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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    But that did not happen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Check out the district's award-winning website here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Check out FAPS on Facebook at or on their website at for more information on WoofStock
    and FAPS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    For information about the CCS Safety & Security program visit their website-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    For more information call 910-678-7186 or visit and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    For information on the exhibit or the call 910-672-1057 or 910-672-1571 or email

    Pictured above: "Witnessing" by Vilas Tonape

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

    07 BUSHtonape7



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

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

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

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

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

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

    Information about the base renaming is available on the following podcast episode.
    Podcast Link:

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

    Fort Bragg Naming Commission Facts and name-recommendation survey:

    Naming Commission website:

    Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Facebook Page: (Note: Survey is pinned to the top.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Silver Sponsors: The Law Office of Robin Weaver Hurmence

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

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

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

    For more information about CAC’s Pinwheel Masquerade Ball, to purchase tickets or become a sponsor visit

    08 pinwheel ball09 Group 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Here is some of what we know in 2021.

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

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

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

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

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


Latest Articles

  • PWC: Setting an example others should follow
  • What Icarus could teach Putin
  • Cumberland school board approves 2022-23 budget
  • Fayetteville City Council to seek voter approval of bond package on November ballot
  • City unveils scoring system for grant applications
  • Commemorative event honors the fallen
Up & Coming Weekly Calendar

Advertise Your Event: