• 07Parking Sign  Downtown parking expert Jon Martens of Walker Consultants told City Council his firm counted just more than 2,500 public parking spaces within a five-minute walk of the minor league baseball stadium under construction on Hay Street. Now, he said, the city must decide how to manage the parking, especially the 400 spots in the city’s center.

    “Finding public parking is difficult for visitors,” Martens told City Council. Making the public aware of available parking is a major challenge to be undertaken by city government. Many people he spoke with didn’t know there’s a parking garage on Franklin Street — within walking distance of the stadium.

    Martens recommended paid parking, noting that Fayetteville is the only major city in North Carolina that doesn’t require paying for parking downtown. He suggested $1 an hour would be a practical charge.

    Old-fashioned parking meters are not in the scheme of things. Martens envisions the placement of more than 50 kiosks, conveniently located every other block along Hay, Franklin and Russell Streets, plus Bow Street and Maiden Lane. They would accommodate cash and credit card transactions. The latest technology includes phone apps.

    Half a dozen companies provide parking kiosks. Parking Panda sets itself apart by partnering with professional sports leagues and stadiums to help people find available parking spots.

    To better serve families who don’t know their way around downtown, Martens said wayfinding is the key. Pole signs with recognizable logos would be used to locate off-street parking lots. Martens also said the city should hire a parking manager to keep tabs on issues that might arise. Currently, the city retains a firm to oversee its parking lots.

    Accommodating disabled people continues to be a concern for City Council. Councilman Bill Crisp noted Walker Consultants has not made specific recommendations for handicapped parking.

    “I do have concerns for the elderly and handicapped,” Councilmember Dan Culliton said. Downtown Fayetteville is part of District 2, which Culliton represents.

    The city did not approve an idea offered by Cool Spring Downtown District and the city’s transit system for trollies to shuttle visitors around downtown. A five-month pilot project in which two trolleys would circulate in the downtown area would have cost the city $53,000. Council members were opposed to spending tax money for a project they said should be offered by private business. CSDD said it would put $35,000 toward the program.

    The proposal was to operate trollies on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the baseball season. Councilman Jim Arp, who was not present but participated by telephone, said he was concerned that people would hop on a trolley to go to games but would not patronize local businesses before and after the games.

    It was not clear what the city’s next step will be. The first ballgame in the new stadium is scheduled in April. The cost of the 4,700-seat facility has reached $40 million. Initial estimates placed the cost at $33 million. Mayor Mitch Colvin said at the beginning of the stadium project that the property tax rate would not be increased, and he repeated the pledge to Up & Coming Weekly last month

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  • tvEditor’s note: Fayetteville’s lack of a TV station has had an impact on this community. The cover story on page 15 has more details.

    “What’s missing?” Bill Bowman set the “Vision 2026” brochure in front of me.

    With the express goal of “working together for co-operative solutions” the nonprofit identified the following projects as critical to moving Fayetteville and Cumberland County forward:
    the Baseball Stadium
    the N.C. Civil War History Center
    the Downtown Performing Arts Center
    Storm water
    Countywide water

    Acknowledging the success of the Parks and Recreation initiative, the list looked reasonably complete until Bill said, “A television station. Fayetteville needs its own television station.”

    Bill is right! It is so deplorable that a community with a population of over 300,000 has no television station. Maybe part of the reason that we have been so unsuccessful in attracting new business is nobody knows we are here.

    For years Fayetteville/Cumberland County supporters have sat passively by accepting a verdict from the FCC made 30 years ago that a Fayetteville TV station would interfere with the Raleigh/Wilmington broadcast markets.

    Right! And how many new stations have been added to those locations? Technology has moved so rapidly that soon radio will be able to own television stations and local newspapers. We already watch TV on our smartphones, and approval has been given to listen to FM radio on them, too. Broadcasting and apps are the new state-of-the-art.
    WRAL and WTVD provide limited coverage of local news in the Fayetteville market, but it is usually “bleed” stories and sound bites. And like Brigadoon, Fayetteville appears every 100 years as a newsmaker worthy of coverage.

    As a television market we are taken for granted, and that has not served us well. How often are we shocked that the rest of the state and the nation have no clue about the level of our military involvement in the Middle East and the continuing stress placed on our military and their families?

    Why are we passed over with major state initiatives such as the domestic violence centers established in several cities around the state? Because outside a 35-mile circumference, we are invisible. We have no identity outside of Fort. Bragg.

    And if you don’t believe it just ask why our Cumberland Co./Fayetteville Economic Development organization is struggling to develop a “brand.” (again) Newspapers and radio will always have a special niche that cannot be
    replaced by television. But a picture is worth a thousand words and most of us (archaic as it is) still tune into the local news. It is the local reporters that deliver the information and stories that bind us as a community.

    And it warrants addressing the local television issue. After all, if  the vision promoted by the “2026” supporters comes to fruition if we build it, how will they come if they don’t know we are here?

  • Gallery 208 located at Up and Coming Weekly on 208 Rowan St. is open to the public weekdays from 9am - 5pm. Stop by to experience art and sculpture from local and regional artists. For more information, call 484-6200.



  • uac021815001.gif When it comes to unique entertainment, Better Health’s Evening at the Theateris hard to beat. This annual fundraiser supports Better Health and its mission to provide for the unmet healthcare needs of Cumberland County residents through assistance, referral and education; it does it through an evening of fun and laughter. Boasting an over-the-top 1970s Vegas theme, the event is Feb. 28 at Highland Country Club.

    The evening would not be complete without a casino and a performance by none other than the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley or, in this case, Elvis tribute artist Wayne Euliss.

    The evening begins with heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks from 7-8 p.m.

    “The casino is open then and there is lots to do,” said Better Health Executive Director Judy Klinck.

    The show starts at 8 p.m. and runs until about 9:15 p.m. Long-time favorite Cassandra Vallery is the opening act with Elvis as the main show. Coffee and dessert will follow after the show and the casino will remain open until 10 p.m.

    Upon their arrival at Highland Country Club, each ticketholder will receive a $10,000 voucher that they can cash in for chips to use in the casino.

    “At the end of the night the person who has won the most in the casino will receive a prize,” said Klinck. “We have one prize — it is a gift basket of premium liquors donated by board members.

    ”Euliss, aka Elvis, grew up listening to the King, but he never really planned on becoming an entertainer.

    “My mom was a big Elvis fan. She was in high school in the ‘50s and she had an influence on me,” said Euliss. “Growing up, I would hear his records and I did sing some as a teen. I would goof around at parties and do Elvis impersonations, but I never pursued a career. When I would imitate Elvis and goof around, people would tell me I sound a lot like him.”

    It is quite a leap from goofing around and entertaining friends to becoming a professional tribute artist and for Euliss, it was a sweet gesture to his wife that changed things for him.

    “About 10 years ago, on a whim, I decided to surprise my wife at her birthday party,” he recalled. “I rented a cheesy suit and sang her a song and did my best Elvis impersonation. After that our friends and then their friends started asking me to come to perform at their birthdays and it just grew from there.”

    Now Euliss is featured in theatrical pieces, works at festivals and performs up and down the East Coast from New York to Florida.

    “I stay pretty busy with it, but I have worked for UPS for 24 years. I have to limit myself to weekend performances,” he said. “I do take Valentine’s Day week off though. I am always really busy that week.”

    As Euliss has prospered in his role as Elvis, he has committed to delivering the most authentic experience he can, right down to the flashy embroidered jumpsuits.

    “I have them custom made by the company that bought all the original designs and patterns of Elvis’ suits,” he explained. “They are custom made and it is an exact replica of the suit Elvis wore.”

    Like many performers, Elvis reinvented himself several times through the course of his career. Euliss, though, sticks with what works for him and focuses on the Las Vegas version of Elvis in the 1970s. Euliss’ three-piece band accompanies him during the performance.02-18-15-cover-story.gif

    “We do a full-blown live Vegas-style show like Elvis did in the ‘70s,” said Euliss. “I sing the hits like “Hound Dog,” “All Shook Up,” “Burning Love” and a lot of other hits from his three-decade career. If you have seen videos of him during that time, he gave out silk scarves to some of the ladies in the audience and I do that, too. I realize I am not Elvis but when you are trying to recreate the image on stage, this is part of it and it seems to work for the audience, too.”

    For almost two decades, Better Health has entertained Fayetteville with its Evening at the Theater. The show supports a great cause and for many it has become a much anticipated tradition.

    “We look forward to seeing a lot of the same people come back year after year and support our shows,” said Klinck. “I look forward to getting everyone checked in so I can watch the shows, too. They get better every year.”

    There is also a raffle as part of the event. You do not have to be present to win. Tickets are $10 or three for $25 and can be purchased by calling Better Health. The top prizes are: A suede wine carrier, accessories and picnic set with three bottles of premium wine, valued at $300; a14K gold drop pearl necklace with diamond accents, valued at $250; and a Renaissance European Day Spa package: manicure, pedicure and massage, valued at $150.

    Last year Better Health helped 350 people live a healthy life with diabetes and touched 1,080 kids and parents to prevent childhood obesity. The organization loaned medical equipment to 291 families, saving countless dollars and keeping serviceable items out of the landfill. Better Health provided assistance to 1,423 individuals for prescriptions, emergency dental extractions, medical supplies, vision exam and eyeglasses and gas vouchers to out of town medical appointments.

    Tickets to Better Health’s 18th Annual Evening at the Theater’s Viva Fay Vegas are $75 per person and can be purchased by calling 483-7534. Better Health is a United Way Community Partner.

    Photo: What happens in Vegas helps save lives in Fayetteville, as Vegas comes to town during the Better Health Evening at the Theater fundraiser at Highland Country Club.

  • 08 01 C CHESNUTTThe Lafayette Society and Fayetteville State University are partnering to present the Global Studies Lecture Series. This annual speaker series will be held virtually Feb. 25 and will feature the life and work of Charles W. Chesnutt, a successful African American writer.

    This speaker series is hosted by the Lafayette Society and the Departments of Intelligence Studies, Geospatial Sciences, Political Science and History at FSU. This series will be presented by Joshua James, Dr. Maria Orban, Dr. Blanche Radford Curry and Nicholle Young. Each presenter will discuss different aspects of Chestnutt's life, from his upbringing in Fayetteville to his ideas about race and the circumstances of the African American community during the rise of Jim Crow.

    Although he also lived in Cleveland, Ohio, most of Chesnutt’s literary works developed from his life here in Fayetteville. Chesnutt attended what is now known as Fayetteville State University when it was called the Howard School. The Howard School was intended to educate African Americans coming out of slavery; it became a top school at the time in the Fayetteville area. Chesnutt served as a principal at the school for a time.

    This speaker series aims to detail the historical richness to be found in Chesnutt’s life as it relates to the Fayetteville community. This event will be taking place virtually on Feb. 25 from 7-8 p.m. with Dr. Rob Taber, a history professor and co-advisor for the Black History Scholars Association at FSU, as the moderator.

    The Lafayette Society has also started an endowment at FSU for “the Study of the Age of Revolutions, Emancipation and Civil Rights.” When fully funded, proceeds from the endowment will be used for continued educational programming, speaker fees, student grants and faculty support. Anyone interested in contributing to the endowment at FSU can visit www.lafayettesociety.org and go to the “Outreach” tab.

    The Lafayette Society was founded in 1981 to bring historical awareness about the city’s past by bringing to life the rich history of Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier — the Marquis de Lafayette.

    Lafayette was a French aristocrat and military officer who served with George Washington in the Revolutionary War. With his ties to the King of France, he helped the colonists gain their freedom from England. The Lafayette Society was established to help preserve his history and remind Fayetteville of the role its namesake played in the American Revolution. The president of Lafayette Society, Hank Parfitt, describes Lafayette as having a “silver halo of kindness.”

    Parfitt believes studying historical figures such as Chesnutt and Lafayette can help us learn more about the efforts of those who came before us in the fight to provide freedom and equality for all our citizens.

    Dr. Gwenesta B. Melton, a local medical doctor who serves as a board member in the Lafayette Society, said learning about Lafayette is an interesting endeavor.

    “Upon careful review of his life, his stance on human rights for all people was visionary in scope for his time." Dr. Melton said. “As an abolitionist, slavery was abhorrent to him. Realizing half of humankind are women, he recognized the value and worth of women and advocated for our rights. Leadership skills came to him easily and at a young age. All these attributes make General de Lafayette an extraordinary human being.”

    “As an African American professional woman, his lessons and visions are just as pertinent now and render a glorious example of how we all can live in a world with peace and harmony. Our Society aims to teach this to all living in Fayetteville.”

    Parfitt said the Lafayette Society and FSU share a goal to “inspire students to learn history.” They plan to continue to sponsor this speaker series every February and expand the event to include more educational opportunities.

    For more information about the Feb. 25 speaker series on Chesnutt visit www.lafayettesociety.org.

    Pictured above:Charles W. Chesnutt

    Pictured below:Marquis de Lafayette

    08 02 la Fayette

  • 06 01 Installation InnerWoven“InnerWoven” is an urban knitting project curated, designed and executed by Fayetteville’s own fabric artist Kia Love. The installation can be found at Linear Park along Mason Street.

    Those willing to take a walk off the beaten path are invited to see how fiber art emboldens nature with color, textile and a tribute to Black History Month.
    Inspired by the bright colors and patterns of African wax print fabrics, “InnerWoven” is a series of five large-format knits wrapped on tree trunks in downtown Fayetteville’s greenway, Cross Creek at Linear Park.

    The temporary fabric installation highlights the importance of textiles and craftsmanship in Black culture. Brightly colored knitwork, black and white accents and unique three-dimensional elements are used to encourage the audience to get a closer look to spark their interest and highlight the importance of handcrafts.

    Kia Love dedicated the installation to all of the strong African American women who have used fiber art as a way to heal themselves, to pass along stories about their lives and most importantly their history. For centuries, Black people were among the most skilled knitters, weavers and sewists in America known for their expertise in textiles and natural dyeing techniques. Women would gather regularly for after hour knitting and sewing circles as a way to create clothing for the community and to teach to the younger generation. Children as young as five would be taught the skill.

    Love is a self-taught knitwear designer and fiber artist born and raised in Fayetteville. Her knitting journey began 19 years ago when she hit a creative rut and needed inspiration. Knitting was a way to challenge herself, regain focus and manage anxiety.

    After graduating in 2015 from Queens University of Charlotte with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture, she decided to turn her passion for hobby into a business. She launched her brand Kia Love — a women’s knitwear and home decor brand. She specializes in fashionable accessories and home décor for the daring individual who loves bold color and texture. Her custom collections emphasize craftsmanship and feminine design.

    Love is passionate about slow fashion, the healing powers of fiber arts and the importance of teaching sewing, knitting and textile design to others in her community. By sharing her gift, she strives to pass down a craft that seems to be lost in the digital age.

    She aspires to educate others on the concept of quality over quantity and most importantly, having something of your own to turn to when the distractions of the world become too much.
    “Innerwoven” was made possible by a grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County's Mini Grant program. The Cool Spring Downtown District, Fayetteville’s managing partner for the Arts and Entertainment district, joined with the artist to bring this unique installation to life in celebration of women who have “Innerwoven” fabric as a means of clothing, warmth and comfort for centuries.

    Visit “Innerwoven” at Cross Creek at Linear Park during Black History Month. For more information visit www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com or the artist’s website at www.kialove.com.

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    06 03 Kia Loves InnerWoven2

  • 08 Title JudgedWriting an article on a work of art is complicated for many reasons. We each bring our own perceptions, bias and learned conventions when placing value or simply looking at a work of art. The complexity of contemporary art can include an additional layer — the ethnicity of the artist.

    Making works of art and art criticism today is not simple, there are many questions one could ask for doing either activity. For me, when I think about the ethnicity of the artist and how to look at their work, Leo Segedin asks some of the right questions in his article titled "Outakes From Making It: Race, Gender and Ethnicity in the Artworld." He asks: “… Are there generally acceptable ideas about what constitutes aesthetic ‘quality’? Does each minority group have their own aesthetic standards, its own criteria?... Is there a common aesthetic within a minority that is only accessible to the minority? … What constitutes ‘minority’ art? Who defines the essence and social agenda of a feminist artist, a Latino or Black artist?”

    Why anyone, minority or not, becomes an artist can be just as complex. The quotes by Vicki Rhoda, the featured artist for this special edition of Up & Coming Weekly, answer many of Segedin’s questions. The answers are found in why she became an educator, what is important to her in the classroom and why she is an artist.

    Raised in Elizabethtown, North Carolina, Mrs. Mazie Bell Rhoda (Vicki’s mother), gave her a set of art supplies at the age of eleven years old. While at home, Vicki would sit on the steps and repeatedly draw and paint the small church across the street. To have a creative nature and be open minded is a wonderful attribute, but it was also the cause of some of the challenges in her life.

    The direction of Rhoda’s life took hold when she was in high school, she met Ms. Peggy Webb, her art teacher. Not only was Ms. Webb an excellent teacher but she was also the only African American art teacher in Bladen County in the 80s. Inspired by an African American role model Rhoda’s direction in life was permanently altered on the path to become an artist and educator.

    Since being inspired by Ms. Webb, Rhoda earned a bachelor's degree in Art at Fayetteville State University. She has taught art in the public schools for 23 years, grades K-12. For the last four years she has been on the faculty at FSU in the Department of Performing and Fine Arts teaching art education and core art classes after earning a Master of Art Education at the University of Florida. She has also earned an advanced degree as an Educational Specialist from Grand Canyon University. Rhoda is presently working to complete her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership K-12.

    Rhoda stayed enthusiastic about teaching in public schools for 23 years. When she began teaching in the Bladen County public schools during the mid-90s Ms. Webb had relocated to another county and Rhoda became the only African American art teacher in the county.

    Rhoda reflected on the lack diversity of the teachers in the Bladen County schools at that time and what a relief it was to be employed by the Cumberland County public school system. Finally she was in an educational environment where the teachers and students were equally diverse, she felt more comfortable, she could be herself.

    No matter what school she was teaching in, Rhoda knew the importance of art in the public schools and witnessed the positive effects year after year. She shared with me: “Having art programs in the public schools is as important as math and science for many reasons. The myth is that art is simply recreational. Yet, taking an art class teaches the students diversity, global literacy, aesthetics, artists and art styles, and problem solving. Students leave an art class and see the world in a different way. Not only do they express themselves creatively, but they also can become personally transformed.”

    She continued, “Certain assignments revealed many of the personal problems students were having at home or a tragedy they have suffered. When talking to the student about the assignment they felt safe about sharing an experience. Art gave them a voice they did not have. For many the arts is an outlet to succeed in ways they could not in core classes. When I left public schools, I hoped I could have touched the lives of students in ways that would make a difference in their sense of self-worth and I was able to open the door to understanding diversity.”

    Rhoda was hired at FSU to recruit for and strengthen the art education program. After her first year in academe she redesigned the art education program by developing four new classes and eliminating some classes. The changes from teaching in the public schools for so many years to teaching students in higher education is a big leap for anyone. When asked about the transition she stated: “It was difficult. In middle and high school your approach to lesson plans is very different than higher education. Although you teach critical thinking in public schools, in higher education the analysis levels are so much higher. I am working with adults, so my language (personally and professionally) is very different. I’m happy to say the attention span of students at the university is lengthy compared to the public schools and is not only expected but required.”

    Rhoda’s success as an art educator is partially due to being a practicing artist. By being an artist she can share her creative efforts; the students are able to see she is engaged in the creative process. It is the same creative process that began at the age of eleven when she drew and painted the church across the street repeatedly.

    When asked why art remained so important to Rhoda, why she became an artist and to talk about her artistic style, she shared the following: “I was a very quiet child, while being creative I was reflective and thinking about so many things in my life. Art always gave me a voice to share what I could not do verbally. Later in life, around 1996, I learned a collage technique during a workshop and have continued to work in that media. The collage technique, in some ways, spoke to me. I could readily see images and myself in the layers of paper, I could relate it to my own life, and I saw ways to express my ideas. So what you are seeing in many of the earlier works is what I could not say out loud, but through the work.”

    Rhoda continued, “In the beginning, I was trying to express who I am. Raised in a Southern Pentecostal Holiness Church, uniformity was stressed for men and women, but I always saw things differently than my family. Being an artist I found a way to express myself visually. Although my personal collages are about expressing who I am, it can still resonate with others who grew up in the South and
    are Black.”

    “I started my political work after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, I realized just being Black in America is political.
    These are my experiences, being born Black is political, people in the southern Black community just handle it differently. The slogan Black Lives Matter is not new, we have been fighting for our lives to matter as long as I have been alive and historically. It is not OK to see color, yet due to social media, systemic racism is more evident. I always wanted my students to know everyone is important and we all bring something of value to enrich each other’s lives in many ways.”

    The reasons Rhoda gives for becoming an artist answer some of Segedin’s questions. Making art is a form of self-realization and it gives people a voice to share experiences. If just being Black is political, no matter how some would deny it or be impatient with the statement, it is obvious that race, ethnicity, and visual culture are inextricably linked. Artists draw from their identity to create awareness for different reasons, some create to influence change in American culture.

    In closing, works of art by some minority artists and other artists can be complicated and even some of Segedin’s questions are folly. We cannot characterize all works of art during the period in which they are being made. Ultimately, we can know some truths about works of art, but we cannot know all truths. It behooves us to stay openminded to why artists are creating works of art, search for a truth and new meaning. In the end, the history of art will often look like what we did not understand at the time.

    Pictured: "Judged" by Vicki Rhoda.

  • Click the Image for UCW's Online Edition!


        Times are tough all over.And in order to survive this uncertain economic climate, businesses are cutting back, including in vital areas such as health insurance.
        However, here in Cumberland County, some entities are trying to educate the public that when it comes to beating back the high costs of health insurance coverage, a little investment in prevention now will go a long way toward preserving the bottom line further down the road.
        Leading the proactive charge toward a future of lower health costs is the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce. On Jan. 15, the Chamber announced the launch of a new health plan exclusive to Chamber members — ChamberCare. According to the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce, “ChamberCare, administered by WellPath and in partnership with Doctor’s Direct Health Care, gives small businesses big business benefits along with affordable premiums and access to a strong, local health network comprised of local physicians and the Cape Fear Valley Health System.”
        The crux of the Chamber’s plan is Know Your Number — a disease risk assessment tool that employs patented next generation morbidity modeling for identifying the risk for onset of chronic disease and disease complications.
    Gary Cooper, director of special projects for the Chamber, says the program is typically only available to much larger companies and is expected to save small business thousands through preventive measures.
        “What makes ChamberCare unique is that premiums that WellPath provides to our businesses will be as competitive, if not cheaper, than any other carrier that currently does business in Cumberland County,” said Cooper, “but it carries an added feature to it that is a wellness piece called Know Your Number, where Doctor’s Direct will go to the employer and will take vitals of all the employees on the healthcare plan — height, weight, cholesterol count — all those vitals, and they will, with the assistance of physicians in the community, come up with a plan for them to be more healthy. So, in the long run, that’s going to be better for the small business healthcare plan because their employees are going to be more healthy and eventually they’ll see their health premiums decrease because of the health of their employees.”
        Cooper says that among those in the community singing the praises of the plan is Mike Nagowski, president of the Cape Fear Valley Health System.
        “He (Nagowski) sees this as another way to help eliminate some of the uninsured costs that they write off every year,” said Cooper. “About 60 percent of all uninsured Americans are employed by small businesses … which means at some point they’re going to have to have healthcare and if they don’t have insurance and they don’t have means to pay for it, then folks like Cape Fear Valley will treat them but they will have to write them off. So Mike was very excited about the fact that we have this plan. He sees it not only as a benefit to Cape Fear Valley but to all citizens because we own that hospital … So it’s a way of making it more profitable.”
        The program is available only to Chamber members and can be sold only by insurance salesmen and brokers who are Chamber members. Cooper says that currently, seven different groups have received quotes under the ChamberCare plan, with one business that is very close to actually implementing the plan.
        Not only are local businesses already showing interest in the plan, but a handful of groups across the state have, according to Cooper, expressed “envy” over the ChamberCare plan.
        “Since Jan. 15, I have talked to the Raleigh Chamber, the Asheville Chamber, the Wayne County/Goldsboro Chamber,” said Cooper, “and they are all envious of fact that we were able to put something together because they have all been looking at this or trying to develop something like this for a number of years and have not been able to come up with it.”
        This idea of using an ounce of prevention to prevent a pound of illnesses is not unique to the Chamber. The city of Fayetteville also utilizes a wellness plan to save money on health costs … both for the city and its employees.
    Terrie Hutaff, the city of Fayetteville’s human resources director, says the city’s projected healthcare costs for the current fiscal year are $10.6 million, with the city’s share being $8.4 million — that’s for 1,200 employees and 130 retirees.
        However, Hutaff says the city has started a wellness program utilizing biometric screening through third party administrator United Healthcare to lower future health costs. The program has been carried out in several phases: phase one was a survey to employees asking about health-related issues with the answers sent to United Healthcare for a follow-up with employees who had significant issues. Phase two is voluntary biometric screening, with incentives for employees who participate. Next year, Hutaff says the city hopes to move toward charging premium differentials for people who participate in the biometric screening.
        “What biometric screening gets us is those people who may be unhealthy and don’t even know they have issues but will now find out about it,” said Hutaff. “We are also going to start this year through risk management to offer some different wellness discounts … exercise classes … those types of things; we still have a good portion going toward lifestyle issues, so those are the people we’re going after, as well as those people who are unhealthy who may not currently be receiving treatment because they didn’t realize they had high blood pressure or diabetes.”
        Hutaff says the city has received a grant to help pay for the medicine needed by workers suffering from diabetes and high cholesterol. She says this program — which started in the city of Asheville — prevents serious complications by covering the pharmacy co-pays for those who can’t afford the medicine and would simply go without.
        “It seems to us to be very smart to pay for the co-pay for those types of illnesses instead of paying for, say, open heart surgery,” said Hutaff. “In the short term it may cost us but in the long term if it saves us one claim we can more than recoup our cost of paying for the co-pays for those types of medicines.”

  •    Established in 1997, 316 Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill is one of Fayetteville’s best-known and best-loved seafood restaurants. Located at 316 Owen Drive, the menu sets the tenor for what you can expect by proudly proclaiming “shopping coastal markets daily to bring their customers the freshest fish available.”
       From mahi-mahi to grouper to red snapper — 316 Oyster Bar & Grill offers an extensive seafood selection. It’s especially famous for its top-of-the-line oysters, hence the name.
       {mosimage}The building, inside and out, displays a unique style: lofty palm trees and glowing overhead velvet lights offer a retro dining experience and charming ambiance. Leather booths wrap stylishly around the edges of the room, though I took my seat at one of the more centrally located tables. The comfortable, laid-back atmosphere and the restaurant’s artsy midnight, scarlet, and neon accents make it an out-of-the ordinary dining experience. Adding to the atmosphere is a nonsmoking area for those of you who can’t tolerate tobacco plumes with your talapia.
       A long list of appetizers includes oyster Rockefeller — oysters tipped with spinach and bacon; alligator bites — spicy alligator nibblers with a tangy sauce; and, perhaps the restaurant’s signature dish... raw oysters on the half shell, served by the half-dozen or dozen. For those of you who desire something a little less intense to start your meal, crispy golden chicken fingers are also available in a number of styles. The portioning was just enough to keep me satisfied until the entrees were delivered.
       I enjoyed the distinctive Cajun flavoring found in the restaurant’s seasonal shrimp and sausage gumbo — a seafood and meat soup that includes celery, tomato and okra. My server, James, graciously brought out a sample and I was so impressed I decided to order a cup with my entrée. I just so happen to be a gumbo person, so this won my vote for best menu item.
       A signature entrée is the restaurant’s seafood grill  a savory combination of shrimp, scallops and salmon (grilled or blackened), which mixes well with the restaurant’s fresh leafy salad.
       The lobster grill is not only fresh, but has an outstanding, tender texture and added spices, such as garlic, Cajun, and black pepper. Can I have seconds?
       Other items that can be found “swimming” around on the menu are filet mignon, black angus beef rib eye and lobster fettuccini, as well as various entrées offering a combination of two or three seafood options. Items across the menu are a little above average in pricing, but the delectable entrees, portions, environment, and staff make the experience rise above the cost.
       The service far exceeded expectations — gregarious, attentive and quick to replenish my drinking glass.
       Because of the diversity of people who gather at 316, it’s a particularly pleasant place to take guests from out of town — especially if your guests love seafood. And if you’re so inclined, be sure to treat yourself to a drink from the full-service bar; specialties include a Cosmotini — a martini concocted with vanilla Stoli, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice and a squeeze of orange. The selection of beer on tap is especially diverse. And for those of you who are a bit daring, the Rooster Shooter is calling your name: a shot of raw oysters, beer and horseradish. If you can knock down this incredibly intense shot, you can leave with the glass in hand.
       In short, 316 Oyster Bar & Seafood offers an attentive, friendly and knowledgeable staff serving some of the best seafood you’ll find.
       I cannot wait to dive in again!

    Contact Victoria Alexander at tim@upandcomingweekly.com
  • 19 Danny Anderson and Wife The Rev. Danny Anderson hails from the state of West Virginia, but his entire preaching career has been spent in North Carolina.He recently added Highland Baptist Church in Hope Mills to his resume as he became the church’s pastor in mid-February.

    Anderson and his wife Lisa came to Hope Mills after previously serving Baptist congregations in Carteret County, Havelock and Pollocksville.

    He also attended college in North Carolina, studying at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs. He graduated from Newburgh Theological Seminary in southern Indiana near the border with Kentucky.

    Anderson said other churches had approached him but he felt the calling of the Lord to choose Highland Baptist. “We took to the people immediately,’’ he said. “As things progressed, the Lord just took care of it.’’

    Anderson’s pastorate at Havelock brought him in contact with military personnel at the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. He feels that experience will help him connect with both active and retired military from Fort Bragg who live in the Hope Mills area.

    “I’ve learned from that how to be in a community that’s military-based, very patriotic and loves their country,’’ he said.

    While Anderson doesn’t take a cookie-cutter approach to working with each pastorate he’s served, there is a basic order of settling in that he follows.

    “I see what the needs are, either being filled or needing to be filled, and take a plan of action from there,’’ he said.

    Anderson said the emphasis of his ministry is one-on-one. “Everywhere I’ve been in smaller areas I’ve gone door-to-door,’’ he said. “I made sure my card was in each house.’’

    His approach is to find out if they have specific prayer concerns, while at the same time trying to establish a rapport without being too intrusive into their private lives.
    “That will be most likely what I’ll do immediately,’’ he said, “get the word out that I’m in the field.’’

    As far as working with the staff at the church, Anderson prefers a team effort and reaching out for suggestions on what’s needed to best serve the congregation.

    “I do trust the people we have on staff, their calling in different areas,’’ he said. “My managerial approach is not to micromanage. I generally allow people to use their gifts, getting all those talents together, everybody contributing a certain part to the puzzle to meet the needs.’’

    Anderson estimates it will take anywhere from six months to a year for him to become comfortably educated about the Hope Mills community, learn all the names and get a feeling for the local culture.

    Once that happens, he’ll feel more comfortable about instituting any major changes that might be needed. “I’m not one to change or institute things for the sake of instituting something,’’ he said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’’

    Anderson said his main concern will be building relationships. “People are people,’’ he said. “Human nature is human nature.

    “Just being there at the time of need and developing that trust is basically the way I approach it.’’

  • 18 PosterRonnie Holland knows firsthand what a successful organ transplant can mean to someone in need of a second chance at life.

    Five years ago, his daughter had a successful liver transplant at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

    Now, Holland wants to help other people in need of a similar life-saving procedure, or charity for other needs.

    After he retired several years ago, he formed a band he named Common Ground. As an outreach ministry of Hope Mills United Methodist Church, Holland’s goal is for his band to help various individuals and charities in need of financial help by holding concerts to raise money.

    The first one is scheduled at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 7th, at Hope Mills United Methodist Church at 4955 Legion Road. There is no charge for admission but donations will be accepted after the service.

    Holland preferred asking for donations rather than having a set admission price. “We want people to feel led to do what they want to do,’’ he said.

    The first concert will benefit the Jason Ray Foundation. The foundation was created in memory of Jason Ray, who wore the Rameses mascot costume for the University of North Carolina before he was killed in a traffic accident.

    Ray donated his organs to others, and the foundation was started to raise money for the UNC Hospital Comprehensive Transplant Center Foundation.

    “This is something that’s near and dear to my heart,’’ Holland said. “I hope it takes off. Whether it’s one person or 100,000, we’re going to sing.’’

    Members of Holland’s group include Belinda Davis, Linda Currie, Janet Beaty, Dave Probus, Morrie Turner and Scott Reese. A special guest at the first concert will be guitarist Brad Muffet, who formerly played with nationally-known artist B.J. Thomas.

    The group will perform a variety of music during the event, Holland said. Selections will include gospel, 60’s music, beach music, bluegrass and blues.Light refreshments will be served after the concert.

    Holland said the sanctuary of the Hope Mills church will hold about 200. If the sanctuary is full, he said they can stream video of the performance into the church family life center. “I hope it gets too big and we have to go somewhere else,’’ he said.

    The event is called the Living Water Benefit, which is illustrated in an original painting by one of the group’s members, Linda Currie.
    It shows a waterfall flowing underneath a cross.

    Holland said the picture symbolizes that Jesus Christ died to free everyone from sin. Water is included because everyone needs water to live, and water is used to baptize believers.

    He sees the transplant as being similar since it gives the recipient a new life.

    If anyone has questions or would like to make a donation, they can contact Holland at 910-624-4166 or by email at ronnieholland51@gmail.com.

  • 23 01 Danielle NovakDanielle Novak

    South View • Softball/volleyball • Senior

    Novak has a 3.6379 grade point average. She is a member of Health Occupations Students of America, the Tiger Stripes Club and Buddy Special Olympics.

    23 02 Davin SchmidtDavin Schmidt

    South View • Soccer• Senior

    Schmidt has a 4.5833 grade point average. He is the National Honor Society President, Spanish Honor Society President, a member of the Academy of Scholars and ranks first in the senior class.

  • 17 Brower ParkHere are some Hope Mills news odds and ends taken from recent reports compiled by Town Manager Melissa Adams:

    Work is getting close to completion on the temporary headquarters for the Hope Mills Police Department located in the former Ace Hardware Building on
    Main Street.

    It is estimated the construction will be completed by early to midMarch. Moving from the current police station on Rockfish Road to the new location will begin as soon as construction has ended and is expected to be finished by the end of March.

    The temporary police headquarters will be known as Main Street Police Station. The temporary location will be used during construction of the new public safety building for the fire and police departments at the current location on Rockfish Road.

    The town has again been notified by the Department of the Army that it will be conducting training exercises in Hope Mills. The Army held similar training events in the town last year.

    The Special Warfare 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) will be holding exercises March 2-27, June 1-26 and Aug. 10-Sept. 4. All Army personnel involved will be in civilian clothes and display military ID. The training should not draw any attention from the public.

    Registration for spring sports with the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department continues through Saturday, Feb. 29.
    Available sports include baseball for ages 5-14, softball for ages 7-15 and indoor soccer for ages 5-12. Registration for wrestling has already concluded because that sport opens its season in March.

    Youth baseball and softball will conduct drafts the first two weeks of March. The opening day for baseball and softball is Saturday, April 4, at 9 a.m. at Brower Park on Rockfish Road.

    Hope Mills will host district baseball and softball tournaments during the upcoming season.

    The tournaments include District 6 Dixie Softball, ages 7-15, six divisions, June 19-21 and District 11 Dixie Youth Baseball, 10U and 12U, June 26-30.

    Beginning this fall, the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department will add girls’ volleyball for ages 9-17 to the sports program.

    The staff is working with the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Parks and Recreation Department and Freedom Christian Academy to coordinate scheduling. Registration for the first season of girls’ volleyball will be held in June.

    Because of possible safety issues at the vacant lot where the former Christ Episcopal Church Parish House stood, the Hope Mills Public Works Department has been seeking quotes to install a fence along the parking lot side of the property as well as the rear of the vacant lot.

    Prior to the Monday, Feb. 17, meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Adams reported three quotes had been received. After all the quotes have been studied, a decision on who will build the fence is expected soon, with work to install the fence to follow quickly.

    In addition to the plans for the fence, the Public Works staff will be grading and seeding the lot when the planting season arrives in the spring.

    Parks and Recreation director Lamarco Morrison and Planning and Executive Development Director Chancer McLaughlin will be involved in the process as both have prior experience with landscaping architecture.

    Morrison and McLaughlin will work with the town’s Appearance Commission to come up with a basic landscaping design for the vacant lot. The plan is to eventually include the lot in the Heritage Park Master Plan.

    The Hope Mills Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta, Inc., will hold a Black History Month Oratorical Contest on Saturday, Feb. 29, in the large activity room at Hope Mills Recreation Center.

    The competition will be held from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., and high school students from grades 9-12 will be competing. Prizes of $150 for first, $75 for second and $50 for third place will be awarded.

    The Special Events and Programs Division of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department recently conducted training for the staff in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. As a result, the entire full-time staff of the Parks and Recreation Department is certified in CPR.

    If you’ve got an important event coming up in Hope Mills or know of a story you’d like us to pursue, we’d love to hear about it. Please share your Hope Mills news with us via email at hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

  • 22 01 Vernon AldridgeThe schedule is set for the annual Cumberland County Schools Football Jamboree, with few changes from last year’s event.
    This year’s games will be Thursday, Aug. 13 at South View High School and Friday, Aug. 14, at Terry Sanford High School. That will be the first athletic event held in Terry Sanford’s rebuilt stadium.

    There is no rain date for either scrimmage. A final decision on ticket prices will be made at next month’s Cumberland County Schools athletic directors meeting.
    Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools, said all of the non-Cumberland County schools that took part in last year’s jamboree asked to return this season.

    22 02 Bill SochovkaOne of the main reasons may have been a change Aldridge made last year, switching the format from what most jamborees do in having four teams on the field at the same time, each pair playing on half the field.

    Last year, Cumberland County changed to a full-field format for each scrimmage session. Aldridge indicated that was a hit with the coaches.

    “It allowed them to open up their playbooks,’’ Aldridge said. “It also allowed them to know they could return punts, and to get in some snaps out there with the kicker
    and punter.’’

    Pine Forest football coach Bill Sochovka, who has spent 25 years at the school, the last 13 as head coach, echoed some of Aldridge’s points about the advantage of full-field

    “It gives a really good sense of where your kids are in terms of game preparation,’’ he said. He added it’s a benefit for younger players, especially quarterbacks, who get a better sense of the speed of the game on a full field.

    “You coach all year, do your 7-on-7’s, then all of a sudden you’ve got a full rush,’’ Sochovka said. “It also helps when you break down film the following week.’’

    Another big plus since Aldridge expanded the county scrimmage to bring in more outside teams is Cumberland County Schools don’t have to see someone they’ll play in the regular season.

    “You don’t want to do that,’’ Sochovka said of meeting a regular-season opponent in a scrimmage setting.’’

    Here is the schedule for the 2020 BSN Cumberland County Schools Football Jamboree:
    Thursday, Aug. 13 at South View High School
    5 p.m. - Lumberton vs. Douglas Byrd
    6 p.m. - Hoke County vs. Overhills
    7 p.m. - Union Pines vs. Gray’s Creek
    8 p.m. - Clinton vs. Pine Forest
    9 p.m. - Seventy-First vs. South View

    Friday, Aug. 14 at Terry Sanford High School
    5 p.m. - Apex Friendship vs. Triton
    6 p.m. - St. Pauls vs. Westover
    7 p.m. - Richmond Senior vs. Cape Fear
    8 p.m. - Scotland vs. Terry Sanford
    9 p.m. - E.E. Smith vs. Jack Britt
  • 13 01 Sharifa Johnson Sharifa Johnson thinks the direction modern education has taken is putting the instruction of children in an unpleasant place.

    “We are taking all the fun out of learning,’’ she said. “We are really trying to focus on test-taking and not creating thinkers.’’

    That’s why she’s created a program called Books N’ Bops, which she feels will put more fun in the learning process but not overlook the importance of  educating young people at the same time. 

    Johnson has scheduled a series of Books N’ Bops sessions at the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Center on Rockfish Road.

    The next session will be Saturday, Feb. 22, with another session scheduled Saturday, March 21.

    13 02 bnb logoThere will be sessions for two different age groups. The first, at 9:30 a.m., will be for children ages 3-5. The second, for children ages 6-8, will be at 10:30 a.m. Each session will last 45 minutes and the cost is $10 per student.

    To sign up, parents should come to the recreation center office during normal business hours.

    A minimum of five students and a maximum of 15 will be allowed to take part in each class, so parents are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible to assure the class can be held.Johnson started Books N’ Bops eight months ago, drawing on her many years of experience as both an educator and a dancer.She’s been a teacher at all levels of education, from pre-kindergarten through the college years, for a total of 15 years in that role.

    Her dancing career is even longer. Now 37, she got her first taste of dance when her mother took her to see "The Nutcracker" at age five. “I fell in love, so she took me to dance class,’’ Johnson said.

    In the 32 years she’s been a dancer, Johnson said she’s tried just about every discipline there is. “I’ve done ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and African,’’ she said.

    She attended North Carolina A&T in Greensboro before graduating in 2005 with degrees in English and secondary education. She returned to earn a masters degree in English and African-American literature.

    Johnson sees Books N’ Bops as a way of educating the whole child, but using a simple method to do it. The lesson starts with Johnson reading the children a short book.

    13 01 Sharifa Johnson She and the children discuss different aspects of literature. “If it’s fiction, we talk about things that kid will still be tested on, but we do it in a really fun way,’’ she said.

    After the reading and discussion are over, Johnson teaches the children an originally choreographed dance that is connected to the story they just finished.

    The dance is also a way of instilling confidence in the children as they are given the opportunity to perform. Johnson said connecting the reading element with dance movements creates a long-lasting learning impression. 

    “You’ll remember that dance,’’ she said. “If you hear a song, you’ll remember you did that dance to that. You’ll have a connection to the book and you’ll remember what you were talking about.Because it was a fun activity and something you actually enjoyed doing, the movement helps to put it through the whole body, so the whole body understands the story.’’

    One of the real strengths of Books N’ Bops, Johnson said, is she can adjust it to work with all kinds of age groups, even age groups that might be a little far apart.

    “If you tell me you have a group the ages of five to 12, I can find a book that will engage everyone,’’ Johnson said.

    “I’ll make the dance where it’s easy enough for the younger ones, but the older ones can enjoy it as well.’’

    Johnson said she’s also working on a writing and dance program for older children.

    As for deciding what book to read from, Johnson said she tries to gear it with whatever the popular curriculum is with local teachers in that age group.

    “I’ve done a lot of day cares,’’ she said. “If you’re talking about dinosaurs that week, I’m going to go out and find a dinosaur book.’’

    Johnson said she typically visits local libraries to choose her books, which can vary from the preferred topics of the day to classic books available for children.

    “I have to think about what age group I’m talking to,’’ she said. “That also determines the length of the book I get because their attention span is different.’’

    Johnson said her program is flexible and can be adapted to any setting outside of the traditional school environment that is child friendly. “I can make it come together,’’ she said. “I can be everywhere in the community.’’

    In addition to doing traditional teaching settings, Johnson recently held a Books N’ Bops birthday party. She said she is also able to do church events.

    To find out more about what Books N’ Bops is about, visit Johnson on her Books N’ Bops Facebook and Instagram accounts.

    She can be contacted via email at booksnbops@gmail.com or 919-869-0210.

    “I love teaching and I love dance and I get to share my joy,’’ Johnson said. “Whether it be a kid who finally performs or they actually get literacy concepts, the lights are going off.

    “I just want everyone to love to learn and to love to read and love literacy.’’

  • 21 EENobody’s cranking up heavy machinery and clearing land just yet, but the Cumberland County Commissioners recently addressed the idea of some day having to relocate E.E. Smith High School.

    Board Vice-Chairman Glenn Adams is closer than any of his fellow commissioners to the importance of the issue. A Smith graduate, Adams has spent the last 16 years as the color commentator for E.E. Smith high school football games aired on local radio station WIDU.

    Adams said the final decision on closing E.E. Smith and moving it to a new location rests in the hands of the Cumberland County Board of Education.

    But because of declining enrollment at the school, Smith said the commissioners need to consider what the school’s future is before serious decisions have to be made on coming up with money for a new building if it has to move from the current one.

    According to the 2019-20 average daily membership figures compiled for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, Smith’s enrollment of 1,153 students made it one of the smallest public senior high schools with athletic teams in Cumberland County.

    Adams suggested the current enrollment at Smith is closer to 900 students.

    While the existing E.E. Smith school building on Seabrook Road has been home to the school for many years, it wouldn’t be the first time the campus has relocated Adams said.

    Adams believes the school has moved twice previously in its history, once from Washington Drive and a second time probably from a location on Orange Street.

    What’s causing the concern, Adams said, is there aren’t enough people living near the current Seabrook Road location to continue providing students to attend the existing school.

    “You’ve got to have some kind of alternative and you can’t wait until the end to decide where that is,’’ he said.

    Even if the school does have to move, Adams stressed it’s not the building that makes a school. It’s the people who walked the halls and competed on its athletic fields and in its gymnasium.

    “That heart will go wherever the building is,’’ he said. “They (the alumni and faculty) are forever going to be there.’’

    The big question would be where to put a new building, and Adams said that decision is in the hands of the Board of Education. “You don’t want to go into someone else’s district,’’ he said, noting that Smith is bounded by the Pine Forest, Westover and Terry Sanford districts.

    “You have to be cognizant of those other schools,’’ he said.

    Adams stressed that any plan to relocate E.E. Smith is years down the road, but now is the time to begin the discussion so as many people as possible who will be affected by the move can offer their opinions on what to do.

    “There are always going to be those who are nostalgic and say don’t move it,’’ Adams said. “There are others of the opinion that the school is not the building. I think it goes both ways. People are probably hearing this for the first time.’’

    Adams said he has spoken with Dr. Marvin Connelly, superintendent of the Cumberland  County Schools, and said the superintendent is open to all options available.
    “He hasn’t put anything off the table,’’ Adams said.

    While the school board will make the final decision on what happens with E.E. Smith, Adams said it’s the task of the county commissioners to give the school board as many viable options for what to do with E.E. Smith as possible.

    “It’s the county commissioners that fund the schools,’’ Adams said. That’s why he wants to start the conversation now, to provide for as many options as possible to make sure whatever alternatives are on the table will be positive.

  • 12 Hope Mills recreationWhen Stephen Kessinger worked at the Hoke County Parks and Recreation Department, he collaborated with Maxey Dove of the Hope Mills Recreation and Parks Department to hold a season-ending basketball showcase pitting the top youth recreation teams from each county against each other. 

    After joining the Hope Mills staff less than two years ago, Kessinger said he and Dove agreed the basketball event was something they needed to keep going.

    Next month, for the fifth year in a row, the Hoke vs. Hope Mills basketball showdown will continue.

    This year’s event will be held March 3-4, a Tuesday and Wednesday, with four games scheduled in the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department gymnasium on Rockfish Road.

    Play begins the first night at 6 p.m. with the 8U Junior Pee Wee game, followed at 7 p.m. by the 10U Pee Wee game.

    The following night at 6 p.m. will be the 12U Midget game. The final game at 7 p.m. will feature the 15U juniors.

    Kessinger said the idea for having the basketball showdown came from the tradition in recreation baseball and softball where all-star teams that advance into regional and state play are chosen at the end of the season.

    There is no playoff format like that for basketball, so Kessinger said the idea was to give the basketball teams a chance to compete beyond the regular season. Unlike the all-star concept in baseball and softball, the teams that take part in the Hoke-Hope Mills games are teams that competed during the year. In the baseball and softball all-star competition, the coaches of the all-star team picFk their squad from players who competed on various league teams during the regular season.

    The league champion from four different age brackets in each county advances to the one-game showdown, which has always been held in Hope Mills since the Hoke County recreation department doesn’t have its own gymnasium, Kessinger said.

    Both counties follow the same general basketball rules, with a minor difference in the rules involving how players are substituted into the game. For the one-game showdown, those rules are waived and coaches can substitute however they like.

    All teams are required to make sure that every player on the team gets to participate in a portion of each quarter of the game, Kessinger said. No admission is charged and all the games are open to the public. Kessinger said the Hope Mills gym seats about 300 people and noted that there’s usually a packed house by the time the second game begins each evening.

    When some people have to stand in order to see the game, Kessinger said the recreation department staff encourages them to make sure and not stand too close to the court in order to make sure the teams and the officials have enough room to move safely up and down the court.

    The Hope Mills recreation staff provides all the basketballs. All competing players are urged not to bring their own basketballs to the game.

    Parking will be available in front of the recreation center and in the various lots close to the Hope Mills Town Hall complex.

    Kessinger said the recreation staff was careful to schedule the games on days when there were no other events taking place at Town Hall or the recreation center.

    “A lot of parking spaces should be available Tuesday and Wednesday,’’ he said. 

    All the games will have referees paid for by the Hope Mills recreation department. The recreation department has also purchased individual medallions that will be presented after each game to the members of the victorious team.

    Kessinger said the Hoke-Hope Mills games have been enjoyable for players and coaches. “I think they enjoy the competition, getting to play a team they don’t play all year long,’’ he said.

     For any questions about the Hoke-Hope Mills basketball showdown, contact the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department during normal business hours, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. or Sunday from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m.

    The telephone number is 910-426-4109.

  • 20 02 George StackhouseWestover High School’s Traymond Willis-Shaw has been named to the North Carolina roster for this year’s Carolinas Classic All-Star basketball game.

    The contest pits the top senior basketball players from North Carolina and South Carolina. It will be played at John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington on Saturday, March 28.

    Willis-Shaw, a 6-foot-6 wing player for the Wolverines, is a major reason the team rolled to the Patriot Athletic Conference regular-season title and carried a 24-0 record into the opening round of last week’s conference tournament.

    20 Traymond Willis ShawWestover head coach George Stackhouse said Willis-Shaw has been with the Wolverine basketball program since his freshman year at the school.
    He began to occupy a central role on the team after another Wolverine who played in the Carolina Classic, Damani Applewhite, graduated. Applewhite is currently a senior on the basketball team at South Carolina State.

    Through Feb. 17, Willis-Shaw averaged 13.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for Westover. He’s made 13 3-point baskets and is hitting 71% of his free throws.
    Stackhouse said Willis-Shaw is a major contributor for the Wolverines on the defensive end of the floor.

    “When he’s active, our defense is so much better,’’ Stackhouse said. “He’s a very good finisher in transition. Our crowd gets going when he throws down a slam or two. It does a lot as far as giving our guys energy and our crowd energy as well.’’

    Willis-Shaw said he’s looking forward to playing in the game and hoping it will increase the looks he’s been getting from colleges. So far he’s had interest from such schools as South Carolina State, Queens, Radford, Mount Olive, UNC-Greensboro, North Carolina Central and Lincoln Memorial.

    “I want to stay closer to home,’’ Willis-Shaw said of his pending college choice. “My parents want to make some games.’’

    Stackhouse said having Willis-Shaw picked for the all-star team give the school a lot of positive publicity. “Traymond goes out and represents himself and the school well,’’ Stackhouse said.

    As far as Westover’s season is concerned, Stackhouse said neither he nor the team is focusing on the unbeaten record and don’t see it as a distraction as they prepare for the conference tournament and state playoffs to follow.

    “We’ve been focusing on each day at practice, trying to get better,’’ Stackhouse said. “We try not to look at any game as a big game. All of them are important.’’
    Stackhouse thinks the regular season has prepared Westover well for the games ahead.

    “We played some tough non-conference teams,’’ he said. “I think we play in one of the toughest conferences, just having to go through that conference and see different styles.

    “If we continue to win, we’ll have a lot of home games and hopefully it will give us an advantage.’’

    Willis-Shaw said the Wolverines have made it where they are with teamwork. “We help each other with everything,’’ he said. “We play together as a team. We get the work done by everybody playing their role and playing hard.’’

    He hopes to do the same in the all-star game. “I just want to play hard, get rebounds and finish in the paint,’’ he said.

  • 19 01 nelly victorIt’s barely been three years since Victor Fontanez was a South View High School senior with a dream.

    Today he’s a barber to celebrities based in Atlanta and looking to continue growing his brand at the still youthful age of 20.

    His story starts like the story of a lot of young people from his generation. As he approached his final days at South View, his plan was to follow the path of many of his classmates and enroll in college.

    All his fees were paid at UNC-Pembroke and he was about to enroll when he started thinking of ways to make some money on the side to fund his college dreams.
    He was working at a restaurant in Hope Mills, washing dishes and waiting tables, but he didn’t plan to continue that job in college, so sitting in the chair at his barber’s one day, he asked the barber for advice.

    “He told me if I learned to cut hair, I could make money the rest of my life,’’ Fontanez said.

    19 02 trae young So in his senior year, he started giving haircuts in his mother’s garage and planned to continue doing the same thing during his college days to serve as a way to make a few dollars on the side.

    But something happened. Cutting and styling hair became more than a way to make money. Fontanez found himself falling in love with what he was doing.

    “By the time I was ready to graduate, I knew this was the path I wanted to take,’’ he said. “God definitely put me on that path.”

    At the last second before enrolling at UNC-Pembroke, he got all of his money for his college tuition refunded. He went to Fayetteville Technical Community College, enrolled in barber school, and as he put it, never looked back.

    Upon graduation from FTCC, he took a job at a small shop in Hope Mills and continued to hone his skills.

    After about eight months there, he realized if he wanted to continue to grow his brand, Hope Mills wasn’t going to be a large enough arena for him to compete in.
    “You’ve got to feed the beast,’’ he said. As much as he loved home, he felt the need to pursue wider opportunities for himself.

    He saw Atlanta as a perfect fit. “It was close to home and still a Southern state,’’ he said, “plus all the opportunity for celebrity clientele and athletes.’’

    He moved there cold turkey, as he put it, with no family or friends to turn to for assistance, save one important contact.

    One day while he was still working at the restaurant in Hope Mills, a young man who had recently been chosen in the NBA draft happened to stop by the restaurant to eat. It was Dennis Smith Jr., who currently plays for the New York Knicks.

    When Smith went to the restroom, Fontanez waited outside to introduce himself.

    He told Smith that he was a barber, and that if Smith ever needed to have his hair styled to look him up. Fontanez reached in his wallet and pulled out the last business card he had and handed it to Smith.

    “At the end of the day, it’s all about building relationships,’’ Fontanez said. Since that meeting, Smith has been a friend and supporter of Fontanez and his business. While Smith was with the Dallas Mavericks, Fontanez flew to Dallas and cut hair for the team prior to one of its media day events.

    He’s got a long list of celebrity clients, including stars like the rapper Nelly, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and the body guard of the late rapper Nipsey Hussle, among others.

    Fontanez said as far as what kind of stylist he is, you can’t limit it to a single cut or type of client. “Every haircut is individually designed for that person,’’ he said. “There isn’t one style for everybody.’’

    If he has a preferred style, Fontanez said he leans toward clean, shaped lines. But his real concern, beyond making sure each customer has the right look, is continuing to build his brand in Atlanta and beyond.

    “I believe in God’s pace,’’ he said. “I can’t really tell where I’m going to be next. As soon as I finish accomplishing what I need to accomplish in Atlanta, another door will open for me. For right now, I’m focused on what I need to get done in Atlanta.’’

    In addition to his job as a hair stylist, Fontanez continues to grow his name in his role as an ambassador for BaByliss PRO, a line of hairstyling tools affiliated with Conair.
    Looking to the near future, Fontanez wants to set up a foundation to hold workshops in Fayetteville and other cities to show other young people like himself how to become entrepreneurs and turn their craft into a brand like he has.

    “It started out with just being able to give somebody a haircut,’’ Fontanez said. “I made them look good and feel good. Now I want to share that message across the world and affect other people in different parts of the world.

    “I enjoy the impact. I feel I’ve been given a lot.’’

    Picture 1: Rapper Nelly (left) with Victor Fontanez (right)

    Picture 2: Atlanta Hawks basketball player Trae Young

  • 16 britney watsonBritney Watson

    Pine Forest  • Cross country• Junior

    Watson has a  4.25 grade point average. Her favorite subject is science. She loves R&B and hanging out with friends and family. Her inspiration for track is to follow her sister's footsteps. She runs outdoor track and loves the 100-meter hurdles.

    16 02 Colby BlackwellColby Blackwell

    Pine Forest • Swimming• Senior

    Blackwell has a 4.38 grade point average.  He will attend UNC-Wilmington and major in Coastal Engineering. His favorite swimming events are the 100 breast stroke and 400 freestyle relay.  Science is his favorite subject. He won the Coaches Award for swimming. He loves hanging with friends and playing tennis.

  • 18 Building business rally graphicThe town of Hope Mills is open for business and moving forward with new energy.

    That was the message Chancer McLaughlin and other representatives from the town had to share recently when they attended the Building Business Rally at the Ramada Plaza in Fayetteville.

    The purpose of the rally was to connect contractors and vendors with organizations that have projects in planning and money to spend on them.

    McLaughlin, who is the planning and economic development director for the town, said Hope Mills currently has about $37 million worth of projects scheduled over the next five years.

    The Building Business Rally gave contractors in Fayetteville and the surrounding area a chance to connect with the Hope Mills town staff at the rally.

    McLaughlin said the town receives bid from companies located around the state and from states like South Carolina or even Florida. While the town is looking for the best bid, McLaughlin said it wants to make sure some of those bids are coming from area businesses.

    “We would like to engage the local businesses and local contractors to come take advantage of these opportunities,’’ McLaughlin said. “We are saying these projects are here.’’

    The rally wasn’t just about big construction projects, like the estimated $16.5 million public safety building for the police and fire departments that the town plans to begin work on this year.
    Smaller projects are also involved. At last year’s rally, Hope Mills connected with a company that installed water coolers in town offices.

    “We realized we didn’t have any (coolers) in the offices at the governmental complex,’’ McLaughlin said. “That ended up being a contract for the police station, fire station, town hall, parks and recreation and public works.’’

    McLaughlin said smaller contracts can cover everything from janitorial services to landscaping to catering to providing security at construction sites.
    The people at the event who were officially representing Hope Mills were McLaughlin, public works director Don Sisko and deputy public works director Bruce Clark.
    Also attending to support the town staff who were on hand but not involved in direct negotiations with any of the contractors at the event were Mayor Jackie Warner and Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers.
    McLaughlin said he’s already seeing positive results from attending the rally.

    “I’m getting emails right now,’’ he said. Those sending the emails include businesses that want to get on the Hope Mills list of vendors along with organizations that want to learn more about business opportunities available in Hope Mills.

    The pending public safety building alone made the Hope Mills table at the rally a popular stop for many of the businesses attending. Among the interested businesses asking about the public safety building were firms involved with landscaping, general contractors and janitorial services, McLaughlin said.

    In addition to the public safety building, McLaughlin said the town has a number of other significant  projects that attracted attention. The list of big ticket items that the town will be looking at in the coming years includes the long-proposed development of Heritage Park, which after the public safety building is the most expensive endeavor under consideration. There are also smaller projects involving the public works department as well as the stormwater department.

    McLaughlin said the public safety building and the development of Heritage Park appear to be the two items on the list that are closest to having work actually start as soon as this year. Also on the drawing board is completion of a new town museum.

    The town remains open to engaging local contractors anyway it can, McLaughlin said. “We want to increase our bidding opportunity with local contractors,’’ he said. “We do think that’s important. That helps to stimulate the economy, growing the local businesses.’’

    He thanked the various organizers of the Building Business Rally, including PWC and NCWorks. Other sponsors were the Greater Fayetteville Chamber, the Fayetteville State University Construction Resource Office and the Small Business Development and Technology Center.
    McLaughlin said he’s always anxious to hear from any local businesses that want to do business with the town.
    He welcomes phone calls from all interested parties. He can be reached during regular business hours at 910-426-4103. McLaughlin’s email address is cmclaughlin@townofhopemills.com.

  • 15 andy karcherAndy Karcher has been in the Fayetteville area since 2007, moving here from Ohio. But it didn’t take him long to learn about the rich football history at E.E. Smith High School.

    “It’s something that stood out to me,’’ he said, and led him to apply for the position of head football coach for the Golden Bulls. He was approved as the school’s new head coach by the Cumberland County Board of Education last week.

    Karcher replaces Deron Donald, who stepped down from the head coaching position at Smith in December. In his four seasons with the Golden Bulls, Donald was 16-31. 

    He managed two trips to the state 3-A playoffs, including one last season. At one point under Donald, Smith suffered a 17-game losing streak, but it ended the 2019 regular season with a 43-0 win over Cumberland County rival Cape Fear. The Golden Bulls finished the 2019 season 4-8 overall and 4-4 in the Patriot Athletic Conference. That put them in a three-way tie for fourth place with Pine Forest and Gray’s Creek.

    A little over a month after leaving Smith, Donald was named the new head football coach at Smithfield-Selma High School. He inherits a program there that has gone 1-10 each of the last three seasons and 8-102 for the last 10 years.

    Smithfield-Selma hasn’t had a winning season in football in 12 years.

    Karcher, a graduate of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, has worked as a football coach at a number of area high schools.

    He spent two years at South View Middle School when he first came to the area, following that with a short stay at Cape Fear High School. From there he went to Triton High School, then returned to Cumberland County for a couple of years on the Pine Forest High School staff.He has served as an offensive coordinator and spent his years at Pine Forest coaching the offensive line.

    In addition to being impressed with the history at E.E. Smith, Karcher said he found the community to be strong, along with the Golden Bull alumni association.

    “The backing for the program is there,’’ he said. “They have the kids, they have the athletes, to be successful.’’

    But one area where Smith is clearly lacking is raw numbers of students. According to the latest average daily membership figures provided by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, E.E. Smith is the smallest of the 10 public senior high schools in Cumberland County that field athletic teams.

    The Golden Bulls have an enrollment of 1,153 students, which makes them, along with Douglas Byrd High School, the only schools in the county with under 1,200 students enrolled.

    Four Cumberland County schools that are also members of the Patriot Athletic Conference with Cape Fear — Pine Forest, South View, Gray’s Creek and Cape Fear — have enrollments topping 1,500 students. Pine Forest has 1,705 with South View at 1,642.

    “Obviously, the numbers do make it a little bit more interesting, a little bit more difficult,’’ Karcher said. But he is hopeful that with some success on the field, he will be able to attract as many candidates as possible to come out for the football team.

    As far as offensive philosophy, he describes himself as a ball-control coach. “I’m definitely going to have a good running game in place,’’ he said. “We also have enough athletes that we’ll throw the football around and kind of spread some people out when we need to.’’

    Defensively he said he prefers downhill, physical football with players that will fly around and make plays.

    Karcher said he’s hopeful to be working at E.E. Smith as quickly as possible so he can began offseason workouts with his new players during the offseason skill development periods.

    He said E.E. Smith principal Donell Underdue and Pine Forest principal David Culbreth are working together to make it possible for him to begin his new role at E.E. Smith before the end of the current school year.

    It is too early in the process, Karcher said, to try and speculate on any changes forthcoming with his assistant coaching staff at Smith. He said he will try to determine the best course of action concerning the staff as the situation progresses.

    Karcher feels the timing of his hire bodes well for giving him the maximum amount of time to work with his players during the spring offseason along with the summer to make the installation of his offensive and defensive schemes go as smoothly as possible for his team.

    The last dead period of the school year before summer began Feb. 12 and ends March 3. During dead periods, all sports that are out of season are not allowed to hold so-called skill development sessions.

    Karcher is hopeful that by March 3 he will be on campus at E.E. Smith and be able to begin working with his new team.

    “We’ll recruit the hallways and get more guys out playing,’’ he said. “We want to hit the ground running come spring and summer ball.’’

    The first official playing date for the 2020 high school football season for NCHSAA member schools is Aug. 17.

  • 15 parish volvo Editor's note: When the following article was written, the Parish House had not yet been torn down. The house was demolished on Jan. 28.

    Hope Mills Mayor pro tem Kenjuana McCray and commissioner Pat Edwards are both weary of a group of town citizens who continue to point fingers and complain about plans to demolish the Parish House donated to the town by the former Christ Episcopal Church.

    Both agree that now that the current board has twice voted to have the building torn down, it’s long past time for the town to move forward on multiple projects that will preserve the true history of the mill village.

    McCray noted that many of those who support saving the Parish House were members of the Hope Mills Historical Preservation Commission. Multiple members of that organization either resigned or did not re-apply to remain on the commission after the last election when McCray was elected and both Edwards and Mayor Jackie Warner were reelected.

    “This is the same group of people that said they wanted nothing to do with the town,’’ McCray said.

    She also noted some members of the commission who have stepped down are in possession of property that was donated to the town for use in the proposed town museum. “I have not heard any follow-through about them returning any of those items,’’ McCray said.

    McCray said if she had been a member of the commission, she would not have stepped down simply because of one point of disagreement with elected town officials.
    “There is a whole lot of historical preservation we can do,’’ McCray said.

    McCray added she does not understand the full reasons why committee members stepped down or didn’t re-apply, but she does read a lot into the conduct of the former members of the commission and the way they have treated her and other members of the current Board of Commissioners since the election last November.

    “I’m going off their behavior, the things they have done since I was elected,’’ McCray said. “As far as being cyber bullied or harassed for a decision I made, it does not make me listen to you anymore.’’

    McCray noted she was initially receptive to overtures made by former commission members to the board when a representative of Preservation North Carolina was invited to Hope Mills to tour the Parish House and speak to the board about possible options for saving it.
    “We do preserve history,’’ McCray said. “We are saving the (Christ Episcopal) church. We have a town museum. We are investing in our history.’’
    McCray thinks many people in Hope Mills are misinformed about what those who support saving it repeatedly refer to as the historic Parish House, citing that it is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
    In fact, the building itself is not on the list of historic buildings that are located in the downtown historic district. McCray has researched the subject and found the building’s real history to be suspect.
    “I challenge the historical value of the building,’’ McCray said. “It was rebuilt in 1985. It has burned multiple times. Most people don’t know there’s termite damage. There’s mold. All these things have to be repaired.’’
    McCray noted that the church, which will be saved and is next door to the Parish House, and the proposed Heritage Park on the adjacent property are in desperate need of parking. The land where the Parish House is presently located  provides that space once it is demolished.
    “You’re going to have this beautiful church and Heritage Park and you’re not going to have proper parking,’’ she said, if the Parish House was allowed to remain.
    As for those who argue to save the building, McCray said she has not heard any concrete plans from them on what they want to do with the building if it was restored or how they plan to raise the money that would be needed to restore it. Base figures suggest it could cost at least six figures to make the building stable. Hope Mills commissioner Bryan Marley, a veteran firefighter, said if a thorough inspection of the building was ever done, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to suggest the figure to fully restore the building could reach $500,000.
    McCray said this is the third Board of Commissioners that’s wrestled with the Parish House dilemma. She feels it’s time to move forward. “There are a lot of other projects we can work on,’’ she said. “I think if the community rallies around to make those projects successful, that’s the best way to move forward.’’
    Commissioner Edwards said the heart of the debate over the Parish House has nothing to do with history. She thinks it all stems from personal animosity many of the members who stepped down from the preservation commission have toward Mayor Warner.
    “If our mayor was not Jackie Warner and did the very same things she’s doing now, they wouldn’t be going through all of this,’’ Edwards said.
    “She wants what’s best for the town and they can’t see that,’’ Edwards said, noting that the previous board which frequently voted 4-1 against anything Warner supported had two years and a consistent voting majority on the board to deal with the Parish House and did nothing.
    “Now they are coming back at us because we want to demolish it, and we had planned to do that back in 2016,’’ Edwards said.
    Edwards said the current board has made its plans for a positive future for Hope Mills clear, and hopes the citizens will be supportive. “There are so many possibilities, if we could get turned loose and start on it,’’ she said.

  • 14 01 Bowlers Cumberland County was one of the first school systems in the state to begin offering team bowling to its students years ago, and that has been reflected in the success the county has enjoyed competing in the sport at the state level.

    This year, the county brought home a pair of state championships as the boys from Gray’s Creek and the girls from Terry Sanford were recently crowned winners at the state finals at Sandhills Bowling Center in Aberdeen.

    In addition to the team success, Terry Sanford bowler Rolf Wallin captured individual honors as he was the boys state champion in the same event.

    Here’s a closer look at the championship efforts of both teams.

    Terry Sanford

    Susan Brady is in her second year coaching the Bulldog girls. She was a little apprehensive about her team’s chances in the state tournament when she learned one of her top bowlers, Avery Schenk, was going to be unable to compete in the tournament due to a cheerleading commitment.

    An interesting footnote: Schenk is the granddaughter of Howard Baum, longtime owner of B&B Lanes and one of the originators of high school bowling in Cumberland County.

    Terry Sanford defeated a tough Lumberton team in the semifinal round of the state tournament, then took on county rival Cape Fear in the championship match.

    Going into the 10th frame, Terry Sanford was clinging to a 142-140 lead.

    14 02 canaddyBrady was hopeful that her anchor bowler, Zoe Cannady, was going to lock up the win for the Bulldogs, but she was unsuccessful.

    Fortunately for the Bulldogs, so was the final bowler for the Colts, leaving Terry Sanford with a two-pin victory for the championship. “I didn’t have much of a visual reaction,’’ Cannady said of the clinching moment for the Bulldogs. “It ended up okay. I felt a lot of pressure and missed that spare. I had to hope for the best.’’

    Cannady, who bowls for Terry Sanford but attends Cumberland Polytechnic High School, felt the Bulldogs had a great team that encouraged each other during the final match.

    Brady said until the final frame, every ball Cannady had thrown had resulted in either a strike or a spare for Terry Sanford. A junior, Cannady will return next year. The major losses for Terry Sanford will be seniors Katie Silas, Abby Carson and Reagan Johnson.

    “We’ve got pretty high chances,’’ Cannady said of the Bulldog hopes for another title next season.

    Cannady made the All-State team along with fellow Cumberland County bowlers Jayda Gignac of Jack Britt, Ariel Williams of Douglas Byrd and Donna Kerechanin of South View.

    14 03 Rolf WallinMeanwhile, on the boys’ side, the Bulldogs’ Wallin rebounded from a fourth-place finish in the conference tournament to capture the individual state title.

    Michael Toler, who coaches the Bulldog boys, said Wallin has always been a consistent bowler.Toler said Wallin came up to him during the conference tournament and predicted he was going to qualify for the state tournament. “He did exactly that,’’ Toler said. “He was cool and consistent all the way through.’’

    Wallin went over to the Sandhills Bowling Center before the state championship match to get a feel for the lanes. “When I figured out where to go and adjusted, I had a pretty good game,’’ he said. “You have to adjust every single time your ball isn’t hitting exactly where you want it to go.’’

    Wallin didn’t appreciate how big a deal a state championship is until he began receiving accolades from classmates and teachers. 

    “You have to put pressure aside and just bowl your game,’’ he said.

    Joining Wallin on the All-State boys team from Cumberland County were Terry Sanford teammate Alex Schenk, Douglas Byrd’s Brandon Mesa-Turner and South View’s Nick Robertson.

    Gray’s Creek

    Kris Williams gave himself a hard act to follow as coach of the Gray’s Creek boys bowlers. This was his first season coaching bowling, and he concluded it with a state championship.

    Williams said he approached his role of coach as being more of a manager, with the task of setting the five-man bowling lineup for each match the major role he had to perform.

    One thing that made it easy was the bowlers he had to work with. “They are blessed by the good Lord with some natural talent,’’ he said. “They can do things in the bowling lanes that most people can’t do.’’

    Williams also said the team had good chemistry. “They really get along and are used to working together,’’ he said. “They really do support each other, more than just cheerleading.’’

    The Bears suffered a bad day as a team in the conference tournament, losing two straight to a South View team that was on a hot streak.

    Williams expected better after the Bears were second in the regular-season matches. After that disappointing loss there wasn’t even time for an extra practice before the state tournament began.

    But the Bears rebounded with what Williams said was a true team effort. “One thing that struck me about the whole season, these kids love to compete,’’ he said. “That’s one thing you want in any sport.’’

    Sparking Gray’s Creek in the finals were regular-season MVP C.J. Woodle and Gio Garcia.

    “C.J’s got all the natural skills and ability and puts in all the work,’’ Williams said. “Gio has a lot of natural talent and is a natural leader.’’

    “We were kind of upset we didn’t win the conference,’’ Garcia said. “We knew we still had a good chance at state. We had to step up our game and be more consistent.’’

    Gray’s Creek defeated Hoke County and Jack Britt en route to the title.

    Woodle said a lucky break in the sixth frame of the finals helped get Gray’s Creek untracked and sparked the team to the win. “I’m proud of my whole team, how much practice they put in,’’ he said. “It means the world to come home to Gray’s Creek and say we were the state champions.

    “I feel we have another state championship team next year.’’


    Picture 1: Gio Garcia, C.J. Woodle, Hunter Cole. 

    Picture 2: Zoe Canaddy 

    Picture 3: Rolf Wallin

  • 14 arts councilThe Hope Mills Creative Arts Council will hold a meet and greet on Saturday, Feb. 8, from noon until 2 p.m., at Marci’s Cakes and Bakes at 5474 Trade Street in downtown Hope Mills.

    Elizabeth Blevins, executive director of the council, said the purpose of the meeting is to try and grow the organization’s membership and to reach out to artists of every genre possible to involve them in the council’s projects.

    The goal of the event is also to connect with possible volunteers and contributors who can help the council jump start its efforts to share art throughout the Hope Mills community.

    The group will soon be holding a photography workshop, scheduled to run from February through May, for teenagers. The goal is to hold other teaching workshops in different fields of art.

    Blevins said the council has created a dozen different committees dealing with an assortment of planned projects but needs more people on board to make them happen.
    “We are trying to increase the visibility of Hope Mills as a destination,’’ Blevins said, “not only by incorporating art into the landscape as often as possible, but by providing opportunities for the community and visitors to participate in art in some form or another: concert performances, theater, art workshops, art shows.’’

    Blevins said art is somewhat of a foreign ground for Hope Mills and the council is testing the waters to see what really resonates with the local population and what types of art they’d like to see more of.

    She said the group would like to explore things like poetry slams, dance, basic writing workshops, anything and everything they could possibly create and introduce art to the community.

    “That’s another reason for the meet and greet,’’ she said. “You don’t have to be an artist or interested in volunteering. If you want to come in and talk to us, I would really love to see this happen in the Hope Mills community.’’

    One topic the council has been discussing is the creation of a Hope Mills choir. “We’d like to have our own group of musicians that would come and perform at various events,’’ Blevins said. “Maybe just as background music, ambience.’’

    Blevins said one reason the group needs more volunteers is it wants the council to establish a visible presence in town parades.

    “We’ll need volunteers to be in the parade as part of the float, create the float and the costumes,’’ she said. “We are hoping to connect with art lovers, art enthusiasts, volunteers. Anyone that has an idea is welcome to talk to us. We want to share with them the ideas we have put on the table and the goals we’ve set for this year, hopefully get them excited about it and be a part of it.’’

    Blevins said the group has had a pretty good response from local artists so far, but added the ones they have connected with to this point are all non-Hope Mills residents.
    “That is something we are hoping to change,’’ she said. While the group is open to all artists from Cumberland County, they especially want to promote those with a direct Hope Mills connection.

    “If you’re an artist from any genre, we want to talk with you,’’ Blevins said. “We would be very interested in doing artist showcases where we secure a venue for artists and put their work on display.’’

    Blevins stressed the council is not limited to promoting any one genre of art. “We’re always open to artists, musicians, actors, anyone from any area in Cumberland County,’’ she said.

    The council has discussed big projects like murals in public areas around town, but for now those are a bit too expensive to pursue. “Because we are working on nonprofit status and are a startup, we don’t have that kind of money right now,’’ Blevins said.

    They are applying for grant money, and if that comes through, they will hopefully be able to get aggressive on installing the town’s first mural sometime in the near future.
    If anyone has questions about the council’s goals or the meet and greet, the email address is hopemillscac@gmail.com.

  • 22 01 William PryorWilliam Pryor

    South View •Basketball/tennis• Senior

    Pryor has a grade point average age of 4.5. He has been accepted to Harvard. A member of the International Baccalaureate Academy, he is student body president and an inductee of several honor societies. He also serves on the Superintendent’s Student Voices Council and the Hope Mills Mayor’s Youth Council.

    22 02 audra sweetAudra Sweet

    South View• Swimming• Sophomore

    Sweet has a 4.33 grade point average. She is in the International Baccalaureate Academy and has been on the A honor roll every semester at South View. She is active in the Health Occupations Students of America. She enjoys theater. She plays bass in the school orchestra. A writer, Sweet is a published poet. She is active in scouting and volunteers at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and Balm in Gilead.

  • 21 lacrosse Wes Davis is on a mission to get young women to put down their smartphones and trade them in on a lacrosse stick.

    “Girls lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport for high schools around the United States for four years in a row,’’ he said.

    His love for the sport led him to approach the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Parks and Recreation Department eight years ago to ask them to start a lacrosse program.
    “They said they were starting but only had four or five girls sign up,’’ Davis said.

    So he went on a recruiting mission to elementary and church league basketball teams.

    Davis feels girls’ lacrosse shares common ground with the sport of basketball, calling it more of a finesse game and less physical than boys’ lacrosse.
    “We use the same skill set as basketball and soccer,’’ Davis said. “We run set plays. We run zone defense. We do the pick and roll.’’

    Davis wound up with 19 girls that first year who agreed to give lacrosse a try. Two years later he began the Fayetteville Flames club lacrosse team for girls.

    “It was a way for girls playing in the spring to play in the summer and the fall,’’ he said.

    Through his work with the Flames, offseason opportunities for girls have continued to grow.

    Last spring he had about 135 girls involved in his program.

    The spinoff is visible in the local high schools as Cape Fear, Terry Sanford and Jack Britt have girls’ teams. Davis said Fayetteville Academy is planning to field a girls’ team this year.

    Meanwhile, Davis is continuing plans to offer offseason opportunities for lacrosse players. His Flames program will conduct a short season in the summer, from around May 7 to June 7. That will be followed by a more extensive program during the fall, which will run from around August 24th until Nov. 1st.

    In the meantime, both high school and recreational lacrosse are getting set to start up for the spring, with the program at the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Parks and Recreation Department and the local high schools fielding teams scheduled to kickoff this week on Thursday, Feb. 13. “They provide the equipment for you, which is pretty awesome,’’ Davis said of the recreation program.

    Interested athletes at the high schools with teams should contact the school athletic director or lacrosse coach. Anyone interested in the parks and recreation program should call the lacrosse director, Robert Corzette, at 910-433-1393.

    Davis said one of the biggest challenges in growing the sport locally is finding good coaches, but they’ve been helped in that effort by Fort Bragg, where a number of people with experience playing and coaching the sport are stationed.

    He also said the lacrosse program at Methodist University has been supportive of the local club program.

    Davis said the recreation department program is especially important because it exposes the girls to competition from established lacrosse areas in the state like Pinehurst, Raleigh, Apex and Holly Springs.

    He hopes more girls will take part in the sport and see it as a possible avenue to a free college education. “We’ve had a lot of girls get college scholarships,’’ Davis said, noting that seven girls from the Flames program are competing at either the Division I, II or III level.

    One of them is Davis’ daughter, Mattie Davis, who signed with Jacksonville University, a traditional women’s lacrosse power. Jacksonville was 17-4 last year, won the Atlantic Sun Conference and qualified for the NCAA tournament.
    Davis has scored 104 goals in her career at Terry Sanford with one season left.

  • 20 Football genericTwitter can be a wonderful thing, especially when you heed the advice of Coach Herman Edwards, one of my heroes, and don’t press send before you transmit something ignorant into cyberspace.

    One of the best ways Twitter is helpful is as an archive to record statements and promises people have made in the past to see if they’ve lived up to them.

    It was just five years ago in late January when the Atlantic Coast Conference released its 2015 football schedule. I happened to save a portion of the press release from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association on Twitter, when that schedule included Friday night college games going head to head with high school football.

    Here is what the statement said:

    “At the NCHSAA we believe Friday nights should be reserved for high school football as the tradition has been for a long time. The ACC has indicated this should not be a regular occurrence, but there are contractual obligations out of our influence and control. We will maintain our focus and hope fans, parents and supporters of high school football will continue to attend local games on Friday nights in the fall.’’

    Fast forward to late January this year, when the ACC released the 2020 football schedule.

    Let’s quickly examine that second sentence. “The ACC has indicated this should not be a regular occurrence, but there are contractual obligations out of our influence and control.’’

    Why am I immediately getting an image of Pinocchio with the growing nose from the insurance commercials?

    On the 2020 ACC schedule, from Friday, Sept 4. until Friday, Nov. 27, there are eight Friday night football games. That includes a doubleheader on Friday, Sept. 4, and six games that will take place during the thick of the regular season.

    Most people have given up on fighting the Friday college football trend, saying it’s a lost cause and that the colleges will never walk away from all that money and exposure.
    I’m not among them. Neither, fortunately, are some of the college football coaches.

    One who has spoken out frequently against the Friday night games is the University of North Carolina’s Mack Brown. As soon as it was announced his Tar Heels will host North Carolina State on Friday, Nov. 27, Brown issued a statement saying he disagreed with playing college football on Friday nights and is lobbying for that game to be scheduled for an afternoon kickoff so it won’t interfere with the state playoff games that will be held that evening.

    Other people who’ve given up, including many in the media, tell me I’m complaining for no reason. I heard some talking heads on a regional radio show say they didn’t see college games on Friday having much impact on high school football. They noted with the advance of technology you can easily watch a college game on a mobile device while you sit in the stands at a high school game.

    That may be true in some locations, but not everywhere. I’ve been to a few high school stadiums in my day, and most of them didn’t have the benefit of free Wi-Fi for everyone to plug in and use their smartphones without draining the data they’ve purchased.

    I bet that’s especially true in the rural areas of the state where small, unsuccessful football schools count heavily on every dime they get from gate receipts when people come to the game to watch.

    Yes, diehard fans are going to show up for high school games. I won’t argue that. But high school football pays the way for the entire athletic program at a lot of schools, and it needs every walkup ticket from casual fans it can get.

    Throw in an inviting college game on TV on Friday nights, add some inclement weather, and it’s likely going to hurt everybody’s gate.

    College football coaches have some clout, and I beg them to make use of it. Band together. Don’t let voices like Mack Brown and a few others be the only ones out there in the wilderness with me complaining this is wrong.

    Reach out to your boosters, your alumni, your average fan, and preach to them that this dog does not hunt and it’s time for the NCAA to stop desecrating the rich tradition of Friday night high school football with the college brand.

    Let’s give Friday nights back to the high school coaches and players.

    Whenever the Fayetteville Sports Club announces its newest Hall of Fame Class, after the congratulations are handed out, one of the first things I hear is, “Why is so and so not in the Hall of Fame?’’

    The best answer I can give is they likely haven’t been nominated. The committee that picks the Hall of Fame members is not omniscient and doesn’t have a crystal ball that shows every viable candidate when it sits down to vote.

    If anyone has a candidate in mind that should be considered, nominations are welcome, but it should be much more than an email saying this person deserves to be chosen. Anyone who’d like to nominate someone for the Hall of Fame can send the information to me at earlucwsports@gmail.com and I’ll forward it to the committee.

    Please include as much background information on the candidate as you can, including major athletic accomplishments, providing documentation for why the individual should be chosen.

    This year’s class will be honored on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m. at Highland Country Club. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by contacting Ashley Petroski at Nobles and Pound Financial at 1315 Fort Bragg Road. The number is 910-323-9195.

    Members of the class are Melanie Grooms-Garrett, Neil Buie, Brent Sexton, Roy McNeill, Jimmy Edwards Jr. and Bob Spicer Sr.

  • 18 01 abby carson Abby Carson
    Terry Sanford • Bowling/Track• Senior

    Carson has a grade point average of 4.21. She is a starter on the Terry Sanford bowling team. She plans to attend Fayetteville State to study nursing and participate in track and field. 



    18 02 joannaJoana Ferreira
    Terry Sanford • Swimming• Senior
    Ferreira has a grade point average of 4.4. She ranks 19th in the senior class and was a marshal in 2019. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Academy of Scholars and Global Studies. She has more than 300 hours of community service and is active at her church. She took part in the AP Capstone Program at Terry Sanford. She plans to attend East Carolina University and pursue a degree in nursing.

  • Two former Douglas Byrd High School football standouts have been honored with induction into major sports halls of fame.

    Former Eagle Donnell Woolford has been selected for induction into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in Raleigh while Earl “Air” Harvey has been picked to be inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia. The two were high school teammates at Byrd in the early 1980s and helped form the foundation of an Eagle program that would play for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A football championship five times during the 1980s and 1990s.
    Here is some background information on both inductees.

    17 01 donnell woolfordDonnell Woolford
    Woolford called his selection to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame a humbling experience and a great honor.

    A native of Dunn, Woolford toured the world with his military family before returning to Fayetteville to play high school football at Douglas Byrd under Bob Paroli.
    Byrd was the final stop in a long coaching career for Paroli that started at Benson in 1958. At one point, Paroli was the winningest high school football coach in North Carolina history. During his career, he coached in three North Carolina All-Star games, the East-West coaches game, the Shrine Bowl and the former North-South game sponsored by the North Carolina Jaycees.

     “I was proud to be an Eagle and under the mentorship of Coach Bob Paroli,’’ Woolford said. “He was a great coach. He stayed on you and made sure you did the right thing.’’

    Woolford called Paroli the support and foundation of his career.

    Woolford was a standout running back during his playing days at Byrd, but when he arrived at Clemson University in 1985, he decided to switch to defensive back. Woolford was personally recruited to come to Clemson by former Tiger head coach Danny Ford, who led Clemson to the school’s first national championship in college football in 1981.

    Woolford was twice chosen to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference first team, helping Clemson win three ACC championships.

    In addition, he was a second team All-American and a consensus All-American in his final two years with the Tigers. He finished his career with 10 interceptions. Also a punt returner, he averaged 15.5 yards per return and scored two touchdowns in 1987.

    In Woolford’s final three seasons at Clemson, the Tigers compiled a record of 28-6-2. They finished in the top 10 in the national college football rankings in 1987 and 1988.
    Upon graduation, he was the No. 11 overall selection in the 1989 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears. Woolford was attending a family cookout when he got the call confirming he was drafted from Bears Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Mike Ditka.

    Woolford spent 10 years in the NFL, nine with the Bears and one with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Woolford was chosen to the Pro Bowl in 1993 and named All-Pro in 1994.

    He once owned the Bears’ record for interceptions by a cornerback with 36. He also was credited with 603 tackles.

    As part of the NFL’s observance of the league’s 100th anniversary, the Bears selected their top 100 players of all time. Woolford made the list
    at No. 78.

    Woolford and the rest of this year’s North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame selections will be officially inducted on Friday, May 1, at the Raleigh Convention Center.

    17 02 Earl HarveyEarl Harvey

    This is the second hall of fame that Harvey, another former Douglas Byrd standout, has been chosen to. He was previously picked for the CIAA Hall of Fame in 2016.
    Harvey played his college football at North Carolina Central University. It was while he was there he earned the nickname “Air” for his prowess as a passer.

    He was a four-time first-team All-CIAA pick at quarterback from 1985-88.

    In 1985, he was the first rookie quarterback in the history of the CIAA to throw for more than 3,000 yards.

    For his performance he was chosen to the Black College Sports All-American second team. He was also named the Black College Sports Freshman of the year, completing 188 of 392 passes. He threw for 22 touchdowns and ran for seven more.

    Harvey set records for NCCU, the CIAA and NCAA Division II. His marks included 690 career completions, 10,621 passing yards, 10,667 career total offensive yards and 86 career touchdown passes.

    In all, Harvey broke 15 NCAA Division II career records and held eight NCAA Division II single-season records.

    Twice during his college career at North Carolina Central, Harvey was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award, which recognizes the NCAA Division II football player of the year. He finished third in the voting for the award in 1988 and fifth in 1986.

    In 1988, he was chosen as an American Football Coaches Association All-American. He led North Carolina Central to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
    Harvey and the rest of the 2020 Black College Football Hall of Fame class will be inducted on Feb. 22 at the College Football Hall of Fame in
    Atlanta, Georgia.
  • uac020812001.jpg Kids of the ‘80s — or anyone who appreciates the musical sound of that especially big-haired decade — are in for a treat when Rock of Ages comes to the Crown on Feb 14. The fourth in a series of fi ve shows presented by Community Concerts, this particular performance promises to be huge. If you’re new in town or have somehow missed the last 75 years of amazing entertainment that Community Concerts brings to town each concert season, Rock of Ages is a great choice for a first show.

    The musical is set in 1987 on the Sunset Strip. Sherrie, a small-town girl, comes to L.A. to make it big. Drew, from South Detroit is drawn to Hollywood for the same reason. The two meet — and they fall in love to the songs of the ‘80s. Songs by Journey, Night Ranger, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Asia, Whitesnake and more recount the emotions, drama and excitement of their love story/adventure.

    Nominated five times for a Tony Award, Rock of Ages brings back fond memories for fans of the big-hair bands of the ‘80s.

    “We are really excited about Rock of Ages,” said Michael Fleishman, attractions director for Community Concerts. “This show is a huge hit on Broadway and is being made into a movie starring Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin. It’s something we believe our audience will really enjoy.”

    Some other big names in the film include Julianne Hough, Malin Akerman, Catherine Zeta Jones, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti and Mary J. Blige. Fans of the stage version can enjoy the show in theaters on June 1.

    “Tickets have really starting jumping on this show,” said Fleishman. “This is a great thing to do for Valentine’s Day. It is something a little different. Instead of waiting at your favorite restaurant for an hour, this is a chance to hear all the music of the ‘80s in a really fun and upbeat show.

    ”Dominique Scott couldn’t agree more. He plays the part of Drew in Rock of Ages and is lookin02-08-12-roa-logo.jpgg forward to putting on a top-notch show when they come to the Crown.

    “My favorite part is the audience’s reaction to the show,” said Scott. “People really love it. There is a general sense of excitement about the show. People who know nothing about the story or music when they walk in all walk out having had a good time. By the final number the crowd is up on its feet laughing and clapping and enjoying the show.”

    Scott says that the cast loves the response they get from the audience at each performance and that the synergy that develops between the cast and the viewers can be pretty intense.

    “It is breathtaking to perform in front of thousands of people every night. They know all the songs for the most part and by the end everybody is standing up and dancing and having a good time,” he said. “There is a certain energy that we share with the audience back and forth from the stage and it is something that is really special and breathtaking — and something that I look forward to every night.”

    Now in its 76th season, Community Concerts is not only Fayetteville’s oldest arts organization; it is comprised of an all-volunteer workforce dedicated to bringing quality entertainment to Fayetteville and the Fort Bragg/Cumberland County community. With a keen ear tuned to what interests and excites its audiences, the group has steadily expanded and grown as similar community groups around the country have fallen by the wayside.

    Clearly, community is the operative word in the organization’s name. Beyond great entertainment, Community Concerts also supports programs that02-08-12-roa-photo-9.jpgbenefit local citizens.

    The Boy’s and Girl’s Club receive generous support from Community Concerts as do deserving seniors. Local children benefi t from music clinics and a music scholarship fund. Each year the group recognizes local performers and musicians in the Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame.

    “There are so many people in our community who have contributed to the quality of life here,” said Fleishman. “They’ve entertained us, taught our children and brought the love of music and entertaining into the lives of our citizens. These are people who deserve to be recognized and it is only right for us to do that.”

    In the end, making Fayetteville a better place is what matters to the volunteers who drive Community Concerts. Being able to make meaningful differences in the community, provide great shows for their audiences and still have a great time is one of the reasons Fleishman has stayed with the group for so long. Every year is a new adventure and every show is a chance to make the audience cheer — and Rock of Ages is a show that he expects will have people on their feet throughout the night.

    “This is a very fun show. It was a big hit on Broadway and it is going to be a big deal with this movie coming out,” said Fleishman.

    The 2011-2012 season comes to and end on Friday, April 14 when the incomparable Patti LaBelle comes to the Crown.

    Rock of Agesstarts at 7:30 p.m. at the Crown. Tickets are available to all Community Concerts shows at www.community-concerts.com/contact-us and at www.atthecrown.com.

  • 16 01 pine forest wrestlersParticipation by females in the sport of high school wrestling is on the rise nationally as well as in Cumberland County.

    A check with Cumberland County Schools athletic directors revealed there are 15 female wrestlers competing on varsity teams in the county this year with only E.E. Smith and South View reporting no females on their wrestling teams.

    The schools with the biggest turnout of females this season are Pine Forest with four and Jack Britt with three.

    Coaches Byron Sigmon of Jack Britt and Charles Daniels of Pine Forest both encourage females to take part in 16 02 britt wrestlers copythe sport at their schools.

    “I’m recruiting everybody, especially now that women’s wrestling has taken off in North Carolina,’’ Daniels said.

    Last year, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association held its first state wrestling championship tournament solely for female wrestlers. The second one is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 8, at Carolina Courts in Concord.

    Sigmon, who sometimes tries to recruit female wrestlers from his weightlifting class, said he’s noticed an increase in participation in the sport by females from the upper weight classes.

    Last year, a Jack Britt wrestler, Madajah Trapier, won the 152-pound state title in the first NCHSAA women’s wrestling tournament. The school awarded her a state championship ring.

    “That kind of opened the eyes of a good many girls on our team and in our school,’’ Sigmon said.

    Talking to the various girls from Cumberland County who are involved in wrestling, it’s clear they have a variety of reasons for giving the
    sport a try.

    Andrea Moore is a 113-pound sophomore in her second year with the Buccaneers. She doesn’t want boys to think the sport is just for males. “It’s for anybody,’’ she said.
    Adria Bell, a 138-pound sophomore at Britt, is the sister of former Buccaneer star Erick Martinez.

    She said a lot of older women come up to her at matches and tell her they wish they had had the opportunity to try wrestling when they were in high school.
    “Whenever I get on the mat, I’m nervous,’’ she said. “It’s teammates supporting and motivating you that helps. We can all relate to it more.’’

    Diandra Tejada brings an unusual skill set to the wrestling mat. She’s in the lowest weight class, 106 pounds. The Jack Britt newcomer just moved in from Texas and is a cheerleader, dancer and singer. She also runs track and competes in weightlifting.

    One of the things that strikes her most is how small the wrestling community is, probably because the sport is so challenging.

    “The physical part has been extremely demanding and a lot different from anything I’ve ever done,’’ she said. “I make sure I’m eating right and taking care of myself mentally and physically.’’

    Her goals whenever she gets on the mat are simple. “I just do my best to wrestle as hard as I can, so I can step off the mat and be proud of myself,’’ she said.

    At Pine Forest, Anamaria Bailey is the veteran among the female contingent. A senior in the 170 pound class, this is her fourth year on the Trojan wrestling team. She comes from a unique athletic background, participating in rugby before she switched to wrestling.

    She admits it was awkward when she started wrestling as a freshman, being the only female on the team.

    “There was always a stigma and there’s always going to be one regardless of the changing times,’’ she said. “There were always people asking questions and making weird faces. I never let it bother me.’’

    Bailey understands the natural curiosity but she’s glad the sport is becoming more inclusive.

    “I’m happy to have my girl teammates, just as much as I am for the boys to be here,’’ she said.

    Like Bailey, teammate Jewel Arrowsmith, a 126-pound sophomore, brings an interesting background to the sport. She’s a gymnast, who took up wrestling after her brother became a member of the team.

    Like most of the females, Arrowsmith said she has to overcome a lack of strength against most male opponents by emphasizing technique. “Day by day I get better,’’ she said. “I would definitely like to place in the women’s state tournament. I look forward to having a medal.’’

    Another Pine Forest wrestler, Kahala Bandmann, a 138-pound junior, also followed her brother into the sport. A soccer player, she’s convinced her work in wrestling will help her to be in excellent shape when soccer season for girls starts in the spring.

    She said she tries to overcome any shortcomings with strength by outthinking her opponents, but admits that can be hard. “You get carried away when you’re in the moment,’’ she said. “You have to stay focused.’’

    That focus includes not being caught up in the fact she’s facing a male opponent on the mat most of the time. “Your goal is just to beat them,’’ she said. “You’re not thinking about how close you are to a guy or anything else that goes through your head.’’

    Hailie Misplay, a 132-pound freshman, plays softball and feels wrestling is helping her get stronger and improve her power at the plate.

    She knows most of the males she faces will be stronger than she is, but that’s not something that she worries about. “I have to be smarter, quicker and out-technique them to beat them,’’ she said.

    As for the future of the sport, most of the girls feel that participation by females is only going
    to increase.

    “If they see more girls are going out to wrestle, it’s like a trend,’’ Bell said. “One starts, then more come. It’s a domino effect.’’

    Top picture from L-R: Anamaria Bailey, Jewel Arrowsmith, Kahala Bandmann and Hailie Misplay.

    Bottom picture from L-R L-R Adria Bell, Diandra Tejada, Andrea Moore.

  • 15 bookIs it really just a fairy tale?

    That is what some reviewers of a new book are calling one of my favorite stories. That book is “Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China” by Jung Chang.

    The book profiles and puts in historical context the lives of the three Soong sisters who played important but very different roles in the history of China during the republican revolution and overthrow of the Manchu rule and the later Communist takeover in 1949.

    The “fairy tale” began in the 1880s when Charlie Soong, a Chinese teenager, made his way to Wilmington, where he was baptized. Sponsored by North Carolina Methodists, he went to Trinity College and Vanderbilt University to prepare to return to China as a missionary. Back in China, he went into business, became wealthy and fathered three daughters. How they came to be important figures in Chinese history is the subject of the new book.

    Soong sent all three to study in the U.S., where they learned to speak and read English as well as or better than Chinese.

    The Big Sister of the book’s title is Soong’s oldest daughter, Ei-ling, who married a successful businessman and became wealthy. Red Sister is his middle daughter, Ching-ling, who married Sun Yat-sen, the first president of the Chinese republic.

    Little Sister is his youngest daughter, May-ling, who married Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of China’s Nationalist government.

    I have always been entranced by the North Carolina origins of this amazing and important family. But now, thanks to the new book, I have had to adjust my story.

    First, I learned that the key to the Soong family’s success might have been more due to Charlie’s wife, Ni Kwei-tseng, than to Charlie. Ni came from an important and long-standing Chinese Christian clan and Ni was very devout. May-ling remembered, “I knew my mother lived very close to God... asking God was not a matter of spending five minutes to ask Him to bless her child. …It meant waiting upon God until she felt his leading.”

    Thus the Soong family’s solid Christian identity came not so much from Charlie’s North Carolina Methodist training as from Ni’s family background and her longstanding

    Secondly, I learned that Sun Yat-sen was not the hero I had always believed him to be. In the view of author Jung Chang, Sun was overrated, worked for his own aggrandizement rather than the good of the Chinese people and did not deserve credit for China’s revolution that overthrew the Manchu dynasty that had ruled China for centuries. Although he plotted for the rest of his life to become president of the new Chinese Republic, he served only a few weeks as interim president and spent most of his remaining life opposing those in power and inciting armed rebellion and civil war.

    Sun had a mesmerizing power. His sister-in-law, May-ling, explained, “I have noticed that most successful men are usually not the ones with great power as geniuses but the ones who had such ultimate faith in their own selves that invariably they hypnotize others to that belief as well as themselves.”

    She was describing Sun’s powers and, those of similar self-focused political leaders. Sun’s wife, Ching-ling, once deeply in love with him, became disenchanted with his self-focus. When Sun sought support from the Soviet Union to fund his efforts to take control of all of China, Ching-ling came in contact with Russians and the Communist ideology. After Sun’s death in 1925, she exploited her connection to Sun and styled herself Madam Sun Yat-sen. She used that connection to support the revolutionary efforts of the Mao-led Communists against the forces of May-ling’s husband, Chiang Kai-shek.

    There is no fairy tale ending. Madam Sun Yat-sen and Madam Chiang Kai-shek never reconciled.

  • 13 Book“It is one of the best books I ever read, maybe the best.”

    That got my attention, but when my friend told me it was a family history book, I cooled down.

     “But this one is something different. It is special. I couldn’t put it down.”

    So when she pushed a copy of John May's privately published “The Mays of Alamanns’ Creek: A Family Odyssey” on me, I agreed to read a few pages. That decision was made easier because May, a retired textile executive, is also the author of “Poe and Fanny,” an imaginative and deeply researched novel based on a portion of Edgar Allan Poe’s life. It is one of my all-time favorites.

    Still, I was skeptical. Family histories can be interesting. But, even when written by great writers, they can also be tedious or too inwardly focused to have broad appeal.
    Because May grew up in a prominent Burlington family, I thought the book would teach me some interesting regional history. Maybe I would learn more. Family histories and memoirs reach back generations, sometimes even going back across the ocean to times before the family came to North America.

    It turns out that May follows his family to times long before their arrival in Burlington, before his ancestors landed in Pennsylvania and moved to Burlington. He follows them all the way back to the 1500s in Germany.

    And if that weren’t enough, he then takes his family back to the origin of human and human-like species in Africa thousands and thousands of years ago.

    Using the results of recent findings in genetics, anthropology and other science, he builds a framework to tell stories about what might have happened to his ancestors as they migrated. Over thousands of years they moved slowly from Africa, across to Asia, then along lands beside the Black Sea, through what is now Bulgaria and Rumania, up the Danube and down the Rhine rivers winding up in a small village near Frankfurt, Germany.

    May explains how the slow migration often took place in clans or family groups. When a settled group outgrew the capacity of its surrounding land, it would break up and move far enough away to have its own separate land that could provide sufficient game and other food.

    Slowly, over thousands of years, these incremental relocations would lead to massive movements of populations.

    As he did in “Poe and Fanny,” May mixes fact and fiction. His ancestor, Jorg May, born in 1520 in Gelnhausen, Germany, managed a vineyard. That is fact. Also factual are the accounts of the uncertain times created by the religious and political upheavals that resulted from Martin Luther’s break with the Catholic Church. Based around these facts and his research about the times, May creates believable and interesting characters and stories of their lives.

    May’s story becomes more relevant when Jorg’s descendant, Daniel May, a poor German farm boy, read glowing reports about North Carolina in a publication called “The Golden Book.”

    He made his way to Amsterdam and then to Pennsylvania and down the Wagon Road to what became Alamance County. He arrived in time for the Regulator Rebellion and the American Revolution.

    Daniel’s grandson, Henry P., moved to Indiana, served in the Union Army and moved to California before coming back to Alamance to court and marry Barbara, a woman he met before the war when she was working in a textile factory. Their grandson, William Henry May, built a textile empire in Burlington. He is John May’s grandfather.

    All these stories, blended fact and fiction, set in different times and places, and so well told by May, make for an unusual and satisfying reading experience.

    Sadly, May only printed a few copies for friends and family. We may have to wait a while before more are available.

  • 02-20-13-circus.gifFresh salty peanuts, sweet brightly colored cotton candy and laughter are all tastes, sights and sounds associated with the circus. For people young and old the circus is a place to be awed and entertained by the amazing feats of the performers — animals and humans alike — and from Feb. 28 until March 3, the Ringling Brothers Circus will be in Fayetteville.

    The Ringling Brothers Circus has been around since 1919, and is known for its extreme and awe-inspiring shows. Cathy Carden, an elephant trainer with the circus, described the upcoming show for us.

    “It’s a really awesome high-energy show called Fully Charged. Everything lights up with color, and it’s very cool. We have a new ringmaster, David Shipman, who sings throughout the show. We have a lot of original music, some pop tunes and we have a live band, which is a Ringling tradition.”

    Almost all of the music is original music with a high-energy sound. It is upbeat. The show includes everything an audience expects from a circus. There are jugglers and animals, clowns and acrobats.

    “We have high-wire performers, and we have the globe of steel,” said Carden. “A steel globe is made out of strips of metal and you can see inside. The motorcycles get inside and ride in it — even upside down. It is one of the most dangerous acts in the circus world. They have three motorcycles in there at one time! The one we use is the smallest one in the business which means it has to be more precise and the riders have to have a faster reaction time.”

    Exotic and trained animals are another major staple of the circus. No circus is complete without an elephant, but the Ringling Brothers Circus has all of that and more.

    “We have many animals which include three elephants I have had my whole life,” said Carden. “For 39 years we’ve been together every day. It is very cool to have elephants as part of the family. We also have two camels, two Arabian horses, two Shetland ponies, one mini horse and a baby camel who is 7-months-old named Sable. He is so smart it is scary. I have 16 dogs, six of which are in training and 10 of which are performing,” she added.

    Yet the Ringling Brothers Circus has far more than standard circus fair. There are dancers and acrobats — acrobats from Russia perform on a moving platform that is elevated like a trapeze/mini stage. They do fl ips on and off of the platform as it moves.

    “We also have an award winning Cirque du Soleil personality from Russia as well,” said Carden. “He does a trapeze aerial act that is amazing. He takes a pad like a mattress and they pull him to the top of the ring and he falls and does incredible acrobatics on the way down. I have never seen anything like it.”

    Another way Fully Charged goes above and beyond in its productions is by opening up the experience to the public.

    “The one thing the kids really like is the preshow. It is free with your ticket and starts one hour before the show. They can come to the ring, meet the performers, and take pictures with them. You can see the elephants up close and come back stage and see the animals get prepped for the show and see all the props. That is one of the best parts of coming to the show,” Carden explained.

    The circus will be in town from Feb. 28, until March 3, at the Crown Coliseum. Tickets can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com or at the Ringling Brothers Circus website www.ringling.com or by phone at 800-745-3000. For more information, call 919-510-0641. Remember, the preshow is free with tickets and begins one hour before the show starts.

    Photo: Elephant trainer Cathy Carden has been with her elephants for 39 years.

  • It has been said that while bread may nourish the body, it is the flower that nourishes the soul. But which flower would nourish your soul the most? If you were to ask the members of the Fayetteville Camellia Club, you could probably bet that they’d say...the camellia. March 2 and 3 the FCC will host the 67th Annual Camellia Show at Cape Fear Botanical Garden, where there will be hundreds of blossoms for your viewing pleasure. Last year there were more than 1,000 blooms on display and the number of attendees reached into the 300s.

    02-27-13-camelias.gifA flower that is native to the Orient, the camellia is a blooming shrub that produces large and small, often double and wonderfully flamboyant flowers. From scarlet reds and pinks to pure whites and yellows, this fl ower is sure to please the eye. Blooming mainly in the fall and winter months, the camellia offers a respite from barren limbs and brown grass and brings with it the promise of spring.

    “I have put camellias in pots on my front porch for the winter season. They have shiny, dark green leaves and their winter flowers give a nice contrast to the usual pot of pansies,” said Cathy McCamish, the president of the FCC. McCamish is also a Certified Master Gardner with a certifi cate in Ornamental Horticulture.

    “The first camellia show I attended left me in awe,” McCamish explained. “I thought I would find a few favorite flowers to use in my landscape, only to start a never-ending wish list of camellia varieties.”

    Whether you’re already a seasoned camellia lover or just starting out, there is something for you at the show. Planned are seminars with guest speakers on Saturday and tours of the Mary McLaurin Camellia Garden on both Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the show is free. However, a $6 fee for adults and a $1.50 fee for children will apply to those who want to take the tour as it provides attendees access to the entire 78-acres of the garden. If you’re looking to buy a camellia plant, an FCC member can help you choose from a selection of the best quality. They’ll even advise you on how to care for them.

    “They can live for 50 years or more, with very little care,” McCamish said of the plant. “They’re attractive even without flowers, and their leaves stay green year-round.”

    For those of you with green thumbs, you might enjoy entering your own camellia blooms for a chance to be a prize winner. Prizes will be awarded in 30 different categories, including Novice and Best Local Unprotected. If you think your blooms have what it takes, go to the FCC’s website (www.fayettevillecamelliaclub.org) and see how to prepare them to enter by clicking on the Camellia Show tab. Contestants must have their blooms to the Orangery, at the far right of the Cape Fear Botanical Garden visitors’ center, between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday, March 2. Judging will conclude around 12 p.m. and the winning blooms will be marked. The overall winners will be given the honor of being displayed together in their own separate group throughout the show.

    “We hope to live up to our mission,” McCamish said of the FCC. “To stimulate and extend appreciation of camellias and to encourage and support the science and art of camellia culture.”

    The show begins March 2 from 12-4 p.m. and continues March 3 from 12-4 p.m. Attendees should go to the Orangery at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden. The garden is located at 536 N. Eastern Blvd. (Route 301), Fayetteville. If you would like to sponsor the Annual Camellia Show or just want more information, go to www.fayettevillecamelliaclub.org or email them at info@fayettevillecamelliaclub.org.

    Photo: The Camellia Show  is scheduled for March 2, at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

  • 12 01 berriesThe Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County presents the “Troublesome Presence”  exhibit until March 13. The intent of the exhibit is to create conversations about troublesome moments for African Americans in today’s society.

     “The exhibit, as far as the artwork that is featured inside of the art gallery, includes paintings, sculptures, videos, mixed media, photography, spoken word, poetry and movement,” said Metoya Scott, public relations manager at the Arts Council. “The exhibit features 19 pieces by 13 black North Carolina-based artists, and it is an amazing exhibition that is very thought provoking.” 

    The presenting artists are Derrick Beasley, Johnny Lee Chapman III, Dare Coulter, Andre’ Leon Gray, Jaki Shelton Green, Carly P. Jones, Stephen Hayes, Anthony Otto Nelson Jr., Nicole Oxendine, Telvin Wallace, Lamar Whidbee, Antoine Williams and Stephanie J. Woods.

    12 02 Exhibit“There is a five-minute film in our west gallery that loops all day long,” Scott said. “It is called ‘Free Market.’ It features an original poem and movement that was directed by Michael S. Williams and was filmed at the Market House in downtown Fayetteville.” In the piece, Williams speaks about the value that is placed on African Americans in history and today. 

    “With this exhibit, ‘Troublesome Presence,’ we are looking at identity, agency, introspection, intersectionality and other things,” said Williams, independent consultant, curator and founder of The Black On Black Project. “The title of the exhibition comes from a speech that Abraham Lincoln gave in 1852 when he gave a eulogy for Henry Clay, who was president and one of the founders of the American Colonization Society, in which Lincoln referred to free African Americans as a troublesome presence on slaveholders.”
    The Black On Black Project  website, https://www.blackonblackproject.com, explains why America needs to be willing to examine its stance on equality saying, “This work matters because important conversations about equity need to happen so that all community members are valued. A diverse community can be enriching, but engaging in dialogue about identity and difference is a must.

    “This work makes a difference in the lives of marginalized individuals and communities by allowing space to be seen and heard. It also makes a difference in the lives of the larger community by creating space to engage with others. When this engagement and dialogue happen, everyone’s life is enriched.”

    Williams added the idea of the exhibition is to show the antithesis of troublesome — that African Americans have not been troublesome in the United States.

     “One of the pieces in the exhibit includes  two works called ‘A Radiant Revolution II’ and ‘A Radiant Revolution III’ which are mixed media pieces by an artist named Stephanie J. Woods from Charlotte,” said Williams of the two-piece installation that is considered one work. “The work really highlights how much (black women matter) and how important black women are and how showing black women their ‘black is beautiful’ and ‘strong black girl,’ which is another phrase in one of the works, (is important).
    “There’s a piece in the show called ‘Untitled,’ and it is another video piece,” said Williams. “It features words from North Carolina poet laureate Jaki Shelton Green, dance instructor Nicole Oxendine and opera singer Carly P. Jones, who are outliers in their respective fields because you don’t see a lot of African American women in those roles. The idea is to show you have agency.    

    “Through artwork and some of our programs and workshops, we hope to showcase these 13 North Carolina-based artists and the work that they produced to show African Americans in a different light other than troublesome, but rather (as) folks who have done a lot to help the United States,” said Williams. “Through that, we hope to bring communities together to have somewhat difficult conversations about some of the things we face today.”   

    On its website, the Arts Council notes “The Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County partners with the Black On Black Project to produce an art exhibition and community programming that respond to the challenges communities of color face locally and across the country. After spending time in conversation with local leaders and members of the community, we’ve created an exhibit that aims to reflect a diversity of experiences. This partnership desires to bring more perspectives to the table for an open, honest dialogue to create an equitable future.”

    There  are four remaining events at the Arts Council in conjunction with this exhibition.

    Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. is a screening of “Wilmington on Fire.” The documentary covers the only successful coup in United States history, which happened in 1898 in Wilmington, N.C. Following the screening, a panel discussion will take place, featuring the director of the film, Christopher Everett, as well as some of the documentary’s other team members.

    Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. is a panel discussion titled “How artists can affect change in the community.” The panelists are Derrick Beasley, artist; Dare Coulter, artist; Sherris Johnson, founding director of OUR Place; Sonny Kelly, writer and performer of “The Talk.”

    Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. is a panel discussion titled  “The importance of understanding and documenting history.”This panel discussion will address how the documentation of history will affect how people remember history later.

    Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. is an evening of spoken word. Featured poets include Ayanna Albertson, Ashlee Connors, Ashley Lumpkins and Sherris Johnson. The poetry is written in response to the “Troublesome Presence” exhibit. The spoken word event is the Arts Council’s monthly Fourth Friday event.

    The film screening and three panel discussions are facilitated by Williams.

    Seating is limited for the programming events, so attendees should RSVP by emailing admin@theartscouncil.com or by calling 910-323-1776.

     The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information visit https://www.theartscouncil.com. or call 910-323-1776.

    Picture 1: “The Blacker The Berry” by Dare Coulter

    Picture 2: “Through It All” by Lamar Whidbee

  • 10 Close up of Falling Down WallpaperTwo local galleries have collaborated to bring a thought-provoking exhibition about materials, style and content. “New Media Abstraction and Identity Politics: in Traditional and Contemporary Black Visual Art” is an exhibit that spans two galleries: Rosenthal Gallery at Fayetteville State University and Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery at 311 Gillespie St. in Fayetteville.

    Visitors to each gallery will immediately feel that each artist in the exhibit has something to communicate about a fixed experience and possibilities. In combination with the diverse materials artists use, no one will leave the exhibit without reflecting on the power of the visual image to evoke someone’s passion on a subject — more than likely a transformative experience will take place for anyone visiting the galleries.

    One can sense that each artist in the exhibit is part of a greater intent — to help people come to know or understand something by feeling it emotionally or physically. Dwight Smith, the curator of the exhibit at Rosenthal Gallery, defines new media abstraction as “a contemporary aesthetic used to examine, interrogate and re-imagine dominate cultural narratives of black experiences … contemporary artists exploring a wide range of traditional and nontraditional materials from a variety of sources.”

    Smith noted, “Looking for works that infuse elements of technology, music and pop culture, science fiction, magical realism or historical fantasy is effective in helping visual artists articulate new subjectivities as well as new realities. In this invitational 10 02 For Strengthexhibit, artists were asked to freely interpret the various ideas discussed within the theme of new media abstraction.”

    Of the 48 artists from the East Coast and Midwest, 30 works are in Rosenthal Gallery and the remaining 18 are located at Ellington-White Contemporary gallery. Included in the exhibit are new young artists, but also a “Who’s Who” of nationally recognized artists: Ben Jones, Peggy Blood, David C. Driskell, Willis Bing Davis, John Biggers, Margaret T. Burroughs, Shirley Woodson, Charlie Johnson, Louise M. Johnson, Lee Ransaw and Robert J. Stull.

    An older generation and a new generation of black artists are exhibiting together to create a wave of Afrocentric sensibility, social justice and everyday black life as the structural underpinning. There are so many excellent works of art in the exhibition that visitors will need to visit each gallery several times to absorb the range of themes and ways in which materials are used to evoke meaning.

    I did select two artists to share with readers. New generation artist Ackeem Salmon is exhibiting a large work titled “For Strength.” A mixed-media photo transfer on wood, the portrait is an enticing work on many levels. Visitors will be stunned by the classical beauty of the image. Yet upon closer examination, one will see Salmon leaves the surface rough in areas; seams of the transfer paper are evident to contrast with what the image renders possible — perfection.

    An older and established artist, Ben Jones, has two works in the exhibit that reflect his preoccupation with two themes, environmentalism and social justice. Rosenthal Gallery is exhibiting an 8’x 8’ detailed wall hanging on canvas titled “Falling Down Wallpaper.” In this work, the artist promotes the idea of saving and valuing our environment by including words from poems and painted a series of images from nature — birds and plant life.

    In contrast, Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery is exhibiting an installation by Ben Jones titled “Trayvon Martin.” The 8’x 8’ wall hanging on canvas is a grid design of hundreds of images of the slain teenager. Jones modified each image to reflect the results of social media and the variety of ways people across the county viewed the teenager. A wooden chair painted a flat black and a stack of toy guns are in front of the 8’x 8’ detailed and challenging wall hanging.

    Jones is presenting lectures, one on Feb. 7, to Fayetteville State University art students and the public at Rosenthal Gallery and another lecture for the public, Feb. 8, at Ellington-White Gallery.

    Jones is an American artist with a great interest in Cuba, where he is well-known and has had several major exhibitions. Jones has made over 50 cultural exchange visits to Cuba since the 1970s and is noted by the Granma International of Havana, Cuba, as one of the most important African-American artists of his generation. For nearly five decades, Jones’ multimedia installations have reflected his travel and research in Africa, Europe, South America, the United States and the Caribbean to include the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, New York; and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba, to name a few. He has received numerous grants and awards including two National Endowment for the Arts grants (2007 and 1974-75), The Puffin Foundation (2005) and The Joan Mitchell Foundation grant (2002) among many others. Jones has lectured at universities, museums and cultural institutions worldwide including, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia; Wilfredo Lam Center, Havana, Cuba; and University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana.

    Having such a powerful large exhibit as “New Media Abstraction and Identity Politics: in Traditional and Contemporary Black Visual Art” leads to a simple question, how were the galleries able to coordinate so many established and new artists in one exhibition?

    Both agencies have had connections to two established organizations that have promoted the works of black artists for many years: The National Conference of Artists and The National Alliance of Artists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The National Conference of Artists, founded in 1959, is devoted to the preservation, promotion, and furtherance of African and African-American culture, and the creative forces of the artists that emanate from the African world experience.

    The NCA proudly proclaims its existence as the oldest African-American visual arts advocacy organization in the United States. Its members include artists, educators, scholars, exhibitors, art distributors, art collectors and gallery owners, museum personnel and supporters of African and African-American art and culture. It has national chapters in many large urban areas of the country. The newest chapter is the North Carolina Chapter, which is located in Fayetteville.

    Dr. Lee A. Ransaw, then dean of arts and letters and chair of the Fine Arts Department, along with Lamar Wilson, Director of the Ruth Hall Hodges Art Gallery, envisioned the National Alliance of Artists from HBCUs during the summer of 1999 on the campus of Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia. NAAHBCU’s mission statement defines the purpose of the organization is to bring art and art education to the forefront of member institutions and to keep these programs as institutional priorities for generations to come.

    The Alliance is committed to developing in its members, and especially students, the artistic and life skills needed to function as literate citizens in the society of today and in the future. The NAAHBCU also exists to provide comprehensive activities that offer artistic and expressive opportunities for professional artists employed or formerly employed at member institutions as well as for historians and curators, collectors and friends of the arts.

    “New Media Abstraction and Identity Politics: in Traditional and Contemporary Black Visual Art” will be on exhibit until Feb. 29. Ben Jones will be the featured guest lecturer for the exhibition on Feb. 7, at Rosenthal Gallery and Feb. 8,  at Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery.
    For more information, contact Dwight Smith, assistant professor of visual art and director of the Rosenthal Gallery, Fayetteville State University at 910-672-1795.

    Top picture: “Falling Down Wallpaper” by Ben Jones
    Bottom picture: “For Strength” by Ackeem Salmon
  • Editor's note: The Siberian State Symphony Orchestra has been cancelled. The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine will be at Givens Performing Arts Center on Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. The orchestra’s performance will replace the previously scheduled Siberian State Symphony Orchestra. Tickets range from $21 to $31 for adults and $8 for children.

    Siberian Symphony picLive from Russia: The Siberian State Symphony Orchestra embarked on its eight-week United States tour in January 2020. Music played by the acclaimed 80-member orchestra from Krasnoyarsk, Russia will fill the Givens Performing Arts Center on Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m.

    Led by Music Director and Conductor Vladimir Lande, the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra will play celebrated Russian classics in an enchanting symphonic evening. Included in the performance are classical music compositions by 19th century Russian composers Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky and 20th Century composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Lande is also the Music Director and Conductor for the Washington Soloists Chamber Orchestra and the COSMIC Symphony Orchestra.

    The orchestra dates back to 1977 in the former Soviet Union, winning the reputation as one of the premier orchestras of the time. After the political regime change in the Soviet Union, the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra was allowed to tour internationally and was received on the international stage with much praise.

    Considered a culturally important institution, the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra eagerly shares the musical arts of Russia with the world through concerts and albums.

    During the concert Peter Laul, award winning pianist and regular performer with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and the Lincoln Center in New York, as well as other venues around the globe, will entertain guests with a solo performance.

    Attendees will enjoy Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Shostakovich’s "Tango" from the ballet “Bolt,” and Mussorgsky’s "Pictures at the Exhibition."

    Fun fact: Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concert No.1 was personally conducted by Tchaikovsky at the opening of Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1891. This was a rare occasion for a well-known composer of 19th Century European Romantic period music to come to the United States to perform.

    When asked how the GPAC is able to host such an internationally acclaimed orchestra, Chad Locklear, Marketing Director for the Givens Performing Arts Center, stated, “The GPAC is committed to bringing high-caliber and diverse arts experience to our community. This orchestra meets that category because it has a reputation as being one of the best in Russia.”

    “In the digital age of Netflix and social media, nothing will ever take the place of experiencing the arts live in person,” he said. “I hope attendees will come away feeling appreciative and inspired to continue to attend and support the arts.”  

    The performance is expected to last 78 minutes with a 15 minute intermission in between. The GPAC seats 1,600 people and there are discounts for groups of 10 or more and for children under age 13.

    Tickets may be purchased by phone at 910-521-6361 or online using the link found on their website. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the GPAC box office. Tickets prices are between $21-$31 for adults, $18 for children, $16 for faculty and staff, and $5 for UNCP Students. Visit https://www.uncp.edu/resources/gpac/professional-artist-series/siberian-state-symphony-orchestra for more information. 

  •    Feeling lucky?
       Got your rabbit’s foot on and your mojo working?
       Want to put it all on black and spin the wheel just once in your life?
       Then it’s a safe bet that you’ll have a grand time — for a grand cause — at the 4th Annual Casino Night scheduled for Friday, Feb. 13, at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux.
       The annual event — sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Fayetteville, Inc., and Carolina Mortgage Center — presents an evening of Las Vegas-style gambling to raise money for a worthy cause.
       For $75, you’ll get $500 worth of “funny money” to gamble on slots, blackjack and Texas Hold ‘em, with a shot at winning top prizes, including a piece of jewelry from Carlyle, a 42-inch television and a prepaid Visa card. And your conscience can take a free ride while you play these games of chance, as all proceeds go to help out this year’s beneficiary, the Child Advocacy Center — an organization dedicated to helping abused children.
       Natalie Woodbury, executive director of Home Builders Association of Fayetteville, Inc., said last year’s event drew more than 350 gamesters.{mosimage}
       “Over the past three years we’ve raised more than $50,000 for worthy causes... last year it was Cumberland Interfaith,” said Woodbury. “It’s just like walking onto the floor of a Vegas casino. It’s done by a great company from Raleigh called All In. You can visit Vegas without buying an airplane ticket... and it would make a great Valentine’s Day treat.”
       Tammy Laurence, the executive director of Child Advocacy Center, said the money raised by Casino Night is especially important in these tough economic times.
       “The money will help us maintain our level of service to abused children and their families,” said Laurence.
       The event runs from 6:30-10:30 p.m., and the admission price includes tickets for two drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres. To purchase tickets, call 486-9700.

    Contact Tim Wilkins at tim@upandcomingweekly.com 

  • 07 Larry Vaudeville CopyThe Gilbert Theater has been around since 1994 when it was started in the basement of Lynn Pryer's house, and for the last 26 years, it has produced many wonderful theatrical performances on the main-stage season. “FayetteVAUDEville” was an idea that the board of the theater came up with to produce something new and fresh to end 2020. Last October, the theater put on its first-ever performance of “FayetteVAUDEville” starring Jermey Ruis for his Dark Magic. If you missed that production, reserve your tickets now because "FayetteVAUDEville" is returning Feb. 26 and 27.

    “FayetteVAUDEville” is not just a typical theatrical product that one is used to, this performance will showcase some local artists and their talents. This show will star singers Karen Morgan Williams and Tim Zimmerman; belly dancer Fahada (teaches locally in Fayetteville); and comedian Vadrin Colvin-King.

    “The ‘FayetteVAUDEville’ is a show intended to pull talent from our local community and string the talents together for a fun adults night,” said Brittany Conlin, business manager of the Gilbert.

    From singing to belly dancing, the Gilbert Theater will present “FayetteVAUDEville” to mature audiences on the nights of Feb. 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. This show is not something you will want to miss. The show is supported by a mini-grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County.

    This show will have a max capacity of 25 people per show and tickets are available for purchase at the Gilbert Theater website. Season holders will have to purchase tickets for this show. The theater is very adamant about protecting everyone so they will be doing temperature checks at the door and masks will be required. The theater has already planned the next two “FayetteVAUDEville” performances to come in April and May of 2021.

    The “FayetteVAUDEville” auditions had such a great turn out of adults and children that the Gilbert theater is moving forward with a kid-friendly version of the show entitled “The Greatest Showcase: A Youth Variety Show.” This show will be brought to the public on March 5th and 6th at 2 and 5 p.m. by the Gilbert Theater and the Kids with Hearts for Arts. The tickets will be $12.

    The Gilbert theater has a wide variety of shows coming to center stage this season which began with the murder suspense “Ropes.” The next two shows to follow are “Oedipus Rex” and “Urine Town: the Musical.”

    The Theater also offers educational opportunities, with the most recent being a virtual class taught by Montgomery Sutton.

    For more information on shows, auditions, education and ticket sales visit the website at gilberttheater.com.

  • 09 146616045 10165136912400171 8148525869899560600 oThe Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum has put together another fantastic African American exhibit to honor Black History Month. This local museum for the past three years has followed a theme to showcase African American professionals from Fayetteville’s history and will keep the exhibits up for a year after they are revealed.

    This year the museum released an exhibit on Feb. 2 to honor African American architects. This exhibit is focused on bringing awareness and attribution to these early builders and historic buildings in the downtown area.

    These architects were from the Fayetteville area and some of these buildings are still standing today. There is a “rich history” in Fayetteville and this museum allows people to step back in time to really understand the historical roots.

    Catherine Linton, the Museum Specialist, is the one that helped bring to life this year’s exhibit entitled, “African Americans Building Fayetteville.” She is a former museum specialist with the Country Doctor Museum at East Carolina University.

    “Some buildings that are attributed to these builders are not standing today, but we want to bring attention to the ones that are, to bring history and awareness to the community,” said Linton in describing the focus of this exhibit.

    One of the builders that really stood out to Linton while assembling the exhibit was Abel Payne. Payne was an enslaved man that eventually purchased his freedom, but continued to work as a carpenter to afford freedom for his children. Linton said the story stood out to her because it is a “good story about overcoming obstacles.”

    This year’s exhibit is the third one the museum has done to follow the theme of African American professionals in Fayetteville’s history. The first exhibit the museum did in 2019 was about African American businesses, followed by the 2020 exhibit about African American doctors. Last year’s exhibit still remains on the first floor to the right of the entrance until the end of February 2021. This new exhibit, “African American Builders,” will remain until the end of February 2022.

    The museum is located in the restored 1890 Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad Depot, with two floors of exhibits and artifacts. It is open to the public of all ages and guided tours are available for schools, church groups, home school groups and more. They also offer activities such as walking tours of downtown, bus tours, a Saturday farmers market, and more for children and adults.

    The museum annex is next door for continuous history on the Fayetteville area.

    For more information visit the Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum at www.fcpr.us, and they are open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Pictured: The Transportation and Local History Museum opened a new exhibit on Feb. 2 in honor of Black Histoy Month. "African Americans Building Fayetteville" highlights Black architects and builders in Fayetteville's history. The exhibit will be on display for one year. The 2020 Black History Month exhibit about African American doctors will be on display until the end of this month.

  • 10 JH 00282The Gilbert Theater’s latest show “Rope” premiered Jan 29. with a full house on opening weekend. The crime-centered, murder-themed play brought a thrilling drama to the stage for its audience.

    Originally written by Patrick Hamilton in 1929, the British play was later made into a movie by the famous filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock in 1948. The Gilbert’s production of “Rope” runs through Feb. 14. Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 with military, student, first responder and seniors.

    The play opens with a cold-blooded murder of a young man by the two lead actors Wyndham Brandon (played by Chris Walker) and Charles Granillo (played by Tim Zimmermann).

    The characters of Brandon, with his air of intellectual superiority and a temper, and Granillo with his tenderness and remorse, make quite the interesting murderous duo.

    The two leads decide to host a dinner party around the wooden chest where they’ve hidden the body. The dinner party is supposed to be an amusement to the duo, especially Brandon as getting away with the “perfect crime.”

    The guests include Kenneth Reglan (played by Quentin King); Leila Arden (played by Megan Martinez); Sir Johnstone Kentley who is the father of the murder victim (played by Gabe Terry); Mrs. Debenham (played by Kathy Day); Rupert Cadell (played by Lawrence Carlisle III); and amongst them is their butler, Sabot (played by Dylan Atwood).

    The guests comment on the “queerness” of the evening, and the strangeness of the food being served on the wooden chest. Arden’s character goes as far as to jokingly suggest the hosts are hiding a dead body in it.

    Cadell suggests it would be obvious stupidity to murder then host a party around the body, which seems to get under Brandon’s skin. Meanwhile, filled with regret and fear, Granillo drinks his feelings away through the night.

    The characters bring forth a drama filled evening, not short of laughter, suspense, thrills and some philosophical back-and-forth about murder.

    Suspicious and quickly picking up clues, the clever Cadell lures the duo into confessing to murder and the “perfect murder’” plan that they failed at executing.

    The hard work of the cast and crew is reflected in the costumes, set and acting during the two-hour, fun-filled thrill of the evening.

    For those looking for a drama-filled affair, “Rope” at the Gilbert Theater is one to see.

    For tickets visit, https://www.gilberttheater.com/index.php

    Pictured above: Lawrence Carlisle III (left), the Artistic Director of the Gilbert Theater, joins the cast of "Rope." Photo by Jonathan Hornby.

  • uac020211001.gif Following months of speculation and conjecture, the Fayetteville Museum of Art Assessment Report has been released to the community. The report, paid for by the Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County, and prepared by Diane Frankel of The Museum Group, based in San Francisco, Calif., is designed to create a way ahead for the reopening of the now defunct museum; however, current museum board members say that until the old museum is sold, nothing can be done.

    The Arts Council sanctioned the report last year, following news of the museum’s closing. Frankel has 25 years of experience in the non-profi t arena, serving as the director of graduate programs in museum studies at John F. Kennedy University and the founding director of the Bay Area Discovery Museum. As a presidential appointee of President Bill Clinton, she headed the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington, D.C. This agency provides funds for museum and libraries across the United States and is the largest Federal cultural agency. Frankel works with museums as they transition from one director to another, and on their strategic planning processes and fundraising programs.

    Frankel’s task was to “assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Fayetteville Museum of Art” and to determine the support in the community for the museum.

    During her assessment, Frankel spoke with 30 people in the community, the majority of whom had some tie or relationship to the museum in the past, including members of the FMoA Board of Trustees, the FMoA Advisory Group, the FMoA Executive Committee, the Arts Council Executive Committee and staff, as well as local politicos including Mayor Tony Chavonne, Councilman Bobby Hurst, N.C. Senator Wesley Meredith, John Meroski of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Eva Hansen of the Partnership for Children, former County Commissioner Breeden Blackwell and Jeff Pettus of the N.C. Arts Council.

    During her discussions, Frankel said she found that the museum was “greatly valued by the community” and that those interviewed expressed the “need for a high-quality art museum.”

    What they also expressed is a sense that the museum staff and board had strayed from its vision and had “lost focus” when they set their sites on expansion and the requisite capital campaign needed for the expansion.

    “Most planning for the new building started long before I got there (on the board),” said Mac Healy, the current director of the board. “We were spending an inordinate amount of time trying to keep that boat afl oat, so the mission possibly took a backseat. But we continued doing our mission. Classes were going on, kids were coming and they were in the building. I would agree that there was a fair amount of attention to the new building. We believed new membership would go up, attendance would go up once we moved into the new facility, so saying we lost focus on our mission was not an inaccurate statement.”

    In the report, Frankel noted that while community leaders are “eager” for the organization to rise from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix, they want “clarity in its mission and vision,” “evidence of a committed leadership” and for the museum to be responsive to the community’s interest.

    In order to achieve those desires, Frankel wrote that the museum must follow the best practices of successful museums, including a clear vision and mission, a strong leader, a dedicated board, a well-thought through business plan, compelling exhibitions and educational program and a well-focused strategic plan.

    None of those things can occur until the current board retires the outstanding debt of $580,000. The board hopes to satisfy that debt through the sale of the Stamper Road facility, but until that time, movement forward is impossible, according to Healy.

    “My board’s main goal is to have the debt retired before a new board takes over,” said Healy. Healy explained that there is a committee of three people set up to recruit an interim board. Mary Holmes, of the Cumberland Community Foundation is the chairman of the committee. She is joined by Doug Peters of the Fayetteville- Cumberland Chamber of Commerce and Karl Legatski.

    Healy explained that the committee would seek out those in the community willing to sit on the new board.

    “They will look for a new permanent board, but the reality is that nothing will probably happen until we pay the debt off. Not many people will be willing to take on that debt,” he said. “Our hope is that the building will sale, and we can hand over a clean slate to the new board.”

    At the current time, Healy said there is no intent to sell the museum’s collection, valued at roughly $900,000, to pay off the debt.

    “The community and the new board will need to decide whether we are going to be a collecting museum or an exhibiting museum,” he explained. “There really is no formal way to dispose of the collection, but if the board decided to do that, they need the funds from the sale of the collection for operations, not to pay debt.”

    In the report, Frankel suggested the existing board step down — a conclusion that board had already02-02-11-cover-article.gifdecided on.

    “We realize that irreparable harm has been done to the reputation of this board,” he said. “We aren’t the people to go out and try to rebuild relationships in the community. The new board’s life will be a lot easier if they are debt free. They can show up and make decisions once the city decides whether it wants and will support a museum.”

    One of the key relationships that must be rebuilt is that between the museum and the Arts Council of Fayetteville- Cumberland County. Many museum supporters have, in the past, faulted the Arts Council for the museum’s ultimate demise for pulling its fi nancial support to the museum’s operating budget.

    Healy said that the board wants to put those arguments behind it, and hopes that the new board will be able to rebuild the relationship and regain financing for the facility’s operations.

    “Without that money, it will be hard to keep museum up and running,” said Healy. “The money comes to the Arts Council for the betterment of the arts. When the future board takes over, they are going to have to come to grips with that relationship.”

    Jean Moore, the president of the Arts Council Board, believes relationships can be mended, and believes that the report is the fi rst step forward for the museum’s rebirth.

    “There is a lot in that report that people knew,” she said, noting that there have been some who have been critical of the report within the community. “We needed someone who was not involved in the situation to look at it objectively and give us a way ahead.

    “Part of what Diane had to ascertain was where we had been and how much commitment there is for the museum. She had to figure out where it had been to fi gure out the steps for rebuilding,” continued Moore. “I think she did a great job. There is some talk in the community that she didn’t tell us what to do to fi x it, but that is not what she was hired to do. What she has done is put us in the right direction. She has given the new board the right direction to move in, and now they can run with it.”

    One of the biggest decisions the new board will have to make is where the new museum will be located. Healy and Moore both believe that the best location for the facility is downtown.

    Many in the community, including Healy, have their eyes on the Lundy Building, Festival Park Plaza, on the perimeter of Festival Park.

    “We had three very successful shows in the Lundy Building,” said Healy. “The city owns it and is paying $50,000 a month to keep it vacant. I haven’t spoken with the city and no one is going to enter this process without the board or a budget, but if the city wants a museum, they are going to have to step up and make it happen.”

    Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne said the city wants a museum, and he believes its ultimate location should be downtown.

    He noted that the Lundy Building is a “diffi cult proposition,” because the city does not, in fact, own it. The building was originally owned by the Lundy Group, The Chamber of Commerce and 3 Aaab LLC (SchoolLink). The city does pay mortgage and operating subsidies for the building, and shortfalls in rent when it is not occupied.

    “We have not talked with anyone, but once the museum is reorganized and the new board is in place, we would welcome talks with them,” said Chavonne.

    Photo, middle right: The outgoing FMoA Board has high hopes for the future of the museum.

  • During the past 10 to 15 years, many steps have been taken to reduce medical errors. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine published “To Err is Human,” an article about this staggering problem in healthcare. The article suggested that Congress create a Center for Patient Safety to track, monitor, and address National Patient Safety goals. This was done, and much progress has been made; but the numbers continued to be troubling.

    In 2009 the Chief Medical Officer of England cited disturbing statistics in his annual report: “When you step on a plane, your chance of dying in a plane crash is one in 10 million. When admitted into a hospital, your chance of dying or being seriously harmed by a medical error is one in 300.” One of his recommendations states, “Simulation training in02-16-11-ftcc-article.gifall its forms will be a vital part of building a safer healthcare system.”

    When did healthcare begin to incorporate simulation into education? The beginning dates back to 1960 with the introduction of the Resusci-Anne manikin for CPR training. Students at that time remember shaking the manikin’s shoulders and shouting, “Annie, Annie, are you OK?” For many years, Annie remained silent and motionless, never giving a response. Now, times have changed!

    Today healthcare education has computerized human patient simulators (HPS) that can talk (or cry, depending on their age), can display numerous heart rhythms on a cardiac monitor, and have pulses in their arms, legs, neck, and groin. Some simulators even have pulses behind the knee and can display cyanosis (a blue color around the mouth or on the fingertips) that indicates a problem with oxygenation. Students can perform a head-to-toe assessment that includes taking blood pressure and listening to lung, heart, and bowel sounds. In addition, there is one HPS that will go through the stages of labor and delivery of a baby.

    FTCC purchased its first high-fidelity adult HPS in 2005 and currently has a total of six. In 2009, FTCC received a grant to bring together a task force of instructors from the nursing, EMS, CNA, respiratory, and dental programs to design and implement a way to more fully incorporate simulation technology into the curriculums. In April 2010, one lab area in the Health Technology building exists, exclusively devoted to simulation training. In November, a full-time position was added to coordinate the lab.

    Many FTCC health students come to the simulation lab regularly as part of their training. Scenarios can be chosen to meet specific learning objectives related to their current class content, such as diabetes or asthma. Unlike clinical settings where instructors must hover closely and supervise every step, simulation lab students can be left alone to think through situations for themselves. If the student chooses a correct course of action in a timely manner, the vital signs and other indicators on the HPS will improve. Conversely, if the student makes a mistake, the conditions of the HPS can worsen and a simulated death can result. All this training takes place with no risk to any patients. It is clear to both students and faculty that teaching with simulation is one of the most exciting advancements in healthcare education.

  • 02-12-15-evening-with-stars-logo.jpgWho does not want to experience a night of red-carpet luxury? Well look no further because Hollywood glamour arrives at one of the newest event venues to hit the Fayetteville scene, SkyView on Hay, Sat. Feb 25.

    Evening with the Stars, an Oscar pre-party is hosted by the Partnership for Children, is guaranteed fun and a chance for people to come out and experience a red-carpet event. Being chauffeured in newest model from Lafayette Ford Lincoln, guests will walk the red carpet in style while being interviewed by the event’s own Joan Rivers. Great food will be provided for the guest and it’s a great opportunity to enjoy an excellent night on the town at one of the newest venues in the Fayetteville community.

    Lindsey Haire,the event’s volunteer coordinator, says the event is the organization’s fourtth annual Oscar night pre-party and the SkyView’s first event, with the exception of weddings, since its opening this month.

    “We have had great turnouts in the past and we expect to have a big turnout at this event.” Haire explains. “We will have entertainment from The World Famous Dueling Piano Show as well as delicious food.”

    SkyView on Hay Street is an excellent place to have the event. With its recent opening in February,02-15-12-evening-with-stars-1.jpgthe downtown venue is one of the most elegant venues in downtown. The chic setting is perfect for a red-carpet affair and guests should be most pleased. Owners of the venue are very excited about the event as well.

    Guests will enjoy this Oscar evening that is in support of such a worthy cause. All the proceeds for the event benefit two priority projects sponsored by the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County: Partnership’s Kidstuff and Government and Military Affairs.

    “We want people to come out and support Kidstuff and the Military Affairs,” Haire says.

    The Partnership for Children of Cumberland County is a nonprofit organization that focuses on making a difference in the lives of children in Cumberland County. The organization develops high-quality programs for children that nurture healthy development and progress. The mission of the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County is to build partnerships with families and the community so that all children have the opportunity to succeed in school and be prepared to contribute to the community’s social and economic future.

    Beginning as a partnership with Smart Start in 1993, the organization has grown into a well-respected nonprofit organization with a diverse and talented range of people who work hard to create an outstanding organization. The organization has many funded programs to help the community such as Read To Me, art-trunk parents kits, Kindermusik and Music Therapy Connection to name a few. The Partnership for Children of Cumberland County is an excellent source to gain insight on any issue related to early-childhood education, looking for large networks of teacher and childcare providers, information on accredited childcare and preschool programs or any of the latest expert opinions on the care of children up to age 5.

    02-15-12-evening-with-stars-2.jpgAfter the event on Saturday, Cameo Art House Theatre members are invited to a party at the theatre on Sunday. For no additional cost, the members also have the opportunity to watch the televised Oscars at the theatre as well.

    Evening with the Stars Oscar pre-night party begins at 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. Tickets prices range from $60 to $100. Cameo Theatre members and Fayetteville Young Professionals will pay only $40. Tickets may be purchased online by visiting www.ccpfc.org.

    Photos:  Above and right, members of the community dress has their favorite Hollwood stars.

  • uac021512001.jpg The ongoing saga of the Prince Charles started a new chapter last month, as the county began proceedings to enforce a lien on the hotel property. The lien, the result of a $77,000 debt to the city related to unpaid fines by the property’s owner, John Chen, will be satisfied via public auction unless Chen pays the fi nes.

    Chen, a New York developer, bought the hotel in 2007 for $1.9 million at a public auction to satisfy a loan foreclosure. At that time, Chen announced plans to create an apartment/business center at the hotel. Instead, he started doing internal demolition on the hotel to create low-cost apartments in the downtown sector.

    Chen failed to file the necessary permits for the work he was doing in the hotel, and the property failed city and fire inspections, resulting in the ousting of the residents and the shuttering of its doors. The fi nes began racking up when Chen replaced one of the hotel’s wooden windows with a vinyl window. Because the hotel is on the National Historic Register, as well as being designated a Local Historical Landmark, all work done on the exterior of the buiding must be in keeping with its historical construction.

    Although Chen later replaced the vinyl window with a wooden one, he had accumulated $77,000 in fi nes, and refused to pay them. A judge ordered Chen to pay the fines, and instead, he left the city and returned to New York.

    On Jan. 26, the city filed papers requesting the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department enforce the judgement through a public auction. The auction could be averted if Chen pays the fi ne; however, that does not seem likely, according to the sheriff’s attorney, Ronnie Mitchell.

    The question looming now is what will become of the grand old structure, which is starting to show signs of decay. The city, concerned for the safety of pedestrians, closed off the sidewalk in front of the hotel after external concrete fell off the building. It has been estimated that more than $500,000 is needed to bring the facility up to code.

    Fayetteville’s historical property manager Bruce Daws, believes that returning the hotel to a useable facility is feasible.

    “It is a very robust, Colonial revival structure,” said Daws, during a recent interview. “At the time of its construction, it was very elegant. Investors purchased the hotel in the early ‘90s and gutted a lot of it and reworked it.”

    Daws said the building has suffered from a lot of deferred maintenance — painting windows, caulking and replacing wood, but that the building itself is structurally sound.

    “It is not too far gone,” he said.

    Daws said the hotel is important from a local and historical standpoint.

    “The Prince Charles was built through community support,” said Daws. “The city sold bonds to construct it. It speaks to our automotive, transportation history. Fayetteville was the halfway point for North and South bound traffi c on U.S. 301 (pre I-95); and the hotel captured patrons from the Old Atlantic Coastline Railroad. It was in the city’s best interest at that time to promote itself as a halfway point and cater to the tourist trade so a new, modern hotel was constructed.”

    Daws has heard of people advocating that the structure be torn down but feels that is not the answer. “It is our responsibility to explore options to save the hotel, restore it and maintain it,” he said. “It is the only large remaining hotel in the landscape of the historic downtown — erasing it from the landscape would not be in the best interest of the district at all.”

    Daws said if the facility cannot make it as a hotel, there are other options that could prove feasible.

    “Downtown apartments are very popular. It could be converted into office space,” said Daws. “It would make a wonderful museum space. There is pretty much a free hand from a historic standpoint with the interior — the Historic Resources Commission only looks at the exterior. A building of that size has a number of different options, but the popularity of living downtown is pretty great. Downtown apartments stay full. We frequently receive calls asking if there are any vacancies in the downtown area.

    “But tearing it down is not the answer. It is a grand hotel. It has a beautiful outward appearance that adds to the charm of downtown. Once you tear it down, it’s gone forever. It is something that needs to stay in the downtown landscape,” concluded Daws.

  • 02-04-15-community-concerts.gifFans of shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars are in for a treat with the next show in the Community Concerts 2014-2015 season.

    On Feb. 11, Dancing With the Pros Live: You Pick the Winner, comes to the Crown Theatre. The show features dance styles that include the Cha-Cha, Waltz, Tango, Swing, Freestyle, Samba and the Jitterbug, bringing the glamour and pizzazz of competitive dance right to the audience.

    Some of the familiar faces in this show include Karina Smirnoff as head judge; guest star Edyta Sliwinska and competitor Chelsie Hightower from Dancing with the Stars; and host Alan Thicke, star of the hit TV show Growing Pains. Benji Schwimmer is set to compete and actor and dancer, Oscar Orosco holds a spot as one of the judges. Vocalists Joanna Pacitti, from American Idol Season 8, and Angel Taylor, from The Voice Season 2 will grace the stage, as well.

    Smirnoff is excited to return to Fayetteville.

    “I am so excited to return to Fayettville, I have been through there many times and have worked at a local studio,” said Smirnoff. “I love that we are coming to perform in a military town and I can’t wait for everyone to come out and enjoy the show.”

    The remaining competitors on the tour are dance champions Artur Adamski, Paul Barris, Tess Buchatsky, Sasha Chernositov, Dmitry Demidov, Denys Drozdyuk, Arina Grishanina, Regina Maziarz, Antonina Skobina and Anastasia Trutneva.

    For many viewers, shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars are as much about the love of dance as they are about voting for the competitors. The audience will have a say in the outcome of this show, too. Using electronic remotes, the audience can vote for their favorite dancers during the show.

    “This show is very interactive. The flow of it is super fast and the audience gets to experience several champions performing in their own category,” said Smirnoff. “As I judge, I get to offer professional advice to the performers, which as a dancer myself I always valued, but it is the audience that decides the winners. When I get to talk to the audience I always suggest that they vote for the dancers that move them and with whom they connect. It has been really fun to see how differently the audiences vote from city to city.”

    Community Concerts is half way through its 79th season. Scotty McCreery opened this year’s series in October and was followed by Sister Act in November and Trace Adkins in December. Dancing Pros Live: You Pick the Winner brings a fun twist to the season by making the audience a part of the show. Next in the lineup are The Australian Bee Gees on March 25. Smokey Robinson closes out the season on April 16.

    True to its mission to bring the finest in top-notch entertainment to Fayetteville, Community Concerts seeks out and brings fun interesting shows to the community each year. The dedicated volunteers behind this organization truly understand the value of the arts and music and celebrate their love for all things musical on a local level throughout the year.

    Each year, the organization offers a scholarship to a promising high school graduate. To date, 24 students have received scholarships from Community Concerts.

    Community Concerts supports local musicians and local children throughout the year by providing opportunities for them to perform. Voices of the Heart and Linda Kinlaw’s School of Dance have shared the stage with showcase performers in the past as has local country singer Trae Edwards.

    The Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame program, which was founded in 2008, honors musicians who have brought distinction to Fayetteville through their talents. The Music Hall of Fame inductions usually take place at one of the Community Concerts events in the spring.

    Community Concerts provides free concert opportunities to groups ranging from children to deserving seniors. In recent seasons, these have included the Vision Resource Center, Urban Ministry, The Sunshine Center, members of local fire and police departments and many more.

    Tickets for the Dancing With the Pros Live: You Pick the Winner are $50, $42 and $28. Groups of 10 or more can save $3 on tickets by calling Cena at 910.438.4123.

    To find out more, visit www.community-concerts.com.

    Photo: Dancing With the Pros Live: You Pick the Winner, a fun, interactive dance show, is on stage at the Crown on Feb. 11 as part of the annual Community Concerts subscription series.

  • 02-11-15-mozart.gifOver the years, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra has made beautiful music in our community. On Feb. 12, that tradition will continue with Mostly Mozart.

    Music has long been an integral part of our lives. It is entertaining, thought provoking and often provides a glimpse into our collective past. It also reflects truths about the human condition. Some composers are more able to provide this glimpse than others — and the truly great create music that is timeless. Mozart was one of them.

    Mostly Mozart will provide the community with the opportunity to explore the powerful music of one of the world’s greatest composers.

    Many concerts consist of the works of a mixture of composers. Mozart’s work often makes appearances in concerts of all manners, but generally nestled amongst other great composers. Concerts sometimes follow a typical theme, but it is less common to have a concert focused on a single composer.

    “It isn’t always that typical, though it depends on the orchestra. Some orchestras will categorize concerts into themes, and sometimes those themes happen to be by one composer. For this concert we decided on a Mozart-themed concert, as he is one of the well-known composers of our society,” said Julia Atkins, the marketing manager for the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra.

    Another exciting aspect of this performance is the location. Locations of concerts help to create certain atmospheres for both the audience and the performers.

    “While we were thinking of what we could perform in St. John’s Episcopal Church, we figured the music of Mozart would fit extremely well for that setting. During Mozart’s time, he would perform his works in smaller, intimate settings, sometimes a church, sometimes in someone’s home as entertainment. So this fits well with what he used to do during his time, while also bringing in the more well-known classical music to this community,” explained Atkins.

    It can be easy to be intimidated by classical music and incredible composers. It may seem too complicated or overwhelming. Odds are with Mozart, that you have probably heard it before, perhaps without even realizing it.

    “We welcome anyone to our concerts, whether they are educated in the orchestral world or not. This one is especially a great concert to come to whether you are an avid classical music listener or not as it incorporates music that we have all heard at some point in our lives, whether it’s in a TV show, commercial, movie, on the radio, etc., so anyone new or experienced will be comfortable attending this concert,” explained Atkins. “If someone new would like to learn more about the performance, there are program notes listed on our website at www.fayettevillesymphony.org. There they can read the history of each piece being performed that evening. The best thing to get the most out of this performance is to just come out and make an evening of it!”

    Though dominated by familiar Mozart works, the concert is not comprised completely of a single composer, Atkins explained.

    “The Bizet Symphony in C is a similar feeling as Mozart’s Symphony in G,” continued Atkins. “By feeling I mean that it sets the same mood. The two Mozart pieces have a lighter, mellow, classical feeling, and Bizet’s Symphony in C brings in the same thing. It is why the concert is titled Mostly Mozart as the entire program isn’t all completely dominated by Mozart pieces.”

    Mostly Mozart is at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 302 Green St. on Feb. 12, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. For more information call 910-433-4690 or visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org.

    Photo: The FSO brings Mostly Mozart to St. John’s Episcopal Church.

  • uac022713001.gif Remember your senior prom? The angst of waiting on that special guy to ask you, then finding the perfect dress, planning the perfect pre-prom dinner locale and the after-prom party. For most high school students, the weeks gearing up for the prom are nerve wracking. Here’s your chance to attend your prom all over again, without the angst or worry. Join the Community In Schools-Cumberland County for an evening of fun at School House Rock: The Prom Edition.

    School House Rock is one of the most anticipated fundraising events each year. Put together by the Communities in Schools-Cumberland County (CIS-CC) and its volunteers, the event brings the community together for a night of food, fun and dancing — all in support of the CIS mission, which is to to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

    Working in more than 3,400 schools in 24 states and the District of Columbia, Communities In Schools serves more than 1.2 million students and their families each year. Locally, CIS serves students in 56 Cumberland County Schools. Communities in Schools is the nation’s leading dropout-prevention organization, and the only one proven to both increase on-time graduation rates and reduce dropout rates.

    Locally, the organization fulfi lls its mission through key programs:

    Project Reads:Research shows that on average, low-income and minority students lose two months of reading skills during the summer. To combat this problem and encourage reading, CIS in partnership with Harvard University, is studying summer reading loss with an initiative called READS for Summer Learning. Local students receive 10 books over the course of the summer, complete questionnaires, and receive additional comprehension lessons. READS for Summer Learning, a five-year study, is funded by an i3 grant from the US Department of Education. Students at 10 elementary schools are participating in the initiative.

    Yanoff Music Program:

    CIS of Cumberland County in partnership with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and Cumberland County Schools introduces classical music to all 4,500 third grade students. Created in 2004, this community collaboration brings a trio of symphony musicians into music classrooms around the county and provides each third grader with an arts field trip – a private concert with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra.

    Fuller PLC:

    The Fuller Performance Learning Center® opened in the fall of 2007 providing another learning option for our high school students and community. CIS of Cumberland County and Cumberland County Schools partnered to open this non-traditional high school with grant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Students complete assignments using an integrated online and project-based curriculum. This small learning environment serves students on a 4×4 schedule who are not succeeding in a traditional school setting.

    CIS Sites:

    CIS is the nation’s leading dropout-prevention organization and the only one proven to both decrease dropout rates and increase graduation rates. Through a school-based coordinator, CIS surrounds students with a community of support, connecting students and their families to critical resources, tailored to meet their needs. In Cumberland County, CIS serves more than 8,000 students, elementary through high school, offering a range of programming and services from enrichment opportunities and parent engagement, to mentoring and career exploration.

    Teacher of the Year:02-27-13-school-house-rock.gif

    CIS-CC proudly sponsors this prestigious event that honors CCS’ Teacher of the Year and also recognizes the district winners from each of the ten attendance areas throughout the county.

    Educational Mini Grants:

    Educational Mini Grants are a favorite among Cumberland County teachers with CIS awarding approximately $25,000 at an annual teacher-recognition luncheon each year. The program provides merit grants of up to $1,500 for teachers who have developed innovative classroom programs using special equipment, manipulatives or creative instructional materials.

    Bill Harrison Scholarship Fund:

    The Bill Harrison Scholarship Fund was established in 2008 by former Superintendent Bill Harrison in partnership with CIS – CC to assist a Cumberland County Schools graduate who plans to pursue a career in teaching.

    The success of the organization is all in the numbers. Last year, 95 at-risk students graduated from Fuller PLC. Ninety-six percent of the students working with CIS were promoted, with a 90 percent graduation rate. Students showed both improved achievement in academents and attendance at 86 percent and 72 percent respectively. That success would not be possible without the support of the community, particularly support to its main fundraiser, School House Rock, every year.

    This year’s event, again held at the Highland Country Club, will focus on proms from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s — think “Stairway to Heaven,” “Almost Paradise” and “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” Think blue tuxedo, puffy sleeves and material girls. If you can bring your prom back into perspective (or maybe even still fi t in your prom dress) then you are ready for this year’s event. The prom starts at 8 p.m. and goes until midnight (don’t worry, you’re an adult now, you don’t have a curfew). It features hors d’oeuvres and cocktails (yes that’s right, you don’t have to drink wine coolers in the parking lot). You can plan to dance the night away to music performed by Jump Street, a band that “stays true to its roots while performing a variety of musical genres, including classic Motown, contemporary R&B, Top 40, as well as the classic dance hits from every era.”

    Tickets for the event are $75 and can be purchased online at www.schoolhouserock.info or via mail by sending checks payable to Communities in Schools, PO Box 2882, Fayetteville, NC 28302. Your name will be added to the guest list. No tickets will be mailed out.


  • 02-05-14-fsu-raises-funds.gifBreast cancer is one of the leading diseases in the United States. With an estimated 220,000 individuals diagnosed every year, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. According to womenshealth.gov, breast cancer affects every 1 out of 8 women and is second only to lung cancer as their leading killer in the United States. This very serious disease destroys lives, families and affects many mothers, daughters, wives and sisters across the country. Only with research, application, and the loving support of family and friends can we hope to beat this cancer and work toward a better life for all.

    Annually, a variety of events are held to not only call attention to the need for testing but also to raise funds for research to find a cure for this disease. Most people are familiar with walks and runs, but this year, Fayetteville State University is again hosting a Ball in Pink for breast cancer awareness. The purpose of this initiative is also to help raise funds and awareness to fight breast cancer and bring this plight center stage in our city. On Feb. 15, the campus of FSU will host this event as a part of its women’s basketball game against Winston Salem State University. Beginning at 1 p.m., all breast cancer survivors and their families are invited to come out and take part in this initiative. All survivors will be honored during half-time, and after the game, they and their families are invited to a reception.

    Spearheading this event is the First Lady of Fayetteville State University, Nancy Anderson, the chancellor’s wife. Those honored will get the opportunity to meet her along with the Chancellor, Broncos’ head coach, players and several others. Kevin M. Wilson, the assistant athletic director for development and marketing at the university, is one of the main organizers for the initiative. Before joining the staff of Fayetteville State University, he served as the assistant director for development at North Carolina Central University in Durham. Wilson takes great joy in knowing that all of the funds raised at the event will stay in Fayetteville.

    FSU’s funds will go to the Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center-Friends of the Cancer Center. There, they will assist with patient care, establishing support groups, and living costs for those who need aid due to the high expense of treatment. What is raised in the community; stays in the community. He went on to say that it is a goal for the university to gain further support from the local area. As well, another goal of this event is to build community leaders and use this as a platform to bring awareness for many dealing with this disease.

    Breast cancer is a destructive killer of women and families but with your help, it can be stopped. Come out and support Fayetteville State University’s Ball in Pink. This noble endeavor will not only help save the lives of those locally hurt by breast cancer but, in turn, will enrich the City of Fayetteville. For more information, on the Ball in Pink initiative or to find out how you can help via donations and support, contact Kevin Wilson at 910.672.2565.

    Photo: Fayetteville State University is set to host a Ball in Pink to raise breast cancer awareness.

  •    The 2008 “G3” version of the Warmthru battery heated gloves have been updated since last reviewed here; most noticeable is the battery pocket, which is now part of the gauntlet rather than an external pocket outside the gauntlet.
       The rest of the G3 update includes minor differences in styling and abrasion protection, but the Warmthru gloves are still waterproof and windproof, passing our “bucket test”. 
       The 3300mAh, 3.7V Lithium Ion battery is claimed to last about 3.5 hours, which is about right. The battery is claimed to stabilize the heat in the gloves at 35 degrees Celsius (95 F), which is just under body temperature. 
       This means that the feeling of heat is subtle — the gloves do not provide overwhelming warmth akin to something like holding on to a heated grip. They are designed to provide enough heat to keep the hands from getting too cold to be uncomfortable, and in that regard, they do work.
       Each battery is a 50x70x15 mm block weighing 79 grams (2.75 oz.), and each glove (or glove liner) has its own battery. 
       The battery has a female connector that plugs to a wire inside the battery pocket.  Once the wire is plugged in, the gloves are “On,” but Warmthru offers an optional battery with an On/Off switch. We have a pair of each type and I don’t really miss the switch, so potential owners can save a few quid by not opting for the switched battery.
       The gloves seem a bit bulky for motorcycle use; the size large shown here runs about one size big. Each glove has thick insulation all around and a wind- and water-proof liner, making them feel about the equivalent of the big Held Freezer gloves in terms of bulk.
       The battery is held inside the gauntlet with a waterproof zipper, adding to the overall thickness. The gauntlets are also snug by design, so the Fingerheater gloves are best worn under, rather than over, a jacket sleeve.
    The additional thickness of the battery can make the gloves a bit difficult to fit under some jacket sleeves. Several local riders tried the gloves and we got together and one of the suggestions was to make the battery an external device that could be worn on an elastic or hook-and-loop armband over the jacket sleeve, then extend the wire from the glove to plug into the battery.
       This could allow the gloves to be worn with any type of jacket, no matter the sleeve thickness. It could also make the battery more accessible when riding in case the rider wishes to switch it on or off.
       The Warmthru Fingerheater batteries are CE approved and are ROHS-WEE (reduction of hazardous waste for electronic components, a European manufacturing directive) compliant. The gloves are available with battery chargers for the UK, Europe or the U.S. and the batteries are claimed to last through approx. 500 charge cycles during three years of use.
       The charger will charge two batteries simultaneously and we found that the first charge took about 8 hours, with subsequent charges taking about five hours. It is possible to order an extra set of batteries also.
       The gloves have a large swath of reflective material and the rubbery surface on the palms provides excellent grip in any type of weather or conditions that we encountered.
  • 12MasseySculptureEditor’s Note: Up & Coming Weekly Senior Staff Writer Earl Vaughan Jr. is a native of Massey Hill. He spent the early years of his life on Princeton Street off Southern Avenue next to Massey Hill Baptist Church. Had his father not entered the ministry and moved away from Fayetteville in the early 1960s, Earl likely would have been in the final graduating class of Massey Hill High School in 1972.

    A three-year project came to fruition Saturday, Feb. 16, at Carroll Memorial Baptist Church in Massey Hill.

    Organizers of the Massey Hill Heritage Discovery Project, along with current and former residents of the area, gathered to see an artistic tribute to the community dedicated at the nearby roundabout on Cumberland and Camden Roads.

    It might take a few trips around the structure to see all the elements involved. Each element is designed to tell the story of Massey Hill and its history as a community built around the long-departed textile industry.

    The project started about three years ago. Representatives of the Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County first reached out to former Fayetteville mayor and Massey Hill resident Tony Chavonne about the possibility of putting some artwork  in the roundabout once it had been completed.

    “Tony got real excited at the thought we could actually have some control over what was going into the roundabout, rather than just a piece of art,’’ said John Jones, another product of Massey Hill and former co-worker with Chavonne at The Fayetteville Observer.

    Chavonne and Jones first met at the Massey Hill drugstore to talk about possibilities for the artwork.

    “It snowballed from there,’’ Jones said. “We developed a group to see if we could get some community input.’’

    One decision was made early, Jones said. The artwork was going to be something recognizable — something people in the community could look at and remember the community they once knew.

    Jones was blunt about what he was looking for. “I didn’t want to be involved in this and (then) when it was all said and done, as I’m riding down Southern Avenue with one of my friends, we look over and say, ‘What the heck is that?’” he said. “If we’re going to do this, it’s got to speak to Massey Hill. It’s got to speak to the community.’’

    The group met with a number of artists before settling on Michael Waller and Leah Foushee-Waller of Hillsborough.

    Waller was previously best known for creating a two-ton metal sculpture of a bull for the city of Durham, North Carolina.

    Jones said the Massey Hill committee conveyed to Waller and his wife that they weren’t looking for something abstract; they wanted something that would tell a story.

    The committee held a community meeting in the gymnasium at Massey Hill High School so people could share ideas and bring pictures and artifacts for Waller and his wife to see.

    Then Waller toured the area, from the mills at Tolar Hart, Lakedale and Puritan to Massey Hill High School and other local landmarks.

    “You could see his mind working,’’ Jones said. “He was taking snapshots that automatically trigger your memory of Massey Hill.’’

    That process led to the decision of what things would be rendered in Waller’s metal sculpture at the roundabout: The smokestack. The schoolhouse. The old mill village. The water tower. The church. A football player.

    Off to the side, on an adjacent property, is a sign paying tribute to the sculpture and the many people who made it happen. Beneath the sign are just more than 300 bricks, paid for by various people, each paying tribute to a friend or relative.

    One of the best stories involves a brick bearing the name (SEE ME) West, assistant principal, 1972. Jerry West was an assistant principal at Massey Hill High School in its final years as a traditional high school.

    West made the morning announcements daily, and at the end of these announcements, he would instruct students who needed a little extra attention for various transgressions to “see me” in the office.

    “He called a few weeks ago and we were talking about what to put on his brick,’’ Jones said. “He said, ‘Just put See Me West.’ People died when they saw that.’’

    Jones said he’s been involved with a lot of fundraisers over the years, but he can’t remember one that was more fulfilling than this one.

    When the sculpture was finished, a man walked up and asked Jones how much of his tax money went into it. Jones replied, “That didn’t cost you a dime. It came out the peoples’ pockets because they wanted to do it.’’

    The whole project was a cooperative effort of the local committee, the Arts Council and the Cumberland Community Foundation, Jones said.

    There is an unfinished look to the work, with its bare metal and unfinished edges, but Jones said that’s intentional.

    Someone asked what color they were going to paint it, and Jones replied it wouldn’t be painted.

    “This is the way it’s going to look,’’ he said. “Somebody joked, this isn’t Haymount Hill. It’s Massey Hill. We’re not going to polish it up.

    “So it reflects that.’’


    10Morgan Hunkele The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra’s 2018-19 offerings have ranged from a focus on “Star Wars” film score composer John Williams to classical Mozart. In its second-to-last concert of the season, Saturday, March 9, FSO pays tribute to the armed forces — and highlights young, local musicians.

    “FSO, March!” features stirring military music spanning a range of time periods and contexts.

    The concert includes works by John Philip Sousa and Gustav Holst. Both composers wrote rich military marches for the U.S. and Great Britain, respectively. Sousa is perhaps best known for composing “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

    According to FSO Music Nerd Joshua Busman, the concert also features songs written about specific combat experiences.

    “Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’ celebrates the Russian defeat of Napoleon’s invading forces during the bitter winter months of 1812,” Busman said. “And Irving Berlin’s ‘God Bless America’ was conceived as a hymn to honor those serving in the First World War. (It was) written while Berlin himself was serving in the Army at Camp Upton.”

    Audience members will also hear music written for the Revolutionary War film “The Patriot,” for the Vietnam War film “Platoon” and for the World War II video game franchise Medal of Honor.

    Every year, FSO highlights the next generation of musicians in our community with a “side-byside” concert. This year, “FSO, March!” is that concert. The Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra gets to play onstage, side-by-side, with the FSO. This group, led by FSO trumpetist Dr. Larry Wells, is comprised of local musicians ages 13 to 20.

    “There is no better classroom than the stage... surrounded by lots of teachers,” Wells said. “Students... can learn from all musicians — not just those on their specific instruments.

    “Case in point: probably my most impactful lesson I ever received came from a violinist who taught me about phrasing and how bowings affect the music. While I’m a trumpet player, this one lesson made me a much more aware musician.”

    FSO President and CEO Chris Kastner said “FSO, March!” was an obvious choice for the side-by-side due to the iconic music it features. She said standards like “God Bless America” and other songs in the concert are essential for any musician’s repertoire.

    Wells agreed. “These are pieces that young musicians need to learn, not only because they are relevant to this concert, but also because they might literally play them 500 times in their career,” he said.

    The performance will also highlight the winner of FSO’s 2018-19 Harlan Duenow Young Artist Concerto Competition. The competition, named in honor of FSO’s longest-serving conductor, is open to statewide competition from musicians ages 12- 21. This year was specifically open to pianists and string players.

    The 2018-19 winner, 19-year-old pianist Morgan Hunkele, will play the first movement of Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat” during the first half of the concert. Viola player Ludwig Jantzen, who attends high school in Greenville, took second place.

    “Morgan is an immensely talented pianist studying at North Carolina School of the Arts,” said FSO Music Director Stefan Sanders. “The FSO is proud to play a part in the development of North Carolina’s young musical talent with (this competition).”

    “FSO, March!” takes place Saturday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Methodist University’s Huff Concert Hall. Arrive at 6:45 p.m. for a pre-concert talk to learn more about the historical context of the evening’s music. To purchase tickets, which range from about $10-$26, visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org.

    Photo: Morgan Hunkele

  • 09cos The Cumberland Oratorio Singers will bring the music of three music masters to life at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 8.

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart got an early start in his music career. When he was 3 years old, he used to watch and listen as his father gave keyboard lessons to his older sister. By age 5, Mozart was proficient enough on the keyboard and violin to begin composing the first of his many works. Although he lived for only 35 years, he remains one of the most influential and well-known composers of the classical era.

    Franz Schubert also started taking music lessons at home from an early age. Although Schubert’s compositions are prolific and varied, he is known for popularizing lieder, or art songs, in which romantic poetry is set to music.

    From a young age, Johannes Brahms received music lessons from his father, who was also a musician. By age 10, the young Brahms was performing piano in public. His teacher complained that he could be a great pianist except that he spent too much time composing.

    Brahms became a piano virtuoso and a renowned composer of piano compositions, chamber music and choir compositions for both the male and female voice. Like Schubert, Brahms also composed and popularized many lieder. Although Schubert’s and Brahms’ compositions are heavily influenced by classical tradition, they belong to the romantic era of musical history.

    The Cumberland Oratorio Singers will present the works of these three composers in “A Night with the Masters” March 8. “This will be part and parcel of the classical and romantic music that COS customarily performs,” said Jason Britt, the group’s choir director. “We’ve done jazz and Christmas so far this season, and we’ll be doing Broadway later on. But ‘A Night with the Masters’ showcases the type of music we’ve been primarily performing over our 23-year history.”

    “The Masters’” program will feature a Mozart mass, “Vesperae de Dominica,” sung entirely in Latin. There will be two selections by Schubert: “An Sylvia” and “Lebenslust.” Brahms will be represented by “Three Leibeslieder Waltzes” and “O Wusst Ich Den Weg Zurluck.” Both the Schubert and Brahms selections will be sung in German.

    According to Britt, several of the selections are art music, or lieder. A six-piece orchestra and an organ will accompany the choir. “Snyder Memorial has a fantastic organ so we want to take advantage of that,” said Britt.

    Britt has not chosen the soloists for the evening. “They will be picked from the choir via auditions at the end of February,” Britt said. As demonstrated by COS’ earlier performance of “Messiah,” the vocal purity and professionalism of Cumberland County’s classical chorale society assures the audience of stunning performances no matter who is selected.

    Other than for season ticketholders, all tickets for “A Night with the Masters” will be available at the door for the March 8 performance. The price of admission is $15 for the general public and $5 for students. Learn more about COS by visiting its website, www.singwithcos.org.

  • 11BorisK  The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, along with Piedmont Gas, presents Boris Kodjoe’s “True to Yourself” Black History Month Talk Series on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. at Fayetteville State University’s J. W. Seabrook Auditorium.

    “The purpose of this event is to have really deep, candid conversations with industry executives and TV/ film actors to pretty much explore their challenges and difficulties as well as their successes as being an African-American,” said UniQue Webster, development director of the Arts Council. “Last year we had Tichina Arnold and casting director Winsome Sinclair.

    “So, basically, this experience is also supported by video, and we hope that Boris will include some of his vignettes and video outtakes … to support the talk.”

    Webster added that another part of the talk is audience engagement. With that in mind, there will be a Q&A segment toward the end of the event.

    Webster went on to explain the vetting process for choosing a speaker for this event. “We have a Black History Committee chaired by Attorney Cull Jordan III. We came together to explore some options and came up with our top five choices that we chopped down to three,” she said.

    Webster added, “We looked at the success of the actor, some of their challenges, and we made sure they had an amazing and compelling story to tell.”

    Kodjoe grew up in Germany and excelled in sports. He became one of the best tennis players in Germany. A chronic back injury, however, forced him to explore other options. After earning a degree in marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Kodjoe was signed by the Ford Modeling Agency in New York, where he became one of the most recognized male supermodels.

    He took acting classes while modeling, and Hollywood took notice. Kodjoe was featured in “Love and Basketball” and the hit TV series “Soul Food,” for which he won three National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Award nominations. He continued to appear in many movies and drama series as well as a Broadway debut.

    In 2010, Kodjoe and his brother, Patrick, launched World of Alfa, a clothing company offering the luxury of high-quality, custom-made shirts and suits at affordable prices.

    Boris and his wife, Nicole Ari Parker- Kodjoe, established the Sophie’s Voice Foundation in honor of their daughter, Sophie, who was diagnosed with Spina Bifida at birth. SVF helps families affected by the birth defect and educates all women of childbearing age about the importance of folic acid in protecting unborn children from this 75 percent preventable birth defect.

    “We encourage everyone to come out to enjoy an amazing show,” said Webster. “We make it so that you leave with something new about the person. We want you to come with your questions and leave with some motivation and inspiration.”

    For more information, call the Arts Council at 910-323-1776.

    Photo: Boris Kodjoe

  • 09Warhol 1Visit the David McCune International Art Gallery at Methodist University to take in the works of artist Andy Warhol at “gallery goes POP: Warhol,” on display until April 12. The exhibit, which opened Feb. 7, features 34 of Warhol’s silkscreen paintings from his various art series. The McCune gallery provides an intimate setting for viewing a sampling of works by the famed artist and pop icon.

    “This really is a great exhibition that lends itself to not only adults, but obviously children as well,” said Silvana Foti, director of the gallery. “We’re trying to get school children involved.”

    Warhol, an American artist, is nearly synonymous with the term “pop art,” an art movement that gained ground in the United States in the late 1950s. Warhol used his background in commercials and advertising to transform everyday items into iconic art recognized by millions.

    Although Warhol died in 1987, he remains one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. In just one example of his lasting impact on pop culture, the 2019 Burger King Super Bowl ad featured Warhol eating a Whopper while touting the “have it your way” slogan by telling people to #EatLikeAndy.

    Most people are familiar with Warhol’s famous works: Campbell’s Soup Cans, Coca-Cola bottles and Marilyn Monroe. But this exhibit goes far beyond that. Yes, there are some of the expected iconic paintings of subjects like Grace Kelly and Ingrid Bergman. But there are also many surprises.

    Prints of other American pop culture figures grace the gallery, including a classic Santa Claus, the Wicked Witch and Superman, which are part of Warhol’s “Myths” series.

    Twelve pieces from his “Cowboys and Indians” portfolio are also on display. They pay homage to Western lore and include John Wayne, Annie Oakley and Geronimo as they’ve never been seen before. There are also works from Warhol’s “Flash” series and more.

    A lively twist at the exhibit is its sound accompaniment. Methodist University musician and music department employee Yaroslav Borisov created a soundtrack collage that features commercials and sound bites from characters and movies to match the art on display. This soundtrack helps to the viewer connect with the art on another level.

    Nicole Dezelon, assistant director of learning at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, travelled to Fayetteville to conduct educational workshops with visitors earlier this month. She said, “I hope visitors to the exhibition will take away that same sense of wonder and intrigue about the ‘everyday’ that Warhol had. He erased the boundaries between high and low art and made art accessible to the masses."

    Dezelon continued, “Warhol said, ‘Once you ‘got’ pop, you could never see a sign the same way again. And once you thought pop, you could never see America the same way again.’

    “Once visitors see this exhibition, they will never see Warhol in the same light again. …It tells you a whole different side of who you may think Andy Warhol is. Somebody who misses this exhibition will really miss something spectacular.”

    The 34 silkscreen images in this show are on loan from The Cochran Collection, a private collection based in Georgia, and the Ackland Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    David McCune International Art Gallery is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturdays from noon until 4 p.m. It will be closed March 4-11. A donation of $10 per person is suggested to help cover the cost of the exhibit.

    To learn more, visit davidmccunegallery.org.

  • 08Annie WarbucksFrom Mary Kate Burke’s soft rock introduction to the final curtain, the opening night performance of Cape Fear Regional Theater’s production of “Annie” was nothing short of spectacular, often drawing cheers from the full house.

    With the book by Thomas Meehan, lyrics by Martin Charmin, music by Charles Strouse and a setting in the midst of the Great Depression, the adventures of a young orphan in search of her parents touches on a theme still relevant today. The contrast between Hooverville, where Annie takes refuge, and her life as a guest in Oliver Warbucks’ mansion emphasizes the vast gap between the very rich and the majority of citizens just struggling to eat and keep a roof over their heads. Yet, despite the dire circumstances in which the musical is set, the message of “Annie” is hope.

    The Orphan Ensemble captivates from the very beginning. Lily Hogge, playing the title role, has an amazing vocal range for such a young girl. She plays Annie with tomboy-ish enthusiasm and transitions seamlessly from wistfulness to defiance to winsomeness as the situation demands.

    Thanks to the orphans, the mood never descends to pathos. Their superb rendition of “It’s the Hard Knock Life” and subsequent heckling of Miss Hannigan convince the audience these are resilient little girls determined not to let the circumstances of their lives break them.

    Erin Fish’s Miss Hannigan, a role she played on the national tour, is the villainess we all love to hate. Yet there is a certain upbeat cheerfulness to her chicanery. Fish plays Miss Hannigan for laughs, of which there are plenty, which allows the audience to see her as overwhelmed by all the little girls in her charge, rather than evil.

    Greg King, as Rooster Hannigan, and Jodi Bluestein, as Lily St. Regis, ooze a greasy, bumbling, minor criminality from the first moment they set foot onstage. Not to put too fine a point on it, but their “Easy Street” number reminds us of why we really play the lottery.

    Robert Newman’s character transitions believably from the gruff, enormously rich and influential Oliver Warbucks to the openly affectionate “Daddy.” This is in large part due to Newman’s seeming lack of celebrity ego and to the positive onstage chemistry between Newman and his young co-star.

    Newman is believable as a successful, no-nonsense businessman with time for little but work when we first meet his character. We watch him mellowing before our eyes as his character goes from bellowing his disgust at President Roosevelt to humbly asking for the president’s help on Annie’s behalf.

    Finally, we watch him opening himself to the charms of his winsome assistant, played by Becca Vourvoulas, and expressing completely believable affection for Annie.

    Newman brings star power to Fayetteville, having appeared for 28 seasons as Joshua Lewis on the longrunning TV program “Guiding Light” among many of his stage, film and television credits. Yet there was no sense of his celebrity status evident onstage at CFRT on opening night. He is a generous actor. He commanded the stage when appropriate to his character and managed to be just another member of the cast whenever the script called for some other character to take center stage.

    Newman, Fish and Pegues are supported by a cast of talented actors, a few of whom appeared for the first time at CFRT on opening night.

    Artistic direction for all CFRT productions is provided by Mary Kate Burke. “Annie” is ably directed and choreographed by Robin Levine, assisted by Sebastiani Romagnolo. Both the set, designed by Charles Glenn Johnson, and the costumes, designed by Sarah Harris, are simple yet evocative of the era in which the musical is staged. Musical direction is supplied by Jillian K. Zack. The orchestra is superb, taking care to enhance rather than overwhelm young voices.

    “Annie” runs through the evening performance on Sunday, Feb. 24, with a special Sensory Friendly performance scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 10. Contact the CFRT Box Office at 910-323-4233 Tuesday-Friday from 1-6 p.m. for more information and ticket prices.

    Photo: Robert Newman as Daddy Warbucks; Zoi Pegues as Annie

  •    Over the last six months, Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County has served 260 people — all of whom were having the worst, or one of the worst days, of their lives.
       All of these 260 victims reached out to Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County (RCVCC) in their time of need, clutching for a helping hand to guide them through the nightmare of sexual assault.
       And now, RCVCC is reaching out to you.
       The organization, founded in 1976 to provide support services to victims of sexual assault, needs volunteers to help out with the facility’s 24-hour hotline for sexual assault victims, as well as serving as hospital companions and/or providing courtroom accompaniment. Volunteers also assist with community education presentations and special projects throughout the year.
       Deanne Gerdes, executive director of RCVCC, says there are no real requirements to become a volunteer... other than being 18, a good listener and showing dedication toward the client.
       And you should be emotionally ready to deal with it... to be able to separate what happened to the victim and your own life,” said Gerdes.
       And they’re not looking only for female volunteers. Gerdes says that since the overwhelming majority of sexual assault victims are women, volunteers who serve as hospital or courtroom companions should ideally be female; however, Gerdes says one of RCVCC’s most dedicated help line volunteers is a blind male. Also, men are needed to go into the schools and counsel male students on doing their part to prevent sexual assault on women as well as appropriate dating relationships.
       Getting the word out that “no means no” would appear to be especially important here in Fayetteville — a military town where Gerdes says soldiers returning from overseas sometimes have trouble readjusting to their return.{mosimage}
       “Out of the 260 victims we’ve helped in the last six months, 156 were military-related,” said Gerdes. “These victims are more comfortable sometimes going off post to talk to us.”
       Despite the number of military-related cases, Gerdes praises the staff at Womack Army Medical Hospital for the professionalism the staff shows when treating victims of suspected sexual assault.
       “Womack does a great job,” said Gerdes. “It has nine nurses trained in treating sexual assault.”
       Katie Krob RCVCC’s victim’s advocate community liaison, says sensitivity is extremely important at the hospital, on the part of both the staff and RCVCC volunteers.
       “There’s no easy way to ask the graphic questions and the examination itself is almost like an assault itself,” said Krob.
       Krob adds that local law enforcement is extremely sensitive when dealing with sexual assault victims and is a great partner with the RCVCC. One of those folks standing behind the thin blue line helping serve and protect is Teresa Currey, a victim advocate for the Fayetteville Police Department.
       Currey says the best treatment for sexual assault is prevention. She offers these tips for preventing an attack:
       • Make sure the front of your apartment or house is well lit and free of heavy vegetation an attacker can hide behind;
       • Be cognizant of your surroundings, particularly at night;
       •Travel with friends, especially when going out to bars.
       •Make sure you know plenty about your date before going out for an evening on the town.
       •Take self-defense classes.
       •Don’t ever leave your drink unattended in a bar. Both Currey and Gerdes warned that sexual predators will often slip GHB — the date rape drug — into a victim’s drink.
       And Currey and Gerdes also emphasize that parents need to be aware of who their children are talking to on the Internet, as sexual predators have become experts at accosting the young via the Web.
       And finally, Currey offers one final piece of wisdom if you are attacked: “Just survive,” said Currey. “You can recover from anything... even something as terrible as this.”

    Contact Tim Wilkins at tim@upandcomingweekly.com






     02-04_cover.jpgClick on the photo for the Online Edition!

    William Tell has nothing on Marti Peltonen.Peltonen, a world-renowned archer who will bring his crossbow skills to Fayetteville Feb. 12-15 as part of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, does the old apple splitting trick all right— though he takes it up a notch... or rather, eight notches.
       “For the climax of my act I arrange eight crossbows around the ring and stand against a pole with an apple on top of my head,” said Peltonen. “I shoot the first crossbow, which triggers all the others and sets off a chain reaction that causes the final crossbow bolt to fly across the ring and split the apple.”
       Leading up to the climactic goring of a Golden Delicious, Peltonen shows off more “mundane” displays of skills, such as cutting the stem of a rose held in his wife’s hand from 20 feet away, and shooting a playing card held between her fingers... performing the latter with his back turned to the target, using a mirror to guide his aim.
       Not only would it be a tragedy for Peltonen if he one day missed and injured his lovely wife, Liina Aunola, it it would be a blow to the circus, as Aunola serves double duty as both Peltonen’s assistant and is a star in her own right: she is employed as an aerialist with the circus.
       “I don’t get nervous when I work with Liina,” said Peltonen. “If I ever felt nervous I would not step into the ring.”
       Both Peltonen and Aunola grew up in Finland. As a boy, Peltonen practiced archery as a hobby. The hobby became his vocation when he joined the Finnish army in 1997, where he excelled in both marksmanship and explosives.
       After leaving the army, Peltonen worked for a while in demolition, though soon became bored with blowing things up. In 2000, Peltonen decided to realize a lifelong dream of millions before him by running away to join the circus — the Sirkus Finlandia.
       He didn’t become a headlining archer right away — in fact, it took six years of training before he was ready to step into the ring on his own. Along the way he met his future wife and performing partner, Liina, who had joined the circus’s youth program despite a decided lack of playground prowess.
       “I was lousy in sports in elementary school, but I still ended up in a very athletic profession,” said Liina, who joined Sirkus Finlandia at the ridiculously young age of 11.
       Years of performing at death-defying and dizzying heights while tethered precariously to a thin rope has honed Liina’s body for her aerial acrobatics; likewise, a strict regimen of training has prepared her husband to take both their lives into his hands when he steps into the ring with crossbow cocked.
       “It’s constant work,” said Peltonen. “I rarely have time to practice because I’m too busy working. So far this year we’ve been to 23 states and traveled more than 23,000 miles... I get my practice in the ring.”
        And while Peltonen says he never gets nervous, he adds the same is not true for the audience.
       “Right before the climax, before I shoot the apple off my head, the room usually gets incredibly quiet,” said Peltonen. “I live for that moment of complete and utter silence... It is an awesome, awesome moment.”


    The Greatest Show On Earth

       It may not be the three-ring variety, but the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is still the “greatest show on Earth.”
       The world’s most famous circus — rechristened BOOM A RING — rolls into the Crown Coliseum Feb. 12-15, confining its action into one ring to provide a more compact, cost-effective product to the thrill-seeking public.
       Don’t worry though, while it’s one ring rather than three, the action is just as fast, furious and frenetic as you remember. It’s also much more intimate — circus-goers will enjoy an up-close and personal experience as they sit feet away from white tigers, majestic Asian elephants and acrobats from around the world.
    In addition to the crossbow wizardy of Marti Peltonen, featured acts include: Los Scolas in a gravity-defying performance on the whirling Wheel of Steel; Vicenta Pages, one of the world’s youngest performing tiger trainers, demonstrates the bond she shares with her rare white-striped Bengal tigers in a display of acrobatic jumps, balancing and even a high-five; Patti Zerbini performs alongside Asian elephants; and the Vedyashkina family presents a delightful Daschund dog act.
       One of the best things about the BOOM A RING format is it allows for an all-access pre-show, which starts an hour before show time and allows the audience to meet and get to know the performers personally.
       The performance schedule is: Thursday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 14, 3-7 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m.
       Tickets start at $15.50 and are on sale now and available through http://www.Ringling.com, Ticketmaster or the Crown Coliseum box office. Contact the Crown at 438-4100 or visit its Web site at www.crowncoliseum.com.

    Contact Tim Wilkins at tim@upandcomingweekly.com



  • 13 commuinty concertsGreat entertainment. It’s what Community Concerts is known for. This all-volunteer organization has been bringing first-rate productions to Fayetteville since 1935. And well into its 84th season, the streak continues with two of Motown’s biggest groups — The Temptations and The Four Tops. The concert is set for Friday, March 6, at the Crown at 7:30 p.m.

    Independently, the groups boast genre-defining hits and fan bases that span generations. Together, they bring an authentic musical experience that has audiences coming back again and again to hear favorites like  “It’s the Same Old Song,” “Something About You,” “Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over),” “Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever” and “I Can’t Help Myself” from the Four Tops and  “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “I Wish It Would Rain” and “Treat Her Like a Lady” from The Temptations.

    While the groups found success independently in the Motown era, they came together in 1983 for a television special called “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever.” Part of the show featured a battle of the bands between The Four Tops and The Temptations. There was such a great dynamic between the bands that they decided to take their performance on the road, touring off and on together ever since.

    Founding member of The Temptations, Otis Williams, noted that even after 60 years, the band still delivers first-rate performances for its fans “For those that have seen us, we will be true to what they know and what we are known for is the high stepping, the sharp clothes and moving in synchronicity. We only know one way to be, and that is the Temptations.”

    With six decades of music history behind the band and a bevy of honors to their name, The Temptations are as busy as ever. Williams’ story is the source for the smash-hit Broadway musical, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations,” which opened on the Great White Way March 21, 2019, and received 12 Tony nominations and won the “Tony Award for Best Choreography” at the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City  on June 10, 2019. On March 24, the audio edition of Williams’ critically acclaimed autobiography, Temptations, written by Williams with The New York Times best-selling writer Patricia Romanowski is set for release as an audiobook. The book was the source for the Emmy-Award Winning television miniseries, “Temptations,” and the current smash hit Broadway musical, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations,” with the Tony-winning choreography. “Our journey as told through the lens of my life transcends generations and cultures,” said Williams. “There are so many wonderful things happening. The audiobook, the Broadway play, and we are getting ready to go into the studio and do our anniversary album. We have a lot of irons in the fire.”

    Also founded in the 1960s, The Four Tops have influenced a variety of genres, including soul music, rhythm and blues, disco, adult contemporary, doo-wop, jazz and show tunes. Like The Temptations, The Four Tops have earned numerous awards including The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Grammy Hall Of Fame. Their music is timeless.

    The last concert of the Community Concerts season is The Oakridge Boys. It is set for Thursday, May 21.

    Community Concerts is definitely about concerts; it’s part of the group’s mission to bring “the finest in top-notch entertainment to Fayetteville, N.C. and the Fort Bragg/Cumberland County Community.” The organization is just as much about community, though, offering opportunities and programs that benefit many.

    The organization founded the Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame in 2008 to honor people who bring musical distinction to the community. From performers to teachers to producers and more, Fayetteville’s music community’s story is celebrated and preserved here.

    In 2004, Community Concerts started offering college scholarships to local high school students. Since its inception, the program has awarded 32 scholarships.

    Local musicians of all ages benefit from the local artist showcase program, which showcases these performers with selected Community Concerts performances. Recently, Voices of the Heart appeared as an opener for Gladys Knight while children from the Linda Kinlaw School of Dance performed with Martina McBride. Local, emerging country music star Trae Edwards also performed at the Ricky Skaggs show.

    Making great music available to as many people as possible embodies the spirit of the Community Concerts’ mission. So it makes sense that the organization would offer free concert opportunities to different groups with benefactors ranging from young children to senior citizens.  In recent seasons, recipients have included the Vision Resource Center, Urban Ministry, The Sunshine Center, members of local fire and police departments, high school theater art classes, members of our military, and many more.

    For tickets and information about Community Concerts, visit http://www.community-concerts.com/ or search the event on Capefeartix.com.

  • 12 ROOTEDWomen rock! We bring home the bacon, cook it and enjoy eating every piece of it. Women are an integral force in society, and they make a difference in the lives of others. Women deserve to be celebrated,  which is why Cape Fear Botanical Garden presents the 1st Annual 2020 Women’s Summit “Rooted,” Saturday, Feb. 29. from 9 a.m. to
    5 p.m. at Cape Fear Botanical Garden.  

    “This is our first ever Women’s Summit to happen at the garden, and it is all things women — shopping, fashion, home, health and beauty” said Lia Hasapis, marketing coordinator of the Cape Fear Botanical Garden.  “Anything you can imagine will be here.”

    The idea of the Women’ Summit originated from Sheila Hanrick, director of events at Cape Fear Botanical Garden. “She thought it would be something different to do and something that is centered just around women and local businesses in town that support women as well as encourage women to have their own specific event,” said Hasapis. “We loved the idea. This event will be a fun thing because you will be able to renew and energize after a long winter.”

     The event will feature local women speakers, workshops and vendors. The speakers include Dr. Connie Brooks Fernandez, owner of Allure Aesthetics & Medical Spa; Donna Everhart, USA Today’s best-selling author; Alexandra Badgett, Miss North Carolina 2019; Judith Cage, chef, business owner and guest on the Food Network; and Dr. Patrice Carter, Christian Life Coach, author and motivational speaker. The workshops are a pregnant and postpartum fitness workshop with Erica Royster, self-defense with M J Fitness, makeup with MBM and Simply Liz Love, creating a calming space with Monique Tuset, financial goals with Monique Tuset and stunning succulents with Amy Stidham. Vendors will also be on-site.              
    “We just opened our Garden View Café — Elite Catering owns and operates it, and they will be here serving lunch,” said Hasapis. “We also have a few food trucks who will be coming, they are Hello Crepe and Java Express.”

    Hasapis added there will be a travel agency vendor that will share what kinds of fun trips you can go on with your girlfriends or family members. Jordan Essentials will have household products, not just beauty products for your skin. They are made from homemade USA natural products to enhance your health. Total Life Changes with Vivian Baldwin will tell you how you can lose weight using supplements.   

    “Dr. Connie Brooks Fernandez will discuss aging gracefully and she will do a live demo of Botox and share all the things you can do at her medical spa,” said Hasapis. “We will have a yoga workshop. It will teach you stretches you can do at home so that you don’t have to attend a yoga class.

     “We look forward to seeing everyone at our first annual Women’s Summit,” said Hasapis.

    Ticket cost is $15, and it includes a complimentary mimosa. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite and at the door. For more information, call 910-486-0221.

  • 02-03-10-woman-in-rocker.gifThe art community in Fayetteville is a vibrant one. It is not uncommon to fi nd high quality art and exhibits year round at different venues throughout the city, in fact the Friends of African & African-American Art is sponsoring Art of the Masters: A Survey of African American Images, 1980-2000 at the Arts Council. The exhibit opened on Jan. 22 and will hang until March 6.

    The show is bigger than the art on display at 301 Hay St., though. There is a sister exhibit at the Rosenthal Gallery at Fayetteville State University.

    “People can visit Rosenthal and read the panels to learn more about the artists and see reproductions of the works” said Mary Kinney, Arts Council Fayetteville/Cumberland County marketing manager. “Then they can come here and see the exhibit to learn more — or vice versa. To get the full effect and full benefi t people should visit both places because it is all really one big exhibit.”

    There are also events and activities scheduled through the month of February. Assistant Professor of Art at FSU, Dr. Rollinda Thomas, will give a lecture titled Style and Politics: the African American Masters. She’ll be speaking at Rosenthal Gallery Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. and again at the Arts Council at 6 p.m. on Feb. 11.

    Thomas is excited about the opportunity to speak with the public about Art of the Masters. As an educator, she welcomes the opportunity to broaden the horizons of interested parties in the community.

    “The lecture is intended to give an overview of the artistic styles of the artists,” said Thomas. “We’ll look at how the politics of the time period infl uenced their work. For instance, there is a beautiful ceramic piece that harkens back to Benin, Africa.

    ”While there is a wide range of art work in the exhibit that covers everything from modern art to more traditional and natural pieces, Thomas is seeking to open the eyes and minds of the audience to the exhibit as a whole.

    “This is a wonderful opprtunity to have the chance to share information with the public and with students,” said Thomas. “It is a chance to discuss the exhibit. I am excited about opening people’s eyes and making art accessible.

    ”Although it is billed as a lecture, Thomas is seeking an exchange with the public. The stunning presentation of African American artists not only lends itself to visually appealing to the audience, there is also an opportunity at the lecture to offer opinions and questions.

    “This is definitely meant to be interactive,” said Thomas.The lecture is family friendly.

    For more information, please call the Arts Council at 323-1776.

  • 11 julio rionaldo xIoze9dH4WI unsplashThe Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra’s “In Their Footsteps” concert is one that will be a classic and a performance the whole famioy can enjoy.
    The concert will take place at Huff Concert Hall at Methodist University on March 7. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m.

    During this performance, the audience will experience the skills of the symphony’s talented musicians and travel with them and the Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra as they walk in the footsteps of classical composers and even a North Carolina composer.

    What started in 1956 as a simple orchestra has expanded into an incredible group of musicians that performs all across the community of Fayetteville. The mission of the orchestra is to educate, entertain and inspire the citizens of Fayetteville, North Carolina as the region’s leading musical resource.

    Before the concert, a preshow talk will take place. This preshow talk will be a formal interview done by the Music Nerd,  Dr. Joshua Busman.

    Jesse Hughes is the executive director of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. When asked about the preshow talk that will take place beforehand, he said “ It’s an informal interview that involves Dr. Joshua Busman who is a professor of composition at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The purpose of it is to give the audience insight into the lives of musicians from a practical standpoint. In other words, he will interview some of the musicians and ask them how did they prepare for a concert or for a particular concert, when they became interested in music and at what age, and things like that, and establish a connection with the audience.”

    About the theme, Hughes said, “The theme was programmed by our musical director. It pays homage to great composers that have gone before. It’s a combined program that combines the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra. So, it is basically the young following in the footsteps of the old.”
    Composer Hector Berlioz takes center stage this performance. “First off, the concert is going to focus on a composer named Hector Berlioz. Mr. Berlioz is a well known classical composer, so its basically paying homage to his work. Also, that first half is going to feature a composition by a North Carolina native, Jacob Hensen, who is currently pursuing his master’s degree at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.”

    “Then the second half of the program features music by composers based on American style music such as the Suite of Old American Dances. The type of music they are playing is called academic music. It is performed more by bands at the high school and college level. So, it is very popular in those populations.

    “What makes it fun is the cultural enrichment it brings to the community, the involvement, and  the connection that is established with the orchestra and the patrons, especially when we play pieces that people can relate to.

    “I think they are important because they provide cultural enrichment. It denotes the example of the accomplishment of something that requires regiment and discipline. It’s also something that captivates the community and is all inspiring.”

    For information on how to buy tickets go to fayettevillesymphony.org.
  • 02-08-12-mike-epps.jpgAre you ready for a night of laughs and non-stop entertainment? Well get ready, because Mike Epps is live at the Crown Center on Sunday, Feb. 19. The comedian is back again to give the audience new laughs and enjoyment as part of his I’m Still Standing Tour.

    The funnyman has proven his talents numerous times in the entertainment industry. Epps’ biggest debut was his appearance on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam. In 1999, Epps received recognition for these outstanding performances on the national stage. It took the comedian to the next level. He decided then to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in comedy. Of course, the comedian had been doing stand-up for many years. It was something he believes he was destined to do and it shows with his success in the entertainment industry.

    Fellow entertainer, rapper and actor, Ice Cube took notice of the comedian while he performed at the L.A. Comedy Store. This encounter lead to one of the comedian’s first roles in a movie, Next Friday. He played the role of Day-Day, the cousin to Ice Cube’s character, and the movie was a true comedy hit. Since his debut as an actor, Epps appeared in the movies Bait, How High and even played the voice of Sonny in Dr. Dolittle 2.

    It is safe to say that the comedian has had a great career and it continues to grow. He has truly made a name for himself in the entertainment industry. Of course, Epps still tours the country and performs at many sold-out arenas and theatres. His onehour comedy special, Inappropriate Behavior, that aired on HBO was rated the top one-hour special of the year. DVDs, of the performance, were made available to the public that same month.

    On Sept. 10, 2006, Epps switched roles and began to host HBO’s Def Comedy Jam. Epps has performed in many other movies since his debut as an actor including: All About the Benjamins, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Soul Men, Hancock, Open Season, The Fighting Temptation, Open Season, Friday After Next and Jumping the Broom, to name a few.

    The Crown Center is delighted to see the comedian perform again for the community of Fayetteville. Garry Marshall, director of marketing and sales, stated the comedian had another performance at the Crown Center a year ago, which was very well received by audience members.

    “He is a very talented performer,” Marshall explained, “He gives a show that is very crowd-pleasing.”

    Tickets for the show are selling rather quickly and it is highly recommended that future audience members purchase tickets soon to ensure the best seats.

    “This is a reserved-seat show and the sooner you purchase your ticket the better the seats you will get,” Marshall adds.

    At the Crown Center theatre, parking is free and all normal concessions will be opened on the night of show. The comedy show will begin at 7 p.m. Call 438-4100 or visit www. atthecrown.com for ticket prices and hours.

    Photo: Comedian Mike Epps.

  • 10 downloadEvery month, The Cool Springs Downtown District puts on an event called Fourth Friday. During the event, the community is invited to celebrate all that downtown Fayetteville has to offer. It involves gallery openings, arts and entertainment, shopping, dining and more. Fourth Friday will take place on Feb. 28 from 6-9 p.m.
    The Arts Council will host a spoken word event as a part of its “Troublesome Presence” exhibition. This spoken word event is the last programming installment in the exhibition.

    Metoya Scott is the public relations manager for the Arts Council. When asked about what she is looking forward to most about this event, she said, “Just basically looking forward to how these local poets interpret the art and learning from that.”

    For more information about “Troublesome Presence”, contact the Arts Council at admin@theartscouncil.com or 910-323-1776.

    The Cool Spring Downtown District also has much going on for Fourth Friday. This month’s theme is called “Lasting Impressions.” The intent of this theme is to honor Black History Month by dedicating the theme to black-owned businesses. They are partnering with the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and Circa 1865 to focus on our community’s rich black history while also promoting black business owners.

    Cape Fear Studios has special exhibits planned as well. It will host a military art exhibition where the works on display are created by military personnel who are active duty, reserve, national guard, veterans and retirees. The dependents of these military personnel will be welcome to enter pieces as well. Those who attend must be 18 years or older. The art exhibition will be called the “2020 Alpha Romeo Tango Exhibition.” A People’s Choice Award will be presented. This exhibition will be on display from Feb. 26 to March 24. Two entries per artist may be submitted. All styles and subjects are welcome. On Fourth Friday, a reception will take place. The reception will last from 6-7:30 p.m. At 7 p.m. the People’s Choice Award will be announced. Voting for the award will begin on Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. Voting will end at 6:45 p.m. opening night. The event will be free and open to the public. For more information on the Alpha Romeo Tango Exhibition, contact Cape Fear Studios at artgallery@capefeartstudios.com or 910-433-2986.

    The Fascinate-U Children’s Museum also hosts an event for Fourth Friday. Susan Daniels, the executive director of the Fascinate-U Children’s Museum, said that the museum has been working with Fourth Friday for years. This month, there will be an arts and crafts event. During this event, children will make newspaper polar bears. For information on the Fascinate-U Children’s Museum, contact sierra@fascinate-u.com or 910-829-9171.

    For more information about Fourth Friday, contact the Cool Spring Downtown District at info@coolspringfay.org or 910-223-1089.

  • The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (FSO) is noted in the community for its strong support of and02-08-12-faysymphony.jpgcommitment to bringing symphonic music to the young, including many who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a concert. Just recently, the FSO held its second annual Exceptional Children and Adult’s Concert, complete with the “instrument petting zoo.” Its Holiday Extravaganza featured the Cumberland County Youth Orchestra and the Music Makers Fall Cohort, a program funded by the Youth Growth Stock Trust through the Cumberland County Education Foundation and developed by the FSO with the Boys & Girls Club and Fayetteville Parks & Recreation. And now, funded by a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Jordan, some members of the FSO, under the baton of Maestro Foaud Fakhouri, will travel to Jordan, February 16-24 to perform with the Amman Symphony Orchestra and present concerts to schoolchildren.

    The symphony will engage in three different programs while in Jordan, Fakhouri explained. The first performance is an evening concert, which is part of the Amman Symphony Orchestra’s regular season Masterworks, similar to what the FSO does here. The concert will include the overture to Verdi’s “La forza del destino,” Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 1.”

    The second and third programs involve working with students.

    “We’re doing four other performances during the day for schoolchildren, similar to what we do in Fayetteville for our third graders,” Fakhouri said. “This project came through a grant with the U. S. Embassy in Jordan. So they want us to focus on education. That was one of the priorities that they wanted to see happen. And we’re introducing children to classical music by performing American blockbuster-movie music. The idea is that these kids may have heard of Harry Potter or Pirates of the Caribbean or Star Wars, but they would not have associated that what they heard on that movie screen is actually performed by an orchestra. I thought that this would be a good idea to sort of say, ‘You’re familiar with this music, but here’s how it’s done, and these are the instruments that make that type of sound.’”

    And Fakhouri wants to ensure that the experience will be meaningful beyond just the 40 minutes of the performance.

    “They’ve probably never been to a symphonic concert in their lives, they’re going to see this and then they’re going to go home. What do we give them to take home and extend that experience and actually get them to say, ‘I saw this instrument, and this is what I want to learn’?” asked Fakhouri.

    Fakhouri approached one of the symphony’s education coordinators as well as librarian, who plays with the FSO.

    “She created a mini booklet that we’re going to give to every one of those kids while we’re there,” he said.

    The FSO is also providing master classes to students of the National Music Conservatory as well as students at King’s Academy, a private boarding school about 45 minutes outside of Amman. Members of the FSO will stay at King’s Academy during their visit.

    This cultural exchange is not the fi rst between the FSO and musicians of Jordan.

    “For our 50th anniversary, we invited the Queen of Jordan to come” said Fakhouri. “One of the Queen’s projects is the National Music Conservatory in Jordan. We invited musicians from the conservatory to come here, and she came and saw us perform with them. She invited the symphony to go to Jordan to perform, which was funded by the conservatory.”

    Fakhouri notes that this trip is a bit different. During a guest conducting engagement, he spoke with a friend about the project, and she suggested bringing some of the musicians from the FSO again, and she would explore sources of funding.

    “The embassy was very interested, provided we did the education component. And the embassy seems quite excited to be involved in this project,” Fakhouri said.

    In addition to rehearsals and performances, the FSO will take some time to explore the historic area, including the “lost” city of Petra, familiar to many from Raiders of the Lost Ark fame; Jerash, a well-preserved Roman ruin; Mt. Nebo, where Moses stood, and of course, the Dead Sea and the baptismal site of Jesus. The FSO hopes to post updates and pictures to its Facebook page while in Jordan and then create something on the FSO website after their return.

    Fakhouri stresses the signifi cance of such cultural exchanges relative to the Fayetteville community.

    “We are taking Fayetteville overseas, and we are introducing people to what we do here and impacting their lives. What we do to represent Fayetteville is important, and the only reason we are able to do these types of projects, to take them outside, is because of the generosity of the people who support us,” said Fakhouri. “And from their support, we are able to do these programs here and get positive feedback from our community, from our children and the schools, especially with regards to education, and that’s what we’re modeling this program in Jordan upon. We’re basing it on the positive experiences and our long history with these types of projects in Fayetteville. We’re just duplicating them there for a place that really needs them. There aren’t many orchestras our size that can say that they do this type of work.”

    “There’s a lot of chaos in the world, and these types of things maybe help make people understand each other a little bit better.”

    For more information on the FSO, visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org.

  • 15 choral artsAudience members may not recognize the Cumberland Choral Arts moniker just yet, but the voices will sound oh-so familiar when the group performs Friday, Feb. 28 at First Baptist Church. No stranger to the community, Cumberland Choral Arts was founded in 1991 as the Cumberland Oratorio Singers. The group performs a variety of pieces in the classical, opera, stage and screen music, jazz and other music genres.

    “It is our first season as Cumberland Choral arts,” said Artistic Director Jason Britt. “People are starting to recognize the name, but we are still explaining it. We changed our name because it more accurately reflects who we are. We realize our listeners are not just people who strictly love classical music. We have audience members who like jazz and Broadway and contemporary music, and we strive to provide a variety of things for the interest of our audience. We are a community group. We do a variety of music, not just traditional choral music. If you come to ‘Welcome to London,’ you may hear something from the Beatles that night.”

     The concert will showcase three significant composers — Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst and John Rutter. “We are going to be highlighting some famous British composers,” said Britt. “Elgar and Holst are both considered nationalist composers who epitomize their country through their music. We are showcasing them as well as contemporary composer John Rutter. We will be showcasing his traditional  pieces and one that is more jazz-related.

    Additional performances this season include a celebration of black history month Feb. 22 called “Lift Every Voice and Sing. “Local black musicians will perform that night at 7 p.m.,” said Britt. Patrons can pay at the door. It’s  $15 per person. Season ticket holders will get a discount. Proceeds benefit Cumberland Choral Arts.”

    The final concert in the season brings audiences full circle with “America, My Home.” It is set for May 8. The concert focuses on a few little-known composers, including some from North Carolina. The works of  Joseph Martin, Dan Forrest, Daniel Elder and Stephen Paulus are all on the docket as attendees are treated to more subtle and subdued harmonic structures, combined with flowing, sing-able melodies. Some of the works to be performed that night include “Good Night Dear Heart,” “Song for the Unsung Hero,” “Hymn for America” and Elder’s song cycle “Three Nocturnes.”

    Inspired by the joy of singing and hearing choral music, the group’s mission is “to be a premier symphonic chorus through the outstanding performance of choral masterworks. With a commitment to excellence and education for over 25 years, we work collaboratively with all singers to foster a vibrant, diverse, and interactive choral community, educate our singers and audiences, and extend our reach to the youth of Cumberland County and the Sandhills region.”

    Find out more about Cumberland Choral Arts at https://cumberlandchoralarts.org/ or by calling 910-215-7046. Tickets are available on the Cumberland Choral arts website.
  • 11 N1907P38008CThe Cumberland County Master Gardeners 6th Annual Spring Garden Symposium is set for March 21 at the Ramada Plaza in the Bordeaux Convention Center in Fayetteville. It will be filled with excitement and fun for anyone interested in gardening and the great outdoors. The symposium will run from
    8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is put on by the N.C. State/Cumberland County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association.

    Come ready to learn, as the symposium features several guests. The main speakers of the event will be Joe Lamp’L, Kerry Ann Mendez and Jason Weathington.
    Lamp’L is the creator, executive producer and host of the Emmy-award winning national PBS series, “Growing a Greener World.” Mendez is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant. Her international gardening webinars have been viewed by thousands. Weathington is an N.C. State/Cumberland County Extension urban horticulture agent, educator and landscape designer.

    Weathington, Lamp’L and Mendez will give presentations throughout the day. Lamp’L will discuss what takes place behind the scenes of his show, “Growing a Greener World,” drawing inspiration from his extensive travels across America. These travels set the stage for the series, providing content and inspiration. The presentation is titled, “Growing a Greener World — A behind the scenes look at some of our most popular stories from the past 9 seasons.”

    Mendez’s presentation is titled, “The Budget-Wise Gardener: Plant the Best for Less! Money-Saving Tips for Purchasing Plants Plus Cost-Saving Garden Designs.” This presentation will be about finding ways to get the best plants for the best price. It also will discuss tips on how to design one’s garden and landscapes while also saving money in the process.

    Mendez will also give a presentation called “Gardening Simplified: Plants and Design Solutions for Time-Pressed and Maturing Gardeners.” This presentation is based on Mendez’s book, “The Right-Size Flower Garden.” This presentation will be about simple, easy ways to keep up with one’s garden throughout the year, even when life gets busy.

    Weathington’s presentation is titled “The Outdoor Room.” This presentation will be about how to create an enjoyable outdoor space.

    Judy Dewar is the chairperson for the Cumberland County Master Gardener’s 6th Annual Spring Garden Symposium. Dewar said the purpose of the symposium is “Among other endeavors, to raise scholarship funds for the horticulture students at Fayetteville Technical Community College, offer grants to the high school offering horticulture programs, help fund the Jr. Master Gardener program and educate our county residents in NC State horticulture practices.”

    Dewar also said the symposium allows the community to come together because it brings together people who are interested in sharing stories and practices on how to sustain the earth.

    The symposium will also include a silent auction, raffles and vendors. The price of admission includes a seated luncheon.

    For more information about the symposium, contact Judy Dewar. Visit eventbrite.com to register for the event.

  • 10 N1804P43006CSpring is right around the corner. It’s the perfect time to show your abode some love, spruce things up and maybe tackle projects that got put on hold during the winter months. Whether that to-do list is a mile long or you are just looking for inspiration, the North Carolina Spring 2020 Home Expo is the perfect place to start. The Expo runs Feb. 21 through Feb. 23 at the Crown Complex Exposition Center, and according to David Laughlin, marketing director at Nationwide Expo, there is something there for just about everyone. Come browse the latest in home design, remodeling, automation, improvement, outdoor living and more — much more. The more than 100 vendors are ready to serve, teach and inspire.

    “This is going to be a great show,” said Laughlin. “This time of year, a lot of people are huddled inside doing projects or gearing up for spring cleaning, spring redecoration and bigger projects, too. That’s what makes this such a timely event. There will be everything related to homes and living spaces, including things like tile, wood, carpet and bath and kitchen vendors. If you’re looking for something for a project — big or small, do-it-yourself or to hire out — there are vendors who can help, and they are all getting together at the Crown.”

    For people looking to get work done, the Expo is an opportunity to shop around, get quotes and interview different vendors. “They do all sorts of projects, indoors and out,” said Laughlin. “And, often, they can do it in a day or two. Many of the vendors don’t have storefronts, so you’ll get good pricing. Virtually all the vendors are local. There are some national companies, but the ones who will come into your home are 85% to 90% local and include businesses like plumbers, HVAC companies, electricians, — you name it.”

    The show is also perfect for people thinking about buying or building a home. Find out what the latest trends and technologies are, compare products and prices and talk to financial institutions about how to make it happen. “If you’re thinking about buying a house, we will have bankers, lenders and mortgage companies — everything you can think of,” said Laughlin. “You don’t have to own a home to enjoy the show. Mattress companies will be here, kitchen companies will be selling the latest gadgets, and there will  be cooking demos and food samples and all sorts of other vendors, too.”

    Like many other industries, technology changes fast in the home=building and home improvement arena. From solar products to home safety, Laughlin said it’s always interesting to see the latest trends and technologies. “My favorite thing about this is the education. I learn something at every show.”
    Don’t miss the main stage, where vendors will do presentations. And come ready to bring home some the swag. “There is always swag, like key chains and pens and visors, but the other thing is there will be giveaways as well,” Laughlin said. “At one show, a roofing company gave away a new roof.”

    With vendors offering products and services that cover anything home- and even apartment-related, the expo is an obvious choice for a way to constructively spend a few hours. Tickets cost $5 per person. Find out more at http://www.crowncomplexnc.com/events or by calling 910-438-4100.

  • 11 01 the vine 1Lovers in and around Fayetteville can give Cupid the weekend off this Valentine’s Day. Choices abound for a fun experience with your special someone with options that include fine dining, concerts, theater performances, Vegas-style casino events and more.

    The Vine  Enjoy an upscale Valentine’s Day listening to live jazz music by Fayetteville’s own Reggie Codrington while savoring a sumptuous meal at
    The Vine.

    The Vine co-owner Brad McLawhorn said the event is designed to be a step above dinner out at a restaurant. “We wanted to create an event that will make people feel special. We are taking reservations, and we can fit up three couples at a table. We want to give everyone an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle. They can come and enjoy a plated dinner where everything will be served to them. It is a personalized experience with live music by Reggie Codrington to provide ambience.”
    The menu includes filet mignon,  salmon or chicken entrees as well as a vegetarian option.

    “We wanted to make sure everyone has something on the  menu that will appeal to them,” said McLawhorn.

    There will be several different side options, including a baked potato or honey cinnamon sweet potato or cayenne roasted red potatoes or cilantro lime rice along with multiple vegetables to choose from. Dessert options include New York-style cheesecake with a raspberry drizzle or a chocolate lava cake. McLawhorn also hinted that there will be a special surprise for the ladies who attend as well.

    Reservations are available in 30-minute increment, starting at 5 p.m. Tickets cost between $75 and $225. The expanded menu for this event accommodates dietary restrictions and includes vegetarian options. Find out more at https://www.thevinenc.com/  or twobrotherscateringnc.com or by calling 910-584-9892.

    11 02 1200x628 copyThe Crown Coliseum Complex has several events scheduled for Valentine’s Day weekend. Set for Friday, Feb. 14, the Valentine’s Day Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre serves up an evening of suspense, mystery and murder alongside a gourmet meal.

    “We are so excited for this event,” said Carolyn Swait, director of sales at the Crown Complex. “This is the first time ever the Crown has produced something of this magnitude... We want the community to not think of it as another dinner theater but to have a different experience from the minute they walk through the door. We have given this a lot of thought and have carefully considered everything that is going into this.”

    Produced, written and directed by Dr. Gail Morfesis, “Love Letters … Sleight of Hand” features Sylvester “Sly” Fox,  master of ceremonies and husband of Francine Maximillian, artistic consultant and original owner of “It’s all about You” booking agency. He came to Francine as an actor seeking jobs but has attempted to take over the business. He also has taken on several unscrupulous loans of which Francine is unaware. Francine is concerned about her husband’s attention toward her younger  protéges.

    This interactive whodunit invites attendees to solve the mystery while enjoying a cocktail hour with hors d’ oeuvres and an open bar followed by a three-course dinner and dessert. Vegetarian options are available upon request. The murder mystery dinner starts at 6 p.m. Visit http://www.crowncomplexnc.com/ for tickets and information.

    11 02 FAYCOMMUNITY2019 WebSliders TEXASTENORSCommunity Concerts presents the third performance in its five-show season this year with The Texas Tenors Friday, Feb. 14. The Texas Tenors take the stage at the Crown Theatre at 7:30 p.m. for a night of amazing music as the trio celebrate 10 years together. The group was honored earlier this year as one of the top 50 acts in the world. They were the only vocal group from the United States invited to compete on NBC’s primetime series “America’s Got Talent: The Champions.”

    For tickets and information, visit http://www.community-concerts.com/.

    11 04 Logo Wine and Chocolate Festival copyWine and chocolate are a classic combination when it comes to romance. Saturday, Feb. 15 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., Carolina Uncork’d Wine & Chocolate Festival welcomes the public to taste selections from regional wineries and chocolatiers as well as spirits and craft beers and more at the Crown. There will be more than 100 of Carolina’s premier wineries, breweries, distilleries, cideries, restaurants, cheese makers, bakers, and chocolatiers in attendance.

    From selfie photo booths not yet seen in the Sandhills to life-sized games like Connect Four and beer pong, the event is the perfect place for a unique Valentine’s Day experience. “We’ll have the sweet spot, which offers different sweets and chocolate to taste throughout the day,” said Swait. “We’re adding a man cave and beer garden. We want to make it enticing for men. Valentine’s Day is centered around women. We thought this would entice women to bring their guys. There will be beer, whiskey, cognac, life-sized games and more. The Ladies Cove will feature a martini bar with a huge ice-sculpture martini glass with cosmos coming through it. There will be chocolate martinis and other specialized cocktails for the event, as well. Several of our sponsors are customizing cocktails as well. There will be games on the stage along with demonstrations, prizes and giveaways. We have so many fun surprises people are going to really enjoy.”

    The VIP experience includes one-hour early entry to a session; a premium swag bag; limitless samples of wine, craft beers, spirits, ciders and more; sampling of gourmet fondue bar chocolatiers and the region’s savory food bites; early vendor shopping experience; exclusive door prize giveaways.

    Attendees must be 21 or over. Tickets cost $15 for designated drivers/nondrinkers, $35 for regular tickets and $50 for VIP tickets. There is a military discount of $5.  For information and tickets, call  910-438- 4100.

    11 05 Shrek Showpage Banner V2 1024x202“Shrek: The Musical” is a fairytale musical for the young and the young at heart. In this production, the unlikely hero, Shrek, embarks on a life-changing journey. He is accompanied by Donkey as he takes on the task of rescuing a fiercely independent princess Fiona — who has a big secret. With themes of self-acceptance, trusting others and loving yourself for who you truly are woven into the story — and the songs, too — A night at CFRT’s “Shrek: The Musical”  is a lovely way to spend a whimsical evening (or afternoon) with your special Valentine.

    The show runs through Feb. 16. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday evenings with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit http://www.cfrt.org/ for tickets and information.

    11 06 VALENTINES 2Take your sweetie on a Valentine’s Day carriage ride through downtown Fayetteville, Friday, Feb. 14 from 5-10 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 15, from 1-9pm. Rides last about 20 minutes each.  Tickets for group rides are $15 per person or $10 for children under 10. Private rides for a truly romantic experience are also available for $60 per couple.  Tickets may be charged over the phone at 910-223-1089 or booked online at www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com.
  • 08 kay V3qzwMY2ak0 unsplashBetter Health has been serving the Cumberland County community for the past 61 years. For the past 23 years, the organization has offered fun and entertaining ways to raise funds for the nonprofit, and this year is no exception. Preparing for its largest annual fundraiser thus far, the theme for 2020 is an “Evening at Casino Royale,” and it is sure to be an unforgettable event. Event chair, Jennifer Hammond, has gathered a group of excited volunteers who are looking forward to making sure the evening is not only tremendously successful, but it’s enjoyable, too. Mark your calendar for Feb. 29, and get your tickets now.

    The annual fundraiser event is designed to raise funds for Better Health and to educate those in attendance about what this longtime nonprofit offers to the community.

    Director Amy Navejas said, “So often, we hear people who are not familiar with the organization, but they come in, are blown away by what we do and how long Better Health has been serving the community. This event is a way for our community to come together to support those in need, show appreciation for all of the physicians and volunteers who make it all possible and have a great time.” The dedicated staff and board of directors will also be in attendance for those who would like to meet them and hear more about this incredible organization.

    The evening will begin with attendees receiving tokens from the 2020 Casino Sponsor, the Cobb Tilghman Group of Merrill Lynch. They will trade the tokens with the pit boss for play money where they can try their luck at the blackjack, roulette, craps and poker tables. Attendees will also enjoy great music, have the opportunity to bid on splendid silent auction items, munch on scrumptious food provided by Elite Catering, and sip adult beverages.

    All of this fun takes place at the locally owned Carolina Barn at McCormick Farms, only 11 miles from the Market House. The address is 7765 McCormick Bridge Road, Spring Lake.

    All the money raised will help Better Health continue to support the community. Better Health provides free diabetes education, emergency direct medical aid for the uninsured, emergency dental extractions and free medical equipment loans and even childhood obesity programs. All of this is made possible through fundraisers and devoted volunteers made up of Certified Diabetes Educators, nurses and more.

    The event is Saturday, Feb. 29, from 7-11 p.m.

    If you are interested in volunteering, want to be a sponsor or have questions about the event, email director@betterhealthcc.org,  visit www.betterhealthcc.org.  or call Better Health at 910-483-7534.

  • 01-12-11-fireantz-logo.gifAs you read in last week’s edition of Up & Coming Weekly, the FireAntz have some exciting hockey coming up. There are also some really unique and fun promotions coming soon. Here are just some of the highlights of what is to come:

    Saturday, Feb. 5, the FireAntz, fans and corporate partners will once again take an opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women of the military.

    The FireAntz will wear special, patriotic jerseys for the game and all of the themes of the night are in support of the military. Several of their partners have joined them in supporting the military that night; Fort Bragg Federal Credit Union, US Logoworks, Stanley Steemer, First Class Property Management, Wilson Off Road, Century 21 Agents, 4G Communications, Carpet Dry Clean and Restoration, Wolfe Audio, Century Link, Dex Knows, Master Exterminators, and Caviness and Cates. It’s su02-02-11-fireantz.gifre to be a great night and a great tribute to the military.

    Friday, Feb. 25, is Kidsville Kids Night. The singing/dancing troupe known as the Kidsville Kids will be in attendance and performing throughout the game. They put on a spectacular show and this is one you won’t want to miss.

    Tuesday, March 8 is Kids Night presented by Cape Fear Valley Health. There is a great ticket promotion for that game and the proceeds are going to a wonderful cause. Fans who donate $1 to Friends of Children will get a free ticket to the March 8 game. There will be select locations that you may donate.

    Make sure to circle these dates and check out the other ones as well. There is guaranteed to be exciting hockey, and as you can see, some really exciting promotions as well.

    Photo: FireAntz Forward Chris Leveille streaks into the zone. Photo
    Courtesy: J. Shank.

  • uac020911001.gif There’s the Kentucky Derby and the Boy Scouts have the Pinewood Derby, but a Duck Derby? You betcha — and you’re invited to participate.

    The Fayetteville Duck Derby has been in the making for well over a year. It all started with Fayetteville Urban Ministry. The organization was looking for a fundraising idea and wanted to do something different. A little bit of research and imagination — and a lot of hard work later, event co-chairs Katie Crenshaw and Aurora Alexander are ready to introduce Quacky and the whole Duck Derby experience to the community.

    They’ve made the rounds, gathered the support of local businesses and several fellow nonprofi ts and now it is time to share their vision and watch the fun begin!

    You might be asking yourself what exactly is a Duck Derby? And we can understand that, because we asked the same question. 

    The Duck Derby will take place on May 7 at Campbellton Landing. If you are on hand that day, you will see a rare site. Between 5,000 and 15,000 yellow rubber ducks will be launched into the Cape Fear River in a race to support Fayetteville Urban Ministry and many other local non-profi ts.

    To make it to the river, a duck needs to be adopted. Anyone can adopt a duck, it costs $5 per duck, less if you buy a package of fi ve or more.

    “The actual duck drop is going to be really cool,” said Crenshaw. “They’ll drop off the bridge by Campbellton Landing and the end is right about where the railroad trestle begins. We’ve timed it and that is about a 10 minute race.”02-09-11-duckderby1.gif

    The prizes are impressive — a 2011 Toyota Camry generously donated by Rick Hendrick Toyota, a Las Vegas getaway, a Myrtle Beach escape and a catered Cape Fear River cruise. 

    When you purchase a duck, your name will be entered onto a tag. May 5 is the tagging party. This is where the thousands of ducks that have been purchased by caring members of the community will be assigned numbers and prepped for the big race. Crenshaw is hoping for plenty of volunteers, since they are expecting a sizable amount of work.

    “We have a minimum 5,000 ducks to tag,” said Crenshaw. “Our goal is much higher than that though, and they all have to be tagged.”

    While Fayetteville Urban Ministry is the lead nonprofi t for this event, duck sponsors can help other nonprofi ts even if they only adopt one duck.

    Visit the website, and click on “Teams.” There will be a list of nonprofi t organizations that are participating in this event. Choose your team, then adopt a duck, or two or three — or more.

    “Choose your team and $1 for every duck you purchase will go to that nonprofi t,” said Crenshaw. “The rest will go to Fayetteville Urban Ministry. It is no cost to the other nonprofi ts to sign on. We have such a good working relationships with these other organizations and we are all working together to better the community. We just wanted to share a little bit with them. We thought ‘Let’s all combine our efforts. Let’s all work together.’”

    Organizers timed the event to coincide with the month-long celebration of Days of Glory, which occurs in May. Throughout the month of May, local organizations put together events honoring and celebrating Fayetteville’s military heritage with ceremonies, art exhibits, sport and charity events and much more.

    “This is part of the 31 day salute, and it is just so special because so many people have come together to support this in the community,” noted Crenshaw. “It is so much more than a one person event.”

    02-09-11-duckderby2.gifWhile the actual race is short, Crenshaw and Alexander are planning an entire days worth of fun on the big day. From 1-6 p.m., Campbellton Landing will be fi lled with music, kid-friendly activities and educational resources.

    “It will be an opportunity for all our non profi ts to share their mission, if they choose. We’ll have entertainment on the stage the entire day, too,” said Crenshaw. “We have Rattler Jake coming. He talks about different snakes and will educate the children. We have riverboat tours. Basically, it’s a free event with tons for the kids to do.”

    May might be a long time away, but there are other things you can do now to support the Duck Derby.

    “Just like the Kentucky Derby has the Mint Julep, we are looking for that perfect signature drink for the Duck Derby, and an appetizer, too.” said Crenshaw. “We’ve asked our local restaurants and the community to be part of this and help us with that.”

    Eleven local restaurants (Huske Hardware House, The Hilltop House, Pierro’s Italian Bistro, Morgan’s Chop House, It’z Entertainment City, Scrub Oaks, Circa 1800, Luigi’s, Riverside Steak & Oyster Bar, Latitude 35 Bar & Grill and Chris’s Steak House) are pulling out all the stops in a competition to see who can create the signature cocktail and appetizer for this event. From Feb. 11 until May 6, the community is invited to visit these restaurants, sample their creations and then vote for their favorite at www.fayettevilleduckderby.com. The winner will be announced at the derby. The possibilities are incredible, and the competition is sure to be intense, so don’t miss out on a chance have your say.

    May 7 will be here in no time, so you need to buy a duck, taste an appetizer, cast your vote and sign up to help. To do all of this, visit www.www. fayettevilleduckderby.com.

    Middle Right: Quacky the duck stands by the Toyota Camry that is the grand prize in
    the Duck Derby. Bottom Left: Tom Costello, of Hendrick Toyota gives Quacky a hug.


  • 020613001.gif It’s halfway through the season, and the FireAntz are in top form. After taking on a new coach this year, recruiting strong players and working hard, the team is back on top of their game and currently in first place in the Southern Professional Hockey League.

    “This team is far more competitive than last year,” said FireAntz general manager Kevin McNaught. “Three years ago we went to the finals  but lost the final game. We’ve always been a competitive team, but the last two years have been down years.”

    The new Head Coach, Mark DeSantis, didn’t waste any time turning things back around. McNaught credits the coach’s ability to build good chemistry between the team members as a key ingredient. DeSantis came to the FireAntz after playing professional hockey for 16 years and then taking on the role of assistant coach in Rapid City, S.D. for three seasons.

    For DeSantis, building a good hockey team is as much about character as it is about skill. In the end, coach made the foundation of the team around three key players.

    Obviously with a guy like Bobby Reed, our captain, he was a good example of what I want to build our team around,” said DeSantis. “He is a great person, he has good character and he’s a good hockey player. That was my number one thing — getting a guy like him.”

    Andrew Small played for DeSantis his last two seasons in the Central League, and joined the FireAntz this year.

    “He is a little older, comes with a lot of experience and just wants to play a lot more,” said DeSantis. “He plays 30-35 minutes a game. Bringing a guy like him in has been good for the team.”

    Marco Emond was DeSantis’ next pick for building a strong team.

    “Marco Emond, our goalie, has won 32 championships. You want to build around this type of person; they are what we need here in Fayetteville … and you just go from there,” said DeSantis.

    Once these three players were on board, it was clear what needed to happen next.

    “We have a rising star in Josh McQuaid,” said DeSantis. “His talent is off the charts — he brings it every night. The great thing about Josh is that he just loves to score, and you can’t fault a guy for that. “

    At the moment, the FireA02-06-13-fireantz1.gifntz are at 12-1. They’ve worked hard and played their best every game, but with 19 games to go in the season, DeSantis has no illusions about what lies ahead.

    “I am very happy, but it is real tough because I know we have a real good fan base and they suffered the last two seasons,” said DeSantis. “It is a tough one to start 12-1, I mean, I love it but it is hard to make changes when you make 12-1. I know that other teams are going to get better and with this record it is tough to make changes. Our fans are great and they want to see us do well every night. But as a coach, I can live with losing if we work the other team hard and give 100 percent.”

    Don’t miss the next game on Feb. 8. The Fort Bragg Patriots — the Fort Bragg hockey team formerly known as The Dragons — is playing right before the FireAntz.

    “They are playing the Fort Benning team,” said McNaught. “On that night it will be two for one tickets for military members. One ticket will get you in to both games if you are in the military.”

    The FireAntz have a strong relationship with the military community and partner with the U.S. Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office to distribute tickets to FireAntz games among other things. Throughout the community the team partners with businesses and organizations, too.

    For example, the team has been known to attend and sponsor blood drives, food drives and fundraisers for local charities. The Feb. 10 game is a fundraiser to benefi t the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation’s Friends of Children. “We’ve visited the hospital and they do more than cancer related things,” said McNaught. “They do a lot of fundraising and a golf tournament to raise money for local children. We are happy to work with them and support their work.”02-06-13-fireantz3.gif

    Of course, the FireAntz love playing hockey and making every game a good time, but the team is also serious about giving back to the community, starting in the rink. FireAntz home games often include themes like military appreciation night, beach night, scout night, ladies night and more. McNaught says that the team asks a lot from the community so it is only right that they give back.

    Outside the rink, the team is always looking for ways to make a difference. “We visit about four schools a week. The players go out and visit schools and we do a lot of rec centers, too,” said McNaught. “We really enjoy getting the players out with the kids. In fact, we have more kids at our games than anyone in the league. We do one kid’s night a month.”

    After 17 years in the community, McNaught says keeping things fresh and fun is important to the team. “The biggest challenge when you are around it a lot is keeping things from being stale. We try to get the best team that we can on the ice every year. Off the ice we try to do more and more with the community. It is something to always work on and have an open mind about.”

    Find out more about the FireAntz at www.fireantzhockey.com.

    Photos courtesy of Tom Groves.

  • Music is a magical thing. It is a phenomenon uniquely human, but it is popular in every culture in one form or another. In cultures all over the world communities gather and bond over music. Musicians bring people of all walks of life together to enjoy the beauty of song. Fayetteville is no exception. For 76 years Community Concerts has brought various musicians of all different genres to the town to share their art with the Fayetteville community, with the simple goal of “making Fayetteville a better place.” The next musical group coming to Fayetteville is Kool and the Gang.

    The band was originally formed in 1964 as the Jazzicas, but changed its name in 1969. Since then, they have sold more than 70 million albums worldwide. Kool and the Gang is a group of talented musicians, who for more than 35 years has created a unique intersection of jazz, rhythm and blues, funk and pop. They have won two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits and have 31 gold and platinum albums. Some of their most well-known songs that made them famous are “Celebration,” “Cherish,” “Jungle Boogie,” “Summer Madness” and “Open Sesame.” The current members of the band are Robert “Kool” Bell, his brother Khalis Bayyan, their friends Dennis “DT” Thomas and George “Funky” Brown.02-20-13-kool-&-gang.gif

    It is truly a feat that Kool and the Gang has been able to perform and create at this level for more than four decades. “Kool” explains the success by saying, “Hard work is very important. We are extremely grateful to all of our fans. The business is extremely competitive, but we have been touring a lot and it is great to have been able to perform throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and into today.”

    As glamorous and rewarding as the music business is, there are some hardships that the artists must endure for the love of their craft. “

    Waking up at 4 and 5 a.m. to go to the airport with all of our bags and go through all the TSA is hard. Tour buses are a lot nicer, but after 40 years there is wear and tear.” Kool said. Regardless, Kool and the Gang still travels and performs all over the country with the same passion and energy they performed with in the ‘70s.

    Experiencing music through concerts is different than listening at home. Seeing the music performed by the artists who created it adds an entirely new level to the sound. Kool and the Gang is skilled at bringing music to the crowds in a relatable and exciting way. Whether those attending are long-time fans or new to their sound, the performance is sure to be memorable and engaging.

    “We have very high-energy shows. We perform hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s. It is a choreographed show, but we make sure to keep the energy up while we play all the hits,” Kool says.

    Kool and the Gang will be at the Crown Theatre on Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Crown Box office at www.aththecrown.com or call 438-4100.

    Photo: Kool and the Gang is set to perform at the Crown on Feb. 23.

  • 04 Hercules boarDo you have troubles? Current events got you down? Did you bet on the Kansas City Chiefs? Break into the Capitol Building only to find the FBI is now after you? No matter. As the Master of Ceremonies said in “Cabaret,” “Leave your troubles outside. In here life is beautiful. The girls are beautiful. Even the Orchestra is beautiful.” We don’t have an orchestra but today you can forget your troubles through the German custom of Schadenfreude which is taking pleasure in the misery of others. Hercules had major problems that will make you feel better about your own life.

    Let’s fire up Mr. Peabody’s time machine to find out why Herk was sentenced to hard labor and what he had to do to get a pardon from the Greek God Apollo. Herk was the love child of Zeus who was King of the Gods. Zeus wandered off the reservation resulting in his Baby Mamma Alceme becoming in the family way. When Zeus’ wife Hera found out, she was none too pleased. Heck hath no fury like a Goddess scorned. While Herk was a mere toddler cooing in his crib, Hera sent a couple of large snakes to strangle Baby Herk. Like Davy Crockett who killed him a bear when he was only three, Herk strangled the two snakes instead. Herk was not a baby to be trifled with.

    Although Herk foiled Hera’s serpentine plot, she did not give up her anger but bided her time. Today’s helpful tip for men of the male persuasion: Anytime a woman is biding her time, you had better watch out. Herk grew up to young manhood, got married, and had two kids. It was the perfect Grecian formula for happiness. Unfortunately, it was not to last. Hera put a spell on Herk which made him insane in the membrane. During his period of Hera-induced insanity, Herk in a murder most foul, killed his young wife and children. When he came to his senses, he was stricken with horror and remorse. As Edgar Allen Poe wrote: “I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.” He went to see Apollo who oversaw healing to beg to be punished for his
    dastardly deeds.

    Apollo knew Hera was behind Herk’s misdeeds, but temporary insanity was not yet accepted as a defense to murder. Apollo ordered Herk to perform 12 seemingly impossible jobs to obtain forgiveness and absolution. These tasks later became known as the 12 Labors of Hercules. They also made Steve Reeves a lot of money playing Hercules in the 1950s. To feel better about your own troubles, imagine what Herk had to go through. Enjoy his misery, like a psychic poultice you will feel better fast.

    Herk’s first job was to kill the Nemean lion that had been chowing down on the good folks of Nemea. Herk fought the lion and strangled him in his very own den. Not being one to waste a good lion skin and having an excellent fashion sense, Herk wore the lion’s hide as a cape from then on. His next task was to kill the 9-headed hydra snake. The problem with the hydra was when you cut off one head, like a hungry relative it would come right back. Herk solved that problem with the help of his nephew who took a torch to the stump of the head as soon as Herk cut off the head. The torch cauterized the stump and prevented the regrowth of the head.

    Herk then had to capture the favorite pet deer of the Goddess Diana. Apollo figured that Diana would never let Herk take her pet, but Apollo did not count on Herk’s charm with the ladies. He sweet-talked Diana into giving him the deer. Next up was catching the giant man-eating Erymanthean boar. This is not to be confused with your uncle Fred who is a stultifying bore. Herk made a big net and caught the boar. Then it was barbecue, black eyed peas and hushpuppies for the whole town. Next it was on to clean up the Augean stables where zillions of cattle had been doing their bovine business for centuries without anyone cleaning out the stables. It was a dirty job but Herk did it by changing the course of two rivers to flood the stables and wash the cattle poop away. This was before the EPA and no environmental impact statement had to be filed.

    Herk moved on to a little town called Stymphalos which had an even worse problem with a ravenous flock of birds than the town of Bodega Bay, California, in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds.” The Stymphalan birds weren’t satisfied with just pecking the townsfolk, no Siree Bob, those birds ate the people like so much sunflower seed. Once again, Herk’s way with the ladies came to his rescue. He direct messaged the Goddess Athena for help with his avian issue. She gave him some cool bronze noise makers called krotala. Herk clanged the heck out of the krotala and the angry birds flew away never to bother the town again.

    Unfortunately, we have reached the first six labors of Hercules but have run out of space in today’s column. Kindly come back in two weeks, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel to find out what Herk’s final six labors are and learn whether Herk obtains immortality. Now don’t you feel a little better about your own troubles? See I told you so. Herk was in a pickle. The worst is yet to come. Odds are you will not have to fight any 9-headed snakes, carnivorous birds, or muck out a giant stable tonight. Rejoice in the Schadenfreude that Herk has made and be glad in it.

    To be continued …

  • 03 USCapitolFlagsChances are that at one time or another, you have sat down at your kitchen table and planned out a budget or balanced your checkbook for your family. For most of us, budgeting means making some tough decisions and compromising to make ends meet. Unfortunately, setting a budget does not look the same for Washington Democrats.

    Recently, House Democrats voted to pass their budget for the upcoming year. Not only did their plan open the door for massive spending, but it also paved the way to pass multiple spending bills without one Republican vote. This includes President Joe Biden’s latest $1.9 trillion COVID-19 spending bill – a bill that funds many unrelated items. If anything can be bipartisan in Washington, defeating the coronavirus should be at the top of the list. However through this budget resolution, Washington Democrats have signaled that talk of unity and bipartisanship were just that and they have no interest in working together to tackle the issues facing us.

    President Biden’s partisan relief plan is incredibly expensive and comes while over $1 trillion in funds from previously-enacted COVID-19 legislation remains unspent. Let me say that again - $1 trillion that we have already approved is sitting there unspent. This includes $280 billion remaining for the Paycheck Protection Program, $239 billion unspent for health care measures, $172 billion unspent for unemployment insurance, and $59 billion unspent for schools. Now adding an additional $1.9 trillion on top of this unspent funding not only represents a massive undertaking six times larger than the 2009 Obama stimulus plan, but this is all borrowed money and we can’t afford to keep borrowing and spending blindly.

    Instead, we should continue to identify and fund the real needs of workers, small businesses and health care professionals on the frontlines of battling coronavirus in our community. I stand ready to continue working with Democrats to combat coronavirus, speed up vaccine distribution, and find ways to increase jobs and opportunities for you and our neighbors. However, using COVID-19 relief as a Trojan Horse for massive spending and radical policies that threaten jobs is not what American workers and families need.

    Unfortunately, this is par for the course with President Biden’s agenda so far. By signing more than 40 executive actions, including rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline, and ending federal oil and gas leasing, he has jeopardized thousands of American jobs. I fear the President is more concerned with fulfilling a left-wing partisan climate agenda than creating jobs or being a “President
    for all.”

    Now, President Biden’s most recent executive actions have done more than kill jobs and put our economy in danger - they have put our national security at risk. Recently, President Biden reinstated catch and release and promised to dramatically rollback the immigration policies of the previous Administration to prioritize undocumented illegal aliens.

    President Biden’s proposed Create a Pathway to Citizenship for Undocumented Aliens legislation prioritizes immigrants during a time when American citizens and businesses are hurting. The bill doubles-down on family-based immigration, clearing backlogs through amnesty, and increasing the number of visas we issue. The bill will also allow undocumented individuals to apply for temporary legal status, with the ability to apply for green cards after five years. And, President Biden’s decision to end construction of the border wall is a signal that he is not concerned about addressing border security.

    These priorities of the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress continue to miss the mark. However, I won’t give up. I remain committed to working across the aisle for common sense solutions to the problems we face, including rebuilding our economy, passing targeted COVID-19 relief and reopening our schools. And like you and I have to do, I’ll continue to push our government to balance its checkbook along the way.

  • 02 Kiwanis CheckAfter five decades of living in Fayetteville, I never thought I could have learned so much and been so proud of an organization and project than I am of the Fayetteville Kiwanis Club and the celebration of their 100th Anniversary.

    Not only did I get a profound community history lesson, but I became overwhelmed with pride at the work ethic, dedication and intestinal fortitude demonstrated by Fayetteville’s founding leadership. Ten decades of infectious and motivating intentions is best described in only two words: Do good.

    Writing, producing and designing the Fayetteville Kiwanis 100th Anniversary Edition of Up & Coming Weekly was an actual labor of love not only for me but for our entire staff. For most, it provided them their very first insights into the origins, vision and rich history of our community. It created for them a foundation of pride and a better understanding of our community. I think it mostly made them aware of the immense and abundant empathy, compassion, kindness and sense of generosity that Fayetteville residents naturally radiate out to humanity.

    Well, our newspaper realized this twenty-five years ago and built an entire publishing company showcasing and accentuating Fayetteville’s unique benevolence. A benevolence we are proud of and one we need not profit from. Our small financial donation of proceeds from the issue goes to the Fayetteville Kiwanis Club to help support the work and significant impact they have on children in our community through the hosting of dozens of local programs.

    I have found that two sayings have always been accurate and have never failed to motivate and inspire me: One — Always do the right things for the right reasons. Two — KIDS NEED KIWANIS!

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    Pictured: Publisher Bill Bowman (right) and Jim Schaffer (left) present a check to Kiwanis of Fayetteville President George Turner (center). The proceeds from the Jan. 20 commemorative Kiwanis issue of Up & Coming Weekly will help support local programs benefitting kids.

  • 11 jail cellThe first time I met Nate, he was asking a question about a microphone I was using to collect stories at a local church men's breakfast. The church is known for the number of military families it attracts, and I was looking for one-liners about freedom for radio vignettes I was planning to broadcast from Memorial Day to Independence Day.

    As I engaged in a conversation about the microphone and his how-to mechanic videos, I had no idea of the story that was just beneath the surface. It wasn't until at least six months later I met his wife and discovered the pair and their three children had been through a harrowing, headline grabbing ordeal three years prior to my meeting Nate.

    His wife's younger brother, who was living with them to add some order and stability to his life, had been shot to death – after being beaten and robbed – on an otherwise beautiful day in May. The story caught my interest. Not because of the murder itself, but because of the story of faith and forgiveness surrounding it.

    Imagine the range of emotions in a courtroom filled with grieving family members on just about every seat in the room. One family grieving the life of a 16-year old killed over $120, and the parents and siblings of six other young people grieving the sons they were about to lose to the prison system.

    Now imagine the guardian of the slain teen handing the mother of one of the accused a tissue to wipe her tears as she said, “I forgive you. It's not your fault.”

    This wasn't a scene from a cheesy made-for-TV movie, it was real life. It took real courage, and it stemmed from real faith. The incident and events surrounding it called everything into question for Nate and his family. And as they embraced those questions, they emerged with answers that led them to the dusty villages surrounding ancient Jerusalem, where a man named Jesus taught about loving God, treating others as well as you would yourself, and forgiving those who seek to do you harm.

    The journey that led them to forgiveness led them down roads of anger, bitterness and even resentment, but the God they found along the way gives them a peace which outweighs it all.

    At WCLN, we call that Monday School. The lessons learned as we venture beyond the rally and rhetoric of a weekend worship service into stories of real life, real faith, and real people. We have devoted air time and a podcast channel to stories like Nate's – and have discovered they are all around us. Our friends, neighbors, and co-workers; their stories contain tales of heroism or sorrow, and may be marked with an undeniable joy that defies explanation.

    You can find Monday School wherever you listen to podcasts, and we hope you do.

    Pictured: There are many lessons of faith and forgiveness to be learned as we venture beyond weekend worship services into stories of real life and real people.

  • 05 20210204 163135The narrative of history depends upon who is telling the story. The narrative of Black History Month is rarely told by Blacks.

    Every year, we are told the same stories about the same people. Much of America has grown comfortable with telling the “safe” stories. During the month of February, we are constantly reminded of how slavery is an integral part of our heritage. Nobody wants to tell the honest story of what happened to Black America.

    Many of the stories told during Black History Month are traumatic experiences that have residual effects. The notion of Black History Month is divisive in nature. BLACK HISTORY IS AMERICAN HISTORY.

    The fact is that society has normalized division and continues to plague us as a human race. If we are a part of history, why is it that we only celebrate the impact and accomplishments of Black Americans during the shortest month of the year? Black people are making history every day. No disrespect to those who have came before us, but we must give people their flowers while they are able to smell them.

    There are people in the community that have made history right here in the city of Fayetteville. For instance, Marshall Pitts is the first Black mayor of Fayetteville.

    2020, which Christian Mosley calls “The Black Year,” revealed the true history of American society. The chants of protesters unearthed the time capsule of America’s attitude towards the Black community.

    Black History Month stories romanticize the lives of people like Martin Luther King Jr., even though he was hated, jailed and even killed for his beliefs and thoughts. However, American society celebrates his legacy as if he was beloved when he was alive.

    The social justice movement of today mirrors the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Advances in technology have allowed activists to tell their stories in real-time. However, the world has become so sensitive that the truth is frowned upon or silenced.

    Sometimes, history can be divisive. The conversation surrounding the history of the Market House continues to be as polarizing as the paint that circles the structure. Throughout the last year, we have seen the removal of statues deemed to be “hateful” or “symbols of oppression.” On the opposing side, some argue that the monuments represent “pride” and “celebrates heritage.”

    The Market House continues to divide our city. The mural was done as the city’s way to further the message of the City Council of 1989 that is engraved on a plaque attached to a pillar under the structure. The 1989 City Council acknowledged the trauma associated with the building. The message reads: “In memory and honor of those indomitable people who were stripped of their dignity when sold as slaves at this place.”

    The removal and re-installment of the mural has been a hot topic. Rather than keep focusing on the structure or the mural, the city should appreciate Collyn Strother and Malcolm Chester. These two young men worked tirelessly to create a piece that symbolizes unity and inclusion.

    But, there is a difference between diversity and inclusion. Fayetteville prides itself on diversity, but the city is not very inclusive. Diversity invites people to the table, but inclusion empowers your voice to be heard while you’re at the table. The person who came up this this quote must have been referencing the way the “system” panders to young Black America.

    Recently, I sat with the group of artists under the Market House and discussed the role of art in the social justice movement. The common consensus among the group is the role of the artist is to bring the truth to the forefront. The group went on to express how nothing can replace the original feeling of initially completing the project. The group of artists are the truest definition of unity. They all represented different walks of life but came together for a common goal. By painting the mural, they were able to create progressive conversation around the Market House.

    However, it is time for some new Black History. Much of my generation are natural born American citizens. Therefore, we should be celebrated like all other Americans that have changed the narrative.

    In addition, we must stop covering up the truth like Collyn had to cover up the “peace sign” and “fist of solidarity” he had painted on the North and South exits of the traffic circle. Moments later, he received a call saying that he had to cover the symbols. The fact that those symbols had to be covered is another sign that society is not ready to accept its faults.

    Once we open and honestly address the issues of racial inequality, we will be able to move forward as a unit like this group of artists have done. They are the epitome of unity and inclusion. They are what America should be modeled after.

    Our exchange under the Market House was extremely refreshing. As a society, we must choose CONVERSATION OVER CONFRONTATION and LEAD WITH LOVE. Salute to Collyn and Malcolm.

    Salute to every activist getting active. Happy Black History Month. Peace.

    Pictured: Artist Collyn Strother paints over a peace symbol that was part of the mural circling the Market House in downtown Fayetteville.

  • 02-15-12-ftcc-50-years-logo.jpgThe Business Programs Division of Fayetteville Technical Community College is proud to highlight four new curriculum certificates out of several that will be offered in the fall 2012 semester.

    These certificates were developed based primarily on feedback from our Program Advisory Committees and input from several other business and industry partners regarding skills and competencies needed in today’s workforce.

    Two of the certificates are business-management related, and two are information-technology related.

    Our new business-management related certificates are the nonprofit-management certificate and the project-leadership certificate.

    The nonprofit-management certificate is designed to provide individuals with the fundamental principles of nonprofit management. The course covers fundraising, stewardship, governance, leadership, marketing and legal/ethical issues related to nonprofit organizations.

    The project-leadership certificate includes learning the basics of project management, acquiring the skills necessary to lead a successful project team, utilizing the collective knowledge of groups and managing a team through the process of completing a project.

    The two new information-technology related certificates are the Microsoft desktop-support certificate and the social-media certificate.

    The Microsoft desktop-support certificate is designed to develop proficiency in end-user support skills, procedures and processes necessary to support an IT operating system. Upon completion, students should be able to prepare for industry-level certifications and utilize advanced support tools to resolve end-user problems.

    The social-media certificate focuses on using social media in a business or organizational setting. Topics include using popular social-media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, et al, as part of marketing or branding strategies), blogging, using social-media analytical tools and ensuring compliance with industry standards.

    As an added bonus, all these certificates are positioned under the umbrella of a related associate in applied science degree, so all credit hours earned in the certificate can be applied toward completion of the related A.A.S. degree.

    FTCC is excited to begin offering these and other new certificates in the fall 2012 semester! For additional information, please contact William Griffin (dean of business programs) at 678-8564 or via email at griffinw@faytechcc.edu.

  • 04 Benjamin Oliver Davis JrI am starting this opinion piece on 28 January 2021; Black History Month begins in a few days. As I think about the intended purpose of that designated time, an overwhelming sense of sorrow, of grief, overtakes me. A Black History Month article (updated 27 January 2021) at www.history.com gives this purpose for the month: “Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.”

    In my lifetime, our nation has had substantial reason to celebrate and appreciate many Black Americans who, in powerfully positive fashion, contributed not only to our country, but to the world. This weight of sadness that I feel now is because, even though there are still Black citizens worthy of note for what they contribute to humanity, the numbers of such people seem far less than was the case just a few years ago. Even more painful than the much lower numbers is what I see as the reason for this decline. Not only are we failing to produce numbers of towering contributors to the wellbeing of society; instead, Black Americans are, to a substantial extent, providing fuel for the destruction of this great nation. I would argue that this is due to Black America’s change in strategy and tactics.

    Strategy is defined as overall aims, while tactics are those actions employed in pursuing those overall aims. I contend that what was the prevailing strategy and tactics of Black Americans for many years is obvious if one takes time to study the lives of those who lived in that period. The candidates for study are numerous, but the life and career of General Benjamin O. Davis Jr. superbly illustrates the strategy and tactics to which I am referring.

    General Davis was the first Black to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the 20th Century and the fourth in the Academy’s history, ranking 35 in a class of 276. His dream was to become an aviator, but was not allowed to do so because the Army Air Corps was not accepting Blacks for flight training. Despite initially not being allowed to enter flight training in the Army, he did so later and went on to reach the rank of Lieutenant General in the U.S. Air Force that, in 1947, became a separate military branch. Among Davis’ assignments was that of Commander 99th Fighter Squadron. This was the Army’s first Black fighter squadron. It performed in outstanding fashion during World War II and Davis proved highly effective and successful as squadron commander. In December 1998, well after his retirement in 1970, President Bill Clinton promoted Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. to full general. He had retired as a lieutenant general.

    That is an extremely broad overview of General Davis’ military career. The focus for this discussion, however, is on how he set personal goals and had clear tactics for achieving those goals. Every indication is that this approach was consistent across the span of his lifetime. It shows repeatedly, but especially during his four years at West Point. That was an exceedingly difficult and challenging time. The following is from an article titled “General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.: A Life of Fortitude and Faithfulness” by Susan Robertson:

    When he matriculated into the Long Gray Line, Davis encountered a juggernaut of institutional prejudice. During his four years as a cadet, he was never assigned a roommate and frequently shunned at required social events. Even worse, he endured the entire experience with no one speaking to him outside of the line of duty. Davis patiently endured countless daily depravations and degradations and kept his eye on the prize. Remarkably, he was to note later of his ill treatment: “It was designed to make me buckle, but I refused to buckle. They didn’t understand that I was going to stay there. That I was going to graduate.” When he did graduate and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1936, the Army had only two black line officers, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., and Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

    Such was Davis’ grace and character, he would say of his time at West Point: ”Living as a prisoner in solitary confinement for four years had not destroyed my personality, nor poisoned my attitude toward other people.” Yet, in spite of, or rather, because of the hardships he endured, Davis had already made an impact on his future fellow officers. In the 1936 issue of The Howitzer, West Point’s yearbook, it was said of him:

    The courage, tenacity, and intelligence with which he conquered a problem incomparably more difficult than plebe year won for him the sincere admiration of his classmates, and his single-minded determination to continue in his chosen career cannot fail to inspire respect wherever fortune may lead him.

    What I see here is a man who understood the power of persuasion that comes with doing a job well and demonstrating resolve in the face of challenging situations. When life is unfair and it feels as though the world is against us, we, as individuals, must choose how to respond. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. chose a goal, worked hard, refused to give up; in the process, he achieved much and gained the respect of many who had treated him unfairly … as well as many who might have otherwise done so in the future. This was the prevailing approach to life among Black Americans during his time and for generations before and maybe for some after him. Even though confronted with unfair treatment, embracing the Davis strategy and tactics rewarded Black Americans with improved respect and advancement in society and in living conditions.

    I was born shortly after the end of World War II, when the life strategies and tactics employed by General Davis were still very present among Black Americans. I saw it work in the lives of my parents, grandmothers (both of my grandfathers died before I was born), uncles and aunts.

    I lived with my maternal grandmother, Ma’ Bessie, until I was eight years old. One day, when I was about seven, she told me to sweep the back porch. I was simply sweeping the easy-to-reach areas. She came over and took the broom and demonstrated how I should sweep the corners and along the base of the walls. Then she looked into my young eyes and said, “Karl, whatever you do in life, do it well; you don’t know what you will have to do to earn a living, but whatever it is, do it well.” This was a lady whose husband had died and left her with three small children to rear. She did it all alone. I remember her washing the clothes of people as a source of income. I especially remember how she would starch and iron white shirts to perfection and hang them on the front porch for pick up.

    Ma’ Bessie never gained the fame of a Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., but she had that same set of life strategies and tactics. I will be forever thankful that she, and others, exposed me to that life approach. Whatever good I have done in life, whatever genuine success has come to me, I owe to God and to people like Ma’ Bessie who were put in my life by Him.

    Simply put, I contend that, for the most part, Black America has shifted to goals and strategies that would not be recognized, or considered reasonable, by Ma’ Bessie, General Davis, and millions of Black Americans who built successful lives by employing the approach described to this point. This shift has brought far too many Black Americans to focus on quotas for employment, education and business opportunities; deemphasizing the two parent family unit; looking to government to solve problems of poverty, alleged racism, low academic achievement; placing self-serving individuals in positons of power and influence; literally making every problem that plagues Black Americans about racism; calling for self-destructive actions, such as defunding police when they are extremely needed in the Black community; protesting in a fashion that routinely ends in riots, looting and destruction of property along with lives and livelihoods; creating a victim mentality among Black Americans. Without doubt, this approach is not only proving destructive for Black Americans, but also for all of America.

    In the final analysis, the pressing question is: which group of goals and strategies should be the choice of Black America today? Given that the approach employed by Ma’ Bessie, General Davis, and millions of other Black Americans proved extremely successful while today’s prevailing approach is contributing to the destruction of a people and a country, the choice is crystal clear for me. Because the successful goals and strategies of the past have been discarded in favor of a shiny new destructive set, I grieve deeply.

    Pictured: General Benjamin O. Davis Jr. (Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force)

  • uac022912001.jpg Does the idea of fighting crowds at the airport or standing in line at theme parks leave you cold? If so, you are not alone. In the United States, nearly one in 12 U.S. vehicle-owning households (about 7 million) now owns a recreational vehicle. That number is expected to grow by about 15 percent in the coming years.

    Why? Rowland Bostock, the promoter for the Eastern North Carolina RV Show doesn’t have all the answers to that question, but he does have some.

    “The outdoor lifestyle is a very appealing lifestyle,” said Bostock. “When you go to campgrounds, you find other like-minded people who are looking for quiet and relaxation (for the most part.) They are open and friendly and willing to lend a hand or advice.”

    Bostock said there is no better feeling than sitting quietly around a campfire at the end of a fun day and reflecting on the day and planning for the next.

    “It’s just very relaxing, and then you lay down in the comfort of your own bed with the sounds of crickets or a river putting you to sleep,” he said. “It’s just a very unique and different lifestyle.”

    Bostock said that the solitude isn’t for everyone. Some RV owners use their trailers for getting into the mix of things and tailgating at Nascar races or at football games.

    “They enjoy the excitement and camaraderie that goes along with those events,” he said.

    This is the seventh RV show in Fayetteville. Years ago there was another show, but they stopped coming and started concentrating on bigger venues. Two RV Sales owners came together with the idea of starting a local show. They enlisted Bostock, and other RV dealers from eastern North Carolina, and put the show together.

    “All of these folks work really well together and have a little friendly competition,” said Bostock.

    Just as the dealers come back year after year, so do the attendees at the show.

    “We see a lot of the same faces year after year,” said Bostock.

    Annually about 2,500 people come out for the show. That number dropped slightly over the past couple of years, because of the economy, but attendance has remained close to the 2,500 range.

    “Our dealers all have had success at the show,” he said.

    This year there are nine RV dealers participating in the show, including Fayetteville dealer, Hawley’s Camping Center. “We have a really good representa-tion from RV dealers, as well as RV parks,” said Bostock.

    Throughout the three days of the event, dealers will offer special sales on RVs. Vendors associated with the RV industry will be on hand to showcase products and prizes will be given out throughout the event.

    Bostock said some folks come out to the show simply out of curiosity, while oth-ers have been a part of the RV family for years.

    “Some people come just because it is something to do, while others come to trade in older RVs and others come who want to try out the lifestyle for the first time,” explained Bostock.

    He noted that the love of the outdoors beckons many people to the RV lifestyle.

    “There are a lot of people who don’t want to take the fly/drive vacation to busy spots,” he said. “Many of them want to take quiet vacations and just enjoy being with their families in the great outdoors. So the idea of having an RV appeals to them.”

    Bostock said pet owners are also very intrigued with the idea of camping.

    “A lot of people really love their pets and want to take them on vacation. It’s really hard to find hotels that will allow you to do that, and some of the ones that do, well, you wouldn’t want to stay in them,” he said. “With the RV, the pet can come along with no problems.”

    Bostock said that many of the first-time buyers will go for something simple like a pop-up camper. But over time, they may upgrade their RVs a num-ber of times. He noted that RVs have come a long way from their early days. These days, the RVs are spacious and have everything from full bathrooms to well-equipped kitchens and entertainment centers. With a number of slide-outs on a camper, the RV can be as spacious and roomy as some people’s homes.

    “We have some people who come in and trade up every year, and others that come every three to five years,” said Bostock. “What we see a lot in our older RV’ers is them trading down so they have a simpler set up and something that is easier to pull.”

    The Eastern North Carolina RV Show rolls into the Crown Agri-Expo Center on Friday, March 2 from noon-8:30 p.m. On Saturday, March 3, the show opens at 10 a.m. and runs through 8:30 p.m. The show closes on Sunday, March 4, with hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Bostock said it’s a great event for people whether they are experienced campers or02-29-12-camping.jpg just thinking about getting into RVing. This year’s show will include new exhibitor’s from eastern North Carolina providing a wider selection of RVs. Speak with experi-enced sales professionals about features and benefits of owning an RV… then shop and compare for your best deal.

    Tickets to the event are $7 for adults, $2 for children ages 7-12, with children under 7 admitted free. Friday is military appreciation night, with all military admitted at half price after 4 p.m. For more in-formation, visit www.encrv.com.

    Photo: Many of the first-time RV buyers will go for something simple like a pop-up camper. But over time, they may upgrade their RVs a number of times.

  • 03 kids backpacks in front of schoolYour mama and mine were clear about this. We do not tell lies, nor do we perpetuate them. I must have told a whopper, because I can still remember my Kinston grandmother grabbing both my arms and putting her nose next to mine and hissing at me, “Margaret Dawson, don’t you EVER tell me a teewaddie again!” Teewaddie is eastern North Carolina speak for a big fat lie. I must have been about 5 or 6, and her technique was so effective, I doubt I ever told her another one.

    There are facts, of course, and there are interpretations of facts, and sometimes it is difficult to separate them. The North Carolina Board of Education has been in the midst of just such a quandary, and it is not likely over yet. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements and the sketchy, relaxed relationship with the truth enjoyed by our former President and many of his supporters, the Board has been wrestling with how to teach North Carolina’s school children about inequity and injustice in American society.

    Those are concepts not unlike art and pornography — hard to define, but we all know them when we see them. The 1898 coup d’etat in Wilmington, the only such overthrow of an elected government in American history, is a fact. It was not taught in schools during my public education because it had been spun in a different light. It has been well documented in recent years though by, among others, Philip Gerard in "Cape Fear Rising" (1994) and more recently in "Wilmington’s Lie" (2020) by David Zucchino, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and graduate of Terry Sanford High School. The coup d’etat, long buried in state and national history, should be part of social studies and history curricula at all levels in North Carolina schools and throughout our nation. Ditto for other documented events including civil rights activities, the women’s movement, and other historical events with both positive and negative connotations.

    The Board struggled, and understandably so, over less concrete questions, including adjectives. Early proposals for social studies curriculum standards in included “systemic racism,” “system discrimination,” and “engender identity.” After fierce Board of Education debate over several months, a 7 to 5 vote has adopted standards that dropped those adjectives for less precise language. Still, it is a step in the right direction.

    Proponents of social studies standards say the information will be more meaningful to students of color who now make up the majority of public school students in North Carolina. Opponents contend the standards project anti-American, anti-capitalist, and anti-democratic viewpoints. The fight is not over yet. Later this year, professional staff at the Department of Public Instruction will present additional documentation of how the new standards will be implemented in classrooms, which is sure to ignite yet another round of disagreement about what our children should learn and how they should learn it.

    Most of us are not educators and know little about curriculum development of any sort. Most of us do have common sense, however, as have leaders of all stripes when they ponder truth, however painful. Here are three that ring true
    to me.

    “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is (sic) pains to bring it to light.” — George Washington

    “Repetition does not translate a lie into a truth.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    And, chillingly, this from Sir Winston Churchill in a 1948 speech to Parliament. He was surely speaking about war, but it works just as well for discrimination and injustice.
    “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

  • 02 sit inFebruary is an extraordinary month. I planned to write for you today to celebrate the 61st anniversary of the day where three friends and I boldly went and sat at the Woolworth counter in Greensboro, NC. As Black men, we didn't know how we would be leaving that restaurant. Some of us feared we would be beaten or even killed. That sit-in sparked similar sit-ins across the nation leading to significant social change in the United States.

    Sadly, while the anniversary day should have been a day to celebrate how far we've come, we see firsthand how the liberal news media is viciously attacking independent thinking Black men.

    Last week WRAL published a political cartoon that depicted my good friend, Mark Robinson, as a Klansman simply because he refuses to rubber-stamp the leftist agenda promoted by their liberal organization. Amazingly, this is only a few days after the Democrat-controlled school board scheduled a meeting that they knew Lt. Governor Robinson could not attend. It's heartbreaking how, even after 61 years, we're still having to fight to have a Black man protect his seat at the table.

    As we celebrate Black History Month, we should be promoting, not silencing, voices like Mark Robinson's, our state's first Black Lieutenant Governor!

    Like Mark, I will not be silenced! I plan to continue the fight. Through our efforts with the NC Faith and Freedom Coalition and the Frederick Douglass Foundation to educate and engage conservative-minded minorities, we will work even harder to combat these disgraceful attacks from the left. Will you stand with us? Let's send a message that we will not let them intimidate us! That's the best way to celebrate Black History and making history.

    Pictured above: On the second day of the 1960 Greensboro sit-in, Clarence Henderson (far right) joins (front left to right) Joseph A. McNeil, Franklin E. McCain and William Smith at the Woolworth lunch counter.
    (Courtesy of Greensboro News and Record)

    Editor's Note: In a press conference, Lt. Gov. Robinson reacted to the cartoon: "On the second day of Black History Month, the first Black lieutenant governor of North Carolina has been portrayed as [racist]," he said. "That you would portray a Black man, just because he's in the GOP, as a Klansman... the hypocrisy is mind-numbing, folks."
    In a statement from Capitol Broadcasting Company, Opinion Editor Seth Effron said: “Editorial cartoons are creative and provocative, using hyperbole and satire. No one believes Republicans on the State Board of Education are members of the Ku Klux Klan. The editorial cartoon by Dennis Draughon is meant to point out that these members of the State Board are trying to wipe out from the social studies curriculum the record of racism which includes the Klan and the segregationist practices that were imposed in our state and nation’s history.”

    Clarence Henderson was a student at N.C. A&T State University when he sat down at the lunch counter at the Greensboro, Woolworth in the winter of 1960. The purpose was to protest racial segregation. He was 18 years of age. He wanted to change the system then, and now 61 years later, he is still working hard to change the system. This Black History Month and every month, we want to honor men like Mr. Henderson for their dedication and perseverance to obtaining fair and equal rights for all. Thank you for all your contributions. — Bill Bowman, Publisher

  • 02-13-13-huske.gifSince 1957, a small club in Los Angeles has been rocking the music world. The Troubador has welcomed and launched the careers of musicians like Bob Dylan, Elton John, the Eagles, Neil Young, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, The Knack, Guns and Roses and Pearl Jam. It’s stage is legendary, a place where the dreamers, the poets, the singers and musicians go hoping for a chance to make it big. A lot of them do.

    You might ask what The Troubador has to do with Fayetteville, N.C., and the answer is simple. Fayetteville is also a place where dreamers, poets, singer and musicians are looking for their big break. And for a lucky few that search starts on the wooden fl oor of Huske Hardware House.

    Since 2011, Huske has played host to a singer/songwriter competition that brings some of the areas brightest and best to downtown to share their talent and their souls. Held each Wednesday night, the competition has grown with each iteration, and this year it’s gone over the top. The first iteration, was put together in the hopes that it would draw area performers. The idea was brought to Huske owner Josh Collins by Greg Biltz, a musician and emcee of the event, who saw the need for such a venue in the community. Over the years, the competition has brought hundreds of talented writers/performers to the Huske stage, many of who have gone on to bigger and better things. Biltz thinks this year will be no different.

    “Nobody does it any better,” said Biltz, prior to the second night of the competition, “not in Raleigh, not in Wilmington. This is where it’s happening.”

    From its small beginnings (Collins put up a $2,000 cash award), the competition has bloomed and taken on a life of its own. This year, Huske has teamed up with PCG Nashville, a Nashville-based development company, to give performers a leg up in the industry. PCG Institute is an innovative artist development company dedicated to addressing the unique needs of the recording artist. The artists and managers at the institute take what they call a “customized scientifi c approach to development, producing balance in all areas of the artist’s mind, body and spirit.” They look beyond the music and ensure that aspiring musicians have “the skills, knowledge and strategic planning needed to achieve success in the music business.”

    The addition of PCG Nashville to the competition has resulted in changes in the way the competition is judged and the way songwriters enter. There are now two categories for contestants to enter. The fi rst is for performers between the ages of 12 and 30. Performers who enter in that category will compete to win a $15,000, six-month scholarship to the PCG facility in Nashville. Those over 30, will compete for a $3,000 cash prize. Collins explained that the addition of the scholarship category will allow young artists to gain the experience and shaping needed to really succeed in the industry. Collins’ daughter, Summer, is currently enrolled in PCG, and is learning a lot about the industry and is making the necessary contacts to move forward with her career.

    The finales of this year’s event will be judged by Bernard Porter, who is the president of PCG. With more than 25 years in the industry, Porter is recognized nationwide for his skills in artist development, and in fact, was instrumental in signing Jason Aldean to Broken Bow Records. Collins believes having someone of Porter’s standing in the industry involved in the competition will bring more attention to the performers who are competing.

    As in year’s past, performers have the opportunity to sing two songs. The fi rst song can be a cover, but the second song must be an original. Each week, the top two performers will move forward in the competition, with everything coming down to the fi nale in late March. Sign-ups for the event begin at 7 p.m. each Wednesday night, with the showcase beginning at 8 p.m. For updates on the competition, visit Huske Hardware House on Facebook and check out information about the competitors in upcoming editions of Up & Coming Weekly, one of the sponsors of the competition.

    Photo: Nathan Fair at the grand finale of the 2011 competition.

  • uac020514001.gif FireAntz fans have a lot to look forward to this month as the hockey team readies for a series of fun-filled nights. Hockey, hijinx and heartfelt apprecia-tion come together at the rink with activi-ties that fans are sure to love. Don’t miss the 2nd Annual Weiner Dog Race Night on Feb. 7. “It is really a lot of fun,” said Jason Fleming, director of media/sales. “This was a big success last year and we already have more entries for this event than we did for last year’s.”

    It takes two people per dog to make this race work. At the first intermission every-one, including the canines, head on to the ice. One person stands at the starting line with the four-legged contestant. The other person heads to the finish line. When the race starts, the person at the finish line does their best to entice the pooch in their direction. The first three dogs to finish win a prize.

    Fleming says that the race is a lot of fun for the dogs and the people, but there is still more going on at this particular game. “We also have a pet adoption going on that night where Fayetteville Animal Protection Society comes out. Last year they brought 15 or so dogs and they all got adopted.”

    The next night, Feb. 8, is Military Appreciation Night and Race Night and is sponsored by Folds of Honor. Not only is this a chance to celebrate local heroes and their families, there will be a jersey auction at the end of the evening.

    “This is always a really fun night. We have big crowds that average 6,000 to 7,000 on military appreciation nights,” said Fleming. “We spotlight some of the drag race guys and some of them bring their cars. We set them up in the VIP parking lot. Some of the military units come out and they bring some of their equipment. People can check that out, too. The cars and military things are always popular with the fans.”

    The doors open at 6 p.m., which gives everyone plenty of time to check out the cars and equipment before the game starts at 7 p.m.

    Folds of Honor, which is affiliated with Budweiser and is the02-05-14-fireantz.gif sponsor of the game, has strong ties to the militaryand works hard to support soldiers and their families. The foundation was founded by Maj. Dan Rooney. Rooney is a former F-16 pilot, golf course owner and PGA Professional. The Folds of Honor website www.foldsofhonor.org showcases the many ways the organization works to support service members and their families: “Through scholarships and other assistance, we give back to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country. We provide healing, hope and an opportu-nity for dreams to be realized...with the support of people like you. We feel this is our duty as citizens of the greatest country in the world.”

    Feb. 11 is a great chance to mix things up midweek and take advantage of $2 Tuesday. Groups of 10 or more can call the office and get tickets for just $2. It’s a fun wholesome way to spend a weeknight with friends and family — and it’s affordable.

    The game on Feb. 22 promises to be something special. Star Wars fans should mark the calendar now for this fun themed night. “There is a local group called the 501st Legion of Storm Troopers. They are really cool and have invested in authentic Star Wars costumes. We’ll have them at the game that night,” said Fleming. “They come out deep — like 30-40 different characters.

    Throughout the game the storm troopers walk around and interact with the crowd and are available for pictures. The highlight of the night, though, is in-termission. “There is an amazing light saber duel at intermission,” said Fleming. “In the past we’ve had Darth Vader versus Luke fighting on the ice. They do a great job with the choreography and the crowd loves it.”

    Star Wars Night is such a favorite that the FireAntz team will wear specially designed Star Wars themed jerseys during the game and auction them off at the end of the night. “These are really, really cool jerseys. This is my favorite of the 60 we have done since I have been here in the last ten years,” said Fleming. “We put a Darth Vader helmet on our logo and his stick looks like a light saber.”

    The FireAntz go out of their way to make every home game a fun and com-munity-friendly event. They reach out to various groups, support local causes and try to make sure that everyone who shows up for one of their games has a good time. While all these extras are part of what makes them such a special part of the community entertainment scene, local fans also expect a good season from the team.

    This season hasn’t been without challenges. The team took on a new coach and several new players this year. Which, in the long run, Flem-ing believes will be a good thing. “It takes a little while to get to know one another and get that cohesiveness on the ice — and we have done that. Everything is looking good and we are moving forward.”

    The regular season ends March 22. There are 10 homes games remain-ing. “We are battling through injuries but still playing well,” said Fleming. “We are in the middle of the pack but we are pushing for the play-offs. The parity in the league now is really good. The competition is great. We are looking for a playoff seat. There is still a lot of hockey left to be played, so there will be moving in the standings, but we are going to keep playing our best and see where this season takes us.”

    Find out more about the FireAntz at www.FireAntzhockey.com or call the office at 321-0123 for information and tickets.

    Photo: FireAntz games are about more than hockey. They are also about having fun and supporting the community. 

  • 02-20-13-charles-chestnut.gifWith the celebration of Black History Month throughout February, Professor Charles Anderson of Methodist University will share the contributions of African-Americans throughout Fayetteville’s history on Feb. 23, at 2 p.m. at the Museum of the Cape Fear. Professor Anderson is an adjunct faculty member at Methodist University and was an adjunct faculty member on the Fort Bragg campus of Central Texas College.

    “The history of the African-American in Fayetteville begins in 1754 when the fi rst black was recorded on the tax rolls. Over the last 250 years, the African-American has been essential in weaving the fabric of Fayetteville,” said Anderson.

    The presentation will highlight E.E. Smith, Charles Chesnutt and Lewis Leary among others. E.E. Smith was born into slavery in 1852. He availed himself of educational opportunities and was able to study in public schools and eventually became a teacher at the age of 22. He graduated from Shaw University in 1878 and was licensed to preach. In 1883, at the age of 36 he became the principal of the State Colored Normal School in Fayetteville. He was also Secretary to the State Colored Baptist Convention, commissioned as a Major in the North Carolina Guard and in 1888 he was appointed United States Minister and Consul-General to Liberia. He was a multi-talented man who excelled in all aspects of life.

    “The adage of ‘a thousand mile journey begins with a single step’ is apropos. From being sold in the marketplace to occupying the White House indicates the strides African-Americans have made. My vision is we get away from color and get to people. A contribution to the well-being of mankind is colorless,” said Anderson.

    Charles Chestnutt is best known for his novels and short stories exploring the myriad issues of racial identity in the post-Civil War South. His parents, both “free persons of color,” were from Fayetteville and moved to Ohio. He had white ancestry and was able to “pass” but elected not to. When Chestnutt was 9-years-old, the family moved back to Fayetteville and at 13 he became a pupil-teacher at the Howard School. He subsequently became an assistant principal at what was to become Fayetteville State University. He was a prolifi c writer whose books focused on the post Civil War South. He was a realist, and on occasion he challenged the status quo. While well-respected by his literary peers, novels he had penned failed to generate sales. In 1901, he became more politically active and joined the newly founded National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and became one of the 20th century’s most prominent activists and social commentators.

    “We have made strides but there is a distance to go. I fi rmly believe we are slowly but steadily moving towards ‘we the people.’ Moving towards Dr. King’s hope that ‘no longer will a man be judged by the color of his skin.’ Moving towards Rodney King’s plea of ‘Why can’t we get along?’ In history, there is an underlying message of hope and that is what I wish to share,” Anderson explained.

    Lewis Leary was born in Fayetteville, N.C. in 1835. He lived a short but full life. At the age of 22, he moved to Oberlin, Ohio, and married. He became involved in the abolitionist movement the next year and eventually joined John Brown’s ill-fated attack on the Federal Arsenal in Harpers Ferry, W.V. He was shot and survived long enough to get a message to his wife, who did not know he was participating in the raid. Leary passed away at the age of 24. He was a man of deep principle and hope.

    “There are many others of note who are part of the African-American history in Fayetteville. Isaac Hammond was a member of the Light Infantry in the Revolutionary War. Henry Evans was the pastor of the fi rst black church in the area. Many of the stones, bricks and mortar in the Market House were laid by a black master brick mason. Fayetteville has a rich history and I am excited about the direction we as a city have and where we as a people are headed,” said Anderson.

    For more information, please visit www.nccultervents.com or call 910-486-1330.

    Photo: Charles Chesnutt

  • 02-19-14-tyler-perry.gifLove is a beautiful emotion that is supposed to make you feel good, but sometimes the person you allow in your heart can cause so much pain. The Crown Center presents the latest Tyler Perry Production, Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned on Thursday, Feb. 27 –Saturday, March 1.

    Tyler must have written this play about me. The play is about Anita Lincoln, a single, successful woman who has a great job, family and friends but cannot seem to find a loving man. Anita meets Randy online and he appears to be loving and charming, but things change during a trip to Las Vegas.

    “I play the character Anita in the play and I am the woman who has been scorned,” said Cheryl Pepsi Riley. “Anita is in her 40s, an overachiever, has a good heart and has always tried to do the right thing when making decisions in her life.”

    Riley added that Anita has a best friend who sets her up on an online date and with a little hesitation she decides to go on the date with the guy. As always, it is too good to be true and from there the story gets really good.

    “It is a story that all women can relate to,” said Riley. “Women should bring their significant other with them to the show as well.”

    Riley added that women need to be wiser in their counsel about relationships because the flesh can sometimes make decisions that spiritually we would not do.

    Riley is best known for her number one hit 1998 ballad, ‘Thanks for My Child.’ After a hiatus from the music industry, she reemerged as a star in a number of gospel plays for playwright Tyler Perry. She has started “Black Velvet Mondays” which is a platform for up and coming artists which is her way to pay it forward for the next generation.

    “Everybody knows someone that has dealt with some not so wonderful relationships,” said Riley.

    “You really get the complete ride on this show and the cast is amazing.” Riley added that the singing is phenomenal and people will laugh, cry, think, question and ponder as they watch the show.

    Show times are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $41.50 for Thursday’s show, $47.50 for Friday’s show, $48 for the 3 p.m. show on Saturday, and $51 for the 8 p.m. show on Saturday. Tickets are available online at Ticketmaster.com, the Crown Center Box Office, and all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information call 1-800-745-3000.

  • 02-27-13-soiree.gifChildren are the future leaders of the community, and because of this, educating them is a community effort. Many brilliant and ultimately successful people have come from low-income families, but it is often only because of the motivation from a member in their community that they’ve risen to positions of infl uence and power. Every child deserves a chance to learn and to achieve their dreams — regardless of their home situation or socio economic status. Since 1908, The Partnership for Children has been supporting just that by helping children from low-income backgrounds succeed in school.

    In previous years the organization held a fundraiser in conjunction with the Academy Awards. This year they are trying something new — a Soirée.

    “The meaning of soirée is an elegant party that is held in the evening. We created the soirée and each year the theme is a little different, this year we are going to kick this off with a Parisian theme: A Night in Paris. We know people will feel the French flare,” said Partnership for Children Communications and Development Administrator Tina Newcomb.

    Tickets for the Soirée are $100 each. This pays for a beautiful dinner, a lovely night of entertainment, and great programs that reach the local community.

    “The funds are for two outreach programs that we have. We are funding The Partnerships Kidstuff Activity at the Dogwood Festival as well as working with government and military affairs. This engages elected and military leaders to make sure civilian and military families and children get the support they need. We’ve received much engagement from legislators and local government, too.” Newcomb explains.

    For entertainment, there will be a Dueling Piano Show. The entertainers will take song requests for a donation of $5. The pianists compete to see which one can play the most requests. To further support the cause and for a chance to win fabulous prizes, raffle tickets will be sold for $10 and $20. Prizes will feature wonderful travel packages, local dining, a trip for four to Disney and a trip for two to Paris. The event organizers will accept payments in cash, debit and credit cards the night of the event. And for all the sports fans, there will also be a viewing room to check on the score of the ACC Duke versus Carolina game.

    The Soirée will be held at the Embassy Suites, with a start time of 6:30 p.m. Attire is semiformal. Cocktails will be served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., every guest will receive a drink ticket, but there will also be a cash bar. Starting at 7:30 p.m., dinner will be served, and guests will have assigned seats for the dinner. The Embassy Suites is located at 4760 Lake Valley Dr., Fayetteville.

    Tickets are $100. To purchase them, stop by The Partnership For Children or go to website, www.ccpfc.org, which is a purchase-secure site. Sponsorship packages are still available. For more information, contact Debbie Holland at dholland@ccpfc.org or via telephone at 910-867-9700.