Edward Jones grand opening in downtown Fayetteville

Debbie Best head shotEdward Jones is celebrating their 100th anniversary, and Financial Advisor Debbie Best has scheduled the opening of her downtown Fayetteville storefront to coincide with this momentous occasion Friday.

"I am excited to be opening an Edward Jones office in downtown Fayetteville because we see a need for the type of service we provide," Best said.

"This firm concerns itself with the needs of individual investors and small-business owners, and I'm happy to be bringing that kind of personalized service to this community."

Finding just the right location was a challenge compounded by supply chain issues, but Best feels, in the end, they have gotten it just right.

"I am very excited about our office," Best said.

"It has been a long time coming due to the difficulty finding a location that would suit our needs, as well as the lag time of the buildout with Covid.

"It has all turned out amazing, and Tiffany, my business office associate, and I love coming in! It is a beautiful place to work."

Best is no stranger to Fayetteville. It is her home.

"Fayetteville has been my home for 28 years. I have raised my children and built my career here, as well as developed many close friendships and business relationships over that time," said Best.

"Fayetteville is a community that has many non-profits and organizations committed to making our city and downtown a better place to live. I believe deeply in giving back and being a part of this transformation in a personal way. This has made Fayetteville a natural fit for me to open my new branch office."

Best offers a wide variety of financial services to her clients.

"I help clients with portfolio and wealth management solutions strategies, look at tax-efficient investing, retirement and estate strategies, business retirement strategies, insurance, long-term care and 529 plans to name a few," explained Best.

Best aims to help serious, long-term individual and business investors achieve their financial goals by understanding their needs and implementing tailored solutions.

"My clients include successful business owners and professionals," Best said, "as well as retirees focused on income and wealth transfer strategies."

Best hopes that folks will come out and see all that she and her new location have to offer.

Various activities are planned, including a Ribbon Cutting and Edward Jones 100 Year Anniversary Celebration.

Guests will have an opportunity to tour the new office. The event will take place on Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. at her office at 228 Winslow St., Fayetteville.

Two communities honor and remember Martin Luther King, Jr.

This week, two events in Cumberland County will highlight Martin Luther King, Jr. as a civil rights activist and the relevance of his teachings, which still inspire people today.

Spring Lake MLKThe Town of Spring Lake will host a virtual commemorative meeting in honor of King.

The Spring Lake Ministerial Alliance and the Town of Spring Lake came together and developed a plan for a commemorative breakfast. The annual event had to be canceled last year due to COVID-19. In 2020, the breakfast had a turnout of over 75 people.

Zefrim Lewis, Town of Spring Lake Interim Director, hopes people will attend as he feels it is worthwhile.

"Due to COVID numbers surging, the MLK event is now a virtual event there will be no breakfast serving for the public to attend," Lewis said.

Reverend Jeffery Saffold Sr., the pastor at Manna Life Center, will be the key speaker at the event.

The breakfast at Spring Lake will be held virtually on Jan. 14 at 9 a.m. The event is free for the public to attend. The zoom link is

Fay MLK BrunchThe 29th Annual MLK Brunch will be held this year at the Crown Complex in Fayetteville. This year's theme is "Still, I Rise." The Fayetteville/Cumberland County Ministerial Council (FCCMC) will highlight and celebrate Historically Black Colleges and Universities and "Education and Humanity through Community Service."

The key speaker at the event will be Fayetteville State University Chancellor Darrell Allison.

Other speakers at the event include FCCMC Vice-President Allen McLaughlin, Morray's EBF Label CEO, Trevonne Carlise, Founder of the Group Theory Youth Extravaganza, Kevin Brooks, and FCCMC President Pastor Sharon Thompson-Journigan.

After the brunch, Group Theory Inc has planned and organized a Youth Extravaganza.

Organizers want to assure young people in Fayetteville that the community cares about them despite the challenging times in their communities, schools and homes.

The event will highlight resources and organizations dedicated to serving and assisting children and teens.

The Youth Extravaganza will highlight art, music and talent from children of all ages. Masks will be required at the brunch, and Centers for Disease Control Guidelines and social distancing will be enforced.

The 29th Annual MLK Brunch and the Youth Extravaganza, which will take place on Jan. 17, will be live-streamed. Tickets to attend the event in person must be purchased in advance and cost $25.

Tickets are available at the Crown Box Office, FSU, Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Simon Temple AME Zion, Manna Church, WIDU 1600AM radio station, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church and New Life Bible Church.

Jingle Jog returns

Jingle JogThe Green Beret Jingle Jog is an annual 5K walk/run and 10K road race. This year Jingle Jog is turning a decade old. Last year, 2020, would have been the event's tenth anniversary, but COVID-19 halted the event. In connection with changes made in the wake of the pandemic, participants can register and participate virtually this year.

The annual run benefits Special Forces Association, Chapter 100, a non-profit organization. The proceeds support Green Berets and their families within the local community, predominantly those associated with the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). Most recently, Special Forces Association Chapter 100 awarded local Special Forces families ten $2,000 scholarships for grade school and college tuitions. Special Forces Association, Chapter 100 supports Green Berets in times of need.

"If they are gone or away and something is needed, we are the first people they [families can] call," explained Jason Orello, treasurer, Special Forces Association Chapter 100.

This year Jingle Jog, which began as a downtown Fayetteville event, is joining forces with the Jordan Soccer Complex at 445 Treetop Drive. There will be a selection of vendors on-site that include, but are not limited to, the Vagabond coffee truck and Fizzy Friendz Bath Bombs.

Two young sisters run Fizzy Friendz Bath Bombs, Cali Rai Campos, aged 13 and Elizabeth Campos, aged 15. The shop carries a selection of bath products. The proceeds from the sales of this business support a community-driven mission. That mission is realized through a charity formed by the five Campos family children, Giving Back Warm Hugs Nonprofit Corporation, helping children in need.

Orello is hoping for even more vendors to join the event. Last-minute vendors are welcome at no cost. They can reach out to Orello by phone, 910-797-3957 or by email,

"If it helps somebody and it promotes their business, then come on out," Orello said.

In Jingle Jog's early days, Julio Ramirez, a retired Green Beret, was a big part of the planning of Jingle Jogs of the past and also planned a host of other local charity runs. Ramirez passed away three years ago from leukemia at the age of 54. In his honor, his wife, Coco Ramirez, has taken up the gauntlet and has been working with Special Forces Association, Chapter 100 to plan the Jingle Jog this year in his stead. Some of the older Jingle Jog t-shirt designs bare his name. The Jingle Jog t-shirt given to registered participants has changed over the years.

"The shirt is a thank you for coming out and recognition for the sponsors," Orello said.

In addition to the change of venue, there is also a new shirt design this year. The design features a reindeer with a green beret. The event is on Dec. 4, and the race will start at 9 a.m. Jingle Jog is a family-friendly event and is suitable for the whole household. Jingle Jog is a festive event, and participants, human and canine alike, have been known to dress up in all manner of holiday costumes.

This year will be no different; costumes, strollers and pets will be welcome at the Jingle Jog.

There are currently 165 participants registered. Registrants include local high schoolers who are to participate and compete. The high school cadet team with the best overall run will walk away with an 18A Special Forces Trophy. There is a registration discount for high schoolers wishing to compete on the website.

To register for the Jingle Jog, visit

Christmas with Kings

Christmas Giveback Flyer"Blessings are cyclical; they will always come back in a cycle," says 22-year-old Victor "Vic Blends" Fontanez.

Fontanez recently amassed 10 million followers on Tik-Tok's video platform and sat with mogul Nick Cannon for an in-depth interview.

During this interview, Fontanez discussed his motivation for inspiring millions with videos during which he cuts random strangers' hair while getting to know them.

In his interview with Cannon, Vic Blends wore a blue Fayetteville State University hoodie as an ode to his hometown, Fayetteville. The South View High School graduate believes the community is the foundation that built his career.

"We all have big dreams, hoping to be globally known for what we do, but that starts with first being a pillar in your community," Fontanez said.

Last year, Fontanez, along with The Two-Six project, founded by 24-year-old Morehouse College graduate Grant Bennett, provided free clothing, toys, food, and haircuts to more than 1000 families in the greater Fayetteville area with their annual Christmas Giveback.

For Fontanez, the giveback furthers the notion that his purpose is far greater than haircuts.

He is grateful for the amazing career and abundance of opportunity but feels it is worthless if it is not used to make an impact.

Christmas Giveback returns this year at Segra Stadium, home of the Houston Astros affiliate, Fayetteville Woodpeckers, on Dec. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas Giveback will provide free haircuts, toys, clothing, food and entertainment for the community. In addition, there will be resources to assist with rent and utilities, baby needs and free cell phone service.

"I want to show kids you can do great things, regardless of your occupation," says Fontanez.

So, this year, he has partnered with another Fayetteville native, Grammy-nominated musical recording artist Morray.

In an Instagram caption, Morray writes: "I love giving back to my people...I remember when I didn't have it, and I never want anyone to feel like that so we going up yall!! 2-6." He never forgets where he came from.

Before Thanksgiving, Morray was spotted filming a music video in the same apartments where he shot the video for his megahit "Quicksand" with a crowd from his hometown. Back in August, the Morray partnered with Cora's Community Foundation to host Everybody's Family Reunion and NZone Social Venue. They distributed over 800 bookbags before the start of the school year.

Through collaborative efforts with community partners like Cora's Community Foundation; Empact One Foundation; Serenity's Grace; and Lifeline Assistance Group, Fontanez and Bennett plan to expand on the impact of the Christmas Giveback event. This year's event is sponsored by Adidas, Nike, Jordan Brand and Yellow Crayons, to name a few. Entertainment for the entire family will include music by D.J. Ricoveli, face painting by Falcon Focus, and a number of surprises.

For those that want to donate to Christmas Giveback, drop-off locations will be set up at the Cool Spring Downtown District’s office 222 Hay Street and Rude Awakening Coffee House at 227 Hay Street. Follow @vicblends, @twosixproject, @djricoveli, and @undergroundkeem on Instagram for more information.

Salute to everyone involved with the Christmas Giveback and every activist getting active. Peace.

Thanksgiving spread planed for Bragg's single soldiers

09Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) has a long history of supporting soldiers wherever they land when they are far from friends and family. Developed in 1989 by the U.S Army Community and Family Support Center (USACFSC) and major army commands the programs are geared towards engaging and involving single soldiers. The program aims to tend to their recreational needs and improve their overall quality of life. The Fort Bragg BOSS program is home-away-from-home to over twenty-nine thousand single and unaccompanied soldiers at Fort Bragg and this includes soldiers who are single-parents.

“BOSS offers recreational and leisure events, volunteer and community service opportunities, and life-skill activities that are geared towards providing lifelong knowledge,” said Staff Sgt. Jakoby Mallory, president of Fort
Bragg BOSS.

For the ninth year running the annual BOSS Thanksgiving will provide single and unaccompanied soldiers a traditional Thanksgiving buffet spread, entertainment and a running raffle for prizes.

“We hope that single soldiers in attendance benefit from knowing they are not alone during the holiday season,” Mallory said. “We are aware this may be a very difficult time for soldiers who are unable to be with their families and love[d] ones, but the Fort Bragg community is their home away from home.”

Sgt. Henry Harper, 122nd Aviation Support Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade is opting to spend the holiday with others and will be attending the BOSS Thanksgiving event. This will be the first BOSS event that Harper has attended.

“To me, it sounds like a great opportunity for single soldiers to get a free meal while interacting with other single soldiers. Even though we are unable to go home, it’s reassuring knowing that we won’t spend the holiday alone,” Harper said.

The installation sees the care of the soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg as a key priority.

“We (Fort Bragg) want families and loved ones to know that their soldier will be taken care of by the Fort Bragg community and its leaders,” explained Fort Bragg spokeswoman, Sharilyn Wells. “This event is just one way to ensure that single and unaccompanied soldiers know that they are a big and important part of our community. We are fortunate enough to have organizations volunteer their support, provide a free, home-cooked meal, entertainment and donate their time to ensure the morale and welfare of our soldiers.”

This year’s event is being supported by donations from the Fort Bragg Federal Credit Union, Geico Military and the Gary Sinise Foundation.

The BOSS Thanksgiving event will be held at the Iron Mike Conference Center on Fort Bragg, Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The event is free and for any BOSS service member. Those interested in attending should contact the Fort Bragg BOSS program at 910-396-7751.

For more information on Fort Bragg’s BOSS program and their upcoming events visit

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