• The public can help shape the future of the Murchison corridor and submit transformation ideas during a public forum on April 5.

    During the public event, participants can express thoughts and ideas about future housing in the area. Neighbors will be asked to rank ideas for the Murchison Choice revitalization plan including needs for housing, retail businesses, food stores and restaurants and other services. In addition to City staff, Fayetteville State University representatives will be available to discuss the university's Master Plan which defines and outlines its future growth impacting the area. 

    The event will also be family-friendly for people who want to contribute but have kids. Three little libraries will be on display during the forum along with new Murchison Community coloring books. There will also be free snacks and a chance to win raffle prizes.

    City of Fayetteville Economic and Community Development team members and key community partners in the Murchison Choice Neighborhood Planning project will listen to residents, answer questions and take note of feedback on April 5 at the Rudolph Jones Student Center at Fayetteville State University from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. 

    The forum will take place at the Rudolph Jones Student Center at FSU from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

    In December 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the City of Fayetteville and Fayetteville Metropolitan Housing Authority (FMHA) a $450,000 grant to revitalize Murchison Road between Rowan Street and Pamalee Drive/Country Club Drive. The City and FMHA plan to apply for a competitive $50 million federal grant to implement plans identified for the Murchison Corridor through the Choice planning process.

    The city has set up a website to detail the plans and to get community input. The website can be found here.

  • The Fayetteville Technical Community College Board of Trustees has formed a Presidential Search Committee to lead the process of finding a replacement for President Dr. J. Larry Keen, who will be retiring in 2023.

    The committee comprises representatives of FTCC’s Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and student body. Community input on the preferred qualifications and characteristics of the ideal candidate will be sought through surveys and public forums. That input from the public will be factored into the committee’s development of a Presidential Profile, which will be used in a national search for FTCC’s next president.

    There will be four total public forums - three at the FTCC's Fayetteville Campus and one at the Spring Lake campus.

    The three public forums in the Cumberland Hall Auditorium at 2215 Hull Road on FTCC’s Fayetteville campus are scheduled for:

    • Tuesday, April 26, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
    • Wednesday, April 27, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m.
    • Thursday, April 28, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

    The public forum scheduled for FTCC’s Spring Lake campus at 171 Laketree Boulevard is Thursday, April 28, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

    Anyone wishing to complete the survey may do so at this link -

  • 01 NextGenHere we go again. Fayetteville, hold on to your wallets. Fayetteville's Public Works Commission, our Hometown Utility that provides water, electricity and sewer services to about one-third of the Cumberland County population, is again the proverbial Holy Grail of efficient revenue-producing utilities.

    Our city leadership is intrigued at the thought and prospect of looting and pillaging its coffers with the assistance of Bernhard Capital Partners of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a private equity management company with NO track record in successful utility management.

    Yet, they scour North Carolina for municipalities that are incredibly desperate for money or overly staffed with fiscally ignorant and incompetent leadership. This being the case, no wonder Bernhard has planted themselves firmly in Fayetteville with their rapacious sights set on our Hometown Utility.

    I'm just an average Fayetteville resident. I don't fully understand the complicated and complex negotiations that go into making up multi-million dollar transactions like this; however, I can recognize the elements of a potential ruse.

    The Bernhard Capital group has all the signs that shout out, "DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!!!" Let's hope our city officials hear that precautionary warning because selling PWC could have them dancing with the devil and living with a poor and costly decision for the next three decades.

    Yes, all the signs are there: Unpublicized meetings with Fayetteville city officials, the restrictive non-disclosure agreements Bernhard makes everyone sign, promises of utility rate reductions and ratepayer rebates, financial contributions to local and state politicians, the hiring of a local law firm and out of town PR firm, appearances on local radio shows expounding on the benefits of such a deal, and the promise of relocating the Bernhard headquarters in Fayetteville with additional pledges of many more Bernhard companies to follow suit. Wow! Those are the kind of enticements a city and economic development office can really get their arms around. Right?

    One central question remains, and it's the hardest one to answer and always seems to come back and haunt the negotiations. That is: Why would the city of Fayetteville sell a utility asset organization that leads the state and nation in low equable utility rates, profitability, customer service, community responsiveness, and is an award-winning model of effective and efficient corporate management, proficiency and fiscal responsibility?

    Good question, huh? Well, I'm sure many of you can answer that question in one word: Greed. In two words: Immense greed! Unfortunately, the attributes PWC seems to enjoy the city of Fayetteville has found to be elusive to them. Significantly, over the past decade. If you need evidence, look no further than services provided by City Hall.

    Look at our elevated crime rate, the filth, and litter that carpets our streets, the hordes of homeless panhandlers menacing our businesses, destroying our property, defecating in our storefronts, and running off our customers. And, when it comes to fiscal responsibility, Fayetteville taxpayers need only to look across the street from City Hall at our new parking deck we paid PCH $18 million to build. Of course, it came in years past due and millions of dollars over budget. Recently, our Mayor and City Council then paid PCH another $500K of taxpayer money for a practically useless concrete corner in the same building. Incredible.

    Again, I'm a taxpaying citizen, not a rocket scientist, but is this the responsible leadership you would entrust to negotiate the sale of one of our most valuable assets? I think not. With Bernhard's track record of having No Track Record in utility management, placing hundreds of millions of dollars in their hands would be the height of irresponsibility and recklessness.

    I hope that the Fayetteville community speaks up loud and clear on this issue before we get stuck with another PCH parking deck fiasco. Only this costly mistake is guaranteed to be around, haunting us for thirty years. Everyone must demand answers from Mitch Colvin and their ONE Fayetteville City Council member.

    Ask why they would consider selling such a valuable asset like PWC when it is recognized as one of the most well-managed, profitable and responsive utilities in the nation. Not to mention having the lowest consumer utility rates in the state.Fayetteville needs to ask that question before it is too late.
    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 11 Resized 20210327 1558431Every 73 seconds an American becomes a victim of sexual assault, according to RAINN, the Rape Assault Incest National Network.

    The month of April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, or SAAM, and many groups continue to raise awareness of these crimes and prevention efforts. Many organizations offer resources locally for victims and their families

    One local organization has been working since 1976 to achieve zero tolerance for crimes of sexual violence and to reduce its trauma. Rape Crisis of Cumberland County was established to provide services to victims of sexual assault, and they now also assist those affected by domestic violence and human trafficking.

    The agency’s team consists of several victim advocates including cold case, sexual assault and domestic violence advocates and the directors and volunteers to provide direct victim services, and a contracted counselor. They offer free services to those in need, and assistance is not contingent upon a police report.

    “We have a 24-hour crisis line that is staffed either with staff members or volunteer advocates, holidays, weekends, 2 o’clock in the morning — whenever someone might need to reach out and talk to us,” said Deanne Gerdes, executive director Rape Crisis of Cumberland County.

    Some of the services offered include hospital calls where advocates respond to victims in the hospital and walk them through the steps of the rape kit, their rights, address what happened, help identify medical needs and more.

    “Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of cases [reported] has been very low,” said Gerdes. “I don’t think the crime has dropped, but because people in the beginning of the pandemic were unsure who was open, or how to safely make contact and they were stuck at home, there’s been a dip in reporting. But in the years to come we will have those numbers figured out.”

    The organization receives its funds from the Governor's Crime Commission, North Carolina Council for Women, the Department of Justice and donors.
    Board member and volunteer Juaneza Vivian raises money by selling arts and crafts from her business “Cookie’s Crafts 4 Crisis.”

    “When I started the funding was low, and all my proceeds go to RCC,” Vivian said. “My mission is to help eradicate sexual assault the best I know how, selling my crafts to give into RCC is my way of helping.”

    Matthew Kelley, a victim advocate of four years said he responds to emergency room calls and provides support to victims.

    Advocates ask if they have a ride home, if they’re going home to a safe environment, or if they have clothes to leave the hospital with, Gerdes mentioned.

    “Advocacy is really what we do, and it looks completely different for everyone,” Gerdes said. “We explain resources, their rights, what options they have as far as law enforcement or military or job related issues. We do leave it up to individuals to determine their path, we don't create their path for them.”

    The victim advocates also attend court appearances with victims if needed, walking them through the courthouse

    “It’s scary to even figure out where parking is at the courthouse, it’s scary to walk in and we know that. We actually walk them through, so we’ll meet them in the parking lot or at the agency,” Gerdes said. “We understand the courthouse website and where to be.”

    Rape Crisis currently offers virtual support groups for victims during the pandemic, along with in-person counselling. In situations where the victim doesn’t have a safe place to go to, they offer funds for travel and a short-term hotel stay.

    The organization takes on cold cases as well, where someone doesn’t immediately come forward following an assault. The state of North Carolina has no statute of limitations for rape.

    Gerdes said they helped 560 individuals in the year before the pandemic. While the ratio of men to women survivors differs by location and there are lower reports in men possibly due to stigma, the crisis center sees more male victims from
    Fort Bragg.

    U.S. Air Force units located at Pope Army Airfield on Fort Bragg offer various services and help victims of sexual assault through their Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, or SAPR, program for active-duty members and their family members. These services include restricted reports, medical, mental and behavioral health services, and legal aid.

    The SAPR office does not provide mental health services in-house, but connects victims with those services located at Womack Medical Center and mental health services available outside post, said SAPR Victim Advocate Elenah Kelly.

    “Sometimes victims feel uncomfortable seeking mental health services on post in concerns with their records or further employment,” she said. “So as a victim advocate it is my responsibility to give them options like the Vet Center, and Steven Cohen Military Family Clinic at Cape Fear Valley where there are no records kept and doesn’t require any payment for veterans.”

    Another service they offer is the Special Victims Council, which connects the victim with a legal representative to understand their rights, options if and when they want to report the assault, and launch an investigation.

    “We have two reporting options, restricted and unrestricted,” SAPR Coordinator Karen Smith said. “When we have a restricted reporting option that means a person can make a confidential report, we are not mandated to report to law enforcement or command. Unrestricted type is where the victims choose to report it, they want it investigated, and want to hold the subject accountable.”

    The SAPR program offers an expedited transfer for victims that make a report to relocate them if needed.

    “We also offer protective orders,” Kelly said. “There's the military protective order which covers the military post, mandated by the commander, giving the victim a protective order from their perpetrator.”

    Smith said that a resource offered to all branches of the military is the DoD Safe Helpline, and the app can be found on the app store for military members and

    “It is 100 percent confidential and anonymous, available 24-7, you can call, text,” Smith said. “Sometimes it may be 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning and you can’t sleep and you’re having triggers, that DoD Safe Helpline is a great resource, and that number is 877-995-5247.”

    The SAPR team has been hosting many events as part of sexual assault awareness month. Some of the events include a virtual 5k, promoting wearing teal, the color for SAAM. The Respect the Rock event found members painting rocks teal with messages on them spread throughout the base. They also hosted a door decorating contest, where participants decorated doors to spread the message of sexual assault awareness.

    There was also a kickoff video where several unit commanders joined the SAPR team for a message about being the one, protecting our people and protecting our mission. The video encourages everyone to be the one to step in, to be the one to see something, say something, be the one to help someone in need. On April 28, they are celebrating International Denim Day and encouraging folks to wear denim.

    Smith echoed the message from the video that we all have a responsibility to be the one to help others in the community when possible.

    Gerdes from Rape Crisis Center said often the best thing the community can do in terms of support for the victims is understand them and believe them.
    Victim advocate Matthew Kelley said prevention remains a key when addressing sexual assault.

    “Instead of teaching people when to go out, what to wear, we should be teaching people about what consensual sex actually is and raise and educate people to not commit these crimes,” Kelley said.

    Some of the other organizations that survivors can seek help in Cumberland County are the Care Center, Fayetteville Police Department and the Child Advocacy Center.

    “We have a great sexual assault advocacy team in Cumberland County, and I am really, really proud of it,” Gerdes said. “Law enforcement, prosecutors, district attorneys, legal aid and when I say we are a team, we are absolutely a team — we hold each other accountable. And we are all very victim-centered and that’s wonderful.”


    Local Area Resources

    Rape Crisis of Cumberland County
    519 Ramsey St., Fayetteville
    24-Hour Local Hotline: 910-485-7273
    National Sexual Assault Hotline:

    Pope Army Airfield SAPR 24/7
    Hotline: 910-394-7272

    Fort Bragg Army SHARP Hotline: 910-

    Fayetteville Vet Center, 2301 Robeson
    St. #103, Fayetteville, 910-488-6252

    Cohen Clinic: 910-615-3737

    SAFE of Harnett County
    Crisis Line: 910-893-7233

    Hoke County Domestic Violence and
    Sexual Assault Center, 225 S. Main St.
    Raeford Crisis Line: 910-878-0118

    Friend to Friend: Carthage
    Crisis Line: 910-947-3333

    12 170405 F CD624 0005

  • 13 patient consultThe Commission on Cancer, a quality program of the American College of Surgeons has granted three-year accreditation to the cancer program at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center as an Academic Comprehensive Cancer Program.

    To earn voluntary CoC accreditation, a cancer program must meet 34 CoC quality care standards, be evaluated every three years through a survey process, and maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive patient-centered care. Only 13% of cancer treatment programs hold the Academic Comprehensive Cancer Program designation.

    “This accreditation is considered the gold standard in cancer care,” said Cape Fear Valley’s Executive Corporate Director of Oncology Services Kanwar Singh. “It’s a voluntary accreditation with prescriptive standards, and we challenge ourselves to meet these rigorous quality care standards. Because the accreditation is multi-disciplinary in nature, it also acknowledges the teamwork from areas of Cape Fear Valley beyond the Cancer Center.”

    The Academic Comprehensive Cancer Program designation is an advancement from the program’s previous designation as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Program, and further means that the program participates in postgraduate medical education in at least four program areas, and that it participates in cancer-related clinical research as well as offering the full range of diagnostic and treatment either on-site or by referral. Cape Fear Valley Health has residency programs in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, General Surgery and Emergency Medicine.

    Because it is a CoC-accredited cancer program, Cape Fear Valley Cancer Treatment and Cyberknife Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases that requires consultation among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists and other cancer specialists. This multidisciplinary partnership results in improved patient care.

    The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for Cape Fear Valley Cancer Treatment and Cyberknife Center to improve its quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs that focus on the full spectrum of cancer care including prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, life-long follow-up for recurrent disease, and end-of-life care. When patients receive care at a CoC facility, they also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling and patient centered services including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process, and a survivorship care plan that documents the care each patient receives and seeks to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.

    Like all CoC-accredited facilities, Cape Fear Valley Cancer Treatment and Cyberknife Center maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base, a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society.

    This nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through the NCDB and used to explore trends in cancer care. CoC-accredited cancer centers, in turn, have access to information derived from this type of data analysis, which is used to create national, regional and state benchmark reports. These reports help CoC facilities with their quality improvement efforts.

    There are currently more than 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. CoC-accredited facilities diagnose and/or treat more than 70% of all newly diagnosed patients with cancer. When cancer patients choose to seek care locally at a CoC-accredited cancer center, they are gaining access to comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer care close to home. The CoC provides the public with information on the resources, services, and cancer treatment experience for each CoC-accredited cancer program through the CoC Hospital Locator at

    Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving patient outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care. Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons. For more information, visit:

    For more information about the Cape Fear Valley Health System and its services visit

  • 04 Bertino coin presentation ASOMRepresentatives from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands honored World War II veteran Don Bertino on April 17 for his role in the liberation of the Dutch people from Nazi oppression. He was one of several surviving veterans from eight allied countries to receive recognition from the Netherlands in advance of Liberation Day to be celebrated on May 5.

    The ceremony took place at the Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum where Bertino is a volunteer.

    Captain Mark Brouwer, an officer in The Netherlands Marine Corps, presided over the presentation on behalf of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Brouwer is assigned to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville.

    Bertino, 96, is a native of Pennsylvania but came to North Carolina more than 60 years ago. He now lives in Fayetteville with his daughter. Bertino was drafted into the Army in 1943 at the age of 18. He would serve as part of a 90 mm anti-aircraft gun team in locations from Normandy, Belgium to Berlin. After World War II, he was again called into service during the Korean War. Bertino reached the rank of Private First Class during his service in WWII. During the Korean War, Bertino reached the rank of Sergeant.

    During his time in the military, Bertino was stationed in several installations from Pennsylvania to Fort Bliss, Texas, then Louisiana and New York before shipping overseas. After his time in the military, he became a bricklayer in his native Pennsylvania, where the weather up north was too cold to lay brick year-round.

    “My brother-in-law left Pennsylvania in 1938 to attend Duke University, and in 1959, he told me if I wanted to lay brick 12 months out of the year, the Carolinas were the place to do it,” said Bertino about his work.

    During an exchange with Brouwer, Bertino mentioned that, of the seven countries in Europe he’d been to, the Netherlands treated him the best. When asked the worst part of his time in the Netherlands Bertino responded with, “one of Hitler’s bombs on Christmas Day,” recalling a moment from his combat service.

    Bertino recalled his first day of service as “fast and furious.”

    “They threw us a bag of clothes, dressed us up, and said get on that train,” said Bertino about that day in 1943. This took place in Pennsylvania, and three days later he said he was in El Paso. Though not everyone Bertino served with made it home, he considers himself fortunate. “I was at the right place at the right time. The enemy didn’t get me, I got them.”

    Bertino left military service in June of 1952 and continues to encourage younger men and women now serving: “Try and stay in for 20 years if you can,” he says. “Stay in, do a good job, and honor our country.”

  • 08 nurses week virtual 5kSince first hearing the word "coronavirus," we have found ways to do just about everything we need to from a distance or virtually. This includes shopping, work, school, appointmentss and even fundraising.

    Cape Fear Valley Health nurses are hosting a virtual 5K from May 1-15 to raise money for the Nursing Education Scholarship to help those pursuing a career in nursing or nurses who are advancing their education.

    “This is the first year for us to hold a 5K,” said organizer Beth Langley, Ph.D., RN, who is a Nursing Quality Specialist with Cape Fear Valley.

    “This will be the biggest fund raiser we’ve ever done in the community. With the pandemic, doing this virtually seemed like a safe place to start. It’s been very affirming to see members of the public get involved.”

    Since its inception in 2017, the Nursing Education Scholarship has helped over 24 Cape Fear Valley Health nurses work towards advancing their education.

    The goal of fundraisers like the Nurses Week 5k is to not only assist current nurses enhance their skills but also to create a permanent source of scholarship funding to continue supporting nurses into the future.

    To sign up for the 5K, go to The cost to participate is $25. Registration is open through May 15.

    Participants can register as individual runners or as part of a team. Those wishing to help, but not run, can donate to support an individual runner, team, or to the overall fundraising effort.

    Because the event is virtual, participants can walk or run their 5K at any location and can divide their 5K into several days. Particiapants are encouraged to get their family, friends and even co-workers involved in the cause.

    Langley said she is aware of several participants who have mapped out laps around their workplace, which they will use on their lunch breaks to complete their 5K over multiple days.

    Sponsorships opportunities are available for businesses and organizations interested in supporting the Nursing Education Scholarship and the Nurses Week 5K.

    “We’ve also been honored by the level of community support we’ve received from our sponsors,” Langley said. “They help make this event happen.”

    Among the event’s top sponsors are Castle Uniforms, Boone Trail Fit Body Boot Camp, Victoria Baskett Patient Safety Foundation, and Cumberland Anesthesia.

    For more information about the Nurses Week Virtual 5K, contact Langley at or 910-615-5865.

  • 05 summer schoolMany North Carolina children are suffering setbacks in their education because of the ongoing pandemic. “The quality of education in North Carolina has been affected,” says State Rep. John Szoka (R-Cumberland). He said students across the state may be unable to advance to the next grade level. “Because of this, my colleagues and I chose to sponsor the Summer Learning Choice Bill.” House Bill 82 was signed into law by Gov. Cooper on April 16. The bill, known as the Summer Learning Choice Bill for NC Families, creates a fully funded, six-weeks, in-person summer program with the goal of addressing learning loss during the pandemic.

    School districts will identify students who are at risk and offer their parents the option to enroll them in the summer program. If space allows, students not considered at risk for failing could enroll in the program. According to the bill, the summer program will not meet for instruction on Saturdays, and meals will be provided to students. For more information on House Bill 82 visit

  • 02 royals pic from instagramEditor's note: The original version of this article ran 10 years ago this month. Columnist Margaret Dickson updated it for those of us who have recently been thinking of the royal family.

    The Windsors were a part of our household when I was growing up. I saw them frequently and viewed the Windsor children who were close to my age as my chums. Our mothers dressed us in much the same ways, and it seemed to me that we had common interests and experiences as “baby boomer” children growing up in the decades following World War II. It did not register with me that the Windsor children’s mother was Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and all its dominions, and mine was, well, my mother.

    My father had been an Army medic in England, and he and another soldier boarded in the home of an English widow. My father, a personable and courtly southerner, struck up an acquaintance with the widow, Mrs. Fox, which endured until she died many years later. I suppose because the two young families, the Windsors and mine, were in the same stage of life, she sent us many books about the British Royal Family.

    I did not recognize this then, of course, but the books were well-crafted public relations efforts to portray the Royal Family as — almost — regular folks. Like similar books about the Kennedy family during the Camelot years, these books were filled with wonderful and charming family photographs. Some were formal portraits involving crowns, scepters, and robes trimmed with ermine. Most, though, were family scenes, concocted I am now sure to garner and keep the affection of the Queen‘s subjects. The Queen’s son Charles, who much later would be humiliated when a recording of him expressing a wish to be in his mistress’ “trousers,” was actually a cute little boy and her daughter Anne had Shirley Temple-like yellow curls. They and their younger brothers were pictured swinging, playing with their dogs, and, occasionally, getting into some slight mischief.

    I loved these books and once asked my father to ask Mrs. Fox to invite the Windsor children to visit us in Fayetteville. I imagined they would enjoy running around with the children and dogs in our Haymount neighborhood as much as my sister and I did, and they probably would have. Maybe they would even have gotten dirty. Needless to say, they never showed.

    There has been much water over the dam since then for both the Windsors and my little family, but I still have a soft spot for the Windsors, and a special and enduring fondness for the Queen who reminds me of the mother I continue to miss 46 years later.

    The Queen has remained unruffled and serene for well over half a century as she presided over everything from the final dismantling of the once-global British Empire to the toe-sucking antics and infidelities of my long-ago imaginary playmates and their ever-wacky spouses. Think of watching your empire shrink as the European Union took hold. Imagine what it felt like to see the monetary system adorned by your own face and those of your ancestors be eclipsed by the drab but convenient Euro.

    Now, she is marking both the death of her husband of more than 7 decades and her own 95th birthday the same month.
    Queen Elizabeth has done all this and more with dignity and a constant and unwavering hairdo that could have been styled at a downtown Fayetteville beauty parlor in 1965.

    I have a favorite Queen Elizabeth story that pretty much sums her up, at least my vision of her. It seems the Queen was out walking her beloved Corgis one day, her security detail at a discrete English distance. One of her subjects approached and cluelessly observed, “My, you certainly look like the Queen.” To which Her Majesty, Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and Defender of the Faith, replied serenely, “That’s reassuring.”

    As she stays calm and carries on, I wish I could send my own birthday greeting, coined long ago by a toddler who could not quite get it all out.

    “Hap to you, your Majesty.”

  • 14 MBB all region collage 768x432Three Fayetteville Tech men’s basketball players were named to the All-Region 10 Division II team for the 2021 season.

    Tyreik McCallum earned second-team honors, while Donte Johnson and JeKael Gay made third team.
    All sophomore forwards, the trio played a key part in the Trojans’ success this season, which ended April 3 with the program’s second straight appearance in the regional quarterfinals.

    “Tyreik has been an all-around producer for us,” head coach Brian Hurd said.

    “Donte turned into a consistent presence on offense and defense. And JeKael has really made the most of his experience at the two-year level, on the court and in the

    McCallum and Johnson each landed in the top five among all NJCAA Division II players in field-goal percentage, with McCallum’s 68.8 percent landing him third on the list and Johnson holding the No. 5 spot at 65.5 percent.

    McCallum led the Trojans in scoring and rebounding for the season, averaging 14.5 points and 7.5 boards per game.

    The 6-foot-4 Lumberton native’s totals came despite an abbreviated 11-game season, cut short due to injury with five games left to play.

    Johnson scored 10.8 points and pulled down 5.1 rebounds per game. Late in the season, the 6-foot-5 post player showed a penchant for accuracy from 3-point range, going 5-for-6 in the last four games and finishing the season shooting 63.6 percent from behind the arc.

    Gay, who like Johnson is a Greene Central High School product, made perhaps the biggest strides year-over-year of any player on the Trojans’ roster.

    He averaged 13.3 points on the year and 4.3 rebounds and added another dimension by developing his 3-point shot. He shot 45.5 percent on 3-pointers, second in Region 10 DII behind teammate Chance Minott.

    Pictured Above: FTCC men's basketball players (left to right) Tyreik McCallum, Donte Johnson, and JeKael Gey earned All-Region 10 Division II honors for the 2021 season. (imagery courtesy of Fayetteville Technical Community College). 

  • 06 recycling cart 2On May 1, curbside recycling in the city of Fayetteville will occur every other week. The city will replace standard 35-gallon roll out carts with larger 96-gallon carts. Residents are asked to place their carts at the curb on their regularly scheduled recycling days for replacement. There will be no cost to Fayetteville residents for the newer 96-gallon carts. Eighty percent of customers currently use the small trash bins. They have to be turned in to receive the bigger ones. Customers who already have 96-gallon carts will also receive the newer carts if they like. City Council approved the purchase of 64,000 96-gallon carts at a cost of $3.3 million. The city expects to realize significant cost savings over time. In just five years following the transition, estimated savings are projected to be $775,000.

  • 09 N1309P17004HThe Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center is holding multiple blood drives this month to combat the continuing critical shortage of donated blood. Officials warn that Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center has reached the lowest level of supply for crucial Type O- and Type O+ blood the health system has seen since the pandemic started. The health system is urging residents in Cumberland, Bladen, Harnett and Hoke Counties to donate blood at one of several local blood drives.

    The health system considers a “critical” level of blood supply to be less than three days, but the center currently has less than a one-day supply of Type O+ and Type O- blood. While all blood types are accepted for donation, these blood types are particularly useful because they can be used in emergency situations and for all trauma patients as well as neonatal babies. Type O- is the universal blood type, which can be transfused to all blood types, regardless of the recipient’s blood type. Type O+ is the most common blood type people have in the United States.

    “Because of COVID, we’ve been battling urgent shortages on and off since last year,” said Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center Manager Amy Fisher. “But in the last couple of months our urgent shortage has become even more critical. We are the sole providers who supply all the hospitals in the Cape Fear Valley Health system and our blood donors save lives across the region.”

    Cape Fear Valley Health System is the 8th largest regional health system in North Carolina with more than 1 million inpatient and outpatients annually. A private not-for-profit organization, it includes Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Highsmith-Rainey Specialty Hospital, Cape Fear Valley Rehabilitation Center, Behavioral Health Care, Bladen County Hospital, Hoke Hospital, Health Pavilion North, Health Pavilion Hoke and Harnett Health. For more information, visit

    “At last count, there are only nine units of O positive blood left for patients at Cape Fear Valley Health,” Fisher said last week. “That’s nine units of O positive for the entire health system, which uses the blood in Cumberland, Bladen, Hoke and Harnett counties.”

    Fisher said the Blood Donor Center has 35 units of O-, which is still considered a shortage. One patient could deplete that supply.

    “One person has about 12 units of blood in their body. If only one person needed a total blood transfusion, we would run out of O+ blood to transfuse,” Fisher said.

    Donating blood is a selfless act that saves lives. Blood donors recognize the vital role they play in patient care, but some may wonder if it's safe to donate blood during the pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is safe for anyone who is well to donate blood. That even goes for people who are social distancing due to COVID-19.

    Blood donors can find a blood drive near them by checking No appointment is needed. Donors can also visit the Blood Donor Center at 3357 Village Drive, Fayetteville, in the Bordeaux Shopping Center. 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. For more information, please call 910-615-LIFE (615-5433).

    The Blood Donor Center offers enticements to encourage donors to lend a vein, such as a COVID-19 antibody screening. Swag varies by location and event, but donors have recently received a free T-shirt and coupons for a free pizza from Papa Murphy’s in Fayetteville. Local high school students who donate can enter to win a car from Powers Swain Chevrolet. Friends and family members of high school students can also donate on their high school student’s behalf to earn additional entries for their student in the drawing. A winner in the car drawing will be chosen July 26 at Powers Swain Chevrolet.

    Below is a listing of scheduled mobile blood drive locations. Updates are posted on the website.

    April 28: Tony Rand Student Center/FTCC,
    9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2201 Hull Road, Fayetteville

    April 29: Stoney Point Fire Department, 5-9 p.m., 7221 Stoney Point Road, Fayetteville,910-424-0694

    April 30: American Freight, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 1240 Ireland Drive, Fayetteville

    April 30: West Park Apartments, 4-6:30 p.m., 5600 Fountain Grove Circle, Fayetteville, 910-779-0580

    May 1: Highland Centre, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2550 Ravenhill Drive, Fayetteville, 910-223-0765

    May 4: Anderson Creek Fire Department, 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., 6200 Overhills Road, Spring Lake, 910-497-1157

    May 5: South Main Apartments, 1-4 p.m., 4003 William Bill Luther Drive, Hope Mills

    May 7: Chick-Fil-A Ramsey, 1-3 p.m., 4611 Ramsey St., Fayetteville, 910-488-1907

  • 10 Close up New Kelp Cityi by Skylor SwannThe process of duplicating images goes back several thousand years to the Sumerians (c. 3000 B.C.), carving designs on
    ceramic cylinders made of dried clay or stone, then rolling the cylinders over clay tablets to leave impressions. In lieu of clay tablets, the artists in Off the Wall: An Approach to the Print were asked to combine an illusionary printing process with, or as, a 3-dimensional form.

    Off the Wall: An Approach to the Print opens May 4 at Gallery 208 in Fayetteville. Artists from various disciplines (photography, ceramics, printmaking, painting and the graphic arts) were asked to take the medium they usually work in, but successfully integrate 2-dimensional, reproductive print imagery with a 3-dimensional form.

    One of the eight artists, Shane Booth, a professional photographer, has been exploring the cyanotype photograph for several years and decided to explore the cyanotype image as a sculptural form for the exhibit. Booth noted, “as a photographer I’m attracted to pattern, negative space and texture- visual texture, not the physical tactile. In thinking about how to integrate my latest cyanotypes of animals into a sculptural form, it was necessary to think about space in a very different way than I usually think about it.”

    After experimenting with ways to create a sculptural form, Booth’s prints are rolled into cylinders as reliefs on the wall. The projected blue and white surface has cut-out shapes, that relate to the animal in some way, attached to the surface. Booth noted, “the result of rolling the print as a relief actually enhanced the character of each animal. The 3-dimensional photograph tells a better story to emphasize the whimsical aspects I want the viewer to see – even more than if they were framed and hanging on the wall framed behind glass.”

    In comparison, ceramicist, and sculptor Skylor Swann, revisited an idea he had abandoned twenty years ago – how to integrate ceramic decals with his sculptural forms. As an undergraduate student studying ceramics at Southern Utah University, Swann briefly experimented with the process, but abandoned the idea to focus on and practice the sculptural form in clay.

    Visitors to the gallery will see how the artist, years later, has integrated ceramic decals with his mature style of working with clay. “New Kelp City” is a stoneware sculpture combined with laser printed decals. Swann refers to his 22”x 23” x 10” sculpture in the round as “a type of fractal form, organic in nature, also a symbolic city scape or neighborhood emerges.” Swann refers to his architectural form as a “colony of skyscrapers.” The ceramic decals are fired into the glazed surface, silhouettes can be seen within the miniature images of office windows placed upwards along the tubular skyscrapers.

    Artists Angela Stout and Beverly Henderson both practiced integrating their prints into folded forms using matboard and is exhibiting two early works, “Arbor Day” by Henderson, and “Torn” by Stout, to compare how both artists moved to permanent material for their final works. Henderson, a sculptor raised in Colorado, has always been fascinated by nature and the science of nature. Seeing “form first” Henderson stated, “my printed patterns from nature are natural combinations with the intricacy and repeating patterns of organic chemistry.” The original paper sculptures resulted in Henderson interfacing her printing her organic patterns on folded metal wall reliefs.

    After bending matboard to create forms with hard edges, painter and printmaker Stout envisioned combining her images with curvilinear forms. As an artist, Stout sees the possibilities of light and illusion to create meaning in her work and is always inspired by the portrait as a subject.

    After experimenting with malleable material, Stout stated: “the hard edges of the plane and the printed image did not evoke the emotion I wanted to convey, it became evident I needed to research material I could easily bend, and the material would hold its curvilinear shape. I purchased material rigid enough to go through the printing press but could become malleable with heat to support the expressive qualities of the portrait images. Material, image and form now have the potential to convey a feeling and evoke emotions.”

    Artists Shani Lewis and Alfie Frederick collaborated on a work titled “Insert 2020.” A shadow box is filled with a collection of COVID-19 masks individually stamped with the letters of a different state and the number of people infected with the virus during March 2021. Both artists have an art background, yet their “non-art” career path influenced the sculpture.

    Lewis, a graphics designer, left her art career and is enrolled in school to become a physical therapist. Frederick, with a background in printmaking and painting, is employed in the field of Geospatial Information. Lewis’ background in health services and Frederick’s career in statistical tracking influenced the direction of their work titled “Insert 2020.”

    Both artists were asked how combining imagery and a 3-dimentional form influenced the way they could express themselves. Frederick quickly responded by saying, “I realized mixed media was another way to view ideas about the multiple print.” Both agreed, “in the mixed media sculpture they created, meaning in the work is more readily interpreted instead of an image illustrating the narrative image.”

    Due to Jonathan Chestnut’s background in sculpture, digital arts, 3D printing and the laser printer, he effortlessly resolved the combination of image and form. In the sculpture titled “Fatherhood,” Chestnut combines stacked children’s building blocks with laser printed images. Depending on the viewpoint, the viewer will see a changing image on both sides of the form.

    For the print element, Chestnut cut the individual blocks on a table saw, then using the laser printer, cut a letter from the alphabet on each block to create stamps he could use repeatedly.

    Although juxtaposing image and the 3-dimensional form was not new to Chestnut, he said, “due to the challenge, I now have an inventory of lettered stamps to inspire
    future works.”

    Art educator Cornell Jones is a painter and mixed media artist. Inspired by Faith Ringgold and Pacita Abad, Jones’ resolved the challenge by silk-screening one graphic image of a female on pieces of fabric, each piece of fabric hangs from mounted wall hooks.

    Jones creates an alternating rhythm between three images screened on a flat black background of muslin and six images screened onto hanging red fabric. His title, “An A and B Selection from the Choir,” invites interpretation and the symbolism of using black, red and white.

    Jones stated he was “inspired by the works of assemblages of Faith Ringgold and Pacita Abad. My approach to making this work was to think of it as an assemblage and to present the print as an object. I thought about the content of the work as I decided on using fabric as my support.”

    The unifier between the eight very different artists is a contemporary trend since modernism: artists continually alter their materials, techniques and processes. Off the Wall: An Approach to the Print is an exhibition that combines traditional and new print techniques with innovative ideas, printing on nontraditional surfaces and using digital technology to convey meaning. In contemporary art, there is no one way to make a work of art or establish what a work of art should be made from.

    Visitors to Off the Wall: An Approach to the Print will not only see successful works of art, but they will also experience contemporary trends and theories in art since the early 20th century. There are no discernible features for what a work of art should look like or what it should be made from; instead, value is dependent upon a complex open-ended system of possibilities and a work of art, quite simply, is experienced.

    The public reception for Off the Wall: An Approach to the Print is May 4 from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. and the exhibit will remain up until mid-July.

    Gallery 208 is located at 208 Rowan St. in Fayetteville. Guests are asked to wear a mask at the reception. For information call 910-484-6200.

  • 03 Pitt dinosaurToday we are going to visit the wonderful world of Tyrannosaurs courtesy of Mr. Peabody’s Way Back Machine and Mr. Science. Let us begin with a song: “Pack up all your cares and woe/ Here you go/ Singing low/ Bye-bye Tyrannosaurs.”

    Sometimes life is stressful. Sometimes life is disappointing. Sometimes life is dangerous. Today’s lesson is intended to lift both of my readers from their Slough of Despond into a happier place. A place without a pack of hungry Tyrannosaurs on the look-out for human sushi. That’s right boys and girls, things could be worse. Right now you are probably asking yourself: “Self, how could things possibly be worse?” Well, they could.

    Suppose you had been born in the late Cretaceous period, which was 95 million to 75 million years ago? The Grim Reaper says you would be dead by now. Mr. Science says you might have achieved your demise by being eaten by a pack of Tyrannosaurs.

    Some may say, “Wait a minute. People weren’t around in the Cretaceous period, so dinosaurs could not have eaten them.” Au contraire, as the French say. No less an authority on ancient times that the enormously talented Raquel Welch proved people and dinosaurs occupied the same time zone. In her excellent documentary “One Million Years B.C.,” Ms. Welch played Loana the Fair One while co-starring with multiple

    The film opened with “This is a story of long, long ago, when the world was just beginning. A young world, a world early in the morning of time. A hard unfriendly world. Creatures who sit and wait. Creatures who must kill to live. And man, superior to the creatures only in his cunning.” Raquel existed due to her beauty as well as her cunning.

    A recent article in The Washington Post by Juliet Elpirin blew the lid off the long-held rumor that Tyrannosaurs not only bowled alone but also hunted alone. Paleontologists had believed that T-Rex was so cranky he wouldn’t associate with other T-Rexes except during the Cretaceous form of the Dating Game. While one T-Rex could ruin your day, imagine what a pack of Tyrannosaurs hunting together would do to your usual sunny disposition not to mention your bone structure.

    Paleontologists are never happier than when they are digging in rocks or dirt. It’s a paleontologist thing that mere mortals can never understand. Just accept that premise. Super star paleontologist Alan Titus and his buddies were out digging in the “Rainbows and Unicorns Quarry” in the Utah desert when they discovered the Tyrannosaurs equivalent of the Brady Bunch dinosaur burial grounds. The Quarry got its name because lots of groovy dinosaur bones discovered there. It doesn’t take much to excite a paleontologist. The recent Quarry find got a whole lot of shaking going on among dinosaur diggers.

    They found the bones of four or five T-Rexes who had been caught in a flood. Their bones ended up in a lake where Alan found them millions of years later. Using Mr. Science’s tool, they determined that the pack of T-Rexes ranged in age from 4 to 22 years old at their demise. Just like the Brady Bunch, these T-Rexes were all in the same place at exactly the wrong time. It is unclear which T-Rex was Marcia Brady but the implications were clear to Alan. They had all been out hunting together in a pack.

    Alan said: “A lot of researchers feel like these animals simply didn’t have the brain power to engage in such complex behavior.” To quote Al: “There it is, a very sad day in Southern Utah 76.4 million years ago.” A paleontologist with the soul of a poet, reflecting on the unhappy ending of a pack of dinosaurs millions of years ago. After 76.4 million years, it may still be too soon to make jokes about the death of these particular dinosaurs. So, I won’t.

    On top of the unnerving knowledge that T-Rex hunted in packs, Science magazine just reported that North America was the happy hunting ground for many T-Rex families. The report estimated that “20,000 T-Rex lived at any one time and about 127,000 generations of T-Rex lived and died. Those averages imply that a total of 2.5 billion T-Rex lived in North America.”

    That is a lot of Tyrannosaurus whoopee making. Any way you look at it, 2.5 billion T-Rex are a major passel of hungry meat eaters. The T-Rexes didn’t have Uber Eats. They hunted other dinosaurs and cave men just like in Raquel’s movie.

    So why should any of this paleontology lore make you feel any better about your life in these times of The Rona? Allow me to retort. Cheer up, Binky. Look on the sunny side of dead T-Rexes. When you leave your house are you going to face up to 2.5 billion T-Rex? Not very likely. Or even if you only had to face 20,000 T-Rex on your way to work, would you like those odds?

    All you have to deal with is the traffic on Ramsey Street or Raeford Road. As bad as the traffic is, it cannot compare with a pack of five hungry Tyrannosaurs deciding you looked like lunch. That alone is something in which to take heart. You are not going to be eaten by a dinosaur today no matter how bad things may be going.

    Put on a happy face. Let a dead T-Rex be your umbrella.

  • 15 downtown April eventsDowntown Fayetteville will host multiple events this weekend to engage and entertain the whole family.

    Cool Spring Downtown District will host “Make your Mark” and “Find your Zen 4th Friday” events on April 23 and 24. The Downtown Alliance will have its “Spring Open House” on April 24.

    “Make your Mark” will focus on community and giving back. Volunteers can sign up for slots on the 23rd or 24th of April and help paint the Linear Park wall near the Art Park behind The Capitol Encore Academy near Maiden Lane.

    “The 4th Friday program has always encouraged visitors to experience the downtown vibe,” said Lauren Falls, director of marketing and events for Cool Springs. “Whether supporting local or experiencing the parks, museums and theaters, there is something for everyone to enjoy in downtown Fayetteville.”

    The event organizers will provide food and drinks for volunteers. Volunteers can register here

    “Make your Mark” is a community focused beautification project organized by Cool Spring Downtown in partnership with Fayetteville-Cumberland Youth Council, City of Fayetteville, Fayetteville Parks and Recreation, Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County and the Fayetteville Millennial Advisory Commission.

    16 linear park wall

    On April 24, Cool Spring will host “Find your Zen” free yoga classes for the community from noon to 4 p.m at Cross Creek Linear Park Fountain on Green Street. Classes will be 45 minutes long, and require participants to be socially distant and bring their own yoga mats.

    Slots are limited and sign-up can be found here

    “This program focuses on mindfulness and meditation,” Falls said. “These are free classes, but participants are required to bring their own yoga mat.”

    “The Spring Open House” downtown will happen from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with several shops having promotions, sidewalk sales and free zinnia flower seed packets. For more information on the “Spring Open House,” visit

    Also on April 24, the Farmer's Market at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum will be outside from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 325 Franklin St.


  • 11 HandsPlaningWoodHC1403 sourceI 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 which see no need for them. To others they are scraps, but to me, each piece is nothing less than 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 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.

    It's difficult to convey all of that when I offer someone a simple gift made from those redeemed pieces of wood. But each item I place in someone's hands is more than an object to me.

    It's the fruit of many labors. No item is perfect, and each one is absolutely unique. Just like
    you are.

  • 10 TWO 2 26 21 PopUp Cleanup 3In honor of Earth Day 2021, many local environmentally conscious organizations are making efforts to help the environment in April as well as year-round. Earth Day, celebrated mid-April each year, was first observed in 1970. The movement’s mission focuses on diversifying, educating and activating environmental movements across the world.

    Fayetteville Beautiful, a city-wide clean up drive organized on April 17, by the City of Fayetteville, Fayetteville Beautiful, Cumberland County and Sustainable Sandhills targeted issues like litter prevention, beautification and waste reduction. Volunteers cleaned up litter across various marked points in the city from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Sustainable Sandhills is a non-profit serving Fayetteville and the nine surrounding counties creating resilient environmental, economic and social resources for current and future generations.

    “Sustainability is the ability of a system to continue functioning without compromising or depleting components it needs to function,” said Dr. Iman Moore, Department Chairman, Environmental and Occupational Management at Methodist University. “The concept of sustainability is important because it will improve overall living conditions which leads to improved health.”

    Anti-litter campaign “5 for Friday” was launched by the city along with Cumberland County Solid Waste and Sustainable Sandhills on Feb. 26 of this year, Jonelle Kimbrough, Executive Director of Sustainable Sandhills, said.

    The initiative aims to encourage the community to reduce litter in the city by having people pick up five pieces of trash and recyclable materials every Friday. Solid Waste picked up about 84 tons of litter and dumped waste in 2020.

    The organizers are requesting people to post pictures on social media picking up litter and using the hashtags #5forFriday and #StantheCan to spread awareness about the initiative.

    According to their website, if 25 percent of the county’s population picked up about five pieces of trash on Fridays, it would equal 21 million pieces of litter removed in communities countywide.

    For more information on these campaigns, visit and
    In the long-term, sustainability will protect the health and well-being of future generations, Dr. Moore said.

    Another event, a virtual Earth Day Challenge, has participants running throughout the month of April to raise awareness and earn an Earth Day t-shirt and eco-friendly stainless steel straw, she said.

    Dr. Moore highlighted the works of many students and organizations at Methodist University in regards to sustainability like the project by an ENM student that led to elimination of drinking straws in campus dining. ENM students also participate in local events such as the E-waste event hosted by Sustainable Sandhills.

    “Such events serve as an opportunity for them to make the connection from textbook to real life with minimal effort,” she said. “Later this spring and summer, students will have an opportunity to assist several large energy companies in conducting energy assessments on campus.”

    Denise Renfro, science teacher at Douglas Byrd High School, leads the school’s four-year Career Technical Education program focused on renewable energy and sustainability. Students in the program start with learning about sustainability, fossil fuels, different sources of energy and climate change before eventually learning electrical wiring to prepare solar panels. They finish their senior year learning how to install solar panels at FTCC, Renfro said.

    Fayetteville State University’s Green Team organized Earth Week from April 19 to April 23 for students, staff and faculty to learn and support environment protection initiatives, Phavadee Phasavath, FSU’s Sustainability Coordinator, said.

    The Earth Week events include a documentary to educate people on the impact of their behavior on the environment, campus cleanup, bingo-trivia to spread awareness on climate change, and an event to plant trees and flowers around campus. There will also be a picnic.

    Phasavath said her main roles include advising the university on energy management, sustainability and advising the Green Team.
    It's not only to save and reduce the carbon footprint but also to save money. The main role is to make sure we are still meeting our goal of reducing the carbon footprint,” Phasavath said. “Earth Day isn’t just one day, you know, it’s everyday.”

    In a recent study that the Green Team conducted, by anonymously presenting participants with 5 different water choices - four bottled brands and one tap water - the end consensus resulted in people preferring tap water over bottled water, she said.

    “So why would we waste our money and create plastic pollution when we have free accessible tap water at home?” Phasavath asked.

    Some tips to be more environmentally conscious are to reduce, reuse, recycle in order to decrease our impact on the environment. Another simple thing to do to help conserve energy is to turn off lights or shut down your computer when you leave a room or office, she said.

    “Improved overall conditions for all facets of the ecosystem, improved quality of life in terms of mortality, diseases, etc.,” Dr. Moore said.

  • 09 Pic 44You don't want to miss out on the 21st Annual Toast of the Town Wine, Beer, & Spirits Tasting and Silent Auction. A signature fundraiser for The CARE Clinic of Fayetteville, the event arrives May 6 at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden at 536 N Eastern Blvd. from 6-10 p.m. Food, fun and a good cause await.

    Come out for a night out in the beautiful gardens enjoying an assortment of finger foods and desserts served by Elite Catering. Wine Café will have various wines to explore, while specialty spirits will be provided by Durham Distillery and Lizard Lick Brewery and Distillery. Local brewing companies Bright Light and Mash House will be in attendance delivering hometown hops, too. The popular silent auction includes trips to destinations not offered in the past Key West, Canadian Rockies, Sedona Iceland and more.

    A wide range of fun-themed baskets will also be available for bidding during the silent auction, including Escapology Party for 8, The Goddess Basket, The Best Mom Ever Basket, Flowers for a Year, Paint for a Cause Board and Brush, Stud Muffin Basket, Rugged Outdoor Basket, Happy Humidor Basket, Family Fun Basket, Kids' Basket and more.

    Event proceeds benefit The CARE Clinic, a private nonprofit organization that provides free basic medical care and dental extraction services for eligible uninsured, low-income adults living in Cumberland County and surrounding areas. Located at 239 Robeson Street, the clinic opened its doors to the community Nov. 16, 1993.

    The clinic receives no government funding and relies solely on donations, grants and annual fundraising events like The Toast of the Town to provide health care services to the community. Additionally, CARE Clinic patients have assisted in their care by donating more than $306,863 since its founding.

    The clinic serves approximately 1500 patients a year and handles 734,000 prescriptions. Since its inception, The CARE clinic has helped some 37,500 patients with service demands rising sharply during the pandemic.

    The 501c3 entity could not operate without the gift of time provided by volunteer staff: doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, dentists, dental assistants, nurses, pharmacy assistants, chiropractors, social workers, nutritionists, physical therapists and orthopedists. These health care professionals treat patients with the compassion and care they deserve. The clinic also relies on our numerous nonclinical staff who assist The CARE clinic's small staff in performing the tasks needed while also serving on the clinic board and various committees.

    Volunteers are vital at The CARE Clinic, and both medical and nonmedical opportunities abound. When it comes time for fundraising events like Toast of the Town, community volunteers take center stage through sponsorship, prize donations and event planning. Other fundraising events include the winter Evening of CARE dinners, now in its 24th year, and a fall Golf Charity tournament.

    The Toast of the Town has gone through many transformations in its 21 years. The first Toast of the Town was held in Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in 2000. With a smaller variety of wines, food, water and entertainment, the clinic fundraiser netted $4,000 that first year. Within the past two decades, The CARE Clinic has found overwhelming support from sponsors and community members to provide a night ensuring enjoyment. With this support, the event has raised eight times the original event each year since. The CARE Clinic couldn't achieve these goals without those in attendance. Starting with only 86 participants, the signature event now boasts 350-400 people annually.

    Precautions concerning COVID-19 have become a priority over the last year. Due to the extent of the pandemic, the clinic did not host a live Toast of the Town in 2020. CARE clinic staff and supporters are excited to see event-goers in person this year.

    The health and safety of attendees to this year's Toast of the Town are of high consideration. Event vendors will set up on the CFBG lawn to allow space for social distancing. This distancing extends indoors with seating options and at silent auction tables ― touch-free this year via item QR codes. For those not comfortable attending the live event, online participation for auction bidding is an option. For those who do choose to attend, masks will be provided at the door.

    Support is needed each year to make the Taste of the Town a success. To become a corporate sponsor, silent auction item donor, or your name added to the invitation list for next year's event, please contact Monica at The CARE Clinic at 910-485-0555

    Tickets can be ordered at and are $75 per person in advance and $100 at the door. Find event details and virtual participation options by visiting

    Mark your calendars for May 6 for the Toast of the Town event. Enjoy good food and a variety of tasty beverages while contributing to the community.

    CARE Clinic patient information:

    To be eligible for The CARE Clinic's services, you must be 18 years or older; have no insurance, including Medicaid; meet an income requirement; and display proof of household income and a valid, North Carolina DMV-issued picture ID card or driver's license showing your current address.

    Call 910-485-0555 to make an appointment. Appointments are made only by phone; no walk-ins. Medical appointments can be made Monday- Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dental appointments can be made Friday from 9 a.m. to noon for the following week.

    The clinic serves patients each Tuesday and Thursday and the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dental clinics are every Tuesday and the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Appointments are made on a space-available basis.

  • 08 pinwheel ballBased on national best practice and research, the Child Advocacy Center 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.

    In fiscal year 2020, the CAC served 876 children and their non-offending family members and saved the community an estimated $700,000 through its multi-disciplinary team approach. In addition, the Child Advocacy Center provides education to the public and professionals on preventing, detecting and reporting child abuse.

    Unfortunately, the center has seen an increase in the need for services while at the same time being financially affected by not being able to host their two signature fundraising events during the pandemic in 2020 — the Fayetteville Ultimate Lip Sync Show Down and the Pinwheel Masquerade Ball & Auction.

    As many students have returned back to school in person, we anticipate an even higher increase in the number of cases reported to the CAC. Now more than ever, we need your support.

    The Child Advocacy Center is a local 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.

    Thankfully, the Child Advocacy Center was recently granted a $10,000 “All or Nothing” challenge grant from the Simply East Anonymous Trust Challenge Grant.

    The challenge grant is for $10,000; however, the challenge is that we must raise at least $10,000 in order to receive the matching grant from Anonymous Trust. If we do not meet the $10,000 in donations, we will not receive the matching challenge grant. The purpose of this grant is to raise funds from new donors, increased gifts from individuals, corporations, foundations and churches.

    The Challenge Grant will run through July 31, 2021. Donors may participate as a new donor or an existing donor. Every dollar that is raised will be matched. New donor donations and existing donors, who increase their giving from the year before, will be matched dollar to dollar. This is another way you can be a part of supporting the work of the CAC in our community.

    There are also additional ways that you can donate to the CAC, such as through our beautiful Tribute Murals.

    Tribute Murals offer a unique way to celebrate, honor or remember special people and occasions.

    Currently we have The Giving Tree Leaves Mural and/or the Twinkle, Twinkle Little Stars Mural. You may make a donation for the children served by the CAC and have your gift recognized as part of our beautiful tribute murals. The murals were created by local artist Cornell Jones, and they are on the walls of the reception area and the board/conference room.

    While April is nationally recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month, we know that the mission and vision of our work continues throughout the year and as such, communities are encouraged to increase awareness about child and family well-being, and to work together to implement effective strategies that support families and prevent child abuse and neglect.

    To make a donation or to learn more about how you can become involved, please visit We sincerely appreciate your support.

  • 07 MH 3On April 16, about 50 protestors walked around the Market House chanting “no justice, no peace, no racist police,” and “hands up, don’t shoot.” Protesters carried signs and recited the names of Black people killed by police. The event, planned before the City Council voted Thursday to repurpose the Market House, seemed to galvanize the downtown landmark as a hub to assemble and air grievances about continued discrimination against people of color.

    The protest had little to do with the historic landmark itself, but rather recognized the Market House as evidence of what organizers call a lack of action by Fayetteville city leaders.

    Friday’s protest was in response to the most recent death of a Black man — Duante Wright — in police custody, but one organizer said it was also to point out that local leaders have either not accomplished much in the last year, or have not been transparent with the public about what they’ve done since last May when rioters rallied at the Market House before damaging store fronts downtown and in the Cross Creek Mall area following the death of George Floyd.

    “A year later and nothing has been done,” said Bishop McNeill, one of the organizers for the protest. He said continued protests are planned for every Friday through May. McNeill said he and like-minded citizens will gather at the corner of Hay and Green Streets at 6 p.m. to “bring awareness about needed police reforms that were promised by our officials.”

    McNeill called for city officials to make public what police reforms have been enacted since
    last year.

    “If something like that happens here, we want to make sure police officers are held accountable,” McNeill said referencing the deaths of George Floyd and Duante Wright.

    Protesters are calling for city officials to present information to the public about any on-going efforts in police reform and the formation and progress of a Citizens Review Board. In early March, City Council voted to give a CRB the power to look into police personnel records when reviewing disciplinary cases. Few details have been released on a CRB or on the differences in authority between a review board and an advisory board.

    Citizens want officials to make those details known, McNeill said. His comments echo a growing concern that city leaders are either acting too slowly or are not proactively informing the public of what actions are being taken.

    Up & Coming Weekly reached out to Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin following Friday’s protest, asking for comment on McNeill’s call for transparency. Colvin’s emailed response is printed in full on page 10 of this issue.

    McNeill said these Friday “marches for social justice” will address “police reform, Black and brown issues, immigration and Asian discrimination.” He hopes the events will gain public and media attention to ask city leaders “where are we at?” on reform, and on combatting racism and discrimination.

    Speakers will be planned for the events, but there will also be opportunities for citizens to address the crowd, as was the case with the April 16 event. One woman participating in the march asked for the loudspeaker and told the crowd that “racism is systemic, but we have to be introspective … what are you doing at your house… to grow, learn and be better?”

    At least two participants were openly carrying firearms.

    A man who identified himself only as “Rell” was carrying the civilian version of the M4 rifle used by many U.S. Army soldiers in combat. Without alteration, the civilian version is capable of only one round per trigger squeeze, not three-round-bursts or fully auto like the military version. Rell was also carrying a pistol.

    Rell said he was “not here to impose fear on anyone” but to make sure nobody broke windows, vandalized and blamed it on protestors.

    “It’s our Constitutional right to bear arms,” Rell said. “I’m trained on it, and I also have a concealed carry [license].” Rell said he was a military veteran.

    “The police have a lot going on,” he said. “We are here to police up our own so it can be a peaceful demonstration.”

    The April 16 event was peaceful, as most protests in Fayetteville have been, McNeill said.

    “I don’t want people to be afraid, there’s a lot of fear-mongering … meant to further divide us,” he said. McNeill said he understands that many people are concerned about a protest turning into a riot.

    “If you do not want to participate in a demonstration, contact city officials and ask them where they stand, ask them to make a statement,” he said.

    At least one local business owner came out to speak with McNeill. “Protests are good as long as they are peaceful,” said Hank Parfitt, owner of a shop on Hay Street. “You should be able to protest.”

    Others not directly participating in the event showed support with shouts of encouragement to speakers and honking car horns as they drove around the Market House.

    Fayetteville Police Chief Gina V. Hawkins provided the following statement via email, which arrived after the April 21, 2021 issue of Up & Coming Weekly went to press.

    “The Fayetteville Police Department maintains the Gold Standard CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) accreditation. This is a very strenuous process to become accredited, and it holds agencies to a very high standard (and it is also voluntary).

    Our policy and procedure manual is open to the public and is viewable at any time on our website. You can see that our policies and procedures go above what was being requested over the past year. I must note however, the duty to intervene was being taught in our academy/training center, but was added as a written policy last year. Our department continues to attend annual biased based policing and de-escalation training.

    Some of the other demands being sought must be approved through proper legislation, such as Citizen Review Board; which is currently pending in the legislative process. Our Mayor and City Council continue to work on this aspect as demonstrated by passing a Council Resolution that included support for a citizen review board on June 22, 2020. This is a process that takes proper research, planning, and discussions.

    Mayor Colvin has established two separate City Council Committees last summer to internally examine our City organization as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion principles and efforts to determine if obstacles to opportunities exist; and externally to identify areas that will improve the equitable opportunity for all residents to succeed - regardless of their race, color, sex, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, disability, income or zip code as well as engage the residents in dialogue about local issues.

    During the March 1, 2021 work session, a motion was passed to formally establish a citizen advisory board (separate entity from the Citizen Review Board that is pending proper legislation). The Council has directed staff to stand up the board in 4 months by July 1st.

    As you can see, much work has been going on in by both the Police Department and our City Council leaders. As a reminder all of our policies and procedures can be found on our website:”

  • 06 JEFF market house slave plaque 3For nearly 200 years the historic Market House has been the focal point of downtown Fayetteville. Its very existence has been an irritant for many African Americans. Its presence has been an object of public debate for many years. On April 15, City Council decided not to tear the building down or move it out of downtown, which would be virtually impossible because of its architecture.

    Council voted 9-1 to repurpose the landmark. Local architects suggested turning it into an art exhibit, making it into a place that displays Fayetteville history with a focus on Black contributors, making it into a marketplace for strictly Black vendors or using it to create an event space. That decision has yet to be made.

    The Market House was built in 1832 on the site of the old State House, which had been where North Carolina delegates ratified the U.S. Constitution. But the state house was destroyed in the Great Fire
    of 1831.

    The Market House is one of only 50 National Landmarks in North Carolina. Architecturally unique, the structure is one of the few in America to use the town hall - market scheme found in England. Household goods were sold beneath the building, while the second floor was utilized originally as the town hall.

    Occasionally enslaved people were sold at or near the Market House. The vast majority of the slaves were sold as a result of indebtedness or estate liquidation. Unlike New Orleans, Richmond and Charleston, S.C. North Carolina cities were not slave markets.

    On April 16, a small group of demonstrators took up a position at Market Square in response to what they called “the persistent injustice facing Black lives.” The group, mostly young, staged the protest which drew some support from passing motorists. Several police squad cars patrolled the vicinity for an hour before the five o’clock session began. The group said members intend to hold similar demonstrations every Friday evening in May.

    The Cumberland County administration closed government buildings in the downtown Fayetteville area at 4 p.m. “to allow employees to leave the area prior to potential protest activities,” as stated in a news release.

    The news release stated all of the county's government buildings downtown, including the courthouse, board of elections office and headquarters library would close early. City administrative staff members were sent home at 4:30, according to a city spokeswoman.

    In 1989, Fayetteville City Council commissioned a plaque to be attached to the exterior of the Market House where it still stands.

    It reads in part: “In memory and honor of those indomitable people who were stripped of their dignity when sold as slaves at this place. Their courage at that time was a proud heritage of all times. They endured the past so the future could be won for freedom and justice.”

  • 05 FCC City TAG 4CFollowing a protest downtown Friday, April 16, Up & Coming Weekly asked Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin to respond to claims that little has been done in the last year to address discrimination and local policing practices. Mayor Colvin's response is printed below.

    As millions of people across our nation grapple with the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others at the hands of injustice, the call to stand together as a community grows louder. The tragedies we have all witnessed across this nation are heartbreaking, and we must find a way to bring meaningful change. Meaningful change calls for unity, and unity takes work.

    Whether you serve as a teacher in our community, elected official, health care professional, small business owner or union worker, I encourage you to consider how you can help our community unify in your everyday work. As we listen to the call for equal justice, both in our community and in our nation, I encourage you to think of your neighbors as yourself. We must love our neighbors, and we must treat each other as we ourselves want to be treated.

    I am encouraged by the new generation of leaders who have joined together to exercise their first amendment right to peacefully protest, and I am extremely proud of the changes we have seen in the City of Fayetteville’s policing and operations. I challenge those who are protesting, help us build the community we all desire, one that works for all of us, not just a few.

    While our city has certainly had its problems with racial and social bias, to include aggressive policing in predominately Black communities, we have come a long way over the last 8 years. The city began revamping its policing policies after the rebuke of the DOJ, in 2012/2013. Because of this, many of the changes made were proactive and allowed us to get a head start on the necessary changes long before many of these national tragedies we see today.

    Over the last year, our city council has taken an internal and external review to ensure diversity inclusion in our hiring practices, economic policies and the systemic policies used to serve our community.

    •We have established the Fayetteville Citizens Advisory Board to assist in building better relationships with law enforcement and the communities they serve. We passed the 4th resolution requesting of the North Carolina General Assembly to allow for the establishment of a Police Review/Oversight Board.

    •In addition to increased training we have implemented body cameras, and impressed upon the city manager to enforce a zero tolerance policy for racial discrimination or racial motivated policing throughout our city.

    •We have also established a local and minority participation policy for the entire city’s contracting and spending. We have invested and/or committed to investing over $15 Million dollars into underserved communities, such as Murchison Road, B Street, Campbell Avenue and others.

    •We have invested $100,000 in restoring and the revitalization of Orange Street School (Original location of the city’s Historically Black High School) and requesting $1M from the state of NC.

    •We have invested nearly $400,000 in restoration of the E. E. Smith House, home of the first President of Fayetteville State, our local HBCU.

    •We have increased our support for community development programs such as increased home ownership and working to strategically address the city’s Tier 1 status.

    •We have engaged the Department of Justice to implement the City Spirit Program to improve race relations.

    While we have come a long way as a nation, 2020 and 2021 have reminded us all that we must continue to work together to bridge the racial divide in America. I am grateful to God that we are a community willing to accept and address our shortcomings, and we are a community willing to unify.

    Because of this, I stand confident that Fayetteville, North Carolina, will continue to advance as an All American City, by name and by deed.

  • 04 puppy and kittenThe Fayetteville Woodpeckers are partnering with local animal rescues and pet vendors to host an adoption event at Segra Stadium on Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This event is free to the public and will coincide with the first opportunity for fans to purchase tickets for May Woodpeckers home baseball games. Interested people can meet available dogs and cats from each rescue and fill out adoption applications.

    The Woodpeckers will also be collecting items for the rescues. Donations of $5 or more will receive 10% off in The Birds’ Nest Team Store. Items requested include: cleaning products (paper towels, disinfectant spray or wipes), canned or dry dog and cat food, treats and puppy pads. Pets are not allowed at this event except for dogs and cats with each respective rescues. The Birds’ Nest Team Store will be open.

    Masks are required when entering the ballpark. The Woodpeckers will release its promotional calendar for the month of May prior to tickets going on sale. The home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, May 11 against the visiting Kannapolis Cannon Ballers.

    A limited amount of tickets for Woodpeckers home games will be available on a month-by-month basis. Fans can purchase tickets for any of the six May games from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in-person at the BB&T Now Truist Box Office. For anyone not able to buy in-person, tickets will become available online starting April 26th at 10 a.m.

    Individual game tickets for 2021 May home games will be available in safe, socially-distanced pods. Due to local and state health and safety guidelines and socially-distanced seating, Segra Stadium’s capacity is expected to be at 30% to begin the season. For this reason, the best chance for fans to get seats to 2021 home games is to purchase a Full-Season, Half-Season, or 20-Game Membership. Season Members and Ticket Voucher Plans will have first opportunity to purchase tickets for May and to exchange their vouchers.

  • Cape Fear Valley Health has seen an apparent decline in interest in COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Each Friday at 5 p.m. the health system opens appointments for the subsequent weeks through its website, During recent weeks, only about 15% of the appointments were filled by Monday morning.

    “What we’re worried about is the vaccine supply is outpacing demand,” said Vice President of Professional Services at Cape Fear Valley Health Chris Tart. “We need to encourage everyone to roll their sleeves up and be vaccinated so we can continue to put this pandemic behind us.” The available supply of all vaccines has also expanded, with more traditional providers and retail locations such as pharmacies offering inoculations.

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