizabeth Blevins, executive director of the council and a contributing writer to Up & Coming Weekly.
    “We have a small budget so we invited Girl Scout troops to come paint rocks,’’ Blevins said. “Painting them and hiding them in parks is a big thing at the moment.’’

    The arts council provided the Girl Scouts from troops 1147 and 2147 the rocks and the paint to create the miniature art works.

    Blevins said the council has also teamed up with other civic organizations that will work with the members of the arts council the night before Ole Mill Days on Saturday, Oct. 5 and hide the rocks around Municipal Park on Rockfish Road where most of the Ole Mill Days activities will be held.

    “They will be able to find the rocks and this will let them know we are there,’’ Blevins said.

    The public is welcome to keep the rocks or hide them again for someone else to find at a future date.

    Blevins said one of the rocks she’ll be hiding was one she and her husband Jim found during a recent visit to Calabash. “Sometimes it’s about moving them from place to place, the joy of having found them and being able to distribute them,’’ she said.

    For further information on the Hope Mills Creative Arts Council, visit its Facebook page of the same name. The staff is working on a website and will provide the name of it on the Facebook page as soon as it’s available.

    “We are always excited to hear from artists, musicians, performers, volunteers and people who just want to be involved,’’ Blevins said.

    To contact the group directly, email to hopemillscac@gmail.com or call Blevins at 910-853-4539.

  • Fall FamilyOle Mill Days, the annual Hope Mills community festival that celebrates the town’s rich history as a mill village with a wide variety of family-related activities, returns at the slightly earlier date this fall of Saturday, Oct. 5.

    Meghan Freeman, assistant director of programs and events for the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, said the change in the date was made to avoid a conflict with Fayetteville’s annual Dogwood Festival.

    “Historically it’s been toward the end of October,’’ Freeman said of Ole Mill Days. “We looked at the calendars for surrounding areas and it didn’t seem like there were any big, big events that would be a conflict.’’

    Freeman said the event is a way for families to enjoy the community and see the assortment of family-related activities the town has to offer that day.

    “There are a lot of activities for the kids as well as vendors and food trucks,’’ she said.

    Hours for most activities at Ole Mill Days will be from noon until 6:30 p.m. Interactive events for the children will be from noon until 4 p.m.

    One new feature of the event will be a 105-foot inflatable zipline. There will also be a bungee trampoline.

    The traditional petting zoo will also be featured. Provided by It’s A Zoo Life, the zoo typically includes a lemur, an alpaca, a kangaroo, a mini-horse, a goat, a sulcata or spurred tortoise, a capybara (the world’s largest rodent), a mara (a rabbit-like animal), a fennec fox (a small fox with big ears) or a llama. The selection of animals varies due to availability from week to week, Freeman said.

    Ole Mill Days will coincide with the town’s final monthly Good2Grow Farmer’s Market of the year, which will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

    For the adults, Dirtbag Ales will sponsor a beer garden.

    There will be two live bands performing, Upscale N Casual at 1:30 p.m. and Rivermist at 4:30 p.m. Upscale N Casual primarily features smooth jazz. Rivermist performs classic rock and is described as a variety party band.
    They have been voted Best Local Band for the last three years in Up & Coming Weekly’s Best of Fayetteville survey.

    An annual feature of Ole Mill Days will be the reunion for the millworkers from Hope Mills. It will be hosted at Town Hall from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.

    Primary parking areas for the event will be at Rockfish Elementary School across the street from the Town Hall and Municipal Park complexes, as well as behind Fields 4, 5 and 6 at Municipal Park, as well as the public library.
    Tables and chairs will be provided, but the public is welcome to bring its own portable chairs Freeman said.

    Those planning to attend should not bring coolers or alcoholic beverages. All of the activities will be free of charge, excluding the things being sold by the vendors and the food trucks.

    For any questions, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 910-426-4109.

  • 14 After The RideA few weeks back, I wrote about riding to Sturgis, some of the preparations I did beforehand and some ideas to help make your future rides more comfortable and enjoyable. Today, let us talk about after the ride.

     For Sturgis, we rode over 4,500 miles. When I returned, I unpacked and let her sit for a few days. My bike, named Traveler, was pretty dirty. A few days later, I washed her off and then brought her into the garage and broke out my cleaning supplies and my tool kit.

     I usually start from the top to bottom. I remove the windshield and set it aside. Then I apply Honda Spray Cleaner and Polish around the bike to give a sharp-looking polish and clean. I have used this product for years. More recently, I have bought it by the case on Amazon. It does a beautiful job of cleaning my bike, plus it makes me touch every square inch of the bike.

     As I go over every inch of Traveler, I take my tools and ensure that every nut and bolt is tight. During your travels, something will inevitably start to come loose. This little preventive maintenance will save you a lot of time and money down the road if something pops off.

     As I use my bike's tool kit, I am also checking to make sure that I have every tool I need for it. This trip, I discovered I was missing a #4 metric Allen wrench. Having a couple of bikes, I also put colored tape around each of my tools to make sure that I have the right tool for the right bike.

    I use window cleaner on the windshield and replace it on the bike.

    Lastly, I take the GPS off and download my route and any extra waypoints I saved and clear up my GPS's memory.

     Once the bike is finished, I know she is ready for our next adventure.

    If there is a topic that you would like to discuss, you can contact me at motorcycle4fun@aol.com. Ride safe!

  • 10 Charlie and Snoopy copyThe Gilbert Theater opened the 2019-2020 season with “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz. The show, which launched its 26th season, brings the familiar fun of Charlie Brown and his friends to a new audience, while thrilling the inner child of older audience members with a nostalgic trip down memory lane. The show runs through Oct. 6.

    Linda Flynn, the stage designer, kept things simple with a sunny background, reminiscent of the original comic look. The actors carry the few props they use in and out of each scene as necessary. But they didn’t skimp on tradition. Schroeder’s piano, Lucy’s psychiatric advice booth and Linus’s blanket all feature prominently throughout the play.

    The production also stayed close to tradition with the costumes. Lucy is in a blue dress, Sally wears pink and Charlie Brown is unmistakable in his iconic yellow tee shirt with brown zig zags. Their characters are as familiar as a childhood friend.

    The cast dazzled the audience. 18-year-old Dan Follett was irresistible as Charlie Brown. He plays the anxiety-ridden character perfectly and has the audience in tears as he pines for the ‘red-head girl’ from beneath a brown paper bag.
    Jennifer Czechowski is the delightfully bossy, Lucy. She bounces back and forth between know-it-all psychologist and lovestruck schoolgirl pining away for Schroeder with ease.

    Gage Long plays Schroeder, the tortured artist who’s more infatuated with Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” than Lucy’s attention-seeking moves. His character seems hopelessly out of place when he’s not banging on his beloved keyboard.
    Caryn Festa plays Sally. Her platinum ringlets and fluffy pink dress notwithstanding, she’s the most adult-like character in the bunch with an innate ability to manipulate everyone from the teacher to Snoopy.

    LeeAnn Valcarcel is Snoopy, America’s most beloved pet. Whether she’s lounging on top of the doghouse or chasing rabbits with Sally, she’s delightfully sarcastic and always manages to appear cooler than the humans.

    And finally, Quentin King steals the show as Linus. His lispy line delivery juxtaposed with his four-syllable dialogue were charming. Who else could deliver a five-minute dissertation on the psychological similarities between a security blanket and an adult’s hobby? And he truly believes he can walk away. “It’s a cozy sanctuary but it’s far from necessary, ‘Cause I’m just as self-reliant as before. As a simple demonstration of my independent station, I will go and leave my blanket on the floor.” Until he realizes he can’t.

    The entire cast warbles through each song, slightly off key but with the enthusiasm only a school-aged child could deliver. And they bounce from one scene to another, staying only long enough to remind you of some long-forgotten conversation, maybe on the playground or in your best friend’s back yard. And then they’re off again, bouncing around your childhood memories and hitting all the hot spots.

    For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.GilbertTheater.com.
  • 06 GI BillThe number of people using the Post-9/11 GI Bill has fallen substantially for each of the past two fiscal years, federal data indicates. About 54,000 fewer people used the GI Bill in fiscal 2017 and 2018, a 7% decline both years, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Officials of veteran service organizations, and some of the schools that enroll the greatest numbers of GI Bill users, said they’re not overly concerned about the falling GI Bill usage — at least not yet. Fayetteville Technical Community College has been ranked No. 2 by Military Times in its “Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges.” Schools like FTCC, which have put the most thought and effort into tailoring programs and policies around veterans’ unique experiences, have experienced growth.

    Experts offered several possible explanations for declining enrollments, including more vets earning degrees, GI Bill rules that could be discouraging vets from using the benefit and the strong national economy. Meanwhile, public universities continued to account for most GI Bill students. “A lot more of the public and the not-for-profit private schools are offering distance education now,” said James Schmeling, executive vice president of Student Veterans of America.
    For years, the for-profit University of Phoenix has enrolled more GI Bill users than any other institution, but it has seen plummeting GI Bill enrollment recently. In fiscal year 2018, the school shed more than 5,940 Post-9/11 GI Bill students — about 21% — dropping to 22,428 such students. The school declined to answer questions about its falling GI Bill enrollment.

    The recent overall drops in GI Bill usage in fiscal 2018, among all universities, mirror a similar trend affecting military tuition assistance, which saw usage rates decline 6% from fiscal 2016 to 2017 and then go down another 2.5% from fiscal 2017 to 2018. The 7% declines charted in fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018 were calculated by adding all schools’ GI Bill populations and comparing year-on-year changes.

    Veterans Affairs did not respond to interview requests to discuss declining GI Bill usage.

    In addition to enrollment losses, the amount of money spent on GI Bill benefits decreased by nearly $287 million in fiscal 2018 to about $4.6 billion, a 5.9% drop.

    Officials offered a variety of theories to explain the falling numbers. “A reduction in beneficiaries may indicate more veterans successfully complete degrees and are moving into the workforce,” said John Aldrich, a vice president at the country’s fourth most popular GI Bill school, American Military University, a for-profit institution.

    Another possible explanation Aldrich offered is that students may be turning away from the GI Bill because it shrinks their housing stipends if they attend school entirely online.

    The Forever GI Bill, signed into law in August 2017, allowed anyone who left the military after January 2013 to use the GI Bill at any time in the future. Previously, all benefits had to be used within 15 years of separation. In addition, officials pointed to a common higher education trend: More people go to college to improve their job prospects in bad economies, while fewer go to school when the economy is strong.

  • 07 FloodingHurricane Florence was a powerful and long-lived Cape Verde hurricane that caused extensive damage in the Carolinas in September 2018, primarily as a result of freshwater flooding. Florence dropped 35.93 inches of rain in Elizabethtown, becoming the wettest tropical cyclone recorded in the Carolinas, as well as the eighth-wettest overall in the contiguous United States. The first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, Florence originated from a strong tropical wave that emerged off the West Coast of Africa. The system became a tropical storm on Sept. 1 and fluctuated in strength for several days over open ocean. Rapid intensification occurred on Sept. 4–5, culminating with Florence becoming a major Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.

    As forecast models indicated an increasing threat to the Southeastern United States, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Sept. 7. Transportation rules for farmers were waived to enable faster harvesting. President Donald Trump declared an emergency in North Carolina, granting the state access to federal funds. Strong wind shear then tore the storm apart, and by the evening of Sept. 13, Florence had been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, though the storm began to stall as it neared the Carolina coastline.

    An overnight curfew was established in Lumberton for the duration of the hurricane. Early on Sept. 14, Florence made landfall just south of Wrightsville Beach and weakened further as it slowly moved inland. Despite making landfall as a weakened Category 1 hurricane, Florence still had enough wind speed to uproot trees and cause widespread power outages throughout the Carolinas. A ridge of high pressure over eastern North America stalled Florence’s forward motion for several days while making landfall.

    This led to Florence moving forward at only 2–3 miles per hour; the storm continually dumped heavy rain along coastal areas from Sept. 13, when the outer rain bands first began to be felt, to Sept. 15, when the storm was still stalled out only a few miles west of Wilmington. Coupled with a large storm surge, this caused widespread flooding along a stretch of the North Carolina coast, from Wilmington to New Bern. As the storm moved inland, from Sept. 15 to 17, heavy rain caused widespread inland flooding in Fayetteville, Lumberton and Smithfield as major rivers, including the Cape Fear and Lumber, spilled over their banks.

    Most major roads and highways in the area experienced some flooding, with large stretches of I-40, I-95 and US Route 70 remaining impassable for days after the storm had passed. The city of Wilmington was cut off entirely from the rest of the mainland by floodwaters. At least 54 deaths were attributed to the storm. Property damage and economic losses in the United States reached $24 billion. Estimated insured losses ranged between $4.8–5 billion. One preliminary estimate for North Carolina was nearly $17 billion, more than the damage from Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Floyd combined.

    The first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, Florence originated from a strong tropical wave that emerged off the West Coast of Africa.

  •  09 Heritage FestivalAs its name implies, the Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s annual Heritage Festival, to be held Oct. 5 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., is a throw-back to earlier and perhaps less complicated times. Held in the McCauley Heritage Garden and featuring a fully restored 1880 farmhouse and general store, the festival celebrates life on a turn-of-the-century farm. 2019 marks the 16th annual Heritage Festival, CFBG’s oldest annual event.

    This year, the Garden is partnering with the Cumberland County North Carolina Cooperative Extension Office to produce the festival, which will be sponsored by Ed’s Tire and Auto Service and Holt Oil Company.

     In keeping with the period, according to Sheila Hanrick, director of marketing and events for CFBG, “Activities (will) include butter churning, pumpkin decorating, corn husk doll making, beeswax candle making, games, crafts and more. We will also have a scarecrow-building contest that attendees can enter for prizes. Some of the activities will require an additional fee. The Garden will be selling roasted sweet potatoes, along with all the trimmings like butter, cinnamon sugar, marshmallows and more.

     “Vendors of handmade crafts and food items will also be a part of Heritage Festival. And we will have two food trucks participating: My Daddy’s BBQ and Cedar Creek Fish Farm. James Creek Cider House will be on-site selling cider and hard cider.”
     On hand will also be a petting zoo from Carolina Fun Factory and ax-throwing by Axes and Armor. Keeping the crowd entertained throughout the event will be the bluegrass band, Cumberland County Line and the Young Warriors Praise Team Native American Dancers from Robeson County as well as cloggers from Kerry’s Dance Beat in Eastover.

     According to Hanrick, CFBG focuses on educating the community and helping people reconnect with nature. “All proceeds raised through our public events, including the Heritage Festival, go back into supporting our education programs,” said Hanrick. “Our vision is to transform people’s relationship with nature and help them connect with the natural world. We are a beautiful green space for people to leave stress behind and come reconnect.”

     To that end, CFBG hosts over 7,000 school children each year. It also sponsors a Therapeutic Horticulture program that serves people of all abilities in partnership with the U.S.O. of N.C, Wounded Warrior Program, CFV Cancer Center, Service Source, Vision Resource Center and several long-term care facilities in Cumberland County. CFBG also provides adult education classes and various horticultural workshops yearly.

    “Heritage Festival is a fun event that provides an opportunity to step back in time,” said Hanrick. “Come out and play a game of checkers on the front porch, sip some cider, enjoy some food and listen to great music.”

     Heritage Festival admission is free for members of CFBG. General admission for nonmembers is $5 for adults and $3 for children 6-12 with children five and under admitted free. Special note should be made of the 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. festival time as it differs from past years. For further information, visit the CFBG website at www.capefearbg.org.
  • 03 VapingLook down, look down that loathsome road and decide today’s question: Are e-cigarette companies worse than heroin pushers? At least with heroin, the first shot is free. Ponder this issue for a moment to divert you from deciding whether having to buy the ACC network from cable vision is a rip-off or merely an abomination. First, a brief tour through the candy-flavored mists of vaping history. In 2006, a Chinese company brought out an e-cigarette called the Ruyan V8. It was billed as a way to help people stop smoking tobacco. The Ruyan V8 sounds like either a vegetable health drink or a snazzy sports car that James Bond might have driven.

    Gentle reader, perhaps you are curious about what vaping involves. The Ruyan began with simple tobacco flavored e-juice. This tobacco juice proved. E-cigs soon begat a variety of flavored e-juices. There are some pretty funky ingredients in e-juice.

    Consider the components. E-juice contains sweet-tasting glycerol, which is also used in explosives and antifreeze. It has propylene glycol to create the beautiful and sophisticated clouds of vapor. Oils both natural and unnatural flavor the e-juice. Nicotine rounds out these taste treats. Nicotine provides the bracing addicting element that keeps vapers coming back for more. Fun fact: One e-juice pod is about the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes. The final ingredient is benzoic acid, a food preservative that has the added benefit of increasing the potency of the nicotine.

    The ingredients in e-juice could have come from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Recall the witches hanging around the stew pot mixing up their own e-juice chanting: “Double, double toil and trouble/Fire burn and caldron bubble/Fillet of a fenny snake/In the caldron boil and bake/ Eye of newt, and toe of frog/Wool of bat, and tongue of dog/Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting/Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing/For a charm of powerful trouble/Like a hell-broth boil and bubble/Double, double toil and trouble/Fire burn and caldron bubble.” I would take my chances with the witches’ brew before an e-pod.

    Smokers put e-juice into the internal combustion engine of the vaporizer to impregnate their lungs with the deeply satisfying molecules of nicotine and the other delicious chemicals. This process of inhaling witch’s brew of e-juice by the addicted vaper is reminiscent of the scene in “Silence of the Lambs” where Buffalo Bill tells the captive lady in the pit: “It puts the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again.” The vaper puts the e-juice in his lungs, or else he gets the nicotine shakes again.

    Vaping is big business. “The Wall Street Journal” reports $7 billion of vaping went on in 2018 by 8 million adults and 5 million children. Unsurprisingly Big Tobacco is all over e-cigarettes. The Altria Group, which used to be named Phillip Morris, owns 35% of Juul — the leading seller of e-cigarettes. Juul runs full-page ads in “The Wall Street Journal,” saying it doesn’t want children to buy its product. Similarly, I, as a UNC fan, don’t want North Carolina State to get rid of a bad basketball coach, either.

    Debate remains about whether the various e-cigarette companies are sincere about not selling their product to children. If you go on an e-cigarette website, you have to click on a box that says you are over 21 to buy e-cigarettes there. It’s the honor system. Clicking on the box is as effective as the old stickers on cigarette machines that said minors could not buy cigarettes from the machine. Consider the names of some flavored e-juices that various vaping companies used to entice underage buyers to purchase their products. I am not making these flavors up: Cool Mint, Mango, Crème Brûlée, Cool Cucumber, Fruit Medley, Chocolate, I Love Donuts- Blueberry, I Love Cookies, Vanilla Custard, Cinnablaze, Corn Flake Tart, Blueberry Jam, Baby Clouds, Blueberry Cobbler, Peanut Butter Cup, and Custard’s Last Stand. There are hordes of manly men out there wanting to smoke Baby Clouds e-cigarettes.

    Here actual ad copy on an e-cigarette web site that doesn’t appear to be aimed at adults. To wit: “Many smokers who switch to vaping start out with tobacco flavors and move on to find delight in these sugary e-liquids, which are also available in seven or more nicotine levels. Many of these e-cig dessert flavors are available in our high-VG Ultimo Vapor E-Juice, including Napoleon’s Fave. When you vape it, it feels like you’re devouring a cone topped with a triple-scoop of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream that never melts! Vapers and former smokers can also find e-cig indulgence in our prefilled e-cig cartridges, where these dessert e-juices are among 150 flavors that come loaded up and ready to deliver you pure vaping pleasure.”

    As Macbeth’s witches said: “Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf/ Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf/ Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark; Root of hemlock digg’d in the dark; Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse/ Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips/ Make the gruel thick and slab;/ Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron/ For the ingredients of our cauldron/ Cool it with a baboon’s blood/ Then the charm is fine and good.”

    Take a puff; it’s summertime. Enjoy the pure vaping pleasure of the hell-broth.

  • 20 01 Marissa Morris copyMarissa Morris
    Terry Sanford• Cross country, track • Junior
    Morris has a weighted GPA of 4.375. This is her third year on the varsity cross country and track teams. Her activities include National Honor Society, Tri Chi and Key Club. She attends dance practice and is in her 11th year of dance. When she is not running or dancing she likes to hang out with friends.
    20 02 Morgan WilliamsMorgan Williams
    Terry Sanford• Volleyball, track• Junior
    Williams has a weighted GPA of 4.235. This is her first year on the varsity volleyball team and will be her second year on the varsity track team.  She is the junior class secretary, member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and in the global studies program. She aspires to be a Kentucky Wildcat.
  • The Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County will host the 41st International Folk Festival Sept. 28 and 29. IFF packs an amazing amount of diversity into the two-day festival.

    The longest running festival in the region gives the Arts Council an opportunity to introduce Fayetteville to the unique variety of original artistic traditions from dozens of diverse cultures. Fort Bragg brings many people to our community from all over the world so many of these cultures are represented in the Fayetteville community.

    The festival kicks off Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with the Parade of Nations on Hay Street. Experience the distinct and vibrant cultures of more than 30 nations as representatives parade down Hay Street wearing their native dress.

    Following the parade, head to Festival Park and take in seven unique cultural performance areas with craft and food vendors. Enjoy authentic cuisine, live performances, arts, crafts and vendors from around the world.

    Saturday night’s festivities include Rocksplosion! — the ultimate rock star tribute show. It is one band with four distinct performances, representing Madonna, Tina Turner, Bon Jovi and Jimmy Buffet.

    Sunday’s events begin at 1 p.m. with Praise in the Park, a performance of 10 praise and worship dance groups and 10 faith-based choirs. It concludes with the 6 p.m. performance of gospel sensation, Yael Hilton. Hilton, a Fayetteville native, has a powerful voice reminiscent of Nina Simone.

    In addition to the cultural performances, the schedule includes live demonstrations from area artist, mimes, aerialists, drum circles, performance art, belly dancers, storytelling, fiddle players, magicians, balloon artists, painters, fire dancers and traditional American blues performances.

    This year, the Art Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County has teamed up with the Grandstand App to provide attendees with the best festival experience. Download the app through your app store to find maps of the performance areas, lists of vendors and show times. The app lets you share information through your social media accounts, add to your list of events and add events to your personal calendar so you don’t miss a single thing. It’s available for iPhones at  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/grandstand-events/id1196052305 and for Android devices at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.grandstand.grandstandfa. For more information about the International Folk Festival visit http://www.theinternationalfolkfestival.com

  • 13 SMOKE LORE“You shouldn’t be so worried about the transition in the barbecue world.”

    Jim Auchmutey was trying to reassure John Shelton Reed and me about our loss of old-time barbecue restaurants, including Wilber’s in Goldsboro and Allen & Son in Chapel Hill.

    Auchmutey wrote for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for almost 30 years, specializing in stories about the South and its history and culture. His new book, “Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America,” is a must-read for barbecue fans and social history students. Retired UNC-Chapel Hill professor Reed is one of North Carolina’s barbecue gurus and co-author of “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue.”

    Auchmutey understands how we are grieving the loss of our barbecue icons, but he urged us to consider some positive developments. “Young people who have been on the barbecue contest circuit have learned the science of heating and cooking meats. They are better than some of the old masters, and they are opening up restaurants where the barbecue is more consistently good than some of the old masters.”

    He pointed out that the young restaurant owners are expanding their menus. And not just with ribs and beef briquettes. They are experimenting with wood-fired dishes from all over the world, adding opportunities for expanding the palate.
    Reed and I conceded that there are some fine new restaurants, such as Picnic in Durham, where young owners have delivered outstanding results, thanks to careful sourcing of the meats and consistent cooking methods.

    But, we told Auchmutey, there is a problem. The new places have to charge higher prices to cover the increased rent, new cooking equipment, loan payments and compliance with new construction and environmental requirements.

    Higher prices and fancier menus mean we do not get the same mix of construction workers, white collar people, students and folks of modest means. Reed held out Stamey’s in Greensboro as the ideal, where a simple barbecue sandwich with fixings can be within the lunch budget of almost everybody who works for a living.

    These newer places, Reed said, don’t give us a place where people from all walks of life can come together for a good meal at a modest price.

    Something like what is happening to barbecue restaurants here in North Carolina is happening to other diners across the country according to a story by Steven Kurutz in The New York Times last month.
    Kurutz describes the Oakhurst Diner in Millerton, New York, as “a living time capsule.”

    “Housed in the original 1950s Silk City dining car, it screams classic diner: crimped stainless-steel facade, Formica counter with stools, pink-and-blue neon sign, specials scrawled on chalkboards.”
    “But,” he writes, “the nods to midcentury nostalgia mostly end there.”
    He explains that the menu includes a bowl of seaweed and brown rice, kimchi, and a hamburger made from “grass-fed and grass-finished” beef. That fancy hamburger costs $16.

    It is the “same look and vibe as the classic steel original, but the food has been upgraded to reflect current tastes.”

    “And,” mourns Kurutz, “So was born the greasy spoon serving avocado toast and deconstructed chicken potpie.”

    Kurutz introduces and quotes Richard J.S. Gutman, author of “American Diner Then and Now,” who explains the current appeal of the old diners. “You feel at home in the diner whether you’ve been there dozens of times or it’s your first time. There’s a buzz inside. There’s a kind of energy when you’re sitting stool to stool, cheek by jowl, asking for the ketchup. That feeling, that place you’d go with your grandpa or your auntie, where is that anymore? There’s something so democratic about diners. They’re part of the community. I think that’s what people are craving.”

    It is also what Reed and I are craving and what we are missing as our old-time barbecue places bite the dust.

  • 18 01 TaurienneWestover linebacker Taurienne Freeman was the only Cumberland County football player chosen to this year’s Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

    The annual all-star football game, the oldest of its kind in the United States, is scheduled Saturday, Dec. 21, at Wofford College’s Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

    The game annually pits the top senior football players from North Carolina and South Carolina to benefit the Shriners Hospitals for burned and crippled children.

    Freeman, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior, is being recruited by numerous major and mid-major colleges according to Westover head coach Ernest King. He has yet to make a commitment to play for any school.

    King called Freeman both a hard-working player and a good student in the classroom. As far as his playing style, King said Freeman is an old-school, downhill type of player who reminds him of stars he coached at E.E. Smith High School like Aaron Curry and Jordan Stocks.

    18 02 Ernest King“He’s very aggressive, doesn’t take any plays off,’’ King said. King coached in the Shrine Bowl last year as an assistant coach and said it’s an honor to have Freeman representing Westover High School, Cumberland County and the state of North Carolina in this year’s game.

    Freeman said he was shocked at first to hear he had been chosen for the North Carolina team but said he is ready to compete for a chance to start and play in the game as one of seven linebackers chosen. “I know how to compete,’’ he said. “I can read the offensive line. I feel I can get the starting spot if I work hard enough.’’

    Freeman said he may try to add a little weight before the game in December and continue eating healthy and keeping in top shape.
    “It’s a big honor for me,’’ he said. “I know I’ll represent the area well.’’

    King said he was surprised Freeman was the only player from Cumberland County picked for the game.
    “We have a lot of talent in this county,’’ he said. “I think it’s kind of being overlooked.’

    Pictured from top to bottom: Taurienne Freeman, Ernest King 

  • 04 state leadersThe state of the political discourse was lousy. “Laws are no longer made by a rational process of public discussion,” wrote one longtime columnist. “They are made by a process of blackmail and intimidation, and they are executed in the same manner. The typical lawmaker of today is a man wholly devoid of principle — a mere counter in a grotesque and knavish game.” The same writer observed that, compared to “a state legislature in session,” a visit to the local zoo would be “informing, stimulating and ennobling.”

    His name was H.L. Mencken. He was writing about the contentious politics of 1930, not the contentious politics of 2019. And Mencken was grossly exaggerating.

    Our political process is under tremendous pressure, no question. In North Carolina and beyond, politics has been overly coarsened, polarized and trivialized. But the system isn’t irreparably broken.

    Lawmakers continue to draft important bills, recruit bipartisan support and make substantive arguments for or against enactment. Political leaders still engage each other without constantly resorting to schemes or insults. North Carolinians of differing views haven’t stopped talking to each other.

    We don’t do these things enough, of course. We must do more. But cynicism about our civic dialogue is premature. There are positive examples out there, examples that deserve attention and emulation.

    The North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership has been doing this kind of work for decades. I have long been on its faculty and currently chair the board of directors. Its signature program is the IOPL Fellowship. Twice a year, IOPL selects a class of promising leaders — North Carolinians aspiring to be public servants in some capacity — and provides extensive training to prepare fellows to fill those roles effectively.

    The participants, faculty, and board of IOPL are carefully balanced by party, ideology and other characteristics. Fellows learn the nuts and bolts of political campaigns, to be sure, but they also learn how to govern wisely, in either elective or appointive office, as well as how other institutions such as associations, interest groups, think tanks, and media outlets help to shape political events and issues.

    Four years ago, IOPL decided to take its message to a larger audience by cohosting a series of hometown debates, along with local chambers of commerce. During election years, the series focuses on statewide offices or referenda. In nonelection years, IOPL and its partners assemble panels of elected officials and policy practitioners to debate critical issues facing North Carolina.

    The 2019 series of hometown debates  began on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the 119 West Third Event Center of the J. Smith Young YMCA in Lexington. Former Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, and former State Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, current chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, joined two other panelists to discuss Medicaid transformation and expansion.

    On Oct. 1, Rep. Carla Cunningham, D-Mecklenburg, and Sen. Carl Ford, R-Cabarrus, will headline a panel at the Norvell Theater in Salisbury on health insurance issues. On Oct. 8, Sen. Jim Perry , R-Lenoir, and Sen. Don Davis, D-Greene, will be part of a debate at East Carolina University’s Black Box Theater on how to improve health care access in rural areas. Finally, on Oct. 17, Reps. Maryann Black, D-Durham, and Donna White, R-Johnston, will discuss issues of health care delivery at the Civic Center of Vance-Granville Community College.

    All four one-hour debates begin at 7 p.m. and will be moderated by Loretta Boniti, senior political reporter for the cable channel Spectrum News. Each will be broadcast on the Spectrum website and, in edited form, as an episode of Boniti’s weekly public-affairs show “In Focus.”

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina, the North Carolina Association of Health Underwriters and the North Carolina Rural Center are among the series sponsors. If you want to elevate the political conversation, attend or watch the hometown debates — and help organize similar projects in your community. We all have a part to play in improving the practice of self-government in the state we proudly call home.

    The 2019 series of hometown debates  began on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

  • 19 Jimmy TeagueThe Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas announced rosters for this year’s game last week, a move that caught some people by surprise. In past years, the announcement has been held until closer to the end of football season.
    Ronnie Blount, who is general chairman of the game and lives in Cumberland County, said there was logic behind the decision to move the announcement date up a month.

    Nominations were opened on July 15 this season and closed on Labor Day he said.

    The main reason for the advance was because of challenges getting football uniforms to fit an assortment of players. This year’s Shrine rosters have players as short at 5-foot-9 and as tall as 6-foot-7.

    Blount said the Shriners had encountered problems getting equipment delivered in time with the late announcement date. The vendor who provides the uniforms needs 90 days to turn the orders around he said.

    Another plus of moving the date up was that coaches had some free time over the summer to work on nominations, resulting in more nominations than in past years.

    This year’s game is scheduled Saturday, Dec. 21, at 1 p.m. at Wofford College’s Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C.

    The head coach for the North Carolina team has Cumberland County ties. Jimmy Teague, veteran coach at Reidsville High School, is a former assistant coach at Pine Forest High School.
    • Lacrosse continues to grow in Cumberland County and the region. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has announced the new conferences for boys and girls lacrosse and county schools will no longer be in the same league with teams from the Raleigh area.

    The new league for boys includes Jack Britt, Cape Fear, Pinecrest and Terry Sanford.

    For girls, the league members are the same four schools plus Union Pines.

    Lacrosse practice begins Feb. 12, 2020, with the first matches on March 2.
    • The next Region 4 Emergency Fund Golf Tournament will be held Sunday, Oct. 13, at Gates Four Golf and Country Club. Rain date is Oct. 20.

    The tournament raises money for the coaches and officials emergency fund, which provides monetary support to individuals and families in the area during a time of crisis.
    There are slots for as many as 32 teams in the fall tournament.

    Those registering before Oct. 6 pay $75 per golfer. After Oct. 6, the cost rises to $85 per golfer.

    For more information on the tournament, including how to register, visit www.regionfour.org.

    Pictured: L-R Former Pine Forest assistant football coach Jimmy Teague, Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas general chairman Ronnie Blount and Dean Boyd of York Comprehensive High School in York, South Carolina announce this year's Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas teams live on Facebook. Teague is head coach at Reidsville High School and North Carolina head coach this year. Boyd is the South Carolina head coach.



  • 11 01 Profile Series 9In contemporary art, the subject for an artist can range from the decorative to the political, the profane to the sublime, or stark minimalism to excessive detail. For local artist Cornell Jones, “the works are an extension of myself — a record, a reflection. Making new work answers questions for me and keeps me constantly in the mindset of observing the world around me.”

    In his one-person exhibition titled Small Things that Fit... Works by Cornell Jones, opening Oct. 1 at Gallery 208, visitors to the opening reception will preview a body of work that reveals Jones’ sensibilities to the world around him.
    Raised in Alabama, he attended Troy State University and then spent time in New York City, working in art organizations, social work agencies and community organizations after earning a Master of Fine Arts in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He later returned to our region and presently works as an elementary art teacher in Fayetteville and an adjunct member of the faculty at Fayetteville State University.

    Jones distinguishes himself as a Southerner and an American of African descent. He noted: “My cultural identity influences both my artwork and the process through which I create. It is extremely important to me that I reflect my community, experiences and beliefs in the work that I present.” What the artist does not state is how the idea of identity is the common thread throughout the works in the exhibit.

    Although Jones’ heritage is fixed, meaning in each work is fluid, and he leaves us room for interpretation. The exhibit conveys conditions for abstracted circumstance, change and influence. In most of the works, the figure is totally obscure or partially obscured, allowing the viewer to re-examine the identity in each work. Is the figure you, someone you know or a stranger?

    How the artist would like us to see something about his “community” is subtle and influenced by his history. Although we do not need to know influences on the work, knowing the influences does alter our perception of meaning, and we are able to connect to the artist; we are able to understand something about his “community” in the works.

    Jones described the influences from his childhood: “My process of exploring materials is directly inspired by the time I spent with my great-grandmother as she made patchwork quilts. Often, as a young boy, I found myself threading needles and sorting through her bags of colorful fabric scraps. I still enjoy searching, but the fabric has been replaced with hand-painted and found papers.”

    11 02 Profile SeriesKnowing his history of watching his great-grandmother select parts of fabric to create a whole, we can easily understand how according to  Jones, “discarded or fragmented pieces are assembled to create something new into my artistic practice, whether it be drawing, painting or collage. The traditions, rituals, landscape and memories of my Southern upbringing are deeply rooted in my process and product.”

    Within Jones’ busy schedule and his many responsibilities, he still finds time to be a practicing artist. A testament to the creative impulse within him, Jones noted he creates new works because he is curious. “I study things that I might have overlooked, and I enjoy the process of developing or growing an idea from a sketch to a finished piece to a body of work. As a teacher, I also find it necessary to continue creating so that I can talk to students from a place of current experience. I stay active in the creative process by making, learning new skills and researching the ways other artists perceive the world that are outside the way I think about it.”

    Jones is not only an excellent educator and a family man, but he continues to share his work with the public in exhibitions. His work has been included in exhibitions in New York and North Carolina. Most recently he was selected to exhibit in 2017 at the Arts Council in Fayetteville/Cumberland County for the 10:10:10 exhibit.  Jones’ works have also been exhibited at the Delta Arts Center in Winston-Salem, the Greenhill Center for North Carolina Art in Greensboro and Ellington White Contemporary Gallery in Fayetteville.

    For Jones, due to his professional and personal obligations, the greatest challenge is setting up a routine he can follow to create new works. Although his creative time is often interrupted, he noted how he still tries to be consistent and routinely returns to the studio to create new work.

    The routine of making time to continue to be an artist may have been influenced by his upbringing and watching his great-grandmother making quilts. One cannot imagine a clearer view of his creative impetus, he is still the innocent child at the table with his great-grandmother, exploring and assembling materials. For Jones, like his great-grandmother, the creative experience is “following ideas … artmaking is an exploration in materials and concepts. I reflect. I record. I draw. I paint. I cut. I assemble,” said Jones.

    Everyone is invited to meet Jones at the opening reception of his exhibit, “Small Things that Fit... Works by Cornell Jones,” Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Gallery 208, at 208 Rowan St. in Fayetteville, between the hours of 5:30-7 p.m. The artist will do a short presentation at 6 p.m. and share insight with everyone about his process and the content of the works in the exhibit.

    For anyone not attending the opening, the exhibit will remain up until Dec. 15. For information call 910-484-6200.
  • earl vaughan srForgive me for a personal indulgence today, but it’s a milestone moment in the life of someone extremely special to me.
    I’d like to take a few moments to wish a happy 90th birthday to my father, the Rev. Earl Vaughan Sr. There is not enough space in all the databanks everywhere to thank him for everything he’s done for me through the years.
    The United States Army brought him to Fort Bragg from his native Missouri. During his Army days he met and eventually married my mother, the late Peggy Blount Vaughan, a hometown Fayetteville girl. I joined the party in 1954 and nine years later dad decided to enter the ministry. He earned his ministerial credentials at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. We returned to North Carolina where he served pastorates in Bryson City, Cleveland, Leland and Warsaw before retiring and moving back to Fayetteville with mom.
    He’s still preaching every so often and loves finding bargains, interacting with people and doing the Lord’s work.
    Thank you dad for being there for me everyday I’ve been on this earth. Have a super birthday.
    The record: 23-7
    I survived Friday the 13th with a 5-2 record, which is far better than it could have been given the difficulty of the predictions. The season total is 23-7, 76.7 percent. 
    Cape Fear at Terry Sanford- The Battle of the Blues is a big Patriot Athletic Conference matchup for both teams. I’m worried about Cape Fear being a little rusty. The Colts are coming off an open date and have only played two games this year since their opener with Clinton was canceled by the weather.
    But Terry Sanford lost to Jack Britt and had a tough time with E.E. Smith after an open date the previous Friday.
    This will be the first “home” game for the Bulldogs as they move to their temporary headquarters at Reid Ross Classical High School’s John Daskal Stadium. I’ll be interested to see just how homey things are for the team and its fans.
    Cape Fear 21, Terry Sanford 20.
    South View at Douglas Byrd- The Eagles got a big win against Westover last week but they will face a stiff test from the versatile South View offense Friday night. 
    South View 28, Douglas Byrd 14.
    E.E. Smith at Overhills - The Golden Bulls came close against Terry Sanford last week but weren’t able to seal the win.
    I’m worried about an emotional letdown against Overhills this week after getting up for a big rival like the Bulldogs.
    Overhills 22, E.E. Smith 17.
    Pine Forest at Gray’s Creek - The big concern here is which Pine Forest team is going to show up. The Trojans have been a little inconsistent early in the season and defense has been a problem. Gray’s Creek is much improved, but I think the Bears will have a tough time containing Pine Forest’s offense.
    Pine Forest 24, Gray’s Creek 18.
    Goldsboro at Westover - Here’s hoping home field will give Westover enough of a boost to get its first win of the season.
    Westover 22, Goldsboro 20.
    Jack Britt at New Hanover - Call me crazy, but after three weeks Brian Randolph had me drinking that purple Jack Britt Kool-Aid. I think the Buccaneers are for real and they’ve got a chance to make a statement Friday against a solid New Hanover team.
    Jack Britt 28, New Hanover 27.
    Open date: Seventy-First.
    Other games: Fayetteville Christian 14, Rocky Mount Academy 12; Trinity Christian 21, Metrolina Christian 14.
  • 17 Deputy Chief Hank HarrisMost people begin to worry about hurricanes when the weather reports grow ominous as a major storm advances on the place that they live.

    But emergency personnel like Hank Harris, deputy chief of the Cotton Fire Department in Hope Mills, have to remain focused on storms throughout hurricane season — and not just ones that threaten our local communities.
    Cotton is part of a larger group known as Urban Search and Rescue Teams. They work together with the Fayetteville Fire and Police Departments and Cumberland County Emergency Medical Services.
    “There are seven teams like it across the state,’’ Harris said. “Most of them are in big municipalities. They’ve got equipment to shore up structurally collapsed buildings. We’ve got swift-water rescue stuff. They are self-sustainable for 72 hours.’’
    In past storms, local rescue personnel have been involved with sending swift-water rescue teams to storm-stricken areas.
    During Hurricane Dorian, the Fayetteville-area team sent a forklift to the Outer Banks to load supplies at hurricane-ravaged Ocracoke Island.
    Harris said the Fayetteville area team also has tents available that can be used to house team members when they are sent elsewhere to serve, or they can be sent to disaster areas to provide an emergency hospital or shelter to feed people displaced from their homes.
    In 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and southeast Texas, causing $125 billion in damage, mostly from flooding.
    Harris said the team from the Fayetteville area sent 90 people to Texas to help with relief during that storm.
    “We go everywhere,’’ he said.
    With the growing frequency of storms every fall in the United States, Harris said it’s a good idea for people to not wait to hear bad news on the weather and maintain a basic level of readiness whenever hurricane season arrives in the Southeast.
    “It’s always good to have a hurricane kit,’’ Harris said. You can visit ReadyNC.org on the internet or download the ReadyNC app to your smartphone and get a lot of valuable information there, Harris added.
    “It gives you a list of materials you need to keep on hand,’’ he said. “You know what happens to all the grocery stores. They start emptying the shelves. You can be a little bit ahead of the game by having some of that stuff already in place.’’
    Some basics to have on hand include bandaging material, water both to drink and to clean wounds with and enough food to sustain life for everyone in the home for several days.


    Harris said it’s also a good idea to be aware of what rescue personnel with the fire department can and can’t do when a storm hits.

    Harris said his agency normally won’t respond to situations like a tree falling on a house and simply causing physical damage to the building. They will come out for emergencies like people trapped in a home or car, for rising water and, in some cases, for downed power lines. They try to refer power line situations to the appropriate power company.
    “It keeps us from stretching our resources so thin,’’ he said, "in times when multiple calls might be coming in."
    Harris said the safety of rescue personnel also has to be factored in. “When the wind gets up, it’s not safe for us to respond,’’ he said. “If the winds are too high for us to respond and something happens to us, we’re not helping anybody.’’
    Pictured: Deputy Chief Hank Harris
  • 16 MatsThe Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department is in the third year of a program to make sleeping mats for the homeless from plastic bags.

    Anne Evanco, a program specialist for the Parks and Recreation Department, said the program has stockpiled plenty of raw material for the work, but it needs more helping hands to create the mats.
    The program started at the former senior center on Davis Street but has relocated to the Parks and Recreation building on Rockfish Road.
    Evanco estimates that the volunteers in the program have churned out roughly 300 mats since they started.
    They collect plastic bags from various local businesses and then bring them to the recreation center. There they are flattened, folded and cut into a material they call plarn, which means plastic yarn.
    Once the plarn has been made, it can be used in a variety of ways to create the sleeping mats. Evanco said they can be knitted, crocheted or weaved, depending on the preference of the person making the mat.
    She added it’s a simple process to learn and anyone can do it with minimal training.
    When people come out to take part in the program for the first time, Evanco said they are usually assigned to the process of making the plarn.
    “We want them to learn each step,’’ she said. “After you learn how to process the bags and make the plarn, it doesn’t take long to learn the weaving method.’’
    The process of making a mat can take from 10 to 30 hours Evanco said. A lot of that depends on the individual worker and how nimble their hands are. Some of the crocheted mats can take as long as 60 hours.
    The mat makers convene at the recreation center three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon until 4 p.m. each day.
    While the program was originally intended for senior citizens, Evanco said people of all ages are now welcome to take part.
    The mat-making room is somewhat crowded on Wednesday and Friday, Evanco said, but they could use some more volunteers who would like to work on mats on Mondays.
    The mat makers aren’t responsible for getting the mats into the hands of the homeless. The recreation center staff works with other organizations, especially Fayetteville Urban Ministry, to drop off the mats and have them put directly into the hands of the homeless.
    Evanco said she doesn’t have an idea on how long a mat will actually last, saying it varies from person to person and the type of surface they might be sleeping on, with mats used on grass surfaces standing up better than those used on concrete.
    Anyone interested in learning how to make the mats should just show up at one of the Monday, Wednesday or Friday sessions. “The people in this program are very welcoming,’’ Evanco said. “We’ll bring that person in and put them to work, show them the process.


    “It’s great to see someone who has never done anything like this before. There’s something for everyone in this program.’’

    Pictured: Paula Ray, center, a Hope Mills volunteer, delivers mats to staff at the Veterans Administration Stand Down Center last August

  • 18 RefInappropriate adult behavior at high school athletic events throughout the country has reached epidemic proportions.

    When more than 2,000 high school athletic directors were asked in a recent national survey what they like least about their job, 62.3% said it was “dealing with aggressive parents and adult fans.”
    And the men and women who wear the black and white stripes agree. In fact, almost 80% of officials quit after the first two years on the job and unruly parents are cited as the reason why. As a result, there is a growing shortage of high school officials nationwide, and in some sports like wrestling, swimming, and track and field, the shortage is severe. No officials means no more games.
    If you are a parent attending a high school athletic event this fall, you can help by following these six guidelines.
    Act your age. You are, after all, an adult. Act in a way that makes your family and school proud.
    Don’t live your life vicariously through your children. High school sports are for them, not you. Your family’s reputation is not determined by how well your children perform on the field of play.
    Let your children talk to the coach instead of you doing it for them. High school athletes learn how to become more confident, independent and capable—but only when their parents don’t jump in and solve their problems for them.
    Stay in your own lane. No coaching or officiating from the sidelines. Your role is to be a responsible, supportive parent — not a coach or official.
    Remember, participating in a high school sport is not about getting a college scholarship. According to the NCAA, only about two percent of all high school athletes are awarded a sports scholarship, and the total value of the scholarship is only about $18,000.
    Make sure your children know you love watching them play. Do not critique your child’s performance on the car ride home. Participating in high school sports is about character development, learning and having fun — not winning and losing.
    Purchasing a ticket to a high school athletic event does not give you the right to be rude, disrespectful or verbally abusive. Cheer loud and be proud, but be responsible and respectful. The future of high school sports in our nation is dependent on you.
  • 14 WorshipThe secret to eternal youth is a lot simpler than we make it. It's not found in some rejuvenating elixir or dietary plan. The only remedy to growing old is to simply stop waking up. Because the fact of the matter is that every time we wake, we are certain to have aged — at least a little.

    As I crossed the threshold of a landmark birthday this summer, I found myself surprised at how quickly it actually got here. When I was a young man, I thought by this time in my life I'd be creaking around, sitting in a rocker on the porch randomly yelling at neighborhood kids to get off my lawn. But no. Growing old and aging aren't necessarily the same.
    On a recent weekend, I put in some earbuds and headed out to mow the lawn and selected a playlist that caused me to be excited not only for my age, but also for the generations coming behind me. Warning: the rest of this will probably seem decidedly Christian to some, but what do you expect? I run a Christian radio station, which is more an extension of who I am than it is has ever been a job.
    The playlist I selected was called, “Praise and Worship Hotlist.” It treated me to dozens of songs ranging from energetic pop to reflective anthems  — all with a focus on inciting a deeper relationship with God in the listener. The experience led me to recall the cliché phrases we hear from those aging around us like, “They call that music?” But that's not how I felt. Instead, I thought it was beautiful to hear such lyrical and poetic thoughts wrapped in musical packages that completely reflected a generation I can only observe from the outside.
    The young songwriters and musicians spoke to the realities of their world. And while we hear many people complain about the same things, they offered them to God, and declared he was the one who would strengthen them to endure and eventually change them. All the more poignant, most of the songs were recorded live, and you could hear the echoes of a great crowd around them.
    We often hear about the number of young people walking away from the church. We're told they hold nothing about their parents' faith dear. They even call them the “nones.” No preference. No faith. Nothing. What we hear less about is the burgeoning faith and devotion of the same generation who didn't leave. Or the ones whose faith came fully alive as they entered adulthood.  For the former — the nones — perhaps they didn't walk away at all. More likely they only went
    through the motions of faith because that's where their parents took them or where  their limited social circle centered.
    Genuine Christian faith is not something you walk into and out of. It becomes more an extension of who you are than a place you go or a thing you do. And to those demonstrating that faith: I like your music. Walk on my lawn any time.
  • 12 Charlie BrownThe Peanuts characters come to life in Clark Gesner’s adaptation of Charles M. Schultz’s classic comic strip in the musical, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Audiences will enjoy the regular Peanuts storyline with the ever-bossy Lucy, who is still trying to get Schroeder’s attention regardless of whether or not he notices her. Then there’s Sally who’s still picking on her crush, Linus, who of course doesn’t go anywhere without his blanket. And finally, there’s Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Snoopy still has his doghouse and still lives out his dream of being the Red Baron, and Charlie Brown is, well, his lovable self. And they will all be at Gilbert Theater Sept. 20-Oct.6. 

    The role of Sally Brown is played by Caryn Festa. When asked why she wanted to audition, she said, “I haven’t been on the stage since high school, and I love performing.” She was ecstatic to learn she got the role of Sally. She is grateful for the support of her family and hopes everyone that comes to the show thoroughly enjoys it!
    The role of Linus is played by Quentin King. King has played in multiple performances at the Gilbert. Being in this musical reminds him of his childhood and how he used to watch the cartoons and read the comics. It’s definitely nostalgic. He thanks his family for their never-ending love and support.
    Lucy is played by Jennifer Czechowski. Jennifer has been a part of Gilbert productions in the past, and with the encouragement of her mom, husband and best friend, she decided to audition for this musical. It’s family friendly and fun.

    Gage Long plays the Schroeder. Long is thrilled to be in this production because it’s fun and the cast is great. He’s excited to bring the character of Schroeder to life.

    LeeAnn Valcarcel plays Snoopy. Valcarcel said this has been her favorite show for a long time. It was the first musical she put on at Fayetteville Academy, where she is the choir director. “This show has a bright spot, and I hope the audience experiences that when they watch it,” she said.
    Valcarcel is grateful for the support she receives from her family and friends, especially her children.
    Dan Follett is Charlie Brown. Follett is a freshman at Fayetteville State University and has been a fan of this show for as long as he can remember. He feels he is growing as a performer, and he loves his fellow cast members, plus the amazing directing team. He wants the audience to know that this show has a wonderful message about happiness. “That even when life is particularly hard, you can find happiness in the simple things that surround you,” Follett said.

    The production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” runs Sept. 20-Oct. 6. Ticket prices range from $14 to $16, or $10 with groups of 10 or more. Visit www.gilberttheater.com for tickets and information.

  • 15 01 Police Chief Joel AcciardoThe town of Hope Mills scored the ultimate win-win for its police department last week as the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to add a specialized armored vehicle to the rolling stock of police chief Joel Acciardo’s department.
    The best news about the acquisition is the vehicle won’t cost the town a cent.
    The commissioners voted 5-0 to accept an Oshkosh M-ATV from the U.S. Military Law Enforcement Support Program. Estimated value of the vehicle is $767,360.
    “We are eligible to receive equipment from the federal government as long as it’s used for law enforcement purposes,’’ Acciardo said.
    In addition to being lightly armored, Acciardo said the M-ATV has what’s called deepwater fording capabilities. “We’ll be able to use it for deep water rescue operations,’’ he said.
    Acciardo said the town already experienced a situation where a vehicle like the M-ATV would have been helpful — during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Residents of the retirement center on Cameron Road had to be evacuated because of rising water there. “That pretty much cemented the usefulness of vehicles like that for us,’’ Acciardo said.
    But deepwater rescue isn’t the only thing the vehicle could help with, and Acciardo is hopeful it never has to be used for this purpose.
    15 02 MATV“One of the things we identified early on that we needed was a vehicle that would allow us to get closer to victims and place officers closer to where an active shooter is,’’ he said. “The M-ATV matches all those requirements. You have high ground clearance, deepwater fording capabilities and it’s lightly armored.
    “That kind of checks a whole bunch of blocks.’’
    Acciardo said there are other companies that make vehicles similar to the M-ATV, but they are extremely expensive and out of the price range for a smaller agency like the Hope Mills Police Department.
    With the donation of the M-ATV from the military, Acciardo said the only cost to Hope Mills will be to get it here, license it and paint it.
    While Hope Mills has mutual aid agreements with other local police departments and would get their cooperation in an active shooter situation, Acciardo said time is of the utmost importance, and having its own specialized vehicle here improves the Hope Mills police’s chances of responding quicker.
    Acciardo said the M-ATV the town is getting is about nine years old and has less than 60,000 miles on it.
    The vehicle’s cab has room for a driver and four passengers. The rear area of the vehicle can be used to carry either cargo or more people.
    A training program will be required for those who will operate the vehicle. He estimates anywhere from five to six senior police officers will be trained as drivers so the department can assign one driver per shift to be available if the vehicle is called into service.
    He estimated it’ll take about 90 days to be able to put the vehicle in service, hopefully by mid-November or mid-December.
    With proper care and maintenance, he estimates the town could get up to 20 years of service from the vehicle.
    “You won’t see it in a parade, you won’t see it at a demonstration, you won’t see it on patrol,’’ he said. “You’ll see it when there is a weather event, a natural disaster or, God forbid, an active shooter situation.
    “That’s the whole purpose of it, to have the resource and hope you never have to use it. You have to be prepared in today’s world.’’

    Picture 1: Chief Joel Acciardo 

    Picture 2: M-ATV similar to the one Hope Mills is getting 

  • 13 01 HamLITFayetteville is a unique place, so when Up & Coming Weekly Publisher Bill Bowman decided to resurrect the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre after a more than 35-year hiatus, he knew it would have to be something special.  And is it ever. Each event includes much more than dinner and a show. From music to prizes, games, a meet-and-greet reception and much more, the FDT offers an experience like none other in the area — and all for the benefit of area theatergoers and Cumberland County education. FDT supports the Kidsville News Literacy and Education Foundation, a 501c3 that provides reading and educational resources to local children and teachers. The second show of the 2019-2020 season, “HamLIT,” runs Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28.
    “Our local residents shouldn’t have to drive to Greensboro or Raleigh for good dinner theater entertainment,” said Bowman. “That’s why we’ve gone out of our way to make this a very special and unique experience people will want to
    come back to  time and time again.”
    To accomplish this, Bowman has partnered up with some of the community’s most prestigious businesses and organizations to bring this production to fruition. Sponsored by Worldwide Wellness LLC and Up & Coming Weekly and hosted by Gates Four Country Club,  “HamLIT”  is performed by local theater troupe Sweet Tea Shakespeare.
    13 02 DSC 8534 “HamLIT” is Shakespeare with a twist and brings great theater, hijinks, games and more to theater audiences. It’s definitely Shakespeare but with a few hearty toasts, period games, improv, lively music and lots and lots of humor thrown in for good measure. Bowman described it as “bold and irreverent with notes of tragedy balanced only by uproarious hilarity for adult audiences.”
    “Expect a little craziness and a lot of fun,” said Nathan Pearce, one of the show’s three directors. “We take it down to the bare bones of the plot and fill it with improv and games. … We really like to have audience interaction. We want the audience to feel like they are part of the story, that they aren’t just watching it. We want them to join in the fun. We want them to sing along — we will do songs everyone knows. It is like a big party.”
    Taj Allen is also on board as codirector and Hamlet, with codirector Traycie Zapata also playing the part of Gertrude. Pearce fills several roles, including codirector, Claudius and The Ghost. Brandon Bryan is Polonius, Nelson Soliva plays Horatio as well as a musician, and Jacqueline Nunweiler plays Laertes as her first role in an STS production. Mary Gainer Mariyampillai plays Ophelia for her STS debut, and Dean Dibling has the role of musician.
    Ed Wiens, owner of Worldwide Wellness LLC,  is proud to support the endeavor. “Friends and acquaintances throughout history have found common ground in theater entertainment,” said 13 03Wiens. “Though times and technology have certainly changed, the gathering of community members around the ‘watering hole’ of good theatrical entertainment is an enduring part of the human experience. (My wife) Rebekah and I are pleased to enhance that experience for our fellow Fayettevillians. … Though our business is global, we live in Fayetteville and want to do all we can to enrich the lives of people in our community.”
    The Fayetteville Dinner Theatre experience includes a preshow reception with hors d’oeuvres; a full-service cash bar and wine tasting, a duel entrée dinner with two sides, a salad and rolls; and coffee, tea and specialty desserts at intermission.
    The 2019-2020 season opened May 31 with “’M’ is for Mullet, ” a whodunit written and directed by Elaine Alexander and featuring  The Hot Mess players with special guest KasCie Page.
    “It went quite well,” Gates Four general manager Kevin Lavertu said of the first production of the year. “It was very interactive. Members and guests took part in it, and there was a tremendous amount of positive feedback, which is why we are excited to continue hosting the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre.”
    Gates Four Golf and Country Club
    13 04 HamlitBuilt in 1968 and owned by the same family since 1974, Gates Four is a residential and golfing community beautifully located between Hope Mills and Fayetteville. It hosts a challenging 18-hole championship golf course that includes both new bent-grass greens and renovated bunkers. It features a 30,000-square-foot clubhouse, a first-class restaurant, two USTA tennis courts, an outdoor pavilion, a 10-acre park with walking and fitness trails and an Olympic-sized pool. 
    “As we continue to grow, we are always looking for opportunities to provide high-quality events and entertainment options to residents, members and their guests,” said Lavertu. “We are glad to be a part of the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre and look forward to our partnership in 2020 and beyond.”
    Sweet Tea Shakespeare Company
    Inspired by Shakespeare and the early modern spirit, Sweet Tea Shakespeare serves up accessible, imaginative and magical theater along with music, familiarity and fellowship. Unlike other local theaters, STS does not have a permanent venue or building to perform in — and they kind of like it that way.
    “Half of our season takes place outdoors,” said STS general manager Jennifer Pommerenke. “We also try to make our shows more of a party. … We play live music before every show. It’s basically like a backyard barbecue where a play breaks out. We try to really connect with our audiences and bring them into the show, make them a ‘character’ almost.” 
    Dinner parties lean toward friends and family coming together to have a good time, a fun time, a memorable time, making STS a perfect pairing for the FDT. “You have the music in the background, the food and beverages, and you simply enjoy being in the same place together,” said Pommerenke. “I believe our shows create that atmosphere. Our shows are beautiful and fun to watch. We try incredibly hard to make these beautiful classic stories authentic and relevant and delightful.”
    “With an awesome show, talented actors, a reception, a great dinner, door prizes and entertainment — all culminating with a post-show meet-and-greet — we strive to provide a very unique dinner theatre experience” said Bowman. “It’s all about providing local theater audiences what they pay for — awesome entertainment at a great value.”
    Tickets range from $75/$85 per person with special discounts for Seniors 65+ and active-duty military. Group discounts are also available. To learn more about the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre, make reservations or check show dates and times visit www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com, all social media formats or call 910-391-3859.
    “HamIT” offers games, songs, great theater and more.
    Photo Credit: Ben Walton
  • 21 01 Courtney CyganCourtney Cygan

    Gray's Creek • Junior
    Cygan has a weighted grade point average of 4.3125. She competes in tennis, softball and swimming. She is active in Future Business Leaders of America, yearbook and National Honor Society.
    Garrett Harbison

    Gray's Creek • Senior
    21 02 Garret Harbison
    Harbison has a weighted grade point average of 4.33. He was a regional qualifier in cross country last year and a state qualifier in track. He is the senior class vice president and is active in Future Farmers of America, yearbook, Academy of Scholars and National Honor Society.
  • 09 Donna Dynamos GuysThere is a party happening here in Fayetteville that you do not want to miss! Rising to the challenge yet again, Cape Fear Regional Theater, under the auspices of Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke, kicked off the 2019-2020 theater season with “Mamma Mia!” easily rivaling last year’s “Music City” opener.

    Among the night’s outstanding performances were those turned in by Scenic Designer Sarah Harris and Scenic Artist David Rawlins, who managed to make an entire Greek island resort, including the surrounding sea, come breathtakingly alive. The movie version’s soundstage didn’t do it any better. And the movie version didn’t offer theatergoers an onstage bar, which really got the party going.

     With music and lyrics by Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Stig Anderson and a book by Catherine Johnson, credit the able direction of Suzanne Agins, along with the choreography of Ryan Migge, and the sterling performance of Zeek Smith and his orchestra for keeping the show fast-paced, lively and fun. Along with the accessible bar, using the theater’s aisles to help stage several dance numbers further engaged the audience as active party participants. And those ABBA songs never grow old, some of them being a party unto themselves.

    “Mamma Mia!” tells the story of Sophie, a 20-year-old who invites three men from her mother’s past to her wedding with the hope of discovering which one of them is her father. Alexa Cepeda, making her CFRT debut, played Sophie, and hers was consistently the strongest voice of the evening. In addition to her vocal talent, she infused her character with sparkling charm.

    Joanne Javien played Donna, Sophie’s mother, with the dramatic passion one would expect from the lead of Donna and the Dynamos, her throw-back 70s trio. Her rendition of “The Winner Takes It All” was superb. Heather Setzler played Tanya, the seductive member of the trio, and had fun with her “Does Your Mother Know” number. Nicki Hart played Rosie, the third Dynamo, and managed to be funny, sexy and a little bit vulnerable as she propositioned Bill, one of Donna’s former lovers, to “Take a Chance on Me.”

    Graham Stevens, Brent Schraff and Jock Brocki, playing Donna’s past loves and Sophie’s prospective fathers, worked well in the backup male roles as did Simon Schaitkin, who plays Sophie’s fiancé. The Ensemble, composed of multitalented players, delivered stellar vocal backup and dance moves.

    The entire production consistently drew cheers and thunderous applause, and the finale had the entire theater audience up and dancing in their seats.

    “Mamma Mia!” runs through Oct. 6 with both evening and matinee performances scheduled. Also, there will be bonus preshow features such as Greek Night, 70s Nights and discounts for Military and Teacher Appreciation Nights. For bonus and discount details, as well as a schedule of performance times, dates and ticket prices, visit www.cfrt.org.

  • 11 RivermistMusic and food trucks? Yes, please. Especially after a long week of adulting. Get your planners out now and mark Sept. 20 as a night out — either with friends and family or just by yourself. The Dogwood Festival’s Fayetteville After Five is the perfect place to spend a Friday night, being entertained while eating some great-tasting food truck fare. Gates open at 5 p.m., and food trucks will begin serving food at 5:30 p.m. The opening band, Throwback Collaboration Band, begins playing at 6 p.m.

    Local favorite, Rivermist, is the headliner for the show. Up & Coming Weekly had the opportunity to chat with Greg Adair, drummer and back-up vocals for the band, and he shared what being a part of the Dogwood Festival Fayetteville After Five event means to the band.
    UCW: Is this your first time being the headliner for Fayetteville After Five?
    GA: Yes. No local band has ever headlined. According to Dogwood’s Curtis Jordan, it was due to our success fronting bands there the last couple of years and a large following of 3,700 people.
    UCW: What’s your favorite thing about performing in Fayetteville? 
    GA: The Festival Park Stage is a huge platform. All of our friends, and even families, can see us locally — and on the greatest stage Fayetteville offers.
    UCW: What’s the schedule of the performance for the evening?
    GA: The band playing ahead of us, Throwback Collaboration Band, is an R&B band from Fort Bragg. They played at the Dogwood Festival in the spring. They will start the evening off at 6 p.m. and play until 7:30 p.m. We will take the
    stage around 7:45 p.m. and play until around 10:15 p.m.
    UCW: What is it about Fayetteville that keeps you and the band here?
    GA: All of us, but one, are from the Fayetteville area. Cliff Bender, the guitar player, was from Ohio but has been here more than 20 years. Allen Pier, the singer-keyboard player, and I graduated from Cape Fear High School. Doug Bass, also a singer-keyboard player, graduated from South View. Bassist Tony Harrison graduated from Pine Forest and then University of North Carolina at Pembroke with a music major and owns Cape Fear Music downtown.

    Plus, we are all family men. Our wives and families are friends. They go with us on as many trips as possible. We are huge advocates of our military and first responders and tend to sing the National Anthem in many of our shows, acapella. We love to sing harmonies as a hobby.

    We are in partnership with Healy Wholesale, 96.5BobFM and with Boose Law Offices. We will have almost 70 shows — mostly festivals and After 5-type events — across three states by the time 2019 ends.

    I do the booking and contracts and am a full-time musician. We are booked through three agencies as well. We are always thankful for what we’re blessed with and are very receptive to fans everywhere. As far as genre, we play everything from Eagles and Journey to Earth Wind & Fire and Bruno Mars.

    Check our updated schedule at “http://www.rivermistband.com/tour-dates”  www.rivermistband.com/tour-dates.

    Call 910-323-1934 to find out more about Fayetteville After 5.
  • 07 Teacher of the year“Early in my teaching career, one of my coworkers told me that my kids would never care to learn until they learned how much I care,” Cumberland County Schools’ 2020 Teacher of the Year Maureen Stover wrote in her nomination portfolio. “In my 10 years in education, I have found that one of the most important parts of being a teacher is the relationships I form with my students.” The teacher of the year presentation took place at the Embassy Suites’ Richard M. Wiggins Conference Center.

    Stover is a science teacher at the Cumberland International Early College High School. She expressed special thanks for her nomination to her principal, Maria Pierce-Ford, her colleagues and her students. The school is located at 1200 Murchison Rd. Total enrollment is 261. Eighty-one percent of the students are minorities. Stover is one of 13 full-time teachers. She received her bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and went on to serve as an Air Force intelligence officer. She later became a science educator through the Troops to Teachers Program.
    Stover will receive her Master of Arts degree in secondary science education from Western Governors University in December. She wrote that as a high school student, she had two extraordinary teachers who inspired her to enter the teaching profession. “Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Mueller... demonstrated that their students were the center of their classrooms and their No. 1 priority.”
    Within her first few weeks of teaching, Stover realized that each of her students had the potential to be successful in her class if she could find a unique way to help them learn. “I found ways to make science. I also went to my students’ games, concerts, competitions, and activities outside of our classroom.”
    Her students responded by looking forward to her lessons each day. “I know my students beyond my classroom, and this helps me develop strategies that help my students learn based on their personal strengths,” she said.

    Stover received an award and flowers from the Cumberland County Schools, $300 from the Cumberland County Board of Education, $300 from the Communities In Schools of Cumberland County, $3,000 from Lafayette Ford Lincoln — $2,000 of which is for use at her school and $1,000 for her personal use — a commemorative custom-designed CCS’ Teacher of the Year ring from Jostens, an engraved clock from Herff Jones, season tickets to Fayetteville Marksmen hockey and a free weekend stay at Embassy Suites.

    Other winners were first runner-up Katelyn Lovette from Gallberry Farm Elementary School, who received an award and flowers from the CCS, $100 from CISCC, and $200 from the CCBOE and second runner-up Tracy Hill from Douglas Byrd High School, who received an award and flowers from the CCS, $100 from CISCC, and $100 from the CCBOE. As Cumberland County’s teacher of the year, Stover advances to compete for the regional title.

    Cumberland County Schools Superintendent  Marvin Connelly Jr. and  Cumberland County Schools’ 2020 Teacher of the Year Maureen Stover.

  • 02 PubnotesWill Fayetteville get a new North Carolina state-operated North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center? That’s a good question. Basic logic would dictate it’s a no-brainer for a community like ours that is working hard to attract business and industry to Cumberland County. As the General Assembly readies itself to approve $46 million for the Civil War Center, the appropriation hinges on Cumberland County and the city of Fayetteville both supporting the project with financial commitments of $7.5 million each. At this moment, both have tentatively committed their support. Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin is waffling, though, stating that more public input is needed and suggesting there may be more pressing needs to address as Fayetteville rallies to shake its Tier 1 status.
    Education and awareness are essential for peace and tranquility. The proposed Civil War Education Center offers both. For those in the city who think the $7.5  million in tax dollars could be spent on more pressing needs, we ask: What can be more important than education and awareness to future generations?  Where is the vision? More importantly, where is the logic?
    This is an $80 million-plus state-funded project for which the city and county would both invest $7.5 million.  That’s a 0.094% buy-in after the museum foundation has raised over $10 million in donations and $15 million in pledges. Using community support and donations to evaluate and monitor this mandate, I’d say the Fayetteville community is pretty much in favor of the project. So why the hesitation on the part of the city at this late date? Personal political maneuvering? Mind games? Who knows?  However, if it’s a game, it’s a gamble with stakes so high that a loss here would be so devastating that  the consequences to the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community would be felt for decades. 
    Need proof? Look east of Fayetteville about 5 miles, where millions of vehicles travel both north and south along Interstate 95 each day, avoiding our community.  The interstate was predicted to be an economic boom for Cumberland County in the late 70s and early 80s, promising decades of growth and prosperity. Nearly four decades later, only one of the 11 Cumberland  County exits have been developed — exit 49. A bad decision made in the 70s has stifled, and continues to stifle, the progress and development of this community. Why? Because of political self-interest and a lack of vision. We can convene all the public hearings we want. The location of Interstate 95 was the topic of several such public hearings. Public hearings do not substitute for intelligence, logic or leadership. And, in the case of championing the History Center here is a project that would pay big dividends to the Fayetteville community indefinitely.
    By the numbers:
    1. The Museum is a state-funded operation. In other words, once it’s built, the state maintains it. There is no cost to local residents.
    2. The Museum will create hundreds of new jobs.
    3. It will have a $20 million annual economic impact on the community.
    4. It will attract 100,000+ visitors annually to our community.
    5. It will make Fayetteville a statewide destination point.
    In closing, I know both our Fayetteville city councilmen and women and our Board of County Commissioners have a sincere and heartfelt passion for doing what is in the best interest of local residents. Escaping the grasp of our Tier 1 designation can only be obtained with honest, objective leadership and vision. We don’t need another Interstate 95 fiasco that has netted us zero over the past four decades. We need to partner with the state of North Carolina, this time, in building a highway to prosperity that leads directly to Fayetteville and  Cumberland County. The  N.C. Civil War & Reconstruction History Center is that master plan.
    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.
    A History Center will bring millions of dollars to our community and create hundreds of new jobs.
  • 19 BrittThroughout the preseason, Jack Britt head football coach Brian Randolph has preached a two-word motto to his team.

    Restore order.
    To Randolph, the message to players and coaches alike is for everyone associated with the Buccaneers to be on the same track and in the same frame of mind of being from Jack Britt, a place people respect and a team that other schools don’t want to face.
    “They know when they play us, it’s going to be a tough match,’’ Randolph said. “It’s not going to be an easy game. It’s something you have to prepare for and work for in order to get a victory.’’
    As the Buccaneers headed into their open date last week, they were sporting a 3-0 record, all three wins coming against the top three teams in last year’s Patriot Athletic Conference standings: champion Pine Forest and runners up South View and Terry Sanford.
    Randolph said in all honesty, he didn’t see his team going 3-0, but he knew it was possible and he’s happy to be here.
    One of the biggest reasons for the Buccaneers’ early success is the passing combination of quarterback Kevin Sentell and wide receiver Anthony Fiffie.
    Through three games, Sentell leads the Cumberland County Schools with 564 passing yards and eight touchdowns. He’s completed 39 of 66 passes with only two interceptions.
    Fiffie is the leading receiver with 15 receptions for 303 yards and five scores.
    During a film session last week, Randolph told him Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Rothlisberger will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day because of his ability to extend plays.
    Randolph said Sentell has the same skill. “It’s really hard to guard someone for six or seven seconds,’’ Randolph said. “That’s what Kevin Does really well. He gets his feet separated, keeps his eyes down the field, just looking for that big play.’’
    Randolph added that Sentell is smart and makes plays instead of mistakes.
    For his part, Randolph said Fiffie is a great route-runner with excellent body control who seems to be able to slow things down when the ball is near him so he can focus on making the catch.
    “He does a great job of embracing contact,’’ Randolph said. “He’s not the fastest guy in the world, but if you get close to him, he’s able to position his body in a way that if the ball is near him he’s going to catch it or make a good play on it.’’
    Sentell said he and Fiffie have excellent chemistry and have been working together for five years.
    “He runs great routes and gets open most of the time,’’ Sentell said. “It makes my job easy.’’
    Fiffie said he’s playing with more confidence this year and has greater confidence in his teammates.
    He credits much of his success with Sentell to the numerous offseason workouts they’ve had.
    “We practice working on routes, catching the ball and getting our timing down,’’ Fiffie said. “I believe we caught people off guard, really turned their heads.’’
    While Britt’s recent return to winning may be something new to the current players in the program, Randolph has vivid memories of getting off to fast starts during his days playing for Bob Paroli and Mike Paroli at Douglas Byrd High School.
    That’s helped him take a measured look at what Britt’s 3-0 record means as he reflects on lessons learned from the Parolis.
    “It’s one game at a time, one play at a time,’’ he said. “You think you’ve arrived somewhere and that’s when you set yourself up.’’
    Bob Paroli had a favorite saying about that. He called it dropping your candy in the sand.
    “We have our candy in our hand right now,’’ Randolph said, “but we could easily drop it in the sand and mess up everything we worked for so far.
    “This off week we’re going to work on fundamentals and getting back to basics. Just focus on one play at a time.’’
    Pictured from L-R: Anthony Fiffie, Kevin Sentell
  • 04 TrumpOver the past week, I received comments from three readers regarding two of my recent columns. They raised questions and challenges that some other readers likely share. Consequently, I will respond in this column.

    The first two emails addressed my column titled “When the selfish quest for power alienates reason.” One reader countered my positive comments regarding President Trump by contending that no president has been more corrupt and fundamentally evil than Trump. He stated that the president has no interest in religion.  Apparently, in support of that argument, he assesses Trump as publically reading Scripture in a fashion that shows lack of familiarity with the Bible. Then comes the conclusion that Trump’s behavior is abhorrent to all who believe. In light of my being Christian, he then wants to know why I support the president. That question is followed by him accusing me of “unrelenting allegiance” to the Republican Party. On the last statement, I am registered as unaffiliated.
    Like the first respondent, the second reads my column frequently and often gives feedback by email. In the case of this column, he reiterated, correctly, that I spend a substantial amount of ink challenging the conduct and policy positions of Democrats. He says I favor Republicans,  and that doing so is unfair and unproductive. This reader also argues that my thinking and policy positions conflict with the will of God and the call of Scripture. My support of Trump troubles him, too.
    Then there was an email sent to the Up & Coming Weekly editor by a lady who identified herself as being black and a veteran. The text of that email was addressed to me and commented in response to my column titled “Leonard Pitts, Jr. assigns honorary whiteness.” She opened by stating that she had no idea that there were still black men in America as clueless as me. After commending my call for decision-making through thoughtful assessment of facts, she states that I fail to see the truth when it comes to accurately assessing Trump.
    She says these are some of the truths I am missing with regard to Trump: He is only for rich, white, straight men. He does not care about people in America who are any shade of brown. He raped the school lunch healthy eating initiatives for schools (majority black/brown) that have lower-income children. He gives veterans anything they want, and most of them are white. His moral compass is nonexistent, and he encourages and incites hateful acts on people of color.
    A bit later, she excoriates me for trusting Dr. Ben Carson’s contention that Trump is not a racist. In closing, the writer says that I am not addressing the issues that affect people, not being a voice for those who need one because Up & Coming Weekly does not allow me to do so. She says they give me the biggest page not to inform people of anything, but to make a fool of me. This writer ends her email by saying she does not want to receive a response from me.
    Taken as a whole, these readers challenge the appropriateness of how faith influences my decision-making, question the validity of my substantial criticism of Democratic strategy/tactics/policies and seek to suppress my thinking that does not conform to liberal orthodoxy.
    Regarding my being Christian, a person of faith, while supporting Donald Trump, start with my understanding of the gospel and how God deals with humankind. I believe the creation account. The human condition was and is that we have an inclination to sin. That is, sinning is a natural response in human beings. Dr. R.C. Sproul, in an article titled “Jonathan Edwards: We Are Inclined to Sin” confirms this human condition when he writes: “Why can we find no societies in which the prevailing influence is to virtue rather than vice? Why does not society influence us to maintain our natural innocence?”
    Sin separates us from God, sours our relationship with him. We reestablish that relationship by believing the gospel and, in response to our believing, having the Holy Spirit come to dwell in us. That presence of the Holy Spirit directs and strengthens us for saying “no” to sin and “yes” to godly living. A key component of this process is God’s forgiveness of sin. In an article titled “What Does the Word ‘Gospel’ Mean in the New Testament?” R.C. Sproul writes this:  “The gospel is about Jesus — what he did, his life of perfect obedience, his atoning death on the cross, his resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven and his outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church.”
    What does this God, gospel, and forgiveness stuff have to do with my support of Donald Trump? Despite his sometimes seeming offensive and attacking words, the charges of marital infidelity and the ardent search by so many for reasons to impeach him, I look at him in light of the offer of God to us in our sinfulness and separation from Him. I find it hard to believe that Trump is able to, with high energy and focus in the midst of all-out efforts to literally destroy him and his family, accomplish all the good he is doing. It has to be that he is on this journey to forgiveness, repentance and a right relationship with God.
    Surely, some readers will find all of that hilarious. As you laugh, be reminded of King David from Scripture. First Chronicles 18:14 says, “So David reigned over all Israel; and he administered justice and equity to all his people.”
    Now this from a Bible study titled “The Life of King David.”
    “Unfortunately, many of David’s problems are self-inflicted. His illicit affair with Bathsheba, the arranged murder of her husband and attempt at covering up his sins cost him grief, dishonor, the life of a child and trouble within his household.
    “The sin of taking a census to determine the size of his army, instead of trusting God, cost the lives of more than 70,000 Israelites. His lack of discipline in his own house contributed to his son Absalom rebelling against him and another son Adonijah seeking to inherit the throne instead of Solomon.”
    The bottom line is that, time and again, like with King David, God uses imperfect and improbable people to do extraordinary things. It looks to me as though Trump might be one of those cases.
    Further, the “love one another” interpretation that is repeatedly presented to me by many who disagree with my thinking on political, social and religious matters, apparently only applies to people who differ with them. Their “love one another” interpretation causes outrage at Trump when he speaks in seemingly harsh terms toward others. However, they are silent when boycotts are called against business owners for supporting Trump or his staff members are harassed in public places or the names of donors are published so that they may be ridiculed and somehow punished. Supporters are verbally attacked and bullied in their workplace while liberal media focuses on Trump’s destruction. Seeing and experiencing this one-sided approach inclines me even more to support Trump. The God I serve abhors hypocrisy and hatred of others.
    Then, in this moment, I cannot think of a Trump policy initiative with which I disagree. Sure, there are issues such as climate change and mass shootings that I wish we could, as a nation, address in a nonpolitical and productive fashion. I think Trump is trying to do what is good for America and that he loves this country. Being focused on what is good for and loving the country are getting to be rare qualities in America. Given the rarity of these qualities, I will take my chances with Trump.
    As for my frequent opposition to Democratic policies and actions, I confess. I do not have space to give the list, but I believe that just about every policy and action being pursued by Democrats is foolhardy and dramatically jeopardizes the very survival of this nation. I do not say much about Republicans because, especially in Congress and with a few exceptions, I see them as a bunch of wimps who let Democrats bully them into doing nothing. In the meantime, Democrats promise, manipulate voters, and also do nothing of positive consequence. For more on this thinking, see my column titled “U.S. Congress: Far too many bullies and wimps.”
    All three of these readers, but especially the third one, challenge my capacity for assembling facts, fairly examining them and reaching supportable conclusions. On this point, I find it interesting that not one of them specifically countered the detailed arguments that I put forth in those columns. Instead, they challenge my faith and my ability to reason. Granted, the female reader wrote off Dr. Ben Carson, but with no support for why, she said his assessment of Trump not being a racist should be disregarded. Couple this lack of specific responses to the points in my column, with her all-out verbal assault on me, along with a refusal to receive a response from me, and you see the primary liberal strategy. I find that strategy repulsive and just more reason to give Trump a fair look.
    My thanks to these readers for giving me reason to rethink my support of Donald Trump. No change!
    Merritt’s columns mentioned above are available at http://www.karlmerritt.com/category/articles.
  • 06 DanConservative Republican Dan Bishop won this month’s special election for an open North Carolina House of Representatives seat in Congress, averting a Democratic capture of a predominant Republican Party district. But the narrow victory did not erase questions about whether President Donald Trump and his party’s congressional candidates face troubling headwinds approaching 2020. The special election has two storylines:

    First, Democrat Dan McCready, 36, was banking on the 9th District’s suburban moderates to carry him over the top. He narrowly trailed in an election for the seat last November that was later invalidated after evidence surfaced of vote tampering. McCready won suburbanites in the eastern outskirts of Charlotte, where about 25% of the 9th District’s eligible voters live. The rest of the district stretches along the rural South Carolina line to Bladen County in the east, where Bishop was a big winner. Voters in the other large city, Fayetteville, are mostly in the eighth district.
    The second storyline reflects what has become known as voter disenfranchisement, confusing voters with constant change. North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District has been centered in Charlotte for decades. It was reconfigured to include portions of Robeson, Cumberland and Bladen counties when Republicans took control of the state Legislature in 2010. Over the last 60 years, greater Fayetteville has been chopped up to be part of the 1st, 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th Congressional Districts.
    Most of that time Cumberland County was part of the 7th District, which stretched from Wilmington to Lumberton and Fayetteville. Democratic members of Congress Alton Lennon, Charlie Rose and Mike McIntyre represented the district from 1957 to 2015. Rose served for 24 years. McIntyre succeeded Rose when he retired and served for 18 years. Rep. David Rouser became the 7th District’s first Republican member of Congress since Reconstruction. But by 2012, Cumberland County was no longer part of the 7th District.
    Congressman David Price’s 4th District became more heavily Democratic as a result of 2012 redistricting, in which the more Republican areas of western and southern Wake County were removed, along with northern Orange County and most of its share of Durham County. They were replaced by heavily Democratic portions of Alamance, Cumberland, Harnett and Lee counties. It was a significant Democratic party gerrymander. In 2010, the Republican Party had taken control of both the North Carolina House and Senate — the first time it had held a majority in the Senate since 1898.
    The Republican Party was abetted in their victory by the man dubbed “The Third Koch Brother” — Art Pope, who heads up both the family-owned Variety Wholesalers and the $150 million Pope Family Foundation. Pope’s organizations poured $2.2 million into 22 state legislative races, winning 18 for an 82% return on his investment. The Republicans’ big win happened just in time for redistricting, allowing them to consolidate their gains. Republicans took full advantage
    of the opportunity, gerrymandering the state map to pack as many Democrats and African American voters as possible into three congressional districts.


    Those efforts paid off in the 2012 congressional elections. North Carolina’s congressional delegation changed from majority Democratic (7-6) to majority Republican (8-5), a pickup of two seats. The drama continues as the general assembly deals with court orders to stop racial gerrymandering.

  • 20 toolsA Friday night high school football stadium packed with fans watching two teams battle has the potential for disaster if bad weather should suddenly develop.

    Fortunately for fans at North Carolina High School Athletic Association events, procedures are in place to make sure there is a coordinated plan for getting athletes and spectators to safety.
    The NCHSAA has something called the Pregame Emergency Action Plan Report. It’s put together by the athletic trainer for the home team and provides an assortment of critical information to help guide game personnel through the needed steps to ensure everyone’s safety.
    Sheri Squire, who has been an athletic trainer at Terry Sanford for the past seven years, said the report is designed to provide specific information about the location where the game is being played that can be shared with both the visiting team and the officials who are calling the game.
    “It’s basically so we know exactly what’s going on at that site during that event so we have an emergency plan in place,’’ Squire said.
    Emergency plans are typically posted at schools, but this one is more specific since it deals with the exact venue of the athletic event and is shared in person with those who need the information.
    The report includes contact information for the game-day administrator, the athletic trainers or first responders of both teams along with the name of the head of the officiating crew and the names of any medical personnel who might be attending the game.
    For outdoor events, there is additional information on where the safe shelter is located and what the route to get there is.


    Aname is also provided for the person who is monitoring weather conditions, including lightning and the wet bulb temperature, which determines whether it’s too hot for play to continue.

    Squire uses a handheld device called a Kestrel Heat Stress Tracker to find the wet bulb temperature before the game starts and record it on the form. If it’s 88.9 degrees at kickoff special precautions have to be taken. If it’s 92 or above, the game may have to be stopped or suspended until it gets cooler.

    A lightning detector is usually monitored by the game administrator or someone else to make sure the stadium is cleared before lightning gets too close to the field to strike someone.
    In addition to the form, Squire and other athletic trainers have a badge provided by the NCHSAA that includes a checklist for things to watch out for at all events and especially outdoor events.
    “I like the fact it’s all in one place,’’ Squire said. “You ask the important questions. Now it’s going to make everybody be on the same page. It helps you keep your I’s dotted and T’s crossed.’’

    Pictured: A copy of the pregame emergency report rests beneath the Kestrel heat stress device and the NCHSAA pre-game checklist badge. 

  • 08 Hoke HospitalEvery year, more than half a million people in the United States undergo joint replacement surgery because of painful arthritis that has greatly limited their activity. With the enhanced technology and surgical techniques available today, joint replacement surgery has become a routine procedure for orthopedic surgeons. There are two hospitals in the area that provide full service orthopedic surgical care: Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville and Hoke Hospital near Raeford. They represent Cape Fear Valley Health System’s ongoing commitment to bring comprehensive health care to all residents of southeastern North Carolina.

    To help patients achieve success, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and Hoke Hospital have developed the Joint Replacement Club. Prospective patients enroll in this club even before they have surgery. It starts with a special three-hour class taught by a physical therapist. About 90-95% of patients experience a good to excellent result with relief of most, if not all, of their pain. However, rehabilitation after surgery is the key to a better life. This means patients must be prepared to put a lot of effort into their rehab, especially in the first few weeks after surgery.
    Most hospitals that routinely perform joint replacement surgery offer some type of program that includes preoperative education and standardized protocols to ensure that patients receive the right care at the right time during and after their hospitalization. At Hoke Hospital, the Joint Replacement Club is in a separate wing on the second floor. This keeps other hospitalized patients with serious illnesses separated from the orthopedic wing to reduce the risk of infection. Hoke Hospital rehab methods are patterned after established protocols at the parent medical facility in Fayetteville.
    The Joint Replacement Club has adopted a horse racing theme, called the Race 2 Recovery. Following surgery, patients sit up in recliners for breakfast and then attend group physical therapy for an hour in the morning and again in the afternoon. Participants are also encouraged to walk when they are not in therapy. In the hallway, distances are mapped in feet, and participants track how far they walk each day. The Joint Replacement Club has been shown to improve outcomes, increase patient satisfaction and reduce length of stay. Patients find the experience is just more enjoyable.


    Race 2 Recovery prepares patients for their release from the hospital. Joint replacement surgery complications can arise if plans are not in order before leaving the hospital. To be discharged, a patient must be able to enter and exit a bed and a chair without too much assistance. He or she must be able to go to and from the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom as well as be able to walk with the aid of crutches or a walker. A hip replacement surgery risk or a knee replacement can both be devastating without the proper subsequent care. That is why physical therapy is imperative to heal completely. A good home care agency can help meet these needs.

    To help patients achieve success, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and Hoke Hospital have developed the Joint Replacement Club

  • The U.S. soldier who died earlier this month in Afghanistan from wounds in a bomb blast was a compassionate leader whose troops say he always encouraged people who are struggling to ask for help. Now those soldiers are grappling with the loss of Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto, 34, from Morovis, Puerto Rico. He was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, the Pentagon said in a statement Friday. He left behind a wife, two sons and a daughter. His family resides in nearby Cameron.
    Barreto, described as a “mainstay” in his unit by his leadership, died in a Taliban suicide bomb explosion and became the 16th U.S. combat fatality this year in Afghanistan as the Pentagon prepares to draw down its forces there after nearly 18 years of war. “This guy touched so many people’s lives,” a soldier in his company, Sgt. Tylar Sieck, 24, told Stars and Stripes.
    Barreto taught soldiers it was OK to say when they needed help, Sieck said. “Everyone is trying to act like we’re fine because that’s what we do as paratroopers, but at the end of the day, we know we’re struggling. We’re hurting, I’m hurting.”
    This was Barreto’s second deployment to Afghanistan. The U.S. military currently has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, alongside international troops, to advise and assist Afghan defense forces and to fight extremist groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaida.
    Local blood products are in short supply
    The Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center has been short on blood supplies for three months now. The center is open daily at 3357 Village Dr. in the Bordeaux Shopping Center. The local blood bank has been suffering from a critical shortage since June 18, according to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center spokeswoman Janet Conway.
    The center needs an adequate supply of blood for local patients at Cape Fear Valley. Type O positive and type O negative blood types are especially needed, as they’re currently in short supply. The Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center is a community blood program that serves the needs of patients in Cumberland, Hoke and Bladen counties through donations from individual donors, community organizations and businesses. It is open for donations Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Dealing with gerrymandering
    A three-judge panel recently ruled that Republicans unconstitutionally gerrymandered two North Carolina congressional districts by race. But redrawing districts to benefit the political party in power is nothing new and has been going on for years.
    How voting district lines are drawn has been a perennial issue since our country’s founding. Political partisans have declared that what is starkly clear is that our current process — rife with partisan gerrymandering — is dangerously broken. In North Carolina, honest brokers on both sides of the aisle have known for years that we must reform our redistricting process. Republican stalwarts like John Hood and former Rep. Skip Stam called for reform when Democrats were in power, and Democrat stalwarts like Tom Ross and former state Sen. Margaret Dickson are calling for it now as Republicans hold power. “I am thrilled about the three-judge panel ruling,” said Dickson. “The ruling is the first step toward returning elections to the people of North Carolina — to allowing voters to select their legislators instead of legislators selecting the voters.”
    Dickson is on the board of North Carolinians for Redistricting Reform.
    2020 College rankings
    Choosing one of the thousands of colleges and universities across the nation can be overwhelming for students and parents. Families consider academic quality, price, size, location and several other things when making one of the most important decisions in their lives. Each year, U.S. News & World Report publishes rankings to help students and their families narrow the search for the right school. Duke University was North Carolina’s highest-ranked national university at No. 10 in the country. UNC-Chapel Hill ranks 29th overall. Here’s how some of the private and public schools around North Carolina stack up in the U.S. News 2020 Best Colleges Rankings.
    There were ties in several categories. Among regional universities in the south, Fayetteville State ranked 87th overall and 23rd among all Historically Black Colleges and Universities. UNC Pembroke ranked 87th overall and 19th most innovative. NC Central ranked 54th overall, 44th best value and 24th for undergraduate teaching. It also ranked 21st among public schools. Appalachian State University was ranked sixth overall, second-most innovative, second for undergraduate teaching, second for veterans and 17th best value. Western Carolina ranked 23rd overall, 12th for veterans, 14th best value and 24th for undergraduate teaching. Its undergraduate engineering program ranked 97th among nondoctorate schools. Winston-Salem State University: Winston-Salem State ranked 61st overall and 17th among all historically black colleges and universities. Methodist University was not listed.
  • 10 Vision Resource CenterThe Vision Resource Center, Cape Fear Eye Associates and Systel present the Seventh Annual “Out of Sight” Night at the Park, Saturday, Sept. 21, from 6-10 p.m. at Segra Stadium on the VIP deck.

    “The purpose of the event this year is to help us reach our birth-to-13-years-of-age population of kids,” said Terri Thomas, executive director of The Vision Resource Center. “The state does not take on kids until they are 14 years of age, so this money will be going toward building that program.”
    Thomas added they want to be able to work more with the families and equip them with the tools they need so that, as their kid gets older, they will be able to handle life’s stresses and be there for them without the fears and lack of knowledge that many of the parents have.
    The event will have heavy hors d’oeuvres. The dress code is cocktail attire. Kelvin “The Greek” Culbreth will be the master of ceremonies for the event. The Guy Unger Band will provide entertainment. Quince Lanford, known as DJ “Q,” will be the DJ for the evening.
    “We are going to have a few vendors on-site,” said Thomas. “We will have Quintex Low Vision and Visual Eyez Future Technology. They will be there showing different low vision aids for people to try on to see what it is like to have visual impairments.
    “Hollywood Java will be there for coffee tasting. We are going to have people put on blindfolds and taste different coffees,” said Thomas. “We will have them pick their favorite coffees based on taste and smell.”
    She added that there will be a variety of experiences at the event. “We will have blindfolds out there, but we will have simulation glasses, too. So guests can experience different simulations of what it is like to have diabetic retinopathy and other types of eye diseases.
    They will simulate different vision-related disease in the glasses. “You won’t be completely blind,” said Thomas. “It will show and educate people that just because you say you have a visual impairment does not mean that you are black blind, or completely blind.”
    Participants will have an opportunity to play the “Game of Chance” at the event. Some of the prizes include N.C. State/Carolina game tickets, spa packages, a trip to Vegas, family fun nights, cruises and more.
    “With the Game of Chance Raffle, you will purchase tickets that are $10 apiece,” said Thomas. “We are going to start with the lowest valued prize, and all during the night, we will pull raffle tickets. As that raffle item is called, we will go to the next one, and you will have a few minutes  to purchase your $10 ticket for the next item that is up for grabs.”
    The goal is to raise $30,000 for the whole event and $10,000 the night of the event.
    “My main goal is to teach individuals what visual impairment is not and that it doesn’t mean you are completely blind,” said Thomas. “We want people to walk away with a better awareness of what it is like to be visually impaired.”        
    “Systel is going to allow us to use their back parking lot for the event,” said Thomas. “We will  provide a courtesy shuttle service from the parking lot to the event. The event this year is not going to be a formal sit-down affair like before. It will be low-key. There will be a lot of mingling and people learning more about the Vision Resource Center.”
    Tickets cost $75. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 910-483-2719 or visit www.visionresourcecentercc.org.
  • 03 gunAmerican business — big, small and in between — is rarely seen as a force of political liberalism. In fact, business interests are more often than not conservative, as political money given by both business executives and business entities demonstrates. Business helps itself by lobbying for less regulation and lower taxes and often contends these positions help everyone else as well — proverbial trickle-down economics.

    That is why last week’s open letter by 145 chief executives of some of our nation’s best-known corporations to leaders of the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate gave whiplash to more than few Americans. The letter directly and urgently asked senators to support expanded background checks for all firearms sales and stronger “red flag” laws aimed at keeping firearms out of the hands of individuals considered potentially violent. The House has passed some gun control legislation, and the executives want the Senate to act on that legislation. Their letter suggests that requiring background checks on all gun sales is a “common-sense solution with overwhelming public support.”
    What? Captains of industry urging gun-control?
    Yes, indeed.

    The business leaders, representing companies including Levi Strauss & Co., Lyft, Gap Inc., Royal Caribbean and a financial operation founded by Jared Kushner’s brother, wrote this to senators. “Doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable, and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety.”

    The letter comes after 31 people were killed last month in about 24 hours in separate mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
    Have we reached a tipping point on the issue of gun control?     
    Recent polling indicates a high level — perhaps as much as 90% — of public support for increased gun control measures in the wake of last month’s shootings. But we have had such waves of public sentiment before, notably after the Sandy Hook school shootings almost seven years ago and the Las Vegas concert massacre, which took 58 lives two years ago with no congressional action taken. With mass shootings seemingly becoming more frequent and deadlier, are we finally ready to address them as a nation?
    While American business interests have become more vocal during the Trump presidency on all sorts of issues including immigration, affordable health insurance, climate change and white supremacy, it is interesting to note which chief executives did not sign the gun control letter to senators. Among the absentees are CEOs of some of our nation’s largest and most influential financial and technology institutions, including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Apple, Google and Facebook. Some companies acknowledge that their leaders discussed the issue internally, and some say they are simply sticking to their business duties, thank you very much.
    Senators have been largely close-mouthed about the letter, so Americans of all political persuasions will have to watch and wait for a response — if any. If history is an indicator, the Republican-controlled Senate has been generally responsive to the wishes of business leaders, and business interests have rewarded Republican senators with generous campaign contributions. It has been a cozy and comfortable arrangement when dealing with business issues but less so when social questions arise.
    Here again, if history is an indicator, not much is going to move Republican leaders on gun issues. Dead first graders, dead concert-goers, dead high school students and dead Walmart shoppers have not moved them. It remains to be seen if distressed Chief Executive Officers can make any difference.


  • The first Associated Press state high school football rankings came out earlier this week. The news was not good for Cumberland County. With potential to have teams ranked in either the 4-A or 3-A polls, not one team from the county got a mention, not even in the teams receiving votes category. Our best candidates for ranking were the 3-0 teams, Gray’s Creek in 3-A and Jack Britt and Seventy-First in 4-A. Not a vote for any of them.
    There were some Cape Fear region teams mentioned. In 4-A, Richmond Senior, coached by former Terry Sanford and Cape Fear coach Bryan Till, is No. 3 and got two first-place votes.
    Former Jack Britt coach Richard Bailey has his Scotland team ranked sixth. Lee County, which has already handed losses to E.E. Smith and Douglas Byrd, is No. 6 in the 3-A poll.
    Clinton, which had its game with Cape Fear canceled the first week of the season, is No. 8 in 2-A. 
    Rankings of course mean absolutely nothing when it comes to determining state playoff berths or state champions, but they are a valuable barometer of how the rest of the state feels about the status of football in your area.
    We’ll keep watching as the weeks pass and see if any of our teams get some love.
    The record: 18-5
    I had my best week of the young season, going 7-1 to improve the total for the year to 18-5, 78.2 percent.
    Now let’s brace for a scary batch of projections for this Friday the 13th.
    Douglas Byrd at Westover - This is one of those dreaded coin flip games. I’ll give Westover a slight edge because they’re playing at home.
    Westover 18, Douglas Byrd 16.
    Terry Sanford at E.E. Smith - Coming off a loss to Jack Britt and an open date, look for Terry Sanford to make a point in this annual battle of old city rivals.
    Terry Sanford 28, E.E. Smith 12.
    Gray’s Creek at South View - Another coin flip game. I’m leaning toward South View for a couple of reasons. The Tigers have played a tougher schedule than the Bears and I think their offense is more balanced. Home field also counts for something in this annual Battle for the Bridge.
    South View 20, Gray’s Creek 18.
    Overhills at Pine Forest - I know Overhills is unbeaten, but I have a hard time seeing Pine Forest lose three in a row. This is the Trojans’ first Patriot Athletic Conference game, so I expect D.J. Jones back in the lineup after being held out as a precaution for the last two weeks. 
    Pine Forest 20, Overhills 13.
    Southern Durham at Seventy-First - This is Seventy-First’s final non conference game before an open date and the start of Sandhills Athletic Conference play at Pinecrest. It’s important for the Falcons not to get complacent after a 3-0 start to the season.
    Seventy-First 21, Southern Durham 14.
    Open dates- Cape Fear, Jack Britt.
    Other games: Trinity Christian 30, Harrells Christian 8; Grace Christian 20, Fayetteville Christian 12.
  • 09 paintingBeautiful art. Live music. Light bites and beverages. Home is Where the HeArt Is, an art auction fundraiser for Connections of Cumberland County, combines a fun evening out with support for a good cause. The event will be on Sept. 26 from 6 – 8:30 p.m. at Studio 215 in downtown Fayetteville. 

    Guests to this third-annual event will have the opportunity to bid on original works of art by local and regional artists during live and silent auctions. Art auction items will include paintings in acrylic, oil, pastel and plein-air, charcoal sketches, handmade jewelry, pottery, photography, basket weavings and mixed media. A live painting created at the scene will also be up for bid that night.

    A portraiture experience valued at over $5,000 donated by internationally recognized artist and Methodist University art departmentChairman Vilas Tonape will be a live auction exclusive. Other well-known local artists also contributing include Greg Hayes, Greg King, Shari Jackson Link, Stephanie Bostock, Suzanne Frank and Wick Smith.

    Jennifer Fincher, 2019 art auction chair and CCC board member, expects this year to exceed the totals in both ticket sales and donated art from last year’s event. The highly attended 2018 fundraiser saw 54 local and regional artists donate 86 items. According to Fincher, the event moved this year to a new venue to accommodate its growth and increasing popularity.

        “We look forward to this year’s event being bigger and better than ever,” Fincher said. “We are so grateful for all the support that sponsors, artists and patrons have given us in the past. The auction is the single fundraiser all year for Connections of Cumberland County and raises a large part of our annual budget. We invite everyone to come out to the event, have a glass of wine, mix and mingle, view some great art or buy a piece to take home, and support the mission of Connections of Cumberland County.”

        Connections of Cumberland County operates the only nonprofit day resource center for homeless women and children in Fayetteville. Its goal is to provide life-changing links though comprehensive case management services to women and children who are homeless or facing homelessness. The agency collaborates with other vital community resources to help clients become safe and self-sufficient.

        The nonprofit started from research conducted by the Women’s Giving Circle of Cumberland County on the basic needs of local women and children. When results revealed alarming statistics on homelessness, a committee was birthed from the Women’s Giving Circle to start Connections. The agency relies on proceeds raised from the art auction, grants, and community donors, as well as the service of volunteers. Connections celebrated five years of success in Cumberland County this year.

        Connections is accepting sponsors at five recognition levels. The 2019 presenting sponsor is Patty Collie, senior vice president and financial advisor with Morgan Stanley of Fayetteville. The auction committee will accept art through Sept. 11. Sponsors and artists interested in donating can call the agency office at 910-630-0106 for information. Reserve tickets at www.connectionsofcc.org for this HeArt-felt event.

    Pictured: one of the paintings that will be auctioned off at the Home is Where the HeArt Is art auction 

  • 11 CCGOLFCLASSICLOGO2019RichardsonlogoOne thing is certain about this year’s 51st edition of the Cumberland County Golf Championship. New winners will be crowned in both the men’s and women’s divisions of the tournament. That’s because last year’s champions, Spencer Oxendine for the men and Angelique Seymour for the women, are competing at the college level. Congratulations to 2018 Cumberland County Golf Championship champion Spencer Oxendine, who has good reason for being unable to defend his title this year. Oxendine, a freshman on the golf team at North Carolina State, has earned a spot on the Wolfpack’s traveling team in his first year playing golf there. Oxendine is at North Carolina State and Seymour is at UNC-Pembroke. Both have commitments the weekend of the tournament, Sept. 13-15, that will prevent them from defending their titles.

    But the golfers who were closest to them in the final scores all return to hopefully face a challenge that was denied last year’s field when bad weather forced the tournament to be rescheduled and cut to two days.

    This year’s three-day event will open at Fort Bragg’s Stryker Golf Course for the first time and conclude with two rounds at Gates Four Golf and Country Club. “Everybody is excited about going out to Stryker,’’ said Up & Coming Weekly publisher Bill Bowman, the tournament’s director since 2016. “It is going to be at Stryker this year, and we hope it will be at other courses next year.’’

    Bowman said work is continuing to build participation in the women’s division, which attracted eight participants last year.

    To help boost the women’s field, Bowman said play was cut to 36 holes again, while adding a separate age division for more experienced golfers and shortening some of the holes. “The important thing is we carry on the tradition of recognizing the best golfers in Cumberland County,’’ he said. “I would say very few communities in the country can brag on the fact they’ve got a golf tournament that’s 51 years old.’’ 


    Stryker Golf Course professional Jeff Johnson said the Fayetteville community has always been welcome to play at the course on Fort Bragg, but adding it to the Cumberland County Golf Championship will make the course and its regular players feel like a part of the golfing community in Fayetteville.

    Johnson said he hopes the tournament will showcase the Stryker course and encourage people to play it and Fort Bragg’s other course, Ryder.

    For those not familiar with Stryker, the course is a 1946 Donald Ross layout that plays about 6,625 yards normally. It features Cumberland County’s longest hole, the 625-yard par-five fourth hole, which Johnson said won’t play that long for the tournament.

    The biggest difference for golfers at Stryker will be the greens, which are Bermuda, compared to the bentgrass at Gates Four.

    Johnson said the speed of the Stryker greens will be slower than what golfers experience at Gates Four. They will also have to take grain into consideration when chipping and putting.

    For those who have never been to Stryker, Johnson said you head north on Bragg Boulevard and keep going until you dead end in the Stryker parking lot on your left.

    There are no security gates to pass through to enter the course, Johnson said, as the Army intentionally left the golf course and the Fort Bragg Fairgrounds outside the containment area when security was tightened after 9/11. 

    Gates Four

     Gates Four general manager Kevin Lavertu agreed with Johnson that moving from the Bermuda to the bent grass greens at Gates Four will require the players to make adjustments.

    “More than 50% of the strokes in a round of golf are taken on the greens,’’ Lavertu said. “The ball reaction speed of the greens and adjusting will be key.’’

    He said the players who adjust the quickest will be the ones moving up the leaderboard.

    After a hot July, Lavertu said Gates Four is in excellent shape for the tournament. He added the course has undergone few changes in recent years and has been kept in a maintaining mode. He’s hopeful the course will be dryer and not as tough as it was for last year’s tournament.

    “The course will play a little bit shorter day one and day two at both places,’’ Lavertu said. “That’s just a product of trying to set the same yardage at both courses for round one and two to get a good baseline of players.’’

    Last year, Oxendine won the men’s division with a two-day score of 74-72-146. Lavertu is hopeful this year’s winner will be able to shoot from 6 to 8-under par if the weather is good. 

    Men’s Championship

     Familiar names were among the top contenders for last year’s men’s title, and they will return again this season to see if they can continue to be among the best in the field.

    Gary Robinson and Thomas Owen tied for second place behind Oxendine last year, both shooting a 151 total for the two-day tournament. Billy West was alone in fourth one shot 

    back at 152.

    Owen has finished second for two years in a row. If he has a concern about this year’s tournament, it’s his lack of familiarity with Stryker. “I haven’t played Stryker since I was 10 or 12 years old,’’ he said.

    He likes the idea of competing on two different courses, calling it a tougher test that will see the best players rise to the top.

    “Two different courses might test different parts of your game and how you can manage around a different golf course,’’ he said. “It makes you make adjustments, and usually the better players make those adjustments.’’

    Owen said he hopes to borrow a page from former champion Billy West, who consistently avoids making bad decisions early in the tournament.

    “You begin conservative and make smart plays,’’ Owen said, “not always whipping out your driver and trying to hit the miracle shot. Just kind of plug away being smart, and you’ll find a chance to win.’’

    Gary Robinson, like Owen, hasn’t played Stryker recently, going back some 30 years to his college days at Fayetteville State. “I’m not familiar with the grass, but I’m familiar with the layout,’’ he said. “Going from Gates Four to Stryker to Gates Four would be more of an adjustment than playing Stryker the first day.’’

    He said it could be a challenge for people not familiar with Bermuda grass to make the switch from Stryker to Gates Four.

    Robinson is normally upbeat about the county championship but said he’s only played about four tournaments this year compared to 15 most years. “The hardest thing for me is when you’re expected to do well,’’ he said. “A lot of times when I’m not expecting things is when I do better.’’

    Billy West has played amateur golf at the local, state and national level, but the Cumberland County Golf Championship remains his annual favorite. “At the gas station the next morning or at work, everybody is congratulating you or saying, sorry to see you lost by a couple of shots,’’ West said. “I think that’s one of the things that makes it special.’’

    Now 45, West has been playing the CCGC since he was a teenager. He likes the challenge of playing on multiple courses over three days and thin