• 01 Welcome to Spring LakeThere are rising local concerns over the lack of media coverage and traditional news reporting in our Fayetteville and Cumberland County communities.

    We have few journalists in our community dedicated to being purveyors of truth. History has proven without a doubt that any community, city, state or nation that lacks accurate and honest news media coverage cannot maintain freedom or democracy.

    News journalists and the media are true protectors of democracy. Without media watchdogs and transparency in government, we invite and nurture gross mismanagement and cultivate a culture of corruption that ultimately leads to devastating consequences for citizens.

    For a recent and unfortunate example of this, one needs to look no further than the Town of Spring Lake. Last week, Mayor Larry Dobbins and the Spring Lake Board of Aldermen received a notification warning from the Local Government Commission that the town's fiscal management was suspect. It noted that the town was in violation of the General Statutes of North Carolina and ran a risk of being taken over by the state if they cannot come into compliance.

    For over a decade, several honest and frustrated Spring Lake citizens saw this coming. They looked on helplessly as they witnessed firsthand the town's management incompetence and irresponsible behavior of its self-serving elected officials. Spring Lake residents experienced firsthand the consequences of not having a voice in government or news media oversight that could have uncovered and reported on the town's business, policies and procedures. Or lack of. Without constant oversight, monitoring and reporting of their actions and policies, local government officials will always constitute a lack of transparency to local citizens, giving government staff and elected officials free rein to use and abuse their authority. They are confident their actions will never be divulged, nor will they be held accountable. This creates a frightening "culture of corruption" and a significant threat to democracy and fundamental freedoms.

    The situation in Spring Lake did not develop overnight. It took years for town officials to get confident and comfortable knowing that the news media void could keep the general public from knowing what was going on inside the town hall. Spring Lake leadership took advantage of this situation to the town's detriment. The scary thing about it was they were all in concert with the negligence. Local media and dedicated and honest leadership at all local government levels could have prevented this.

    I love Spring Lake, and I know many good, decent and honest people who live there, have businesses there, and have tried relentlessly to make Spring Lake the proud gateway to Fort Bragg it once was. However, without a news media outlet and local government transparency and accountability, it cannot happen.

    Perhaps some of our readers are thinking, "why doesn't Up & Coming Weekly create a newspaper in Spring Lake." Well, we did. And, it had a talented editor and was successful. Perhaps too successful. The Spring Lake Beacon was delivered every two weeks in U&CW. It lasted about two years until the Town of Spring Lake decided not to support it. This caused the Chamber of Commerce (which was closely affiliated with the town and located in the Town Hall) to not support it. This lack of endorsement discouraged the local businesses from supporting it.

    At that time, we tried to make a difference by providing Spring Lake businesses and citizens with local news and views while advocating for open government and transparency. We were rebuffed. We hope the current situation in Spring Lake will be resolved quickly, amicably, and result in honest, caring, and dedicated people stepping up to rebuild Spring Lakes' reputation and take its rightful and respectable place in the leadership of Cumberland County. We also hope that this unfortunate and dire situation in Spring Lake serves as a subtle warning to Fayetteville, Hope Mills and other communities of the consequences when no local newspaper or reputable media keeps the public informed of what is going on in their government.

    It should also make all citizens skeptical of any elected county commissioner, city mayor or councilperson, town commissioner, or local government staffer who is opposed to the free press, news media, open meetings or the concept of transparency in government. The media, sometimes referred to as the "Fourth Estate," is America's watchdog of democracy at all levels of government.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 20 Danny GokeyShout for joy! With summer fully upon us the social horizon is beginning to look better than it did at the beginning of 2021. Canceled shows and concerts from last year are finding their way back to local venues, outdoor (and most indoor) attractions are up and running.

    As exciting as that is, recent conversations with a couple of recording artists suggest the (cringe!) new normal will be a little different. Danny Gokey, who many know from his top 3 slot on American Idol alongside Adam Lambert and winner Kris Allen a dozen years ago, opened up recently about life and touring after the pandemic.

    Danny is a devoted family man, and enjoys time with his wife, Leyicet, and their four children. When the shutdowns punched the music industry right in its touring gut last year, he found himself able to spend more consecutive days at home than he has since he walked off the Idol stage in 2009. And he liked it. In the last year, he's collaborated on recordings with several top artists including Koryn Hawthorne, Belonging Company and bilingual recordings with Evan Craft and Christine D'Clario.

    Known for amazing dancing during his shows, when I caught up with him in early March last year, he was out of breath from rehearsing for his Spring tour. However, before the tour could even launch, it was canceled as venues around the country closed their doors. More recently, a decidedly more composed man sat down with me for a few minutes as we talked about his abbreviated Spring 2021 tour which stopped in Dunn, North Carolina.

    When I asked Danny what he thought about touring life going forward, he didn't hesitate. “I'm not going to do as many shows,” he said. “I was doing 120 dates a year, and I'm not going to do that any more.” As a Gospel Music Association Dove Award Winner with at least three Grammy nominations, I asked Danny how he planned to make up the difference from his previous level of touring income. “I don't think it's about making it up,” he quickly answered. “It's about deciding what's most important,” and indicated connecting with fans is important, but family takes priority over that.

    The sentiment was echoed by Colton Dixon, another American Idol alumnus, who became a father to twin girls Dior and Athens during the pandemic-related shutdowns. Colton recently missed a local tour date due to a COVID outbreak among tour crew, and seemed almost relieved about it when we spoke just before Father's Day. Going forward he says, “I'll be more selective about what dates I agree to.”

    While you might not see Colton nearby this summer, you can catch a performance of his latest single, “Made To Fly” on ABC's “Good Morning America” on July 9. The song begins with a nod to his own father, who he says was a strong and positive influence in his life. And as we begin to see less of him and other favorites in concert in the near future, we can likely count on the fact that's what's happening in their homes. As fathers, mothers, husbands and wives, the artists we know and love are having more and better influence in their own homes.

    21 Colton Dixon 2020 cr Jimmy Fontaine billboard 1548 compressed Pictured Above: Danny Gokey (Photo Coutesy

    Pictured Left: Colton Dixion (Photo Coutesy

  • 08 2021 Sue Kelly Community Service AwardThe Fayetteville Public Works Commission received an American Public Power Association Sue Kelly Community Service Award June 22 during APPA’s National Conference in Orlando, Florida. The award recognizes “good neighbor” activities that demonstrate the commitment of the utility and its employees to the community.

    PWC partnered with the city’s downtown district to bring Prismatica, an interactive, public art installation, to light up the downtown after the city reopened following the COVID-19 shutdowns. “Prismatica-Powered by PWC” celebrated and highlighted the value of public power for a month and increased foot traffic by 30 percent, lifting both the economic outlook of businesses and the spirit of Fayetteville’s community.

    “PWC exemplifies the power of togetherness - the power of collaboration with their actions. They not only supply our growing region with quality/reliable infrastructure, but they believe in being good neighbors; and dedicating their resources to support the community,” said Bianca Shoneman, President and CEO, Cool Spring Downtown District, Inc.

    Annually, PWC employees have a strong commitment to the United Way of Cumberland County. In over 20 years, PWC employees have given more than $2 million in support of United Way. With donations projected to be down in 2020 because of the pandemic, employees stepped up and increased support by 9 percent with a $156,000 campaign.

    “PWC’s efforts and commitment to improving lives are evident in their work and through interaction with their staff,” says Amy Navejas, President, United Way of Cumberland County.

    “Their efforts stand out as they go above and beyond to encourage workplace support of those in need not only through generous financial support totaling over $2.2 million, but through volunteerism and dedication to numerous community events.”

    Throughout the years, PWC has remained service-driven and continues to implement various programs that greatly benefit its community. Other initiatives recognized by the APPA Award include:

    •Increasing awareness of bidding opportunities to keep more dollars in the local economy through its Building Business Rally initiatives.

    •Establishing a local Line worker program with Fayetteville Technical Community College, addressing concerns of an aging workforce, and need for line workers. PWC provides resources to the program including donating/setting the poles for the class pole yard.

    •Increasing renewable energy production, engaging customer participation in affordable renewable energy and lowering demand costs/customer rates by building NC's first Public Power Community Solar Project. The project provides Fayetteville’s transient military community, including renters, the ability to participate in solar energy without long-term rooftop solar investment.

    The American Public Power Association is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. The APPA represents public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million people that public power utilities serve, and the 93,000 people
    they employ.

  • 04 CPL Mojave LittlejohnA Fort Bragg paratrooper assigned to the 20th Engineer Brigade died during an accident while en route to a training range on Thursday, June 17.

    Corporal Mojave Littlejohn, 21, a native of Roseville, Michigan, was a horizontal construction engineer, in 161st Engineer Support Company (Airborne), 27th Engineer Battalion (Airborne), 20th Eng. Bde. Littlejohn was involved in a collision while operating a military truck, resulting in his death.

    “Cpl. Littlejohn was an exceptional Soldier, friend and paratrooper,” said Lt. Col. Shawn Polonkey, commander, 27th Eng. Bn. “He had a larger than life personality, a razor-sharp wit, and an ever-present sense of optimism. He was incredibly proud to be a paratrooper, and unmistakably loved his family, his nation, and those with whom he served.”

    Littlejohn, a competitive weightlifter and fitness enthusiast, enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 2019. He was assigned to the 27th Eng. Bn. in September 2019 after completing Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and graduating from the U.S. Army Airborne School.

    He conducted airborne operations at Sicily and Luzon drop zones and served hundreds of hours behind the controls of bulldozers, excavators, graders and other heavy engineer equipment.

    “Cpl. Littlejohn was an integral part of the many important missions undertaken by the company, performing commendably,” Polonkey said. “We will keep this Rock paratrooper, his family, and his friends in our thoughts and prayers.”

    The incident is under investigation.

    Pictured Above: Cpl. Mojave Littlejohn 

  • 10 10 FTCCThe Paul H. Thompson Library at Fayetteville Technical Community College was awarded an $11,936 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create a Makerspace Lab to serve FTCC students.

    Makerspaces are collaborative work areas with a variety of equipment. At the Paul H. Thompson Library, the grant will be used to purchase a computer, a 3D printer, a Raspberry Pi computer and a Cricut cutting machine, as well as furniture and related supplies to support curriculum programs and to improve learning outcomes of students.

    Library Director Laurence Gavin said the Makerspace Lab will be an active learning space where students will be able to work independently or in small groups to create, learn and share ideas to achieve their educational goals through access to a variety of educational technologies.

    The grant funds were provided by the Institute through the federal Library Services and Technology Act, which aims to help libraries deliver relevant and up-to-date services for their communities. The State Library of North Carolina administers the grant program in this state and funds projects in libraries across the state that advance excellence and promote equity by strengthening capacity, expanding access and community engagement.

    The Paul H. Thompson library received one of 47 competitive grants awarded to North Carolina libraries for fiscal year 2021-2022 from a federal allotment of $4.8 million. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.

    Through the LSTA Grants to States program IMLS provides funds to State Library agencies using a population-based formula. State libraries may use the appropriation to support statewide initiatives and services; they may also distribute the funds through competitive subgrants to public and academic libraries. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

    For more information about North Carolina’s LSTA program visit the State Library of North Carolina’s LSTA web page at or contact the State Library’s Federal Programs Consultant at 919-814-6796.

  • 05 Jack Britt athletes 2The Jack Britt Outdoor Track and Field team placed two athletes in the 2021 North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s 4A Mideast Regional Championship Meet. Brian Marquis Jr. finished second in the 800-meter run at the regional championship, taking home the silver medal for Jack Britt. James Stover finished 3rd, taking home the bronze medal. Their finishes qualified them both for the State Championship. This was the first time Jack Britt has ever had two men's runners qualify for the Mideast Regional Championship in the same season in the 800-meter run. Both athletes were teammates in the 4 x 400-meter race which placed 4th overall, finishing two-tenths of a second behind the bronze medal team and also qualifying for the State Championship meet.

    Pictured above: Brian Marquis Jr. (left) and James Strover (right) 

  • 02 line of babiesLooking for just the facts? Here they are.

    The United States is facing an accelerating downward trend in our national birth rate, resulting in the slowest population growth since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The recent Great Recession of the 2000s made the decline even more pronounced, with the birth rate for women in their 20s falling 28% since 2007. It is rising among women in their 30s and 40s, but not enough to offset babies not being born to 20-somethings whose fertility is generally the highest. Our birth rate is below replacement level for native-born Americans.

    North Carolina is not immune to this trend. Our birth rate’s most recent peak was in 2007 when 131,000 bundles of joy arrived to North Carolina families. Post Great Recession in 2013, only 119,000 babes arrived, a 9% decline. According to Carolina Demography at UNC-CH, that is about 20 fewer births each year for every 1000 women under 30.

    Several western European nations including Spain, Italy, Greece and Luxembourg have birth rates well under 2 per woman of childbearing age, well below the replacement rate. Asian nations including China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan are also facing declining birth rates. The implications for all of them, and increasingly for us, as well are clear and stark. The United States is now an “aging economy,” with more people 65 and older than people younger than 15. Senior benefits such as Social Security and Medicare pose significant financial burdens on workers, generally younger people, who will struggle to meet senior needs. In addition, seniors consume fewer goods, which limits growth in domestic markets. And since wealth is more concentrated among older people, wealth disparity also grows.

    So, what is causing slowing birth rates?

    Every woman has her own story, of course, but there are trends, made possible by reliable contraception available for less than a century. Increasingly, women are delaying motherhood until they complete their educations and are settled in careers, often meaning well in to their 30s and sometimes 40s. This has been true for decades for upper middle class and highly educated women, and it is now the case for women throughout the nation, especially in urban areas with employment opportunities and thriving economies.

    Young women also worry about affording children, a kind of parental sticker shock. They report concerns about the high costs of housing and child care, sometimes piled atop existing student debt. They also acknowledge that children, however wanted and loved, can and do derail careers that have taken years to prepare for and build. They understand that this happens to mothers far more often than it happens to fathers.

    Other declining birth rate nations are approaching the problem with various financial incentives — one-time payments for a new baby — a so-called baby bonus, monthly stipends for children, free school lunches, generous maternal and paternal leaves, subsidized day care and tax incentives. Hungary exempts women with 4 or more children from paying incomes taxes for their lifetimes. Some of this may be helping, but no European country has reached a replacement birth rate. The only nations that have are emerging economies, many in Africa.

    The United States sports a poor record of family support, both financially and in safety net services. Our attitude has been “these are your children, so care for them yourselves.” That is true, of course, but we maintain that stance at considerable risk to all of us. Like European countries and some Asian nations, we must find ways to support young families, lest we find ourselves with too few of them to drive and maintain our economic health.

  • 12 N1905P37003H CopyFort Bragg’s Child and Youth Services is offering free summer sports clinics to military affiliated children.

    The clinics will offer four different sports: football (ages 6–12), soccer (ages 5–14),
    basketball (ages 5–14) and baseball (ages 6–12). A current sports physical and CYS registration is required for participants.

    “There will be three clinics per sport and a capacity of up to 10 children per class,” said Evelyn Eggins-Alston, program operations specialist for CYS.

    The clinics will take place at the Polo Field for football and soccer; baseball will be at Armstead Field; and basketball will be at Tolson Youth Center located on Fort Bragg from Monday through Thursday 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.

    “The summer sports clinics taking place this summer offer an opportunity for our military families to involve their CYS-registered children to do outdoor athletic activities,” said Elvia Kelly, Fort Bragg Garrison spokeswoman.

    “During the pandemic last year, many services were closed or cancelled, including the sports clinics. The goal this year is to help our youth get involved with our sports program as an avenue to learn or improve new skills and, ultimately, for the children to have fun in the process.”

    Although June clinics have commenced, the July schedule offers football and soccer clinics July12-15, and basketball and baseball clinics July 19-22.

    “This year we decided to conduct a free clinic so that our families would be reintroduced to our sports program,” Eggins-Alston said.

    The Youth Sports Program will provide 12 coaches in total for the clinics. As per new guidelines, masks will not be required while actively participating and equipment will be sanitized between classes.

    For more information, please contact the Youth Sports & Fitness Office at 910-396-5437.

    “While the Child Youth Services sports clinics are held during the summer, military-connected families can involve their children in upcoming sports or other activities throughout the year,” Kelly said.

    Parents can learn about current programs offered by the Youth Sports & Fitness program by calling 910-907-5832, visiting the website or by visiting the Tolson Youth Activities Center on Fort Bragg.

    The registration deadline for clinics is noon on the Friday prior to the start of the clinic.

  • 11 N1608P37005HThe Family Child Care Program at Fort Bragg is looking for in-home child care providers who live on post. The FCC offers free training, certification and assistance for providers.

    “The only providers that can actually be a part of the program are those that live in government owned or leased housing located on the post,” said Evelyn Eggins-Alston, Child and Youth Services program operations specialist for Fort Bragg.

    The program offers extended hours — whole day, part day, extended, overnight, weekends and hourly care in a comfortable home setting.

    “FCC is an integral part of our childcare system available at all Army garrisons,” said Eggins-Alston. “It provides quality home-based care for children 4 weeks to 12 years of age.”

    The program began in the early 1980’s and the certifications are transferable to other installations. It allows flexibility for the parents seeking childcare while alleviating some of the strain on regular Child Developmet Centers, where waiting lists are not uncommon.

    Those interested in becoming certified can go into the FCC director’s office located on the 4th floor of the Soldier Support Center on Fort Bragg or call 910-396-3823 for information.

    “They’ll have an interview and then will be provided paperwork and a welcome packet,” Eggins-Alston said. “There will be a background check and then will come the training they need. We will make sure their training is maintained and includes CPR, food handling, fire and safety, and more.”

    CYS oversees the program, but providers do enjoy some autonomy in how they run their service. The providers are free to choose what age group they are comfortable providing care for, and the limit for children per home depends on the ages in each house. Providers are their own entrepreneurs, but FCC does provide oversight tours and regulatory guidance and conducts four mandatory annual inspections and unannounced monthly visits, Eggins-Alston said. FCC offers subsidies along with some start-up bonuses for interested childcare providers.

    After the providers' week-long training and in-home inspections, they will create a contract with the parents on the hours and pay.

    In-home providers are independent of the Child Development Centers. “The way they get paid is they make a contract with the parents... we do have policies they can look at and decide how much they want to charge the parents, then what we will do at CYS, we offer 15% cost savings compared to our school programs for the parents.”

    The more qualified providers with the Child Development Associates will be eligible for a one-time $300 starting bonus and an additional monthly $50.

    Parents looking for childcare don’t have to live on post to take advantage of the service, but all children in care must be registered. For more information on registering children for care on post visit

    “There shouldn’t be any children in the home that aren’t registered, because the children in the same house need to have the same immunizations as the other children," Eggins-Alston said.

    In-home providers offer flexibility that Child Development Centers, which have set hours, cannot.

    “Some parents are dual military or single parents, and they may need longer hours other than what our centers provide so the in-home provider can choose to go longer or more flexible hours,” Eggins-Alston said. “Maybe those that need weekend care, or during deployment, this program is there to pick up the slack where we can’t.”

  • 03 Richard Hudson with veteransThank you, President Biden.

    That’s not something I say often — but last week, the President was in North Carolina to discuss COIVD-19 vaccines. While we do not agree on many issues, I appreciate the President coming to our state and highlighting our role in the success of Operation Warp Speed to make vaccines available to anyone who wants them.

    I believe issues like recovering from the pandemic should always be bipartisan and focused on helping you and your family.
    Another bipartisan issue should always be caring for our troops, their families and veterans.

    I say it a lot, but being Fort Bragg’s Congressman is truly an incredible honor that I take very seriously. Our men and women in uniform, as well as their families, sacrifice for our freedoms every day. In Congress, I am working to make sure our troops have the support and resources they deserve and made real progress on several fronts in recent weeks.

    First, the U.S. Department of Defense issued a final rule to allow service members to pursue medical malpractice claims in the military. This is thanks to my Rich Stayskal Act which was signed into law in 2019. I am thrilled to see this rule issued after more than 3 years of work on behalf of soldiers like Rich.

    I first met Sgt. 1st Class Rich Stayskal, a Green Beret and Purple Heart recipient from Pinehurst, in 2018 after his stage 4 lung cancer had been misdiagnosed by the military. Unfortunately, due to an outdated law, Rich and other service members were not able to have access to medical malpractice claims like other Americans.

    While we were successful in changing the law in 2019, it took the Defense Department until this month to issue this rule. Now with $400 million of funding, claims can begin to be processed by the Department as early as next month.

    Nothing can right wrongs that were made, but this law is a huge step toward providing relief to heroes who deserve it. And I pray the deterrent effect will prevent medical malpractice in the future.

    Also last week, I introduced the Vanessa Guillén Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act. As Fort Bragg’s Congressman, I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan legislation that seeks to end sexual assault in the military, hold violators accountable and support survivors.

    Sexual assault is an affront to the values of our military and the nation it defends. We must accept that what we have tried in the past has not worked — as in the tragic case of Spc.Vanessa Guillén who was sexually assaulted and murdered at Fort Hood in Texas last year.

    We owe it to victims like Vanessa and their families to do everything we can to end sexual assaults in the military. Our men and women in uniform sacrifice every day to keep us safe and we have a responsibility to ensure all service members are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

    Finally, another bill I introduced to help families at Fort Bragg also made a big step forward last week. After hearing from many of you about the inconvenience and hardship of having to travel several hours to have court cases heard, I joined with Congresswoman Deborah Ross and Senators Burr and Tillis to introduce a bipartisan bill to allow all court cases stemming from Fort Bragg to be heard in the Eastern District's courthouse in nearby Fayetteville.

    Last week, the bill passed both the Senate and the House and headed to President Biden’s desk for his signature. This common sense bill is a good example of how government should work — we saw a problem, found a solution and Republicans and Democrats worked together to pass a new law.

    Pictured Above: Congresman Richard Hudson talks with veterans at Memorial Day event (Photo courtesy

    While I wish we could get Republicans and Democrats together to solve problems more often, I am committed to bipartisanship and continuing to stay focused on the issues that matter to you.

    We have a lot of work to do to grow our economy, slow inflation and out-of-control spending, address rising crime, secure our border, and defend our Second Amendment and the right to life. As I work on common sense solutions, rest assured I will always show up to work for you.

  • 16 Fort Bragg Fourth of JulyFort Bragg will host its annual Independence Day celebration with a return to a pre-pandemic line-up that includes music, demonstrations, food and lots of family-friendly fun. The event was streamlined last year due to COVID-19 restrictions but returns with a full afternoon of entertainment leading up to headliner Foreigner before the evening culminates with a fireworks display.

    “We know the community is excited to get out and celebrate together,” said Theresa Smith, Fort Bragg’s Special Events Coordinator. “The Fourth of July celebration has always been a popular event, and we expect this year will be no different.”

    The celebration begins at 3 p.m. on the Main Post Parade Field. The event is free and open to Department of Defense ID card holders and guests with a visitor pass, which can be obtained at the All American Visitor Center, Smith said.

    There will be food and drink vendors on site with an assortment of items available for purchase to include barbecue, ice cream, funnel cakes, Philly cheesesteaks and more.

    Guests will enjoy a parachute demonstration by the Golden Knights. Returning this year is the popular Flag Ceremony, a long-standing tradition that highlights the nation’s states and territories, as well as the units that call Fort Bragg home, Smith said.

    The musical line-up includes the 82nd Rock Band, local band The Fifth and Foreigner.

    Local rock band The Fifth was formed in 2001 by former Cold Sweat vocalist Roy Cathey. The band has since built a strong and feverish following by touring the east coast and giving fans exactly what they want — a great show and a good time, every time. The band has enjoyed a string of successes including music featured in television ads for Dodge Ram and television promo ads for “The Voice” and “Grey's Anatomy.” The Fifth has seen a two-week tour in Japan, a Top 10 single ("The Gift") on WVRK-FM Rock 103 in Columbus, Georgia, and a Monster Energy sponsorship. Cathey said the group will release a new album later this year. You can find their music on For more information of the band visit

    The Fifth kicks off their set at 6:45 p.m. and Foreigner is scheduled to take the stage at 8:15 p.m.

    Hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world, Foreigner has a musical arsenal that continues to propel sold-out tours and album sales.

    Foreigner is responsible for some of rock and roll’s most enduring anthems including “Feels Like The First Time,” “Urgent,” “Head Games,” “Cold As Ice,” “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” “Hot Blooded,” “Juke Box Hero” and the worldwide #1 hit “I Want To Know What Love Is.” Foreigner has 10 multi-platinum albums and 16 U.S. Billboard Top 30 hits.

    The group continues their success more than 40 years in the business with massive airplay and continued Billboard Top 200 album success. Audio and video streams of Foreigner’s hits are over 15 million per week.

    Foreigner is Mick Jones (guitar), Kelly Hansen (lead vocals), Jeff Pilson (bass, vocals), Michael Bluestein (keyboards, vocals), Bruce Watson (guitar, vocals), Chris Frazier (drums) and Luis Carlos Maldonado (guitar, vocals).

    Group founder and Songwriters Hall of Fame member Jones is the maestro whose songwriting, indelible guitar hooks and multi-layered talents continue to escalate Foreigner’s influence and guide the band to new horizons.

    “Live music is at the heart of what we do and I’m thrilled to be back on the road and visiting so many places over the next year. Looking forward to seeing you all out there,” Jones says.

    Lead singer Hansen says "I am so looking forward to getting our feet back on stage and the crowd in front of us! I have read and heard so much about how people want to get back to live music. It’s such a part of the fabric of who we are and we can’t wait to get out there and reclaim this piece of our lives. Can’t wait to rock it out!"

    In June, Foreigner announced a year-long, 123-date concert tour across 16 countries. The Greatest Hits of Foreigner Tour takes the band to 72 cities in 42 U.S. states, including their Fourth of July concert on Fort Bragg.

    “We will, of course, end the night with our fireworks display at 9:45 p.m.,” Smith said. “Fort Bragg is notorious for having the largest fireworks display in the area, and this year will be no different. We expect approximately 15 minutes of a vibrant fireworks display with an assortment of sizes.”

    The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program is bringing back tent city this year for those who want shade. Reservations are required and will be on a first-come basis. You must be a DOD ID card holder to rent space. A space costs $20 and a space and tent rental is $40.

    Pets, glass bottles, grills are not allowed at the event. For a full list of prohibited items visit

    Guests are encouraged to arrive early and plan for heavy traffic flow. Parking is available with general and handicap parking designated. A parking map is available on the website.

    “People can look forward to celebrating Fourth of July together with live music, local food vendors, beer, and unique Fort Bragg traditions,” Smith said.

    For more information about the event visit,

    Pictured below:

    Foreigner (left) and local band The Fifth (right) will perform at the Fourth of July celebration on Fort Bragg. (The Fifth photo by Raul Rubiera)

    30 Foreigner group photo31 the fifth courtesy facebook

  • 06 N2108P16005HThe Cumberland County School District is partnering with Cape Fear Valley Health System to offer COVID-19 vaccination clinics at local high schools. Individuals ages 12 and older can get vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine while supplies last. “We are excited to offer the opportunity for eligible students and their families to take their shot,” said Shirley Bolden, CCS Director of Health Services.

    “We encourage families to attend together, as getting vaccinated will help protect everyone from COVID-19.”

    Appointments are not necessary for these walk-in clinics. The first clinics will be held July 14, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (first dose) and Aug. 4, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (second dose) at Jack Britt High School, 7403 Rockfish Road; 71st High School, 6764 Raeford Road; South View High School, 4184 Elk Road in Hope Mills, Gray’s Creek High School, 5301 Celebration Drive; and Douglas Byrd High School, 1624 Ireland Drive. A second series of clinics will be held July 15, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (first dose) and Aug. 5, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (second dose) at Terry Sanford High School, 2301 Fort Bragg Road; E.E. Smith High School, 1800 Seabrook Road; Pine Forest High School, 525 Andrews Road; Cape Fear High School, 4762 Clinton Road; and Westover High School, 277 Bonanza Drive.

  • 07 N2108P16003HThe Cumberland County Department of Public Health is set to close the vaccination site at the Crown Coliseum on June 30 and focus vaccination efforts in other areas of the county.

    The Health Department will continue to host frequent vaccination clinics at the Health Department located at 1235 Ramsey Street in Fayetteville but will also continue outreach vaccination efforts to give county residents options which may be closer and more convenient for them.

    “Closing the Crown Coliseum is a natural next step for us in this pandemic as our numbers at the Crown have steadily declined,” said Dr. Jennifer Green, Cumberland County Public Health Director. “We look forward to continuing our outreach efforts and meeting the community where they are.”

    Cumberland County continues to see a downward trend of critical statistics according to June 21 data listed on the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Dashboard. With an overall downward trend in positive cases, over 28% of the county population have been partially vaccinated, and 26% are fully vaccinated. These figures do not reflect Fort Bragg, Indian Health Service or the Veterans Affairs numbers.

    Cumberland County Department of Public Health supports the NCDHHS incentives to citizens to receive a chance to win a million dollars for those older than 18 years of age or $125,000 for those 12 to 17 years of age. More information can be found at

    Cumberland County Updates

    The Health Department reports four Cumberland County residents have died of COVID-19 since June 11, bringing the total to 321 deaths. There have been 30,195 cases in Cumberland County reported since the onset of the pandemic.

    As of June 23, Cumberland County’s COVID-19 positive test rate is at 4.5%. The World Health Organization recommends a positive rate at or below 5%.

    Twenty-eight providers in Cumberland County offer vaccinations at 48 locations. Find your spot at to become fully vaccinated.

    Vaccine Clinic Information

    All individuals (age 12 and up) may schedule appointments on the County’s COVID-19 vaccine page at An online application form allows individuals to choose their own appointment date and time for the first dose and second dose of the vaccine. Second doses are automatically scheduled after the first dose is received.

    Upcoming clinic dates include:

    June 30, Crown Expo Center, 1960 Coliseum Drive (last day at the Crown), 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. for 2nd Dose Pfizer. The stand-by lane will be open.

    June 30, Murchinson Townhouses, 201 Rosemary St., 5-7 p.m. for the J&J vaccination.

    July 1, Health Department, 1235 Ramsey St., 3rd floor auditorium by appointment only (same day appointments available) from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for J&J and 1st dose Pfizer.

    July 6, 7, 8 vaccinations will be available at the Health Department, 1235 Ramsey St., 3rd floor auditorium by appointment only (same day appointments available) from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for J&J and 1st dose Pfizer.

    Visit to make an appointment. First and second doses are the same. Individuals may attend a “second dose clinic” to receive their first dose. However, they will need to find another location when due to receive the second dose. Call 910- 678-7657 weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. if you need assistance with the form or have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
    Individuals who need transportation to and from the vaccination site can call 910-678-7619 weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for assistance.

  • 19 N1808P16001HHave you ever found yourself not knowing how to navigate through a specific issue?

    I have been in this situation many times. Establishing a relationship with my mentor is what broke this cycle in my life.

    Growing up, I displayed a love for music. Dating back to even my diaper-wearing days, the rhythmic beats of drums captured my attention and motivated me. As I approached my teenage years, I wanted to play the drums at church. As I stepped closer to the drums at my church, I realized that I did not know how to play that shiny five-piece instrument and that I needed a teacher. What happened next was my game-changer. I heard the baritone, barren voice of the church’s drummer ask me, “Do you know how to play the drums?” I responded that I did not, and he became my drum teacher and eventually a trusted mentor.

    While enrolled in beginner drum lessons, I learned the mechanics of drumming and music performance. However, I also learned the value of character traits such as hard work, persistence and endurance.

    My teacher went beyond music; he became my first mentor. He routinely asked about my grades and never failed to remind me that drumming was secondary to my academics. He always sought ways to speak positively, encourage me and make certain that I knew he cared about me.

    Twenty plus years later, he and I still have an ongoing mentor/mentee relationship, and he continues to support me as I navigate manhood.

    Giving back to others has become my life’s mission, and being a mentor is my passion. I have worked in education for the past ten years in various capacities to share my passion. As the Male Mentoring Coordinator at Fayetteville Technical Community College, I provide academic support to enrolled male students as they work towards completing their programs and overcome common barriers that may impede their academic success. My recent efforts are aimed at developing literacy, employability and promoting a healthy lifestyle among the male students.

    Building meaningful relationships represents my overarching objective as a mentor. I often refer back to my younger days when I had a mentor and I try to model my mentoring approach after his “check and connect” model. At FTCC, I provide weekly “check and connect” conferences and group meetings with students whom I mentor. These meetings provide academic advising and personal support and also help students find and obtain work.

    It is a joy and privilege to guide students through their scholastic and personal endeavors. Everyone can benefit from additional support to reach success — whether personal, academic or professional. I invite you to join us for Fall semester; classes begin August 16, and you’ll have plenty of FTCC resources to help you find your way forward. At Fayetteville Technical Community College, Mentoring Matters! Contact me at for information about how the Male Mentoring program at FTCC can help you.

  • 09 little girl book bagThe Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc., awarded the Cumberland County Public Library a $7,500 Summertime Kids Grant. Every summer since 1992, the foundation’s Summertime Kids Grants program has helped more than 1,000 youth have life-changing summer experiences.

    The library’s 2021 summer reading program serves children from birth through grades 6-12 at library locations. The library is using the Summertime Kids Grant to provide books and bags to children and teens attending summer camps offered by local nonprofits, neighborhood groups and other community organizations. 
    Cumberland County Public Library staff will visit camps from June through August at Cape Fear Botanical Garden, Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Fayetteville Urban Ministry, Inc., the Salvation Army, Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation and Moore Street Foundation. Each child will receive two age-appropriate books and a book bag. Additional support for library’s outreach program to the camps is provided by the Friends of the Library.
    For more information on other free programs provided by the Cumberland County Library system, please visit or call 910-483-7727. For more information on the Summertime Kids Grants Program
  • 1A IMG 6781The U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum will open the "Traveling Korean War Memorial" on the Museum's Parade Field from June 25-28. The exhibit opens at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 25 and runs through 4 p.m. on Monday, June 28.

    “We are honored to host this inspiring memorial on the 71st anniversary of the start of the Korean War,” said Jim Bartlinski, Museum director. “This exhibit provides a visible and impactful reminder of the 5.8 million Americans who served during the Korean War, and the 54,246 who died during the conflict.”

    On opening day, Korean War veterans and former prisoners of war – Jake Roth, Bud Wilson and Dick Earl – will be available to provide interviews and share their personal stories of courage.

    The memorial consists of life-sized statues representing a platoon of 19 service members: 14 Army, three Marine, one Navy and one Air Force. The troops wear ponchos covering their weapons and equipment.

    The Korean War is sometimes called the "forgotten war." Nevertheless, it will never be forgotten by the tens of thousands of veterans who served during that conflict. The Museum currently has a Korean War section in permanent exhibit gallery.

    On June 26, author Melinda Pash will also visit the ASOM to discuss her book, “In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation: the Americans Who Fought the Korean War.” This event is free to the public and will take place in the Yarborough Bank Theater of the Museum at 2 p.m.

    The Traveling Korean War Memorial will be open and free to the public 24 hours a day for the duration and will be lit at night.

    2A korean war memorial poster JPEG

  • 12 British Invaders picSummertime is the perfect season to have outdoor, family-friendly events. That’s exactly what Gates Four is offering with their Summer Concert Series. On June 26, the British Invaders band will be performing at the Gates Four Golf & Country Club Pavilion. The band will present a Beatles Tribute to Beatlemania of the 1960s when English bands stormed the U.S. music charts and won over crowds of screaming fans. While dressing in period Nehru suits and playing vintage instruments, the British Invaders will entertain the audience with a mixture of British hits from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Dave Clark Five, The Animals, The Yardbirds, Rod Stewart and Elton John.

    The Beatles formed in the 1960s and when they hit the scene in the United Kingdom, their fan base exploded. The Beatles were dominating the music scene in 1963, with women, men and young people of all ages going crazy over them. The term “Beatlemania” was coined by the press to describe the scene at Beatles concerts, and even during their travels. The Beatlemania was so strong, that during their concerts people couldn’t even hear the music being performed, due to all of the loud screaming fans. So, in 1966 the Beatles decided it was best for them to remain a studio-only group.

    The Summer Concert Series will allow those in attendance to step back into what is remembered by many as one of the greatest musical eras. The British Invaders have been known for their striking resemblance to the Beatles band which is one of the many reasons they were selected to play this year’s Gates Four Summer concert series.

    “Getting people out after 2020 and bringing the music they want to listen to, and bring something appealing to all ages, was the goal in putting together this line-up,” said Greg Adair, coordinator for Gates Four Summer Concert Series.

    Tickets for all concert dates are available for purchase online at Tickets are $60 per person and include the concert, food and lawn seating (bring your chairs). Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with food (included with ticket price) served from 6 to 7:30 p.m. A complete line of beverages will be available at three convenient full-service cash bars serving Healy Wholesale beer, wine products and your favorite mixed drinks. Concierge table service will be provided for VIP tables inside the Pavilion. Fayetteville's own Mash House Brewery will also have a large selection of their custom craft beers available.

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

  • 27 school uniformsThe Cumberland County School Board has approved a policy change for the 2021-2022 school year which ends a requirement in 26 schools that students wear uniforms. Families will still have the option of allowing their children to wear uniforms when they return to school in the fall. Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., gave the Board of Education an update on the district's school uniform requirements. He said the negative, financial impact of COVID-19 presented the need to modify school policy. Connelly said the waiver will provide sufficient time for the district to determine an appropriate path forward at each school. There will be no consequences imp sed upon students for uniform violations; however, student dress code requirements will remain in place. According to Dr. Connelly, the administration will provide another update to the Board in the coming months.

  • 10 dogs in yardCumberland County residents who own pets will no longer be required to pay a pet privilege license effective July 1. The change is part of the revised Animal Ordinance approved June 7 by the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting.

    Commissioners adopted the new ordinance after the proposal was presented at the May 13 Agenda Session meeting by Animal Services Director Elaine Smith. Dropping the pet license fee was one of several changes in the new ordinance. Smith told commissioners the pet license program was no longer economically practical due to a decline in fees collected.

    “The revenue declined rapidly and significantly over the last five or six years, and it has reached the point where the revenue generated is not making up for the amount of labor, the cost of mailing, postage and fees we pay to our database company,” Smith said. “It has a very shrinking benefit over returns.”
    Most counties in North Carolina do not have pet
    licenses, Smith said, and the Animal Services Department found the licensing requirement to be a disincentive for people getting their pets vaccinated against rabies.

    Current Cumberland County regulations require a pet privilege license for every dog and cat four months of age and older. The annual fee is $7 per animal if the pet is spayed/neutered, or $25 if the pet is not spayed/neutered. Licenses were available at the Animal Services office or through most veterinary clinics.

  • 26 women walking outdoorsI often hear, I need to start exercising. That is an opportunity to talk about fitness, but the decision to begin any type of change that involves lifestyle and fitness is a personal decision.

    There are five stages of health behaviors that assess a person’s readiness to change with a new and healthier behavior, according to the Transtheoretical Model.

    Precontemplation — In this stage there is little or no interest in starting an activity and the person feels it is irrelevant to their life.

    Contemplation — The person is still inactive but is becoming interested in beginning an activity and starts to realize the importance in relation to their lifestyle and health but not ready to make that start to
    a change.

    Preparation — You are ready to become engaged in an activity. The importance of being active becomes relevant and it may begin with short walks, occasional visits to the gym but still inconsistent.

    Action — Engagement is regular physical activity becoming consistent and begins to develop into a routine. The activity is becoming an important part of your life and you find yourself beginning to set a pattern as the months roll by! Six months of continuing your schedule indicates that you are becoming confident in your regimen and results.

    Maintenance — You are excited and feel confident with your accomplishments. Mentally and physically, you see and feel a difference and beginning to advance to other goals and challenges!

    You have been consistent at keeping your goals for more than six months. You are making a continued commitment and are engaging in a lifestyle.

    It is not always easy to get to this stage and many times, the start of an activity will become faced with obstacles and the person can become discouraged before they have gotten started. As an example, Rita has decided to walk three days a week and is doing great with her plan and things come up that interrupt her walking.

    What happens is that she begins to put off something that she is enjoying until the next day or the next and a great start has stopped before it developed into something that would have been beneficial.

    A SMART goal which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound is an excellent format to follow for goals.

    If Rita had a SMART Goal continuing with walking may have helped her focus on a walking regimen. A SMART Goal for Rita: I will begin walking on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 a.m. for twenty minutes each day to improve my stamina for one month.

    In this scenario Rita established a time, duration and reason for her exercise which was attainable. Making the decision to be begin a fitness regimen after an illness, injury or being inactive can be rewarding and challenging.

    Be kind to yourself with expectations, approach with a slow start because some apprehension is normal. Surround yourself with friends, groups and social media groups that have similar or the same goals. Select an activity that you like and read articles on the benefits. Place your clothes out the night before as a gentle reminder.

    Reward yourself for reaching your goals and add new goals as you progress and see results of a new you!

  • 11 IMG 2395Here we go again, another Atlantic hurricane season to weather through — a long spell over the summer that traditionally runs from June through November.

    At least one named tropical storm has formed in the Atlantic prior to June 1 — which is the official start of the season — every year for the past half-dozen years.

    Fayetteville PWC reminds everyone that now is the time to start thinking about how you can prepare for the 2021 hurricane season.

    On their website, PWC has posted various sites for checklists, planning tips, FAQs and other resources for its service territory to help customers prepare for hurricanes and other emergencies.

    This season is expected to be another active Atlantic hurricane season with as many as 10 hurricanes forming, according to the federal government.

    “We’re prepared really at a moment’s notice for any emergency,” said Elaina Ball, the recently named CEO and general manager of Fayetteville PWC.

    The free PWC 2021 Storm Guide is now available. Besides being distributed directly to PWC customers, the guide will be available online. Not only does it contain information that pertains to electric and water, but there's an important added section on flooding.

    “It’s not just about the utility service,” Ball said. “It’s really about our community. Making sure they are prepared for everything.”

    As for PWC, Ball said the company is prepared year-round for any kind of storm emergency. “Our crews are a 24/7 operation,” she added. “We need to make sure that, not only on the power side but on the waste-water side, that our systems are prepared for extreme weather. We work year-round to conduct maintenance and make sure we have tools, equipment and materials to be able to respond during a significant storm event like a hurricane."

    “We’re really always on,” Ball said. “Our team works and lives in the community which is an added benefit during storm season. It helps reduce our outages when storms do come upon us so we’re not dispatching crews from other communities. We live and work here so that’s an added advantage of PWC and our workforce.”

    PWC already has an emergency plan of operations in place and is ready to implement it at a moment’s notice.

    “Should there be a hurricane,” she said, “we have an incident command structure able to respond to a hurricane to ensure that, first and foremost, puts the safety of the public and our employees at the forefront. But also that we can direct operations during those emergency events in a sufficient manner, making sure we get response to the highest areas of need to get the majority of customers back quickly and that we can provision our crews to get them what they need to get the power back on.”

    The municipal utility, Ball said, is continuously looking at ways to improve response time. “And I think one of the tools we have that really is going to help us during major storm events is our outage management system. We did just recently upgrade and this system allows the utility and customers to be able see real-time information relative to the status of our power.”

    Customers can sign up with the outage management system through the PWC online customer portal to get outage notifications even during normal times, not just during hurricane events.

    “If there’s a power disruption in your neighborhood and you’re out of power,” Ball said, “you will receive a message, and that will also notify you as soon as the power’s turned back on. At a higher level, the utility can see through the outage management system how many customers are out in an area based on how many outages are showing up in the system. It gives us a better idea of where to pinpoint trouble maybe, and that gets our crews to the areas where they can troubleshoot and make repairs more quickly.”

    Customers are encouraged to have a plan in advance of a looming hurricane.

    Jon Rynne, the chief officer for the PWC electric system, recommends that citizens have a plan for not dealing with power or possibly having a loss of water wastewater facilities during a hurricane or in the days that follow.

    Some of the general precautions often heard from Emergency Management, he said, “are definitely about buttoning up the house if you can. All the things that can become projectiles that can damage your property even further. From the other perspective of having all your things organized so that if you need to evacuate in the case of a flood or something of that nature, have them together so you can go before it’s too late.”

    Have non-perishable foods such as canned goods on hand to eat, Rynne said,so that when the refrigerator is out and customers lose power they still have something they can use to feed themselves and the family. Obviously, having a supply of water and be sure to follow guidelines for how much water you need for how many people you have in your home.

    In addition, consider putting together a “go box” with any important documents and medications that you can simply toss in your vehicle and leave if there’s a need to evacuate.

    In terms of more things specific to the electric system, Rynne said, people need to know what they can and can’t do with a generator: “Not back-feeding with your generator. If folks don’t know or don’t have the provisions in place that can safely inter-tie a generator with their home, they should not inter-tie them."

    “They should use extension cords and just plug in the really critical loads in your house so that you can get through the really critical loads that you need in your house to get through the period that you don’t have power,” he advised. “Because it becomes a very dangerous situation if you back-feed the high-voltage system, and we’re trying to do restoration efforts. It obviously presents quite a hazard and when the guys do restore power, if you are in that condition, you’re going to have a lot of damage to the service on your house and that generator when we restore.”

    Generators should be installed per code and properly, according to Rynne. When people take shortcuts, he noted, that’s when it gets a lot more dangerous.

    “That is an issue we always run into,” he said, “particularly if there’s a long outage and people get to the point where they just can’t stand it without having the generator running.”

    Another suggestion is that people do their routine tree trimming and removal that they should do in their yards. That’s because when a hurricane rolls through, anything of that nature comes down.

    “So, unfortunately, the utility can only clear trees within the right of ways and easements that they have,” said Rynne. “And if people have dangerous trees in their yards, the hurricane’s going to bring it down and it can cause damage to the system and cause outages. So there’s a lot of pieces and parts to it.”

    Carolyn Justice-Hinson, spokeswoman for Fayetteville PWC, also said much can be prevented with the right planning.

    The utility’s customers with medical equipment eligible for the medical priority program can be made a priority in emergency weather situations, she said. This requires a doctor’s certification. Call to find out more about the program.

    For more information on how to prepare for hurricane season visit call 910-483-1382.

    Pictured Above : A utility crew works to repair service after severe weather. (Photo courtesy PWC) 


  • 19 Picture1Cape Fear Studios is hosting Evoke, an exhibit featuring member artist Angela Stout. The exhibit features her striking art creations in oil and will be shown June 23 through July 25. Stout is a contemporary painter, printmaker, photographer and sculptor.

    Also a veteran, Stout teaches art classes to the public. She is a graduate of Fayetteville State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Arts. Stout exhibits frequently in group exhibitions and competitions locally, nationally and internationally. Her artwork deals with evoking a feeling and the social condition.

    Cape Fear Studios is also excited about having its first open reception in a year on Fourth Friday, June 25 from 5–7 p.m. The event if free.

    Cape Fear Studios is a non-profit artist co -op, offering original pottery, woodwork, glass, jewelry, metalwork, paintings and photography. The Studio’s workshops and retail section will also be open to visitors.

    Cape Fear Studios is located at 148 Maxwell St. The Studio will be open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Questions can be directed to:, or 910-433-2986.

  • 03 WIlmington Lie coverThousands of people and families have cycled through our community over the years, some for a weekend, some for a few years and many with the military. Relatively few of us, however, have spent our formative years here, and even fewer of us have excelled on national and international stages like David Zucchino and Chris Hondros. Both are graduates of Terry Sanford High School, though decades apart, and both went on to become legends in their respective fields. They knew of each other but
    never met.

    David Zucchino, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, recently received his second Pulitzer Prize for “Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy.” It is an examination of the only overthrow of an elected government in United States history. Blessedly, a more recent attempt, the January 6th insurrection in Washington, failed. Zucchino lays bare this heretofore little-known and shameful moment in our state and nation’s history. His first Pulitzer award came in 1989 for his series “Being Black in South Africa,” published in the Philadelphia Enquirer. I asked the author how growing up in our community shaped him, if it did at all, and he very kindly responded.

    “I went to high school in Fayetteville after my father, a U.S. Army First Sergeant, was transferred to Fort Bragg. As a high school student, I spent several fascinating evenings trolling along Hay Street and taking in the heady mixture of strip clubs, juke joints, saloons, hookers, fistfights and drug dealers. People from all over the world were drawn to Fayetteville at the time, with the Vietnam War in full swing and the Army sending troops back and forth. For reasons that are still obscure, even to me, my exposure to that tawdry scene motivated me to travel the world and seek adventures in faraway places.”

    I would love to have asked the same question of Chris Hondros, but he was killed in Syria in 2011. He was barely 41. An accomplished photographer from his teenage years on, Hondros became a war photojournalist who covered conflicts the world over, including in Liberia, Iraq, Kosovo, Angola, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. He and a British filmmaker died in a mortar attack by Syrian government troops. His war photography graced the covers of Newsweek and The Economist, as well as the front pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Some local residents remember Hondros as a photographer for the Fayetteville Observer in the late 1990s, but he was destined for the world theater. He remains on the world stage today in a riveting documentary, “Hondros,” currently available on Netflix, and in an exhibit of some of his photographs currently at the Gregg Museum of Art at NC State, Hondros’ alma mater. The photographs, given to the museum by Hondros’ employer, Getty Images, are both arresting and haunting as they record human behavior and its consequences. Several are familiar even if we did not know who took them. The centerpiece is Hondros’ photograph of a young Liberian government fighter leaping in jubilation as his troops prevail in battle. This well-known photo is one of two Hondros works that received Pulitzer nominations.

    Every community has sons in whom it takes pride, but few have nurtured sons whose work has meaning to people they will never know which sheds light on people, events and issues that shape us and the world around us.

    David Zucchino and Chris Hondros have both achieved that, and we are better for their work.

    02 CHondros Agromeck1992 Pictured Left: Chris Honros Self-portrait for the 1992 agromeck, NC State University.

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