• 18 01 susanbradyNormally at this time of year, fall sports coaches would be working with their athletes to get them in condition for the official start of practice on Aug. 1.

    But the COVID-19 pandemic has put everyone into a holding pattern as news about the spread of the disease changes daily. Instead of firm dates, coaches for schools in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association have had to deal with multiple changes in when fall sports will resume, if at all. Most recently, they learned the earliest they will be allowed to begin 18 02 brianrandolphfall practice will be Sept. 1.

    Jesse Autry, who is beginning his 29th season as cross country coach at South View, voiced the situation best for all of his fellow coaches.
    Autry talked at length about being separated from his athletes for much of the summer until coaches were given permission 18 03toddedgeto contact them via computer.

    “We communicate at least once a week by way of Zoom or Google Meeting or something like that,’’ Autry said. He talks with his athletes online and invites their parents to join in.

    The first time he did it, Autry said things got a little emotional. “For all of them to see each other’s faces on the screen I was 18 04 IMG 7183really surprised,’’ he said. “I’m worried about the long-term impact of this, social isolation, kids seeing each other. Not being able to play team sports, to learn from camaraderie and friendship that comes from getting in the trenches together.’’

    Autry said he knows COVID-19 is a serious matter and he supports the decisions of his superiors, but he’s hopeful there will be some kind of return to sports soon.

    18 05 jalestywashington“I want us to compete,’’ he said. “I want us to be able to practice. I can see on my kids faces and hear in their voices what they are going through.’’

    Todd Edge, golf coach at Cape Fear, saw the same thing when it came to his athletes being separated. “When we were finishing up our schooling on Google Classroom, when we stopped the teaching and recording part of it, the kids wanted 18 05 IMG 1865to stay online and talk to the teacher and their peers because they aren’t seeing anyone,’’ he said. “They’re not socializing with one another.’’

    Jack Britt football coach Brian Randolph said the key issue remains the safety of the athletes, athletic trainers, coaches and all the sideline personnel involved in his sport.

    “I don’t think we can create the bubble as the NBA and other higher level sports are doing,’’ Randolph said. “The first thing we have to worry about is the school aspect and getting kids back into school safely.’’

    Terry Sanford tennis coach Susan Brady is confident most coaches would be willing to accept any form of abbreviated schedule just to be able to have competition this fall. Her main concern, which is shared by other coaches, is how much time the athletes need to get in competition shape.

    For tennis, she thinks two or three weeks of practice while doing some cardio conditioning on the side would be enough to get in condition for matches. “The nice thing about tennis is when you’re on the court playing it’s constant movement,’’ she said.

    Gray’s Creek volleyball coach Jalesty Washington feels that if people can go out and shop and interact in other ways in public, there has to be a way to figure out a safe method to return to athletic competition. “I feel like everybody is going out and doing normal stuff,’’ she said. “I don’t know what’s different with the school and getting in the gym.’’

    Pine Forest soccer coach Isaac Rancour is trying to stay as positive as possible and not focus on the frustration of repeated delays and no definite word on when or if the fall season will begin.

    “I’m just kind of going with the flow and passing information along as I get it,’’ Rancour said. “I don’t think it does any good to get frustrated about it.’’

    He knows his players have worked hard and the seniors are worried if they will get the chance to play this year.

    Whatever is done, Rancour wants it to be safe for everyone. “We are going to need more time to make sure we are able to social distance the kids and get everything checked before we get everything started,’’ he said. “If we have everyone doing their part it should all work out.’’

  • 17 01 IMG 0260The potential for growth in the area near the recently-opened Golfview Greenway in Hope Mills is drawing a lot of attention, some of it not for good reasons.

    That’s especially true for residents of Crampton Road, a quiet neighborhood street near Golfview that dead ends into the old golf course that is now the new Greenway.

    What’s causing concern is the old golf course area is currently shared by three different groups. The town of Hope Mills controls about 90 acres, while two developers have plots of 30 acres and 20 acres respectively.

    One of the developers has put forward plans to build some housing on his share of 17 02 greenway1the land, with access to the property coming from a road that would connect through what is now the dead end on Crampton.

    Not surprisingly, many people in the neighborhood are not excited about the prospect of a dramatic increase in both population and

    “Most of the people have lived there 40 years or more,’’ Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner said of the residents of Crampton Road.

    The town had two chances in 2019 to have more of a direct voice in the future of the area when the YMCA approached the town about purchasing or developing the 20 acres of land it owned. A committee was formed to look into the possibility of developing the land and maybe constructing a swimming facility there. But the committee was disbanded by the Board of Commissioners after one meeting, and the town declined to discuss purchasing the land from the YMCA.

    When the YMCA eventually found a buyer, it made one final offer to the town to purchase it first, but the board again said no.

    So the YMCA sold the land, and now with three different groups in the mix, Warner is trying to put together a plan to get everyone involved at the same table so a plan can be put together that will take into account everything going on in the Golfview Greenway area so both the future growth of the town and the concerns of the residents of Crampton Road will be respected while the town looks ahead to future growth.
    Representing the town on the committee will be Warner, Chancer McLaughlin of the town’s Development and Planning office and town manager Melissa Adams.

    Also on the committee will be the developers of the other two pieces of property, a representative from the Department of Transportation, and former Hope Mills commissioner Eddie Maynor, who was added to the committee at last week’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners.
    Warner said it was important to get the Department of Transportation involved because they already have plans in the works for developing the area around Golfview Greenway since it’s in proximity to the future addition of the Interstate 295 bypass that will be eventually built near the outskirts of Hope Mills.

    “We know we need to get DOT on board so we don’t have to redo anything,’’ Warner said. “If they’ve got a plan we can start working on that plan sooner.’’

    The other key for the committee, Warner said, is to have face-to-face meetings with the two developers and hopefully get them to coordinate their plans with both the needs of the families that already live on Crampton Road and in the rest of the area, while at the same time getting everyone on the same page with whatever DOT has in the works.

    Warner thinks an ideal solution would be for the town and the two other property owners in the Golfview area to come to a mutual agreement on a shared entry way into the Golfview property so that the residents on Crampton Road can continue to enjoy the privacy of their neighborhood without a dramatic influx of traffic and neighbors.

    “We want to have a way of coming up with an entrance off of Golfview that would be safe,’’ Warner said, “whether you have a pedestrian crosswalk, signal lights, whatever is needed. There would be one entrance to the main road and not go through the neighborhood. “By setting up this committee, we know everybody is on board.’’

    Warner said the good news so far is that a decision on what is going to happen in the Golfview area has been deferred until after the committee meets and hopefully is able to come to a workable consensus.

    Once Maynor’s addition to the committee was approved by the Board of Commissioners, Warner was hopeful the committee would have held its first meeting sometime last week.

    Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public will not be able to attend the committee meetings, but Warner said the town will likely share the committee meetings on its Facebook page and the town website, both live and via tape delay for those unable to watch the meetings while they are in progress.

    “We are trying to have a vision for what it (the Golfview area) will look like 10 years from now when there will be even more reasons for people to be there and visit Hope Mills.’’

  • 17 nchsaaThe North Carolina High School Athletic Association will delay the start of the fall sports season until at least Sept. 1.

    The first five days of the 2020-21 student school year will be a dead period for all sports. Phase One of the NCHSAA’s summer conditioning and workouts will continue until further notice.

    “For now, we believe these steps provide hope for our student athletes and the possibility for playing fall sports,’’ said NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker. “We know that many decisions are being made relative to the reopening plan your schools will follow.’’

    Tucker said the NCHSAA will conduct a survey of its members to determine what is possible as far as sports this fall is concerned, adding the current delay is not in cement and could be changed.

    Tucker said the NCHSAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee believes sports can and should be offered, at least in a modified format.

    “In the coming weeks, we will continue working with the SMAC as we plan our next steps for the fall,’’ Tucker said.

  • 15 john schnobrich 2FPjlAyMQTA unsplashEven before she became a member of the Board of Commissioners for the town of Hope Mills, Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Kenjuana McCray said she was often approached by young people, so-called millennials, on how to get involved in local issues.

    Now McCray has helped to create a town committee that will hopefully give members of that generation both access and inspiration to share in the vision of planning for the future of Hope Mills.

    Members of the Board of Commissioners recently gave approval to McCray’s idea of a committee composed of people from the millennial age group to offer advice and direction to the board on a wide variety of subjects.

    McCray has been involved with a variety of organizations at Fayetteville Technical Community College where she works, particularly in the area of social issues. The clubs she worked with there took part in a variety of activities, and as recently as April had planned to do something in conjunction with Earth Day until all events of that nature were ground to a halt by COVID-19.

    McCray thinks it’s especially important during the current situation to hear from millennial voices. “I believe they have something to say and can do good work in the community,’’ McCray said. She also believes they need a stronger connection to government bodies like the Board of Commissioners, which can be created by putting them together on a bona fide town committee.

    “It’s good to take that energy they have,’’ McCray said, “and have their input included.’’

    McCray feels the millennials can become involved in a variety of areas in the town, everything from beautification and culture to organizing food drives for the homeless and underprivileged.

    McCray has tentatively set the age range of candidates for the committee from 18 to 39.

    “We want a variety of people from different areas,’’ she said. “We are also hoping to get people that have different skill sets.’’
    She’s hopeful to get people with backgrounds in the arts, marketing and media along with active duty and retired military.

    All town committees have a member of the Board of Commissioners and a member of town staff as part of the committee. McCray has asked to be the representative from the commissioners and she asked Chancer McLaughlin, the town’s development and planning administrator, to serve as well because of his role with the town’s economic development.

    She thinks it’s possible for the committee to be chosen and begin meeting in as few as three months.

    “I would like to keep our young people here,’’ she said. “We end up losing a lot of our talented young people. I want them to be in this community and invest in this community.’’

    McCray hopes an application for membership on the committee will be available shortly on the town website, www.townofhopemills.com. 
  • 16 N2002P32003CNote: This story was written hours before the announcement of the NCHSAA's delay of the start of fall sports and could not be updated prior to this week's deadline. 

    When I was a teenager I used to enjoy going to unusual gift shops with my parents and seeing what off-the-wall gifts I could find.

    On one such trip, I saw a unique jigsaw puzzle. It was a picture of a single, solid, red ball.

    I couldn’t imagine someone wanting to tackle the challenge of solving it. It would obviously take hours of trying to match the various pieces together since the actual picture was one solid color with no variation in hues or texture.

    I think of that puzzle as I stay in touch with high school athletic leaders and people in education as they ponder if there will be a fall sports season for high schools in North Carolina this year.

    The picture was made a tiny bit clearer this past week when Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina announced his plan to return North Carolina to school on Aug. 17 using a blended plan of some classroom teaching with specific safety precautions, while also allowing students and teachers to use virtual classrooms with learning from home via electronic means.

    But there are countless pieces left to this real, giant, red puzzle, and what’s worse, the puzzle pieces keep changing shape from day to day.

    Que Tucker, commissioner of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, held a lengthy virtual press conference with statewide media prior to the governor’s announcement, then issued this statement afterward.

    “We will continue discussing the numerous options and scenarios that have been developed and recommended, identifying the most appropriate scenarios,’’ she said. “The NCHSAA staff will work with the Board of Directors, Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and other stakeholder groups to solidify the details of the best plan for the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and the communities the Association represents.’’

    Meanwhile, the Cumberland County Schools held a virtual briefing of its own last week after the governor’s announcement to address what it meant for local schools.

    Joe Desormeaux, associate superintendent of auxiliary services for Cumberland County Schools, said everything is on hold locally until the NCHSAA provides specific direction on the next step.

    “We know they are actively discussing many options at this time, to include everything from no sports to reduced seasons, changing seasons and swapping between spring and fall sports,’’ Desormeaux said.

    The one concrete thing Desormeaux shared was that whether county students opt for the blended learning program that the governor said the state will adopt, or chose to enroll in Cumberland County’s all-online virtual learning program, they will be eligible to compete in athletics.

    Students who choose to go with 100 percent virtual learning will be assigned to compete with the school in the district where they maintain a physical residence. “It is very important that if you have changed your address recently you get those new addresses into the system,’’ Desormeaux said.

    Although there are multiple sports waiting for word on what will happen this fall, the most complex one, and the one that has a bearing on income that supports the total athletic program, is high school football.

    Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools, noted that Aug. 1, the traditional start date for fall sports in North Carolina, is rapidly approaching and decisions must be made soon on when or if the fall season will start.

    This is especially true for football, which has a lot of moving parts and needs to allow ample time to prepare before actually playing games.

    Aldridge said he had consulted with some of the county’s veteran head football coaches, and the consensus among them was they need a minimum of four weeks to work with their teams on the field before they will be able to safely compete in a game.

    Another major issue for football is going to be transporting players to and from road games. While all the county senior high schools have four activity busses that can each hold 72 passengers, social distancing requirements will limit each bus to one person per seat, meaning they can only carry 24 people.

    Aldridge said home teams may be able to share their busses with the visitors from fellow county schools and work out a plan to transport everyone, but that would just account for the football teams.
    Aldridge indicated until there is further direction from the NCHSAA, no plans have been discussed about transporting marching bands or cheerleaders to games.

    “We need some answers pretty quickly so schools and school systems can be making decisions,’’ Aldridge said. “Nothing is off the table right now. Maybe (it's) something we are worrying about we might not have to worry about.’’

    There has been talk about moving a sport like football to the spring, but if that happens, Aldridge is concerned about what you do with other sports. Everything can’t be played in one season, so that could mean moving spring sports like baseball and softball to fall.

    Aldridge is concerned about that because those athletes have already lost a season to COVID-19.

    “We need to make sure those kids don’t lose two years,’’ he said.

    And suddenly, that solid red puzzle is looking like an awfully easier option to tackle.


  • 14 IMG 7667Some public walking areas in Hope Mills are going to the dogs, and the staff of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department is working quickly to correct the problem.

    Lamarco Morrison, head of the department, said he first got word a couple of weeks ago that there was a growing problem at the recently opened Golfview Greenway of dog owners walking their animals and not properly cleaning up after them.

    If the problem continues to mount, the town could resort to some extreme measures, like fining dog owners observed leaving animal waste at the greenway or the walking track at Hope Mills Municipal Park near Town Hall. A worst-case scenario would be not allowing dog owners to walk their animals at all. 

    But Morrison said the town would prefer not to do that and is implementing some plans that will help dog owners to police the waste their animals produce.

    “At the end of the day, it’s still on the owners to clean up after their dogs,’’ Morrison said.

    The first thing that will be done, especially at the greenway, is to install what are called doggie stations. Two are already in place, and two more have been ordered. The walking trail at Municipal Park already has multiple doggie stations. 

    Each doggie station includes bags for collecting dog waste and a small waste container to put the bags in once the waste has been collected.

    At the greenway, they’ll be located at the four corners of the area.

    For situations when owners and their dogs are on the trail some distance from one of the doggie stations, Morrison and his staff are giving away what he referred to as a doggie keychain. It’s a small plastic receptacle that the owner can easily attach to a belt, keychain or even the dog’s leash.

    The receptacle can carry empty doggie bags and then be used to hold a filled bag until the owner reaches one of the doggie stations and can drop it into the waste container there. 

    There will also be signs along the trail reminding dog owners to clean up after their dogs.

    To further help with the problem, town maintenance workers who are already assigned to working at the greenway and Municipal Park will also be policing the trail for dog waste.

    Aside from the simple nuisance of possibly coming into contact with dog waste left along the trail, Morrison said there’s also a health hazard associated with dog waste being left in a public area.

    “If your dog hasn’t been immunized with all his shots, you could spread things to other animals,’’ Morrison said.

    Although he doesn’t encourage confrontations, Morrison said one of the best ways for the problem to be resolved is for dog owners to police each other and encourage making sure everybody is picking up after their animals. 

    Morrison is hopeful that will prevent the town from having to go to the extreme of banning walkers at the greenway and Municipal Park from bringing their dogs along. 
  • 05 N1909P34008CThe COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in uncertainty, leaving many of us feeling confused, frustrated and fearful. Daily we face threats to our physical safety and financial security. An accumulation of these macro-level stressors makes it more difficult for us to handle the mundane, daily stresses of living. Our traditional methods of coping are challenged and we are forced to reimagine a new “normal.” 

    During times of crisis, it is more important than ever to practice self-care. Self-care is a popular term that brings to mind visions of bubble baths, expensive shopping sprees and decadent foods. The ugly truth is that self-care is often not glamorous. It is a daily practice of building healthy habits for a strong body and mind. Said another way, self-care is deliberately taking care of your well-being through restorative activities. 

    About seven months ago, I would have defined self-care as simply making sure to eat and sleep. At the time, I was working as a clinical assistant professor and staff psychologist at a top 10 university. I started every day darting out the door with no breakfast in my belly and haphazardly putting makeup on while I drove to work. I went to work and had few breaks and finished my day only to crash on the couch to watch Netflix and scroll social media. I was in complete denial about what I needed to do to take care of myself. Ultimately, I burned out, and I quit my job. I decided to pursue my passions of entrepreneurship and family by moving closer to home (Fayetteville) to start my private therapy practice. As a licensed psychologist, a large part of my job is to support people who are suffering from stress and mental health-related concerns. I learned quickly that to serve my clients successfully in a sustainable way, I needed to be a relaxing presence, which meant I had to take care of myself. That’s when I discovered how to practice self-care. My foundation began with a healthy diet, proper hydration, physical activity and adequate rest. I added three other restorative activities to this foundation, which were: moments of stillness in silence, practicing spirituality and belonging to a community. 

    Self-care involves attention and intention. Moments of stillness in silence can draw our attention from external noise to our inner voice. When we meditate, it brings awareness to that internal voice. When we have awareness, that’s when we can choose thoughts and feelings we’re holding onto and those we want to let go. The intention is to observe compassionately and nonjudgmentally those places inside yourself that need care. 

    In conclusion, I have one recommendation for you. I encourage you to try waking up one hour earlier in the morning to carve out some self-care time. My self-care daily ritual consists of: 10 minutes of meditation, 10 minutes of journaling, 10 minutes of affirmations, 10 minutes of visualization, 10 minutes of gratitude and 10 minutes of physical activity. You are so worth it. Start small, and remember, this is a practice and is not something you have to get perfect. 
  • 08 N2008P24005COn Aug. 17, the Cumberland County School system is giving parents an opportunity to decide how they would like their children to be educated during the 2020-2021 school year based on what’s best for their families. Gov. Cooper has issued an executive order directing that Plan B be used as guidance for all schools, meaning that school districts may offer a blended system of face-to-face learning or remote learning from home. Parents have the option of selecting remote learning if that is their preference. Cooper also indicated that complete remote learning could be implemented if the COVID-19 situation worsens. Children will have their temperatures checked as they enter school each day. Each school building must have an isolation room designated for anyone who tests positive. And all children, teachers and staff members must wear face coverings in school buildings. Physical distancing and one-way school hallways are also encouraged. 

  • 15 CumberlandCountySchoolsNEWlogoBarring any late changes due to the status of COVID-19 cases in Fayetteville and Cumberland County, coaches and athletes from Cumberland County Schools are scheduled to begin off-season workouts on Monday, July 20.

    Originally the date to resume practice was July 6, but that was pushed because of concern over COVID-19 locally.

    The county and the state are waiting for word from both Gov. Roy Cooper and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association on the status of returning to school this fall and the chance of seeing high school sports resume on either a full or limited basis come August and September.
    “Our district is continuing to evaluate when to resume athletic activities,’’ said Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for Cumberland County, in a prepared statement. “Any resumption will be conducted with the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff in mind and in compliance with the NCHSAA’s Reopening of Sports/Activities Summer Guidelines.’’

    The county will also be guided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Cumberland County Department of Public Health.

  • 13 legacy insideThere’s something new to cheer about in Hope Mills, both in the literal and figurative sense.

    Tammy Melvin-Carlile, Angela Fitzgerald and Jasmine Lyles have united to open Legacy Athletics at 2824 Legion Rd.

    The trio took over the facility in May and after making some upgrades to the building, opened for regular hours effective Monday, July 6.

    Melvin-Carlile said the goal of Legacy Athletics is to provide an affordable gym experience that will cater to cheerleading, dance, gymnastics and tumbling, along with programs designed for special needs people of all ages who would like to take part in the kind of activities the facility offers.

    All three of the new owners have extensive backgrounds in the various disciplines the gym will offer. In addition to providing instruction in cheer and dance, they plan to include yoga as well as allow the gym to be rented out for birthday parties or by the hour for outside cheer groups and dancers who just need a place to practice their craft.

    Fitzgerald said there will be no limits on the age groups that can utilize the facility. At the same time, they’ll accept people from all levels of experience — from newcomers to people who have been involved in any of the activities for years.

    Fitzgerald said the inside of the building is every little girl’s dream, designed to leave them wide-eyed and open-mouthed.

    The primary workout area features a spring floor with carpet-bonded foam. There is also a 30-foot tumble track along with various types of equipment, including training mats and materials for stretching.

    The special-needs programs aren’t designed for competition but will allow the participants to take part in routines and exhibitions.
    Current hours are Mondays from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
    For those who want to use the gym just as a workout space or to practice with a team not being trained by one of the gym staffers, the gym can be rented on an hourly basis.

    Lyles said the gym can also be used by home schoolers as a place to earn their physical education credit.

    For further details on rentals, scheduling special events and finding out more about fees, call the gym at 910-229-2762.

  • 14 demetriabookDemetria Washington Davis will be forever remembered as one of the most decorated track and field athletes in Cumberland County history.
    At the 1998 North Carolina High School Athletic Association state indoor track meet, Davis won the 55, 300 and 500 meter dashes, scoring enough points by herself to earn the Terry Sanford team second place in the meet.

    Unfortunately, because she was the only Bulldog entry in the event, she wasn’t allowed to take home the prize for second since she didn’t officially constitute a team.

    Washington also won the NCHSAA outdoor 400 meter title twice, along with single titles in the 100 and 200 meters.

    She continued her brilliance in college at the University of South Carolina, where she made school history by earning NCAA All-American honors 21 times and capturing six NCAA national titles.

    She was the 2002 National Indoor Athlete of the Year, and in 2003 won a gold medal running in the 4x400 meter relay in the World Championships.

    Now Davis has decided to share some of her motivational tips and advice to people of all levels of fitness who want to improve themselves both physically and emotionally.

    Davis recently published her first book, "Parallel Fitness: A Champion’s Mindset." It can be purchased on amazon.com or at Washington’s website, getparallelfit.com. Davis will autograph any book purchased directly from her website.

    “I’ve known for a few years I wanted to write a book,’’ Davis said. Ironically, this wasn’t the book she had in mind.

    Davis leads a busy life and has many interests, from her involvement with fitness to cooking to being a mother and to being a pastor.
    She was looking to the future to put together a work that would deal with some of those areas, but instead she found herself straying from consistent workouts and not staying in the kind of shape she enjoyed when she was in competition.

    Although friends told her she was in great shape, it wasn’t where Davis wanted to be. So she went on Facebook and began posting regular motivational themes to inspire her to do better.

    Those same friends told her she could put together a book using the assorted themes she had shared on Facebook. After looking back from last November until the present, she realized they had a point.

    Davis stressed the book is a good motivational tool for anyone, and it doesn’t deal strictly with physical activity. “It’s motivation for so many different areas of your life,’’ she said.

    The book is laid out for a 21-day period, and Davis uses a play on words for each day to get her point across about what the motivational focus for that day is.

    She recently held a signing for the book that was largely attended by friends and family. She compared the emotions she felt the day of the event to how she used to feel preparing to run a race.

    “The most enjoyable part was seeing my family and friends there,’’ Davis said. “They really came out and were so excited.’’
    Davis is hopeful her second book will be coming out in August or September of this year. She said it will deal with specific workout strategies, nutrition and some of her recipes.

  • 12 cannonIt was during preparations for last year’s Heroes Homecoming observance in Hope Mills that Jim Blevins of the town’s Veterans Affairs Committee made a troubling discovery.

    While working with the flags behind the town’s veterans memorial on Rockfish Road, one of the nylon ropes snapped.

    Blevins said committee members quickly realized they needed to perform regular maintenance and function checks on various aspects of the veterans memorial. As part of that process, one of the things they put on a to-do list was to spruce up the appearance of the 105mm howitzer that is part of the memorial.

    The retired weapon was a staple of American field artillery from the time of World War II all the way through the conflict in Vietnam. According to army.mil, it was the primary field artillery weapon used by the Army during World War II and is still in use in some parts of the world today.
    Blevins said another member of the Veterans Affairs Committee who helped paint the howitzer, Grilley Mitchell, estimated it’s been as long as 15 years since the gun had gotten a fresh coat of paint.

    Blevins and other members of the committee first used sandpaper to remove the old paint that was badly oxidized and peeling.

    They tried to get some traditional OD green Army paint from an official source but were unsuccessful. But another committee member, Bill Greene, was able to secure several spray cans of the official Army shade and it was used to put a new coat on the howitzer.

    “As long as we stuck to OD green, that’s the main thing, just the painting for now,’’ Blevins said.

    Other members of the Veterans Affairs Committee who helped refurbish the howitzer were Joanne Scarola and Jim Morris.

    The next big project for the committee is going to take a little more effort, not to mention more money.

    The monument at the veterans memorial has some cracks in it, and some of the seals are worn as well. Blevins estimates the repair project will run in the neighborhood of $13,000.

    While there is some money in the town budget to pay for the repairs, Blevins said the Veterans Affairs Committee doesn’t want the town to have to foot the entire bill.

    He said the committee hopes to work with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts to come up with a variety of fundraising projects to help cover the cost of repairing the monument and other projects the committee may promote in the future.

    Ideas being considered are allowing people to purchase pavers that will be placed somewhere at the veterans memorial, along with building a fence at the memorial and letting people pay to have signs placed along it sponsoring sections of the fence.

    Blevins said the most important thing is to keep the park alive and in good shape to properly honor the veterans from the community.

    “That’s our military heritage to the people that came before us,’’ said Blevins, who is retired Air Force. “It’s to honor them and hopefully pass it on to the next generation.’’

     Photo credit: Elizabeth Blevins

  • 12 SAACE.J. McArthur and Colin Baumgartner are both students and athletes at Jack Britt High School who have been directly impacted by the statewide shutdown of sports for all athletes at member schools of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

    But McArthur, who plays basketball, and Baumgartner, a cross country, track and field and swimming competitor, have a little different perspective on the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their peers. McArthur and Baumgartner are the Region IV representatives to the NCHSAA’s Student Advisory Athletic Committee.

    The SAAC is made up of 16 athletes representing each of the eight geographical regions of the NCHSAA. In normal times, they travel to the NCHSAA office in Chapel Hill one Sunday each month to discuss topics of importance to the state’s high school athletes.

    Though the pandemic has forced McArthur and Baumgartner and their fellow committee members to hold their meetings virtually over the last couple of months, they are still doing the business of the committee while also discussing the challenges of trying to reopen the state to practice and competitive sports by the time the fall season begins.
    Barring a late change by the NCHSAA, many of the state’s school systems were scheduled to begin off-season summer workouts on July 6.

    As a basketball player, McArthur was among the athletes who was able to complete play for the 2019-20 season, but he empathizes with those who weren’t as fortunate as he was.

    “Most people were really devastated when their season ended,’’ he said.

    Baumgartner said one of the biggest challenges of not being able to hold structured practices with teammates is developing the discipline to work out alone. “You’ve got to make the best of what you’ve got,’’ he said.

    McArthur said many athletes he knows are speaking together daily to encourage each other. Some are holding small group workout sessions, either together or in some cases virtually.

    His biggest concern remains that his peers make sure any workouts they are holding are being done with precautions against spreading the virus. “Some kids are just being kids while others are taking precautions,’’ McArthur said.

    While no one is happy with not being able to practice or play, Baumgartner thinks most of the people he’s been in contact with are doing the best they can to observe the COVID-19 restrictions in hopes of returning to a more normal order of things as quickly as possible.

    "I'm very understanding of what's going on," he said. 

    Looking to the fall and hoping for a return to normal competition, McArthur said he agrees with what most people in education have said about a return to athletics. If the students aren’t able to be in the school building on a daily basis, the consensus is that athletic competition shouldn’t be allowed either.

    “If we aren’t safe enough to be around each other, what makes sports different?’’ McArthur said. “It’s risk and reward. If we risk it now and things happen, then everything is shut back down. Right now it’s the safety of the kids, coaches and officials.’’

    McArthur noted the complicated nature of COVID-19 as a concern, adding
    that even people who survive the disease are being diagnosed with various complications. “Kids should take precautions,’’ he said, “if not for themselves,
    for their loved ones, the people in their house and everybody else.’’

    There has been some discussion of moving some or all fall sports to the spring season, if needed, to allow the COVID-19 curve more time to flatten. Baumgartner sees some benefit in doing that, but added it could also create problems, especially for those athletes who play multiple sports and might have to choose between sports if their favorites were played at the same time.

    Baumgartner doesn’t think it would be a good idea to allow some sports where it is easier to practice social distancing to resume while preventing other athletes in sports with greater contact from resuming practice and play.

    “I feel that would create a lot of friction between contact and noncontact sports,’’ he said. “We could catch a lot of flak for promoting something like that.’’


  • While the Board of Commissioners and the staff at Town Hall do most of the heavy lifting of government for the town of Hope Mills, there’s another important group of volunteers that provide a lot of input to the decisions that are made about the town’s future.

    That group is the people who serve on a variety of official town committees that delve a little deeper than the full board does into various town issues.

    Jane Starling is the Town Clerk, and her job includes getting applications from people who are interested in serving on the various committees.

    In addition to taking a closer look at issues before the town, Starling said the committees also provide valuable exposure to town citizens on how government actually works. She said it's often the beginning of a citizen becoming more active while at the same time getting an education.

    Currently, the town has five committees and one commission. The committees include Parks and Recreation, Veterans Affairs, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Historic Preservation and Mayor’s Youth Leadership.

    The lone commission is Appearance.

    Nearly all the committees regularly meet at least once a month, unless the meeting date for a certain month falls on a major holiday.

    The committees are constructed around the election cycle. The January after an election is held in November, the committees get new members who are each added for a two-year term.

    The major exception to the rules is the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Its members serve a three-year term, and it only meets when a specific zoning issue is brought before it that requires action.

    If someone steps down from one of the committees between election cycles, they can be replaced by someone with an application Starling keeps on file. All applications for committee positions are held for one year.

    11 town hallOne of the reasons most of the Hope Mills bodies are committees and not commissions is the rules for filling the slots on a commission are more stringent.

    Starling said commissions require members who have specific experience or professional training connected with the specific mission of the commission. “It’s really difficult in this small of a municipality to find people to fill those positions,’’ she said.

    The Historic Preservation Commission was recently changed to a committee, and there has been talk of doing the same with the Appearance Commission.

    Most of the committees are made up of seven members. One exception is the Veterans Affairs Committee, which has two additional members who represent local veterans organizations.

    Each committee also has two liaison members, one from town staff and one from the Board of Commissioners.

    To find a complete list of the town committees and a description of their duties, go to townofhopemills.com, click on the Government tab and look for the list of committees.
    Most of the committees have resumed regular meetings in the community room at the Parks and Recreation Department building off Rockfish Road, where they can safely meet while observing social distancing.

    Normally, the public is allowed to attend committee meetings, but under the current COVID-19 restrictions, only committee members are permitted at the meetings.

    If anyone is interested in applying for a committee position for the 2021 election cycle or when an opening comes up, they can get a form from the town website, pick one up at Town Hall or request to have one mailed to them. The number at Town Hall is 910-424-4555.

  • 10 joelA handful of law enforcement officials around the state of North Carolina have announced they have no plans to enforce the latest requirement of Gov. Roy Cooper that people wear masks in public the prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo isn’t among those who will ask his officers to ignore the provision. At the same time, he said the emphasis won’t be heavy-handed, and based on how the community has reacted to previous restrictions put in place to help curb the spread of the illness, he expects the citizens of Hope Mills to be supportive.
    “The goal is not to go out and write people tickets,’’ Acciardo said. “The goal is to educate people and bring them into compliance. So far we haven’t had any issues in that area.’’

    One of the most popular locations in town for regular large gatherings of people is Hope Mills Lake. While the initial job of getting people to observe the restrictions while at the lake falls on lake attendants, Acciardo said whenever the police have had to be called in so far, intervention and education have usually resolved the situation without complication.

    If someone does refuse to abide by the requirement to wear a mask in public, Acciardo said a charge of criminal trespass could be assessed if the person refuses to wear a mask and won’t leave the premises.

    “Dialogue goes a long way,’’ Acciardo said.

    As long as people are on their own property and not having a gathering in excess of 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors, they are free to not wear a mask.
    Acciardo said if the police do encounter someone without a mask, the police department currently isn’t able to provide people with them.

    “Our supplies are so limited,’’ he said. “Most of the time we barely have enough to cover our staff.

    “These facemasks are not meant to be used forever. There is a pretty quick turnover. Our supplies are pretty finite.’’

    As long as the officers are inside their cars, Acciardo said they will not be required to wear a mask, only needing to put them on when they have to interact with the public.
    As of this writing, Acciardo said the police department was still developing the policy and when masks would have to be worn inside police headquarters.

    He strongly suggested that everyone familiarize themselves with the latest requirements set down by Gov. Cooper in his most recent official order regarding safety measures required in public.

    Go to www.nc.gov/covid-19/covid-19-executive-orders and click on the link to the June 24 order for complete information.

    If anyone has questions about the enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions in Hope Mills, Acciardo can be reached at 910-425-4103.


  •     You could take one day to celebrate our nation’s freedom, but why take just one? The owners of The Dog House have a better idea — take the whole weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, with great music, great bikes and fantastic fireworks. All of these things come together at the First Annual Freedom Bike Fest, July 4-6.
        {mosimage}The Dog House has long been a destination for great music and a favorite for modern day cowboys who love to ride with the wind in their face and the feel of throbbing metal between their legs as they race down the highway and their horses of steel. (For those of a less poetic bent, that would be bikers.) Organizers are capitalizing on the love of music and bikes to bring together one of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations in the state.
        The event, which is a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n roll, will be held in Parkton, on the site of the Southern Comfort Air Ranch. The ranch used to be the site of some great sky diving. These days the skies aren’t as busy as they used to be, but that will change over the course of the weekend. The ranch is 300-plus acres, some of which will be used as campsites for attendees at the rally. Camping is a major part of the Freedom Bike fest experience. All campgrounds are clean and well maintained with 24-hour security provided by the local law enforcement Freedom Bike Fest security staff. Freedom Bike Fest also provides trash and recycling, collected daily, and portable restrooms which are cleaned daily. The campground will not open until noon on Thursday, July 3. Only one motorized vehicle is allowed per campsite. You must be at least 18-years-old to camp at the event. Organizers note that the event is not designed for small children, and no pets are allowed either.
        The remaining land will be eaten up by the main stage; a vendor city and activities all designed to put you in a party state of mind.
        The event isn’t just about music, although there will be plenty of that. It’s also about charity. Each day, charity bike rides will begin and end at the ranch. They will spread throughout the area, with all monies raised going to local charities.
        There will also be some fun events. Events like the Biker Olympics, the FMX Stunt Riders, extreme sky divers and celebrity bike builders. Oh, we forgot to mention the world-famous tattoo artist who will be on hand. Ami James is an Israeli-born American tattoo artist. He is the co-owner of the Miami, Fla., tattoo parlor known as LoveHate, and is the subject of the TLC reality television program Miami Ink. If you ever thought you wanted a great tattoo, this would definitely be the man to talk to.{mosimage}                                                And while all those events will complement the music, it is the music that will rule at Freedom Bike Fest. Organizers of the event are bringing together some great national acts, as well as local groups, for three rocking days of fun. Local bands slated to perform include: D.L. Token and The Fifth. They be joined by regional acts such as: Rebel Son, The D.B. Bryant Band and Dixie Highway.
        Big name draws to the show Molly Hatchett, Blackfoot and Sammy Kershaw. Molly Hatchett and Blackfoot are both southern rockers who have definitely made their mark on southern rock. The two bands are known for good times and great music — they are good ‘ol boys whose guitars get pretty loud. Kershaw adds a bit of country to the mix. Known for such hits as “Queen of My Doublewide Trailer” and “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful,” will end the three day-event with his performance on Sunday night. On Saturday night, following the Blackfoot performance, a fantastic fireworks show will light up the Parkton skies.
        One-day admission to the show is $25, while a three-day pass if $50. In order to camp on site, you must purchase a three-day pass. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com and all Ticketmaster outlets. Southern Comfort Air Ranch is located off U.S. 301 on Little Marsh Road, between Fayetteville and Lumberton.

  • 10 1 People with plantsThe Vision Resource Center has been around since 1936, but it incorporated in 1939. In 1936, a group of Sunday School teachers got together and decided they were going to become The Association for the Blind. In 1939, they incorporated and worked with the Department of Social Services to become The Center for the Blind. The Vision Resource Center was one of the first four United Way of Cumberland County agencies. Since then, the organization has worked to make life for the visually impaired in the community better.

    “Currently we have 676 blind and visually impaired adults and kids in Cumberland County,” said Terri Thomas, executive director of the VRC. “Right now, we are actually working with 250 of those individuals; 230 of them are adults, and 20 of them are kids.”

    Thomas added that there are a lot of blind and visually impaired individuals in the county that the VRC does not know about as those individuals are not on the blind registry.

    These are exciting times for the VRC, as the organization moves from the Dorothy Gilmore Recreation Center to its new home on Cedar Creek Road. “I would like to thank the city for allowing us to be in the Dorothy Gilmore Recreation Center for 10-plus years,” said Thomas. “Without them, we would not have been able to expand into what we have become now.” 

    VRC was previously housed in a 199-square-foot facility at the Dorothy Gilmore Recreation Center. The new facility is a 2,700-square-foot building on 7 acres of land located at 2736 Cedar Creek Rd.

    “Now we are going to be able to provide more things within our own location,” said Thomas. “We will have assistive technology skills training, our own gym, a kitchen for cooking classes, a conference room and more.”

    10 2 people with horsesThomas added that the benefit of the VRC having its own facility is that the blind and visually impaired will have more opportunity for freedom and independence. They will be able to enjoy a cup of coffee, play games, listen to music, sit in a rocking chair and listen to the birds chirp. They have a place they can come to that’s outside of their homes, where they can stay as long as they want to and go home when they want. Thomas noted that this is one of the benefits of having a house — the therapeutic nature of the space.
    “We now have a conference room area for the National Federation for the Blind to meet in, and we have families with support groups,” said Thomas. “Our blind and visually impaired members have a place that they can come and hang out instead of … sitting at home by themselves.”
    Thomas has been executive director of the VRC for nine years and has fought for many of the things these individuals have needed.

    “I came to the Vision Resource Center in 2010 by way of one of my blind friends at church who told me that she had a job for me working with the blind,” said Thomas. “I ended up at the Vision Resource Center with no (experience working with people who are blind) and just a will to help people.

    “Everything that we do to enhances their lives deals with mind, body and spirit.”

    Thomas added that VRC believes in wellness and in incorporating a lot of physical fitness for those who are physically able to participate. “We do exercise classes, ensure they do their elliptical, treadmill, ride bikes, walk at the John D. Fuller Recreation Center and other activities,” said Thomas.    

    “Our next thing is socialization, which is key (for) people who are visually impaired because they don’t really get out, and they are not around people like them,” said Thomas. “They talk about how their family does not get it and (how) being around other blind people is something that they strive to do.”

    10 3 People with GoKartsSome of the activities with VRC include going to plays, eating lunch at various restaurants, visiting the beach, surfing, horseback riding, arts and crafts, making pottery, and visiting the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham, PNC Arena in Raleigh and more.

    “The core of all of it is more about the socialization and camaraderie between people that have a (similar) disability,” said Thomas. “We’ve made the things that seem impossible possible by doing whatever we can to make whatever activity they enjoyed when they had sight, the same way without sight.”

    Some of the assistive technology equipment that blind and visually impaired individuals use includes 20/20 pens, Bump dots, iPhones, iPads, Wi-Fi service, Ruby magnifiers, CC TVs, Penfriend Audio Identifiers and other items. “People can have low vision but can’t see well enough to drive,” said Thomas.

    The VRC will host Out of Sight Night at the Park Saturday, Sept. 21, from 6-10 p.m. at Segra Stadium. It’s the seventh annual “Out of Sight” fundraising event for the organization.

    “We will have heavy hors d’oeuvres, vendors, activities, the Guy Unger Band, and a Game of Chance,” said Thomas. “Cocktail attire will be the attire this year.”

    Thomas said there will be a different spin on the silent auction this year called the Game of Chance. Participants will be able to pick their fate with what kinds of gifts they like instead of writing down how much they want to pay for it.

    10 4 People in Auditorium“This year, instead of individuals wearing blindfolds, we are going to purchase glasses that have different levels of visual impairments; a sponsor will be supporting those,” said Thomas.

    “As you walk around with your glasses, you will be able to see what it is like with different visual impairments. We have to educate people on what blind and visually impaired is not,” said Thomas. “It is my duty to make sure the Fayetteville community knows all about it.”

    Tickets for Out of Sight Night at the Park cost $75. Segra Stadium is located at 460 Hay St. For more information, visit the website at
    www.visionresourcecentercc.org or
    call 910-483-2719.

  • 07 child medicaidNorth Carolina’s recent budget standoff in Raleigh called into question whether the state could afford Medicaid expansion. Republicans offered a Medicaid expansion compromise bill, but Gov. Roy Cooper, D-N.C., and Democrats wanted full expansion of Medicaid to provide health insurance to an estimated 600,000 poor North Carolinians, many of whom are eligible children.

    CNBC reported this month that North Carolina had built one of the country’s strongest business climates over the past two decades, fueled by low business costs, incentives and a young, educated workforce, many of whom have been trained at the strong universities in the state and Research Triangle Park.

    Three years ago, Forbes ranked North Carolina’s economic development No. 1 in the country. No state’s economy is on more solid ground than the tar heel state. The state attracted $2.6 billion in venture capital in 2018, the sixth highest figure in the nation. It is also attracting skilled workers, who are moving to North Carolina in droves. But the tar heel state is no exception to push for Medicaid eligibility expansion, which is growing at a rapid clip nationwide.

    In Ohio, for example, Medicaid rose 35% from $18.9 billion in fiscal year 2013 to $25.7 billion in 2017. Ohio Medicaid spending has grown 88% over the past decade, more than double the rate of growth in total state spending. Medicaid was already the largest category of state spending a decade ago, and currently the program consumes an even greater share of the state budget. In 2017, Medicaid consumed more than 29% of total state spending, up from 20% in 2008.

    In 2008, North Carolina beneficiaries grew to a grand total of 1,407,257 who were covered by Medicaid — or Health Choice, for children who do not qualify for Medicaid. By 2015, that number had increased to 1,911,918. Over the same time period, the state’s population grew at an annual rate of 1.2%, a rate of growth that’s less than Medicaid eligibility is growing. Matt Salo, head of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, said about one-third of all kids in the country are covered by Medicaid as are more than half of all births.

    Forty-one percent of North Carolina’s kids are covered under Medicaid or Health Choice, which is higher than the national average. Salo said the good news is that kids are less expensive to cover. Analysts like Steve Owen, senior fiscal analyst for the North Carolina General Assembly, have told state legislators several times over the past year that part of North Carolina’s success at holding down Medicaid costs is due in large part to the increase in the number of children enrolled, because their coverage is cheaper than adults and families.

    Thirty-six states and Washington, D.C., have opted to expand Medicaid over the years. North Carolina is one of the 14 states that have not expanded coverage. Medicaid spending is the largest budget category and has grown at a faster rate than all other areas of state spending including education, public safety, and infrastructure. “By restraining spending growth to an average of 3.5% over the two-year budget, North Carolinians get to keep more of their money,” wrote Becki Gray, senior vice president at the conservative John Locke Foundation.

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    Charis Duke has been composing since she was about eight. In her family that was no big deal, her three siblings grew up writing music a07-22-09cover.jpg s well. “In my family, growing up, it was normal for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day to give my parents songs that we had written or something like that,” said Duke. “I thought composing was normal, that everybody did it.” Duke’s early start in the musical arena has turned out to be a great boon for the folks of greater Fayetteville. She has brought her experience and talent to the children of Snyder Music Academy’s summer camp, and they, in turn, are sharing it with the rest of us. She’s written a children’s opera, and while the performers are kids, the show is sure to dazzle young and old alike. August 7-9, at the Sol Rose Amphitheatre at Campbellton Landing, Snyder Music Academy presents the east coast premier of Tom Sawyer. “This is a legitimate opera production. It is an hour and a half long — and it is for everybody. It is going to be quite entertaining,” said Duke. If you are thinking of Pavarotti type performances though, stop right there. This piece was written with young voices in mind and is more about learning and the musical experience, having a good time and putting on a fun show than it is about hitting and holding high notes. “While we do try to use the classical opera form, the music is eclectic in style and I borrow from the time period and location of the story so Tom Sawyer has a lot of what I would consider Mississippi fi ddle type music. I used the blues and boogie woogie and a little jazz because that is all from America’s background and also just so that the kids get a nice spectrum. I tried to just incorporate all kinds of styles so that they can learn as much as possible — and it makes it more fun of course,” Duke said. Joy Cogswell, Snyder Music Academy director, is delighted to share Duke’s talent with the community and is happy about the success of the camp so far. “I’m excited about it. We’ve got some really talented kids and they all seem to be really excited,” said Cogswell. “This is something adults can enjoy even if they don’t have kids to bring. It will be light and refreshing.” In addition to the performances, the audience can get into the spirit of the evening and take a riverboat ride before the fun begins. From 5-7 p.m., Freddie Mims of Cape Fear River Boats will be offering rides for $5 a person. There are food and beverages at the amphitheatre and at Locks Creek{mosimage} Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, as well. “Folks can come and have a meal, take a riverboat ride and catch the show,” said Cogswell. “They can just make a night of it.” And what better way to spend a summer evening than enjoying a delicious meal, a relaxing ride on the river and an outstanding performance under the stars in the fresh air? The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.snydermbc. com or www.campbelltonlanding.com.
  • 07-06-11-extreme-home-makeover-lolog.jpgExtreme Makeover: Home Edition, the Emmy-award winning hit reality show on ABC, is coming to Fayetteville, N.C. to surprise one very deserving family and they have chosen Blue Ridge Log Cabins to lead the charge in building a new home. The identity of the family receiving a complete home rebuild from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will be revealed on Thursday, July 14 during Extreme’s, “Good Morning!” wake up call.

    The Fayetteville Dogwood Festival is proud to be one of the hosts of a very special project to benefit the deserving recipients. Blue Ridge Log Cabins, R. A. Jeffrey’s — a Bud Light distributor and the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival, together will produce Heroes, Hearts and Hardhats Music Festival on Sunday July, 17th in Festival Park. All of the proceeds from this all day event will be donated to the family build fund.

    The festival includes food vendors, face painting stations, inflatable waterslides, cold Bud Light — and of course free entertainment! Donations will be accepted throughout the day, and proceeds from the food vendors, waterslides, soda, water and beer sales will be presented to the family.

    The USO of North Carolina will also be on hand with their bus and N.C. Mobile unit collecting non perishable food and travel-sized personal hygiene items.

    The day’s activities begin at noon and run through 9 p.m. Entertainment will include a lineup of performers like Da Throw Back Band, a festive 70’s style show band, Jamie Tate, a North Carolina native with fun tunes like “I’m One Beer Away From Loving You”, and of course a few other surprises. The event headliner will be country artist Josh Thompson.

    Josh Thompson is a songwriter and performer from Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Thompson’s blue collar lifestyle can be found in many of the songs he has written, which includes the title track of Jason Michael Carroll’s current album Growing Up is Getting Old. Following his Top 20 Debut “Beer On The Table” his second single and album’s title track “Way Out Here” is already in the Top 40.

    We invite you to join us at the Heroes, Hearts and Hardhats Music Festival presented by Bud Light to make a difference in the lives of the deserving recipients.

    For more information about the festival, please contact Carrie King with the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival at 910- 323-1934 or cking@faydogwoodfestival.comFor more information regarding sponsorship opportunities and construction needs, please contact Blue Ridge Log Cabins athttp://www.joinextreme.com/northcarolinadonate/constructionmaterials.

    To make a direct donation to the family build fund please visit http://www.joinextreme.com/northcarolina/builderfamilyfund.

    Or if you have a product or service that you would like to donate please email Blue Ridge Homes at extreme@blueridgelogcabins.com and tell us about it.

    Photo: The Fayetteville Dogwood Festival is proud to be one of the hosts of a very special event in support of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and their project, which will benefi t a local family.

  • 07-17-13-4th-friday.gifAs the workday comes to an end and the weekend begins, downtown Fayetteville erupts with life. The evening of July 26, the streets will overflow with music, art and opportunities for fun at this month’s 4th Friday. This is a family-friendly event, and there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

    For the art lovers, there are several different must-see galleries in Fayetteville. Showcasing the close relationship that the community has with the environment, the Arts Council is hosting the exhibit Transformation: Artful Recycling. This exhibit is invitational and highlights creativity, awareness of the environment and the talent of our local artists. The Arts Council Gallery is located at 301 Hay St. and is open from 7 to 9 p.m.

    Cape Fear Studios will also be open late to bring art to the community. Cape Fear Studios is full of art from local artists who create in many different mediums. From paintings to pottery, to glasswork the art is incredible and varied. All artists are juried in, is open from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be art for people to view and artists there for the community to meet. The gallery is located at 148 Maxwell St.

    For the kids, Fascinate-U is the place to explore. This museum is completely dedicated to children, and on 4th Friday it will not only be open late, it will offer a free fun craft for kids to create. This month the craft is a candle ornament. Kids will use felt, popsicle sticks and glue to make an ornament for the Christmas tree, the mantle or a gift. Fascinate-U is open from 7 to 9 p.m. and is located at 116 Green St. Admission and the craft are totally free.

    Besides being at the center of downtown and a historical building, the Market House also acts as a museum. There is a permanent exhibit in the museum that is titled A View From the Square: A History of Downtown Fayetteville. Additionally, each month there is a different exhibit that pertains to local history presented in the Market House. This month the exhibit is Fayetteville’s Early Fraternal History. The Market House is open from 6 to 10 p.m. The Market House is located in the Center of Downtown on Hay Street.

    The Headquarters Library is also taking part in the excitement. Beginning at 7 p.m., the library is inviting all local teen performers to come and perform for the community. All talented teens are welcome. Anything from singing to dancing, to stand-up comedy is welcome, and all are welcome to watch. The only requirement for performers is that they do not use inappropriate language. The open mic night will take place in the Pate Room at the Headquarters Library located at 300 Maiden Lane. The performances will begin at 7 p.m. and last until 8:45 p.m.

  • 07-16-14-soldier-show.gifWhen people think of the talents and skills of soldiers, singing and dancing is not usually high on the list. The annual U.S. Army Soldier Show proves otherwise, however. In the Army there are many incredible and talented people and after an intense audition, a few are selected to rehearse and perform in the show. This year, the show will is called Stand Strong and will be held at the Crown Coliseum on July 19 and 20.

    The overall purpose of providing these shows is to “support combat readiness and effectiveness.” Entertainment at home and abroad is an important function in the military to encourage general well being — and in turn —the ability of soldiers to most efficiently complete the tasks at hand. Entertainment for the troops while they are abroad provides a relief from stress and a much needed mental break from the stresses of the mission. This provides a mental refreshing and facilitates increased focus and effectiveness. At home, the free entertainment opportunities offered make everyday life better — and when a soldier’s family is happy it is easier for the service member to focus on the mission.

    The motto for this event is “Entertainment for the soldier, by the soldier.” Each performer is a soldier from the Army and Army National Guard from around the nation. Each performer has gone through an intense audition process in order to be part of the show, including a full fitness testing. In order to participate in the months of training and then touring, they not only have to be supremely talented but they must also exemplify the seven Army Values, which are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Even the stage crew is recruited from talented soldiers. This makes the show entirely self-contained. The soldiers set up, perform and break down the show.

    The theme is focused on what gives the soldiers such incredible strength and character. Each performer individually embodies the strengths of a good soldier by upholding the core Army values, and the show they are performing both explores and honors the strengths of the Army.

    The U.S. Army Soldier Show : Standing Strong is on stage at the Crown Theatre. The theatre is located at 190 Coliseum Dr. On July 19, the show will begin at 7 p.m. On July 20, the show will begin at 2 p.m. The performances are free of charge and no tickets are required for entry. Seating is on a first come, first served-basis and doors open one hour before the show is scheduled to begin.

    For more information visit http://crowncomplexnc.com/calendar-of-events/ or http://www.armymwr.com/soldier-show.aspx.

    Photo: Soldiers from across the U.S. Army go through a grueling audition process to earn a spot in the U.S. Army Soldier Show. The show is coming to the Crown on July 19.

  •     {mosimage}When you think about the Fourth of July, you think parades, picnics, patriotic music, flags and fireworks. And while you might find some of those elements at other community Fourth of July events, nobody does it better than Fort Bragg.
        If Fort Bragg is the place the phone rings when the nation dials 911, then it’s only right that it be the center of the celebration of our national freedom — especially this year as Fort Bragg sponsors Operation Celebrate Freedom VI: A Welcome Home Ceremony.
        “We always celebrate the Fourth of July every year here on Fort Bragg, but this year, we are blessed to have most of our soldiers home, although there are a number still deployed,” said Heather Staffel, special events coordinator. “That’s going to make it a little more special.”
        With that in mind, the installation is pulling out all of the stops to make this year’s event one not to be easily forgotten. The event will kick off at 3 p.m. at the Main Post Parade Field. While the field normally plays host to much more austere ceremonies, on the Fourth of July it becomes one of the biggest backyard barbecues in the nation, with everything from games and rides to food and music.
        The mini-carnival will feature children’s rides only. A $5 bracelet covers the cost of all the rides. Of course,  you may want to ride the rides before you settle down to eat, but when you do decide to check out the food vendors, be prepared. Vendors will offer everything from barbecue to brats to pizza and ice cream. There will be 16 food vendors. If none of that tempts your tummy, you’re always welcome to bring along your own picnic basket.
        Fort Bragg’s festivities have long been associated with great music, and this year is no exception. At 3:30 p.m., Dakota Rain, one of Fayetteville’s favorite country music bands, will start the party. The band, which has been together for more than seven years, is something of a staple at the Fort Bragg festivities, having opened for national acts for a number of years. Dakota Rain highlights its performances with a mix of cover country tunes, southern rock and its own original music. Woman Behind the Man, a tribute to military wives, received considerable air play locally and in other areas throughout North and South Carolina.
        The band will be followed by Rockie Lynne, a former Fort Bragg soldier turned musician. Lynne, a North Carolina native, signed his first record deal in 2005, and has since charted four times on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. His first hit came with the song “Lipstick,” which peaked at number 29. He currently has two singles out — “I Can’t Believe It’s Me” and “Holding Back the Ocean.”
        It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July on Fort Bragg unless someone jumped out of a plane, and at 5:45 p.m., you can catch the world-famous Golden Knights free fall parachute demonstration. The Knights are among the most elite skydivers in the world, competing around the world annually. The aerial acrobatics and precision landings are a great way to warm the crowd up for another elite performer — the incomparable Wynonna.
        There are only a select few celebrities who have the panache to be known only by their first name — Wynonna definitely makes the cut. The auburn-haired beauty has a powerhouse voice that was made for country music. She gained fame in the ‘80s as a member of one of country’s most popular duos — the Judds. Their story is well known. Wynonna, along with her mother, Naomi, had a meteoric rise to the top, recording more than 10 studio albums and charting 14 number one songs. The duo appeared unstoppable until 1991 when Naomi was forced into retirement due to health issues. {mosimage}
        Many speculated how well Wynonna would do on her own, but she didn’t let her fans down. Launching her solo career, she has sold more than 10 million records, won the Top Female Vocalist award from the Academy of Country Music, and recorded 13 top 10 hits. She has been called innovative, inspired and imaginative, and has proven to be something of a rebel. The tabloids have followed the songstress closely, taking note of her successes, and thrilling when she falls down. But the singer, who has likened herself to a female Elvis, takes it all in stride, and continues to produce great country music. She is currently touring in support of her new release What The World Needs Now Is Love. Wynonna has a special place for the military in her heart, having performed a number of times for the military and their families, including shows at the Pentagon and most recently at Alaska’s Operation Gratitude, a concert for the U.S. military. That show was simulcast to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, who were able to interact with her via video conferencing. Once you’ve had your taste of country, prepare for a big bite of mom, apple pie and country, as the event turns to the patriotic side. The Flag Ceremony, long a Fort Bragg tradition, pays tribute to the men and women who serve by honoring the flags of every state. If you’ve never seen this ceremony, be prepared for goose bumps.
        At 8:30 p.m., the 82nd Airborne Division’s All American Band will perform the “1812 Overture,” which will flow into the Concert in the Sky fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. This is one show you are not going to want to miss.
        Admission to the event is free and open to the entire community. If you do not have a Fort Bragg sticker on your vehicle, you will need to enter through one of the authorized gates for non-registered vehicles. Expect a delay of at least 30 minutes to access post, so plan your trip accordingly, but leave your pets, grills and glass bottles at home.
  • 09 CFRT Untitled design 1Local theaters in Fayetteville are back and ready to entertain the public with their upcoming season schedules full of new and exciting performances. With a mix of comedy, drama, mystery and musicals — there is something for everyone.

    Cape Fear Regional Theatre
    Cape Fear Regional Theatre will kick off their 60th season with six shows, starting with one of the world’s most successful rock ‘n’ roll musicals – “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” from Oct. 14 until Nov. 7.

    Set in the 1950’s, the show tells the story of a young man from Texas with big glasses and big dreams catapulting to the top of the rock ‘n’ roll charts. The show will feature Holly’s popular songs like “Peggy Sue,” and “That’ll Be The Day,” along with “La Bamba,” and celebrate the man whose music and values were ahead of his time. It will be directed by Suzanne Agins, who also directed CFRT’s productions of “Dreamgirls,” “Memphis” and “Mamma Mia.”

    “We’re super excited about that, it was a part of a previously planned season but we didn’t get to do it until now,” said CFRT Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke.

    Next on their list is the 30th anniversary production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” BCPE follows a group struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant while faced with casting the Herdman kids who are probably the most inventively awful kids in history. For local theater-goers, this is a traditional holiday fix. CFRT’s Education Director, Marc de la Concha, will direct the show which runs Dec. 3-19.

    The third show in the season will be “The Wizard of Oz,” a must-see for fans of the book, movie or original musical. Audiences will go on the journey with the classic characters of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy, and her little dog as well.

    The show will be directed by Tiffany Green, who previously directed “Shrek: The Musical.”

    “Next, a smaller play that’s unfamiliar to a lot of people but is fantastic called ‘Welcome to Arroyo’s,’” said Burke. “It’s like a hip-hop coming of age story that takes place in New York.” Audiences can look forward to DJs/narrators spinning the story in a comic heartfelt piece.

    “Welcome to Arroyo’s” is written by Kristoffer Diaz and runs March 10-27, 2022. The production will be performed with audience seating on stage.

    The fifth show in the line-up is “Clue: On Stage” directed by Burke herself, based on the best-selling board game and movie adaption. Audiences will join Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, and other colorful guests for this hilarious murder mystery. This show will also be performed with audience seating on stage.

    CFRT will end their season with “The Color Purple,” directed by Brian Harlan Brooks. The show is based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The musical follows a woman named Celie, her heartbreak and despair, until her friend Shug helps her realize her own self-worth. Celie uses her flair for fashion to build a better future. The show features jazz, gospel, blues and African music.

    The musical, like the book and the film adaptation, is a story of resilience and a testament to the healing power of love. The show is being produced with support from The Junior League of Fayetteville and the National Endowment for the Arts.

    “Other than our Christmas show that happens every year, the rest of the shows depend on what’s happening in the world, what we think the community would love,” Burke said. “Sometimes we cast them based on conversations with the creative team that have done the show before.”

    For more information on shows or to purchase individual or season tickets, visit https://www.cfrt.org

    Gilbert Theater
    The first show of Gilbert’s season will be “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: The Musical,” which runs Oct. 1-17. The story follows two con men, a beautiful woman and the elite of the French Riviera who will collide in a sexy and irreverent farce.

    “It's about con men and money and the upper crust of society and trying to swindle them out of money,” said Gilbert Theater Artistic Director Lawrence Carlisle.

    Next, “The Carols,” a returning crowd favorite. The Christmas themed musical will play weekends Nov. 26 to Dec. 5 and Dec. 17-19. The show features the Carol sisters struggling to put up their annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” but there is a shortage of men due to WWII.

    “We’re excited to be doing this again, it’s a really good show, it’s funny and not enough people got to see it due to COVID,” Carlisle mentioned.

    The third show of the season will be “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” a dark comedy and thought-provoking work by Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis. The play follows Judas in purgatory where he is on trial. This show will run Jan. 28 through Feb. 13, 2022.

    Carlisle said he hopes “Judas Iscariot” will be the show everyone talks about because it’s weird and reflects how the intent of theater is to entertain people.

    Following that, the season will present “Othello,” adapted and directed by Montgomery Sutton. The show will run March 25 through April 10, 2022, and will tell the story of a powerful general of the Venetian army, Othello, whose life and marriage
    are ruined by a conniving, deceitful and envious soldier, Iago.

    Gilbert is currently the recipient of the Lilly Endowment Challenge, a grant that will match all donations up to $50,000 for the theater. Donors can contribute to the Gilbert Theater Endowment by visiting https://cumberlandcf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1389.

    For more information on season tickets and shows, visit https://www.gilberttheater.com.

    Sweet Tea Shakespeare
    “As of spring 2022, we will have been in Fayetteville for 10 years and so with the upcoming season we are looking forward to our 10-year anniversary,” said Jeremy Fiebig, Artistic Director for Sweet Tea Shakespeare.

    Their upcoming season starts in August and the first show will be “HamLIT” directed by Traycie Kuhn-Zapata. It will showcase how the prince of Denmark goes off his rocker on the rocks in this “bLITzed” take on Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy, “Hamlet.” “HamLIT” will play Aug. 13 and 27 at Hugger Mugger in Sanford; Aug. 14 and 28 at The Church at Paddy’s in Fayetteville; and Aug. 20 and 21 at the Arts Council in Fayetteville.

    Next in the season will be “Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare,” directed by Fiebig, which will run Aug. 19 through Sept. 5. The late Shakespearean romance brings family, fairytale and forgiveness to the stage. The tale follows King Leontes as he wrongfully accuses his wife of adultery and unleashes a storm of tragedy upon the kingdom of Sicilia.

    “The Winter’s Tale” will be staged and performed in Raleigh, and made available in Fayetteville via streaming later in the season.

    “We do a series of Shakespeare plays... we do at bars and craft breweries called LIT,” Fiebig said. “The biggest news for us other than the anniversary is we are expanding to Raleigh as well and we’ll be streaming it so folks from Fayetteville who can’t make the drive can view it as well.”

    “McLIT” will begin in October. Imagine if the writer, director and actors of “Macbeth” get lost at a frat party on their way to the show. It will be full of Shakespeare, drinking games, improv and lively music. This show is for adults only ages 18 and up. “McLit” plays Oct. 1 and 22 at Hugger Mugger in Sanford; Oct. 16 and 22 at The Church at Paddy’s in Fayetteville. Other shows will be added through April, 2022.

    The classic love story “Romeo and Juliet” will be on the stage in Raleigh from Oct. 21 to Nov. 7, followed by Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s annual Christmas show, “Behold” that will play Dec. 2 through Dec. 11 that returns to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Fayetteville.

    “Richard II” and “Henry IV, Part 1” which will be performed in rep by a single company of actors, constitutes the first half of Shakespeare’s history tetralogy — an epic tale of fathers and sons, loyalty and leadership, politics and power. It is the story of ordinary people weathering the winds of change in a fledgling nation. And it is a visceral reminder that history isn’t past; it’s not even history at all. The plays will run on alternating days in Raleigh from Jan. 13 to Jan. 30, 2022.

    April brings Jane Austen’s “Emma” adapted by Assistant Artistic Director Claire F. Martin who gives Austen’s rom-com a dazzling update. The show
    will run at multiple locations from April 21 to May 15, 2022.

    Tickets for Sweet Tea Shakespeare performances are $20 general admission and $25 at the door, with discounts for seniors, military and students. Guests can also become a Monthly Sustainer of Sweet Tea Shakespeare for special advance ticket rates and other benefits.

    For more information and show schedules, tickets and performance locations, visit https://sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets/.

    Fayetteville Dinner Theatre
    The Fayetteville Dinner Theatre returned to Gates Four Golf & Country Club with two successful shows this year. They opened in April with two sold-out performances of the musical comedy “A Sinister Cabaret: Love Letter/Sleight of Hand,” written and directed by Dr. Gail Morfesis and produced by Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper.

    The second musical show “Beyond Broadway: Music of Our Time,” was produced and directed by Bill Bowman, the publisher of Up & Coming Weekly, and featured local performers Tim Zimmerman and Linda Flynn.

    “We have an excellent feel of the type of dinner theatre entertainment the community wants,” said Bowman. “Gates Four is the perfect venue, and General Manager Kevin Lavertu has been very instrumental in assisting us in creating a theatrical venue that complements the other great live theater offerings we enjoy here in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.”

    Bowman said the intent is for Gates Four to provide local patrons an entertainment experience that is different and uniquely special to Gates Four.

    “It is an experience that would WOW the audiences and give the Gates Four theatre experience a unique brand,” Bowman said.

    FDT accomplishes this by abandoning the traditional buffet-style dinner and show concept for a more fun, yet elegant theater experience. The evening begins with the directors welcome reception and wine tasting featuring a wide selection of local wines and trays of hors d'oeuvres. The dining room welcomes guests with draped tables, cloth napkins, candlelight, a three-course plated dinner with dual entrees, and an elegant dessert buffet at the intermission. There is pre-show entertainment during the dinner hour, and once the show is underway, there are prizes and surprises.

    “The Fayetteville Dinner Theatre’s mission is to bring quality shows to local area theater-goers and provide local actors a venue to showcase their talents,” Bowman said.

    Gates Four and the FDT donate the money raised from the wine tasting to local children's literacy and education organizations or other community nonprofit organizations like the Care Clinic.

    While there are no shows scheduled for the rest of this calendar year, FDT does plan four shows in 2022.

    In the works is “Miss Congeniality,” a musical comedy written by Bowman and being produced and directed in collaboration with Dr. Gail Morfesis.

    Another planned show is “Mark Twain Himself” staring Richard Garey. This show was scheduled in May of 2020, but was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Garey is a student of history and has performed all over the world, entertaining audiences with the genuine wit and wisdom of Mark Twain.

    For the latest FDT schedule, visit www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com/.

    11 love letter ladies

    10 JH 09125 12 Midsoummer and Much Ado







    Photos courtesy Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Gilbert Theater, Sweet Tea Shakespeare and Fayetteville Dinner Theatrewith special thanks to Jonathan Hornby Productions and Tony Wooten.

  • 10 Wading In the Water Alvin AileyThe possibilities of painting and mixed media is the underlying theme of the new exhibit opening at the Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County during 4th Friday on July 23.
    Revelation: 50 Years of Painting: Works by Dwight Smith is the Art Council’s first 50-year retrospect exhibition by a living artist, working in an abstract style.

    The public is invited to attend the opening or visit the Arts Council during the last week in July and through September 11.

    Visitors to the gallery will have the chance to see the progression of Smith’s work and experience the joyfulness he brings to an abstract style of painting and working in mixed media.

    To see Smith’s work is to become more familiar with a different way of looking at the possibilities of image making. Visitors will hopefully leave the gallery having greater insight in “how” the work of Smith conveys meaning in his style and ways he works with materials.

    To understand the “how” everyone visiting the exhibit should allow themselves to experience the art “as it is.” If you are an individual who prefers figurative or narrative works of art, take the time to see or try to see what the artist has been exploring for the last 50 years to express meaning in his work.

    Not required to enjoy Smith’s work, but understanding he comes from the tenets of the modernist school of abstract expressionism, is a doorway you should enter and immerse yourself in the style of abstraction.
    Smith has been always driven by the early abstract expressionist’s principles in painting: the sensation of immediacy, a painting is not a picture, but an object that has the same capabilities as sculpture to occupy space, possess thickness, density, and weight.

    In lieu of descriptive subject matter in a painting to evoke meaning, Smith focuses on form to conjure meaning. Although he started off predominantly in watercolors, he later moved to oil and acrylic.

    In the latter mediums, he does not use layers of transparent colors to create the immaterial; instead, the opacity of the ever-present paint surface, or the collage surface, leads us to materiality — the physicality of the work.

    The opacity of Smith’s color palette is not an elusive approach to painting; it invites us to know the physical sensation of touch. Combined with texture, we can begin to understand his painting is not about arrested or metaphorical touch, but the immediacy of touch.

    Being open to abstraction as a style, visitors will be able to study and experience how this artist embeds meaning in materials. For Smith, the sources of his lifetime pursuit in painting are combining iconic symbols with the exploration of surface quality and the power of abstraction to communicate an idea or a feeling, and collage as a significant 20th century method.

    This search stayed with him after his graduation from Wayne State with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting in 1976, during his return to Wayne State to earn a Master of Art in Painting in 1992, and the highest studio degree, a Master of Fine Art in

    Painting at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2012.

    Knowing the artist’s statement, we can follow the timeline of his pursuit of “integrating opposites into a state of harmony and balance. Each work is a commitment to intimate concerns about painting and the language of abstraction. Research and investigations into contemporary painting involve mixed media painting and drawings that are influenced by material surfaces, textures and scale.”

    Seeing the timeline of the paintings in the exhibit, it is easy to identify when the use of symbols emerged and the significance of the symbol. Smith’s artists statement explains the purpose of symbolism in his work: “Elements of design referenced in African, African American, or multi-cultural imagery create a catalyst to begin a visual language that informs the work. Through the work, I am responding to the tension generated by a resounding past and an insistent present.”

    The artist’s commitment to the abstract form and the use of specific symbols guides us to understanding personal meaning in his most recent work. Smith explains: “The works celebrate life, family histories and tributes to artists. I express certain social realities concerning the world while exploring aesthetic qualities of being black in America and addressing the literal symbology of contemporary blackness within the legacy of Abstract Expressionism, creating a pliable structure for intuition, improvisation, and chance.”

    Building on 20th century modernism, contemporary art is even more varied and complex. Personal expression can include beauty, but most often works can be highly political, globalization has influenced styles, the digital age continues to impact everyone, and themes of identity and social unrest is prevalent. Yet, Smith has remained focused on the formal problems of painting and the expressive power of material.

    His style is a way to express his personal narrative about states of being — specifically his experiences of being an African American male in America. Even though growing up Black in America continues to have serious challenges and obstacles in American culture, we leave Revelation: 50 Years of Painting understanding how joyfulness, spirituality, love of music, love of dance, and love of life are the core of Dwight Smith’s beingness: and it is this feeling, or state of being, which is communicated throughout his work.

    It is important to understand why an artist has the impulse to create, but it is also important to know what choices an artist’s makes that encourage or support their efforts to remain an artist.

    For Smith, a key influence was an African American art organization which was established in the 1950s, the National Conference of Artists, Michigan Chapter.

    While galleries and the “artworld” were not promoting African American artists up until the 1990s, the NCA was an important meeting place for artists to work together, encourage each other, have exhibits, travel to other countries, and network.

    As a very young and emerging artist, Smith was able to interface with a network of seasoned African American artists, many historically important in American Art. Mentored by John A. Lockart, knowing David Driskell, Howandena Pindell, Romare Bearden, Shirley Woodson and Al Loving had the greatest influence on his personal development of style.

    After retiring from a career as the advertising and display coordinator for the Automobile Club of Michigan in 2007 (and remaining an exhibiting artist), Smith, and his immediate family (partner Calvin Mims and Shirley Mims) moved to Fayetteville.

    Besides being an artist, the move to North Carolina began a new chapter in his life when he became an educator. Currently Smith is a tenured Associate Professor of Art at Fayetteville State University in the Department of Performing and Fine Art.

    While teaching at Fayetteville State University with a master’s degree, another important influence on Smith was when he decided to go back to graduate school to earn a Master of Fine Art at the Art Institute of Boston.

    He stated, “Everyone needs something or someone to solidify the legitimacy of your work during different phases. While earning my MFA the comments from the visiting artists helped to do that. As well, it was a period when I could revisit and analyze my work up to that point.”

    Smith’s accomplishments as an artist are way too extensive to start listing in this editorial. It suffices to say he is an artist who continues to show regionally, nationally and internationally, his works continues to be purchased by collectors, his paintings are in many private and public collections, including museums, and he has received many national honors and awards.

    Dwight Smith (and his partner Calvin Mims) have had a significant impact on the arts in Fayetteville by owning and operating Ellington White Contemporary Gallery on Gillespie Street.

    In addition, Smith has significantly contributed to the cultural landscape of Fayetteville and nationally by exhibiting, his continued participation in NCA, scholarly presentations, curating significant exhibits, and his community/professional service.

    Revelation: 50 Years of Painting at the Art Council is well worth the time to visit. But it is not an exhibit to rush through. One will have to spend quiet time with the work to see how a consummate artist gives evidence to a well-known statement:

    By knowing your craft, you spend less time in thinking about the process and can focus on the “why” of painting.”

    The exhibition opens during 4th Friday on July 23. The public is invited to the free event, and the exhibition will remain up until September 11.

    For information on the exhibition call the Arts Council at 910-323-1776 or visit www.theartscouncil.com/.

    The Arts Council is located at 301 Hay St. in Fayetteville. Hours of operation are Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. until noon.

    Pictured above: "Wading in the Water Alvin Ailey" by Dwight Smith

    Pictured Below:

    (Left) "Homage to Al Loving" by Dwight Smith

    (Middle) "A Conversation with Norman Lewis" by Dwight Smith

    (Right) "Girl in the Yellow Raincoat" by Dwight Smith

    11 11

    12 5 13 Girl in the Yellow Raincoat



  • 09 The Struggle by Angela StoutBecoming a professional artist can be a personal goal early in life, or it can be the result of a series of unexpected events and influences. Due to the latter reason, I thought it was particularly important to write an editorial about the artist Angela Stout; but also, to write about her notable exhibition titled Evoke at the Cape Fear Studios in Fayetteville.

    First and foremost, Angela Stout is an extraordinary artist who is able to successfully cross disciplines and be exceptional in whatever medium she undertakes. Anyone who visits the Cape Fear Studios, to see her recent body of work, will be pleasantly surprised at the artists’ approach and method to painting, sculpting the figure, and printmaking.

    The challenge for any artist who focuses on the portrait is how the subject, an important genre in the history of art, fits into the rage and complexity of contemporary art styles. For Stout, the subject is just the starting point to reveal more than a likeness, but an essence that transcends the individual, an ascension to a state of being that is our humanity. For this artist, it is our humanity that connects us -not gender, sex or race.

    Visitors to Evoke will see a body of work which reflects this artist’s vision about the place of portraiture in contemporary art. For Stout, portraiture is not just about a likeness, but her intent is to evoke emotion and transcend the focus from the individual to the many. What she may not realize is that she creates a context that is inclusive and illusive at the same time; we sense the precipice, we sense the humanity in the room – and it is everyone.

    All the paintings in the exhibit are 30” x 40” on stretched canvas, the scale of the figure, larger than life-size, invites our attention. On close inspection you can see the marks of color from Stout’s paint brush being dragged across the surface or the blending of layers of color - she moves seamlessly between opacity and translucency as needed. The painting titled “O” is an example of her exactitude and pursuit to move past the individual to a human condition, using only the warm and cool colors of indigo, phthalo blue, and a hint of magenta.

    As in all her paintings, Stout has a clear understanding of the potential of color and its complexity to create meaning on different levels - all at the same time. For example, she is keenly aware of the characteristics of color and ways to exploit its complexity: the symbolism of a color, the temperature and weight of color, tone, tint, shade, and saturation are all possible means for Stout to create a feeling, an emotion, a moment, or even a state of beingness.

    Visitors to the Cape Fear Studio will see how Stout moves easily between mediums. Not only are their nine new paintings, but she is also exhibiting 4 portrait heads in clay, and over eighteen monoprints. What becomes relevant is why and how she moves effortlessly between mediums. In order to get to the significance of an artist successfully working in different mediums, I need to go back to the beginning of the article: “becoming a professional artist can be the result
    of a series of unexpected events and

    Stout, raised in Ohio, the city of Warren, has drawn since she was three years old. At the age of 16, she asked her mother for a Bob Ross kit as a Christmas gift, and her mother surprised her with the Master Bob Ross kit (complete with supplies and a video). In high school she focused on playing drums instead of art lessons and was told upon graduation that she was not prepared or good enough, as an
    artist, to apply to art school.

    Those negative words and lack of encouragement from a teacher changed the direction of her life for the next twenty years. After serving in the military, married with three children, almost completing a degree in radiology before she became ill, now married again with 2 additional children (for a total of 5): Stout was out of the army and painting portraits as a self-taught artist in Broadway, North Carolina. With encouragement from family and friends, she enrolled in and completed a two-year Associate of Arts degree from Fayetteville Technical Community College, which included four art classes.
    Stout had the experiences of painting murals for dayrooms when she was in the military, but it was the beginning painting and drawing classes at FTCC where she received her first formal instruction in the mechanics of drawing and painting. Katey Morrill, her painting instructor, identified her preferences in painting and introduced her to significant artists for her to study, those artists who focused on using light to create dramatic effects. Equally important, Stout was encouraged by the art faculty to become a professional artist and continue into a 4-year art program.

    Confident in her achievements at FTCC, Stout entered Fayetteville State University in the Department of Performing and Fine art and was affectionately told “you have a lot of talent” and “you have a long way to go.” Only working in black, white and greys, her solid education from FTCC was the beginning of her personal journey in the arts.
    Stout worked with five different instructors at FSU, each bringing their own influence. After taking fifteen hours in art history and art criticism, painting classes, printmaking classes, and various sculpture classes she graduated from FSU with a 4.0 average. Because of Stout’s ambition to know as much as she could and her work ethics, she worked tirelessly at the challenges each course would demand but was always open to new ways of seeing and working.

    Stout explains it like this: “Painting classes improved my understanding of color theory and composition, printmaking classes challenged the way I viewed the process of painting and image-making, from painting I could create volume in clay modeling, and clay modeling helped me to see spatially and that helped my painting. Art criticism and contemporary art class challenged everything I thought I knew, I was then able to refine the direction of my work, I become open to new possibilities in ways I had never considered before.”

    Stout was not only a student of art who wanted to know all that she could learn in a short period of time, but she was always taking advantage of any situation where she could exhibit her work. She participated in local and national exhibitions, put her artworks in coffee house and any place that would showcase her works.

    By the time she graduated from FSU in 2019, and soon after, she had created and was facilitating a Facebook page called “acrylicpaintingforeveryone” (link at the end of the article) which has 106,000 vetted members. A website created as a positive social media platform to encourage anyone who paints, includes an exchange of ideas, videos, tips, and critiques.

    Stout has been in many exhibitions, local and regional. Due to her social media persistence, a curator contacted her to exhibit one of her paintings in an online exhibition in Milan, Italy during COVID. As an advocate of the arts, Stout is a member of the Cape Fear Studios and regularly gives classes to any age interested in painting. She participates in community outreach projects and continues to do portrait commissions.

    Anyone who has visited the exhibit, and those who have plans to see Evoke at the Cape Fear Studios might be interested to know what influenced the direction of her work. Stout was asked how her work has evolved over the last ten years. She began by saying: “In the beginning it was important to learn and practice technique. I was self-taught so I did not understand the philosophy behind art, and the ways in which my work needed to be developing. Studying art and art movements, understanding the evolution of art gave me the courage to evolve in my own way.”

    She continued, “Initially I just wanted to develop technically and portray the subject as accurate as possible. Now I want to convey an emotion. Every aspect of the painting is important to the overall meaning, the subject, color, abstraction, and techniques are used to evoke an emotion.”

    “I never would have thought that courses in printmaking could have had such a dramatic effect on how I see painting, but it did? I am a perfectionist, but in the printmaking studio any number of things can happen, often accidents, that made me understand how process is relevant. I didn’t have the expectations I was going to be a professional printmaker at the time, so I felt I was free to fail and to explore. All good lessons, I moved from mimicry to intent in my work - possibilities in printmaking translated into possibilities in painting.”

    After working six months towards her first-person exhibition, I was interested to know what the experience meant to her after the opening and what her future plans are as a professional, free lance artist. Stout was resolute in her response, “I feel as if my intent for the exhibit was met, and I hope the works communicate the emotional connections to anyone who see the exhibit in the painting, the sculpture or a print. During the process, I had to make choices during the making, I felt a sense of relief that, as a whole, there is a continuity in the body of work.”

    “My plans at this time are to continue to explore image making and intent, continue teaching, network for opportunities to exhibit. It would be nice to have a gallery outside of North Carolina carry my work, and I love being involved in community projects. At this time, I have written a grant for disabled veterans to take my workshop in acrylic painting and healing; and I have a written a grant to be able to work with Gold Star Children. One big goal is to write an extensive grant for underprivileged children to have art lessons and artkits. Afterall, it was a Bob Ross Master Kit, given to me when I was 16 years old, that made a big impact on the direction my life would eventually take in the arts!”

    Visitors to the Cape Fear Studios at 148 Maxwell Street in Fayetteville, North Carolina will be able to see Angela Stouts’ exhibit titled Evoke until July 20th, 2021. The hours of the studios are Tuesday-Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Email the gallery at artgallery@capefearstudios.com or call 910-433-2986.

    To join Angela Stouts Facebook page for “acrylicpaintingforeveryone” the link is www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=acrylicpaintingforeveryone.
    For information in taking classes with Angela Stout, call 910-433-2986 for information on times and cost.

    08 O by Angela Stout

  • 15 JMF Band picWarm weather and sunshine invite us to venture outdoors to enjoy friends, good food, a favorite beverage and great music. With the easing of COVID restrictions, we are seeing the local summer concert scene flourish with opportunities to entertain fans of all kinds of music – from classic rock to jazz. On July 17, local audiences can venture over to the Gates Four Golf & Country Club Pavilion and enjoy a Rockin’ in the 80s party with the Jan Michael Fields Band.

    Fields is a charismatic performer known as one of the top vocalists in the southeast. His stellar voice and ability to work the stage are just as relevant today as in the 80s when he was the frontman for the international touring act, Sidewinder. A consummate professional, Fields’ dedication to his craft earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 for outstanding contributions and support of the North Carolina music industry.

    “I started beating around on pots and pans when I was about 6 years old. That’s where my love for music started,” Fields said. “I started with the drums as my first musical instrument and played in the high school band. Then, I joined the school chorus, because I always loved singing and performing. I remember when MTV played ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ by The Buggles, and it made me want to be in a band even more,” said Fields Band.

    Since he was 18 years old, Fields knew that music was something he wanted to pursue as a career. In 1985, he joined the band Sidewinder, which toured up and down the east coast, as well as parts of the Midwest and Canada. The COVID pandemic put a halt to live performances, but the band is ready to hit the stage and entertain audiences.

    After the Fayetteville show at Gates Four, the band will perform at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh later this year. The Jan Michael Fields Band has been performing hits of the 70s and 80s for 7 years, completing several hundreds of shows across the region.

    “We really enjoy bringing music to people and watching them sing along, smile and unwind. I have a great group of guys behind me that make what I do possible,” said Fields.

    Tickets for Rockin’ in the 80s with the Jan Michael Fiends Band all concert dates are available for purchase online at www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com. Tickets are $60 per person and include the concert, food and lawn seating (bring your chairs).

    Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with food served from 6-7:30 p.m. A complete line of beverages will be available at three convenient full-service cash bars serving Healy Wholesale beer, wine products and mixed drinks. Concierge table service will be provided for VIP tables inside the Pavilion. Fayetteville's own Mash House Brewery will also have a large selection of their custom craft beers available.

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

  • 12 VON DThe Sandhills Jazz Society is back after more than a year on a COVID hiatus. The Come Together City Music Festival will take place July 10 at J.P. Riddle Stadium in Fayetteville featuring some of North Carolina's finest jazz and rhythm and blues artists.

    Scheduled to appear are Reggie Codrington, Von Demetriz, George Freeman, Dez Humphrey and Buddy Mcleod.

    The Sandhills Jazz Society shares a musical vision that encompasses a wide spectrum of jazz, blues, world, creative and improvised music, including evolving forms of jazz and the technologies and media that influence jazz as an art form. The result is an entertaining evening for audiences who enjoy jazz, blues, funk and soul, and everything that falls in between.

    Founded in 2018, the Sandhills Jazz Society is a community-based nonprofit arts education organization in Fayetteville. Members strive to promote interest in jazz music across multiple generations. The goal is to bring awareness to jazz and other music genres and strengthen the arts community by offering performances, collaborations, workshops and other educational opportunities.

    Tickets for the Come Together City Music Festival can be purchased on the website for $25 dollars or $35 on the day of the event. The gates will open at 4 p.m. will performances scheduled to begin
    at 6 p.m.

    This event will happen rain or shine and all ticket sales are final. Outside food and drink are not permitted but there will be several food vendors at the festiv al.

    J.P. Riddle Stadium is located at 2823 Legion Road. For more information about this event and future events visit the website at www.sandhillsjazz.com/ or call 910-987-2426.

    Pictured Above : Von Demetriz

  • Every summer, as the daylight lasts longer, the nights start to come alive. One summer tradition that has flourished and grown in Fayetteville is the Fayetteville After 5concert series. Once a month in Festival Park, the Dogwood Festival organizes and hosts bands to perform for the community for free. This month on July 19, three ‘80s tribute bands will perform. In the Name of Love, a U2 tribute band, High Voltage is dedicated to AC/DC and Mostley Crue, a tribute to Motley Crue, are performing.

    07-10-13-80\'s-rule.gifFor nearly 14 years, Fayetteville After 5 has entertained the Fayetteville community; and in that time it has grown and evolved. Carrie King, the executive director of the Dogwood Festival, says, “We have moved the concerts to Friday and we have had a much larger crowd. We are working on our service so that we can better accommodate everyone. This year we have been overwhelmingly surprised by the attendance and we are planning on blowing out this July concert. Our first tribute band to the Eagles had a great response and we are confident we will get the same kind of attendance for July.”

    Fayetteville After 5 is a unique opportunity for the community. It combines several organizations and offers citizens a night of music and fun. The Dogwood Festival hosts and organizes the concert as a fundraiser and as a summer tradition. King says that these concerts are great for fundraising for the Dogwood Festival and they are great for the community. As compared to the Dogwood Festival, the logistics are easier because the event is only one day. The other organization involved in the concert series is the sponsor R.A. Jeffreys. R.A. Jeffreys is a distributor for Anheuser-Busch and believes in being highly active in the community. The company’s motto is “Making Friends is Our Business.”07-10-13-80\'s-rule-2.gif

    This concert offers more than just rocking ‘80s music. “There will be food vendors, sometimes activities like the corn-hole boards for kids, and a 50/50 raffl e. The earlier you come to the park, the better for the raffl e because Budweiser gives away the best stuff — like T-shirts — at 6 p.m.,” King says.

    This is the perfect event to enjoy classic ‘80s music with the family in a beautiful and inviting environment.

    Festival Park is located along Ray Avenue. The gates open at 5 p.m. The opening acts of the night typically start between 5:30 and 6 p.m. and the headline bands will begin playing between 7 and 7:30 p.m. No outside food or drink is allowed within the park, but there will be opportunities to purchase refreshments within the park. The concert will come to a close at 10:30 p.m. Bring a blanket or chairs to the event. For more information, visit the website www.faydogwoodfestival.com/fayetteville-after-5 or email questions to info@faydogwoodfestival.com.

  • 07-23-14-run-for-the-red.gifThe American Red Cross Highlands Chapter hosts its 8th Annual Run for the Red 10K, 5K and 1-mile Fun Run on Saturday Aug. 2, beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 10 a.m. All race proceeds go directly to the American Red Cross, in efforts to provide much-needed emergency services for our community as well as communities around the world. The Red Cross is the nation’s leading provider of health and safety courses. Each year, more than 9 million Americans participate in its training programs; CPR, First Aid and Lifeguard training.

    There are seven age groups, Cash prizes will be rewarded to the top three male and female runners overall. First, second and third place in each age division will receive a prize. Awards will also be given to the group who has the largest participation.

    The Highlands Chapter encourages anyone to participate in honor of the hero who impacted a life, a family member’s or a friend’s — to honor the thousands of heroes who, trained by the Red Cross, are ready to help. According to the Highlands Chapter website, the Run for the Red supports programs and services to help the community prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

    Phil Harris, the executive director, said, “You’re not just signing up to run, you’re signing up to help your neighbor.” He is expecting about 350 runners as well as 100 volunteers. Every year he has more and more people show their support. Harris also said that many groups come out to volunteer as a team-building event. He encourages anyone and everyone to come out to help. Locally, the money raised will go directly to the organization. In Fayetteville alone, there is one house fire a day and that’s something Harris and his team are passionately trying to help change. Not only with issue of the fire itself, but with the disaster that comes with it. The Highlands chapter will provide food, clothing and shelter with money raised from local events.

    According to the official Red Cross website, the Red Cross responds to approximately 70,000 disasters in the United States every year, in these events the Red Cross provides shelter, food, health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet. The Red Cross helps military members, veterans, and their families prepare for, cope with and respond to the challenges of military service. Their services help an average of 150,000 military families and veterans annually.

    The starting point of the race is at Festival Park in downtown Fayetteville. The trail will lead runners downtown and through the Haymount area. Along the route, there are water stations, and motivation from the crowds. Register online for the Run for the Red, and gain access to online fundraising tools, including your own personal webpage. This online advantage will help participants raise money, gain more team me, build morale and update followers on their success. Registration fees are non-refundable. After registering, pick up yourmbers packet on Aug. 1, between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m or the morning of the event at 5:30 a.m. This event takes place rain or shine. T-shirts are for sale for $8. If you’d like to make a difference but aren’t really a runner, you can always volunteer, and be a part of making this event come to life and be a huge help behind the scenes, just email at RunfortheRedHighlands@redcross.org. For registration fees or other information regarding Run for the Red please call (910) 867-8151 or email to RunfortheRedHighlands@redcross.org.

  • All Good Things Must Come to an End

    This week in The Buzz we are reminded that indeed all good things must come to an end.

    Downhere, a Canadian band with two lead singers, one of whom sounds so much like the late Freddy Mercury that he toured on the Queen reunion tour this summer, has announced that they will end their music ministry in January 2013.

    Here is the official statement from Downhere:

    Hello Friends,

    It is with many memories and deep feelings that we relay to you the decision we have made over the course of the last year. January 1, 2013 will mark the end of our traveling ministry for the foreseeable future.

    It has become very clear to us that this chapter of our journey, initiated by God, is drawing to a close. While we mourn the end of this season we also celebrate over a decade of ministry. It has been hard work and our families have paid a big price. The friends, songs, experiences and lives changed as a result of hearing the truth of God’s love has sustained us through many years and miles.

    For those of you who know us well you know that this is not a band breakup. In08-01-12-buzz.gif fact, we are open to playing a select few shows or events in the future. After many years and miles spent together we have become a band of brothers who love each other dearly. There is not one single variable that has initiated this change; rather it would seem the same sovereign hand that has guided us together for this season is now leading us in different directions. We are grateful for the role everyone has played in our lives. Your encouragement and support over the years has carried us through thick and thin.

    We have always wanted to finish well. We believe that means finishing together, as a band... and that is what we are going to do. We are working on setting up a few wrap-up shows this fall. More information will be forthcoming as things get solidified.

    Jason, Marc, Glenn & Jeremy

    Downhere is ending well with their final project On The Altar of Lovewhich is available now. Find them online at www.downhere.com.

  •     Who hasn’t been unprepared a time or two? It happens to the best of us every now and again. Being caught at the grocery store with no wallet, going to a meeting with no pen, forgotten homework, that one ingredient for the great recipe that never made it into the grocery cart, these things happen. Although it is frustrating, it is not really that big of a deal most of the time. There are times though, when being prepared really does matter — a lot like during a hurricane for instance. {mosimage}
        With hurricane season upon us, now is the time to check your emergency kit, and if you don’t have one, make one. There is no better time to put one together than before it is needed. Even with so much information available through places like the Red Cross, only about 1/3 of the population actually has an emergency kit put together according to Jack Nales, executive director of the American Red Cross, Highlands Chapter.
        “Even following a year where there are landfalls of hurricanes or a large disaster you would think everyone would say ‘Oh this does really happen. I do need to be prepared,’” said Nales. “I’m sure some people think they are not vulnerable and they can ride things out, but I am sure a lot of it is just other things competing for their attention.”
        He said making and maintaining an emergency kit needs to be a priority in order for it to work in a time of need.
        Putting an emergency kit together is pretty straightforward. “It is basically stuff that is normally in the home anyway — we are talking food, clothing, first-aid kit, important documents — its just getting everything organized” said Nales.         And by planning ahead, building an emergency kit doesn’t need to break the bank. It is a matter of picking up a few extra things at the store over a period of time.
        “When you are buying your food, you need to have some things in your pantry that are easy to eat … easy to open. You need to have either a manual can opener or some of those cans with pop tops on them so you can access the food,” said Nales. “Nothing worse than looking at ‘OK, I can live off beanie weenies’ and then realizing ‘Oh no, my electric can opener doesn’t work and I don’t have a manual can opener, and these aren’t the ones with the pop tops on them.’ So it’s just looking at things like that and stocking up on things that you normally have,” he added.
        If the thought of starting a kit from scratch is too overwhelming or time consuming to think about, the American Red Cross has thought of that too. There is an online presenentation at www.redcross.org/beredcrossready on the things to do to make a plan, and the things to do to make an emergency kit. The third section has some CPR information on it too. “So in about 40 minutes or so you can watch all this stuff,” said Nales, “and for a lot of people it is a lot easier to watch it than to read it or research it.” The Web site also has printed materials on what you need to do to be prepared.
        Just in case you don’t make it to the Web site, here is a list of some things from www.ncready.org to consider, in keeping you and your family ready for a disaster.
    •Water — 1 gallon per person per day (a week’s supply of water is preferable); {mosimage}
    •Water purification kit or bleach;
    •First-aid kit and first-aid book;
    •Pre-cooked, non-perishable foods, such as canned meats, granola bars, instant soup & cereals, etc.;
    •Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap, baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices;
    •Non-electric can opener;
    •Anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel;
    •Blanket or sleeping bag per person;
    •Portable radio or portable TV and extra batteries;
    •Flashlight and extra batteries;
    •Essential medications;
    •Extra pair of eyeglasses;
    •Extra house and car keys;
    •Fire extinguisher — ABC-type;
    •Food, water, leash and carrier for pets;
    •Cash and change;
    •Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes;
    •Sanitation supplies;
    •Large plastic trash bags for waste, tarps and rain ponchos;
    •Large trash cans;
    •Bar soap and liquid detergent;
    •Toothpaste and toothbrushes;
    •Feminine hygiene supplies;
    •Toilet paper;
    •Household bleach;
    •Rubber gloves.
        “If you have a plan of what you would do in case of a disaster and have a kit and your supplies ready (whether you have to stay at home or leave and go to a shelter) can make an experience during a disaster the difference between an inconvenient camping trip and feeling like you are an unsuccessful candidate on survivor,” noted Nales.
  • Download Adobe .pdf Printable Ballots Here! 

    email your ballot to:



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  • 07-09-14-swampdogs.gifComing off of a thrilling week, the Fayetteville SwampDogs look to keep the ball rolling with another exciting week of baseball. But of course, at J.P. Riddle Stadium the game is only part of the excitement.

    This week— as always — The Swamp is the place to be for a fun time for all members of the family.

    It all starts on Wednesday, July 9, as the SwampDogs take on the Wilmington Sharks at 7:05 p.m. It’s one of the best nights of the year to come to The Swamp, as the team hosts its Salute to Tom Hanks.

    Come dressed as your favorite character from Tom Hanks films for a fun night filled with your favorite movie quotes as we celebrate the 58th birthday of one of America’s finest actors. As far as fun times at The Swamp go, this night is sure to be in a league of its own.

    Also don’t forget that before every Wednesday home game, it is a Wake-Up Wednesday, presented by Dunkin’ Donuts, with SwampDogs players making appearances at local locations. Remember, America and the SwampDogs run on Dunkin’ Donuts.

    The fun continues on Thursday, July 10, as the SwampDogs host the Petersburg Generals at 7:05 p.m. It is first responder’s night at J.P. Riddle Stadium, so come on out and help us as we acknowledge first-responder personnel like the fire, police and emergency medical service workers and their families.

    During that game, the Dogs will wear special one-of-a-kind pink jerseys that are up for auction during the game.

    Bidding for the jerseys is open online, and begins at $75. All of the proceeds from the auction go toward the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation’s Friends of the Cancer Center. Online bids are accepted until 4 p.m., on July 10, and then will resume at J.P. Riddle Stadium when gates open at 6 p.m. Fans will have until the final out of the game to bid in a silent auction for the jerseys. For more information about the auction, visit www.goswampdogs.com.

    While you’re at The Swamp enjoying the game, head on over to the Miller Lite Liberty Lounge and enjoy $1 beer, burgers and dogs, $2 wine and free popcorn, peanuts and soda while watching the game from some of the best seats in the house.

    Make sure to make your way out to The Swamp this week for all this — plus a few surprises. It is affordable fun for the entire family. There isn’t a better way to spend a summer night then listening to the crack of the bat and sounds of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

    Like the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GoSwampDogs, follow the team’s Twitter and Instagram accounts at @GoSwampDogs, and keep updated on highlights, player interviews and much more at www.youtube.com/GoSwampDogs.

    For tickets to all of these great games, to register your team for the bowling tournament or for more information, call the SwampDogs at 426-5900. You can also check out the team website: www.goswampdogs.com.

  • 16 bookSome North Carolina old-timers still talk about the disastrous 1943 train wreck south of Fayetteville. It killed 74 people, including the father of one of the central characters of beloved author Jill McCorkle’s new novel, “Hieroglyphics.”

    McCorkle, who grew up in nearby Lumberton, says she remembers her dad talking about visiting the site right after the crash and seeing all the scattered debris.

    The late Joe Oxendine, who was featured in my recent column dealing with Indian sports nicknames, told me that he and other boys from Pembroke drove over to see the wreck and collect some of the stunning remnants scattered over the site.

    McCorkle lived in Boston for a number of years. There, she heard about a 1942 nightclub fire that took more than 492 lives, including the mother of another character in “Hieroglyphics.”

    When Lil, whose mother died in the fire, and Frank, whose father died in the train wreck, first met, they discovered their common bond, a bond that held them through 60 years of marriage.

    As the story begins, they have retired to Southern Pines, which, coincidently, is not far from the site of the tragic train wreck. Close by the wreck site is the modest home where Frank lived for several years after his dad’s death.

    Frank and Lil have driven to the old house, now occupied by Shelley, a single mother, and her young son, Harvey.

    Shelley has seen Frank driving by before and is nervous. “It doesn’t help that that old man rides by so often now, his green Toyota slowing in front of the house and then circling the block.”

    When Shelley meets Frank at the door, he explains, “I grew up here. I would love to see inside if convenient. My wife, too.”

    Shelley resists, but at the end of the book Frank is in the backyard of the old house finding some closure.

    In the 300 pages between its opening and closing at the old house, McCorkle takes us deep into the lives of the characters we met on the first pages: Frank, Lil, Shelley and Harvey.

    Frank carries the consequences of the train wreck throughout his life. Both his father and mother were on the train, coming from Florida to their home in Massachusetts, where Frank and his grandmother waited for them. Frank’s seriously injured mother remained in North Carolina to recuperate. She was sure she heard Frank’s father calling, “Don’t leave me.” So she stayed and ultimately married a local man.

    She and Frank lived in his house, and Frank grew up there. Ultimately, he went to college and graduate school, married Lil and became a college professor specializing in ancient history and archeological relics. Along the railroad tracks he collected relics from the wreck, including a toy decoder that he imagined his parents were bringing him for Christmas.

    Lil cannot get over the loss of her mother, a ballroom dance instructor, who had not told her husband and Lil that she was going to the nightclub. The questions of who her mother was with and why still haunted her as an adult. She is also a collector. McCorkle uses Lil’s collected newspaper clippings and copious notes to help tell a story that include her agonizing experience of Frank’s misadventures with a younger academic.

    Shelley is a court reporter in a Robeson County courtroom during the trial of a brutal doctor who murdered one of his many girlfriends, not unlike a similar murdering doctor in McCorkle’s previous novel, “Life After Life.”

    Shelley’s son, Harvey, is a collector of horror stories about the Beast of Bladenboro, the Glencoe Munchkins and other scary tales that kept him awake at night and he used to frighten his schoolmates.

    That McCorkle builds these complex characters together into a complex, layered, and gripping novel is just another example of her great storytelling genius.

  • The local artist community has no greater advocates than the Fayetteville Public Works Commission and the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. Each year, the organizations celebrate artists of all mediums, ages and levels of expertise with the “Public Works” exhibition. This year marks the 15th Annual “Public Works” exhibition. Usually beginning on Fourth Friday in May, this year’s event runs Aug. 28-Oct. 17, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    In the past, the event opening coincided with Fourth Friday and included of live music by local bands, a variety of vendors in front of the Arts Council downtown and more. The gallery inside the Arts Council was also open on the occasions.

    “We have an immensely talented city,” said Metoya Scott, public relations manager at the Arts Council, “(including) active galleries that display the talent of our neighbors.” She listed local businesses and studios like Greg’s Pottery, Cape Fear Studios, Winterbloom Tea, The Sweet Palette and City Center Gallery & Books, all of which stayed open for the in-person Fourth Friday night events.

    Each community member can vote for his or her favorite piece — or shop, as some submissions will be for sale,” said Public Works Commission representative Carolyn Justice-Hinson. “People can publish their public vote online, and that will be another way we can hear how the word is traveling.”

    Every submission has a chance to win. During the “Public Works” exhibit, the community is invited to submit votes on their favorite works of art for a “People’s Choice.” There will also be an online app for virtual voting.

    A variety of mediums is accepted. “It can be any kind of artistic expression that you want to exhibit, including photographs, paintings, drawings and more,” said Hinson. “One lady even had a wedding dress made from toilet paper.”

    Residents from Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson and Scotland counties, as well as Fort Bragg or Pope Field can submit art. Bring artwork submissions to The Arts Council at 301 Hay St. between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14,  or Saturday, Aug. 15, between noon and 4 p.m. To find out how and when to enter, visit https://www.theartscouncil.com/opportunity/call-art-public-works-exhibition

    For updated information regarding the Arts Council’s exhibitions, visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/artscouncilFAY.

  • 10 01 Get Together GuitarJumbo Arts International provides opportunities for arts, culture and performance as well as educational programming for people of all ages and promotes the well-being of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in southeastern North Carolina. What that looks like in real life is things like The Journal of Creative Arts & Minds, which is a juried project that highlights art and artists. Other JAI projects include virtual art exhibits, benefit concerts and other music-related events. JAI’s most recent project involves a collaboration with one of the group’s community liaisons, 10 02 Get Together Smilesinger/songwriter Morris Cardenas, to create a heartfelt music video recording of the 1960s hit “Get Together.” Known for its refrain, “Come on people now/Smile on your brother/Everybody get together/Try to love one another right now,” “Get Together” is a plea for peace, brotherhood and love. It explores the dynamic of love versus fear and having to choose between them. And the message couldn’t be more timely.

    The project has been an uplifting endeavor for everyone involved. “It’s been an interesting year,” said Jumbo Arts 10 03 Get Together Chorus4International President Margie Labadie. “We haven’t been able to do any in-person programming. With this video, we can contribute something that is really important right now. We are very excited about sponsoring the video and thrilled that Morris brought it to us as a fundraising opportunity. The music is fantastic. They did a fabulous job. We are just really excited to sponsor it.”

    10 04 Get Together congaThe video features North Carolina professional musicians who came together because they believe in the song’s message. They believe it is a positive message and one everyone needs to hear. “COVID-19 wasn’t even on our radar when we started the production,” Cardenas said. Considering how much the world has changed in recent months, “I think we could all use some peace and love to get us through,” he added.

    Participants in the video included Cardenas, acoustic guitar; Danny Young, guitar and vocals; Cliff Bender, guitar; Darrell Collins, bass guitar, filming and production, mixer and audio; Tony Raimondo, drums; Robert Turner, piano and Bob Lawrence, congas, chimes and percussion. The backup singers included Bill Joyner, Marie Grimsley, Danny Young, Allen Diffee, Monique McCleod, Terie Lawrence and Michelle Weaks.

    “Darrell Collins of Sound Images of North Carolina LLC, who did the majority of the audio and camera work, did such a great job,” Cardenas said. “The video represents a statement of peace, love and understanding among us all. It is not to be used as a political statement. And among the musicians in the video, there are several sects of religion and races — we have white, black and brown people in the video, showing we can all come together as one.”

    Cardenas said he got the idea for the video when he was involved in some contentious discussions on social media. “There are all kinds of ‘experts’ on Facebook, and there was all kinds of noise and fighting. I found myself getting involved in it, and I realized I needed to take a step back and take a breath. Then COVID happened and George Floyd. I am not religious, but the song speaks about coming together in more than just getting together. It has to do with spiritually coming together, too.”

    So far, the video, which used the song with permission from Universal Music Publishing Group, has been well-received. “We had only one person put their thumbs down, so far,” said Cardenas of the YouTube rating system. “We’ve been heard in Vietnam and Hong Kong and Spain and France. We’ve been heard in England and in El Salvador. That’s just what I am aware of, and it’s not counting all the states we’ve been heard in in the U.S. The reaction has been very good, in my opinion.”

    While this project is large in scope, this is not the first time Cardenas has worked with JAI. The organization has produced music programs, called Jumbo Jams, for about eight years. Along with Cardenas, JAI has supported multicultural music performances in North Carolina, most recently in the Hispanic community. Working together on this new music video seemed like a natural fit.

    Released on YouTube, the video was directed by Cardenas, who has entertained crowds from Los Angeles to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to El Salvador. The video is also on the Jumbo Arts International Facebook page as well as through its website at JumboArtsInternational.org. Donations in any amount are appreciated to the all-volunteer, federally recognized nonprofit. Tax deductible donations are only used for programming and projects.

    Cardenas has another project n the works called American Dream SOS, which is based on one of his songs.

    While JAI is always looking for opportunities to support art and artists, live events have come to a standstill, at least for now. But the organization found a way to support an entirely new group of artists with its summer 2020 issue of The Journal for Creative Arts & Minds. “We did an all-student publication for the students who didn’t get to have an exhibition because of the virus,” said Labadie. “This is the first time we’ve ever done a student journal. I teach at UNC-Pembroke, and the art students didn’t get to do the capstone project. The journal features 21 students who it is the first time they’ve all published their own works and interviews.” The journal is available online at the JAI website.

    Visit https://jumboartsinternational.org/index.html to view the “Get Together,” video, to learn more about JAI or to view The Journal for Creative Arts & Minds.

  • 07-03-13-kayak-tour.gifKayaking is one of the many great summer hobbies enjoyed by all ages. Dating back to hundreds of years ago, it didn’t always serve as a pastime. The act of kayaking started in the arctic in North America with the Inuit and Aleut tribe; kayaks were made of driftwood or made by stretching animal skins over frames of whalebone. The larger kayaks they used were called umiaqs— some were as long as 60 feet. The smaller kayaks were used for hunting. Interestingly enough, the word ‘kayak’ means hunter’s boat. With kayaks, the Inuits could easily sneak up on animals near the shoreline or in the water.

    Of course now in the 21st century, people use kayaking as an outing with family and friends or a type of exercise. There are many different areas to go kayaking depending on your interests. People can kayak on intense mountain rivers with white water splashing in your face, or on a peaceful river or lake. Just as there are different sceneries to kayak, there are also different types of kayaks. If you want a fast pace, choose a kayak that is long and narrow. For easy turns, have a kayak that is short and wide. The inside of the kayak varies as well. Some have you sit inside a cockpit with legs extended in front of you; others have a seat in the cockpit, like a canoe. The oars also come in different sizes depending on your height; if you are short, a shorter and lighter oar will suffice. Wider and taller kayaks probably will require a longer paddle.

    Keep in mind that wider blades touch the water more, which grants you a faster speed, but they also have more resistance so you would have to work harder. A narrower blade requires more strokes but the work is less.

    If kayaking sounds like something you would enjoy, you are in luck. Cumberland county citizens have the opportunity to kayak on Lake Rim during the Lake Rim Kayak Tour. This is something Lake Rim strives to do once a month during the warmer months.

    The tour is an activity everyone can enjoy-beginner or experienced. There is an introductory lesson available before the tour that teaches the basics. Amber Williams, park ranger coordinator, talks about the soothing effect the tour has.

    “It is very relaxing; you can even forget you are in Fayetteville. It’s so nice and peaceful to be surrounded by nature,” she said.

    The recommended age is 10 years and up with a participating adult. Remember, no professional skills are necessary!

    “This is a great way to try something new,” Williams said.

    The tour usually lasts about an hour and a half long and wraps around Lake Rim. Space is limited, so grab your spot as soon as possible. Register at Lake Rim Park the day before the tour.

    The tour is Friday, July 12 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The fee is $15. Go ahead and mark your calendars for next month’s tour, Friday, August 2 at 5:30-7 p.m.

    Photo: The Kyak Tour at Lake Rim is fun for the whole family.

  •     The town of Hope Mills is planning a bang-up celebration this year, with plenty of events, performances and fun and games that are sure to create fond memories for the entire family.
    Hope Mills’ Parks and Recreation Program Supervisor, Kenny Bullock, has been working to ensure that this year’s celebration is a success. Even with all the hard work, Bullock enjoys watching the impact his efforts have on the public.
        “I enjoy the parade and seeing the kids have fun --— and the games” said Bullock. And everyone’s favorite … the fireworks. “The fireworks are always the top of the show. Everybody loves to see the fireworks,” he added. 
    Last year, Bullock estimates that 6,000 or so people turned out for the Fourth of July celebration, adding that,“This year we hope to have more.”
         The day starts at 10 a.m. with a parade. It will start at Hope Mills Middle School and will end at Hope Mills Municipal Park. From noon until the fireworks everything will take place at the park. “We try to make it a fun family atmosphere,” said Bullock.  
         {mosimage}Bullock strives to keep things interesting by bringing in new and different entertainment for each annual Fourth of July celebration.
        “We’ve got some different venues coming in,” he noted. “We’ve got Shadows of the Fire and the Kindred Spirits Student Group that will be performing, and we have a magic show for the kids at 5:30.”
         Every age group has their favorites, and the Fourth of July celebration strives to meet everyone’s expectations. “The children love the inflatables (and) the adults love the entertainment,” said Bullock. “This year we have Dakota Rain. They’ll start performing at 7. The crowd will start filling up probably around 3 with everyone wanting to get involved.”
         There will also be a horse shoe tournament, train rides, a karaoke contest, and other fun games. And don’t forget the fireworks. They start at 9:30 p.m.
  • 13LoweryRecently, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr wrote a newspaper column criticizing the Eastern Band of the Cherokee for opposing the South Carolina-based Catawba Tribe’s efforts to acquire land near Kings Mountain to build a casino. Burr also criticized the Cherokees for lobbying against full recognition for the Lumbee tribe because they view it as a threat to their federal benefits and gaming business.

    In a response published in the June 23 News & Observer, Richard Sneed, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, stated, “Actually, the Eastern Band has opposed Lumbee recognition legislation for literally a century, long before tribal gaming. The Lumbees have claimed to be a Cherokee tribe and at least three other historic tribes over the years, and their identity as an historic tribe and as individual descendants of an historic tribe has been questioned for many, many years.”

    So, what are the facts? Where did the Lumbee people come from? How are they different from other Native Americans, and how are they alike?

    Malinda Maynor Lowery, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill associate professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of the American South, takes on this challenge in her new book, “The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle.”

    As a member of the Lumbee tribe with deep family roots in the Lumbee community, Lowery brings more than scholarship to her explanation of her people’s origins and history. She weaves her family’s experience with the defining events in Lumbee history. The main characters in Lumbee and family history turn out to be a fascinating blend of characters, heroes and scoundrels, preachers and bootleggers, lawyers and lawbreakers, and farmers, all deeply attached to the swampy lands along the Lumber River in Robeson County.

    In the early 1700s, as early American Indian tribes were decimated by disease and the relentless pressure from European settlement, remnants from these groups made their way to the Lumber River (then called Downing Creek). By the 1750s, Lowery writes, “the people of Downing Creek and its swamps knit together families and places. They traced belonging through kinship, spoke English and farmed.”

    Lowery cites reports of violent action in 1773 at Downing Creek that included the names of “Chavis, Locklear, Grooms, Ivey, Sweat, Kearsey, and Dial families, all ancestors of today’s Lumbees.”

    During and after the Civil War, Henry Berry Lowry and his gang made war on the white establishment. Though Lowry escaped punishment, a cohort, Henderson Oxendine, was captured and hanged in 1871. For his last words, he sang “Amazing Grace" and “And Can I Yet Delay,” an old Methodist hymn. Oxendine is Malinda Lowery’s great-great-grandfather. Henry Berry Lowry is remembered and revered in the community as the Lumbee Robin Hood.

    In the post-Civil War and Jim Crow times, Lumbees fought for Indian schools, state recognition and a tribal name, finally settling on the Lumbee name in the 1950s.

    One defining event in Lumbee history occurred in 1958 when a large group of Lumbees disrupted a Ku Klux Klan rally near Maxton and chased its leaders away, gaining positive national attention for the Lumbee.

    The Lumbee effort for federal recognition gained partial success in 1956 with the passage of the Lumbee Act. It recognized the tribe as Indian but did not make its people eligible for the benefits accorded other recognized tribes.

    As for the future, Lowery closes her book with a strong argument for full recognition of the Lumbee. “Under pressure of European settlement, our ancestors abandoned many of our oldest homeplaces, but having existed for nearly 300 years along the Lumber River, we will not forsake this place.”

    Lowery may not persuade everyone that the Lumbee tribe should gain full recognition. But what she has shown conclusively is that the Lumbee people are entitled to respect, admiration and appreciation for their 300-plus years struggle to build and hold their community together.

    Photo: Malinda Maynor Lowery

  • 12 Food Truck Rodeo 1After a one-month absence for the observance of the Fourth of July, Hope Mills resumes its monthly Food Truck Rodeos with an extra emphasis on helping the community.

    “A lot of people didn’t realize we didn’t have a rodeo in July because the Fourth of July was the first Thursday of the month,’’ said Chancer McLaughlin, development and planning administrator of the town. “In August we are back, and the theme for this month is Back to School.’’

    The rodeo is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 1, from 5-8 p.m. It will still be at Municipal Park on Rockfish Road but will be held near the outdoor basketball courts and the playground area at the park. 

    All of the vendors who have been invited to take part at this month’s rodeo provide services related to children in the community. Among the organizations that will be represented are the Teen Wellness Clinic, C.H.I.L.D. Incorporated, Partnership for Children, Operation Inasmuch and Fayetteville Urban Ministry.

    As usual, donations of nonperishable food for the Hope Mills ALMS HOUSE will be collected, but in keeping with the Back to School theme, school supplies will also be collected.

    Because the ALMS HOUSE already has a distribution system set up for sending food to the local schools, McLaughlin said the school supplies will be turned over to them for distribution as well. Donations most needed are white loose-leaf notebook paper, pens, pencils and standard composition books. Book bags should be avoided because there are some schools that require all book bags to be made of a clear or mesh material that is see-through. McLaughlin said three-ring binders are also not good items to donate.

    Another group that will be represented at the event is Cut My City, a group of local barbers and others who will provide free services including haircuts to students at an event scheduled at the Crown Coliseum on Aug. 10. McLaughlin said they will be at the rodeo to share information about their project.

    As far as fun activities at this rodeo, there will be a gaming truck with free video games for the children, along with face painting and other activities.

    DJ King James, who has performed previously at Hope Mills events, will have recorded music as well as karaoke.

    The food trucks scheduled to appear include rodeo regulars Chef Glenn and Big T’s. Other trucks scheduled are Nannie’s Famous, Hopkins Barbecue, Coldstone Creamery, Kona Ice, Euasticias Fully Loaded Grill, Cedar Creek Fish Farm and Boss Ross Dogs.

    For updates on late changes to the rodeo, check either the Hope Mills Development or the Town of Hope Mills Administration pages on Facebook.

  • Bragg Mutual Federal Credit Union Contributes $3,000 to kids voting of cumberland county
        Bragg Mutual Federal Credit Union recently presented a check in the sum of $3,000 to Kids Voting Cumberland County.
        Kids Voting Cumberland County is a unique program that provides a state-approved comprehensive K-12 civics curriculum with dynamic classroom activities that are easy for teachers to adapt to best fit their needs. The curriculum makes learning about civics relevant to students. Through a “real-life” voting experience that replicates the adult ballot, with a full slate of candidates and issues, students gain the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to be active participants in our representative democracy. Students, who learn these skills during their early school years, will reach adulthood with a greater appreciation of their responsibilities as citizens, with the abilities to identify the issues, gather information to reach solutions, think critically about the consequences of various actions and work together with others to do what is best for all.{mosimage}
        The $3,000 was raised by $1,500 in sales of candy bars at Bragg Mutual’s main office and three branches and matching funds provided from Armed Forces Financial Network matching grant program.

    Cape Fear Valley Appoints New Chief Finance Officer
        Sandra S. Williams, MHA, CPA, has been appointed Chief Financial Officer for Cape Fear Valley Health System.
        Williams, a native of St. Petersburg, Fla., has more than 28 years of professional finance experience. She was previously Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Christus Spohn Health System in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she was responsible for financial management of a 1,300-bed, six-hospital regional health system. Prior to that, Williams was Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer for University Community Hospital in Tampa, Fla.
        She has also served as an Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for Presbyterian Healthcare/Novant Health in Charlotte, and as a Director with PricewaterhouseCoopers in their Healthcare Practice in the Middle East.
        Williams is a Certified Public Accountant and received a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and a Master of Arts in Healthcare Administration from the University of South Florida.
        At Cape Fear Valley, Williams will oversee finance for the 10th largest healthcare system in the state, which averages 875,000 patient visits a year.

    Arts Council seeks vendors for International Festival
        The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County is seeking vendors for the 30th Annual International Folk Festival, Sunday, Sept. 28 from noon until 6 p.m. at Festival Park in downtown. Spaces are available for arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and vendors selling merchandise with cultural or ethnic themes.         Applications are online at  www.artscounciloffayetteville.pmailus.com/pmailweb/ct?d=FZIlLwA8AAEAAAHgAAH92A or www.theartscouncil.com/International_Folk_Festival.html. For more information, call (910) 323-1776.

  • 11 14u Hope MillsRichard Martinez has already taken an all-star team to a Dixie Youth World Series. Next month, he’ll take a second trip as he guides the Hope Mills 14U state Dixie Youth champions to this year’s series in Aiken, South Carolina.

    “It’s a very special group of boys,’’ he said of his 12-member team.

    He told them earlier that he had previously made a World Series bid and there was no reason this team couldn’t do the same. “If you all work together as a team, and everybody believes in the ‘we’ instead of the ‘I,’ there’s nothing to stop you guys from going all the way,’’ he said.

    The strength of this team could be pitching depth. Martinez said all 12 of his players are capable of throwing strikes, and at least nine of them have the ability to dominate when they’re on the mound.

    The top hurler so far has been Dallas Capps. He has a 3-0 record in the postseason that includes 13 innings pitched with 16 strikeouts and only three runs allowed.

    Anthony Spatorico, who normally is a catcher, shut down Columbus County over five innings as Hope Mills rallied from an early four-run deficit to win 5-4. Garret Smith shut out defending state champion Brunswick County through six innings before being relieved.

    At the plate, Capps is the team’s leading hitter with a whopping .777 batting average. Brandon Novy is batting .438.

    “All the boys contributed greatly,’’ Martinez said.

    Unlike the other three Hope Mills teams headed to World Series play, which will be in Louisiana, Martinez and his team only have to drive roughly three hours to get to Aiken.

    The opening ceremonies are on Friday, Aug. 2, and the first game for Hope Mills is Saturday, Aug. 3, vs. Tennessee.

    “These boys are resilient; they never give up,’’ Martinez said.

    In the time remaining until they leave for South Carolina, Martinez said the focus will be on pitching and bunting. “We missed a lot of scoring opportunities because we couldn’t execute our bunts,’’ he said. In the last two games, Hope Mills stranded 22 runners on base.

    Although they don’t have a lot of time — less than a week from the time this story prints — Martinez said the team is going to try to raise as much money as possible to fund the trip.

    The tournament ends with the championship game on Aug. 7. “Our goal is to be there on Aug. 7,’’ Martinez said.

    Players: Nathan Camacho, Dallas Capps, Stephen Kriner, Adrick Murray, Brandon Novy, Jacob Patawaran, Maddox Powers, Garret Smith, William Smith, Anthony Spatorico, Brayden Speis, Jacob Sports

    Coaches: Richard Martinez, Blake Smelcer, Joey Smith, Juan Viera


  • 10SiemeringThe quality I most admire in artists is their ability to see possibility in what many would overlook. This concept is clearly evidenced through the current exhibition held at the Arts Council through Aug. 17. “Reclaimed!” is sponsored by Waste Management and the city of Fayetteville’s Environmental Services Department. It highlights art that is made primarily with recycled, repurposed and found materials. This exhibition and the Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County’s partnership with its generous sponsor has been in existence for many years. However, each year the results are radically different. This year, the organizers went national and put out a call for art to creatives from around the country.

    Juried by Bryant Holsenbeck, an environmental artist from Durham, the Arts Council received more than 100 entries from artists across the nation, and just over half were selected for inclusion in this exhibition. Holsenbeck also chose first-, secondand third-place awards. First place went to Rebecca Siemering for “Tuft Enough.” Siemering, an artist from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, created what looks like a onesie for a child — made of dental floss and betting slips. From a distance, this work looks to be made from tufted wool or knitted material. Only a close examination reveals the unique materials used to create this work.

    Second place went to Bill Sieber from Carbondale, Illinois, for “Ocean Sweep.” This work is remarkable in its simplicity, yet it reflects environmental concerns that are incredibly current. The artist strung together plastic drinking straws with fishing line to create a representation of a fishing net.

    The third-place award went to Michael Weddington, an artist from Matthews, North Carolina, for “Piano Lessons: Old School, New Didactic.” The work is crafted from reclaimed piano keys and other hardware combined with wood and metal.

    There are many other notable works in this exhibition, including several from local and regional artists. Sherry Young, from Fayetteville, has two works in “Reclaimed!” — including a fish made from Styrofoam cups and a seahorse made from zip ties. Raul Rubiera, also from Fayetteville, has a piece that is striking in its minimalism and balance. It is made from two saw blades connected by a branch and mounted on a slice of a tree trunk.

    Many works, like Rubiera’s, are not just works of beauty created with recycled, reclaimed and found materials; they also state something more profound. Rubiera describes his work as “a mixture of natural materials and the tools that transform that material into a tamed object.” While the description and the work itself does not place judgment on the materials or usage thereof, it does make the viewer think more critically about what we toss aside to make our lives more comfortable and more convenient.

    Art has the power to make us think critically about our lives. This exhibition does just that while also showcasing the transformative nature of objects and the art that can be created from what is normally discarded.

    This exhibition is on display at the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, 301 Hay St., until Aug. 17. For gallery hours and more information, visit www.theartscouncil.com.

  •     {mosimage}The Fayetteville Public Works Commission continued its commitment to a sustainable community as it broke ground on its LEED-registered Customer Service Center Wednesday morning adjacent to the PWC Operations Complex on Old Wilmington Road.
        The 10,000 sq ft. building will be one of the first buildings in Cumberland County to be built to LEED standards and is expected to be open in mid to late 2009. LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED is designed to promote design and construction practices that reduce the negative environmental impacts of buildings and improving occupant health and well-being. The PWC Board and General Manager were joined by members of the Fayetteville City Council during the ceremonial groundbreaking as well as the designing Architect- Walter Vick, AIA of the LSV Partnership of Fayetteville and the General Contractor- Construction Management & Development Services, LLC of Raleigh. System WorCx is the project’s commissioning and LEED Consultant.
        The center will serve over 25,000 customers that visit PWC each month and is one of eight projects currently LEED registered within Cumberland County.
        When completed, could be the first local project to be LEED certified. The project meets over 25 LEED standards including:
        •Providing parking for low emitting/fuel efficient vehicles & carpool/vanpool vehicles.
        • Storm water runoff controlled through bioretention basin.
        • Located on public bus routes.
        • Use of low-flow water fixtures and waterless urinals.
        • Building features, efficient geo-thermal heat pump, electrical systems and automation systems are designed to reduce energy consumption.
        • Geothermal heat pump eliminate the use of refrigerants.
        • Solar reflectant roof surface.
        • Motorized louvers on building’s west side will minimize energy cost by adjusting to the sunlight exposure.
        • Revolving door will minimize air loss and help maintain optimal operating temperatures.
        • Use of durable, long-lasting materials minimize maintenance costs and use of cleaning chemicals.
        • Use of building materials include at least 20% recycled material.
        • Incorporates day lighting and direct/indirect lighting fixtures with lighting controls.
        • Lighting installations minimizes light pollution from building.
  • 10 Views of Lake Bulkhead 1The long-awaited bulkhead down the shoreline at Hope Mills Lake is finally complete. Now Public Works Director Don Sisko says it’s up to Mother Nature as to how quickly lake levels return to normal.

    “We have no control over the inflow of water,’’ he said just days after the work on the bulkhead was completed. “The gate is open minimally so we can maintain the flow in the creek downstream.

    “Hopefully we get a couple of days of rain in the next few days and that will take us over the spillway. Once it gets over the spillway to a normal level, we will close the gate completely and be under normal operation condition at the spillway.’’

    While the lake was lowered, Sisko said, people could actually see one of the primary reasons the bulkhead was needed: to deal with erosion of the embankment.

    “There were folks that were of the mindset you could put some soil there, maybe some sod, that would control the erosion,’’ he said. “The erosion would have a safety impact for the general public.’’

    The bulkhead will make the park area near the lake more family-friendly, he said, so people can safely spread out a blanket and watch their children swimming or just enjoy the natural beauty of the lake.

    In addition to the bulkhead, there are now steps down to the water and a beach area for launching kayaks and canoes into the water. “People can put their craft in the water without reaching to get over any riprap, rocks or that
    sort of thing," Sisko said.

    The access ramp is also handicap accessible.

    Sisko sees no major issues as far as maintaining the bulkhead. “It’s made of natural material (Southern yellow pine) and it will shrink in dry periods and swell in wet periods,’’ he said. “We may have to do some sanding here and there if it splinters out.’’

    The wood will be heavily treated with a preservative called chromated copper arsenate, which is used to protect outdoor wooden structures from microbes and insects.

    “I don’t anticipate anything out of the ordinary for years to come, barring a catastrophic event,’’ Sisko said.

    The yellow tape that is in place in areas around the park will likely stay there for awhile as new sod is being installed. “We don’t want any foot traffic on it,’’ Sisko said “We want it irrigated and rooted properly so we have a good standing of grass.’’

    Sisko hopes the end product is a park area the citizens of Hope Mills can enjoy. “They get to come out and create their own memories,’’ he said. “We want to give them an open
    space to enjoy.’’

    Hope Mills town leaders expressed satisfaction that the bulkhead project is done.

    “I know our community is ready to use the lake because of the extreme heat we are experiencing,’’ said Mayor Jackie Warner. “The good news is it won’t be much longer.’’

    Commissioner Pat Edwards said the town will likely look into more plans for erosion control at the lake but added that for now, “The bulkhead looks great.’’

    Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers thanked all the members, past and present, of the town’s Lake Advisory Committee for their work on developing the bulkhead project and the public swimming area.

    He further praised the various companies that worked on the project, along with town staff who were involved. “The Hope Mills Lake park is a great addition to the town’s already impressive parks and recreational programs,’’ he said. “Our lake park is one of the best family parks that directly impacts the quality of life by contributing to the social, economic... and environmental well-being of our community.’’


  • 13KoonceThis fall will mark the 50th anniversary of the victory of the "Amazin'" New York Mets over a talented Baltimore Orioles team in the World Series. A veteran bullpen pitcher from Hope Mills named Calvin Koonce played a key role in that title, winning six games down the stretch for the Mets and earning seven saves.

    Late last month, friends and family of Koonce, who died in 1993 at the age of 52, traveled back to New York to take part in a 50th anniversary celebration held at the Mets’ current home stadium, CitiField. 

    Peggy Koonce, wife of the late Mets reliever, had a hard time believing it’s been 50 years. It was shortly after her husband’s death that she attended the 25th anniversary reunion.

    Many of the former Mets stars have since died, players like Tommie Agee, Don Cardwell, Don Clendenon and manager Gil Hodges.

    Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, the biggest pitching star for the 1969 Mets, was also absent. His family recently announced he is no longer making public appearances as he’s suffering from dementia.

    One of Koonce’s closest friends on the team, Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, was unable to attend the 50th anniversary. Mrs. Koonce said her husband was a mentor to the younger Ryan, helping the flamethrower deal with control issues taming his lethal fastball. Ryan ended his career with the most no-hitters in major league history: seven.

    The Mets treated the Koonces and the other families there for the 50th anniversary weekend firstclass, putting them up at the Plaza Athenee, which has hosted guests like actress Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana.

    The ceremony held before New York’s Saturday, June 29, game with the Atlanta Braves took about 30 minutes. The deceased Mets were introduced first, with their pictures individually flashed on the giant video screen, followed by a live camera shot of the family member or members there representing them.

    The living players were driven via golf cart to a platform in the infield. Lifetime Met Ed Kranepool spoke on behalf of the entire group.

    “It was bittersweet because the health of so many of them has failed,’’ Mrs. Koonce said.

    But the memories of the victory over the Orioles were still fond ones for her. “I think the thing that was so important was knowing we were playing the Orioles and they were so good,’’ she said. “We were a team not chosen to win it. We were holding our own, and the young pitchers were doing their job.

    “When you’ve got Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman and a bullpen consisting of Calvin and Ron Taylor and all those guys, it looks pretty good.’’

    Mrs. Koonce said she felt pretty special just sitting in the stands for that World Series, looking around and seeing the late Jacqueline Kennedy just a couple of rows behind her, and the entertainer Pearl Bailey not far away.

    “Just seeing the look on Calvin’s face after it was all over,’’ she said. “It was just wonderful. The expressions of love they had for each other.’’

    Also along for the 50th anniversary observance was Timmy Smith, who played baseball for Koonce when Koonce was first head coach at South View High School and later at Campbell University.

    “Most anybody you talked with about Mr. Koonce talked about how he was a positive influence (on his teammates) and took them under his wing,’’ Smith said.

    Smith added that Koonce had a similar effect on him. “He was like my second father,’’ Smith said. “He could tell you more by not saying things than he could with words. Just his looks and his motions.

    “One player told me (Koonce) sold him a couple of sport coats, took him under his wing and took care of him and his reputation. Another person said it was great to have (Koonce) there to talk with because he could have made a lot of wrong choices along the way. Mr. Koonce helped

    him make the right ones.’’

  • 08rivermistSummer after summer, Fayetteville After Five provides free concerts in Festival Park. Showstopping artists hit the stage every second Friday from May until August, providing the perfect weekend kickoff. It wouldn’t be perfect without a few finger-licking snacks, however. Come hungry and let the many food trucks offerings at Festival Park fill you up.

    Alternative, rock and pop band 120 Minutes and Eagles tribute band On The Border kicked off the summer with every classic from the ’70s to the ’90s. Rivermist and Kasey Tyndall are coming July 12 and Aug. 9, respectively, to finish off the season with some classic rock and country tunes.

    Local band Rivermist was formed right here in Fayetteville in 2014, though the musicians have been playing in and around the Fayetteville area for more than 20 years. A classic rock and variety party band, Rivermist is known for bringing excitement and energy to any venue, which is one reason it has won awards like Up & Coming Weekly’s Best of Fayetteville.

    The band also knows how to cater to its audience. They’ve been known to play every artist from Earth, Wind & Fire to Bruno Mars and more. After being booked at different festivals and concert series all over North Carolina and Virginia for the past few years, Rivermist has clearly been busy rockin’ the Carolinas (and more).

    Closing out the summer is country singer Kasey Tyndall. Audiences might recognize her hit debut single “Everything is Texas,” which earned recognition by being included on the Wild Country Spotify playlist and the music video hit Top 10 on CMT’s 12 Pack Countdown.

    Tyndall’s debut album, “Between Salvation and Survival,” has gathered over 1 million streams on Spotify since its release in January 2019.

    Tyndall traded her plans to study nursing at East Carolina University for the life of a country music star when she won a radio station contest in 2014. The prize was the opportunity to sing “We Were Us” with Keith Urban. Since then, she has only grown in success.

    “Wrap Around Porch,” Tyndall’s latest single, was written by Nashville stars Laura Veltz, Josh Thompson and Jessie Jo Dillon. “The moment I heard this song, it felt like me,” she says on Spotify. “Lyrically, it speaks to the life so many of us grew up with — we dream big, but it’s the simple things that make us happy.” Tyndall has also collaborated with artists like Ashley McBryde and Lainey Wilson.

    The gates for Fayetteville After Five open at 5 p.m. The acts begin around 6:30 p.m. and end around 10:30 p.m. Don’t forget to bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket. Coolers, canopies and outside food and beverages are not allowed. Service dogs are always welcome. The free concerts are located at Festival Park, 335 Ray Ave.

    Photo: Rivermist

  • 12HM teamThe Hope Mills Nationals 8U baseball team will carry the North Carolina Dixie Youth Baseball state title banner to Ruston, Louisiana, in search of a championship. But to get there, they'll need a lot of financial support.

    Jesse Cox, one of the coaches of the Hope Mills team, said a fundraiser has been started to try and cover the numerous expenses involved with getting the squad of 12 players and four coaches to their destination.

    “We are looking at having to reuniform our team in North Carolina attire,’’ Cox said. “We’ll have some expense in that.’’

    But that’s only the tip of this expensive iceberg. The distance by road from Hope Mills to Ruston is just under 1,000 miles and will take just over 13 hours by car. The tournament is scheduled to run July 26-30, and the Hope Mills team is hoping to rent as many as 20 rooms for the players and coaches. Those rooms will cost from $120-$150 per night.

    Figuring out how to handle transportation is also a challenge. Cox doesn’t want to rent a full-sized bus. The team hopes to be in Louisiana for more than a couple of days, and a bus would not be a convenient way to make repeated trips to the ballpark and other places.

    “We want to be more mobile,’’ he said, considering possibilities like passenger vans or carpooling in SUVs because of the large amount of baseball equipment they’ll need to transport.

    Flying wouldn’t be cost effective, he said, unless someone out there wants to offer the team use of an airplane.

    “They are a special team and group, and you do want to make it fun,’’ Cox said. But, he also noted, “I’m going down there to win that thing, to compete.

    “The town and community should realize this is not only for Hope Mills but the state of North Carolina,’’ he said. “It gives us the opportunity to represent this town in a broad spectrum. We want to do everything possible to get these boys down there, to get them there and enjoy themselves.’’

    Sponsorships are available for larger donors from $250 to $1,000. All major donors get their name or business logo on the team banner.

    The team is also selling 50/50 tickets for cash only. A date for the 50/50 drawing had not been established at press time.

    The GoFundMe web address for the team is www.gofundme.com/state-championship-bound. The page was originally created to raise money for the trip to the state finals in Brunswick County.

    Editor's note: The Hope Mills 10U softball team came out of the losers bracket last Wednesday afternoon and defeated Lumberton 2-1 to win the 10U Dixie Softball state championship. In doing so, it become the second Hope Mills team advancing to a Dixie Youth World Series.

  • 15 Koonce boyette edgeA desire to compete and a love for athletics of all kinds drove Don Koonce to stay immersed in sports from his youth to his final days promoting Cumberland County sports via the radio.

    Koonce, 71, died unexpectedly last week, barely a month out from the start of another high school football season. His radio crews from DKSports, Inc., were preparing to broadcast the games of Terry Sanford and Cape Fear High Schools.

    Like his brothers, the late Calvin Koonce and Charles Koonce, Don was a star athlete at the high school level. Charles Koonce called his brother Don “one of the most outstanding athletes to come out of Cumberland County. He excelled in baseball, basketball, football and golf.

    “He was a true athlete at heart. He always played to win.’’

    Don Koonce once led Cumberland County high school basketball in scoring and qualified for the prestigious North and South Amateur golf tournament at Pinehurst.

    But it was baseball where he made his biggest mark. He earned a scholarship to North Carolina State University and left after one semester to get a rare spring training tryout with the same New York Mets team his brother Calvin played for. Impressed with what they saw, the Mets signed Don.

    He spent six years in the minor leagues, rising as high as the AAA level while playing mostly in the Virginia Tidewater area with teams affiliated with the Mets, Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos.

    His career record was 27-34 with a solid 2.63 earned run average and 44 saves.

    It was his connection with the Detroit organization that helped lay the groundwork for Don’s successful bid to bring minor league baseball back to Fayetteville. He was a force behind the creation of the Fayetteville Generals and the construction of J.P Riddle Stadium.
    After parting ways with the Generals, Don spent several years as a Major League Baseball scout. He eventually joined his brother Charles, veteran local radio personality Lloyd Foster and his son Dave Foster in creating Mid-South Sports, Inc., in 1990. It focused on broadcasting Friday night high school football and other county sporting events.

    Some years later, Don branched out on his own and created DKSports, Inc., which currently covers Terry Sanford and Cape Fear High School football in the fall. He also created a weekly WFNC Monday night talk show, "The Sports Page," with former Terry Sanford quarterback Trey Edge and veteran high school basketball coach Bill Boyette.

    In recent years, Don has been involved in teaching young baseball players one-on-one, especially those with an interest in pitching. “There are a number of young guys in the ranks right now at various age groups that will pay tribute to the fact that he was the guy that got them started,’’ Charles said.

    Edge has spent countless hours over the last several years traveling with Don to cover games and working with him in the radio booth or at courtside. Edge said he feels the competitive spirit never leaves a serious athlete. He thinks Don enjoyed radio because it gave him a chance to continue experiencing the highs and lows of the game.

    “You experience the game as it’s happening, and you get to know the players and coaches,’’ Edge said. “I think that was attractive to him and kept that sports fire fueled. But then it got to the point where he was doing something for the community. Getting high school athletes publicity for the things they’ve done is a great thing.’’

    Edge said Don was an incredible storyteller and would often tell about star players he’d competed against or scouted. “In the booth, he was always happy, always had a smile,’’ Edge said. “He wanted to put out a good product.’’

    That product provided a valuable service to an important part of the Cumberland County population, the military community. Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for Cumberland County Schools, said the presence of the military in Fayetteville made Don’s coverage of high school games important.

    “Often times parents get sent overseas, and kids may not be from North Carolina,’’ Aldridge said. “Don being on the radio allowed people deployed and family members in other states to keep up with their children (via internet live streaming of games). It’s a great asset for Cumberland County Schools.’’

    Neil Buie, regional supervisor of football officials for the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association, played against Don from the time the two were about 8 years old.

    “There was no greater advocate for sports in Cumberland County than Don,’’ Buie said. “His passing will leave a hole in the sports community and Cumberland County.’’

    Terry Sanford assistant coach Bill Yeager, who has spent 50 years in this county as a high school athlete and coach, said Don always tried to put young athletes first. “He cared about this community,’’ Yeager said. “He was a good man. He’s going to be missed.’’

    Terry Sanford principal Tom Hatch said Don always had positive things to say about the student-athletes both at Terry Sanford and in the community. “He did a great job covering football and baseball here (at Terry Sanford),” Hatch said. “Don was a great man.’’

    Edge said that most of the sponsors for the DKSports, Inc., broadcasts for this fall were already in place before Don’s untimely death. “I would absolutely keep moving it forward under the name DKSports, Inc., to honor Don,’’ Edge said. “Our hope is, come Aug. 23, we’re on the air broadcasting high school football and (that) every Monday night Bill (Boyette) and I are doing 'The Sports Page.'’’

    Left to right: Bill Boyette, Don Koonce and Trey Edge at the July 2017 announcement of the debut of "The Sports Page" weekly talk show.

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113.

    • Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Monday, July 22, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    • Appearance Commission Tuesday, July 23, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation

    • Veterans Affairs Commission Thursday, July 25, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center


    Good2Grow Farmers Market Saturday, Aug. 3, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., between Town Hall and Parks and Recreation Building.

    Hope Mills Area Kiwanis Club at Sammio’s, second Tuesdays at noon and fourth Tuesdays at 6 p.m. For details, call 910-237-1240.

    • Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at Parks and Recreation Building. Senior programs are for those ages 55 and up who are residents of Cumberland County. Various activities, especially Zumba classes, are scheduled Monday through Sunday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at townofhopemills.com. You can call the recreation center at 910-426-4109 or e-mail Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

    • Hope Mills Parks and Recreation is currently accepting registration for men’s and coed adult softball for the fall 2019 season. Registration will end Aug. 3 or when all leagues are filled, and the season will begin Aug. 12. The cost is $500 per team. For additional information, call 910-308-7651.

    Promote yourself: Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

  • 07-20-11-at-the-crown.jpgFrom hockey games to concerts and shows, the Crown Coliseum always provides premier entertainment to our community, and on July 30, it will deliver yet again. On the July 30, the Crown will offer not one, but two dynamic shows that will get you on your feet and out of your seat as it hosts the All Star Rock Concert at 8 p.m. in the Crown Center Theatre and the Carolina Crown Southern MMAs Biggest Bash at 7 p.m. in the coliseum.

    The All Star Rock Concert features 1980s artists including John s (Eddie and the Cruisers), Robbie Dupree, Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie, Joe Lynn Turner of Rainbow, Deep Purple and Orleans.

    Collectively, the performers have more than 40 top-selling records and dozens of gold and platinum songs between them and they will bring all of your favorites to the stage. The performers will belt out some of the best music of the ‘80s including: “Dancing in the Moonlight,” “Dance with me,” “Steal Away,” “Keep On Smilin’,” “Still the One,” “Stone Cold,” “On The Dark Side,” Smoke On The Water,” “My Woman From Tokyo” and many more.

    “This concert will pack more mojo per square inch of stage floor than almost any band we can think of — and they produce an evening of hit songs that audiences know and love, sung by the people that made them hits,” Crown promotional staff say of the concert.

    Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through the Crown Center Box Offi ce, Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets and by calling 1-800-745-3000. Ticket prices for the pit range from $35- $46. Ticket prices for the fl oor range from $25- $35.

    If the ‘80s isn’t your scene, maybe you will want to take in the bone crushing action as the Carolina Crown Southern MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Biggest Bash gets under way. This annual event is known as the Super Bowl of the MMA.

    Banned for 14 years in the state of North Carolina, mixed-martial arts is a full contact sport. As well as allowing a both striking and grappling, the rules of MMA permit a wide variety of fighting techniques, skills and a mixture of combat sports. Originally the competition was promoted as an effort to find the most effi cient martial arts for real unarmed combat, but rules have been added for the safety of the competitors and mainstream acceptance. It may also be commonly referred to as ultimate fi ghting, pride fi ghting, no-holds barred (NHB), free fighting and cage fighting.

    CFP President Doug Muhle says “We are excited that MMA fans in Fayettville will have the chance to witness the awesome intensity of a world class MMA event!

    ”The event will feature 12 MMA cage fights, with three CFP world MMA titles on the line. The evening will feature nine amateur and three professional MMA cage fights.

    A portion of the night’s proceeds will be donated to The Wounded Warrior Foundation.

    Tickets are on sale now through the Crown Box Office, ticketmaster.com, all Ticket Master outlets, or by phone 1.800.745.3000. for sponsorship VIP tables and tickets sales, CFP rep Joel White can be contacted at 470-6974. Ticket prices for floor seating range from $42-$ 110. The doors open at 5 p.m., with the event starts at 7p.m.

    Photo: Two fighters participating in the Carolina Crown trade blows during a previous event. To see all the action, take in the fights at the Crown on July 30.

  • 14 10U teamIf you’re looking for raucous celebrations from coach Doren Kolasa and his Hope Mills Angels 10U state champion Dixie Youth softball team, you’ll quickly be disappointed.

    “We don’t jump up, and we don’t act silly,’’ Kolasa said of his team when they win. But it’s not because they’re an unhappy bunch — just a respectful one. “We teach them to stay humble. Make sure (they) understand somebody lost. We have time to celebrate later.’’

    Kolasa’s team has been doing a lot of celebrating so far in the run through the state Dixie Youth 10U tournament. The team now finds itself headed to Alexandria, Louisiana, and a trip to the 10U Dixie Youth World Series.

    Kolasa has been pleased with the way this 12-player group of all-stars has meshed in the postseason.

    “I think they the first thing is communication,’’ he said. “It’s hard to get players to communicate.’’

    In addition to communication, Kolasa has some genuine talent on the team, starting with pitcher August “Little A” Kebort. “This is a girl people need to watch,’’ he said. “She struck me out the other day in practice.’’

    Kebort has been striking a lot of people out. In 20.2 innings, she has 52 strikeouts. She’s also the team’s top hitter, with an .850 batting average.

    Another pitching standout is Haylee Lamb, who has 17 strikeouts in 9.2 innings. A surprise addition to the rotation is Jaycee Parnell, who was the catcher most of the season. In the postseason she’s pitched 8.2 innings with 19 strikeouts.

    Parnell is also a leading hitter, with a .650 batting average, along with Kolasa’s daughter, McKinley “Boo Boo” Kolasa. She’s batting .556 and is also a defensive star at first base. Another defensive standout is Jazelle Young at third base.

    At press time, the full schedule for the World Series had not been set.
    After opening-day ceremonies July 26, Hope Mills is scheduled to play Georgia in the first game of the nine-team double elimination event July 27.

    “For the last three or four months, we’ve told them defense wins championships,’’ Kolasa said. “Nothing is going to change. We always talk about focusing on fundamentals. Stick with basics. That seems to dial them in pretty good.’’

    Anyone wishing to make a last-minute contribution to the team before they leave on July 25 can contact the Hope Mills Youth Association via its Facebook page.

    Adults: Head coach Doren Kolasa, assistant coaches Brandon Boone and Mike Johnson
    Players: Haylee Lamb, Lizzie Johnson, Dania Berry, August Kebort, Olivia Herron, McKinley Kolasa, Meadow Critchfield, Jazelle Young, DeeDee Rivera, Kenzie Smith,
    Jaycee Parnell, Zee Owens

  • 11Macky HallFormer coworkers at South View High School and friends from the education community remember McKinley “Macky” Hall Jr. as a devoted supporter of education who had a strong loyalty to his many friends in the South View school district. Hall, a former football coach, Hope Mills political leader and longtime school board member, died earlier this month at the age of 85.

    Bobby Poss was head football coach at South View during Hall’s final years as the school’s athletic director. He had a special nickname for Hall no one else used, calling him Tiger One.

    “He was so encouraging and supportive,’’ said Poss, who guided the Tigers to their only state 4-A football championship in the fall of 1991. “He was a great administrator but also a very good friend. That’s all he tried to do, be a helper. He was thinking and the wheels were turning.’’

    When Poss arrived at South View in 1989, the school had never made the North Carolina High School Athletic Association football playoffs in its previous 17 years.

    Poss was placing his first equipment order with Hall, and Hall asked if there was anything missing. Poss told Hall that at his previous job at Seventy-First, he always ordered new socks for his team to wear in the state playoffs.

    “South View had never been to the playoffs, but Macky said we better order playoff socks,’’ Poss recalled. South View finished the 1989 season 9-4 and won the first two state football playoff games in school history.

    “We ordered playoff socks and we got to wear them,’’ Poss said. “That was an example of the kind of encouraging he can do for a guy.’’

    Poss said Hall did the same for other South View coaching legends like Randy Ledford, Ron Miller and Eddie Dees.

    “I don’t think a coach ever felt slighted by Macky,’’ Poss said. “He was the first all-in guy before it became a popular term.’’

    Greg West served with Hall on the Cumberland County Board of Education. He called Hall a pleasure to work with and someone who cared deeply about schools, both the buildings and the people in them.

    “He didn’t raise his voice, and he spoke to the point and spoke his mind,’’ West said. “He wasn’t confrontational. He worked with people to try to talk you into seeing it his way.’’

    Current South View athletic director Chad Barbour first got to know Hall five years ago when Barbour took over the position. Though retired, Barbour said Hall continued to show support for the schools, and especially South View.

    “Anything you look at as far as South View athletics and the success we’ve had in the past is basically a direct reflection of his efforts here as athletic director,’’ Barbour said. “He was the engineer behind that great state championship run.’’

    Over a period of about a half-dozen years just before and after Hall stepped down as South View athletic director, the Tigers won state championships in baseball, football, boys golf, boys basketball and softball.

    “He got the right coaches in place, gave them what they needed, and they built somewhat of a dynasty through his leadership,’’ Barbour said. “That carried over for many years.’’

    Even after his health began to fail, Barbour said, Hall was a regular at South View home football games and was instrumental in getting the school a larger, modernized press box. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to have the press box named in Hall’s honor.

    “He held South View very near and dear to his heart,’’ Barbour said.

    Former Cumberland County Schools student activities director Fred McDaniel coached with Hall when the latter was head football coach at Terry Sanford in the mid-1970s.

    “He was really an advocate for kids,’’ McDaniel said. “As a board member, he was concerned with athletes, not so much winning and losing, but our integrity, making kids do the right thing. He worked hard for kids and their well-being, giving them the best opportunity.’’

    Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner followed Hall's work as athletic director at South View and recalled he was a familiar fixture at town events, athletic fields and restaurants.

    “He was involved in the community beyond being on the school board,’’ Warner said. “He was always very active until the last few months.’’ 

    Warner said Hall was part of a special time when South View was the only school in Hope Mills, before Jack Britt and Gray’s Creek opened.

    “It was the height of school spirt in Hope Mills,’’ she said. “That was when they decorated the town orange and black.’’ This was something that Tiger One certainly appreciated.

    Photo: McKinley "Macky" Hall

  • 17Hope Mills state champsHope Mills has had many Dixie Youth Baseball state champions, but last week, the Hope Mills National team made history by winning the town’s first 8U state championship.

    In the championship round of the winners bracket at Lockwood Folly, they fell to Reidsville 10-7 for their only loss of the tournament but rebounded to win the title with a 10-2 victory over Reidsville.

    Left to right: Coach Jonathan Ransom, Hunter Matthews, Dallas Lupo, Colby Cox, Tanner Parrish, Joshua Ransom, Colt Burns, Landon Lusignan, Gavin Bowen, Coach Joshua Lusignan, Noah Rivera, Coach Jesse Cox, Ziriyon Campbell, Aiden Peterson- McAlexander, Corey Cox and Coach Jonathan Lupo.

    Hope Mills advances to the 8U Dixie Youth World Series, which will be held July 26-30 in Ruston, Louisiana.

  • 13 8U teamWhen asked to single out the best players on his state championship Hope Mills National 8U Dixie Youth Baseball team, coach Jesse Cox couldn’t come up with an answer. “I love all 12 of them,’’ he said. “Every kid did a job and did it well.’’

    Cox, who has been coaching Dixie Youth baseball for six years, will join his fellow coaches and the national team on a long ride to Ruston, Louisiana, for the Dixie Youth 8U World Series. Opening ceremonies are July 26. Hope Mills will begin pool play at 9 a.m. the next morning against Alabama and then at noon against South Carolina.

    This is Cox’s second year coaching in Hope Mills, after previously coaching in Gray’s Creek. The all-star team he is taking to Louisiana is composed of players from the four teams in the Hope Mills 8U league. There are eight players from Cox’s regular-season team with four more coming from the other teams in the league.

    Cox said he got input from his fellow coaches and their wives when putting the all-star team together.

    The 8U level in Dixie Youth is what’s known as a coach-pitch league. The players from each team don’t pitch in the games. A coach from each team pitches to his own players when they are at bat while the opposing team is in the field playing defense. There is a pitcher on field with the coach who is pitching, but that pitcher only plays the position as a defender.

    Each batter gets five pitches to try and hit the ball. If the batter strikes out normally on three strikes, that’s an out. If the batter fails to put the ball in play in five pitches, he’s declared out.

    Since there’s no way to scout the opposition before going to the World Series in Louisiana, Cox said he’s focusing on the basics with his team along with trying to raise money any way possible to help pay the team’s many expenses for the 13-hour trip.

    “We are preparing for another tournament, the next six innings of baseball,’’ Cox said. “We keep a level-headed focus with these guys so they don’t see any intimidation factor.

    “We make them feel like, mentally, they can play with anybody. That’s how we approach every practice and every game.’’

    Cox said there have been no changes to the way the team practices, just sticking with fundamental baseball.

    The top two teams in each division of pool play at the World Series will advance to the eight-team double elimination championship bracket. The teams that fail to qualify will be placed in a consolation bracket where they will compete separately before heading home.

    L to R: Coach Jonathan Ransom, Hunter Matthews, Dallas Lupo, Tanner Parrish, Joshua Ransom, Colt Burns, Landon Lusignan, Gavin Bowen, Coach Joshua Lusignan, Noah Reivera, Coach Jesse Cox, Ziriyon Campbell, Aiden Petereson-McAlexander, Corey Cox and Jonathan Lupo.



    Cox’s team has held a number of fundraisers, including seeking corporate sponsors for a banner. If anyone would like to make a last-minute contribution to the team before they leave July 26, contact Cox at 910-308-5524.

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113.

    Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday, July 10, 5 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Board of Commissioners Monday, July 15, 7 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall

    Lake Advisory Committee Tuesday, July 16, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Monday, July 22, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Appearance Commission Tuesday, July 23, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation

    Veterans Affairs Commission Thursday, July 25, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center


    Good2Grow Farmers Market Saturday, Aug. 3, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., between Town Hall and Parks and Recreation Building.

    Hope Mills Area Kiwanis Club at Sammio’s, second Tuesdays at noon and fourth Tuesdays at 6 p.m. For details, call 910-237-1240.

    Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at Parks and Recreation Building. Senior programs are for those ages 55 and up who are residents of Cumberland County. Various activities, especially Zumba classes, are scheduled Monday through Sunday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at townofhopemills.com. You can call the recreation center at 910-426-4109 or e-mail Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

    Hope Mills Parks and Recreation is currently accepting registration for men’s and coed adult softball for the fall 2019 season. Registration will end Aug. 3 or when all leagues are filled, and the season will begin Aug. 12. The cost is $500 per team. For additional information, call 910-308-7651.

    Promote yourself: Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

  • 15Hope Mills Creative Arts CouncilFor the last five years, Elizabeth Blevins has been exploring ways to bring art to the town of Hope Mills. After finding out she wasn’t alone in her quest, Blevins put together a committee that is going to try to make this dream happen. The newly created Hope Mills Creative Arts Council held its first official meetings last month and has as its ultimate goal bringing public displays of art to the community.

    During her search for ways to bring art to the town, Blevins learned about the nearby town of Cameron in Moore County. Some years ago, a Cameron native moved to New York and became a prominent artist. He then returned to his hometown with some artist friends and painted numerous murals on various local buildings. The murals drew many visitors to the town, and Blevins would like to see Hope Mills try something similar.

    “We love art, but art with a purpose,’’ Blevins said. One of the biggest reasons to bring art to a town like Hope Mills, she said, is research shows it can increase both commercial and private property values.

    In addition to increasing property values, art has an effect on citizens. “It makes them proud of their community to know we have this,’’ she said. “When they are proud, they act a little better. They invest emotionally and then financially in their own community.’’

    A spinoff of the art group would also be to promote a garden club and an appearance club that would work one-on-one with property owners to help them beautify their homes and businesses.

    “We want to move forward with that to create an artist’s cooperative where we pair artists with local businesses,’’ Blevins said. “We already have space available and can turn businesses in our community into micro-art galleries.’’

    Blevins said this could also lead to local performances with musicians, comedians, dancers and all manner of entertainment.

    “We want art to be an integral part of daily life in Hope Mills,’’ she said. “We want Hope Mills to be the kind of destination people are willing to drive three hours to visit because of the art.’’

    Karoll McDonald, who runs her own creative marketing agency, reached out to work with Blevins when she first heard about Blevins' idea to bring public art to Hope Mills.

    “Whenever you do things that promote art, it creates a connection with the community,’’ McDonald said. “Whenever people see colors, see art, it gives them a sense of belonging, that they are part of something.’’ 

    McDonald said the committee has already gotten positive response from a number of businesses. “There are a couple of exciting things coming up this year for the people in Hope Mills,’’ she said.

    Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner has attended meetings of the committee and is excited citizens of the town are involved in this project. “They’re so interested and have so many creative ideas,’’ she said of the group. Warner said she has displayed local art in her private business and has sold some pieces created by local artists.

    “We can tap that talent to start with,’’ she said. “The cultural side has not been developed like it should be. I think we need to start promoting (the fact) that we do have some talent here and some creative people here.’’

    Photo:  Some founding members of the Hope Mills Creative Arts Council, left to right: Kenjuana McCray, Beth Cooper, Dennis Brechner, Pat Edwards, Sue Moody, Elizabeth Blevins, Adam Walls, Jim Blevins, Karoll McDonald

  • 12mayorjackiewarnerUp & Coming Weekly asked the mayor of Hope Mills and the members of the board of commissioners to share what they thought the Fourth of July means to their community. We received responses from Mayor Jackie Warner and Commissioners Jessie Bellflowers and Pat Edwards. Here are their replies.

    Mayor Jackie Warner

    Parade, traditions, family, friends, fireworks and homemade ice cream — July Fourth, Hope Mills.

    Like many military families, we moved a lot. But unlike most, we stayed in the Fayetteville area, just different houses — new schools every year while our dad served in other countries.

    When I married and Hope Mills was Alex (Warner’s) home, it became my permanent home finally. So, like many of our retired veterans and active-duty military who find Hope Mills a perfect location to raise a family, I also share that same sentiment.

    What makes Hope Mills special? First and foremost are our people. Our small town offers so much for families — youth programs for all ages, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Adventurers, churches of all religious preferences and the best schools in Cumberland County.

    Family activities, especially around special holidays, we have so many special memories. Christmas parades — some watching with family on the front porch of Countryside Furniture — or participating in the parades, walking among floats and vehicles with scouts, bands or special groups.

    The Festival of Lights at the lake with Christmas carols, hot chocolate and the Christmas story shared by a local minister are times we look forward to every year.

    But a favorite time in Hope Mills has to be the July Fourth special events, which for my family have changed so much over the years.

    The July Fourth parade starts the day off with families lining the parade route wearing patriotic clothes and waving flags.

    Our Countryside Furniture porch has been the place for many to come and watch the parade since 1979. I can still see pictures in my mind of Mac and Pete Warner, Colleen and Milton Smith, Fronnie and Jimmy Jackson, along with friends and neighbors sitting on the porch or in the parking lot.

    Over the years, the faces have changed as our family has grown — Colleen, Milton, Micah and Caleb Smith; Teddy, Tiffany, Parker and Peyton Warner; Molly, Nick, Kate, Cooper and Jackson Capps — share the porch with new neighbors and friends.

    The classic car rides or town float have made the parade trip special, but also sometimes because I wave as we pass the porch that has so many memories.

    The events at the park or lake are also etched in my mind, but not as much as the fireworks display. (Alex's and my) first July Fourth, in 1979, we watched the fireworks from our Hillcrest Street front yard eating homemade ice cream. As our family grew, we moved to Frierson Street, where we watched from our backyard. Then it was on to our current Legion Road home, where we watched from our driveway from 1994-2003. After the dam failed and the fireworks were moved, we watched from various locations. The best display we watched from our back porch, as it was staged at South View High School.

    Traditions such as family cookouts, Christmas in July events and many churns of homemade ice cream are captured in my heart and mind.

    This year, like the past 10 years, we will watch the fireworks display from the Moulder home side yard — never sure how many or who will share the best view ever because we are across Rockfish Road from the park.

    Also, the ice cream churn has to start by 8:30 p.m. to be ready for the show. 

    Patriotism, traditions, family, community, church and schools are why Hope Mills is our home.

    Hope Mills gives our children firmly planted roots in family values, traditions and love of their home. Memories are made every day, but the favorite memories come to mind on July Fourth.

    Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers

    Each year on the Fourth of July, most folks in Hope Mills ask two questions: When is the town parade, and where is the fireworks ceremony.

    In our community, more and more families each year celebrate our nation’s birthday by attending and participating in the parade; and the

    Fourth of July just wouldn’t be the same without a stunning fireworks show in the park.

    On this day, let us recommit ourselves to the principles upon which our great nation was first founded. We must continue to reflect upon the price of freedom and honor America’s brave patriots who gave their last full measure and (those who) defend the freedoms we enjoy today.

    Stand and salute our national colors. Let us renew our sacred pledge that will forever remain: “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’’

    I am honored to stand with thousands of American patriots who have a genuine love of country and willingness to sacrifice everything in their life for it, without regret. Over the past 243 years, it has taken generations of sacrifice to make sure our nation’s independence endures. Those of us who have fought for freedom know all too well the high cost of maintaining the freedoms we enjoy today.

    It has often been said, “A nation’s strength is not measured through military might; it’s measured in the patriotism of its people.’’

    So, on this Fourth of July, please share a love of country and patriotism with your family and friends, but also pause to remember and honor all of America’s patriots who unselfishly sacrificed themselves for us to celebrate our past, our present, our future — our nation’s Independence Day.

    And don’t forget to thank our active-duty members and their families for their bravery, boldness and the courage to protect the core values of America... the very values upon which our great nation was founded 243 years ago. Enjoy a hot dog, hamburger, and raise a glass of celebration to let freedom ring across our great nation.

    Happy Birthday, America.

    Commissioner Pat Edwards

    The Fourth of July means so much to me. It glorifies the freedom and liberty for every man and woman on earth. We commemorated the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. Patriotic displays and family events are celebrated throughout the United States.

    I am proud to be an American. I deeply believe that every day is Veterans Day. Our town will celebrate with a parade, vendors, food trucks (and) activities for children, followed by fireworks. Everyone is welcome. Fun time for all.

    Photo: Mayor Jackie Warner

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113.

    • Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday, July 10, 5 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    • Board of Commissioners Monday, July 15, 7 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall

    • Lake Advisory Committee Tuesday, July 16, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    • Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Monday, July 22, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    • Appearance Commission Tuesday, July 23, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation

    Veterans Affairs Commission Thursday, July 25, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Promote yourself: Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.


    Independence Day Parade and Celebration Thursday, July 4. Parade starts at 10 a.m. near Rockfish Elementary School. Celebration runs from 4-10 p.m. at Hope Mills Municipal Park.

    Good2Grow Farmers Market Saturday, July 6, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., between Town Hall and Parks and Recreation Building.

    Hope Mills Area Kiwanis Club at Sammio’s, second Tuesdays at noon and fourth Tuesdays at 6 p.m. For details, call 910-237-1240.

    Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at Parks and Recreation Building. Senior programs are for those ages 55 and up who are residents of Cumberland County. Various activities, especially Zumba classes, are scheduled Monday through Sunday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at townofhopemills.com. You can call the recreation center at 910-426-4109 or e-mail Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

  • 11policechiefjohnhodgesIt has been 10 years since John Hodges served as the police chief for the town of Hope Mills. But he remained a familiar figure to the people of the small town after his retirement, and they still held him in high regard because of the respect he showed for its citizens.

    Hodges, 84, passed away just over a week ago.

    Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner was a member of the town’s board of commissioners during Hodges’ final years as police chief.

    “If I’m not mistaken, he was at our last board meeting,’’ Warner said. “He would come to board meetings, and you’d always see him at local restaurants.’’

    He had a fun side beyond his role as police chief. “The most unusual thing was when I found out he loved to dance,’’ Warner said. “He traveled all over North Carolina and competed in Fayetteville’s Dancing With the Stars.’’

    While she described Hodges as softspoken, Warner said his interest in the town was genuine. “You always knew he was concerned,’’ she said.

    He was also supportive of his son Chuck Hodges, who currently serves as the town’s fire chief.

    “He grew up in a town kind of like Hope Mills,’’ Chuck said of his father. “He loved Hope Mills. He loved the people. He loved that hometown feeling.’’ Chuck said it was rare for his father to go anywhere in Cumberland County without running into someone who knew him.

    The elder Hodges was an avid sports fan, having played sports in high school and some semipro baseball. He officiated local high school sports as well.

    Neil Buie, regional supervisor of football officials for the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association, said John had a calm, unexcitable demeanor as a football official and that he worked well with coaches.

    “He just brought respect to the football field from his private vocation," Buie said. “John was a good guy. He really enjoyed it.

    Above all, Chuck said his father instilled in his family a sense of the importance of public service. John's son Tim Hodges is a sergeant with the Cumberland County sheriff’s department. His daughter-in-law, Kara Hodges, is a senior assistant district attorney for Cumberland County.

    “Our whole family has been in some form of public service, giving back to the community, helping to protect the community,’’ Chuck said.

    Although John's role as police chief required him to enforce the law, Chuck said, his father won the respect of many people he interacted with who were on the wrong side of the law.

    “I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘Your dad busted me, but he treated me like an individual,’" Chuck said. “I think he was honorable.

    “You might not get the answer you wanted from him, but he would listen to your side. I just think he treated people fairly.’’

    Photo: John Hodges

  • uac071013001.gif Legacy is a word that is often associated with world leaders and business tycoons — teenagers and young adults, not so much. Ryan Patrick Kishbaugh died 10 years ago at the age of 19, leaving a legacy that is still changing lives and helping people. A lot if it has to do with his passion for life and his desire to help people. The rest comes from the love his friends and family share for the young man and their determination to honor his memory and celebrate his life. On July 13, the Ryan Patrick Kishbaugh Memorial Golf Tournament tees-off to celebrate the life of this amazing young man whose journey is a stellar example of a life well lived.

    An exceptional athlete and scholar, Ryan graduated second in his class in high school and had been accepted to Princeton when he was diagnosed with cancer. He fought hard and even wrote a book about his experience. His family continues to celebrate his life and has supported several nonprofits in his honor. This year the RPK Memorial Golf Tournament benefits the Carpe Diem Foundation and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

    “We play in July each year because it is a celebration of Ryan’s life … his birthday is July 26, 1984. The first year it was just family gathering on his birthday and we went out to play golf so we would not drive each other crazy. Chris and Sean (Ryan’s brothers) invited a few of their friends to come along and later commented that it would be a good thing to actually have a tournament and thus the seed was planted,” said Ryan’s dad, and event organizer, David Kishbaugh. “It is still the most fun part of the whole tournament when I see the boys (now 30-ish) picking on each other and everyone else … Each year, I have chosen two charities to receive money from the tournament. Until three years ago, it was always the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and one other (Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation, Autism Society of Cumberland County, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Father’s Foundation), but a few years ago I helped a friend form a non-profit foundation in order to provide college scholarships for student-athletes with chronic medical problems and support other organizations that promote education and research for diseases that affect student athletes. I became the director and the foundation changed its name to the Carpe Diem Foundation in 2012. Monies from the tournament, and other events we hope to establish, will help us create that scholarship and we plan to offer our first scholarships in 2014.”

    Carpe Diem is a Latin term meaning sieze the day. It’s a statement about making the most of every moment and living life well. It’s how Ryan chose to live and how his friends and family remember him.

    According to www.lls.org, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website, in fiscal year 2011 LLS invested more than $76 million in blood cancer research. “When LLS was founded in 1949, a blood cancer diagnosis was almost always fatal. Thanks in part to innovative research funded by LLS, survival rates have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled for blood cancer patients,” the website notes.

    For the past several years, more than 100 people have come out to celebrate Ryan’s life. In fact, last year was the biggest turn out in the tournament’s history with 120 players.

    “This year I anticipate we will be close to that,” said Kishbaugh. “That being said, there is still room for teams to register.”

    The tournament is a captain’s-choice format with prizes for a hole-in-one, longest drive and closest-to-the-pin as well as a putting contest. Each player will receive a coin minted especially for the 10th anniversary of the tournament in addition to golf balls, a water bottle coozie, a T-shirt, tees and other items. Breakfast, snacks and lunch will be catered by the Invisible Chef. Brewmaster Tito Simmons will share some of his craft beverages during lunch.

    While the warm summer weather can get pretty brutal, spirits remain high during the event.07-10-13-golf-tournament.gif

    “Ryan touched a lot of people during his short life. Those that come to play typically knew him personally or knew of him through someone close to him,” said Kishbaugh. “They don’t mind sweating a few pounds and suffering through the heat because as one person said it ‘Ryan (and other kids with cancer) suffered every day and if we can’t give him six hours of our life and be a little uncomfortable, then we don’t deserve to be here.’ A little harsh but a sentiment that many of us share. We are here to make a difference.”

    In making a difference, Kishbaugh is adding a new feature to this year’s tournament. “We are using the event as the launch for the winter season of Team in Training, which is the LLS endurance sport fundraising arm,” said Kishbaugh. “Last year I participated in the inaugural LLS Half-Marathon in San Antonio, Texas (called HeroThon). Although I am embarrassed to say that an injury kept me from running as fast as I wanted or hoped, I have decided to run again.”

    At the registration area and during lunch, there will be alumni of previous Team in Training events available to share their stories and encourage others to sign up and join in the Kiawah Island Half (or Full) Marathon in December 2013. Abby Miller, campaign director for Team in Training, N.C. Chapter will be a special guest at this year’s event. She will share the mission of Team in Training and LLS. Kishbaugh hopes that others will join him in signing up for the race and pledging to make a difference.

    Already looking forward to next year’s RPK Memorial Golf Tournament, Kishbaugh is planning to add a Friday-night birthday party before the golfi ng begins. “Ryan would have been 30 next year,” said Kishbaugh. “I loved Ryan very much. He is my hero.”

    Tee-off is at 8:30 a.m at Cypress Lakes Golf Course. Find out more about the event and register at www.2013rpkmemorial.com or visit www.facebook.com/pages/RPK-Memorial/441475325867617.

    Photo: David Kishbaugh, event organizer and Ryan Kishbaugh’s dad, speaking at last year’s event.

  • 07-10-13-romeo-and-juliet.gifSweet Tea Shakespeare offers theatrical fun for audiences this summer with the classic tragic romance, Romeo and Juliet. Although the theater group is only in its second year of operation, it has garnered a healthy following that continues to grow. Sweet Tea Shakespeare is a collaborative effort between the Fayetteville State University Foundation, the FSU Fine Arts Series, the Gilbert Theater and the Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

    Sweet-tea refreshments coupled with the firefly-laden nights at the botanical garden bring an entertaining, whimsical performance like no other. Free watermelon, sweet tea and lemonade will be plentiful at play performances.

    William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has shaped the world of literature since it was first written in the 16th century. The story revolves around two star-crossed lovers who find themselves trapped between their feuding families. What solution do the two lovers come to in order to conquer life’s difficulties? Difficult decisions, naïve love and endangerment for the name of love run rampant throughout the story. Shakespeare’s style of writing also injects humor into the play in order to raise suspense.

    “He wrote most of his plays for outdoor environments,” Jeremy Fiebig said, director of Romeo and Juliet and the brainstorm behind Sweet Tea Shakespeare. “It allows us to perform the play in its original setting.”

    The botanical garden offers the perfect environment for these kinds of plays, allowing guests to “sit underneath the stars” and enjoy the performance for how it’s meant to be viewed.

    Sweet Tea Shakespeare practices cross-gender casting, meaning gender characters will oftentimes be played by the opposite sex. Sweet Tea Shakespeare is also different by its means of theatrical expression.

    “We started rehearsals in March and we rehearsed it for a couple of weeks without directors,” Fiebig said. “The cast put it together themselves then a couple of weeks later they presented it to the directors.”

    Allowing the cast to formulate its own interpretation of the play allows more artistic freedom to the cast and gives them the opportunity to create scenes in their own way.

    “The thing that draws me to Romeo and Juliet is the great language of the play,” Fiebig said. “There’s a lot of other beautiful language that resonates even today. After you get past the ‘Shakespeare’ barrier it really washes over you.”

    Experiencing the English language as it was centuries ago creates an authentic experience that guarantees to entertain anyone who is a fan of English history.

    The performances will run July 17-21 by the Cypress Pond at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens. The July 20 performance is an indoor matinee. Tickets include admission to the garden and cost $10 for garden members, $12 for non-members, $7.50 for students, $5 for children between the ages of 6 and 12, free for children 5 and younger and $5 for FSU students. Tickets can be purchased on site or reserved by calling 672-1724.

    Photo: Romeo and Juliet brings magic to the Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

  • As the Fayetteville SwampDogs enter the dog days of summer, the team has continued to flourish and find success both on and off the field. In Perfect Game USA’s most recent rankings, the SwampDogs were once again included in the top 30 summer collegiate teams in the nation.

    Fayetteville has been near the top of the overall league standings for the majority of the season, and has continued to remain involved in the local community.

    The team recently held its annual bowling tournament to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. The Dogs teamed up with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage to combine family fun, charitable opportunities and competitive athletics for a day of fun-filled entertainment. SwampDogs staff members, players and fans came out to B&B Lanes on Fort Bragg Road on Sunday, July 15, and hosted what proved to be a successful event for all parties involved.

    Two more events will take place on Saturday, July 21, as the team’s pancake breakfast and Striking Out Cancer Night highlight an exciting Saturday at “The Swamp.” Proceeds from the breakfast will once again benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, as the event gets underway at 8 a.m. Striking Out Cancer Night, presented by Cape Fear Valley Health System, is an opportunity for fans to bid on special pink jerseys that the team will wear during Saturday night’s contest. Fans07-18-12-pink-jersey.gif can bid online leading up to the conclusion of the game, with all of the proceeds benefitting the Friends of the Cancer Center.

    Other games this week include Family Fun Night on Friday, July 20. The first 500 fans will receive the eighth edition of the Fun-Go Bobblehead. On Tuesday, July 24, fans can wear UNC gear for ticket discounts.

    As always, the Miller Lite Liberty Lounge will be open with eight different beers on tap, hot dogs and hamburgers, all for one dollar each. Free popcorn, peanuts and soft drinks are also available throughout the game.

    For information regarding any of the SwampDogs’ upcoming events, visit or call the business office at 426-5900 and get involved today.

    Photo: On July 21 bid on a pink SwampDogs jersey and proceeds help fight cancer.

  • Hip-Hop is alive and well in Fayetteville, N.C. This is something I would not have believed until it was pointed out to me. So Fayetteville, please introduce yourself to Ezzie B and Doomgotbeats, collectively known as Prosthetik Intelligentz.08-01-12-hip-hop.gif

    The group was formed back in April 2010. In that same year they released two mixed tapes that received local and international rec-ognition in the underground world of Hip-Hop. They soon adopted “journeyman-alien” Hip+Hop as an oc-casional member to the group who traveled with them on a trip around the world to help promote their music and ideas. The trip served them with invaluable inspiration for their upcoming projects. Prosthetik Intelligentz planned on working on their third mixed tape when they returned. During the process they met Raleigh-based produc-er Eric “Gravity Movement” Bannister. Quickly they all clicked together and started recording Sounds & Wonders ep.

    Sounds & Wonders ep was released this past winter and contains six songs of head-bobbing smooth Hip-Hop with a message. There’s a heavy influence of New York’s ‘90s Hip-Hop scene all over the album. These guys fit right in with groups like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, maybe even Nas in his early days on the scene.

    The mood is set right from the first track for the ep which isn’t a bad thing since it’s only a six song ep. The album doesn’t drag on and get boring, instead it’s over before you know it and leaves you craving more. The beats are laid back, easy going and spacey sounding with lots of cool breaks and samples. Layered over these beautiful beats are samples from various speakers giving inspiration with Ezzie B’s intelligent lyrics showcasing his plea for people to use their minds for positive actions and his love of music.

    If you’re looking for some club music about random hook ups, pushing dope and taste for extravagant clothing and cars then this is not for you. The intro track to the album, “Sunlight”, features a sample excerpt of a speech from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator where the speaker talks about a world where we all help one another and strive for the happiness and liberty for all mankind. These are the ideas and concepts you will hear on Sounds & Wonders. The lyrics are very positive while slightly touching on some of the darkness and troubles of the real world. Ezzie B has a very nice flow to his rap too which helps deliver his message, making the listeners ears willing and wanting to take in his Andre 3000 meets Pusha T flow.

    Prosthetik Intelligentz is not a group to sleep on. If you’re a fan of Rap and Hip-Hop, you want this album in your collection. It’s especially exciting talent like this coming right out of Fayetteville. For more information and free music from Prosthetik Intelligentz, visit www.prosthetikintelligentz.com. The physical copy of the CD will also come with a bonus disc, The Sade Experience by Doomgotbeats. On this disc Doomgotbeats remixes classic Sade tracks in Prosthetik Intelligentz style. The project was inspired by his recent trip to Africa and the songs sound just as beautiful and classic as Sade herself.

  • Benjamin Franklin is credited with having said that “Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance”. 07-13-11-grapes-and-hops.jpg

    Perhaps local wine-shop owners Teresa Swint and her father, Howard Johnson, “no we don’t own hotels, tee hee” says Swint, had similar thoughts when they decided to open Grapes & Hops on Ramsey Street seven years ago.

    Swint said she had long thought that there needed to be a wine shop on the north end of town. When she and her dad decided to go into business together, it was an obvious choice for them.

    Before opening Grapes & Hops, Swint, an accountant, and Johnson, who retired from hospital administration, admit they knew nothing about wine and beer. With a huge learning curve to overcome, and armed only with a desire for knowledge, they threw themselves in feet fi rst. Becoming masters in their fi eld, their focus now is on their customers.

    Swint says that where wine was once consumed more by retirees, a younger demographic is now embracing the experience.

    “I am not sure why the resurgence,” says Swint. “My only thought is that you can have so many different experiences with wine, reds versus whites, etc., whereas a gin and tonic is a gin and tonic.”

    The wines at Grapes & Hops come from all over the world, however, some, like Duplin, Shelton, Raylen and Dennis originate right here in the Tarheel state. Swint says her store specializes in good customer service and that they will gladly special order wines for their patrons.

    Every Friday the store opens new wines and offers free samples. She adds that by purchasing in a shop that employs wine stewards, you can receive personal recommendations and suggestions.

    If you’re looking for a theme for your next party, Swint says that “wine tastings can be a fun thing to host.”

    Local wine enthusiast, David Evans, and Swint, both, suggest having a theme to your wine-tasting.

    “Cabernets from South America or Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand,” is a good place to start says Swint. She adds that “the difference in growing regions and the taste of the wines would surprise most people.”

    When asked to describe the steps involved in tasting, Evans explains, “before tasting the wine, hold the wine up to a light or against a white background and assess the color. White wines will be pale to golden, depending on its age, whereas red wines will range from light red to almost black. The darker the red, the heavier the fl avor.”

    The next step according to Evans is to “swirl the wine in the glass. After you swirl, look at the sides of the glass and you will see streaks coming down the sides. These are called ‘tears’ or ‘legs’. If the legs come down thin and quick then it’s probably a light and low-alcohol wine. If the legs come down slower and thicker, it’s probably a heavier and higher-alcohol wine.”

    The wine gets swirled again, then it’s time to inhale the wine’s aroma. According to Evans, “If it’s a red wine, it may be earthy and spicy and may be Old-World style, whereas a New-World wine may be fruity.”

    The best step in the process comes next.

    “Taste the wine,” says Evans. “Notice how it feels at the tip of your tongue, in the middle and on the sides of your mouth. Be aware of how long you can taste the wine after you have swallowed it.”

    Both Evans and Swint suggest having food available should you host a wine tasting. Swint says to serve “both soft and hard cheese, plain crackers and fruit.”

    If you prefer trying your hand at making your own wine or beer, Grapes and Hops also sells supplies to get you started. In addition, they make lovely gift baskets that are perfect for every occasion. Visit them at 5407-C Ramsey Street or give them a call at 822-8700 for more information.

    Photo: Grapes and Hops offers a wide array of wines to residents of North Fayetteville.

  • uac073113001.gif Raise your glasses for an all American good time. On August 8, Americans will come together to support and honor the people who make sacrifices for freedom everyday — military service members. Jack Daniels and the USO are collaborating to present Toast to the Troops. The event includes stuffing packages to send to deployed military members. To support and entertain the volunteers, as well as the general public, Fort Bragg MWR will a concert performed by Craig Morgan.

    The day is broken down into three phases. Starting early, 150 volunteers will be ready for stuffing party. The volunteers are a mixture of military spouses, USO volunteers, Jack Daniels employees and friends. Care packages are to be stuffed with the necessities like razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant and sunscreen for 7,500 soldiers down range. In addition to these necessities each package will also contain a “toast” card. These cards contain personal messages for the soldiers that Jack Daniels and the USO have collected. After the stuffing party, the volunteers get to enjoy a nice cookout leading up to the prime entertainment — the Craig Morgan concert.

    Morgan, a sensational country artist, is also an Army veteran. He spent 10 years on active duty and nine years in the Army Reserve. He has participated in eight Toast to The Troops events in Jacksonville, Fla. In a recent press release, Morgan stated, “I’ve said it before, but being part of every Toastevent over the past eight years has been a really rewarding experience for me. Our nation’s service members and their families do so much for us on a daily basis and I hope everyone will come out and join us.”

    He has won fans over with his hit songs “Bonfire,” “Wake Up Loving You,” “Almost Home” and “That’s What I Love About Sunday.”

    Morgan has participated in every Toast to the Troops, a total of 19 since 2005, but this one has a special importance for the singer. During his military career, Morgan was stationed at Ft. Bragg. “I served there when I was active duty in the Army, and I feel a special kinship with those soldiers and their families currently stationed at Fort Bragg. We can’t wait to get there to show them how much they are appreciated and supported.” Morgan said.

    Since the program’s inception, Toast to the Troops events have provided more than 165,000 Operation USO Care Packages to troops overseas. This year is the 20th Toast to the Troops and that is remarkable. Kelli Seely, the USO Senior Vice President of Development and Chief Development Officer said, “Our 20th Toast to the Troops event is a true testament of the dedication and appreciation the Jack Daniels family has for the USO and our nation’s military. We are so grateful for their continuing support to bring a touch of home to those brave men and women serving overseas.”

    U.S. Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) aims to create the best atmosphere for soldiers. The mission is to “serve the needs, interests and responsibilities of each individual in the Army community for as long as they are associated with the Army, no matter where they are. They also seek to bridge the gap between the garrison and the local community, and contribute to the Army’s strength and readiness by offering services that reduce stress, build skills and self-confidence for soldiers and their families. The Family and MWR mission is to create and maintain ‘First Choice’ MWR products and services for America’s Army, essential to a ready, self-reliant force.”

    Here at Fort Bragg, MWR also strives to provide for soldiers and their family members. “We help to improve the quality of life for soldiers and their families by having quality entertainment and free opportunities for the community. Also, we provide service and a secure family-friendly environment at a very affordable cost,” Rhett Stroupe, special events coordinator of Fort Bragg MWR, said.

    Ft. Bragg MWR also holds the Ft. Bragg Fair in May, the July 4th celebration in previous years, the Renaissance Faire in September and other activities and events.

    The concert is free and open to the general public — no ticket is necessary — and lawn chairs and blankets are welcome. It is going to be at the Fort Bragg Fairgrounds. The gates open at 4 p.m. and the concert begins at 5 p.m.

    “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to entertain soldiers and family and help relieve the stressors of military life,” Stroupe said.

    The USO is dedicated to supporting the “spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide,” according to the organization’s website. The USO is a private and nonprofit organization, but the organization works closely with the government, as well as corporate partners and dedicated American citizens, to make all of its programs possible. So, for anyone who would like to support service members the Operation USO Care Package is an effective way to help. Due to heightened security, no packages that are marked “Any Service Member” can be mailed, so the USO ensures that the troops are still able to receive a little comfort from home. Since 2003, two million care packages have been sent overseas by the USO. The organization also offers other programs to support active duty military troops and families. For more information about these programs visit the www.uso.org.

    Please do not bring pets, large bags, coolers, alcohol, glass, backpacks or weapons to the concert or Fair Grounds. For more information contact 495-1437.

  • 07-04-12-_war_veterans_holding_american_flags_m.jpgThe Feeney family is familiar with the military. It’s been their way of life for generations. In fact, it is the military that brought them to Fort Bragg.

    As soldiers the Feeney men have travelled the world defending freedom and carrying out the will of the American people under the orders of various Commanders-in-Chief. Through the years, they’ve never forgotten the people who treated them kindly and shared stories and experiences over a cold one, so it only made sense that once their time in uniform was complete, they would open Feeney’s Irish Pub and offer the same hospitality and experience to friends and fellow service members.

    On July 7 from 4 p.m. – midnight, Feeney’s Irish Pub and Concerned Veteran’s of America invite you to a patriotic welcome-home party in honor of veteran’s.

    “We have been shown a lot of support over the years and this is what we are doing to say thanks, to show we care,” said Donald M. “Buddy” Feeney III. “It’s not just for vets though. It’s for anyone who has served, has supported those who serve or who just wants to come out and have a good time and say thanks to the many generations of the military who have served in our nation’s wars.”

    Entertainment will include Autumn Nicholas, Strong Hold and the Cris Cox Band. Rock 103 is scheduled to broadcast the event live. Drink specials and door prizes are part of the event, too.

    “This is going to be a fun event, everyone is welcome, military or not,” said Feeney. “Next month we are looking forward to honoring military spouses and we hope people will join us for that as well. The sacrifi ces of military spouses are really overlooked a lot of the time and we want to show them how much we appreciate what they do and endure on behalf of their soldiers.”

    Although he is not a politician, Feeney recognizes the value of an informed electorate and the power of the vote, which is why Concerned Veterans for America is participating in this event.

    “Military people have the right to vote by absentee ballot, but sometimes it is not always an easy thing to do. The laws can be confusing and the process is not always as streamlined as it could be,” said Feeney. “The laws change all the time and people never know it. The Concerned Veteran’s of America will have a booth to educate people about the process — not to try and sway them one way or the other on issues or even to register them to vote. They want to educate people about the process and share information with them and make it easier for military members to exercise their right to vote.”

    Voting is just a small part of the CVA mission.

    “In short “Concerned Veterans for America is an organization made up of veterans and family members of veterans who are dedicated to preserving the freedom and liberty we and our families so proudly fought and sacrifi ced to defend,” said Kate Pomeroy, communications director for Concerned Veterans for America. This includes standing for freedom and American strength, getting the country’s priorities straight, defending the American dream and fi ghting for the future. Find out more about CVA at concernedveteransforamerica.org.

    Feeney’s Irish Pub is located at 3624 Ramsey St.

    Photo: Members of the Concerned Veterans of America (shown above) are teaming up with Feeney’s Irish Pub to host a welcome home party for Fayetteville’s veterans. 

  • 15 Alex Scruggs copyHere’s a brief recap of how Cumberland County’s players fared in the annual East-West All-Star football and basketball games held earlier this month in Greensboro in conjunction with the annual North Carolina Coaches Association Clinic. 

    Basketball:Wake Forest-bound Alex Scruggs of E.E. Smith High School was named Most Valuable Player for the East girls’ team as she led her squad to an 81-78 victory. The East built a comfortable 48-35 lead at halftime but had to hold off a strong West rally to get the win.

    Scruggs hit nine of 14 shots from the floor and one of three 3-pointers for a game-high 20 points. She led the East in rebounding with eight. East teammate Kendal Moore of Pine Forest, who’s headed for N.C. State, also stood out with 17 points. She made six of 14 shots, two of six from 3-point range, and grabbed three rebounds. Scruggs and Moore both started in the game. 

    Terry Sanford’s Kate Perko, who will attend Meredith, scored two points and had four rebounds. 

    Pine Forest’s David May got the win as head coach, his final game as a head coach as he will be stepping into an assistant’s role next season.

    16 Kyler Davis copyIn the boys basketball game, Brion McLaurin of Seventy-First and his East teammates had a tough night as they lost to the West 119-80. McLaurin was one of four East players in double figures, coming off the bench to score 11 points on four of nine shooting from the field. He made his only 3-point attempt. He was the East’s No. 2 rebounder with six.

    Football:The East’s Kyler Davis of Seventy-First and Dante Bowlding of Terry Sanford both started and contributed to a dominating 20-8 win over the West All-Stars.

    Davis earned a spot in the East-West All-Star game record book when he threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to Lamont Murray of Pamlico County in the first quarter. That broke the record for longest completed pass in game history by two yards.

    Davis finished with five completions in nine attempts and no interceptions for 116 yards.

    Bowlding started in the secondary for an East defense that totally throttled the West. The West team got no first downs in the game and finished with minus 15 total yards, including minus 36 rushing. 

    The only touchdown the West scored came on a fumble return in the first period.

    Also enjoying the win for the East was Seventy-First head coach Duran McLaurin, who served as an assistant coach on the East staff.

    From top to bottom: Alex Scruggs, Kyler Davis

  • 14 Vernon Aldridge copyAfter consecutive months of record-setting heat in June and July, high school football players and other outdoor fall sports athletes return to the practice fields in force Aug. 1 for the first official day of North Carolina High School Athletic Association preseason workouts. 

    Heat is always a concern for athletes in Fayetteville and Cumberland County, but the string of triple-digit heat index days that were recorded during the last two months makes the challenge of keeping athletes safe in the heat a major focus heading into August.

    Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for Cumberland County Schools, said heat awareness is always a priority for his office and the coaches and athletes he helps to oversee.

    “Every athletic trainer is equipped with a wet bulb, and there’s a heat protocol for what’s supposed to take place at different temperatures on the wet bulb,’’ Aldridge said.

    The wet bulb Aldridge referred to is a specially designed thermometer that is covered with a water-soaked cloth. Used in conjunction with a standard dry bulb thermometer, it measures the relative humidity of the air. The reading warns when precautions, up to and including suspending outdoor practice, should be taken.

    The NCHSAA Handbook requires constant observation and supervision of all athletes at outdoor practices when the wet bulb temperature reaches 88-89.9 degrees. Once it hits 90 or above, all practice should be suspended. If that happens during an actual game, mandatory breaks are required.

    Aldridge said Cumberland County has long adhered to those policies, while also making sure athletes get frequent water breaks and that water is readily available in all practice situations.

    “We have misters that will be out to help keep the players cool,’’ he said. If a true heat emergency takes place, each school needs to have an immersion pool on-site so they can immediately put a player suffering from any symptoms of heat illness in the pool and cool them off.

    Aldridge said that specifically in the case of football, where all the extra equipment increases the danger of heat illness, teams are discouraged from practicing between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

    “Most of our football teams practice either early in the morning or late in the evening,’’ Aldridge said. “If for some reason the heat does come in earlier, I send out emails to the schools letting them know we are going to extend that time to 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. We keep a close eye on the heat index and try to make those decisions to keep the kids safe.

    “That will be our No. 1 priority.’’

    Pictured: Vernon Aldridge

  • 13 Milton BardenIs it possible that it’s been 50 years? Am I really that old?

    Even though the years are piling up, that August of 1969 remains vivid in this aging mind. It was my one and only fling with trying to be a member of a real football team. 

    Let me take you back those 50 years to the North Carolina mountain town of Bryson City. I was fresh from reading "Instant Replay," the classic book by Jerry Kramer of the Green Bay Packers. It recounted his personal observations from the last NFL championship season the Packers enjoyed under the great Vince Lombardi.

    I also bought a book by the legendary Frank Gifford that dealt with the basics of the game of football. How to block. How to tackle. All the important stuff.

    I was ready for battle. So I showed up that first day of practice at Swain County High School’s 1950s-era gymnasium, where our locker room was housed in the basement.

    My coach, the late Milton Barden, was far kinder to me than he should have been. I was about 5-feet-8-inches tall on a good day, weighed all of 180 pounds and had never lifted a weight in my life. In spite of all that, he let me go out for the team. 

    Coach Barden wanted to give us the full training camp experience, just like the professionals, so we actually brought cots and mattresses and sleeping bags to our gym and lived there for two weeks. 

    Twice a day, we boarded our ancient activity bus, lovingly called the Meat Wagon, and rode the half-dozen miles or so to our practice field, a gorgeous place that was an abandoned driving range on a nearby hilltop.

    We would take turns slamming into the seven-man blocking sled, tasked with driving it from one end of the practice field to the other. At the end of the field was heaven, a spigot rising out of the ground with the coldest mountain spring water you could imagine. It felt even colder after a hot afternoon of banging the sled. 

    It was not long after those two weeks were over that I came to the conclusion that the body the good Lord put me in on this Earth was not designed for this kind of activity. So, I went to Coach Barden and asked if he needed someone to be a manager. He kindly gave me the job.

    I spent that year mostly on the sidelines, figuring my playing days were over. We put together a 6-2-1 record going into our final game. Unfortunately, the two losses and the tie were against the three teams we had to beat in our split conference to make the state playoffs.

    That left us with a final game against Towns County, Georgia, a team we were told hadn’t won a game and was down to about a dozen players. So Coach Barden decided to let us and them have some fun. He dressed every able-bodied player on the team, including yours truly, the water boy.

    We all played that final night of the season, and we had one of the highest-scoring games in the history of North Carolina football. I played my part in letting the guys from Towns County have their fun. I let a guy whiz by me on an 80-yard kickoff return, and I tackled another guy three yards into the end zone after he scored the conversion.

    The result was an 81-46 Swain County win. That score is still listed in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association record book if you want to look it up.

    Tomorrow we begin another high school football season in North Carolina. My best wishes to all of the young men who will be taking the practice field. I encourage you all to dream big. Every night you play, you could wind up getting into the record book like my team did — even if you’re not a star.

    Pictured: Coach Milton Barden


    d: Coach Milton Barden

  • 15 1Boxing is a sport that takes a lot of practice, determination and heart. Amateur boxing is a lot like checkers - you never know who you will be competing against, says local boxing coach Juan Verdejo. Professional boxing is like chess because the boxers have time to plan and strategize for their competitors.

    When he trains young boxers at Burgess Boxing & Fitness in Spring Lake, Verdejo said he focuses on speed and endurance. With growth and experience comes control. Verdejo said that speed and control are important because throwing random punches might not land any hits. But endurance helps carry you through the fight.

    “Throw a combo and get out, don’t stick around for the other guy to learn your moves and get hits in,” Verdejo said.

    This is a training focus Coach Verdejo uses when preparing boxers for bouts, like the upcoming Christy Martin Title Belt Tournament scheduled for July 23-25.

    Burgess Boxing & Fitness owner Tony Burgess said he only likes his fighters to fight twice a month because the sport takes a toll on the body. He wants to make sure that his boxers get plenty of rest and recovery. COVID restricted several boxing tournaments and training schedules in the last year, and some gyms shut down. Burgess and Verdejo are glad to see competitions restarting as more pandemic restrictions are being lifted.

    “My favorite fights to see are little kids and the girls because they really get in there and fight. There isn’t a lot of dancing around,” said Burgess.

    His gym offers training to all interested in learning the sport of boxing. Participating in tournaments in not required, but many do. Verdejo said he enjoys helping young boxers learn and participate. For many, boxing is an outlet that gives them purpose and a positive outlet.

    The Christy Martin Title Belt Tournament will take place July 23-25 at Freedom Courts Sportsplex located at 3126 Gillespie St. in Fayetteville. Local boxers will have the opportunity to compete against other amateur boxers from across the state.

    The public is invited to attend the tournament. For more information call 910-890-5534.

    The tournament is named for Christy Martin, a worldwide sensation in the boxing ring. Martin is often credited with legitimizing women’s boxing. Martin had 49 wins (31 by knockout) when her then-husband and trainer, Jim, put her in the fight of her life. In 2010, he attacked Christy in their home when she tried to leave him. Jim stabbed Christy several times and shot her. Christy was able to get out of the house and flag down a passing motorist who took her to the hospital. Christy survived and was able to testify against Jim, helping to convict him. Jim remains in prison in Florida.

    Christy Martin will be in Fayetteville this week and is scheduled to speak at Rape Crisis of Cumberland County. The public is invited to hear her story of survival at 6 p.m. on July 22. Rape Crisis of Cumberland County is located at 519 Ramsey St.

    Pictured above: (Left) Gym owner Tony Burgess, far right, poses with a fighter and training team after a bout.

    Pictured Below: (Right) Coach Juan Verdejo, on right, trains boxers of all ages to compete in the ring.


    16 8

  • IMG 20190624 130449 01Of the four Hope Mills teams headed to a Dixie Youth World Series over the next several days, the one with the biggest challenge is the 12U Ponytails softball squad.
    That’s because they just captured their state title last week and have had the shortest time to raise money to help cover the nearly 13-hour trip plus lodging and food for the 12 players on the team and their coaches and families coming along.
    “My biggest concern is some of the families having to bear the financial burden after having a short turn from having to be in Wilmington for a week,’’ said head coach Steven Welsh. “Competition wise, I put this team up against anybody else.’’
    The team has relied on its ability to play well together during the run through the district and state tournaments, Welsh said.
    The top offensive stars are catcher Jordynn Parnell and third baseman Kaylee Cook.
    Parnell has a .731 batting average with six runs batted in while Cook is hitting .550 with 13 runs batted in.
    Paige Ford and Annie Ratliff head a deep pitching staff for the Hope Mills team. Ford has recorded 13 strikeouts in 14 innings while Ratliff has 18 strikeouts in 12 innings.
    Welsh said the team’s biggest strength may be defense. “They are a very tough team to score on,’’ he said.
    The town of Hope Mills is having a sendoff Wednesday at 5 p.m. for all four Dixie Youth teams that will be headed to World Series play.
    The event will be held at the field at Municipal Park immediately behind the Parks and Recreation Building.
    There will be live raffles for gift coupons from local businesses along with a 50/50 drawing to help raise money for the trip.
    “I’m really excited for these young ladies,’’ Welsh said. “They’ve played superb and hard to get here. I’m just excited for these girls to play on a stage of this magnitude at this age.’’
    Front row (left to right): Saniyah Leach, Alexis Walters, Annie Ratliff, Ruby Minshew, Madalyn Clark, Kayleigh Brewington
    Second row (left to right): Jamya Harris, Jordynn Parnell, Hannah Welsh, Paige Ford, Kaylie Cook, Carly Bailey
    Back row (coaches left to right): Tadd Minshew, Steven Welsh, Chris Bailey
  • 22 Max Greene faces Greensboros Emery AlexanderFencing is not a sport targeted toward any particular age, gender or social status, and Coach Gerhard Guevarra believes it offers a place for everyone.

    The All-American Fencing Academy of Fayetteville offers great opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to learn the sport of fencing.

    “Our academy is not some big sports program, this is a place for people of all different athletic backgrounds,” said Coach Guevarra, also the owner of the Academy. “Most people come to us because their child or themselves wanted to do fencing and didn’t know there was a spot in Fayetteville to do that. All we can say for those who don’t know fencing or are skeptical about it, ‘hey come try it out,’” he said.

    The All-American Fencing Academy is an official registered school of USA Fencing and the North Carolina Division of USA Fencing.

    Guevarra has been coaching since 1999, and brought fencing to Fayetteville through the Pine Forrest Recreational Center. In 2008, he moved the program downtown to open his fencing studio, the All-American Fencing Academy. Guevarra continues to compete nationally and internationally. He competed in the 2006 Vancouver World Cup and has won several North Carolina Division Championships.

    Students at the Academy can compete locally, regionally and nationally. Some have qualified for National Championships and some have qualified for Junior Olympics. Some fencers have been recruited and continue to fence for Division I, II, and III university fencing teams.

    The All-American Fencing Academy currently has between 30 to 40 students ranging from the lowest age of 7 up to students in their 60s. The beginner classes start on the first week of the month and are for those who have never fenced before. This class teaches the basics, history and proper blade work for fencing. There is a membership option for students who want to continue to pursue fencing, which offers one scheduled class and additional open fencing nights.

    The Academy also offers a class for adult learners too — the 40+ class — for those who are interested in the art of fencing but didn’t realize it until later in life.
    Private lessons are available based on coach availability.

    For those who are just looking for something new and fun to do in Fayetteville, or maybe want to learn more about fencing before committing to a class, the Academy offers a Fourth Friday walk-in class every month, except July. Anyone ages 7 and older can participate for just $10 a student.

    All-American Fencing is located at 207B Donaldson St. in downtown Fayetteville. For more information call 910-644-0137, email info@allamericanfencing.com or visit www.allamericanfencing.com/#welcome.

    21 usafencing just logo no words transparent b 87x100

  • Editor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

    17 1 Ezemdi UdohTerry Sanford football coach Bruce McClelland lost 52 seniors over the last two seasons. His new team begins fall practice Aug. 1.

    “We’ve got a ton of young guys and new guys,’’ McClelland said. “We’ve got a lot of holes to fill in key positions.’’

    Fortunately, there’s some talent returning at a couple of key spots that should make things easier. Among the biggest returners is an experienced quarterback, Jacob Knight, who’s been waiting in the wings behind past stars Christian Jayne and Davidjohn Herz.

    “He’s been good enough to play the last two years,’’ McClelland said of Knight. The fact that both Jayne and Herz are now playing minor league baseball is a good indication of the level of talent McClelland has enjoyed at the quarterback position.

    Another player who will have to step up his game is running back Dorian Clark, who shared ball-carrying duties with Leonard “Flo” Mosley. 

    Both Clark and Mosley ran for 1,000 yards last season. Clark had 1,662 yards to Mosley’s 1,423. Clark scored 13 touchdowns, Mosley 15.

    “Dorian will have to tote the ball a little bit more with Flo gone,’’ McClelland said. Helping to block for him will be returning lineman Roscoe Blue.

    Two key All-Patriot Athletic Conference players return on defense, lineman Elijah Morris and linebacker Jackson Deaver.

    17 2 Elijah MorrisMorris, a defensive tackle, said spring practice has been about fitting new players into open positions and getting back to the goal of winning the conference title.

    “I think we could really be a good team this year,’’ he said. “There’s a lot of leadership at every position.’’

    He added teamwork is the key. “Instead of depending on one person for the whole team, we can play off each other’s strengths,’’ he said. “Working together. That’s the main thing.’’

    One of the biggest players back is tight end and defensive end Ezemdi Udoh. Honorable mention all-conference at tight end last year, Udoh’s stock rose sharply after the season because he received more than a dozen college scholarship offers. He has orally committed to North Carolina State University.

    It likely didn’t hurt Udoh that his brother Oli from Elon was taken by the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL draft.

    “He’s 6-feet-5 and already up to 240 pounds,’’ McClelland said of Ezemdi Udoh.

    McClelland expects another close race for the Patriot Athletic Conference title. “I think it’s going to be deeper this year,’’ he said. “I really think Douglas Byrd and Westover are making strides. It’s anybody’s conference.’’

    Pictured top to bottom: Ezemdi Udoh, Elijah Morris

  • 17 IMGL0435The National Day of the Cowboy is one where people can remember and celebrate America’s cowboy culture and pioneer heritage. Recognized on the fourth Saturday in July, National Day of the Cowboy honors the American cowboy, often a symbol of freedom and adventure. Created in 2005 by the National Day of the Cowboy Organization, the day celebrates cowboy culture in the American West associated with the years following the Civil War.

    One of the important jobs performed by 19th-century cowboys was to drive cattle from Texas northward to Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming. At the time there wasn’t a direct railway line that connected Texas with the Northern and Eastern portions of the U.S. Cowboys often used cattle trails to move up to 3,000 heads of cattle at a time.

    Cowboys would move cattle along the cattle trails to the towns known as cow towns in Kansas. They would also use the Chisholm Trail to move cattle north of the Mexican border to Abilene. Other trails included the Shawnee Trail that led to St. Louis, and the Great Western Trail that led to Dodge City.

    National Day of the Cowboy recognizes that cowboys were more than just cattle herders. They were people who truly loved adventure and the land. Cowboys were often seen as loyal and willing to work hard.

    The folks at 7 Branch Farm in Lumber Bridge continue to celebrate the American cowboy each year. The public is invited to join 7 Branch’s seventh annual National Day of the Cowboy event on July 23 and 24. The 7 Branch Arena hosts the only sanctioned professional rodeo close to the Fayetteville area. The event will show what it truly means to be a cowboy/cowgirl and to live by the code.

    The rodeo will recreate events from the Old American West including bucking horses, calf roping, mounted shooting and more. This year the rodeo is bringing back barrel races where professionally skilled horseback riders attempt to run a cloverleaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time. There are estimated to be about 100 competitors in this year’s rodeo. The preshow event will take place at 5:30 p.m. with live entertainment from country singer/ songwriter Tyler Tew. There will also be bounce houses, pony rides and more from the kids. The main show will start at 8:00 p.m.

    This year, like others in the past, tickets are selling fast. “We encourage rodeo fans, and those wanting to come out to purchase tickets online and get here early,” said Buddy Blackman. The rodeo will have bleachers but will fill up quickly, so people are more than welcome to pull up a chair in the lawn seating area. This event is family-friendly, so no alcohol will be sold or permitted on the property.

    7 Branch was started by Blackman’s father, Ron Payne. The family-run farm started with only eight acres. Today, 7 Branch has 30-plus acres and hosts several rodeos and training events every year. When approached by the National Day of the Cowboy Organization to start a rodeo in North Carolina, there was no hesitation for 7 Branch. Part of the rodeo’s proceeds benefits Cape Fear Valley’s Friends of the Cancer Center, which 7 Branch has supported for several years.

    Tickets can be purchased online at www.dayofthecowboync.com or at the gate. Tickets are $15 per person, and kids 3 years old and under get in free. 7 Branch Arena is located just outside Hope Mills at 62 McGougan Road in Lumber Bridge. For more information, call 910-813-7881.

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  • 16 zyon McEachinEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

    After back-to-back 0-11 seasons, Douglas Byrd finally got in the win column last year with a 4-7 record that included 3-5 in the Patriot Athletic Conference. While head coach Mike Paroli was glad to see some improvement, he’s concerned that building on the positives of last season will be difficult this fall.

    “We really only have eight returners off that team and only four seniors,’’ he said. “We had some great seniors that will be difficult to replace. And we have the production of Earlee Melvin, which is very difficult to replace.’’

    Melvin, who came to Byrd from Cape Fear, sparked the Eagle offense a year ago with a Cumberland County Schools best of 1,713 yards from scrimmage and 20 rushing touchdowns.

    There will be a big load on four-year starter John Carroll, a versatile player who could be at quarterback, running back or wide receiver for the Eagles.

    As a running back last season, he gained 266 yards and scored three touchdowns.

    Alton Simmons, another Cape Fear transfer, will also be counted on at running back. He rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns for Cape Fear last season.

    Another key returner is Zyon McEachin in the offensive line, who will man the left tackle position.

    “This year we’re trying to continue the legacy Coach Bob Paroli built and trying to give Coach Mike Paroli a legacy to build on,’’ McEachin said. “We want to make our record better than we had last year.’’

    McEachin said the current Byrd football team is committed to growing the program. “We want to try to get connected to the middle schools so we can have some middle schoolers come over and help build the team, make the population better on the team,’’ he said. “We have to replace the players that are moving on, fill in the spots.’’

    McEachin said the goal for this year is to be a better role model for the younger players. “We want to leave a good footprint on the field so they have someone to look up to when we move on,’’ he said.

    Paroli expects the Patriot Athletic Conference to again be a tough league. “You’ve got the 4-A teams (South View and Pine Forest) and then Cape Fear and Terry Sanford, which in reality are still 4-A teams,’’ he said.

    He’s not sure Byrd will be a serious contender for the state playoffs this season. “I don’t think we’re in that conversation yet,’’ he said.

    “Maybe the year after this one, with only four seniors starting, we should return most of the team, if we can get a good ninth grade class in here and keep them with us.’’

    Pictured: Zyon McEachin


  • 15 DSC 0515Fayetteville Cumberland County Parks & Recreation offers a number of activities to get out and enjoy nature. Clark Park & Nature Center is located at 631 Sherman Drive. For more information call 910-433-1579.

    Bug Safari at StoryWalk® Clark Park
    Explore reading along a stretch of trail near the playground. Stands tell the story of “Bug Safari” by Bob Barner. Funded by the Women’s Giving Circle of Cumberland County, a fund of Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc. Available Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to sunset. Free and suitable for ages 3-6.

    Small Wonders From the Mountains to the Sea: A Diorama of Miniatures by Wildlife Artist Joe Morgan
    Find all the tiny critters nestled in this work of art and take home a prize. Available during Center Hours: Available Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

    Animal Feedings
    Alligators chomping, snakes swallowing, and turtles snapping, come see what is for dinner at the nature center. Call to register. Wednesdays on July 21, 28 and Aug. 4, 11 from 3-4 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

    Marvels of Moths
    While butterflies may be better known, after the sun goes down the night belongs to their relatives, the moths. There are far more species of moths than butterflies and they live fascinating lives. Learn about the importance of moths in the environment, how they survive, and about some of the many different kinds that call North Carolina home. Part of National Moth Week and Moth Night. Call to register. Saturday, July 24 from 7-8 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

    Moth Night!
    Clark Park’s woods often yield giant silkworm moths like the Luna and Polyphemus. Come hear about how moths differ from butterflies, how to attract and trap moths for identification and study, and see what we can catch at Clark on this night. Moth Night is part of National Moth Week, a celebration of moth diversity, beauty, life cycles and habitats. Call to register. Saturday, July 24 from 8-10 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

    Homeschool Discovery Series: Reptiles and Amphibians
    These free programs are designed with homeschoolers in mind to help supplement their curriculum. Call to register. On Aug. 5 from 10-11:30 a.m. discover what makes reptiles different from amphibians through this hands-on experience.

    For more information on what programs and events are available at parks throughout Fayetteville and Cumberland County visit www.fcpr.us/

  • 16Jarrod BrittThe apprenticeship is over for Jarrod Britt at Pine Forest High School. Now he’s ready for the spotlight at Cape Fear.

    After 10 years helping Tom Willoughby with the Trojan baseball team and another four guiding girls tennis to success, Britt has been named the head baseball coach at Cape Fear. He replaces longtime Colt head coach Wendell Smith.

    Britt said that when he began his coaching career a decade ago, his ultimate goal was to become a head baseball coach. When the Cape Fear job came open, he conferred with Willoughby and then applied for the position.

    Cape Fear’s tradition in baseball, which includes a state 3-A championship in 1994, had a lot to do with his decision. “There’s a lot of excellence (there) when it comes to baseball,’’ Britt said. “I have a lot of friends that teach there, too, so I knew it was a really good place to work.’’

    Cape Fear is in a transition phase with its administration. Former South View and Scotland High School Principal Brian Edkins will be coming aboard to replace current Cape Fear Principal Lee Spruill.

    “It was a plus when I found out Brian Edkins is going to be the principal,’’ Britt said. “He’s just a good guy, (a) really down to earth, honest person that I think I’m really going to enjoy working for.’’

    The only bad thing about the timing of Britt’s hire is it won’t allow him to get in any summer work with his new team. The week of July 15-20 is the final dead period for high school coaches in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association to work with athletes this summer. By the time they return from that, the official start of football practice on Aug. 1 is looming.

    “You don’t want to run into football season," Britt said. "You’ve got guys that want to play football, and they want them to be able to throw their full attention to that.

    “Once the school year gets started and the first dead period is over, you get started with workouts. I want to make sure I have a chance to meet all the guys and kind of figure out what the program is going to look like.’’

    Britt said he has high expectations for his first season at Cape Fear. “I’ve heard really good things from the people that were in the program and from the Mac Williams (Middle School) coach that had a pretty good class last year,’’ Britt said. “I’m excited about some of the guys coming up.’’

    Britt said his first job will be to make his players understand they need to dedicate themselves to the game, while reminding them that it is a game and they shouldn’t let baseball alone define them.

    “You play the game because you enjoy playing the game,’’ he said. “When you don’t enjoy playing the game anymore, you get off the field. If you don’t have fun, you’re not going to be successful.’’

    Britt said he hopes to build relationships with his players and let them see how hard he works so they’ll be motivated to give him everything they have as well.

    “Players want to play for guys that they enjoy being around and that they respect,’’ he said. “It’s building a foundation with them so right off the bat they know what I’m all about.’’

    Photo: Jarrod Britt, pictured, replaces longtime Colt head coach Wendell Smith.

  • 10 rockn logo jpegThe Rock’n On The River concert series continues in July with two bands that are sure to keep the audience singing and dancing along. The July 16 show will feature Joyner, Young & Marie at 6 p.m. and Heart Breaker at 8:15 p.m. Both groups are known for vocal powerhouse performances of rock ‘n’ roll hits.

    Bill Joyner, Dan Young and Marie Grimsley make up Joyner, Young & Marie, a local band that has been performing for more than 30 years. No stranger to area festivals and events, Joyner, Young & Marie performs their own music and covers of rock ‘n’ roll hits from the likes of Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton and Aretha Franklin, among many.

    “My favorite memory with the band was when our song ‘Live the Blues’ from our first CD ‘Full Circle’ made number one in the beach charts and got to perform at the Cammy Awards [Carolina Beach Music Awards],” said lead singer Marie Grimsley. The band is currently working on releasing another CD in the near future. Grimsley said the band enjoys performing together and bringing back the rock hits that everyone knows and enjoys.

    Also performing will be Heart Breaker, a Heart tribute band, featuring Staci McBeth and Joan Burton, backed by a talented band of musicians. Although based in North Carolina, Heart Breaker tours nationally with the goal of playing each song with respect and true passion for the original. They not only perform the Heart classics such as “Alone,” “What About Love,” and crowd favorite “Barracuda,” but they also give the audience a taste of Led Zeppelin hits that Heart often played on tour as well.
    The Rock’n On The River concert series was created in 2015 starting with three shows. The popularity of the series and demand for live entertainment helped increase the number of shows each season. This year, the series has been hosting a concert each month from May until October.

    Each concert this season showcases a different genre of music, bringing together different crowds of people for a good time with friends and family. Rock’n On The River is located at 1122 Person St. in Fayetteville, (behind Deep Creek Grill).

    Parking for the event opens at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 6 p.m. Parking costs $5 per person in each vehicle. Outside food and beverages are prohibited, but can be purchases on site. Pets are also not allowed onto the concert grounds.

    Rock’n On The River is a free event sponsored by Healy Wholesale, Bob 96.5 FM radio, and Up & Coming Weekly.

    For more information visit www.facebook.com/Rockn-On-The-River-271048666818630/

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  • 15FultzSouth View track athlete Isaiah Fultz made history and won a state championship earlier this year in a rented wheelchair with a flat tire. Now the school is trying to get him a chair he can call his own.

    Fultz, who was left paralyzed after a childhood car accident, became the first Cumberland County athlete to compete and win an event in the wheelchair division of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A track meet this spring. He won in the 100-meter wheelchair division with a time of 21.91 seconds.

    So far, Fultz has been competing in a rented wheelchair that costs $150 a month. In addition to the cost of renting the chair, he had to spend additional money for repairs during the recent track season.

    The week of this year’s state championship meet proved to be a nightmare for Fultz, South View athletic director Chad Barbour and South View track coach Jesse Autry. The Monday of the state track meet, Fultz had a tire to blow out on his wheelchair. Barbour took it to a local vendor, who promised to have it repaired in time for the meet. The day of the meet, the vendor had not received the new tire for the chair, and it wasn’t ready. Barbour and Autry picked it up and did the best they could to patch the tire so Fultz could race.

    “He actually could have raced a lot faster,’’ Barbour said after Fultz won in his broken chair.

    So this summer, Barbour began pricing racing wheelchairs and found one that sold for $3,055. Barbour started a fundraiser for the chair, but so far has only raised $150.

    Barbour said the investment in the chair on Fultz’s behalf would be worth it to potential donors. “He’s the type of kid, if you get him what he needs, he’s going to be out there putting in the work,’’ Barbour said. “He’s as determined a young athlete as I’ve ever seen. He’s just a great kid who inspires me to do my job better.’’

    Donations of any amount are welcome and can be dropped off at South View High School during normal summer business hours or mailed to Barbour at the school mailing address: 4184 Elk Rd., Hope Mills, NC 28348.

    Barbour said checks should be made out to South View High School/Chad Barbour.

    Photo: Isaiah Fultz currently relies on a rented chair for racing

  • 14Randy FranklinEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

    The hashtag on the most recent tweets from the E.E. Smith High School football Twitter account succinctly state the focus of the Golden Bulls' 2019 season: #RevengeTour19.

    Smith endured a 0-11 season in 2018, closing the year with an agonizing 70-20 defeat to Cumberland County rival Westover. After that kind of year, head coach Deron Donald said it would have been no surprise if some players wanted to get off the boat. He said he’s not seen any signs of that.

    “I can honestly say these guys have done a great job staying together and wanting this program to get back where it needs to be,’’ he said. “That’s a big thing for us now.

    "When you get knocked down, it’s how you get back up and respond. This is not only a challenge for the players but for myself, the coaching staff and the E.E. Smith community.’’

    Donald said the Golden Bulls are working hard to fix things and rebuild. He’s counting heavily on the incoming senior class to buy into the guidance of the coaches, get stronger in the weight room and realize they have a chance to be special.

    “When you go 0-11, you’ll be the group that turned it around,’’ he said. “You’ll always be remembered in the history of E.E. Smith. We’re trying to stay positive, letting our guys know they learn from what happened last year. How you learn and grow and build from it, that’s how a man is measured.’’

    Donald spent the bulk of spring practice getting everything installed offensively and defensively. “We’re still going to have to teach during the summertime, but that way we’ll have things already installed,’’ he said. “We can get a lot more things implemented going forward.’’

    Getting the team in shape has also been a focus and will continue to be one. Donald said being healthy is critical for his team.

    “We’re probably the smallest high school in Cumberland County from a numbers perspective,’’ he said. “One of the main things is being in shape and staying strong. I believe we have a group that can compete with anybody inside or outside Cumberland County, but we have to stay healthy because of lack of numbers.’’

    Two big losses Smith has to replace this season are leading rusher Jaylyn Locklear and leading receiver Toshiro Spivey, who both graduated.

    Donald said the whole senior class must step up for Smith this season. “Everybody will have a role to play and a part to play,’’ he said. “It’s their team, and we’re expecting those guys to lead this team and do what they’re supposed to do to get us back in position to compete for a conference title and make the playoffs.’’

    Top returners for Smith include Marquel Samuel at linebacker and defensive end and Randy Franklin at defensive back and running back.

    Donald said both players are being recruited by colleges and have offers on the table. “When you have that type of publicity, I definitely expect you to make plays and be great leaders for the program,’’ Donald said.

    Franklin, who recently got an offer from Alabama A&M University, said he feels the Golden Bulls need to get more leadership from the seniors this season.

    “We have to set an example for everyone,’’ he said. “That was something we really lacked last year. We have to be stronger, get more disciplined, and everyone has to come together as a team.’’

    He said players are trying to learn positions on both sides of the ball so lineups can be more flexible and give starters a chance to rest.

    He expects the Patriot Athletic Conference race to be challenging again. “There are some great teams out there,’’ he said. “South View, Pine Forest, great teams. We’re going to give them some competition this year.’’

    Photo: Randy Franklin

  • 20David MayThe North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star games are scheduled July 15-16 in Greensboro in conjunction with the annual North Carolina Coaches Association Clinic.

    Following are capsule biographies of the Cumberland County coaches and athletes who were selected to compete in this year’s game. This list was current as of press time, but players can be added or dropped up to the week of the games, depending on availability.

    Basketball: Girls

    Monday, July 15, 6 p.m., Greensboro Coliseum

    • Coach: David May, Pine Forest 

    East girls head coach.  This will be May’s final game as head coach. Stepping down after coaching both girls and boys at his high school alma mater, Pine Forest. Career record of 298-199 in 19 seasons. Teams won two regular-season conference titles, two conference tournament titles and made 11 trips to state playoffs. Three-time conference Coach of Year. Also Cape Fear Region and District Coach of the Year. Played college basketball at University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

    • Players:

    Kendal Moore, Pine Forest: 5-6, guard Named Associated Press All-State. Second team North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association All- State. All-Conference, Conference All-Tournament, All-District. Played in the North Carolina-South Carolina All-Star game. Averaged 24.6 points, 4.5 assists. Headed to North Carolina State on scholarship, where she will major in biology.

    Alexandria Scruggs, E.E. Smith: 6-0, forward Associated Press All-State and North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association All-State. District Player of the Year. Led team in scoring with 26.2 points per game and rebounding with 12.8 per game. Member of E.E. Smith Academy of Scholars. Will attend Wake Forest on scholarship and major in health and exercise science.

    Kate Perko, Terry Sanford: Forward, 5-11: All-Conference and All-Tournament. Averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds per game. Scored 1,181 career points. Member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society and National Latino Honor Society. Will attend Meredith on a scholarship. Her mom, Amy Privette Perko, played for the West All-Stars in 1983.

    Basketball: Boys

    Monday, July 15, after girls game, Greensboro Coliseum


    Brion McLaurin, Seventy-First: 6-7, forward All-Conference, Conference Player of the Year, All-District, District Player of the Year, Ike Walker Holiday Classic MVP. Averaged 17.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Earned scholarship to Chowan University, where he will major in sports and fitness management.


    July 17, 8 p.m. at Grimsley High School’s Jamieson Stadium

    • Coach: Duran McLaurin, Seventy-First

    East assistant coach. In six seasons at his alma mater Seventy-First, McLaurin is 56-18. His career record is 82-44. Teams have won two conference titles with nine state playoff appearances in 11 seasons. Played college football and basketball at North Carolina Central. Has also been a head coach at E.E. Smith and assistant coach at Westover, South View and Seventy-First.

    • Players:

    Dante Bowlding, Terry Sanford: 5-10, 180, defensive back Named All-Region and All-Eastern. Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Had 172 tackles, 80 solos, five tackles for loss and five interceptions. Alltime school leader in tackles with 419. Will attend University of North Carolina at Pembroke on scholarship and major in exercise science and physiology. 

    Kyler Davis, Seventy-First: 6-1, 208, quarterback All-Conference and team Offensive Player of the Year. Passed for 5,829 yards, 55 touchdowns and rushed for 2,262 yards and 24 touchdowns for his career. Volunteer at McNair Foundation. Active member of Spring Branch Missionary Baptist Church. Undecided on college choice.

    Photo: David May

  • 19South View track1South View track and cross country coach Jesse Autry got a phone call recently that nearly brought him to tears. One of his assistant coaches told him work had finally begun on installing a rubberized track at the South View football field.

    It was a successful completion of an arduous process Autry has been chasing for years, culminating in a fundraising effort he championed on Facebook.

    Autry wanted to praise everyone who helped. “I can’t say enough at what Dr. (Tonjai) Robertson, Chad Barbour and Vernon Aldridge and everyone has done,’’ he said. Robertson is the South View principal, Barbour the school’s athletic director and Aldridge the student activities director for Cumberland County Schools.

    “People have pitched in from our community, and alumni from our teams,’’ Autry said. “It’s really been something.’’

    There is still going to be a little more money needed to finish the project completely. What’s been raised so far only covers the track. To be able to host meets at South View, the school will need to upgrade the jumping pits for events like the long jump and high jump.

    “I know that the powers that be are working to make it a complete facility,’’ Autry said. “I can tell the effort is there, and they are trying to make sure the money is there.’’

    The rubberized track will replace an asphalt one South View has had since 2002. While asphalt is better than the dirt tracks still used at some Cumberland County schools, Autry said it was rough on the legs of his runners. “We’ve had to run in the zero lane, as we call it, which means in the grass on the inside (of the track),’’ Autry said.

    “You begin to realize rubber is a safer surface. Rubber is also faster. On asphalt, when kids try to wear spikes, they slip.’’

    Autry said the new track will pay for itself because South View can host major meets and get teams to travel to run there. “People aren’t going to drive three hours to race on an asphalt track,’’ he said. “Hosting big meets means making money.”

    Athletic director Barbour said the company installing the track has a 90-day contract that started June 10. The plan is to have the new track finished by Aug. 23, before South View’s first home football game.

    Barbour said the installation won’t interfere with South View’s fall sports practices. Both the South View football and soccer teams have practice fields independent from the football field where work on the new track will be taking place.

  • 18Taurienne FreemanEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

    Ernest King took over as Westover head football coach late in the offseason development period last year, making his challenge to field a competitive football team even more difficult.

    He responded by guiding the Wolverines to a 4-7 record. Now, with more than a year working on the program behind him, he’s optimistic about this fall’s outlook.

    “The biggest thing is we’ve got the majority of our offensive line back,’’ he said. “We’ve got our running backs back, and our receiving corps is back.’’

    There is one big hole to fill on offense with talented quarterback Xavier Marsh departed.

    “Our receiver corps has to make our quarterback look good this year,’’ King said. “When the ball is in the air, we’ve got to attack it.’’

    Most of the defense returns, highlighted by linebacker Taurienne Freeman. 

    “He’s our leader on defense,’’ King said. “He finished last year with 169 tackles. We expect him to do the same thing this year, lead us even more and hopefully get us to the playoffs.’’

    Freeman said the focus for Westover this season is being more disciplined and knowing assignments on the field along with getting in the weight room every day.

    He said things are already ahead of last year. “Everybody is finally developing as a team,’’ he said. “Everything is starting to fit in. We’re building a brotherhood and building a bond with the coaches, too, so we’re pretty good with that.’’

    When it comes to returning the Wolverines to winning football, Freeman said the job for the team is obvious. “Playing hard football,’’ he said. “That’s the only way we’re going to get it back. We’ve got to come out here, play everybody hard and win. That’s how we are going to get our respect back.’’

    King is expecting another tight battle for the Patriot Athletic Conference title and hopes the Wolverines will have a chance to be in the picture.

    “Everybody is learning the system so when we go into summer all we are doing is getting repetitions instead of doing a lot of teaching,’’ he said. “We’ve got our coaching staff, and a majority of the kids have shown up for spring ball. We won’t lack experience.’’

    Photo: Taurienne Freeman

  • 16 N2107P34005HJane Fonda made the motto “No Pain No Gain” famous in the 1980’s with her exercise videos that became widely used in marketing fitness campaigns. Even though Jane Fonda received the credit, the term “No Pain No Gain” was coined by Benjamin Franklin when he wrote “There are no gains without pain.”

    Over three hundred years ago he might be considered the first fitness guru. He felt that exercise was the reason for continued health and should be done forty minutes a day.

    Pain is not an indication in exercise that you are pushing to the max and achieving your goals. Mild discomfort is acceptable but when pain occurs your body is telling you to stop before an injury occurs.

    As exercise science has progressed many of the ways we approached fitness are now different. Still, some of the beliefs are now myths, here are a few.

    Can you target specific areas for fat reduction? The answer is no. If you do countless sit ups for your abs you will gain muscle in that area, but the fat area remains. Our genetics play a role in how we store fat, and we lose it in the reverse order that it was accumulated. Weight loss and muscle gain result from diet and exercise. You cannot out exercise an improper diet.

    If women lift weights, they will get bulky. Very few women can gain the same bulk as men do because they are smaller and have lower levels of testosterone.

    Weight and resistance training are good for women and have proven effective for many health gains including bone density, strength and risk of injury. In other words, you will not bulk up if you pick up!

    Muscle weighs more than fat. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same. A pound of lean muscle however takes up less space in your body than a pound of fat because of density. The way your clothes fit tells you a lot about your weight loss. It is a nice feeling that your clothes are fitting differently!

    The scale can be encouraging and discouraging with weight loss. Try to resist that continual checking of the scales. Weight can fluctuate because of many factors and the scale is not a true picture of your health. Weight loss of one to two pounds per week is a sustainable goal and healthier than rapid weight loss.

    I am too old to exercise. Exercising has many health benefits at any age. People may think they are to out of shape, too old to start or cannot start because of an injury.

    There are people in their seventies, eighties and nineties that run marathons and are body builders. That may seem a lofty goal to a beginner but is not one that could be out of reach. Observing a group fitness class in an exercise facility or on the gym floor with older participants can quickly debunk that myth because many are rock stars pumping out that fitness level that could rival a younger participant!

    Who would have thought the science of exercise would have evolved to the level it is today and we have the pioneers in industry to thank including Benjamin Franklin and Jane Fonda.

    The industry is evolving with new studies and techniques, but exercise is only one component in fitness.

    A healthy lifestyle is followed by diet, sustainability and a balance in life for emotional and spiritual health.

  • 17kirstiekingFormer Terry Sanford High School star athlete Kirstie King recently picked up her diploma from Raleigh’s Meredith College. But she won’t be leaving school to find a job. She’s already landed one at her alma mater. Meredith recently named King as its new assistant women’s soccer coach.

    King played both basketball and soccer during her years at Meredith. When she initially enrolled there, a future in coaching wasn’t in her plans.

    Originally, she planned to become a nurse with an interest in nutrition. But she changed to a major in exercise sports science with a possible interest in teaching.

    She served as captain of the soccer team her final two years at Meredith, and she enjoyed her role working with the younger players on the team.

    “I really took over the role of leading and teaching, trying to help develop the younger players on and off the field,’’ she said.

    That continued this past spring as she helped as a volunteer coach with the soccer program. Jen Grubb, who became the head coach of Meredith soccer in January this year, suggested King apply for the assistant coaching position.

    King thinks her personal experience as a student- athlete at Meredith will put her in a unique position to be able to promote the program to potential recruits.

    Her job began June 15. Right now, she’s helping get things organized for the upcoming season. She won’t hit the recruiting trail for the first time until later this year.

    She’s excited about the chance to come back to Fayetteville and Cumberland County and try and get players from here to play for Meredith.

    “I’m super excited,’’ she said. “Coming from Fayetteville, I can reach out to the coaches I’ve had, watch the girls and show them the opportunity I’ve had here.’’

    Photo: Kirstie King


  • 01 N2011P45008HA recent opinion piece by Tina Sacks for CNN left me riveted to my desk chair.

    Sacks, an associate professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare, almost lost her 2-year-old son last year to what was ultimately diagnosed as multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MSI-C), even though he tested negative for COVID-19. Somehow the boy, who was on heavy doses of opioids and barbiturates, intubated twice, suffered heart failure, placed on a liver transplant list, and hospitalized for 4 weeks, survived.

    Sack’s opinion piece is entitled, “What antivaxxers sound like to me.” She does not use these words, but others have: Antivaxxers sound selfish and self-centered, all about themselves and their individual rights with little regard for the health and well being of their fellow human beings. They see themselves as very, very special.

    Since the founding of the United States, we have wrestled with the tension inherent between the freedoms guaranteed to us as individual Americans and the collective good of all Americans. This tension manifests itself in countless ways — states’ rights versus federal control, my right to play hard metal rock or use my leaf blower when my entire neighborhood wants to sleep, and on and on. Elections and wars have been fought over these tensions and friendships fractured.

    Vaccination during a worldwide pandemic is neither an academic, legal or political argument nor a mere annoyance. It is literally a matter of health or illness, even life or death. Yes, there are people who cannot take certain vaccines, but most of us can. And, yes, there are people in our nation who are rightly suspicious of the medical establishment that has treated them unfairly, even cruelly, in the past.

    Nearly 190-million Americans are at least partially vaccinated with minimal side effects. Look to your left and look to your right and you will likely see a successfully vaccinated American. The bottom line is that vaccinations, including those for COVID-19, work. People in other nations are literally dying to have what is freely and conveniently available to us.

    The question then becomes why some choose to remain unvaccinated, even though they are clearly putting themselves and others at risk as the highly transmissible Delta variant is spiking COVID cases in all 50 states with attendant hospitalizations and deaths.

    Sacks addresses the question this way.

    “Getting vaccinated against preventable diseases is one way to ensure that all people, especially, BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and People of Color], avoid health care encounters in which implicit and explicit bias lead to worse health outcomes.

    “It doesn’t help that many Republicans have been stoking vaccine skepticism and outright hostility. The Delta variant is already spreading rapidly across the country. Many who choose to forgo the shot may claim they are making a personal decision. But the continued spread of COVID-19 affects us all. And the truth is, the virus doesn’t care about so-called individual liberties. It simply infects whatever host it can find, Republican or Democrat, young or old, disabled, immuno-compromised, and anti-vaxxers alike.

    “If anything, remaining unvaccinated by choice — and not because of lack of access or contraindicated health condition — sounds more to me like shirking an individual responsibility than exercising an individual right.”

    None among us can see the future — where and how long COVID will ultimately exact its toll of human suffering and on how many. We cannot know how history will record the COVID pandemic, but my guess it will involve the usual dichotomy of nations who had access to vaccines and those who did not, those who availed themselves of the medical miracles before them and those who did not.

    The words grief, remorse and shame will also be included.

  • 16djjonesEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

    While Pine Forest’s football team is still basking in the glow of winning last year’s Patriot Athletic Conference regular-season title, head coach Bill Sochovka adds there’s still a sour taste from the loss that ended the season.

    That occurred in the second round of the 4-A playoffs at Pine Forest. A controversial call prevented the Trojans from keeping a late drive going as they wound up losing to Scotland.

    “Some coaches say I’m complaining, but I’m not,’’ Sochovka said. “The kids remembered how it was. In any sport, a loss like that, you don’t take lightly.’’

    That is why Sochovka feels the Trojans are quickly looking forward, not back, as preparation for the 2019 season begins. “Last year, we were talking about the leadership and what I thought turned that team around,’’ he said. “That’s still here today. I feel really good about that in terms of the momentum coming off that. All those things in the right place are still in.’’

    While things look ready to go on offense, Sochovka said the defense is going to require some rebuilding.

    The key returnee for the Trojans is running back D.J. Jones, who has been a major recruiting target. June 26, Jones ended speculation by announcing that his college choice will be the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Last season, Jones rushed 206 times for 1,198 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes for 307 yards and five touchdowns.

    Sochovka said Jones’ accomplishments are not an accident. “You work hard like this kid does, you have a great attitude like this kid does, and you set a goal and you achieve it,’’ Sochovka said. “Great, great, great character. Grades — phenomenal.’’

    Sochovka added when players put things together like Jones has, the recruiters will come and find them.

    Even Jones' highlight tape is a testament to the kind of teammate he is, Sochovka said. “Six of his first slides are him blocking for somebody else,’’ he said. “He’s got a great motor. Check everything you want to see in a player and times it by two, because he’s got it.’’

    As for Jones, his main concern this season is serving as a mentor to the younger players on the Pine Forest team to get them up to varsity level.

    “We’ve got a bunch of new guys, younger guys coming in,’’ Jones said. “We’ve got to get them in the system and get their confidence up. We’ve got to get them to be veterans, be the leaders on the team.’’

    Jones said he also plans to be a better leader on the field by giving everything on every play. “We know at the end of the day, we could have done better on our part,’’ he said.

    Last year’s conference race was tight, with five teams finishing within two games of first place. Sochovka expects another tight race this season, adding that there are several teams with potential to contend for the title if they get the right formula at the right time.

    “We surprised a lot of people and we have a target on our back,’’ Sochovka said of his Trojans. “I think it will be another dogfight like it was last year.’’

    Photo: D.J. Jones

  • 04 wild dust bunnyDust Bunnies. What are they? Where do they come from? What do they want? Where do they go? What if they aren’t stopped? These are the eternal questions that even in our enlightened 21st Century have no definitive answers.

    Today, Mr. Science will attempt to shed some light on our dusty friends. This column was triggered by the energetic efforts of Mrs. Science who recently took on the Herculean Task of cleaning out under our bed. We have a tall bed that has been the home and storage location of many quaint and curious objects of forgotten lore over the last 40 years. Once something was stored under the bed, it tended to remain there per Newton’s First Law of physics which says an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

    It turned out there was quite a Metaverse of objects under the bed. The most impressive object was Mr. Science’s Father’s World War 2 steel footlocker belonging to Lt. E.H. Dickey. Although the foot locker remains unopened, many people are saying it contains the original lyrics to the song “Louie, Louie”.

    Other subterranean inhabitants included two giant airtight plastic clothes bags containing at least 80 ancient T-shirts carefully sealed against the elements. Surrounding all the objects was a vast civilization of Dust Bunnies.

    According to Mr. Google, Dust Bunnies are "small clumps of dust that form under furniture and in corners that are not cleaned regularly. They are made of hair, lint, dead skin, spider webs, dust, and sometimes light rubbish and debris that are held together by static electricity and felt-like entanglements.”

    Now that we know what Dust Bunnies are and from whence they come, it turns out they are pretty disgusting.

    Next up is the question what do Dust Bunnies want? Dust Bunnies are silent. They do not make verbal demands. They just lie there, quietly proliferating. If left to their own devices, Dust Bunnies will take over the world, one unswept location at a time. They want world domination and must be stopped.

    Pondering the Dust Bunny Kingdom reminded me of the discussion in “Animal House” between Larry Kroger and Professor Jennings after they had smoked marijuana. Larry: “Okay, that means that our whole solar system could be like one tiny atom in the finger nail of some other giant being. This is too much! That means that one tiny atom in my finger nail could be. “Professor Jennings: “Could be one little tiny universe.” Larry: “Could I buy some pot from you?”

    Dust Bunny Metaverses are the inert cousins of Kudzu which also desires to take over the world. Kudzu can only be stopped by freezing weather in February. Dust Bunnies are even more dangerous than Kudzu as they can only be stopped by cleaning forgotten areas.

    Where do Dust Bunnies go? Everywhere, unless they are swept up and disposed of properly. Mrs. Science saved the Earth by sweeping up 40 years of Dust Bunny Kingdoms. Thanks be to Mrs. Science.

    Having seen the Dust Bunny Civilization swept away, it got Mr. Science thinking about other lost civilizations which fell victim to the silent tragedy of Dust Bunnies. Ponder the fate of the Mayan civilization. It flourished almost 3000 years from 2000 BC until about 900 AD when it collapsed. It is likely the Mayans neglected to sweep out their cities and pyramids leading to Dust Bunnies collapse. There were still Mayans around when Cortez showed up in 1525. However, the Dust Bunnies had already hollowed out their civilization making the Mayans easy pickings for Cortez.

    The Aztecs were a similar lost civilization which allegedly was wiped out by a nasty pestilence called the “cocoliztli” which may have killed up to 17 million people in the 16th century. The Aztecs where more into cutting the hearts out of their enemies than tiding up. It seems likely that Dust Bunnies were the cause of the pestilence.

    The prevailing theory about the extinction of dinosaurs 66 million years ago is that they were wiped out by an asteroid hitting the Earth creating the Chicxulub Crater in Yucatan. Nothing could be further from the truth. Uncontrolled Dust Bunnies conquered the dinosaurs. Have you ever seen the tiny arms of a Tyrannosaurus Rex? No way that a T Rex could have held a broom to sweep out the Dust Bunnies before they reached critical mass. Clearly Dust Bunnies then ruled the Earth.

    A final example of the perfidiousness of Dust Bunnies is the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island. John White’s band of plucky colonists landed on the beach in August 1587. Things got a bit dicey. John headed back to England for supplies which would have included brooms. He wasn’t able to get back to Roanoke until three years later in 1590. On his return, the Lost Colony was gone leaving only the word Croatan carved on a post. No one knows for sure what happened to the Colony.

    However, it turns out that Croatan means Dust Bunnies. The rest is history.

    One final note, Dust Bunnies are responsible for where the lost socks go. Only you can prevent Dust Bunny take over. Sweep under your bed. Be the unbalanced force. The civilization you save may be your own.


  • 15terrysanfordbleachersThe recent demolition of the red brick football grandstand at Terry Sanford High School has caused me to wax nostalgic about one of Fayetteville’s oldest high school football stadiums.

    I spent many Friday nights on the sidelines and in the press box at that imposing structure during my nearly 50 years of reporting on high school athletics in Fayetteville and Cumberland County. Many of the nights I was there, I was following the exploits of a pair of great coaches, first Len Maness and later John Daskal. Both guided Terry Sanford teams to the pinnacle of state football excellence at the time, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A championship game.

    I have been running through the cluttered files of my brain, thinking back to great moments on that field near Fort Bragg Road. But I decided it best not to rely on my own memory when trying to remember the most incredible nights I spent there.

    I reached out to Bulldog stars of multiple generations for their input on the greatest games they remembered. I got several good replies, but the one game mentioned most, and the one I’d like to share with you in this column, took place in the third round of the NCHSAA state 4-A playoffs in 1985.

    Terry Sanford was scheduled to host a strong Jacksonville team coached by the great Ray Durham, who I’d known since my college days at UNC-Wilmington when he was the head coach at Wilmington’s Hoggard High School.

    A few years earlier, Durham’s Jacksonville team took on Douglas Byrd in a playoff game won by Bob Paroli’s Eagles. In writing a column after the game, I learned a painful lesson about taking misguided advice from someone I trusted. They convinced me that Jacksonville had tried to even the odds with Byrd by watering its field to slow down the Eagle running game.

    I got blistering letters from the Jacksonville principal and one from Durham himself.

    That Friday in 1985 was the first time I’d covered Durham’s team since. The whole thing had long since blown over, but Durham was waiting for me when we arrived at Terry Sanford that Friday night and were greeted by a downpour.

    Durham and Daskal were huddled in the breezeway next to the Terry Sanford stadium watching the rain come down.

    As I walked up, Durham looked at me, a kind of crooked grin on his face, and said, “Well, you wet the field, didn’t you.” Touché, coach.

    Anyway, the contest was postponed to the following Monday.

    Jacksonville took command early and appeared on the way to the win with a 21-7 lead. But Terry Sanford fought back and, in the final minutes, cut the Jacksonville margin to 21-20.

    Instead of going for the tie, Daskal elected to try for the 2-point conversion and the win. Quarterback Trey Edge, now the radio voice of Bulldog football on Friday nights for DK Sports, Inc., found his way into the end zone to clinch the 22-21 victory.

    Terry Sanford would go on to make the state 4-A championship game against Greensboro Page, where it wound up suffering a heartbreaking loss. Page returned a blocked field goal on the game’s final play for 75 yards and the winning score.

    Ironically, Terry Sanford will spend the 2019 football season playing its games in John Daskal Stadium at Reid Ross Classical High School while construction is underway on the new stadium on Fort Bragg Road.

    The Bulldogs are expected to begin play in the new stadium in the 2020 season.

  • 03 N1809P43007H Twin TowersSome events in American history engrave our minds so deeply that we remember where we were and what we were doing when they occurred. We mark our lives as BE and AE, before the event and after the event.

    November 22, 1963. It was a Friday and I was at school in my after-lunch class when the intercom interrupted to tell both teachers and students that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.

    July 16, 1969. American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on the moon, calling it “a small step for man but a giant leap for mankind.” I was taking my shift waiting tables at a resort restaurant as my summer job.

    September 11, 2001. I was in the Cannon Office Building next door to the U.S. Capitol with a delegation from the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce awaiting a briefing from the U.S. Secretary of Commence who never showed up because he, like every other American, was torn from his prior life by planes flying into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.

    January 6, 2021. The insurrection directed by a losing presidential candidate erupted around and eventually inside the U.S. Capitol, leaving 5 dead and many others wounded, including law enforcement officers. Arrests continue as rioters are identified and charged. I was at home watching an attempted coup unfold on television with tears streaming down my cheeks and my heart hammering.

    It has been just over 6 months since that dreadful day, and Americans are still absorbing an event that saw Americans engaging in military-style hand-to-hand combat with each other. The insurrectionists were mightily upset that their candidate was the clear loser of the 2020 presidential race, with more than 7 million fewer popular votes and 74 electoral votes behind.

    The election was not close, and the rioters failed to force Congress not to certify the election results. The rioters claimed to support democracy at the same time they attempted to overturn a presidential election.

    Six months ago, even the loser’s party officials condemned the mob actions, but memories are apparently short or political courage in short supply or both. Today, the loser’s supporters cry “voter fraud,” with virtually no evidence of it. The idea is to restrict minority voting, a replay of what happened during the Jim Crow era in our nation. Déjà vu of the early 20th century in the early 21st.

    Our country is also closing in on gerrymandering season, the time when legislatures and some independent commissions redraw legislative and Congressional districts to reflect the findings of the most recent U.S. Census. Fierce battles are expected, including in North Carolina, as one party tries to win more seats by gerrymandering even though it has fewer voters. This tactic has been used by both parties since the birth of our nation, and we will see it again later this year. Déjà vu 2011 in 2021.

    The really shocking aspect of the insurrections “after event” reality is that so many Americans have simply moved on, something that did not happen after the Kennedy assassination or 9/11. Maybe it is because life moves so quickly in our technological age or because they no longer want to think about Americans in combat with other Americans or because they want others to forget the deadly rioting. Whatever the motivation, pretending an insurrection did not happen in and around the grounds of the U.S. Capitol is profoundly dangerous, as it the belief that the losing candidate will be reinstated, a sort of political resurrection. As the writer and philosopher George Santayana reportedly said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    The terrifying reality is that they just might succeed next time.

  • uac072413001.gif Somewhere in Afghanistan, two soldiers are on patrol. The first is an elite warrior, he uses state-of-the-art weaponry and technology as he moves throughout the remote countryside. His partner, while no less elite, uses his basic senses to seek out the enemy or to find bombs before they can harm his team. He is a military working dog.

    On Saturday, June 27, Cumberland County residents will come together to memorialize 56 of these unsung heroes at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. At 10 a.m., the museum will unveil it’s latest memorial to pay homage to the military working dogs that have given their lives in support of this great nation.

    The SOF K9 Memorial Foundation is comprised of a small group of military and civilian K9 professionals who would like to create a lasting memorial dedicated to special-operations forces K9s killed in action. There is a unique bond between a military working dog and its handler. According to the SOF K9 memorial website, that relationship can best be seen through the bond between the two. “The bond between a SOF handler and his K9 can be seen in every aspect of their relationship, from the FOB to engaging the enemy. Countless hours of training go into each of our elite K9s to give them the tools they need to survive on the battlefields.

    “Their actions in combat are simply heroic, facing eminent danger with courage that sets the standard for all others. They give selflessly so others may live, for many we owe them our lives. Many SOF K9s have paid the ultimate price in support of this great nation.”

    Josh Collins, the owner of Huske Hardware House and the newly opened Tap House, has seen this relationship in action and has thrown his support behind the organization. Collins will not only host a reception following the dedication of the memorial for foundation members, he will also host Fayetteville’s largest Parking Lot Party later that afternoon to raise funds to continue the work of the foundation in providing pavers for fallen dogs and care for dogs who have been wounded or who have retired.07-24-13-cover-story-2.gif

    Having been a member of the special-operations community while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army, Collins sees the work of the foundation as important.

    “These are my band of brothers. The soldiers who work with these dogs are the men I served with while I was in the Army,” he explained. “Each of these dogs has saved hundreds of lives. If they were human, they would probably have been awarded a Medal of Honor. They have given their lives for their brothers.”

    Collins put feet to his beliefs when he organized the Parking Lot Party, which will be held in the parking lot behind Huske Hardware House and the TapHouse at Huske. The concert, which will feature four performers from the Huske Singer/Songwriter Competition, as well as headliners Madison Rising, will begin at 5 p.m.

    “This is going to be the Parking Lot Party of the decade,” said Collins. “We are going to have music in all genres from rock to pop to Americana. This is going to be the event of the summer.”

    Opening the show will be the performers from the Huske Singer Songwriter competition: Nathan Fair, whose hit song “Fallen Soldier” is raising funds for the wounded warrior foundation, will be on hand. The following week, Fair will be in South Dakota, opening a show for Lynnyrd Skynnyrd at the annual Sturgis Bike Rally.

    Fair will be joined by Autumn Nichols, the winner of the last Huske Unplugged competition, who recently performed at the Country Music Association Festival in Nashville, Tenn. Also slated to perform is Mitch Clark, a singer/songwriter and Summer Collins, who will be featured in X-Factor 3 this fall.

    Madison Rising is a rock band with a conscience. The band’s music ranges from the guitar-heavy opening track of “Right To Bear,” to the hauntingly epic sounds of “Honk If You Want Peace,” to the beautiful violins of “Hallowed Ground.”

    07-24-13-cover-story-3.gifCollins said choosing the band was easy because of its commitment to promoting the principles of liberty, independence, smaller government and personal responsibility.

    Collins added that food and libations will be sold throughout the concert; however, no outside coolers or food will be allowed on the grounds. Tickets for the event are just $10 and can be purchased at www.huskehardware.com or on the Huske Hardware Facebook page. Tickets can also be purchased at Huske or at the newly opened TapHouse at Huske, which features more than 80 beers on tap.

    Collins strongly urges patrons to purchase their tickets early to avoid standing in line the day of the concert. If you have not purchased your ticket before Saturday, he suggests you arrive around 3 p.m.

    “Fayetteville is a very last minute town, and I would like nothing better than to see lines wrapped all the way around the block,” said Collins.

    For more information about the SOF K9 Memorial Foundation, visit http://sofk9memorial.com. For more information about the concert visit www.huskehardwarehouse.com.

    Photo: (Bottom left) An example of the statue that will be placed at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum on July 27.

  • 01 pub penThere are countless numbers of people, businesses and organizations in Fayetteville and Cumberland County that we could celebrate, showcase and write about. All of them are engaged in doing things that make this community a great place to live.

    In every case these benefactors of humanity work tirelessly and silently throughout the community seeking no compensation or recognition with their satisfaction coming only from knowing they are lifting a burden from someone's troubled shoulders or easing the pain of an ailing heart caused by a terminal diagnosis, a personal tragedy, a sudden loss of a loved one or an unfortunate turn of ill fate.

    The world would be a kinder and gentler place if it were inhabited with more people like Holly Whitley of Legends Pub and her like-minded supporters affectionately known as the Gypsy Women.

    Together from the quaint confines of one of Fayetteville's and Bragg Boulevard’s oldest and most renown and respected "biker bars" comes an outpouring of charity and compassion that has identified both as paragons of humanity.

    My affinity toward Holly and her bar came naturally exactly 25 years ago in 1996, the year we both started our businesses.

    Incidentally, I have yet to put aside my penchant for fast motorcycles, pool playing and wine-drinking (all traits of my ill-spent childhood).

    Since then, we both have set our sights on building successful local businesses that contribute value to the community.

    Well, after a quarter-century, hundreds of charitable events and over a million dollars in charitable donations and contributions, Holly, and her band of Gypsy Women, have truly become legendary.

    In celebration, Up & Coming Weekly, Jay Dowdy, Gates Four Country Club and Piedmont Natural Gas recently had a '80s music concert where Holly hosted a party for the Gypsy Women and friends of Legends Pub.

    Holly, we salute you and thank you for 25 years of unconditional love and service to the Fayetteville community. You are the standard-bearer of generosity and compassion. Few will accomplish in a lifetime what you have done in 25 years. Congratulations!

    My 25 years, my achievements? I'm now the oldest paperboy in Fayetteville, and I’m still working on it. Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    02 UAC06022101

  • 24 N1602P66021HWe are inundated with countless creative marketing efforts on packages with buzz words that appeal to our quest to make healthy purchases. Reading the ingredient label of a product is often ignored because of the packaging that suggests a healthy choice.

    An article caught my eye that talked about how reading food labels can help you lose weight. That is a rather pronounced statement, but reading food labels can help with a better-informed decision for your purchase.

    Food manufacturers are in competition to entice you to purchase their products with targeted marketing tactics. When packaging catches your attention, ignore the buzz words! A little investigation on the back tells you the real story.

    I decided to look at some packaging claims and found that many were vague. Here are a few.

    “Free Range” is applicable to chicken. I envisioned happy chickens outside pecking around! “Free Range “can be anything from an outside chicken or a chicken that is in an enclosure with windows open.

    The wording “All Natural” means little and is not currently regulated by the FDA and can be misleading to consumers that think they are purchasing a healthy product.

    “Sugar Free“ is captivating but does not mean that it contains less calories or is healthy.

    “Real fruit juice” can be misleading because it may not say how much is real.

    “Beef Flavor,” the word flavor in anything means that the product has been enhanced with spices to replicate a flavor in a product. Meat origins do not go in the category of flavor and are identified on the label.

    “Vitamin C or D added” is another one that can be misleading to how much is added.

    The word “Organic” has been regulated by the FDA and carries three levels of Organic criteria to qualify.

    “Gluten Free” is a term that the FDA has regulated for grains.

    You would need to be a certified nutritionist or dietician to fully understand the complexity of labeling and food ingredients, but reading a food label is relatively easy and a good summary of what is contained in the product you are purchasing.

    I begin with the first line that reads the number of servings in the package and how many calories are per serving. As an example, if the package says 4 servings and each serving is 250 calories and you eat the entire package you have just consumed 1,000 calories.

    Sodium is my next go to on the label line for amount in the product and is a key factor in health illness. The recommended allowance per day based on an industry standard 2,000-calorie diet is 2,500 to 3,000 mg. Fast food and sodas can easily mount to the recommendation.

    The next items for review are carbohydrates and fat followed by sugar.

    Trans Fat is a product you should try to avoid all together because it is used in product packaging to sustain the shelf life of food.

    The bottom part of the label list includes the ingredients in descending order in relation to the amount in the product. Many ingredients can sometimes be an indication of how much was added, and many times the fewer the better.

    Take the time to read the story behind the packaging — it can help you make informed food choices.

  • 07-02-14-taming-of-the-shrew.gifElizabethan England and modern North Carolina may seem vastly different and incompatible, but in the warm glow of a summer evening they combine into something magical. The group making this magic happen is called Sweet Tea Shakespeare. It is a theatre project supported by Fayetteville State University, and this summer it will perform Taming of the Shrew in The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex.

    Taming of the Shrew is a Shakespearian comedy that was written in the early 1590s. It is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays and has been adapted into many forms.

    “This particular story has been adapted for the screen in a film featuring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and a Broadway musical formally known as Kiss Me, Kate. The play essentially tells the story of the ups and downs of a courtship and marriage in its initial stages,” says Greg Fiebig, the show’s director.

    Though arranged marriages may seem archaic in our modern culture, the themes of the play are still incredibly relevant. Kylie Mask, the actress portraying Bianca provides insight by saying, “I definitely think that a modern audience can connect to and enjoy this show. The themes in the play have much to do with positions in society and family ties, which are still very relevant today. In this play, societal status has a direct correlation with the happiness of certain characters and how well they live. The battle of finding one’s place in society and trying to improve their life is something I feel almost anyone can relate to. A second reoccurring theme is the relationship between parents and their children. The play shows what expectations children are held to by their parents for the sake of improving the lives of all in the family, as well as the lengths parents will go to in order to help. That aspect of family life is certainly one that many deal with in modern times.”

    One of the most unique aspects of a Sweet Tea Shakespeare production is the venue. Taking classical plays and performing them in an intimate outdoor setting changes the actor and audience dynamic. Taming of the Shrew will be presented outside by the Poe House in the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex. Sitting on blankets close to the stage truly makes the performance an engaging and personal experience. It is also very similar to how common people would have seen the play in its original performances, standing close to the stage in the Globe Theatre.

    “The venue allows for a closer relationship between the actors and the audience than a traditional theater setting does. I am looking forward to taking advantage of that fact with a few of the scenes in the play,” Mask says.

    Fiebig adds that the venue allows for a very laid back experience that facilitates the audience not only enjoying the play, but each other. Audience members are expected to bring their own seating. Blankets are recommended for sitting near the stage in the grass; lawn chairs are recommended for sitting on the brick patio.

    Taming of The Shrew is on stage July 16-20 at 7 p.m. daily. The show is preceded by live music and entertainment to facilitate audience interaction. Pets and outside food are not permitted, though picnic style food and drink will be served before the show. Beer and wine are included. In case of rain, performances will be moved to St. Michael’s The Archangel’s Church next to the Poe House. Tickets are $12. Senior and military tickets are $10. Student tickets are $7.50, FSU student tickets are $5. Tickets for children 6-12 years old are $5. Tickets are available by visiting www.sweatteachakespeare.com or by calling 672-1724. The venue, The Poe House, is located at 206 Bradford Ave. For more information visit http://www.ncdcr.gov/ncmcf/Events.aspx or http://www.sweetteashakespeare.com/current-season/.

  • 23 Picture1Over the past year, many owners have been working hard to keep their businesses afloat. Now, as things are turning around, some are asking “Should I sell my business?” Here are some steps to follow to achieve the best price and experience.

    Step 1: Get a business valuation
    Once you know the value of your business, you’ll have the opportunity to increase its worth before listing to achieve a higher selling price. In today’s climate, business valuation experts will be assessing your 2021 revenue and earnings. Meanwhile, ignoring your 2020 profits. That’s why it’s crucial to get your business to where it was pre-COVID or better.

    Step 2: Organize your financials
    Buyers are shifting their focus to businesses that not only survived the pandemic but will provide long-term viability. Before choosing to make an offer, they’ll want to know everything about your business — from your financial statements and taxes to your inventory and equipment. This is the time to take care of any outstanding orders, like tax liens or PPP loan forgiveness, that can prevent any sale from going through. For a smooth transaction, meet with a business advisor to review your financials before you begin the sales process.

    Step 3: Prepare your exit strategy
    You shouldn’t wait until the next downturn to sell your business— it’s always good to sell when things are getting better.
    Putting a sound plan in place will help facilitate a faster exit. It can also help you achieve a higher return on investment. Baby boomer business owners will be looking to retire in the upcoming years, overwhelming the market. This is the perfect time to maximize your value and ensure your business stands out from the pack.
    There are many exit strategies to consider — selling to friends or family, selling to an internal party, or selling on the open market. Each plan of action has its advantages and disadvantages.

    Step 4: Find a business broker
    The most important thing an owner can do while selling their business is focusing on running their business. A broker uses their expertise and aggressive marketing program to create competition for you, manage prospects and help you achieve the best price. No matter the size of your business or industry, a business advisor is going to be an expert. With the right guidance and advice, you’ll be able to seamlessly sell your business to the right buyer.

    Step 5: Qualify potential buyers and negotiate
    One of the main reasons a transaction will fall apart is because buyers fail to secure loans after entering into a sales agreement. When you work with a broker, buyers are qualified for financial ability to meet the offer.

    A business broker can approach and continue to track potential buyers without weakening your position. The best part is brokers will control the information being released, and pre-qualified buyers are required to execute a confidentiality agreement. This will protect you and your company from someone prying through your financials without proper supervision.

    When you’re selling a business, especially in a hot market, it’s crucial to negotiate to achieve the best price and terms. With the help of a professional, you’ll be able to avoid confusion during your sales transaction. They’ll be able to identify when a buyer is asking for too little and have your best interest at heart.

  • Boys and girls, grab your swords and your tiaras and don’t forget your parents! Disney Junior Live on Tour! Pirates and Princess Adventure is coming to the Crown for two shows on July 18. Part of the 100-city national tour that kicks off in July 2014, the show’s stop in Fayetteville will feature two shows, one at 4 p.m. and the other at 7 p.m.

    The show will feature characters from beloved Disney series, Sophia the Firstand Jake and the Never Land Pirates. Starting 10 minutes before the show, attendees will also enjoy an appearance from Doc McStuffins, the loveable 6-year-old doctor to toys and stuffed animals, in an interactive pre-show featuring the song “I Feel Better.” Some of your favorite Disney characters will also make an appearance, including Mickey and Minnie, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and Captain Hook.

    Pirates and Princessesfeatures an original storyline, that has the audience traveling to the magical world of Enchancia, with Sophia and her stepsiblings, Amber and James, to prepare for the annual friendship festival. Sophia’s adventure will help us all learn the true meaning of being a princess with special help from Cinderella. 07-09-14--pirates-and-princessdisney-live-new.gif

    Next, travel to Never Land with Jake and his Yo Ho pirate friends, Izzy and Cubby. Our swashbuckling friends must battle Captain Hook in a race against time to find to locate a mysterious treasure-filled volcano. With the help of Peter Pan, Jake shows us what it means to be a real hero. Featuring new music, special effects, action, adventure and endless surprises, this is a show the whole family will enjoy.

    Kennedi Henderson, who plays Princess Amber in the show, as well as a pirate, is from Waxhaw, N.C., just outside of Charlotte. This is her first professional tour.

    “I have not been on tour yet, but I am really looking forward to exploring the cities we visit,” she said. “I already have a list of things I would like to do while on this tour!”

    Henderson has sound advice for any children who want to break into the entertainment industry.

    “My advice to children who dream of performing, or for any goal they may have, is to work hard and it will happen! Staying motivated is hard, but so worth it in the end.”

    Henderson got her own start at the age of 4 when her parents enrolled her in a dance class.

    Henderson faced her own challenges when starting as a professional performer.

    “Although I began dancing at a young age, I was not as technically advanced as I needed to be going into my performance career,” she said. “I attended numerous classes and made a lot of progress in a short span of time. It was challenging knowing I had so much to learn, but definitely paid off! My main goal was to be able to do what I love, which is dance, every day for my career. And, I am so lucky to be doing that now. I have not set any more goals, but I am looking forward to seeing where this takes me.”

    Tickets for the show range in price from $26.50 to $46.50. Additional fees and service charges may apply. For more information, please visit http://crowncomplexnc.com/events/disney-junior-live-on-tour-pirate-and-princess-adventure/.

  • 01 N1809P30001HWe Americans are proud of our First Amendment — a guarantee that government at any level cannot restrict freedom of speech in the United States — and we should be. It safeguards our own individual speech and that of the “press.” Originally the press was defined by our primary news and opinion medium — newspapers — but today translates to “media,” encompassing print and digital platforms, ones common to me and those I have never heard of and will likely never use.

    But I am nervous about our First Amendment and particularly, the freedom of the press. As you and I speak with millions of different voices and opinions, local media is speaking less and less. That means we know less and less about what is happening in our own communities.

    The press, which began with relatively few voices, has long since morphed into millions of voices with a versatile range. From television networks with distinct points of view and unrestricted social media comments to individual blogs and podcasts representing every viewpoint and experience under the sun, a lot is being said. We are all free to partake of as much or as little of this as we please. We can and do read, watch and listen to voices that agree with ours, relaxing with our own choir in an echo chamber that preaches only to us and those like us. Successful politicians of all stripes know to keep their friends close and their enemies closer. Otherwise, we have no clue what others are thinking and doing. It is as if we are living in the tower of Babel, an existence dangerous indeed.

    Dangerous as well is the consolidation of media throughout our nation. Gone from most places, including Fayetteville and Cumberland County, are locally owned and operated news outlets, including newspapers and radio and television stations. Cape Fear Broadcasting, a local media company that carried local news and broadcast editorials, was sold to a publicly traded corporation 20 years ago. The Fayetteville Observer is now owned by a national newspaper chain. With such consolidation have come “synergies,” which translate into fewer local jobs and much less local news.

    Estimates vary, but The New York Times reports that 1 in 5 newspapers in the U.S. have shut down. Researcher Penny Abernathy at UNC-CH’s School of Journalism and Media puts the number at about 1,800 since 2004, roughly 100 a year. Actual closure of local broadcasting outlets is not as dramatic, but the existence of fewer newsrooms and reporters is taking a toll. Local news media are shadows of their former selves, and many U.S. communities are now local news deserts.

    So why should we care that news outlet voices are decreasing and that less local, state and regional news coverage exists? We should care because how else will we know what our local and state elected officials are up to? What is Fayetteville City Council doing with downtown development? How are our law enforcement agencies handling diversity issues? What is the Cumberland County Board of Education doing to help students recover from a year away from in-person classes? How is the General Assembly going to fund the UNC and community college systems? Unless you plan to attend every meeting of every elected body, you will be unaware that local media coverage is absent. Don’t even think about trusting random social media posts for accurate local news. To read more on this, see the Brookings Institute 2019 report “Local Journalism in Crisis: Why America Must Revive Its Local Newsrooms.”

    Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglas, Patrick Henry and other earlier Americans who saw a need for eternal vigilance to preserve liberty could not have imagined today’s cacophony of voices. That we struggle to agree on basic facts about our nation would astound them, but that is our present state. We do not have to agree with much less like the views of other people and news outlets, but we ignore them at our own and our nation’s peril.

    It is up to us to protect our precious First Amendment by keeping ourselves informed as best we can, even about events, ideas and points of view with which we disagree.

    Especially about those with which we disagree.

    Editor's Note: This Essay on Liberty by Dickson first appeared in the July issue of Women's View magazine.

  • 14 Mountain FOlk by JOhn Hood cvoerI see you’ve written another book. What’s this one about?”

    “It’s called 'Mountain Folk.' It’s a historical-fantasy novel set partly in North Carolina during the Revolutionary War.”

    “It’s a what?”

    I’ve had some version of this conversation many times in recent months. Having spent most of my journalism career writing about government and politics, and authoring books of economic and political history, people assume any new project of mine would fall into the same category.

    When they learn I’ve written a novel — and particularly when they discover it doesn’t just have an historical theme but also includes dwarfs, elves, magic, and monsters — they grow concerned. Am I having a midlife crisis, or indulging some childhood whim?

    Not at all. While I greatly enjoyed writing "Mountain Folk," and hope that my readers will enjoy it as a rollicking tale of frontier life and high adventure, I admit there is more than just simple escapism going on. Perhaps it’s just because I was in the 4-H Club growing up, but I believe I can summarize my reasons for writing the novel in four words: History, Heroes, Heritage, and Humanity.

    First, I hope to encourage a greater understanding of and appreciation for our country’s history. According to one recent survey, only a third of Americans possess enough historical knowledge to pass the U.S. citizenship test. Most can’t say which countries were on which sides in World War II, or why Americans declared their independence from the British empire.

    Second, I want to rescue, refresh, and expand the concept of American heroism. Yes, historical figures such as George Washington, Daniel Boone, and Abraham Lincoln were imperfect in real life. We should come to know as much as we can about them, warts and all.

    But we can and should still admire the important contributions these old-school folk heroes made to the growth and development of our country, even as we properly integrate a broader variety of tales into the story of America. In "Mountain Folk," one of the main characters is a Cherokee heroine named Nanyehi who as a young woman led her people to victory in battle but later in life became a legendary peacemaker.

    Third, I use elements of history and folklore to explore what it really means to be an American. Our country is different from most others in a key respect: we do not share a common ethnic heritage. During centuries of migration — some voluntary, in search of a better life, and some involuntary, the consequences of removal or the slave trade — America has become a dynamic, sprawling, sometimes-brawling society encompassing many different peoples, religions, values, and cultures.

    The resulting diversity can be vibrant and powerful. But Americans still require a common creed to unify us, and a common set of institutions to convert abstract principles into practical governance. Freedom is central to that common creed, or so I argue in the pages of "Mountain Folk."

    Finally, although my novel has many non-human characters, I actually use them to illustrate the inescapable realities of human nature. We are all fallen creatures. We yield to temptation. We make mistakes. Even the best of us, if entrusted with great power, may end up abusing it, insisting all along that our noble ends justify ignoble means.

    “We always have a choice — a choice whether truly to live according to our principles, or simply to survive by abandoning them,” one of my fairy characters says towards the end of the book. “With that freedom to choose comes the responsibility to accept the consequences. I accept mine. I will not submit. I will not be complicit to tyranny. If that robs me of my home forever, so be it.”

    Now, "Mountain Folk" is hardly a history textbook or a philosophical treatise. There are heroes, villains, thrilling rescues and epic battles. Daniel Boone even fights a giant, fire-spitting salamander! But there’s a serious purpose underneath — a fact that should come as no surprise to longtime readers of my column.

  • 10 DragonThe World-Famous Harlem Globetrotters are bringing their newly reimagined Spread Game Tour to the Crown Coliseum on Aug. 4, at 7 p.m. This new tour is a basketball event like no other. Ankle-breaking moves, jaw-dropping swag, and rim-rattling dunks are only some of the thrills you can expect from this fully modernized show. Part streetball from the players who defined it, part interactive family entertainment, the new tour will show off the best of the Globetrotters in a dazzling exhibition of talent and game.

    The Spread Game Tour is the rescheduled event from the March 2020 game that was cancelled due to COVID. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at CapeFearTix.com, at the Crown Complex Box Office and at Leisure Travel Services on Fort Bragg.

    This tour introduces new premium fan experiences with unprecedented access and interaction, including celebrity court passes, meets and greets with players, and in select markets, the #SQUADZONE, where fans have the opportunity to feel like part of the show.

    For over 95 years, the Harlem Globetrotters organization has been committed to spreading joy through their artful athleticism and unparalleled basketball skill. The Globetrotters have always been global ambassadors of goodwill. The reimagined team is even more committed to bringing their voice to social justice conversations while inviting communities all over the U.S. to come together and recognize the power of our commonalities and celebrate our differences. The Globetrotters’ mission, to spread game and bring family entertainment to the world, continues to drive them today.

    The originators of basketball style, influencers on today’s game, and skilled athletes of the highest order, the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 124 countries and territories on six continents since their founding in 1926. Proud inductees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, their mission to spread game and bring entertainment to the world continues to drive them today. The Globetrotters are innovators of the game who popularized the jump shot, slam dunk, and invented the half-court hook shot.

    For nearly a century, the Globetrotters have exhibited Black excellence on and off the court, entertaining, inspiring and advancing the racial progress of today. The Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. is a subsidiary of Herschend Enterprises, the largest family-owned themed entertainment company in the U.S.

    For more information about the Harlem Globetrotters, visit the Globetrotters' official website  www.harlemglobetrotters.com  and follow them on social media.

  • 04 IMG 7711Do things seem a bit odd to you lately? Do you find yourself being a chip off the old blockchain? Confused? Puzzled by the latest developments?

    Well, Bunky, you have come to the right place. Mr. Science is here today to explain life to you. After both of my faithful readers finish this column, all will be understood. As Alex said in “A Clockwork Orange,” the meaning of life will be “As clear as an unmuddied lake. As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer. You can rely on me, friend.”

    Let us begin by noting a couple of recent curious art world events which in the first blue light of morning seem unrelated and hard to understand. Life is controlled by the Prime Directive that there are no coincidences, everything is related to everything else. The Prime Directive, like gravity, is not just a good idea, it’s the law.

    Herein lies the tale of when Beeple met MetaKovan. An artist named Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million. This was good news for Beeple and the Christie Auction House which handled the sale. Right now you are probably asking yourself, “Self, who is Beeple, what is an NFT, and who paid $69 million for a JPEG computer image?”

    As Samuel L. Jackson said in "Pulp Fiction," “Allow me to retort.” Beeple turns out to be the nom de plume of Mike Winkelmann who lives just down the road from us in Charleston, South Carolina, which incidentally is also the home of the world-famous Purple Buffalo night club. Beeple is a computer geek who is also an artist.

    He created the digital artwork called “Everydays: The First 5000 Years” as a Non Fungible Token, which abbreviates into NFT. An NFT is essentially a picture on the internet similar to cats playing the piano on Facebook. But unlike the musical cats which anyone can copy, an NFT original only shows up in one place on the owner’s computer screen. The original digital image uses the same magic that Bitcoin’s block chain uses to keep track of who owns which Bitcoin. Mr. Science does not understand how Bitcoin works. It just is, at least for the time being until it vanishes into the digital ether.

    The new proud owner of Beeple’s masterpiece is an art patron named Vignesh Sundaresan who also goes by the superhero name of MetaKovan.

    MetaKovan made his money in the crypto currency market which is where “Everydays” was born. MetaKovan explained he would have paid even more for the “Everydays” JPEG as it represents the first digital art asset which will become a part of art history. So now you know about NFTs. Aren’t you glad you stuck around? But wait, there is more in the bonus round below.

    Also, from the Art Desk comes the news that over 15,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org urging Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to buy and eat the "Mona Lisa."

    The petition is quite simple: It says “Nobody has eaten the 'Mona Lisa' and we feel Jeff Bezos needs to take a stand and make this happen.” Why you might ask, should Jeff Bezos purchase and devour the "Mona Lisa?"

    Signers of the petition have offered a number of reasons: “Who else is gonna eat it?," “I’m signing to draw attention to how ridiculous and dangerous this level of capital accumulation is. No one should be that rich," “It should be rolled up like a froot roll up and swallowed whole”, “There are billionaires in Asia who can’t even afford to eat a de Kooning, and here is the richest man in the world refusing to eat a perfectly good da Vinci," “Come on Jeff, you know you want to," “Mona Lisa is just the appetizer before the Sistine Chapel," "I believe this will truly help the world."

    This list goes on and on. There is a ground swell of support for Jeff to eat the "Mona Lisa." The USA Today article estimated Jeff has a net worth of $201 billion and the estimated worth of the "Mona Lisa" today is about $850 million. Mere pocket change for Jeff. It is definitely doable if the French government will cooperate. If France won’t sell, Jeff can just buy France, allowing him to own the "Mona Lisa." Then it’s break out the Texas Pete hot sauce and chow down on the
    "Mona Lisa."

    To the untrained eye, these events may seem insane. However, consider what Deputy Barney Fife said when Andy and Helen got trapped in a cave. Barney told Thelma Lou the reason he didn’t like caves is because of bats.

    Barney: “Bats. Do you know what they do? They fly in your hair and get tangled up in there and lay their eggs and you go crazy. You want a head full of bat eggs? Well, I don’t.”

    Clearly what has happened is too many people have been going into caves. They have gotten their hair full of bat eggs. Barney was right all along. The world has gone crazy.

    Today’s lesson: Wear a hat. Avoid bat eggs in your hair. Remain calm and save the "Mona Lisa."

  • 02 women arguingI don’t know about you, but I find our national politics more confusing than ever. We tend to pigeonhole people by what we think they believe and by their political registrations, but in reality, human beings and our politics are much more nuanced. The venerable Pew Research Center, which bills itself as “a non-partisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, trends, and attitudes shaping the world,” has come up with 9 political categories to describe Americans in 2021.

    These classifications range from “Solid Liberals” on the left to “Core Conservatives” on the right with lots of diversity in between, including “Disaffected Democrats,” “Market Skeptic Republicans,” “Devout and Diverse,” and not surprisingly, “Bystanders.” Both ends of the spectrum, liberals and conservatives, are mostly white, even though the diverse progressive wing of the Democratic Party gets the most press. Liberals are the most educated of the nine groups, while conservatives are the whitest.
    In between, the lines are more blurred. Minority Americans tend to be less liberal than the solid liberals, favoring border security and skeptical about free trade. They are also religious and worry about crime. They reject the racism of the far right. The same can be said of working-class Americans of all races and backgrounds. Hence, devout and diverse category. The Pew Research Center, with all its polls, research and analysis, is saying what we all know in our hearts — that most Americans are moderate, caring people who want only good for our nation and for each other. The screaming, name-calling, and — yes, violent behavior, comes from the extremes of each end of the spectrum, not the broad middle.
    The recent mayoral contest in New York City has rocketed ranked choice voting to the national consciousness. Ranked choice voting is new-ish, having been used by overseas voters in some states for federal elections. It is also used in non-governmental elections, including student government and Academy Award elections. It is gaining increasing acceptance for city and state contests, largely in the western part of the United States. 
    There are various versions of RCV, and all involve marking a first-choice candidate and then ranking others. Gradually, some candidates fall away, and someone eventually prevails. North Carolina experimented with the system in 2010 in elections for Superior Court and Court of Appeals judges. The Republican controlled General Assembly repealed RCV in 2013 as part of a sweeping Voter ID bill, later struck down by the courts. 
    While RCV would be a learning curve for most of us, it makes sense. In today’s highly contested elections with prolonged recounts and charges of fraud, RCV would ultimately result in an elected official most voters selected, if not first, then somewhere down the line and would go a long way toward eliminating elections with crowing winners and bitter losers and their like-minded supporters.
    As we emerge from pandemic restrictions, it is clear that people are ready to return to “normal life,” whatever that means to each of us. It is also clear that our COVID year-plus has changed some things forever. Some of us will continue to work remotely. We will likely continue to meet via Zoom or something like it both professionally and in our personal lives. Restaurants may be less sit-down and more casual. And, after months in yoga pants and sweats, relaxed dressing seems here to stay, making business casual the new everyday norm.
    It all makes me wonder what about pre-pandemic life I really do want to bring back…
  • 01 BOF LOGOThis year, as Up & Coming Weekly is celebrating our 25th anniversary, I am incredibly proud that 2021 also marks our 24th Best of Fayetteville celebration of the Best of the Best people, businesses and organizations in Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. For a quarter of a century, we have showcased this community and told its stories. We have championed its successes, supported its causes and celebrated our diverse community's quality of life and uniqueness. 

    We’ve all heard the saying “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Well, that’s exactly how I feel about working here at the Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper. And, it is this time of year that I like the most. This is the time for the Best of Fayetteville readership survey - a time when we reach out to our readers and ask them what and who they love and appreciate most about this community. Do they have a favorite restaurant? Who has the best car wash? What is your favorite theater, nonprofit organization, entertainment venue or veterinarian?
    This is your chance to tell us who is the Best of the Best in Fayetteville. The voting takes place during July. So please pick up a copy of the Up & Coming Weekly, fill out a ballot, mail it to us, or visit our website, www.upandcomingweekly.com and vote online. Either way, make sure you VOTE! 
    After all the votes are in, verified and counted, we publish a Special Best of Fayetteville Edition of Up & Coming Weekly showcasing the winners. The Special Edition will be presented at the Best of Fayetteville Party, where we congratulate and celebrate the winners. This Special Edition will be on our website for the entire year.
    The ballots are out, so make sure you VOTE! And on September 29th, you can pick up the Special Edition announcing the winners — the people, organizations and businesses that YOU have designated "Best of the Best." 
    About Best of Fayetteville: Best of Fayetteville is sanctioned and audited. We do not use nominations, and Up & Coming Weekly does not pre-sell advertising ads to nominate, promote or influence specific businesses or organizations for Best of Fayetteville. However, we encourage businesses to promote themselves and encourage their customers, friends and family to cast a ballot on their behalf. Up & Coming Weekly does no pre-ballot advertising sales. Nor do we sell or require businesses or organizations to participate with advertising purchases for pre-contest special sections to get their business officially printed on the ballot. 
    After the ballots are verified and tallied, there is only ONE winner in each category. At this time, winners are allowed to purchase advertising and marketing packages in the Best of Fayetteville Special Edition to thank their customers and supporters. The Best of Fayetteville Special Edition is a valuable component of the program because it is used all year long to promote the Fayetteville community to visitors, guests and newcomers to Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. This is the most effective way for the winners to capitalize on their Best of Fayetteville achievement. Also, in recognition, these unique marketing programs are significantly discounted so winners can take full marketing advantage of the honor. Winners have only one opportunity to participate in these advertising programs — and it's only after they've won. 
    In addition to a beautiful wall plaque awarded to each Best of Fayetteville winner, they are authorized to use the official Best of Fayetteville logo in all their advertising and marketing. Best of Fayetteville is an exclusive designation. The way we implement and manage the program is what has made it credible and sustainable. Is the survey perfect? No. However, the survey results speak for itself, recognizing the Best of Fayetteville as one of this community's most respected and prestigious achievements and awards. 
    We launch the Best of Fayetteville readership survey during July to avoid conflicting with The Fayetteville Observer's Reader's Choice Awards, their annual advertising sales promotion. The Reader's Choice advertising-based program should not be confused with the Best of Fayetteville Awards program. If you have any questions about whether you're participating in the Best of Fayetteville readership survey or someone else's advertising program, take a good, long look at the ballot. If it refers to nominations, names and ads pre-printed on the ballot, it is NOT the Best of Fayetteville.
    So, what are you waiting for? Cast your vote and let your voice be heard! Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.
  • Ahhh, summer. Long, warm days, outdoor activities galore and — ouch! — bothersome pests, burning07-02-14-take-the-heat.gifsun and unexpected bumps and bruises (yes you did have to dive for that volleyball). But don’t sit on the sidelines in fear of mishaps; instead, swing into summer with natural first-aid advice tailored to the season.

    For the Beach

    Sunburn.Prevention is, as always, your first defense. Liberally apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (one that protects against UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 30 or higher. Choose one with mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that block harmful rays, rather than sunscreens that contain chemicals such as oxybenzone or octinoxate, which can disrupt hormone balance and cause allergic reactions. And remember, no sunscreen is truly waterproof — despite what the label says — so reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating excessively.

    What if you get sunburned? Aloe vera remains the tried-and-true cooling and anti-inflammatory burn remedy. Dab sunburned skin with an aloe-soaked cotton ball at least twice per day and take cool or lukewarm showers (not scorching hot) to further reduce inflammation. Got a tube of aloe languishing in your medicine cabinet since last year? Toss it. It’s best to buy a new aloe gel every year and keep it in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and healing properties.

    Also, rub sun-kissed skin with a thick lotion containing antioxidant vitamin E to reduce long-term skin damage. Choose an alcohol-free lotion to avoid further irritation. Lavender essential oil is also known for its healing and pain-relieving abilities.

    For the Park

    Bee sting. Given bees’ and people’s affection for all things sweet and sticky (s’mores anyone?) be prepared to deal with possible stings on your next picnic or campout.

    When a bee stings you or your buddy, check to see if the stinger is lodged in the skin. Rather than remove it with tweezers — which may squeeze more venom into the site — dislodge the stinger by sliding a straight-edged object such as a credit card across the skin. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water; then cover the sting with the mixture to neutralize the bee’s toxins. After 10-15 minutes, wash off the dried mixture with warm water.

    For pain, apply ice for 10 minutes and then remove it for 10 minutes, repeating the process for an hour. And remember, shortness of breath or facial swelling may indicate an allergic reaction, so treat the situation as an emergency.

    Heat rash. Often occurring in children and infants, heat rash’s telltale signs include hundreds of tiny red bumps on the abdomen, arms, neck or back. Heat rash occurs when sweat is unable to evaporate and becomes trapped under sweat glands; hot, humid weather, strenuous exercise, or constrictive clothing can make it worse. It’s also a possible indicator of impending heat exhaustion, dehydration, and heat stroke.

    To treat heat rash, first move the affected person to a shady or air-conditioned area, and have him sip cool water. At home, mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in 1 cup cold water; dip a washcloth into it and thoroughly but gently wipe down the irritated area. The apple cider vinegar will reset the pH balance of the skin and kill bacteria, while the cool water will calm down the rash. Change into loose clothing, too.

  • 07-16-14-swampdogs.gifComing off of another thrilling week, The Fayetteville SwampDogs look to keep the ball rolling with another exciting and busy week of baseball. But of course, at J.P. Riddle Stadium the game is not the only exciting thing going on.

    This week as always, The Swamp is the place to be for a fun time for all members of the family.

    It all starts on Thursday, July 17, against the Edenton Steamers. While we honor and appreciate our servicemen and women every day, this day will be special as the SwampDogs host a Salute to the Military presented by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. So come on out to The Swamp and help honor those who sacrifice everything to allow us the freedom to play America’s pastime.

    The fun continues on Saturday, July 19, as the SwampDogs host the Wilmington Sharks at 7:05 p.m. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a SwampDogs visor courtesy of our friends at Cape Fear Orthopedic. It is also N.C. State Night, so come on out and paint The Swamp red and show your Wolfpack pride.

    On Sunday, July 20, the SwampDogs will have a special 5:05 p.m., start time against the Wilson Tobs on Faith and Family Night. Come celebrate a night of faith, fellowship and fun in a family-friendly atmosphere.

    Dust off your old Backstreet Boys albums on Monday, July 21, as the SwampDogs celebrate 90’s Night and take on the Florence RedWolves at 7:05 p.m. Also, it is FunGo’s Birthday, so come celebrate with all the mascots of the area at The Swamp.

    That game will also be a Mug Monday, where fans purchasing a 16 oz. souvenir mug will get free entry into the Miller Lite Liberty Lounge. The Mug is reusable for the rest of the season, and will get fans free access to The Lounge during every Monday home game.

    Once you are in the Miller Lite Liberty Lounge enjoy $1 beer, burgers and dogs, $2 wine and free popcorn, peanuts and soda while watching the game from some of the best seats in the house. It’s a great deal, any day of the week.

    Going forward, don’t forget about the SwampDogs’ other great weekly promotions including 2 Cool for School Tuesdays, and Dunkin’ Donuts Wake Up Wednesdays.

    Make sure to make your way out to The Swamp this week for all this – plus a few surprises. It is sure to be affordable fun for the entire family.

    Like the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GoSwampDogs, follow the team’s Twitter and Instagram accounts at @GoSwampDogs, and keep updated on highlights, player interviews, and much more at www.youtube.com/GoSwampDogs.

    For tickets to all of these great games, for more information call the SwampDogs offices at 426-5900. You can also check out the team website: www.goswampdogs.com.

    Photo: A visit to The Swamp includes a baseball game along with other family-friendly and fun-filled activities.

  •     I received my BMW Owners Association (BMWOA) 2008 booklet the other day. In this book are the phone numbers of other BMW owners who have volunteered to help their fellow Bimmers out if they need assistance. These are folks who volunteer everything from picking you up in the event of a breakdown, to someone you can call for advice, and if need be, a place to stay. The membership also gets you the BMW ON magazine each month.{mosimage}
        As I looked through the new book I thought to myself what I would do in the event of a breakdown while on a ride. I have towing insurance but don’t think that is sufficient in the event my bike breaks down someplace like Kitty Hawk and the closest dealership is in Raleigh.
        These days there are many towing services available through a variety of companies. I know that I can get roadside assistance from my cell phone carrier for an additional monthly fee but I have a hard enough time getting someone from America to answer directory assistance so I don’t want to try to deal with translations while I’m upset about the bike. I have towing on my car insurance but that will not cover my motorcycle. I checked AAA and KOA. I found that AAA will tow a motorcycle but only to the nearest motorcycle shop. However, the language in the KOA Web site reads a little differently and I found that KOA actually will pay to have your bike towed to the closest “capable” repair facility and provide minor repairs. As I navigated the site I was directed to Allstate Motorclub who is the provider for KOA.
        This is great news if you have a Harley and do not want a hack working on it. The KOA membership does not cover a particular bike so this is great if you own more than one bike.This is a great benefit if you own more than one bike. It also includes vehicles, RV, trailers and ATVs. I was also allowed to sign up an additional member for the basic cost. The membership also gives you Lock-Out benefit, arrest bond certificate, trip interruption benefit, legal defense benefit, KOA Kampground discounts, personalized Trip-Plan services and hotel, motel and car rental discounts.
         Although I hope I will never need roadside assistance, I thought the price of the KOA membership was worth the peace of mind knowing I have someone to take care of me and my bike.
         If there is a topic that you would like to discuss, please send your comments and suggestions to motorcycle4fun@aol.com. RIDE SAFE!
  • 12Bert BennettIn 1965, Terry Sanford left the governor’s office and moved down Fayetteville Street from the Capitol into law offices in the BB&T Building. Political insiders started referring to that structure as the Bert Bennett and Terry Building.

    When Bert Bennett died last week in Winston-Salem at 97, old-timers remembered how his vigorous, organized and decisive leadership in the gubernatorial campaigns of Terry Sanford and Jim Hunt was crucial to the success those men achieved.

    Ironically, Bennett’s death came only a few days after the passing of Tom Ellis, the key advisor and organizer for the late Sen. Jesse Helms, the stalwart adversary of Sanford and Hunt.

    Writing about Ellis in “Jim Hunt: A Biography,” Gary Pearce paid Tom Ellis the greatest compliment while describing how Ellis directed Ronald Reagan’s 1976 winning North Carolina presidential primary campaign. He explained, “Ellis was Jesse Helms’s Bert Bennett.”

    In November 1959, Terry Sanford was preparing to announce his candidacy for governor. He had already recruited heavy hitters like Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles to raise campaign funds. When Sanford first called on the successful and wealthy businessman living in a mansion looking over a Greensboro country club golf course, he worried that Bowles might be a Republican.

    But now, Bowles had already raised a bundle of money for Sanford and was hosting the meeting to introduce Sanford’s choice for his campaign manager.

    As Howard Covington and Marion Ellis wrote in their biography, “Terry Sanford: Politics, Progress, and Outrageous Ambitions,” “The newcomer at that meeting was Bert Bennett, a tall, lean businessman from Winston-Salem who had just resigned as Forsyth County party chairman to sign on as Terry’s campaign manager. Some of those present had known Bennett at Chapel Hill, where he had been student body president. Others knew him as a political leader closely aligned with the conservative interests that dominated the party organization in Winston-Salem, home of Wachovia Bank & Trust Co. and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Terry had chosen him for those reasons and others, and believed Bennett would add balance to the organization. It was the beginning of a political alliance that would shape North Carolina politics for the next twenty years.”

    As Rob Christensen explained last week in the Raleigh News & Observer, “Bennett was not particularly ideological and was more conservative than Sanford. But he shared Sanford’s sense of wanting to move North Carolina forward and his love of the political game.”

    There was one critical thing that Bennett wanted from Sanford. According to Covington and Ellis, Bennett remembered, “The only thing I asked him was did he want it bad enough.”

    It was the same question Bennett asked every candidate who sought his support, including Jim Hunt. If the candidate did not have fire in the belly, Bennett was not interested.

    But Bennett also had a wry sense of humor. In his book on the 1960 campaign, “Triumph of Good Will: How Terry Sanford Beat a Champion of Segregation and Reshaped the South,” John Drescher tells about the first time Sanford publically admitted that the money for his proposed educational improvements would come from taxes. Walking out of the meeting, he told Bennett that it was remarkable that the audience had applauded. Bennett laughed, “Yes, but I wouldn’t be too sure. They thought you said you’d get the money from Texas.”

    Bennett identified Hunt early on. In Gary Pearce’s biography of Hunt, one chapter is titled “Bert Bennett’s Boy.” He writes, “It was Bennett who decided that Hunt had what it took to be governor, and that the old Sanford group should get behind him.”

    Last week, lots of Democrats were wishing somebody like the tough, businesslike Bert Bennett would get the old group behind the party’s candidates this fall.

  • 11 python named georgeThis summer, the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex introduced a new traveling exhibit, “An Unlikely Refugee: The story of a python named George” to Fayetteville. The staff at the museum were more than happy to hold and feature an exhibit to help relay a true story of a snake, the Vietnam War and Fort Bragg. This exhibit will be on display through Dec. 2.

    The tale of George the Burmese python starts in 1963 when a U.S. Special Forces soldier rescued it from being the next meal of Cambodian mercenaries in Saigon, Vietnam. After the python was rescued, Master Sgt. Dewey Simpson and his soldiers brought it back to the camp, making the snake an unofficial pet and mascot, before taking her back stateside for a short stay at Fort Bragg due to the dangerous environment.

    George became the idol of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh for 25 long years after her move there, where thousands of children and adults got to see her up-close and personal. George the python played a significant role and made a huge impact on the children who came to see her during field trips to the museum at the time. The python’s presence educated a lot of visitors about her species, home and the realities of war at the time. And this is only a small fraction of the beloved python’s story.

    “An Unlikely Refugee: The story of a python named George,” a recent graphic novel, inspired the exhibition. Written by Morrow Dowdle and illustrated by the author’s husband, Max Dowdle, the novel tells the tale of war, life and other themes – all from the perspective of the python. The novel touches on a lot of themes with the tale of George, some darker than others, all the while remaining entertaining.

    The exhibition features illustrations from the graphic novel as well as information panels about George and her species, the Burmese python. It also includes some informative panels regarding George’s habitat and her journey from Vietnam to Fort Bragg before making her way to her final home in Raleigh.

    Several guests attended a special reception for the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex Saturday, July 7. Those guests included the authors of the graphic novel; Jamie McCargo, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ exhibit design curator; and Dana Gilooly, head of the NCMNS Museums Grant Program.

    George’s exhibition is on display until Dec. 2. The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex is located on Arsenal Avenue in downtown Fayetteville. Admission is free, and George’s exhibition and more can be seen during regular operating hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

    For more information, call 919-807-7300 or visit the museum’s site: www.museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov.

  • 13swimmingWas there a connection between the 1950s Nigerian movement for independence and the civil rights movement in Winston-Salem?

    Elaine Neil Orr’s new novel, “Swimming Between Worlds,” is based on this premise. The North Carolina State University professor grew up as a child of American missionaries in Nigeria. Her experiences gave a beautiful and true spirit to her first novel, “A Different Sun,” about pre-Civil War Southern missionaries going to Black Africa to save souls.

    Instead of slaveholding Southerners preaching to Nigerian blacks, the new book contrasts the cultural segregation of 1950s Winston-Salem with that in Nigeria.

    Although Nigerians were coming to a successful end of their struggle for independence from Great Britain, they were still mired in the vestiges of colonial oppression.

    Set in these circumstances is a coming-of-age story and a love story. These themes are complicated, and enriched, by the overlay of the Nigerian struggle and the civil rights protests in Winston-Salem.

    The main male character, Tacker Hart, had been a star high school football player who then earned an architectural degree at N.C. State. He was selected for a plum assignment to work in Nigeria on prototype designs for new schools.

    Working in Nigeria, this typical Southern, white male became so captivated by Nigerian culture, religion and ambience that his white supervisors fired him and sent him home. Back in Winston-Salem, the discouraged and depressed Tacker takes a job in his father’s grocery.

    The female lead character, Kate Monroe, is the daughter of a Wake Forest history professor. Her parents are dead. After graduating from Agnes Scott College, she left Atlanta and her longtime boyfriend, James, to return to Winston-Salem and live in the family home where she grew up.

    How Tacker wins Kate from James is the love story that forms the spine of this book. But there are complications created by a young African-American college student who is taking time off to help with family in Winston-Salem.

    Tacker and Kate first meet Gaines on the same day. After Gaines buys a bottle of milk at the Hart grocery store, white thugs attack him for being in the wrong place (a white neighborhood) at the wrong time. Later on the same day, Kate spots an African-American man holding a bottle of milk, walking by her home in an upper class white neighborhood. She thinks he probably stole the milk. She is terrified and immediately locks her doors and windows. She shakes with worry about the danger of this young black man walking through her neighborhood. The young man is, of course, Gaines.

    It turns out that Gaines is the nephew of Tacker’s beloved family maid. Tacker and his father hire Gaines to work in the grocery store, and he becomes a model employee.

    But Gaines has a secret agenda. He is working with the group of outsiders to organize protest movements at lunch counters in downtown retail stores.

    Gaines sets out to entice Tacker to help with the protests – first, only to allow the store to be used at night for a meeting place. Then, over time, Tacker is led to participate in the sit-ins.

    In Nigeria, Tacker had found his black colleagues and friends to be just as smart, interesting and as talented as he was. He found them to be his equals.

    Back in Winston-Salem, he had at first slipped back into a comfort level with the segregated and oppressive culture in which he grew up. His protest activities with Gaines put his relationships with his family, with Kate, and his possible employment at an architectural firm at risk.

    Tacker’s effort to accommodate his growing participation in the civil rights movement with his heritage of segregation leads to the book’s dramatic, tragic and totally surprising ending.

  • 01coverUAC0071118001The greater Fayetteville area is graced with several outstanding theaters, each offering something unique to local audiences. In the heat of a Carolina summer, here are some performances to look forward to once the weather cools and the curtains rise on a great variety of theatrical productions.

    Cape Fear Regional Theatre

    Cape Fear Regional Theatre has been entertaining Fayetteville since the early 1960s. CFRT resides in a three-story complex where is serves more than 42,000 patrons each year, including almost 7,000 students.

    The 2018-19 season opens Sept. 20 with “Music City.” This modern country musical is set in Nashville and tells the story of three young songwriters who are broke but ambitious. With great music, grit and a lot of heart, this show has all the makings of a hit with notes both old and new. The show runs through Oct 7.

    Oct. 25-Nov. 11, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” based on the 2004 novel of the same name, tells the backstory of Peter Pan, Captain Hook and the rest of the characters from the much-loved story. In true Peter Pan “never grow up” spirit, the adventure includes pirates, friendships and, of course, heroes.

    Little Orphan Annie captured America’s heart in the 1920s in a comic strip in the New York Daily News. By 1930, she had her own radio show. She was in films in 1932 and 1938. She took Broadway by storm in 1977, and she’ll be onstage Jan. 24-Feb. 17, along with Daddy Warbucks, for a fun-filled adventure at CFRT.

    Dalton Trumbo. He was a screenwriter and novelist. He was blacklisted and sent to prison for standing up to the House Un-American Activities committee in 1947 when the committee investigated communism’s influences in the film industry. A member of the Hollywood Ten, he continued to work using pen names and winning awards. This two-character play runs Feb. 28-March 17.

    Bekah Brunstetter’s “The Cake” tells the story of a North Carolina native who comes home to get married. Her choice of partners causes quite the stir. A comic drama, “The Cake” will onstage April 4-21.

    Rhythm and Blues close out the season with “Memphis,” a Broadway show with four Tony Award wins in 2010, including Best Musical. Take a journey to 1950s Memphis with its African-American clubs for a tale of unlikely fame and forbidden love.

    For tickets and more information, visit www.cfrt.org.

    Gilbert Theater

    The Gilbert Theater prides itself on being a semi-professional theater that produces creative, innovative plays and events to stir audiences and students of its conservatory to explore and contemplate the human condition through the talents of local and guest artists.

    “Godspell” opens Gilbert’s season Sept. 21 and runs through Feb. 17. Based on the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John, “Godspell” turns parables into a musical.

    A perennial favorite, “It’s a Wonderful Life” runs Nov. 23-Dec.16. Based on the 1946 movie starring James Stewart, the play tells the story of George Bailey and his guardian angel, Clarence. Bailey is ready to give up and end it all until Clarence shows George that each life really does matter.

    Feb. 1-17 features “Doubt,” which played on Broadway in 2005 and 2006, winning the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. Set in the fictional St. Nicholas Church School in the Bronx in 1964, Sister Aloysius suspects Father Flynn of being inappropriate with an altar boy. She pulls out all the stops to make her case, wreaking havoc along the way.

    C.S. Lewis’ classic “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” opens April 5 and runs through April 21. In the land of Narnia, talking animals and mythical creatures are the norm as Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan Pevensie take on the White Witch.

    “The Laramie Project” closes the season, running May 30-June 9. In 1998, gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming. The play retells the story based on hundreds of interviews with citizens of the town.

    Visit www.gilberttheater.com or call 910-678-7186 to learn more.

    Sweet Tea Shakespeare

    Founded in 2012, Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s mission is to “celebrate the wonder of Shakespeare’s inventions of language, story and stagecraft by providing simple, elemental, magical theatre experiences of his and other remarkable works in an accessible atmosphere of beauty and community.”

    Aug. 21-Sept. 2, “The Comedy of Errors” plays at the 1897 Poe House at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex and continues Sept. 5-8 at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. One of Shakespeare’s early plays, mistaken identity and a bit of slapstick combined with wordplay and puns make this a must-see.

    Modifying plays to accommodate improvisation and audience participation, the LIT series will perform at various locations throughout October and November, including at Paddy’s Irish Public House Oct. 4, 11 and 18, and at Fainting Goat Brewing Company Oct. 25. Taking the tragedy of “Othello” and making it a bit lighter, the troupe said of the show: “The lighter signatures of the LIT series blend with the darker notes of the story for a bold and satisfying new flavor with an element of jealousy.”

    Dec. 6-8 and 13-15, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church hosts “Behold: A Folk Christmas Cantata.” Celebrate the season with STS’ musical performance. With a full slate of Christmas songs to share, the cantata is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.

    STS presents “Sweeney Todd” Jan. 17-Feb. 2 at Fayetteville Pie Company. Sweeney Todd first appeared in a story called “The String of Pearls” in 1846. A relatively modern story for the troupe, don’t miss the misadventures of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and his partner in crime, Mrs. Lovett.

    “Maid Marian,” part of STS’ Honey series, plays April 25-28 at Fayetteville State University and May 2-5 and 9-12 at the Poe House. The Honey series showcases women through shows with strong female casts. What will that mean for this interpretation of the Robin Hood story?

    The season ends with “Richard III” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in repertory June 4-23 at the Poe House.

    Learn more about STS at www.sweetteashakespeare.com or by calling 910-420-4383.

    Givens Performing Arts Center

    Located at UNC Pembroke, GPAC offers great variety this season, opening with an artist-inresidence performance of the farcical historical romance “The Three Musketeers” Sept. 20-21.

    “Jessica & Niels Magic and Juggling Variety Act” presents mind-blowing magic and zany comedy bits on Sept. 28. Jessica Jane Petersen has appeared on Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us” TV show. Niels Duinker is a Guinness World record juggler, who currently holds the record for most cups (14) juggled at once.

    The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra: A Night of John Williams is set for Oct. 5. From “Harry Potter” to “JAWS,” “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones,” the music of John Williams is some of the most celebrated in movie history.

    As a part of UNCP’s homecoming celebration, GPAC presents “Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles” on Oct. 19. With three decades of experience, this band has performed with such groups as REO Speedwagon and The Doobie Brothers.

    “Comte Dracula: A New Musical Drama” was written by Lumberton native and award-winning composer of classical and Broadway music, Mark Andersen. “Comte Dracula” is an original musical making its world premiere on the stage of GPAC Oct. 27.

    A perennial favorite, “UNCP Holiday Extravaganza” takes place Nov. 30. The faculty, staff and students of the UNCP music department present their 10th annual concert of holiday favorites. Proceeds go to music scholarships at UNCP.

    “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” takes the stage Dec. 2. Come and get in the holiday spirit with Rudolph, the Abominable Snow Monster and all your favorite characters.

    Enjoy the hit songs of Motown Jan. 12 with “Good for The Soul – Motown Revue.”

    Feb. 20, “Cinderella: The Broadway Musical” brings Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Tony Awardwinning “Cinderella” musical to the Sandhills.

    The Russian Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty” returns to GPAC March 11. Formed in 1989, The Russian Ballet has achieved worldwide acclaim for its performances.

    The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, a Scottish bagpipe band, will rock GPAC March 20. Not to be confused with the world-famous American rock band, The Red Hot Chili Pipers hail from Scotland and have become well-known for their incredible covers of songs by Journey, AC/DC, and even songs like “Amazing Grace.”

    Four members of the original “Jersey Boys” cast make up The Midtown Men. Join this dynamic group of Tony Award winners and nominees for a memorable night of classic 1960s hits April 15.

    For more information about the shows or to become a season subscriber or renew past subscriptions, call the GPAC Box Office at 910-521-6361 or visit www.uncp.edu/gpac.

  • 01Cover UAC0070418001“Standpoint: A Group Exhibition” at Gallery 208 opens Tuesday, July 10, with a reception from 5:30-7 p.m. It showcases a joining of 11 artists who work as higher education art faculty in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

    Higher education art faculty in this city are like all other universities and community colleges faculty. As members of the faculty they have three roles: teaching, service and scholarship. In the area of teaching, each day is different, with unexpected situations to resolve and new material or techniques to research and apply. Service can be for the department, the university, the community, professional service or all four. Then there is scholarship, the making of new works of art if you’re a faculty member who teaches a studio class.

    What’s unusual is that many of the full-time fine art faculty from competing schools in Fayetteville have come together to build their personal relationships as practicing artists – not as educators – by creating a comradery of support and even to have an occasional potluck dinner together.

    It all began with an idea after the director of Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery, Calvin Mims, brought several artists together to talk about initiatives for the community and what the faculty needed. Mims started by inviting full-time and part-time art faculty from Fayetteville Technical Community College, Methodist University and Fayetteville State University to do the recent group show titled “Higher Ed Fayetteville Art Faculty Exhibition.” That lead to a couple of potluck dinners and discussions about enrichment for each other as artists.

    “Standpoint: A Group Exhibition” at Gallery 208 is the result of those discussions over dinner. The artists from academe include Vilas Tonape from Methodist University; Callie Farmer, Katey Morrill and Robin Teas from Fayetteville Technical Community College; and Shane Booth, Dwight Smith, Vicki Rhoda, Jonathan Chestnut, Skylor Swann, Dwight Smith and yours truly from Fayetteville State University.

    The 11th artist is Christopher Happel. Happel is employed at Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery and is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, focusing on the medium of sculpture. The group, New Vision Collaborative, wanted Happel to be part of the first-year initiative since he is a millennial among seasoned artists. All were interested in the insights of a young millennial who is also a dedicated artist. For Happel, he’s happy to be able to interface and exhibit with experienced artists and educators.

    “Standpoint: A Group Exhibition” includes a lot of variety since each artist brings his or her own expertise, style and purpose for creating works of art. Two works were selected by each artist for the exhibit; the range of media includes paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics and prints. “Standpoint: A Group Exhibition” is the kickoff event for a year of collaboration among the participants in what they’re calling the New Vision Collaborative.

    After one year of collaborating with each other in workshops to share technical information, provide support for artists to try new mediums, and to offer group critiques and discussions, another exhibition will take place June 2019 at Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery titled “Standpoint: 365.”

    The Fayetteville area has embraced many art initiatives and alliances to improve the arts locally over the years. But, this group of artists/educators has one common goal – to enrich themselves and maybe others along the way. Dwight Smith from FSU noted, “We have a connection between the three schools – a passion for the arts, and intellectual exchange.

    Calvin Mims commented, “All of the artists in this group are continually engaged in the pursuit of excellence.”

    Callie Framer, a printmaker from FTCC, reminded our group that students have us (their teachers) and each other to critique their work. Yet, as professionals, it would be helpful to have professional critiques. For students, seeing us exhibit together offers a good example of the continued efforts of local art faculty. Faculty can share techniques and strategies about how to stay creatively focused instead of falling victim to teacher burn-out.

    Already, during the dinners, members of New Vision Collaborative have had discussions about relevant websites and ways to engage the public with unfamiliar styles. The next meeting will include creating a calendar of events for the group and more events for the public to attend.

    Skylor Swann, a new ceramicist at FSU, noted he was interested in participating since he wanted to share new research, process and materials. As well, he is interested in looking at what artists are not doing and examining his own personal growth as an artist. He said, “We all bring something different to the collaborative – life experiences and viewpoints.”

    Jonathan Chestnut brings his interest and knowledge of technology to the collaborative. Chestnut teaches the computer graphic classes at FSU and has always been interested in sculpture. During the last eight years, in addition to teaching, his focus has been on ways to apply technology to fine art. From laser cutters to 3D modeling, Chestnut has influenced artists in his department to use technology. In “Standpoint: A Group Exhibition,” Chestnut is exhibiting layered wall reliefs created by using the laser cutter at FSU.

    Vicki Rhoda, the new art education instructor at FSU, was quick to point out how “we share with the community an identity and our expertise. By having exhibitions, we are demonstrating our belief in the importance of art and how art is a constructive interaction among people in public spaces.”

    So, it will be an interesting year for New Vision Collaborative, culminating in the 2019 exhibition at Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery. The group is not interested in becoming a nonprofit organization but will remain open to change and choices. The year ahead will include discussing ideas in think-tank formats, sharing websites and suppliers, conducting workshops and critiques amongst the group, and planning events for the public to attend. By the end of the year, the artists will have been enriched and come to understand what works and what doesn’t work before expanding the group.

    Calvin Mims was more than happy to have Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery be the central place for the group to meet and plan the activities. Mims said, “I think it’s important the New Vision Collaborative is thinking about what is missing in the community when it comes to the visual arts. As contemporary artists, it’s important the public sees the value and importance of contemporary art in a community. As well, your students will see that you do what you are encouraging them to do. So, coming together and having a presence in our community is relevant.”

    The public is invited to attend the opening reception of “Standpoint: A Group Exhibition” at Gallery 208, located at 208 Rowan St., from 5:30-7 p.m. July 10. The show will be up until early September. The gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call 910-484-6200.

  •     {mosimage}Dr. James Anderson, the new chancellor at Fayetteville State University is the right man at the right time to lead FSU into the 21st century.
        Coming off a tumultuous year at FSU that included the much publicized nursing school brouhaha, Anderson, 59, wants to restore order, raise admission standards, and, most importantly, make FSU more competitive and attractive to students.
        “We have to not only emphasize recruitment, but on top of that, retention and graduation. It hurts an institution when it lowers its standards,” Anderson said. “Now, I didn’t get into why that happened. What I have tried to say since I’ve been here is when you lower your standards you begin to lose your competitive edge. It’s very hard to argue that you’re a great institution when you’re lowering your admissions standards.
    “So we’ve bumped those up some and they will continue to gradually move up,” Anderson said. “But we are not an institution of choice, meaning when students think about their first choice, many of them don’t think about Fayetteville State University. For many of them, we are their default institution. We want to change that; we want to be able to go after some of the best and brightest in North Carolina, who either leave the state or go to other schools here. We want to be able to offer the competitive scholarships that attract them.”
        In order to attract “the best and the brightest,” Anderson says the school needs to recruit star students, just as athletes are recruited. He also says the business of recruiting should not be left solely to the admissions office, but should also include the faculty.
        “We want to have faculty involved in student recruitment, to have faculty to begin to contact students in their junior year in high school or get them to come here for various kinds of summer initiatives, etc.,” Anderson said. “When they begin to see you early on, they begin to develop more of an affinity for you, they begin to see how serious we are about wanting them here.”
        As part of his recruitment strategy, Anderson wants to add more diversity to the student body, recruiting more Hispanic and international students. And he says he especially wants to attract more black males to FSU — a commodity that is sorely lacking not only at FSU, but across the nation as a whole.
        Anderson has a hard won advantage over most university presidents or chancellors in the recruitment of black males — he can relate to black males because he’s “real.”
        Anderson was born out of wedlock in a Washington, D.C., hospital. His mother’s family forced her to leave the infant at the hospital and he didn’t see her again until six years ago.
    He lived the wild life, surviving and hustling on the hard streets of D.C., getting in and out of trouble. But he was saved by the discipline of a Catholic classroom and the stern, no-nonsense guidance of the schools’ angels in black and white.
        “I got in lots of trouble, and yet I always did well in school,” Anderson said. “The nuns saw something in me and just always pressed me to do well. In high school I was a big high school basketball player, but I always put academics first.”
        After leaving high school, Anderson attended Villanova University — where he remains a member of the board of trustees — and then to Cornell, where he earned his Ph.D. in psychology under his first true mentor, Wade Boykin — the first African-American faculty member at Cornell in the psychology department. Anderson was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in Boykin’s program.
        After having spent most of his academic life at all-white or predominantly white schools, Anderson decided that for his next gig, he wanted to experience a traditionally African-American college, so he chose to teach at Xavier University in New Orleans.
        Anderson left Xavier for Indiana University in Pennsylvania, where another mentor, Hilda Richards, suggested he get into administration.
        “She said, ‘James I know you love teaching, you’re rated as one of our best instructors on campus... our students love you... but I think you would make a great administrator,” Anderson said. “She said a line I will never forget: ‘You can change a few lives of students in a classroom, but you can change the whole university if you run it.’”
        And thus began his quest to lead a university as a president or chancellor. His journey to that destination took him to the University of Richmond in Virginia; N.C. State, where the school created a brand new position for him — the dean of undergraduate studies; Texas A&M, where he served under then-President Robert Gates, who is now President Bush’s secretary of defense; and finally, he went to work at Albany State University.
        Shortly after starting his job at Albany State he learned about the opening for a chancellor at FSU.
    “I finally made the decision that I wanted to be a chancellor,” Anderson said. “I only applied to two places and this one came through.
        “A couple of things pulled me to FSU,” he added. “First and foremost, my respect and admiration for the University of North Carolina system, which I consider the best in the country. When I came down for my visit I really felt a couple of things: one, that there was very good student leadership here, and that if people were given the chance to be creative, to be innovative, they would. I knew there was a little troubled time here preceding that search, so we had to recast the image of the university in a more positive light. The board seemed very inspired in that they really wanted to find someone that was a good match. A lot of the stars aligned at the same time.”
        After a long search, Anderson, who has a wife and three daughters, says FSU is his last job... that he will be here until he retires.
        Anderson says implementing the changes he’s seeking won’t be easy. He says that some of the “old guard” may resent the recruitment of different races at a traditionally African-American school — though he says that at one time, FSU’s student body was 33 percent white  — he says that some alumni may balk at the fund-raising he says is necessary to implement some of the technological initiatives needed to make sure FSU students remain competitive when they venture into the work place.{mosimage}
        “The fund-raising effort at Fayetteville State may appear to have been sufficient in some ways, but for the things we want to do, the creative initiatives, the things we want, we have nowhere near the resource support,” Anderson said. “So we’ll have to do fund-raising, which entails having alumni increase their gift giving rate, which is very low. I don’t understand why 25 percent of the alumni can’t give $50 each year. See, people always think you’re asking for $100,000 or $50,000, etc. If $50 is all you can give, that’s fine. But I would like to be able to say one day that 25 percent of our alumni give, which is pretty good considering the national average is around 19 percent.”
        Anderson insists that when it comes to recruiting students, fund-raising and pushing his initiatives, he will never take a back seat.
        “I will lead the push for more money. I will lead this school in the pursuit of new technology. I will recruit  prize students, even if it means hopping on a plane at my own expense and flying across the country.”
        The right man. The right time. The right job.

  •     I recently introduced The Alternative Energy Advancement Act (H.R. 6383), which seeks to use proceeds from domestic oil and gas production to increase the development of new alternative energy technologies by diverting all federal proceeds from future oil and gas leases, on and off shore, into a newly created Alternative Energy Trust Fund. Let me explain the legislation:
        {mosimage}Our working families are watching in amazement as the price of gas goes up daily. In the short run, I believe we need to use more of the oil and gas that is available here in our country. Over the long run, I believe we need to develop and implement new alternative energy sources. This legislation seeks to accomplish both of these goals by using the proceeds from oil and gas leases to fund alternative energy research.
        There is a lot of talk going on in Washington about energy, but not much seems to be getting done. There are some who argue that we just need to use more of the oil available here in our country, while others say we need to focus all our effort on developing alternative energy sources.
        I hope this legislation can bridge the divide between Republicans and Democrats on the energy issue. This legislation creates an alternative energy trust fund so when we use more of the oil and natural gas reserves that are available in our country, the proceeds from those leases will fund the research and development of new energy sources for the future.
        Achieving energy independence is probably one of the greatest goals we can achieve as a nation. To get there, we need a mix of conservation, alternative energy production, and greater use of the vast energy resources that are available in our country. My frustration is that there is a wrongheaded philosophy on energy policy in Washington that says we can’t fully utilize the oil, coal and natural gas resources in this country, but says its OK for American families to seek direct help from Hugo Chavez — the Dictator from Venezuela.{mosimage}
        In order to lower energy costs, we must decrease our nation’s dependency on foreign sources of oil and gas. This bill would help the United States become more energy independent, which is critical to our nation’s economic security and national security. I will continue working with other common sense members in the House and Senate on a bipartisan basis to strive to make these reforms a reality, ultimately providing more relief for the consumer at the pump.
        The Alternative Energy Trust Fund will be available to the Secretary of Energy for research and development of alternative energy to help decrease our reliance on foreign energy and ultimately decrease energy for consumers.
  •     {mosimage}Thanks to the media overkill concerning the deaths of soldiers Holly Wimunc and Megan Touma — as well as other highly publicized cases from the past related to victims that had Fort Bragg or Fayetteville ties — the area is being scrutinized and discussed in an increasingly negative light. Across the nation, folks are wondering what the military is doing wrong to create a breed of spouse abusers and batterers. Even though this perception is more myth than truth when you look at crime statistics, Fort Bragg does take measures to educate soldiers about spousal abuses and to council its victims.
        Tom Hill, the ACS-Family Advocacy Program Manager at Forth Bragg, said there is a program specifically designed to provide assessment and treatment for victims and perpetrators of family violence — including child victims — that is staffed by about 35 professionals.
        “Every instance of possible abuse is fully assessed and a treatment plan is developed for the family or individuals,” said Hill. “There are a wide variety of treatments available.”
    Hill said there are also preemptive measures to head off spousal or child abuse, providing a once-a-year workshop to provide the soldiers with information on getting help for family, relationship and parenting problems.
        Hill added that the program provides training and workshops to educate couples, parents and single soldiers on the prevention of dating violence, sexual assault, child abuse partner abuse and related problems.
        Cornell University studies effectiveness of the prevention program on a regular basis.
        According to Hill, preemptive programs that have been recently started to address this problem include: hiring a full time family readiness person for every battalion to help families cope when soldiers deploy; starting a victim advocate program where victims of partner abuse or sexual assault can call anonymously at any time day or night to get help; a new parent support program with 14 nurses who can go to the home and provide anything from advice on breast feeding to how to get a quick no interest Army loan to fix the car; the creation of an Army Community Service station inside the Cross Creek Mall to provide information about post programs; doubling the number of child care agencies on-base during the next year; and a Military One Source hotline that couples can call to get free off-post marriage counseling.
        As far as statistics showing the abuse rate of Fort Bragg soldiers, Hill says there are many factors that skew results.
        “The numbers tend to rise and fall for obvious reasons,” said Hill. “For instance, child neglect cases rise during deployments because there is one less parent in the home and the one left behind might become overwhelmed or not watch the kids as well. During deployments partner abuse cases go way down because there are less couples together, but when they return the numbers boost back up to pre-deployment levels. There’s an increase every summer partly because the children get out of school and there might be more arguments about discipline, etc.”{mosimage}
        There is also treatment for soldiers who are guilty of minor or one-time abuse, while instances of serious or serial abuse can land a soldier in prison and a discharge from the Army. Hill said that when a victim’s spouse is discharged or imprisoned for abuse, the victim and his or her children are are eligible for military pay, full commissary, PX, medical and dental benefits for up to three years after the incident. According to Hill, this policy was instituted to encourage victims to come forward who might otherwise not due to worries about ending a soldier’s career.
        And Fort Bragg is not an island when it comes to its handling of abuse. Hill said that when a child abuse report is made, the Cumberland County Child Protective Services is notified immediately about every case and is allowed free access to the family if they live on post.
        One of the civilians the military deals with in cases that need off-post attention is Lyndelia Wynn, director of the county’s Family violence program.
        Wynn said the county provides “safe houses” for the wives and children of military personnel, in addition to the general public, who are the suspected victims of abuse.
    And men.
        “People don’t think about it,” said Wynn, “but men are abused too.” 
        Wynn says her department services about 500 cases per year and that the majority of on-base abuse cases are handled by a victim advocate at Fort Bragg. She says that it’s hard to give statistics because there are so many other programs in the county that people will turn to, as well as seeking refuge with relatives or their church.
        She also says it’s impossible to pick out trends as to what time of the year abuse is most likely to occur.
        “One month you think you’ll be extremely busy it will turn out to be a slow month,’ said Wynn. “And then what you think will be slow months are busy. There’s no set pattern of when it will happen or who it will affect.”
        And certainly, no smoking gun pointing at Fort Bragg as a hotbed of abuse.
  • Reaching New Heights – The Climbing Place

    07-10-13-climbing-place.gifThe Climbing Place is 18,000 feet of pure, unadulterated climbing fun for all ages and parties. Adding flair of adventure to the downtown area since January 1, 1995, The Climbing Place is a no-brainer choice when considering a way to spice up anyone’s visit to downtown. Owner Michael Pinkston, commonly known as Mr. P, prides his business as being the oldest continuous climbing facility in the state of North Carolina as well as one of the most extensive in its services.

    Maneuvering over obstacles and traversing difficult terrain has been a part of human history since the days of our nomadic ancestors. The sport of rock climbing is believed to have originated in the late 19th century in different parts of Europe made popular by the linear rock formations that litter the Eurasian landscape. Unlike the dangerous landscapes of tales long forgotten, The Climbing Place offers a rock-climbing experience in the comfort and safety of an indoor utopia. Putting the customers first and ensuring a fun time for all visitors has remained the philosophy of The Climbing Place since its beginning. “Customer satisfaction and safety are our top priorities,” said Pinkston. “We teach beginners how to tie knots, put on equipment and obey different climbing commands.”

    Rock climbing indoors works by creating several artificial rock walls tagged with different climbing paths made by small rock-like grips. Each path is color-coded and marked with the difficulty, name of the creator and the date it was made. There are three different climbing techniques — bouldering, leap climbing and top rope climbing. The Climbing Place brings business from in- and out-of-state with its variety of rock climbing and in particular its 600 feet of traverse-climbing space.Retired from the military, Pinkston’s job was to scale cliffs and mountains to write manuals about rock climbing and its procedures. Originally planning to become a guidance counselor, Pinkston saw an opportunity to share his love of climbing when he bought a warehouse formally owned by Chevrolet M and O. “The ceilings were 8-feet tall,” Pinkston said. “We lifted the ceiling tiles and thought that it just might work.”

    Pinkston believes rock climbing can become a valuable recreation that people of all ages can take part in. “Climbing not only produces physical rewards but also challenges the climber’s skills in the areas of confidence, problem solving and perseverance,” Pinkston said. Scaling one wall are several rock-climbing paths for younger children as well, evidence of perseverance and determination were found in the form of hundreds of scuffmarks left by the small pathfinders.

    The Climbing Place welcomes all visitors, no matter what skill-level or handicap. Pinkston reflected on his experience with blind climbers as something amazing and awe-inspiring, the only thing holding a person back from being a climber is a lack of determination — if there’s a will then there’s a way. The Climbing Place also works with home-schooled children as well as kids with autism.

    No matter the occasion, The Climbing Place caters to all audiences and climbing purposes. Whether earning a scout merit badge, throwing a birthday party or planning a school field trip, The Climbing Place will guarantee boundless fun for all. The Climbing Place is located at 436 West Russell Street and accepts walk-ins, memberships and passes.

    Photo: The Climbing Place has been providing adventures for locals since 1995.

  • With the blossoming of a new summer, so too blossoms a new season for the local theatre community. One group in particular has some very exciting possibilities in store for the community. They are the River Valley Players.

    The River Valley Players are a local nonprofi t theatre troupe consisting entirely of volunteers who perform in order to support local charities.07-06-11-erin-crider.jpg

    “We are striving to help other people that need help. Local charities that need an extra boost, and if we are able to help them in any way this is what we try to do,” says Gerry Cruse, founder and director of the Players.

    When asked about which charities they choose to support, Cruse responded with, “We just get together and our board decides which one we want. We try to keep it local. Occasionally something comes up, like maybe a cancer research, or something of that sort, because we have all been involved in one way or another with that kind of an incident. But mostly we try to keep everything local if we can.”

    Most recently the Players have supported Wounded Warriors with a musical tribute to the military, and are preparing to hold auditions for a performance to benefi t the Fayetteville Urban Ministries. Cruse describes the upcoming performance as, “a series of four short plays, all comedies, all very, very funny.” It will be preformed August 19-20 at the Haymont Grill. They also will have a Christmas performance, but that has yet to be decided upon.

    The River Valley Players started several years ago in response to the disaster in New Orleans caused by the infamous Hurricane Katrina.

    “I was working at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center at that time and we had a show group in there and we decided to do a show to raise funds for the children that had been displaced by Katrina, and we actually raised about $3,000 on that occasion,” said Cruse.

    The biggest new project Cruse has in the works however, is a permanent home for the players and a community theater.

    “There is an opportunity for the River Valley Players to obtain a building on Trade Street in Hope Mills that will make a perfect little community theatre,” says Cruse excitedly. “It will be a community theatre; there will be rooms that could be rented for functions. The theatre itself will be small but can be dressed up as a wedding chapel, and people can have receptions there. It’s just a good scheme, and we think it would do great. We would like to have, during the summer and continuing if necessary, theatre camps for young people. And also really involve the youth of Hope Mills in the performing arts, because there is nothing live in Hope Mills other than what’s in the schools,” Cruse explained.

    The River Valley Players face the same issues most non-profit organizations face, however. They need support, and they need volunteers. When asked if she had enough volunteers, Cruse responded simply and firmly with a single word, “No.”

    With the opportunity of obtaining a building, the group needs support from the community more than ever. “If we could get that going I would be totally delighted. It’s two buildings; they are about a hundred years old. So they are going to have to have some work done to bring them up to code before we can even start to think of putting stuff in there, let alone a gathering place for people. So, we have to make sure all of that is correct, and compliant with ADA rules. But I’m hoping we can get enough support to do this,” said Cruse.

  • As temperatures soar, everyone is seeking relief from the heat, so leave it to the the Fayetteville Downtown Alliance to find a way to put our minds on cooler times. On July 22, from 6 to 10 p.m., come celebrate Christmas in July during this month’s 4th Friday festivities.

    Don’t wait until Black Friday to start your shopping, you can get a jump on it as many of the downtown merchants will be offering special Christmas discounts. Walter Guy Jewelers will even offer a Christmas layaway plan to help you get a handle your Christmas budget. Several merchants will offer Christmas refreshments, like Holmes Electric, who will share their famous Christmas Open House goodies, while others will give out door prizes.

    And what’s Christmas without kids? The Downtown Alliance wanted to make sure they get into the Christmas spirit as well, so be sure to bring the kids. There will be free Christmas craft projects for the young and old. And don’t forget to pop in at the Cotton Exchange for its free train ride around downtown. Try your hand at art at Gregs! The shop will offer paint your own ornaments for just $5, half off the normal price of $10. And don’t forget to stop by the Fascinate-U Children’s Museum. There is even a rumor that the big guy will be checking his summer schedule to see if he can take a break from his busy toy making to join us for 4th Friday.

    In keeping with the generosity of the American spirit at the holidays, several exhibits that give us inspiration to reach out to the less fortunate among us will be on display. The Second Harvest Food Bank, established in 1982, will host a raffle. They will have information about their programs, to help raise awareness of hunger in the area. Operation Christmas Child, one of the largest Christmas gift-exchange programs in the world, will be on hand to show how you or your local organization can join this giant yearly Christmas gift distribution project to some of the poorest communities on earth.

    With summer in full swing, it is also a time that many families are moving in to our community. This gives us the perfect opportunity to showcase many of the beautiful residences in our fair city.

    The Arts Council will open its Parade of Homes exhibit during the July 4th Friday event from 7 to 9 p.m. Each original work of art must contain a house and r07-20-11-parade-winner-2010_lores.jpgeflect the spirit of Parade of Homes.

    According to Mary Kinney, marketing manager for the Arts Council, “The winner will be announced that evening and awarded $2,000 by the Home Builders Association of Fayetteville. First place art will be used on promotional materials for the 2011 Parade of Homes, to include the cover of 70,000 tour-guide magazines, which will also feature the winning artist’s biography.”

    Cash prizes for second and third place will also be awarded.

    Come see local artists, musicians and dancers and stroll the historic district in the cool of the evening. Watch a potter creating a bowl or join the drum circle at our iconic Market House. While you’re checking out the local shops, be sure to stop in at Sunflower Fibers and wish them a happy one year anniversary!

    Celebrate what makes Fayetteville such a fantastic place to live: small town warmth coupled with big city sophistication.

    Photo: This painting won the 2010 Parade of Homes Exhibit at the Arts Council.  

  • uac071311001.jpg When you think American wines, most people think Napa Valley, but North Carolina vineyards are putting their mark on the American wine scene. And that’s only fitting, as our state is the home of our nation’s first cultivated grape: the scuppernong.

    A cousin to the muscadine, the scuppernong was fi rst sighted by French explorer Giovanni de Verrazano in 1524. Sixty years later, Sir Walter Raleigh’s explorers wrote, “The coast of North Carolina was so full of grapes that the very beating and surge of the sea overfl owed with them.

    ”It was on this voyage that Raleigh discovered the famed “mother vine” of the scuppernongs on Roanoke Island. Cuttings from the “mother vine” were transplanted along the coast and as far west as Fayetteville, and from their bounty a rich wine history was born in the Old North State.

    From 1835 until the Civil War, more than 25 wineries were operating in North Carolina. The war disrupted the industry briefl y, but by the turn of the century, many vineyards were thriving and wine was a rich commodity for the state. The industry has had its ups and downs over the past 100 years, but today it is thriving with more than 100 wineries operating throughout the state

    .Today, you can travel from the coast, through the Piedmont and up into the mountains and fi nd a taste of Carolina throughout your travels. Here is a sample of what you will fi nd on your journey:

    Coastal Wineries

    Silver Coast Winery, located just 15 minutes inland from Ocean Isle Beach, produces 10,000 cases of wine annually. Visitors may take 20-minute tours of the facility, which will take them from the grapevines to the wine cellars. The winery offers tastings in its elegant tasting room where the friendly staff will help you select wines, and a small shop provides a collection of enticing gifts. In addition, visitors can view and purchase original art work from various local artists.

    The Silver Coast Winery is 9-years-old this month. Winemaker, Dana Keeler, who came from the Finger Lakes region of New York, is celebrating six years at the winery. The winery is the 22nd opened in the state and the first in Brunswick County. The Silver Coast Winery specializes in the native muscadine grape but also imports many grapes from the Blue Ridge Mountain area.

    Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday until 7 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Combine a day at the beach with a wine tour and an art exhibition. For further information and directions, go to www.silvercoastwinery.com/winery.html.

    Founded in 1976, Duplin Winery, located in Rose Hill, invites visitors to stroll through its Winemaking Museum to learn the history of the south’s oldest and largest winery. The winery produces more than 1,000,000 gallons of wine, selecting grapes from more than 1,400 acres across four states. Although the muscadine is a winery favorite, Duplin Winery offers 12 traditional wines as well as blends and champagne.

    For three generations, the Duplin Winery has remained family-owned and operated. The Duplin family decided in the early ‘70s to create a market for their grapes and started making wine. In-laws, grandchildren, aunts and uncles all pitched in stomping grapes and bottling wine. The rest is history. The family is devoted not just to its own winery, but to wine in general, and the industry itself and has grown in sales by more than 10 percent each year.

    Free tours are available Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and free tastings are offered Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The winery is closed on Sundays.

    For more information, visit the website at www.duplinwinery.com.

    Just 25 miles from downtown Wilmington, the Bannerman Vineyard has been cultivating grapes since 1973. A family-owned business in the heart of Pender County, the vineyard spans 20 acres.

    Featuring the “muscadine” grape, similar to a Concord grape, wine made from this fruit has unique nutritional characteristics. Due to its ingredient, “resvertrol,” consumers have the benefi t of a healthy anti-oxidant which can lower cholesterol. Just think: drink wine and get healthy. The ingredient can be found in both the red and white muscadine wines.

    The Bannerman family works long days at the vineyard during the “off season” (November to July). Hours for tasting then are Wednesday through Saturday from 12-4 p.m. or by appointment by calling 910-259-5474. During the season (August through November), the vineyard is open from Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Sundays 12 - 6 p.m.

    Piedmont Wineries

    When you’ve finished your visit to the coastal wineries, head to the central part of the state where a vast array of wineries await you.A short jaunt down Highway 87, Lu-Mil Vineyards can be found just north of Elizabethtown in the small community of Dublin. The vineyard sits on the family farm of the late Lucille and Miller Taylor. Leaders in the agricultural industry, the family started the vineyard as a means of testing new machinery for the wine industry. Those tests spawned a successful vineyard, whose fi rst harvest occurred in 2005. That was the same year the vineyard’s gift shop and tasting room were offi cially opened to the public.

    Taylor Divine is a 100 percent semi-sweet mid-harvest white wine made with a blend of scuppernong and Carolos grapes. Bladen Blush is a late harvest blend of muscadine grapes that produce a full, sweet taste and mild, pleasant fi nish. Cape Owen Red is made of native muscadines. It is the sweetest of the sweet wines. Old Cumberland, which is a soft, dry white wine made from the early harvest of muscadines, was named in honor of Cumberland County. Harmony Hall is made from the magnolia grape and is cold fermented for a smooth, sweet and fruity white wine. The vineyard is open daily for free wine tasting, but you can also spend the night in one of the Vineyard Cabins.

    For more information, visit the website at www.lumilvineyard.com.

    As you travel east, you will encounter a number of other wineries that make up the Uwharrie Mountains Wine Trail. Located in the heart of the Piedmont, the Uwharrie Mountains Wine Trail will take you to a number of wineries all within a very short drive of each other.

    Stony Mountain Vineyards has a simple mission: Make great tasting wines and create wonderful experiences and memories for its customers.

    The vineyard is owned by the Furr family. Ken Furr is a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who retired with the rank of colonel. He is the winemaker and the general manager. His wife, Marie, is retired from civil service, and manages the tasting room and events. Their son, Devron, is a teacher, a member of the National Guard and the assistant winemaker.

    Unlike many North Carolina vineyards, Stony Mountain offers a variety of traditional varietals including: Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Syrah Sangiovese. They also offer four fruit wines: Very “Beary” Red, which is made from blackberries and a dry red wine; Blackberry, which is a semi-sweet red berry wine; Strawberry and Peach. They also offer a White and Red table wine made out of muscadine

    .Winery tours and tastings are available by appointment. For more information, visit www.stonymountainvineyards.com.

    Uwharrie Vineyards is operated by Chad Andrews. A gregarious host, Andrews is knowledgeable about all aspects of wine making and is quick to answer questions or explain the process to you.

    Located just 25 minutes east of Charlotte, the vineyard is comprised of 50 acres of grape vines, and houses a 14,000 square foot facility that include a visitor’scenter, a formal banquet hall, a large tasting bar and a unique gift shop.

    Andrews embraces the motto of the vineyard: He enjoys life to the fullest, takes many things casually, with the exception of his wine. When it comes to his wine, he is a perfectionist, carefully testing and balancing each and every vat of wine. Also something of a health nut, Andrews does not add any preservatives to his wine. “If you can’t pronounce it, it shouldn’t be in the wine,” he said.

    The vineyard offers four different varieties of wines: white wines, red wines, blush wines and port Style.

    The Carlos is a full-bodied dry white wine. The Magnolia is a favorite of many visitors. It has the sweet taste that many in the South prefer in their wines. It has a rich fruit taste with a apple and pear finish. A recent offering is a Muscat, which has a slightly sweet, aromatic and sensual taste. It expresses cantaloupe and honeydew flavors over a citrus core structure.

    The Noble and Noble Evening Pleasure are signature red wines. The Noble is full bodied with a berry and spice overtone. It is cold fermented, and ends dry. The Noble Evening Pleasure is soft and sweet with wild berry overtones.

    Two of the most popular wines are the port-style wines: the Red Velvet and the Frost Velvet. The Red Velvet is a blend of the vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and the Noble. It has a sweet beginning and a dry finish, which by in large comes with its alcohol content of 15.4 percent. This wine has been featured on Good Morning America, MTV and was selected as the ceremonial wine of the U.S. Army Special Forces and the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.

    The winery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. While the winery is fl exible on tours, as a rule, tours start every hour on Saturday and Sunday, with tours on a request basis during the week. For more information, visit www.uwharrievineyards.com.

    Mountain Vineyards

    Once you leave the Piedmont, you can head to the mountains where a number of vineyards wait to entertain you.

    A little more than a decade ago the 167-year-old Shore farm in Boonville grew tobacco as it had for many years. Realizing that he had to diversify or face being the last of six generations to farm the land, Neil Shore, chose a different crop. He enrolled in Surry Community College’s viticulture program in the 1990s. A farmer since he was 16-years-old, Shore planted 15 acres in grapes in 2001, and07-13-11-wine-glass.jpgnamed the winery Sanders Ridge after one of his ancestors. “He learned that there’s not a lot of difference between growing grapes and tobacco,” his wife Cindy said. “His inspiration was to pass something along to his kids and still keep the farm viable.”

    Cindy manages the tasting room and works at the family’s certifi ed organic vegetable farm. Neil’s daughter Jennifer helps a few days each week.

    Nine grapes are planted including Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Cindy believes they’re the only North Carolina winery to plant Muscat Canelli, a cousin of Riesling. Their French-American hybrid Chambourcin is bottled as Sweet Kate, a floral delight named for another ancestor. Sanders Ridge is open daily (except Christmas, New Years and Easter) noon to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.sandersridge.com.

    Raffaldini Winery owners trace their roots to 14th century Mantua in the Lombardy region of Italy where their ancestors were farmers with a long history of growing their own grapes and making their own wine. They purchased the Yadkin Valley winery property in 2001 after surveying more than 60 sites. “This location is exceptional because it has some of the same characteristics and features as in central and southern Italy,” said Thomas Salley, marketing director for Raffaldini.

    The family planted more than 30 different grapes on 43 acres before settling on those that have proven to be successful. “We focus on Pinot Grigio, Vermentino, six varieties of Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Orange Moscato. This year we planted some Nero d’Avola,” Salley said. They also grow Malbec and occasionally buy Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from other local growers. The first vintage was bottled on site in 2003 and an early tasting room opened in 2004. During 2007, the family constructed a villa reminiscent of Italian family homes with an events room upstairs and a tasting room downstairs. Their members gather at the villa for private tastings and club events including the annual Italian Festival in September.

    Raffaldini is open Mondays from 11a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday 11a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.  Tours are Wednesday to Sunday 1-4 p.m. For more information, visit www.raffaldini.com.

  • The Heritage Square Historical Society presents its annual “Christmas in July” event Thursday, July 30 –Saturday, Aug. 1, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at 225 Dick St.

    “This is an annual event, and we normally don’t have it until October or November,” said Elaine Kennebeck, president of Heritage Square Historical Society. “However, having to postpone or cancel all of our wedding rentals and events, we have not been able to have any kind of fundraiser.”

    Kennebeck added that the organization is running dangerously low on money to pay monthly expenses. The members are committed to keeping the doors open, which is why they pushed the Christmas event up to July. The purpose of the event is to help maintain a historical property and also to allow people to tour the houses to make the public aware they are open for business.

    The event takes place in The Sandford House, which is one of three houses the organization owns. The other two houses are The Oval Ballroom and The Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House.

    “One of our longtime members, Judy Dorman, passed away,” said Kennebeck. “Her family decided to donate all of her Christmas decorations to Heritage Square because she loved Heritage Square so much. They have brought decorations by the carload, and it’s been unbelievable because it is thousands and thousands of things.”

    “It is going to be quite a big sale, and everything is priced from 25 cents and up,” Kennebeck added.

    “People love this event, and I think this year it is going to be more uplifting because we have all been caged in our homes looking for something to do and places to go.”

    Kennebeck noted the sale consists of about 24 huge tables that are packed with everything Christmas and that it is beautifully displayed. “We have everything on display — if it is animated, makes noise or moves, we plug it up and show you that it’s going.”

    The decorations include figurines, Christmas tree ornaments, candle holders, candlesticks, animated collectibles from the ‘70s, unique one-of-a-kind items and so much more. Christmas music will play as customers enjoy this fun experience.

    “We accept donations and Christmas decorations for our Christmas Bazaar and Silent Auction throughout the year,” said Kennebeck. “This event is a favorite of a lot of people in Fayetteville, and this year, it’s going to be even bigger and better.”

    Admission is free. If you would like to attend the event the day before for a sneak peak, the cost is $10. For more information about this event, call 910-483-6009.

  • “Life is uncertain — eat dessert first.”
    — Ernestine Ulmer.

    Does this quote resonate with anyone? Life has not been normal since COVID-19 reared its ugly head, causing massive quarantines and economic instability. Ernestine Ulmer’s advice is timely, and summertime is the best time to enjoy a universally loved dessert — ice cream. I easily persuaded family members to “go glimmering,” our family’s nickname for a spontaneous adventure, and taste test the unique flavors of homemade ice cream in the Cape Fear region.

    There are a plethora of commercial businesses where you can buy ice cream in our region — too many to list in here, so our emphasis was on homemade and hometown entrepreneurs who offer not only delicious ice cream but also a fun destination worth exploring. For this article, I chose three locations, each under an hour’s drive from downtown Fayetteville. Still, I felt guilty leaving out Sweet Frog, Baskin-Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery and the employer of teenage me — Dairy Queen. It was at DQ that I learned how to artistically twist the soft ice cream into a little curlicue on top of the cone and quickly dip it into the chocolate without dumping the whole confectionary treat.
    On the road, our first adventure was to Gillis Hill Farm, which is always a fun family excursion. We visited on a “strawberry Saturday” where, in addition to getting delicious ice cream, we could also pick strawberries and purchase fresh produce, jams, jellies and honey. Before we even sampled the ice cream, we bought two baskets of berries and a round watermelon we tucked into our trunk. Children love visiting Gillis Hill Farm as there are animals and play areas sprinkled throughout the grounds. Farmers in this area since the 1700s, the most recent generation of the Gillis family has expanded into agritourism.

    The ice cream shop was open during the quarantine but operated responsibly by requiring social distancing and allowing only one person at a time to order at the window. Instead of the usual perch on the porch rocking chairs, Gillis Hill Farm encouraged us, and all visitors, to enjoy treats in our cars. The homemade flavors vary — check their Facebook page to see what to expect during your visit. They offer cups, homemade waffle cones and pints you can take home. I sampled the strawberry, having just left the patch, and it was creamy and flavorful. My daughter tried the banana and found it oh so “a-peel-ing.”

    Sunni Sky’s was our next day’s adventure, and it did not disappoint. Described as “ice cream heaven,” there are almost always over 120 flavors to choose from and a larger-than-life hot-pink ice cream cone statue to take a selfie by. In the past, they even had “hot” flavors — one famously named “cold sweat” that would cause partakers to break into one. Cheers to the employees, aka “inspectors” — per the stenciled titles on every worker’s shirt, who managed a two-car line up to keep fans fed and moving efficiently. My choice was a butterscotch bliss, my daughter had blue nerd, and my husband tried a double scoop of coffee. Bits of butterscotch provided extra sweetness, and the coffee choice smelled as good as it tasted. The blue nerd was colorful but excessively filled with nerds and a little too sugary.

    We decided to “double-dip” our Sunday adventure and head to the nearby town of Coats to try the ice cream at Smith Farm. Unfortunately, it was closed due to the quarantine. We were excited to try their fresh fruit flavors and creamy ice cream but will have to plan another date to experience their offerings firsthand (and mouth). Their Facebook page promises wood churned ice cream, delicious shakes and root beer floats.

    During the “shelter-at-home” days, some families invested in ice cream makers to make recipes from scratch. From low-cost hand-cranked models to speedier high-tech machines, anyone can create homemade cold and creamy treats. The magical transformation of the simple ingredients of fresh fruit, cream and sugar into ice cream enthralls both the young and the young at heart.

    Make time to celebrate summer by making a batch of homemade ice cream or setting out on an excursion to one of these locally owned venues. The unique flavors, fresh ingredients and pride in craftsmanship will be your reward.

    More homemade ice cream shops in and around Fayetteville

    Gillis Hill Farm
    2701 Gillis Hill Road
    Fayetteville, N.C. 28306

    Sunny Sky’s Homemade Ice Cream Inc.
    8617 NC-55
    Angier, N.C. 27501

    Smith Farm
    NC-55, Coats, N.C. 27521

    Smallcakes: Cupcakery & Creamery
    2132 Skibo Rd #114
    Fayetteville, N.C. 28314

    The Sweet Palette
    101 Person St.
    Fayetteville, N.C. 28301

    The Coffee Scene
    3818 Morganton Rd.


  • Craving authentic Italian cuisine? Conveniently located near Cape Fear Valley Hospital, L07-11-12-little-italy.gifittle Italy is truly a gem in Fayetteville. Their motto? “Where we eat and speak Italian.” And they mean that literally — both Joe and Antonella Scibila speak fluent Italian and Sicilian. Their goal is to provide Fayetteville with a true touch of Italy right in the heart of Fayetteville.

    Giuseppe “Joe” Scibila, a native of Sicily, immigrated to the United States at the age of 18. Once here, he went to work at an Italian restaurant and fell in love with the owner’s daughter, Antonella. Antonella’s family, also from Sicily, had migrated to Brooklyn, N.Y., before eventually settling in the Carolinas.

    Joe and Antonella eventually married. In 1995 the young couple opened their own restaurant, Roma Pizza Cafe, in downtown Fayetteville on Person Street. After 12 fruitful years in that location, they sold the restaurant to relocate to Myrtle Beach, S.C. However, the pull of long-time customers and friends convinced them they needed to move back to the area. Says Antonella, “When you’ve been in business so long, your customers no longer are customers, they become your friends.”

    With their new venture, Little Italy, they were determined to give clients authentic Italian decor. They used their own photographs of scenery from their visits to family still in Sicily, and had them enlarged into murals to give customers the feel of sitting at an outdoor Italian cafe. A charming faux Italian terra cotta roof line and baroque arches frame the full color scenic snapshots completing the look. You will truly feel like you have stepped right into an Italian forum.

    As you would imagine, their extensive menu is impressively Italian. Specializing in homemade pastas and sauces, you will find classic favorites like homemade lasagna, fettuccini alfredo, ravioli and veal or eggplant parmigiana. “All ingredients are fresh and most of our produce is from locally owned farmers markets,” explains Antonella.

    Feeling a bit more adventurous? Be sure to try one of the house specialties like the chicken sorrentino. A sumptuous chicken breast is layered with a thin slice of ham, eggplant and fresh mozzarella then sautéed in a delicate wine sauce with fresh mushrooms and minced onions over a bed of penne pasta.

    If you don’t see a favorite on their menu, just ask. According to Antonella they can probably make it for you. They have many items for vegetarian diners, as well as an option to have gluten-free penne pasta prepared with any of their pasta sauces.

    For those in your party that are not in the mood for pasta, Little Italy also serves hot and cold subs, pitas, and of course, authentic New York-style pizza.

    Be sure to save room after dinner. No Italian meal is complete without an original cappuccino accompanied by a piece of genuine New York-style cheesecake, tiramisu or a fresh baked cannoli.

    Little Italy can be found at 1400 Walter Reed Rd., Suite 130. The restaurant is open at 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Saturday when they open at 1 p.m. They also do local catering. In a hurry? You can even get your dinner to go by calling 867-8700.

    Photo: Little Italy provides a great atmosphere and delicious food.

  • Downtown Fayetteville has always been a place of note, but more recently it has been for the lively cultural and artistic scene. Throughout the week downtown is buzzing with events and people enjoying the individual shops and delicious restaurants, but once a month they all band together and stay open late to give the public a venue to enjoy the cities wealth of culture and art. This month on July 27, downtown Fayetteville will be open and bustling, with most shops staying open later for the event.

    This month the theme for 4th Friday is Christmas in July. The local kids museum Fascinate-U has fully embraced this theme by offering families a chance to come in and make mitten ornaments for their Christmas Tree. Additionally admission is free and everything in the gift shops is 10 percent off. The museum reminds patrons that the gift shop is full of perfect stocking stuffers for children. The museum will be open for 7 - 9 p.m.07-18-12-4thfriday.gif

    For those interested in history, particularly history pertaining to Fayetteville, the Market House and the Transportation Museum are the places to be. The Market House in the center of downtown will be open from 6 - 10 p.m. hosting an exhibit on the Downtown Revitalization in its upstairs room. The Transportation Museum at 325 Franklin St. will be open to the public with history directly pertaining to Fayetteville and its growth as a city. It will have a model train room and many artifact filled exhibits.

    The art scene in Fayetteville will also be alive and on display during the 4th Friday Festivities. The Arts Council will be embracing the green movement and promoting creative recycling by opening its newest exhibit “Recycle! It’s Second Nature.” This event is being sponsored by the City of Fayetteville’s Environmental Services Department and will be on display from 7 to 9 p.m. Mary Kinney, the marketing director of the Arts Council, explains that this exhibit has been on display before and is always sponsored by the Environmental Services Department. Local artists were given a list of materials that were allowed to use, but given no other specifi cations for this exhibit.

    “What’s new this year is we will also be holding a recycling fashion show,” Kinney said.

    Artists in both shows are given the same list of materials and access to a local recycling center to claim materials. Artists are free to be creative with their art with what they choose to make it.

    “They could use plastic, newspapers, aluminum foil, cereal boxes, junk mail, newspapers, magazines,” says Kinney listing some of the possible materials artists could use. The creativity of the area is truly on display and imagination is the only limiting factor when transforming what many would consider garbage into art. The Arts Council will also provide cash prices for those who enter; a $350 prize for the winner of the art show and for the fashion show there is $250 up for grabs. Deadlines for forms and artwork must be turned in July 20-21.

    Gallery One13 will also be open later than normal for the festivities. Located on 113 Gillespie Street the gallery will be open until 9p.m. displaying art for all to enjoy.

    Headquarters Library located at 300 Maiden Lane will also host activities the entire family can enjoy. From 7p.m. to 8:45p.m.the library will present a Broadway Musical Review with refreshments provided by SYSTEL. Local dancers, singers and students as well as choreographer Rhonda Brocki, accompanist Adita Harless and Dr. Gail Morfesis make up the group Gail Morfesis & Company.

  • uac072512001.gif WCCG 104.5 FM has always been about the listeners. In fact, the hip-hop station throws a party for its listeners every year. It started as block parties in downtown Fayetteville. For several years, that was the venue of choice — and a good way to reach the community. Once Festival Park was built, the event really took off. Mark the calendar for July 28, and come downtown to hear a great line up of hip-hop artists.

    Kalim Hasan, event spokesperson and WCCG employee, has enjoyed watching the event grow.

    “When we first started, we would block off the streets in front of the Market House. Then we moved the event from the block party to Festival Park. From there it has just grown,” said Hasan. “Our first year it was a complete success and it has been growing since then.Last year we had a huge audience. We had about 8,000 people come out. It has been progressively better every year. We hope to see a crowd of 10,000 or more.”

    Bring the family as there will be plenty of children’s activities, a local talent showcase and national recording artists.

    The list of performers is impressive. According to Hasan it is the biggest line up in the history of the event. The performers scheduled to be on stage are: KStylis, Dj Unk, V.I.C., Diamond of Crime Mobb, Princess of Crime Mobb and Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, Boobe, Lil Ru, Ricco Barrino, Rell formerly of Rocafella, Kaleena formerly of BadBoy Dirty Money, Huricane Chris, Youngest Ones, Yayo of Maybach Music, Mr. 704, Jason Jetplane, Lil Chuckie of YMCMB, Montana Da Mack, Cadillac Don, Trillville, Slick’em of Pretty Rickey, J Money, Dj Infamous and Drumma Boy.

    07-25-12-concert-pic1.gifIn addition to on-stage entertainment all day, Gamin’ Ride will be on hand with all the latest video games. This is a mobile interactive entertainment unit that can accommodate several players.

    “That is a really fun technology addition this year,” said Hasan. “People will be able to sample new games and titles that are out and play amongst their friends. We will have a gaming tournament. We think this is going to be huge this year.”

    Carlo Spann, the local owner of Gamin’ Ride is looking forward to seeing the excitement the gaming system generates.

    “It’s like nothing you’ve seen before. We have multi-player games multi-sensory games. If you are playing a football video game, we can make it so you smell the grass and feel the motion of the game. That is just a small piece of what we can do.”

    07-25-12-concert-pic2.gifWith all the latest titles, an air conditioned in-door space, an expandable mobile unit, vibrating simulation seating, game scents and XBOX 360, PS3, Wii and the ultimate in high-definition gaming, Hasan is looking for this new component of the event to be a big hit.

    Gamin’ Ride will be pay-to-play and each play will be limited on time so that everyone in the crowd who is interested will have a chance to participate. Visit gaminride.com to find out more about the system and what to expect at the music festival.07-25-12-concert-pic-3.gif

    The event is free. Bring money to buy dinner from the food vendors though. There will be stage side seating available for $5 and VIP access, which costs $20 and includes stage side seating.

    “We have the fan zone this year, which is our VIP section. All the celebrities will be signing autographs and taking pictures and stuff,” said Hasan. “Once they come off stage they will be taking pictures and signing autographs. The fan zone is for the audience where they can be close to the artists. Everything else is free.”

    The gates open at 3 p.m. and the party will wind down around 11 p.m. Lawn chairs are welcome, but leave the coolers and pets at home. Visit www.wccg1045fm.com for more information.

  • The Fayetteville SwampDogs would like to take this opportunity to thank the greatest fans in the Coastal Plain League for another outstanding and memorable 2012 season. After the frightening concession-stand explosion before the season, fans willed the SwampDogs to success both on and off the field. The team once again led the league in attendance, as SwampDogs Nation filled J.P. Riddle Stadium on a nightly basis. Fans created a palpable excitement for each home game that yielded one of the best game-day atmospheres in the league. Fayetteville realizes that The All- American Summer of Fun would not have been possible without the loyal contingent of fans, and is ecstatic to get to work on the 2013 campaign08-01-12-swampdogs.gif.

    The 2012 regular season will conclude tomorrow evening with Fan Appreciation Night at “The Swamp.” The final Fireworks Extravaganza of the season will follow the action, with plenty of giveaways and prizes distributed all night long. The first 500 fans through the gates will receive the latest edition of the Fun-Go Bobblehead, as the fan-favorite collectible is finally unveiled. Fan Appreciation Night is the best way that the SwampDogs know how to thank the thousands of fans that came through the gates this year; with more exciting SwampDogs baseball. It’s the final opportunity to see the best fireworks show in town, and the Dogs want every fan to be a part of it at “The Swamp.”

    Fayetteville will take part in the Petitt Cup Playoffs once again this year, with playoff baseball returning to “The Swamp.” For all updated information regarding the playoffs, including tickets, log on to www.goswampdogs.com or call the business office at (910)-426-5900. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the Dogs chase down the Petitt Cup Championship in 2012.

    Photo: The first 500 fans through the gates will receive the latest edition of the Fun-Go Bobblehead. 

  • Ways to Enjoy the Summer07-04-12-senior-corner.jpg

    Enjoying a breezy spring day or the warm summer temperatures don’t have to be a dis-tant memory for seniors and caregivers. After being cooped up in the house for possibly months at a time, senior adults can breathe in the fresh air, even if they are experiencing mo-bility problems. It takes some advance plan-ning and choosing an activity that won’t seem like a chore, but it’s worth getting out of the house, for you and your elderly parent.

    The benefits of getting outside

    A main advantage of heading outdoors, even for a short period of time, is being able to soak up the sunlight, which generates Vitamin D — necessary for brain, bones and muscle function. Some doctors even prescribe sunlight as a source of Vitamin D, which research also finds can improve cognitive function.

    Another key benefit is that being outside enables elders to socialize and interact with caregivers as well as other adults, children and animals. Those activities can give people an extra spring in their step and rejuvenate them.

    Although caregivers may be aware of the benefits, sometimes it seems as if the obstacles, such as wheelchair access, bathroom access, frailty and fatigue are too great to overcome the great outdoors.

    Caregivers can start to prepare elders with mobility problems to take the steps to head outside. Your physician can suggest chair exercises to increase stability and build muscles.

    Even though the temperatures may be pleasant, it’s also important to make sure an elderly family member stays well hydrated; if not, it can impact muscle function and blood pressure and lead to a dangerous situation.

    Types of outdoor activities for caregivers and seniors

    Instead of being overwhelmed by the potential challenges, focus on activities and interests that you and the elderly person you’re caring for enjoy.

    Here are 10 suggestions:

    • Catch a sporting event. Watching a grandchild’s soccer game or attending a professional game, like baseball.

    • Fish for fun. For folks who enjoy fishing, you can cast a rod from a pier or other location, even if someone is wheelchair bound.

    • Be a tourist. Take a tour of our town to see the local sites.

    • Take a dip. For some folks, it may just be putting a foot in the pool, while others may be able to handle low-impact water aerobics.

    • Stroll around. If a walk is possible, start slow with a few minutes and build that time steadily.

    • Be a bird lover. Checking on a birdfeeder daily can give seniors a reason to go outside.

    •Pedal around. Rent a three-wheeled bicycle, which are easier to mount and ride, and also could offer back support.

    • Go fly a kite. Head to a park or beach and get a kite soaring. Let a senior individual take control, which they can do while sitting down. If children are around, they can get involved by trying to keep the kite in the air.

    • Picnic outdoors. Seniors can watch children run around or enjoy the buzz of outdoor activity at a park or playground

    .• Celebrate the holidays. From Fourth of July fireworks to Labor Day concerts, there are plenty of community events this summer with opportunities for seniors to get out and be part of the crowd.

    All of these events are available in the Cumberland County area. Just check out Up & Coming Weekly.

    Photo: There are many benefits to getting out and enjoying the summer weather.

  • 07-11-12-methodist.gifMethodist University President Ben Hancock is proud to announce that Marty V. Cayton has been named the new director of the Center for Entrepreneurship in the Reeves School of Business.

    Cayton, a 1990 MU alum-nus, is owner and president of Amerizon, Inc. He will start his new position Monday, July 2. Along with the directorship comes an appointment as an assistant professor of busi-ness administration. Methodist University plans on expanding its educational offerings in en-trepreneurship, taking advantage of a minor in entrepreneurship available to students interested in going into business.

    “Methodist University is so pleased to have attracted someone of Marty Cayton’s caliber to serve as the new director of the Center for Entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Hancock. “His experience as an entrepreneur, knowledge of the center and its programs and commitment to the community make him the ideal person to move the center forward, building upon the suc-cess of long-time director Dr. Sid Gautam.”

    Gautam, who retired earlier this year, founded the CFE in 1973, with a mission to help entrepreneurs succeed in business. Since then, the CFE has delivered exceptional educational experiences, networking opportunities, and recognition for entrepreneurs, students, small business owners and profes-sionals in Eastern North Carolina.

    Cayton has been very active with the center for Entrepreneurship for the last six years and also sits on the advisory board for the CFE. In 2009, the CFE named him Economics and Business Alumnus of the Year, and this year his company won the CFE’s American Business Ethics Award.

    “We are so fortunate that we found an entrepreneur and successful business executive right here in the Fayetteville community who is prepared to direct the many community programs of the Center for Entrepreneurship and has many new entrepreneurial ideas to enhance the Center’s continual growth,” said Joe Doll, dean of the Reeves School of Business.

    After an enlistment with the U.S. Navy, Cayton started working at his fam-ily’s company, North Carolina Communications, in 1988 while he attended Methodist University to earn a bachelor of arts in business. He was promoted to business manager and was responsible for the company’s sale in 1995. Cayton joined the new company, Mobex, and ran its Midwest division. After leaving Mobex, he purchased many of the company’s acquisitions, including the original family business. These acquisitions became Amerizon Wireless in 2003. Cayton also earned a master’s degree in business from Taylor University in 2005.

    Cayton is a member of the YMCA Board of Directors in Fayetteville, and he is on the Board of Visitors and the Alumni Board at Methodist University. He and his wife, Joy, and three of their four children — Jed, Jenna, and Jocelyn — are active members at Village Baptist Church, while their oldest son, Jaron, is a junior at Methodist University and an active member at Fayetteville Community Church.

    Methodist University is an independent four-year institution of higher education with more than 2,400 students from 41 states and 53 countries. Methodist University offers more than 80 majors and concentrations, 100 clubs and organizations, four master’s degree programs and 19 NCAA III intercollegiate sports. For more information, please contact Leslie Emanuel at the Reeves School of Business at 910.630.7047. To learn more about Methodist University, please visit methodist.edu or facebook.com/ourMU-world.

    Photo: Marty V. Cayton

  • uac080112001.gif If you haven’t been in a while, head over to the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

    The Fayetteville Farmers Market and City Market have joined forces with the museum to provide a destination where patrons can shop, learn, relax and be entertained. On Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings the parking lot of the Fayetteville Area Transportation Museum is filled with farmers, artists and entertainers … and the hundreds of people who come out to enjoy the market each week.

    Bruce Daws, City of Fayetteville historic properties manager loves seeing all the activity just outside the museum, because of the opportunities it provides both the vendors and the patrons. “We host both the events as the Market at the Museum. We provide the space and block the parking lot and help set up with logistics,” said Daws. “The museum opens its agriculture exhibits because of the ties between historical agriculture and today’s farmers. It also provides an opportunity for people to cool off during the heat of the day and learn a thing or two.”

    He added that the goal is to create a destination that will draw people to the market not only to buy fresh food and local, high-quality art, but to spend time downtown getting to know the vendors, local businesses and organizations and become invested in the community.

    Like other farmers markets, the Fayetteville Farmers Market offers fresh produce and seasonal vegetables — and more. “We have 24 vendors. Some just sell certain products like blueberries and other berries,” said Crystal Butler, Fayetteville Farmers Market president. “Some new vendors are coming this fall that have pumpkins and sweet potatoes and things like that. We have vendors selling baked goods, we have local honey, fresh flowers, organically raised beef, lamb, chicken and pork. You can come to the market and leave with an entire meal.”

    Don’t just come and grab a few tomatoes and head home though. Every second Saturday the Farmers Market offers kid-related activities, and the vendors are eager to educate their customers, too. “The farmers enjoy talking to their customers about what it takes to get their food from the farm to the table. There is so much that goes into it that most people don’t event know about,” said Butler. It is a system that works. “You meet someone new every Saturday. Once you start talking to them and they walk around and see how good everything is they always come back. You (the vendors) get to know a lot of customers on a first name basis. It is rewarding and you know your hard work is worth it.”

    Daws sees the Market at the Museum as an event with a lot of potential. The intent is to bring more people downtown and to create an event that is family friendly. “We like to encourage people to come down and spend time,” said Daws. “That is why we set up rocking chairs and we have a band that plays for the crowd. It is to create an event that supports the revitalization of downtown. It is working very well. On an average Saturday we have anywhere from 300-400 visitors or more.”08-01-12-cover-story.gif

    So far it is working, the Farmers Market opens an hour earlier now on Saturdays. “We used to open at 9 a.m., but we would get here and have people who had been waiting since 8 or 8:30 a.m. for us to open so we moved the time up,” said Butler. “We don’t want to miss a chance to connect with the people who come to the market.”

    The City Market vendors consist of handmade, original crafts such as pottery, hand-blown glass, organic soaps, soy candles, glass crocheted jewelry, blended teas and herbs, custom water colors and signs, fabric jotting books for your inner poet, wreaths, birdhouses, original photography and much more. Local musicians appear regularly and serenade the crowd with their mellow tunes. Face painting, clowns, balloon animals, ring toss and a bounce house are just some of the family friendly activities that can be enjoyed on any given Saturday morning.

    “We hope to add antique vendors to the market soon,” said Daws. “Of course, like the rest of our vendors, the antique dealers will go through an approval processes so that we can make sure our patrons are getting good quality items.”

    The Market at the Museum is open on Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. and during 4th Friday celebrations. Find out more about the Farmers Market at www.thefayettevillefarmersmarket.com, or by calling 703-7708. To fi nd out more about the City Market or the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum call 433-1944.

    Photo: The Fayetteville Farmers Market and City Market offer fresh foods, art and entertainment and more.

  • 10 cover insetIn May, after a national search that included 85 applicants, Cape Fear Regional Theatre announced its new artistic director: Mary Kate Burke. Burke will be the theater’s third artistic director in its 55-year history, following founding artistic director Bo Thorpe and exiting artistic director Tom Quaintance.

    Burke moved to Fayetteville from her home in New York City to take the position and officially started July 1. She is originally from Connecticut and graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a BFA in theater studies (concentration in directing). She brings almost 20 years of experience as a director, dramaturge, assistant director and artistic director to her new position with CFRT.

    Why Fayetteville?

    Burke said she spent a lot of time looking at CFRT’s programming when she applied for the job. “That was probably the biggest draw for me,” she said. “There’s this theater that programs things like ‘Caroline, or Change’ … and the next season they’re doing ‘Disgraced.’ It felt like it was being produced in a very smart way.... The voice that the community responds to in the arts is … bold and adventuresome, and I found it really appealing.”

    The other draw, Burke said, was the warmth she felt from the Fayetteville community. She said the reception and support she received in Fayetteville was different from the sometimes “sharp-elbowed” fight for people in the arts to be acknowledged in NYC.

    “It’s been one of the most welcoming experiences of any theater that I’ve led,” she said. One CFRT board member made a particularly striking impression on Burke. Of the board member, who preferred to remain unnamed, Burke said: “She’s the most generous human being I ever have met. I even mentioned one time that I liked her iron, and she sent me a discount that Macy’s was running on the iron. You just don’t see that level of consideration of other people … it’s very distinctive, and I’m excited to be a part of that.

    “Everyone is really motivated to make the transition a success, and also, everybody knows about the theater. That’s a huge (benefit) for an artistic leader coming in.”

    Burke’s Passions

    Burke’s journey with theater began as a young performer onstage. “My older sister was in a production of ‘The Music Man,’ and they needed some little kids to run around the stage, so I was one of those little kids,” she said. She became involved with theater more seriously in high school.

    At a certain point she realized that, while she enjoyed acting, she was more excited by a different aspect of theater. “I really liked understanding why people did what they did,” Burke said. “To me, that was more interesting than having eyes on me.”

    She started focusing on directing, and in her senior year of high school, Burke directed her first full-length show. “We ended up doing an original children’s musical about recycling that toured all the elementary schools that (my theater teacher) let me direct,”  Burke said.

    A love for children’s theater stuck with her. As the producing artistic director for Millbrooke Playhouse in Pennsylvania from 2009-11, Burke commissioned two new musicals for children. One of them outsold its box office goals by 700 percent and transferred to NYC. A few years ago, Burke led the effort to create autism-friendly performances for the children’s series as the director of programming for the New York Musical Theatre Festival, the largest musical theater festival in the United States. 

    She plans to carry this passion into her position as CFRT’s artistic director. She said she wants to make sure children’s theater thrives. “I think theater can teach a lot of things that are helpful life skills for children, including... how to work backward and accomplish a goal and how to work with other people,” she said. “And I think the connectivity of theater in what is an increasingly technological world has a value that you can’t place a price tag on.” She added that CFRT already has a long, prized history of children’s theater programming. “I’m going to continue to build off of that,” she said.

    She said a focal point in her interview process with CFRT was the relationship between the arts and the military. Burke wants to make theater more accessible to the Fort Bragg community. Her goal, she said, is to use children’s theater as a means of easing the transition for military families. “It can be something that helps people feel like a part of the community even if they’re shifting communities frequently,” she said.

    Burke also wants to focus on “homegrown stories. Stories that are about …the South and about the regions theaters are in, I think, is an important part of what a cultural institution does for a community. I’m excited to jump into this in the following season,” she said.

    The Role of Local Theater in Fayetteville’s Growth

    Burke believes a good local theater exists in supportive relationships with the institutions around it and invites people from outside the community to enjoy its unique offerings. These ideas, she said, are catalysts for growth.

    Burke is brainstorming strategic decisions with her growth goals in mind. “We’ve shifted one of our ‘Dreamgirls’ performances to a Wednesday matinee to see if we can start to build some bus tourism in the area,” she said. She said bus tourism is a great opportunity for institutions in Fayetteville to build more symbiotic relationships and foster an awareness of each other to tourists. “You can make your marketing dollars go further because you’re putting a visit to the museum with a visit to the theater with a meal, and that’s a day trip,” she said. “Because all of the infrastructure already exists in Fayetteville, it’s primed to now move into the execution phase of a marketing strategy around that.

    “One of the things I have witnessed as somebody who is new to the community is how much there is to do here.” Burke cited the city’s many museums, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Cape Fear Botanical Garden as a few examples. “The theater itself is a real asset to the culture of the community, and so I want to continue to build off the incredible work that has already been done,” she said.

    Burke said she’s impressed that business people in Fayetteville are very aware of and invested in the value of the arts and culture. “When I sat down with some of the key stakeholders of the theater, who aren’t board members but are business people, I was so impressed with how they’re thinking about the arts in tandem with commerce as an economic engine. It’s a really exciting place to be at this moment in the city’s trajectory.

    “It really does feel like a community that’s primed to... jump into its next moment in terms of  self-identity.”

    CFRT’s 2017-18 Season

    The theater’s upcoming season is a “Season of Discovery.” Its first show, “Dreamgirls,” opens this September, followed by a unique combination of laughter-inducing and conversation-starting shows, from “Seussical” to “Disgraced.”

    “I think the best theater really reminds people to take advantage of the time we have,” Burke said. “I love that a whole bunch of strangers can come together and share an experience … whatever their differences and backgrounds may be. … it creates a kinder world.”

    To learn more about CFRT’s mission and its upcoming season, visit www.cfrt.org. To learn more about Mary Kate Burke, visit www.MaryKateBurke.com.


    PHOTO: Mary Kate Burke, CFRT's new Artistic Director.

  • 13 piney woods boysOn the evening of July 28, Downtown Fayetteville will come alive with its monthly 4th Friday festivities. Local restaurants, shops, galleries and museums host special events and extend their normal hours. Vendors and performers fill the streets, making a stroll through beautiful Downtown new and lively.

    4th Friday focuses on showcasing the arts and entertainment in Downtown Fayetteville. This monthly event is a perfect opportunity for new and longtime residents to explore what Fayetteville has to offer. It runs from 6–10 p.m. 4th Friday is in large part organized by the Downtown Alliance, a not-forprofit membership advocacy organization. Local business owners work together to revitalize and strengthen Fayetteville through business recruitment and support, economic development, marketing and special events. The DTA organizes several events throughout the year.

    The Arts Council kicks off the opening of the “Cultural EXPOsure” exhibition. Enjoy a Cultural Cabaret featuring Scottish music. The short performances highlight the community’s diverse cultural arts industry. The opening reception lasts from 7  to 9 p.m.

    The Ellington-White Gallery, at 113 Gillespie St., continues its exhibition “Resemblance: New Works by Soni Martin.” See the art from 7 to 9 p.m. Martin is a local professor and artist.

    From 7-8:45 p.m., the Headquarters Library, located at 300 Maiden Ln., will be filled with lively music, stories and discussion. This month, The Piney Woods Boys play Southern traditional string band music. This style of music has its roots in “oldtime” and bluegrass music genres. The Piney Woods Boys, back by popular demand, are a local favorite. This program is sponsored by Systel. Light refreshments provided.

    During 4th Fridays, Fayetteville’s history is on display. The Market House in the center of Downtown is open to the public from 6-10 p.m. and admission is free. A National Historic Landmark, this iconic building serves as a small museum for local history. It has a permanent exhibit called “A View from the Square: A History of Downtown Fayetteville” and a rotating exhibit that changes monthly. The rotating exhibits focus on different aspects of local history. Past exhibits have included “Scottish Heritage,” “Vintage Postcards” and “Banking.”

    The Fayetteville Area Transportation Museum, located at 325 Franklin St., is a restored 1890 Railroad Depot and includes exhibits that rotate frequently. The exhibits cover local history from pre-history to the early 20th century. The museum is open from 6-10 p.m. on 4th Friday, and admission is free. This is a particularly fun place to visit for history buffs interested in trains and cars. Fascinate-U is a great place for families with smaller children to visit.

    Fascinate-U is a museum specifically designed for children. The exhibits are designed to be interactive so kids can learn about the world through play. It makes learning vital skills fun and natural. On 4th Friday, admission is free from 7-9 p.m., and kids are usually invited to participate in a free artistic project.

    Call the Downtown Alliance at (910) 222-3382 to learn more about 4th Friday.


    PHOTO: The Piney Woods Boys are set to perform at Headquarters Library on 4th Friday.

  • 11 St JohnsFayetteville Symphony Orchestra’s last season comprised an exciting search for a new music director and conductor. In April, at a speakeasy-themed reveal party, FSO proudly announced that Stefan Sanders had taken the position.

    When Sanders was an auditioning candidate last year, he met FSO president and CEO Christine Kastner. Kastner said he asked her about the region’s history. “As the week went on, we discussed more and more Carolina things because he was really trying to get to know the community,”  Kastner said.

    When Sanders was hired, they both agreed a Carolina-themed season would be perfect for his first year with the FSO. “This theme gave me an opportunity to really dig into the rich history and culture of North Carolina and Fayetteville, programming music that our audiences can relate to as well as discover something new from,” Sanders said.

    Six concerts, starting in October and ending in April, promise to transport listeners from the pirateriddled Carolina coastline of the past to the Appalachian Mountains in the spring.  

    “Cape Fear” • Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017

    Explore the world of pirates and shipwrecks, both in myth and history, embedded in the Carolina coastline. Look forward to Wagner’s “Overture to The Flying Dutchman” along with music from “Hook” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” for this family-friendly evening. Kastner encouraged guests to come dressed in their best pirate costume. “Yes, I’m serious,” she said. She added that children who come in costume will get to march in a costume parade. 

    “A Carolina Holiday” • Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 

    Enter a lush, nostalgic, merry world of sound where every Fayetteville native’s dream of a white Christmas can finally come true. The repertoire includes music from “The Nutcracker” and the classic holiday film “Home Alone.” Fayetteville Academy’s children’s choir, which has traveled to competitions at Disney World, will sing with the orchestra for por
    tions of “The Nutcracker.” A certain red-suited guest will be in the lobby handing out candy canes.

    “The French Connection” • Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018

    The FSO String Quartet pays homage to Lafayette’s legacy in the beautiful nave of St. John’s Episcopal Church for the first chamber concert of the season. Sanders described chamber concerts as “having a more intimate feel.” Kastner agreed. “It’s a smaller group of musicians, but it’s also a much smaller venue,” she said. “With two violins, a viola and a cello, you can actually distinguish the sounds of the instruments and … you’re close enough to... watch the individual musicians.” The musicians perform Maurice Ravel’s iconic “String Quartet,” considered to be a cornerstone piece of French impressionism. 

    “Music of the New World” • Thursday,  Jan. 25, 2018

    The Fayetteville Symphony Brass and Woodwind Quintet perform American works by Stephen Foster, George Gershwin, Elmer Bernstein and more. The Symphony Brass is composed of two trumpets and a French horn, trombone and tuba, while the Woodwind Quintet is composed of a flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon and French horn. The second chamber concert of the season will also be held in St. John’s, which seats 300 people. “We usually come very close to selling out these concerts,” Kastner said. 

    “1867-2017: A 150-Year Celebration!” • Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018

    FSO partners with Fayetteville State University to celebrate the school’s sesquicentennial anniversary. World-renowned opera soprano Angela Brown joins
    the orchestra to perform pieces that explore and honor the influence of African-Americans on music from 1867-2017. Composers to be played include Gershwin, Scott Joplin, Stephen Price and William Grant Still.  

    “Americana” • Saturday, March 10, 2018

    Celebrate being American with “American Salute” and music from classic American films “Apollo 13” and “Forrest Gump.” “I think there will be (at least one thing) in that concert everyone’s heard before, and so I think it will be really accessible for the audience,” Kastner said. The Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra joins the FSO onstage for portions of the concert. The winner of the Harlan Duenow Young Artist Concerto Competition, to be announced this spring, also has a solo performance. 

    “Appalachian Spring” • Saturday,  April 21, 2018

    “Gone to Carolina” ends in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and Jean Sibelius’s “Finlandia” evoke hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Guest soloist Alex Jokippi, principal trumpet of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, also performs an original piece composed for him by Finnish violinist and composer Jaakko Kuusisto. “He is a brilliant musician, wonderful person and dear friend,” said Sanders of Jokippi. 

    “Once the concert is happening, it isn’t about anyone in particular — staff, musicians, conductor — it is purely about the music,” said Julia Atkins, FSO director of artistic operations and marketing. “By the end, everyone goes home happier, refreshed and even nourished.... It is a goal we set for ourselves for every concert, and it’s amazing to see those results.”

    “The FSO and I are devoted to being a part of what makes Fayetteville so special,” Sanders said. “This coming season begins a new chapter in the FSO’s 61-year history, and I am beyond excited to share all of this great music with you!”

    All concerts are at 7:30 p.m. with venue varying. Visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org to purchase tickets and to learn about special events outside of the season’s regular concerts.


    PHOTO: FSO’s chamber concerts this season will be performed in the beautiful nave of St. John’s Episcopal Church.


  • UCWBack13Ruth Nelson, the director of Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s upcoming production of “Cymbeline,” which opens July 6 at the Museum of the Cape Fear’s Poe House, discovered her love of theater early in life.

    “I started acting in church plays at the age of six, so you could say I’ve been involved with theater on and off for 26 years,” Nelson said. “In college, theater was supposed to be my extracurricular activity. My main interest(s) (were) writing and music, but I eventually double majored in theater and I got my masters in acting. It really became an important part of my life.”

    Nelson got involved with Sweet Tea Shakespeare in 2012 as the company was just beginning. She became an actor and a company member. “Each company member has a different job; mine is dramaturgy,” she said. “It’s a kind of funny word, but my title is Master of Words. I’m in charge of the words. Shakespeare can be a challenge, and I help the actors and the director translate the text for the audience,” she explained. “Cymbeline” is her first foray into directing for the company.

    “Cymbeline” is not one of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays, but it certainly is a unique one. Nelson described it as “Shakespeare’s forgotten fairytale.” It is whimsical and combines many elements recognizable in his other works. It walks the line between tragedy and comedy without fitting neatly into either category.

    “Of his works, it is kind of in the realm of ‘The Tempest,’” Nelson said. “It is odd and has these elements of the supernatural. There’s a moment when the gods come down from the heavens and talk to the characters.  It is otherworldly, but it deals with real life problems like family drama, the loss of a loved one and redemption. It is both incredibly human and otherworldly.”

    Instead of being entirely historically accurate or reinterpreting the show through a modern lens, as is extremely popular with Shakespeare, Nelson is approaching the show as a “timeless fairytale.” There will be a mixture of modern, fairy tale and medieval accents. Just like the story itself, this production will not fit neatly into any defined categories. 

    “The great thing about performing at the Poe House, our summer home, is that it is beautiful, especially when all of the flowers are in bloom,” Nelson said. “It does most of the work creating a magical setting for us. We don’t have to make these huge sets. The challenge is making arrangements to capitalize on the natural beauty and fold it into the show.”

    For those unfamiliar with live theater and Shakespeare, a Sweet Tea Shakespeare performance is a fantastic introduction. Nelson wants to remind audience members that Shakespeare intended his work to be performed. Reading “Cymbeline” and seeing it come to life onstage are two completely different experiences, and seeing actors breathe life into unfamiliar language presents the story in totally new way.

    “Don’t be intimidated,” Nelson said. “It is our job to make sure you are having a good time. It is like coming over to our house. We will make sure there’s something there for you to enjoy.”

    For tickets and information, visit www.sweetteashakespeare.com


    UAC070517001 for webAnyone interested in a fresh and highly creative approach to image-making and ceramics should plan on attending the opening of a new exhibit at Gallery 208. “In the Between: New Work by Kaela Nommay” opens with a public reception at 208 Rowan Street, from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 11.

    Gallery 208 is very pleased to introduce such a fresh and gifted artist to the community at large with her first one-person exhibition in the region. Nommay brings the contemporary sensibilities of a postmodern pop culture artist to Fayetteville and the area. The artist employs her exquisitely detailed drawing ability as a way to bring the viewer in closer to look at her work. After taking the time to look closely, the viewer may be perplexed. It’s as if the work alludes to something we should remember but have forgotten, or maybe something we missed and should pay attention to?

    Having flawless design skills, Nommay juxtaposes large areas of negative space and sometimes patterns with details of the recognizable in nature. If her work is anything, it is idiosyncratic, and the viewer senses from the images and forms a bigger dialogue is taking place — the whimsical is foreboding, something seemingly romantic is perhaps a metaphor or evidence of a state of being. Inherent value in the work is that it is not decorative but visually calls to be examined.

    After looking at Nommay’s work, I was interested to know if my sense of the content was at least close to the artist’s intent. The artist affirmed parts of my interpretation when she explained what inspires her and her approach to the work.

    “When creating these works, I was thinking of the relationship between human-constructed space and nature and how both sides are affected — the ongoing push and pull for defining whose space is where,” Nommay said. “As an answer, I ended up with an ambiguous gray space as the starting point to explore in this new body of work. Often, I reverse the roles of animals and humans to lighten the mood and create an absurd and humorous experience of the animal’s displacement.

    “The scenarios in the work are recreated from my everyday observations and experiences. Whether it be from a phone call with my mother, catching a snippet of a conversation or a funny scene I see idly walking by strangers — all of these small moments stick with me. Mundane moments are what I believe can make life interesting. It separates each day from the next, but these small moments are constantly in flux, much like defining our space apart from nature with roads and structures as we are constantly restoring areas and adding new ones.”

    Although her style is highly graphic, drawing and painting is one way in which Nommay distinguishes herself from a reproduced or scanned image. The use of patterns has also been used by the artist in older work and continues in the new work. When asked about her design practice and why she often uses patterns, she explained, “The patterns found in my work are common to home interiors such as wallpapers, fabrics and pillows. Integrating patterns that are commonly found in the home suggests the presence and influence of the human figure. On a formal level, this flat space contrasts and balances the more rendered areas and forms. It also leads the viewer’s eye throughout the artwork, directing it to other significant areas of the composition.”

    The Fayetteville community and region is fortunate to have an artist of Nommay’s caliber as a local artist, educator and resource for innovative work and thinking. Nommay moved to Fayetteville from San Antonio, Texas, a year ago. She earned an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Texas at San Antonio in May 2016, and a BFA from the University of the Incarnate Word in 2013, also in San Antonio, with a double concentration in ceramics and painting.

    Since Texas is a different landscape from North Carolina, the artist was asked if living in our region has affected her work. “Since I primarily recreate observations from everyday life, I have had a new influx of inspiration since moving to North Carolina,” she said. “Having trees all around, a river a few feet from my balcony at home and experiencing the changing seasons has given me a new source to observe the relationship between human space and nature.”

    As a young and emerging artist, Nommay has already been regularly exhibiting her work. In 2017 her work was included in the exhibit “Game of Chance” at the Freight Gallery in San Antonio. In 2016 her work was included in “Dreamers and Realists” at the Ruiz-Healy Art Gallery in San Antonio and  in the exhibit “Blue Star Red Dot: Emerging Artist” at Blue Star Contemporary Gallery in San Antonio.

    Nommay has already been formally influencing the area’s art students since arriving in Fayetteville. During this past academic year, she has been busy working as adjunct faculty for all three of the local institutions of higher learning: Fayetteville State University, Methodist University and Fayetteville Technical Community College. She has plans to continue teaching in the area and exhibit her work as much as possible in the region and nationally.

    The public is invited to the opening reception at Gallery 208 to meet the artist and have a preview of “In the Between: New Work by Kaela Nommay” July 11 from 5:30–7 p.m. The exhibit will remain up until Sept. 10, 2017. If you are not able to get to the opening reception, Gallery 208 is open during regular business hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For questions about the exhibit or location of Gallery 208, call Up & Coming Weekly at (910) 4846200 or go to www.upandcomingweekly.com


  • 07-31-13-capitol-room-1.gifUpon hearing that fellow musicians, David and Charis Duke were moving to Philadelphia, Soprano Gail Morfesis asked local businessman and supporter of the arts Menno Pennink to assist in presenting a concert in their honor. The concert is entitled Languages of Love: Music from Opera, Art Song & Musical Theater. It will be presented in The Capitol Room, 134 Person St., in downtown Fayetteville on Aug. 3, at 7 p.m.

    Since their 2003 arrival in Fayetteville, the Duke’s have contributed their talents to the Fayetteville musical scene. Dr. David Duke came to join the music faculty at Methodist University and also served as the music director of many musicals at Fayetteville Technical Community College where his wife, composer and pianist Charis Duke, led the pit orchestra. He has been a cast member at Cape Fear Regional Theatre and in 2012 was a featured soloist with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra.

    David’s formal studies include undergraduate degrees from Brigham Young University (Provo, UT, B.M. Music Education), and graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (M. M. and D.M.A. in Vocal Performance).

    07-31-13-capitol-room-2.gifCharis has made her presence known at FTCC, The Gilbert Theater and Snyder Music Academy. One of her children’s musicals, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, was presented by Up & Coming Weekly in conjunction with Snyder Music Academy in 2009 at the Sol Rose Amphitheater at Campbellton Landing.

    Charis attended Brigham Young University where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition. She received a fellowship to attend graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned a Master of Music degree in Composition. Her music has been performed by numerous ensembles including the Jezic Ensemble of Baltimore, the Amadeus Choir of Toronto, the Boston Viola Quartet and the Cincinnati Camerata. She has received numerous honors and awards, most notably the Nancy Van de Vate International Prize for Opera from Vienna Masterworks. She is a four-time winner of the International Christmas Carol and Chanukah song writing competition, and most recently won the Cincinnati Camerata Prize for choral music. She has also written ten children’s operas which were commissioned by the Arts Academy at Bella Vista in Clovis, New Mexico.

    The concert has attracted some of Fayetteville’s favorite performers who are no strangers to the world stage including vocalists Gail Morfesis (UNCP), Robert Williams (FSU) and pianists Scott Marosek (Methodist) and Jesse Davis (Methodist, FSU & Snyder Music).

    The concert will be held at Menno Pennink’s Capitol Room, a relatively new music venue on Person Street in downtown Fayetteville. Dr. Pennink is a retired neurosurgeon and avid music lover having hosted 28 private music soirees in his home. Pennink states, “The Capitol Room was initially conceived as a private music room. When Suzanne and I moved from our home on Willow Bend Lane to the 300 Block in downtown, we had to part with our music room. So we looked for a building that would accommodate the same concept, making music in a private setting. We found a building on Person Street and created the Music Room. The room has a magnificent 9-foot Steinway concert grand and is a perfect place for chamber music. The acoustics in the room are excellent, enhancing the sound of the string instruments and voice. One of the interesting features of the room is that we used all recycled materials; the bookcases and cabinets came out of my old medical office. All metal was recycled material from an apartment complex, which was destroyed by a tornado that swept through our area a few years ago. The concrete floors were sanded and almost look like marble. The glass doors inside were salvaged from a downtown project.”

    Don’t miss this wonderful farewell concert. Refreshments will be served. Seats are limited, so call our event manager Gayle Nelson for reservations at 978-3352.

    Photo: Top left: Charis Duke, Bottom left: David Duke