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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • chesnutt Charles Waddell Chesnutt was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 20, 1858. Even though he identified as Black, he could pass as white but chose not to do so. His father, Andrew Jackson Chesnutt, was the son of a white slave owner and his Black mistress.

    His mother, Anne Maria Sampson, was the daughter of a free biracial couple from Fayetteville. Her parents were freed slaves who left North Carolina for Ohio to be with relatives before the Civil War and moved back to North Carolina after the Civil War and the resulting emancipation.

    Chesnutt attended the Howard School. He was a teacher in Charlotte and moved back to Fayetteville to teach. Upon his return, Chesnutt became first the assistant principal and then eventually the principal of the Fayetteville State Normal School for Negroes. At the age of 20, he met and married his wife, Susan Perry, a teacher. They had four children, and one of the daughters, Helen Maria Chesnutt, became a noted classicist and published a biography of her father.

    The couple was increasingly concerned about racial prejudice, poverty and limited job opportunities in the South, so they moved to New York and later to Cleveland. While earning a law degree, Chesnutt worked as a stenographer for the Nickel Plate Railroad Company. He established a lucrative court reporting business that made him financially prosperous.

    Chesnutt also began writing stories during this time. He was the first African American to have his short story, "The Goophered Grapevine," published by a national magazine, The Atlantic Monthly.

    He was one of the most prominent African American novelists who produced profound works of fiction that exemplified racial prejudice in the 19th and 20th centuries. His first short story, "Uncle Peter's House," was featured in the Cleveland News and Herald in 1885. His literature told stories of the post-Civil War South. His first book, "The Conjure Woman," published in 1899, is a collection of seven short stories set in Fayetteville and examines pre and post-Civil War race relations. Between 1885 and 1905, Chesnutt published more than 50 short stories, essays, articles, books, lectures and novels. He also published a biography of the anti-slavery leader Frederick Douglass. Two of his books were adapted as silent films, and several of his works have been published posthumously.

    Chesnutt worked with Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois and became one of the early 20th century's most prominent activists and commentators. He served on the General Committee of the newly founded National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He also toured on the national lecture circuit in the northern states.

    Fayetteville State University's library, The Charles Waddell Chesnutt Library, is named in his honor. The library contains a collection of artifacts ranging from photos, legal records and valuable information. The National Association awarded Chesnutt the Spingarn Medal for the Advancement of Colored People for his literary achievements and for the most distinguished service of any Black person that year who acted to advance the cause of Blacks in America. He was awarded an honorary LL.D., a doctorate-level law degree, from Wilberforce University. In 2008, the United States Postal Service honored him with the 31st stamp in the Black Heritage Series.

    Charles Chesnutt died in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 15, 1932, at 74. William L. Andrews wrote of Chesnutt, "Today Chesnutt is recognized as a major innovator in the tradition of Afro-American fiction, an important contributor to the deromanticizing trend in post-Civil War southern literature and a singular voice among turn-of-the-century realists who treated the color line in American life."

  • Sherri and Dewberry Joseph "Bear" Dewberry is a man who values community and giving back.

    Dewberry, who often goes by the childhood nickname "Bear," describes himself as a community partner. He owns several local businesses and has joined forces with the Fayetteville Chamber and multiple other organizations since moving to Fayetteville years ago. While he's not a native, he considers Fayetteville his home.

    Dewberry grew up in Georgia in a military family and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1995. One year later, he was stationed in Fayetteville for the Special Operations Combat Medic Course (SOCM). He was away from his family and his new wife, so he went into town.

    "I went into a small tavern here, and the welcoming vibe was so overwhelming and so overpowering that I wanted to do that," Dewberry said. "I wanted to be that for anybody else to walk through my door."

    He served 22 years in the Army. Most of that time - outside of his 14 deployments - he was stationed at Fort Bragg.

    When he retired in 2017, he knew Fayetteville would continue to be his home. His children were in the local school system, and he had just opened his first bar, On-After Pub & Grub. He said Fayetteville was a place where he could give a helping hand to people who needed help. It's a place where community and community values are strong.

    "Every community has its challenges. Every community has its divisions. But Fayetteville, I think, does a better job of traversing those divisions, those caverns that destroy other communities because we are so diverse because the military is such a huge presence because local law enforcement is so supportive," Dewberry said. "I mean, in other communities where you will absolutely fall apart, Fayetteville doesn't."

    He told Up & Coming Weekly that he wanted to make sure giving back to the community was a core tenant of any of his businesses. So, at least once a quarter, he helps hold a fundraiser or community event that supports a local organization or a Fayetteville community member.

    "We've done fundraisers for the care division, domestic violence and abuse. We've done fundraisers for Autism awareness. We've done it for breast cancer," Dewberry said. "We've created our own charity called the On-After Children's Christmas where every year we link up with schools and counselors and adoptive families and with our family, and each of the kids will get toys and books and food and clothes."

    Nothing illustrates this need to give back, as well as the fundraiser On-After Pub & Grub helped with earlier this month. The On-After team, along with Cape Fear UPA, raised money to help a local family whose five-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia. The child's father had to leave his job to help with the treatments for his son. In one day, they were able to raise $7,500.

    In 2019, On-After was awarded the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award, and Rep. Richard Hudson recognized Dewberry at the House of Representatives.

    "They have proven to be a reliable leader in the community and continue to go above and beyond to support the community wherever it is needed," Hudson said during the recognition.

    Despite this praise, Dewberry says he doesn't consider himself a leader or anyone special, just a good guy.

    He spoke about a soldier who reached out to Dewberry four years ago and asked for help. Dewberry said he took an interest in this man's career and helped him get through some troubles he was having. That same soldier, four years later, has been promoted, is a squad leader now, and is serving as a mentor.

    "And that type of passing it on is so much more important to me than passing on wealth or goods or services," Dewberry said. "It's passing on knowledge and passing on understanding so that people can help themselves and then help others."

    The future is looking bright for Dewberry. His cleaning company, which opened during the pandemic to keep his workers at On-After Pub & Grill paid, is doing well. He is also planning on opening a new pool and billiard

    hall called H8ters. It will be opening in early 2022 off Fort Bragg Road.

    Outside of his new business, he is currently planning an Autism Awareness On-After Poker Run. This year will be the fifth that Dewberry has helped with an annual autism run. He says they partner with several local organizations to help raise money for the Autism Society of Cumberland County. The next run is scheduled for April 16.

    "I want to be the butterfly that affects the rest of the world, but through small doings," Dewberry laughed. "Of course, a big, bearded butterfly named Bear."

  • fayetteville logo 1024x585 Celebrating Black History Month is important to many people in this country. None more so than the people in the All American City of Fayetteville. This great city has become home to many ethnicities and cultures. A lot of this has to do with the Fort Bragg military installation. During Fayetteville's annual International Folk Festival, admiration and respect for cultural diversity are highly displayed. However, in February, Black History Month, it's an important time to celebrate and recognize the many contributions and sacrifices and honor the heritage of African Americans who have contributed to the history of the City of Fayetteville.

    Many of us are aware of the nation's tumultuous history related to African Americans and those of African descent. As stated earlier, we want to celebrate the contributions of just a few African American Fayetteville natives. One such person to honor would be the first well-known African American novelist, Charles W. Chesnutt. He grew up in Fayetteville and would serve as principal of the State Colored School from 1880 to 1883. This school would later become Fayetteville State University.

    Today the library on the FSU campus is named in honor of the renowned author.

    In politics, Fayetteville Native Hiram Revels became the nation's first African American United States Senator in 1870. He was born to free black parents in 1827. He served as a minister within the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). There are a few African American firsts in politics in Fayetteville. Marshall Pitts, Jr. served two terms and was the city's first African American Mayor. Ms. Mable C. Smith served as a city councilwoman representing her community east of the Cape Fear River. Mrs. Mary E. McAllister served as the first African American female chair of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners and served in the NC General Assembly, to name a few.

    African Americans also contributed to local religious endeavors. Henry Evans, a prominent Black preacher, has been credited as the father of the Methodist Church, white and Black, in Fayetteville. Sometime before 1800, he built the African Meeting House, the present-day Evans Metropolitan A. M. E. Zion Church. Another native son Harry Hosier, a Methodist minister of the early 19th century, was once called "one of the greatest orators in America" by Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

    We could go on and on about the rich African American History that has come out of and helped shape this All American City of Fayetteville. Still, none of it would mean anything we don't continue to build on it. We must continue to celebrate our diversity. That is done by publicly honoring Black men and women who contribute to the city's history. We must make sure that history brings us together as a community and does not divide us. History has to live outside of the classrooms and textbooks. It must become a lived experience if we are to truly appreciate its' lessons. Finally, we have to make a concerted effort to share these lessons to make not only Fayetteville a better city but North Carolina a better state and the United States a better nation.

  • 1892 Taylor R portrait Photo courtesy of MIT musuem How often do you think about your legacy? The fullness of an individual's life, including what one has accomplished and their impact on people and places, can be defined as a person's legacy.

    So, what about the legacy of Robert R. Taylor?

    Robert R. Taylor was a native of Wilmington, North Carolina, born in 1868. He was the youngest of four children born to Henry and Emily Still Taylor. His parents worked to ensure their children's education. As a boy, Taylor anticipated attending the prestigious Lincoln University near Philadelphia. However, he and his father set their sights on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with possibly the best program for aspiring architects. Founded in 1865, MIT's School of Architecture offered the first formal architectural curriculum in the United States and the first architecture program in the world, operating within the establishment of a university. Taylor chose MIT, and that education established him as the country's first academically trained African American architect and MIT's first Black graduate.

    During Taylor's studies at MIT, he corresponded on more than one occasion with Booker T. Washington, the prominent Black educator, race leader and founder of Tuskegee University. As a Black architect, his contributions and sacrifices led him to serve as Tuskegee Institute's (now Tuskegee University) campus architect, planner, and construction supervisor. He designed and oversaw the built environment of 45 campus buildings and illustrated blueprints for other structures. He also formed a pre-architecture preparatory program for students and created technical drafting courses for all the young men enrolled in the Boy's Industries Department.

    The spirit of Robert R. Taylor's impact remains significant. He was a visionary, involved in projects far beyond Tuskegee. These ventures included large and small schools, houses, a lodge, an office building and libraries.

    Booker T. Washington encouraged Andrew Carnegie to support the construction of Carnegie libraries for several black schools, which included three designed by Robert R. Taylor. Among these is the imposing, neoclassical Carnegie Library he designed for Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina.

    Washington also included Taylor in the Rosenwald schools — a program by Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears Roebuck & Co. — to build schools for Black children in the segregated South in the 1920s. Taylor designed Rosenwald schools with sizeable windows to let in masses of light. Many of the old schoolhouses did not originally have electricity. The schools contained cloakrooms, so dirty outer garments could be kept separate from the education spaces. Schools also had room dividers so that the schoolhouses could serve as community centers after hours.

    The Rosenwald school models exhibit Taylor's sense of community in learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future. Taylor retired from Tuskegee in 1932 and returned to Wilmington, where he was active in civic affairs. He devoted more time to civic work, publishing pieces on social justice issues in various newspapers. In 1935, the governor of North Carolina appointed him to the board of trustees of Fayetteville State Teachers College (now Fayetteville State University) - the first Black member of the Board of Trustees.

    The Taylor Science Building was constructed in 1939 and named in honor of Robert R. Taylor. The Taylor Social Science Annex was built in 1968.

    The good works that a person does throughout their life can establish a legacy of compassion, charity and social responsibility. From helping others who are less fortunate or underserved populations, building a positive culture helps make life better for others. Robert R. Taylor's work connected people across space, time and differences. From his early years as an architect, Taylor wanted to do just that. His commitment to engaging the community through a dialogue of architecture encourages us all to share our talents for the good of others.

  • Fay Bakery In mid-April of 2021, Fayetteville Bakery and Café opened. Owners Franco Webb and Tiffany Ketchum, his fiancé, saw a need in the community. Ketchum, a Pilates instructor who has severe dairy allergies, saw a need for a place to go for a baked treat to go with her coffee. Fayetteville Bakery and Café offers an abundance of bakery items that are dairy-free and gluten-free. Ketchum bakes these treats from scratch.

    The most in-demand treat at Fayetteville Bakery and Café is their cheesecakes. Ketchum crafts New York-style cheesecakes. Favorite flavors include turtle -- a cheesecake topped with chocolate caramel and nuts, and praline -- a butter pecan flavor. Her biscotti and chocolate chip, peanut butter and espresso chocolate cookies are also big sellers. But a true favorite for bakery visitors is Hummingbird cake; it is one of the most popular bakery items.

    The crafted beverage menus are also comprehensive. Fayetteville Bakery and Café serves an abundance of teas and frappes. These drinks are flavorful, and the ingredients are organic. The syrup they use to flavor drinks is organic. There is no artificial flavoring. The coffee beans are organic.
    The café also offers Puerto Rican fresh bread called Pan de Mallorca, a sweet bread and Danishes made with guava fruit. They out-source these items from a local Puerto Rican bakery.

    Webb has worked in many different job roles before opening the coffee shop. He is an Army veteran and spent 33 years as a firefighter. In addition to running the bakery, Webb is currently a commissioner for Fayetteville Cumberland Human Relations and previously served as chairman of the Military Affairs Council. He also broadcasts sports in Fayetteville. Currently, it is soccer; next will be arena football.

    “I chose the location on Boone Trail because it had already been an existing coffee shop bakery,” Webb said, “The equipment stayed with the place, which was great.”

    The coffee shop is large and has meeting space and cozy spots to enjoy your coffee. Antique couches and a fireplace lend themselves to the relaxed vibe. When the weather is nice, patrons can sit outside at one of the tables.

    The décor at the Fayetteville Bakery and Café is patriotic. Some regulars come and sit for hours; others stop in to get coffee while they study. First responders enjoy half off of their coffee, including specialty drinks.

    Every Tuesday night, the bakery hosts an open mic night. The open mic night runs from 6:30 to approximately 9 p.m. Performances include musical songs, poetry, spoken word and comedy. It is a clean, family-friendly event.

    “Every third Friday, we host ‘Songwriters in the Round,’” said Webb. “Three local songwriters are on stage together, and they go in a circle singing original songs, no covers. They play for five or six rounds.”

    These events also run from 7 to 9 p.m. If you are interested in performing at Fayetteville Bakery and Café, contact the café at (910) 568-5312. Songwriters are booked a couple of months in advance.

    “Coming soon are jazz nights. We will be introducing wine and beer, ” Webb said.

    The Fayetteville Bakery and Café is located at 3037a Boone Trail. The hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The café is closed on Sunday for baking.

  • fifer "To martial music proudly tread, The stars and stripes above me wave,
    And lay my fife beside me there, I'd miss it even in the grave.
    And when ye rest beside the spring, At morning's dawn or evening gloom,
    Discharge a volley o'er the spot, And cheer the silence of the tomb."
    — Excerpt from The Grave of Hammond, Luola Miller, published August 1858

    Isaac Hammond's military service should have come to a close with the Militia Act of 1792. When the act passed on May 8, 1792, Hammond's position as a fifer became illegal for him to continue. Only white men were allowed to join militias and serve their country. Yet, less than a year later, in April of 1793, Hammond, a free Black man, resumed his fifing duties with the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry, a position he would hold for 30 years.

    "The Militia Act of 1792 said that no Blacks were allowed to serve in militia units. Yet here he was in the FILI. You could kind of say he was breaking the law, and the FILI let him," said Charles Anderson Jr., a history lecturer at Fayetteville State University.

    An FSU double alumnus, Anderson has been teaching history to FSU students since 2015. He has conducted African American history tours of Fayetteville, with stops at the original site of FSU, the E.E. Smith House, the Chesnutt House and Isaac Hammond's grave on the parade grounds of the FILI located at the intersection of Cool Spring and Meeting Streets.

    Hammond's birth date, even the year, is unknown. What is known is he was a barber, living in Fayetteville as a free Black man. Hammond's baptism in September of 1755 seems to be his earliest record.
    During the Revolutionary War, Hammond joined the 10th Regiment of N.C. Continental Line as a fifer. Hammond was among those who spent that very cold winter of 1777-78 in Valley Forge with Gen. George Washington.

    "It was his dream to be a company fifer, and he did it," Anderson said.

    A fifer's position within the military ranks was an important one. A fifer plays a small shrill flute called a fife. The fife was particularly useful because soldiers could hear its high-pitched tones over the sounds of combat.

    The fifers and drummers would signal battle plans and movements during marches and battles. Soldiers would hear the instruments across the battlefield and know what each drum beat or flute note would mean. By all accounts, Hammond took his job as a fifer very seriously.

    When Hammond returned to Fayetteville, he returned to his life as a barber. However, the idea of serving his country never left him. The Revolutionary War ended in 1783. It would be another decade before Hammond would pick up his fife as part of an organized militia. Hammond became the company fifer when the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry was organized on August 23, 1793.

    "Here [in Fayetteville], you had folks that were enslaved. He's free, and he's serving in a military unit, in an important position. In some ways, it can kind of give hope. 'I'm enslaved, but this guy is free. What can I do to be free?'" Anderson said.

    Hammond served as the FILI's company fifer until he died in 1822. Records show that not only did he serve despite not being allowed to, he also voted in local elections. His wife petitioned for his pension from the government after he passed. Their family Bible recorded the name of a child, George. Other possible descendants of Hammond are unknown.

    Hammond wished to be buried on the FILI parade grounds, to remain near the company he loved. He was given a burial with full military honors, wearing his uniform and his fife at his side. He is the only known person buried on the FILI parade grounds.

    "Isaac Hammond demonstrated a willingness to serve something greater than himself, and hopefully that allowed a door to open so that other folks could eventually follow him," Anderson said.


     This piece is part of our series, "Local Black History", where we will be featuring local Fayetteville Black history heroes in each issue in February.

  • fadeless 2 From pieces of artwork traveling across the ocean and being exhibited in international galleries to having her first solo exhibition in the United States, 2022 is proving to be the year for local art teacher Aurelis Lugo.

    Lugo, originally from Puerto Rico, moved to Fayetteville two years ago with her son. She never expected to move out of Puerto Rico, especially as a single mom. But curiosity got the better of her prompting her to move to Fayetteville.

    Not long after relocating, she found a position teaching art within Cumberland County Schools.

    While painting murals for local Fayetteville Puerto Rican restaurants, she also submitted pieces of art to different local shows. So when she heard about the Fayetteville Arts Council mini-grants, she knew she had to apply, hoping to help extend her series or artwork highlighting Puerto Rican women.

    Lugo's exhibit, "Inmarcesible," featured eleven acrylic paintings on display in Puerto Rico. These pieces highlighted Puerto Rican women.

    She wanted to continue that series and highlight more Afro-Puerto Rican women who made history but still did not receive proper recognition.

    "Their stories need to be visualized; they need to be brought up again," Lugo said. "Now the thing is that the women that I'm portraying, even though they did amazing stuff, they are not recognized as they should because of two main reasons, they were black, and they were women."

    The exhibit received funding from the Fayetteville Arts Council and will be opening this weekend at Cape Fear Studios.

    The "Fadeless" exhibition will highlight nine additional women and their stories.

    Some of the highlighted women include María Libertad Gómez Garriga, the first woman to hold the position of President of the House for the Puerto Rican House of Representatives and the only woman to sign the Constitution of Puerto Rico in 1952.

    Another woman highlighted in the exhibit is Carmen Belem Richardson, the first Black Puerto Rican actress to appear on television in Puerto Rico.

    "Fadeless" also demonstrates Lugo's outreach into mixed-media paintings. She incorporates spray paint, glitter, molding and all types of materials into the images. She says this showcases her growth and the change she has experienced as an artist and person since her last exhibit.

    "Personally, it means a lot to me because it's like, another goal that I accomplished. And also because of the kind of message that I'm delivering with this. I'm not only showing my culture; I'm showing that My people have interesting people that you should know about. And they can be an example. Mainly [for] everybody."

    Lugo said that preparing for a solo exhibition is like preparing for a wedding. It's a big day, and everything needs to be perfect.

    She says she visited the North Carolina Museum of Art quite a bit while preparing for the opening of "Fadeless."

    "So this is my big thing, and it feels so different from the ones that I did in Puerto Rico. My first solo exhibition in Puerto Rico was in a gallery at a mall," Lugo said. "But this time, it feels very different. Because I'm outside my country and it's like a big responsibility. Because I'm bringing my culture, I'm letting others see how important these women are. And it's like a lot of pressure, but it's also it's a big accomplishment."

    Lugo also has other pressures, as her artwork is currently on display in London at the Boomer Gallery at Tower Bridge. Soon her artwork will travel to Rome and then this summer it will be in Spain.

    Looking to the future, Lugo is already planning her next addition to her series. She hopes to create full-length art pieces that incorporate fashion and clothing materials into her art.

    "This is like a never-ending project that I will continue working on and working on it, no matter where in the world I am," Lugo said. "I'll continue working on it because there are a lot of women that did amazing things."
    Cape Fear Studios & Gallery will be holding a gallery opening for "Fadeless" on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. The exhibit will be open to the public until March 22.

  • Art Embodies History Damien Mathis has a nervous energy, either from years spent as an infantryman in the Marines or from all the ideas for artwork floating around his head. He would call it an overactive imagination. Whatever it is, he talks quickly and paces back and forth in his garage. There is excitement there. He becomes impassioned when he speaks about his artwork and the dramatic influence of other Black artists on history. This space has become one of his studio areas, a setting to hone his in on purpose.

    "I have enough space in here to work, so I figured I would save money and just focus on my craft," he says as he continues down one side of his garage slash studio. "Some paintings take months; some take years."

    Mathis says art is an idea, and an idea cannot be contained. For a lot of his works, the frame itself is incomplete. As he walks around, he stops at a piece of artwork, the subject popping through the portion of the frame.

    "An idea is bigger than what you know of it," he said. "When you come into something that inspires you, that's the tip of the iceberg. That's how I think about it."

    He picks up a nine-foot piece of artwork and glances it over. He begins to talk about the importance of color and how everything real is made "piece by piece." Colors are layers. Everything has layers and dimensions, even when capturing human pigments. When he speaks about it, it's as if he's traveling down his own colorful, art-filled rabbit hole that leads to a land where knowledge transfers through art.

    "You can use color to change the perspective of the room or environment. I want to show something visually and put it together."

    He then returns to pacing and continues to talk.

    For Mathis, art is a true testament to his will and patience when researching the history of the Black artists he is embodying. He has been doing a series of paintings that capture Black artists and the importance of their work. He says this is important work, but it is hard to capture history in a visually correct way. Once he does his research, he puts the pieces together with as much thought and detail as he says the history deserves.

    "I have to work backwards. I have to look into peoples' families' lives. Most of their pictures are black and white pictures," he said. "I have to do a lot of research on my end to make sure I'm visually correct."

    Mathis set out to build a career in the military with the Marines. He was an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) gunner in the infantry and served during three deployments, two of which were combat-related. On his second deployment, Mathis saw a lot of close calls and felt sure on the third deployment, he "wasn't going to be so lucky." Fortunately for Mathis, he returned home, and he did so with a perspective that saw him approaching his life differently than he had before.

    "At a young age, I was kind of thrown to the wolves … and from that point on, I could never not take things serious because I could see how serious life could be," he said.

    When Mathis returned, he felt he was still making adjustments for the years he spent in the military. His family took notice and stepped in. For Mathis, it was a battle he didn't know he "was going through at the time."

    "I went through day terrors. The whole nine yards," he said. "All of us try to play the strong role when you don't need to be that way. And that's why I took painting seriously."

    He continues to pace and explains the pacing is a by-product of years of carrying ammunition. His back pain is a physical reminder of his former life and a reminder to give art everything he can.

    Mathis first attended undergraduate school in Pennsylvania for art. The program was not right for him. He was "taught in a way you could see it coming." He wanted to feel challenged. He was searching for a teaching method he hadn't entirely found. He decided to transfer to Fayetteville State University, majoring in Studio Art. FSU is where he would eventually meet Soni Martin, Shane Booth and Dwight Smith — three professors he credits as impacting his view of the world and art. They let him be rebellious, he says, in his way.

    "Most school settings, you can be put into a box and never know," he said. "It was a different experience. They let you find yourself. Then they taught you how to control yourself."

    Mathis started with a love of drawing, but Smith convinced him to explore painting and taught him how to paint. Booth taught him perspective, and Martin taught him the intellectual side of art. He said she knew it so well; it felt like it was a part of her. He says that each of them brought him to a better understanding of himself and art.

    He has now been painting for seven years, showing his work in different states, including South Carolina, Florida and Kansas. No matter where it is, though, it has all become about one thing for him — visually showing that art can be knowledge. It can embody history.

    "Art has recorded our history in a way that stuck the emotion of it in there. It's visual glory. I didn't want to miss that within my work. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to teach someone while they are visually engaging in my work."

    And above all else, he asks himself, "what can I do in my lifetime that will stand the test of time?" Mathis admits it's a lot to place upon himself, but his experiences to this point have taught him it's a crucial question.

    It's a question he's obligated to ask for himself and those black artists that came before him.

    When he thinks of his future projects or where he wants to take his art, he does so in terms of four to six months from now, even longer sometimes. He is focusing on featuring artists like Jacob Lawrence and displaying the importance of their work. Lawrence's paintings focused on The Great Migration — the time between 1916 and 1970 when African Americans moved to the Northeast searching for better jobs.

    "I came across an artist that studied that time period. It showed me I should be doing for my generation what others have down for their generations," Mathis said, nodding his head. "There's a lot of things I feel that Black people didn't get to learn in the last 40 to 50 years. The lack of knowledge, discrimination … the whole nine. We all know."

    For him, this project now is a way to honor people from periods where they may not have had the resources to record their pieces of history. Mathis would like to help carry that history into the future. He wants to continue the passing down of knowledge visually. Mathis has a piece at the upcoming show at Gallery 208 at 208 Rowan Street.

    As for his future and where he plans to be, Mathis only has one answer — art.

    "It's just a part of you. You don't think it's a job. You think this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Life can be just a canvas to you."

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

  • Wunderkinds The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra has adapted significantly in the past two years due to the pandemic. And it continues to adjust based on changes with COVID-19.

    In the original season schedule, the Feb. 5 performance was a joint performance with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Fayetteville Youth Orchestra. One hundred musicians would be playing side-by-side in a concert called "Better Together."

    However, due to the most recent COVID-19 regulations, that 100-person symphony could not perform.

    "Our goal is really to just keep moving forward. We do not want to go backwards from COVID," Anna Meyer, community engagement manager for the FSO, told Up & Coming Weekly. "We just want to keep the momentum going that we've built. And we're willing to revise our programming to fit the current societal implications of COVID."

    While the Youth Symphony will not be performing with FSO this year, the professional orchestra wanted to highlight young people and their impact on music.

    Wunderkinds (pronounced Vunder-kids) is a German word meaning child wonders — also known as child prodigies. In the classical music world, many well-known composers people still love today were considered Wunderkinds. Wolfgang Mozart wrote his first symphony at the age of 8, and Felix Mendelssohn started composing around the age of 12.

    The FSO "Wunderkind" performance will feature a local prodigy, 15-year-old double bass player Gavin Hardy. Hardy is from Winston-Salem and won FSO's Harlan Duenow Young Artist Concerto Competition. He began playing double bass at the age of 12, and when he was in middle school, he was the first chair of the Forsyth County "All County" Orchestra for two years straight. Last year he was one of ten finalists from around the world at the International Society of Bassists Solo Competition. Hardy participated in the 15-to-18-year-old division.

    This concert will be the first subscription concert in 2022 as "Too Hot to Handel" was rescheduled for March. However, Meyer says they are still excited for people to come and support them.

    "We've seen some lower numbers than we've seen in previous years, but we've still seen a lot of community members. At our 'Messiah' concert in December, we had around 300 people there. We filled the church up to capacity. So, we are seeing people," Meyer said. "We believe that people want to be out in a safe way and support local arts in the community."

    The performance will occur at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. The total concert run-time is an hour and 15 minutes with no intermission.

    Tickets may be purchased online, over the phone at 910-433-4690, or in person. Tickets range from $5 to $25, and anyone five and younger can attend for free. For the originally scheduled "Better Together" performance, ticket holders will have their tickets automatically transferred to "Wunderkinds."

  • His Story by Angela Stout Being an Artist: A Way of Life is the newest upcoming exhibit opening at Gallery 208 on Feb. 8. What defines the nature of being an artist sounds like a riddle: "inside out, outside in." This exhibit will showcase artists with different art careers but live the riddle by remaining practicing artists. Being an Artist: A Way of Life includes a variety of styles, confirming how each artist experiences the "outside in," resulting in the expression of those experiences, "inside out."

    Being an Artist: A Way of Life is one of four local exhibits in February and March celebrating how a historically black university (HBCU), Fayetteville State University, enriches the local, regional and national cultural landscapes.

    HBCUs were founded in the 1800s to provide Black Americans an opportunity for higher education. Like all institutions across America, it was the path to becoming successful academically and professionally. Even today, black graduates of HBCUs are significantly more likely to have felt supported while in college than graduating from predominantly white institutions.

    Fayetteville State University was established in 1867. Fast forward to the present, HBCUs now provide diverse learning environments for a diverse student population. Curating Being an Artist: A Way of Life is as much my story, after teaching at an HBCU for 29 years, as it is the 20 alumni who attended FSU and were selected to exhibit together. Like all my art colleagues, I have had the honor of having the participating artists in my classes, encouraging their development, witnessing their mastery of talent. And now sharing the courage they show continuing to be artists after graduating.

    The exhibit is unique for several reasons. First and foremost, it takes courage to be an artist. Vulnerability is a consequence of expressing yourself to the public; courage requires centeredness within yourself and an assertion of self. It is rare to show a group of artists who have all attended the same university and see how their careers have unfolded due to their talent, perseverance, and courage. In the exhibit, each artist has a profile text panel explaining why being an artist is important to them and their way of life.

    Second, many parents discourage their children from majoring in visual art because of the starving artist perception that lingers in our culture. Each text panel includes different art jobs and art careers of the artists in the exhibit.

    This article below includes abridged versions of the art-related jobs, where each artist is located and answers explaining why they made personal choices for art to be their lifestyle.

    Marcela Casals:

    Professional Actor and Performance Artist, New York City, NY.

    "Being an artist is not a choice; it is the thread by which I weave my life."

    Dustan Elliot:

    Graphic Designer for Champion Media and Results Optimized, Lumberton, NC:

    "Art is simply everyday life for me. It was a huge part of my upbringing, and I want to pass that down to my children as well."

    Namera Graybeal:

    Cumberland County Art Educator, Fayetteville, NC.

    "Creativity is the core of who I am that can't be ignored."

    Carla Guzman:

    G1-12 International School, Taiwan, recently moved to Fayetteville, NC.

    "Being an artist is my career path; it is my preferred way of life."

    Beverly Henderson:

    Assistant Curator Ellington White Contemporary Gallery, Fayetteville, NC.

    "Art continues to be a form of therapy for me, allowing me to leave the cares and stresses of everyday life outside the studio doors. I love the mess, the physicality of materials."

    Babs Holland:

    Illustrator and Designer for a marketing firm, Orlando, FL.

    "I am a visual storyteller; I can't think of myself as anything else."

    Andrew Johnson:

    City of Fayetteville Graphic Production Supervisor, Fayetteville, NC.

    "Being an artist brings me joy and allows me to share those moments with others. I can draw inspiration from all aspects of life."

    Eric Longley:

    Registered Art Therapist Department of Veteran Affairs, West Haven, CT.

    "I use art every day as a healing tool both for myself and the Veterans I serve."

    Damien Mathis:

    Professional Artist, Fayetteville, NC.

    "The freedom to express the emotions we sometimes can't explain. We all have something to give to the world."

    Karmimadeebora McMillan:

    Boston Center for the Arts two-year Residency Program, Boston, MA.

    "Research and creating are an integral part of who I am along with constant curiosity and a thirst for knowledge."

    Ebony Morlte-Oates:

    UX/UI Design Intern at IBEX, Atlanta, GA.

    "Art helps me determine what emotional state I'm in, in times where I'm not even sure. Art helps me express my view of the human psyche and the state of the world spiritually."

    Vicki Rhoda:

    Art Faculty at Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC.

    "I consider my artwork political; there is always something to say! Making art makes me feel good about myself."

    Stacy Robinson:

    Illustrator and Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL.

    "I was always an artist. I teach art and make it."

    David Scott:

    Digital Projects Graduate Services Assistant at the University of Texas, Denton, TX.

    "My art allows me to be the voice of those who may never be heard. I believe art, my art, can change hearts and minds, open eyes, reveal truths and change the world."

    Shantel Scott:

    Art Specialist-Ederle Art Center, Vicenza Italy, presently lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

    "Visual imagery provides a sort of universal language by which viewers can interpret individually. Creating art is a source of catharsis. I am most myself when I am making art."

    Angela Stout:

    Painting Instructor, Cape Fear Studios, and FTCC Continuing Education lives in Broadway, NC.

    "The process of creating is what my heart desires. The act of making helps me express what I struggle to express in words."

    Amanda Stephens:

    Lead Sculptor, Kerns Studio Mardi Gras World, New Orleans, LA.

    "Art is inseparable from life. It is the most fulfilling endeavor both in the creation and the continued learning of skills and self."

    Jean Newton Unser (Dieter):

    Art teacher in NC schools lives in San Antonio, Texas.

    "As an artist, I am a collector, a maker, a participant, and support other artists be an artist."

    Aaron Wallace:

    Self Employed Professional Artist, Willow Spring, North Carolina.

    "I see my entire living space as a studio and canvas. I am lucky to have a life where I can work at my own pace and have plenty of space to create."

    Neysa Wellington:

    Master of Fine Arts in Photography graduate student, Tyler School of Art & Architecture at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.

    "Being an artist is embracing my ancestral calling of being a visual griot. Art saved my life, but photography changed my life."

    Fruits of Trust by Shantel Scott

    Lastly, a reason for the exhibit is to share the diverse talent and styles of 20 artists. Jean Newton Unser (Dieter) from San Antonio, Texas, exhibits her refreshing approach to watercolors in a soothing painting titled Landscape. Unser's painterly work is in stark contrast to Ebony Morlte-Oates' digital work titled Layered Purging. Similar in color, Morlte-Oates' portrait is a flattened contemporary portrait evoking a psychological state of being.

    Two artists have explored the portrait genre. Shantel Scott is exhibiting a female reduced to line, black and white. In her digital vector drawing titled Fruits of Self Trust, Scott has presented us with a stylized contour drawing - an encounter with a female cosmic oracle. Scott's minimalist approach is the exact opposite of Angela Stout's. Stout is the only realistic painter in the exhibit and exhibits a meticulously painted portrait titled His Story. Stout uses light in her painting to reveal meaning about the male subject; a crackled background texture compliments the subject's strength and permanence, and gaze.

    Visitors to Being an Artist: A Way of Life should plan on spending time with the exhibit. A variety of styles and mediums to enjoy, but it will take some time to read the artist's profile text panel. The panel has an image of the artist, their art jobs, statements about attending an HBCU for their education, statements about art as a lifestyle, and links to the artists' website or instructional YouTube videos.

    The exhibit opens at Gallery 208, Feb. 8 at 208 Rowan Street from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

    The public is invited to the opening.

    The exhibit will remain in the gallery until late March. The gallery is open Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For information on the show, call 910-484-6200.

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

     

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  • Chili Challenge 2021 The Home Builders Association of Fayetteville (HBAF) comprises builders, developers, suppliers, bankers, mortgage brokers and marketing professionals.

    Founded in 1963, the association has provided members with a variety of resources on the housing industry and opportunities to grow and improve their businesses. Of 62 local associations in North Carolina, the HBAF is in the top ten largest associations.

    The HBAF's third annual Chili Challenge is a friendly competition where members can enter their chili recipes. The winners will have the opportunity to claim the title of first or second place. There is also an Award for Taster's Choice. In addition to the chili cook-off and chili tasting, there will be live music, Clyde's Cabin Band, and beer provided by the venue Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom. The event is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased at fayhbanc.memberzone.com/eventregistration/register/964 or on the day of the event at the door.

    Tickets are $20 and allow attendees to taste all the competing chilis and include two drinks. Competing teams pay $100 to participate in the Chili Challenge.

    "The money raised is used to further the mission of the HBAF... to serve, advocate and promote the local building and development industries while fostering unity between members, government and the community," said Natalie W. Fryer, executive officer, HBAF.

    Previous competitor and winner Tracy Mozingo hopes to win a voter's choice award this year.

    "Truth be told, my husband Jeff volunteered me to enter the contest because he likes my chili and thought I would enjoy the camaraderie and marketing opportunity. I then enlisted the help of fellow chili-maker and friend Kim Evers," Mozingo said. "We have won the judges' choice each year, but we'd love to take voter's choice as well!"

    "When we won, I felt shock and disbelief and utter excitement, Mozingo said. "I think I may have screamed and jumped with excitement."

    Evers explains that the competition was steep.

    "We were so excited because there were so many other great chilis out there," said Evers.

    "We have entered every year since it started, which was in 2020. And we won the judges' vote each year," explained Mozingo. "Kim and I each make our own chili, and we marry the two at the event."

    The event is full of fun and camaraderie, according to Evers.

    "It is so much fun hanging out with all the local builders and their teams," Evers said. "It is a fun crowd."

    Chili challenge tip? Evers said, "Ground white pepper and lots of love." Mozingo's advice? "Get ready for spicy fun. Bring your appetite."

    The Chili Challenge will take place on Feb. 25 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at 5435 Corporation Drive.

  • history Before Fort Bragg embodied much of the identity of Fayetteville, the city grew and established itself for another purpose.

    Fayetteville was a vital inland city involved in trade because it had a direct route on the Cape Fear River to Wilmington.

    The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum details the history of Fayetteville during this time through their Cape Fear River gallery.

    The exhibit has long been displayed on the museum's first floor, but it has gained a new addition. In celebration of Black History Month, the museum has put up new placards detailing the histories of African Americans on the Cape Fear River.

    "Finally, we have one of our Black History exhibits that remain up for over a year become part of a semi-permanent space," said Heidi Bleazey, historic properties supervisor. "The river is why Fayetteville is here, and having the acknowledgment of the back-breaking, life-ending, life-sustaining things that African Americans did to help build Fayetteville as a travel and trade community (is important)."

    Bleazey, Catherine Linton, museum specialist, and Emma Freeman, marketing and social media coordinator, worked on the exhibit, perusing census records and old newspapers. Their efforts were fruitful in the form of a new artifact.

    Included in the exhibit is an illustration from a June 17, 1865 edition of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper.

    The drawing shows an enslaved family escaping down the Cape Fear River. Behind them is another boat. The illustration was drawn by a Union war correspondent.

    "This is an amazing artifact because it represents so much of what we don't know. There's a second boat behind the first. Are they pursuing them? Is that another family? It's just subject to a lot of feeling," said Bleazey.

    "We always look to the primary sources," said Linton. "That's an article from 1865; that story came right from the source that is physically on display."

    In addition to the newspaper, the placards detail the lives of African American river pilots such as Daniel Buxton. Through some research, Buxton's life and person have taken clearer form. Buxton piloted the riverboat

    A.P. Hunt for over 60 years. He was a leader in the Fayetteville community, a founding member of St. Joseph's Episcopal Church. His reputation as a riverboat pilot was excellent, never having an accident on the river throughout his career, an almost unheard-of feat.

    Buxton is said to be buried at what was once called Miles Branch Cemetery, a Black cemetery, now known as Elmwood Cemetery. His legend lives on in the hearts of the researchers at the museum. The women have searched for his headstone but have yet to find it.

    "There's a piece of Daniel that is a little elusive to us," said Bleazey. "He's the nostalgic poster child of a river pilot."

    As research has continued, more stories and names of the river workers have begun to pop out. Several of their names appear on the placards, a tribute to who they were and where they worked and lived.

    "We know so few, that to be able to put a name to these people is important … And I felt like if all I know is that what the census said, then by gosh I'm excited about that and that should be there because there are so many we don't know," said Bleazey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Click the Image for UCW's Online Edition!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 23 01 Danielle NovakDanielle Novak

    South View • Softball/volleyball • Senior

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

    23 02 Davin SchmidtDavin Schmidt

    South View • Soccer• Senior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The telephone number is 910-426-4109.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Picture 2: Atlanta Hawks basketball player Trae Young

  • 16 britney watsonBritney Watson

    Pine Forest  • Cross country• Junior

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


    16 02 Colby BlackwellColby Blackwell

    Pine Forest • Swimming• Senior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Terry Sanford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Gray’s Creek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

    Picture 2: Zoe Canaddy 

    Picture 3: Rolf Wallin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 22 01 William PryorWilliam Pryor

    South View •Basketball/tennis• Senior

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


    22 02 audra sweetAudra Sweet

    South View• Swimming• Sophomore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Here is what the statement said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Woolford called Paroli the support and foundation of his career.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    17 02 Earl HarveyEarl Harvey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pictured above:Charles W. Chesnutt

    Pictured below:Marquis de Lafayette

    08 02 la Fayette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    06 02 Urban Knitting Linear Park

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    06 03 Kia Loves InnerWoven2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pictured: "Judged" by Vicki Rhoda.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Contact Tim Wilkins at tim@upandcomingweekly.com 














  • 561px Louis Huard The Punishment of Loki Unless you have been hiding from a Balrog under a moss encrusted rock, you have seen ads for Amazon's new TV series on the "Lord of the Rings." Several moss-encrusted decades ago, I read the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy during college. The new series takes place thousands of years before Frodo and pals graced Middle Earth. It also takes place without the guiding hands of J.R.R. Tolkien, being created from whole Mithril by writers living in the second decade of the 21st Century. Since Professor Tolkien sailed off in 1973 to the Gray Havens to join Bilbo, I am pretty sure he had nothing to do with the upcoming series. Feeling grumpy about his story being assumed by lesser writers than Tolkien, I decided to investigate the back story from whence Middle Earth emerged.

    Norse mythology is as colorful as Greek mythology is convoluted. Tolkien was a fan of Norse mythology. Today we shall wander through and mangle Viking theology.

    My first exposure to the Norsemen came in the form of an excellent 1958 movie called "The Vikings" with Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis and the star of McHale's Navy, Ernest Borgnine. The Vikings were a rough bunch with an equally tough bunch of gods. The opening of "The Vikings" recites a line from the "English Book of Common Prayer": "Protect us, oh Lord from the wrath of the Northmen." So, hop on board Mr. Peabody's Way Back Machine to head back to the 11th Century when the Vikings were doing their thing.

    Tolkien's Lord of the Rings saga was inspired by the Norse story of Andvari's magic ring. According to Mr. Google, Andvari was a dwarf who enjoyed humidity and lived under a waterfall. Andy, as his friends called him, could turn himself into a fish on demand. Why he wanted to become a fish is beyond the scope of this column. Andy owned a magic ring called Andvaranaut, which allowed him to find gold at will. One day when Andy was swimming about as a fish, he had the misfortune to be caught by the Norse god Loki. Loki strong-armed Andy into giving him the magic ring and all his gold. Naturally, Andy was not happy by this turn of events.

    Andy put a curse on his stolen ring that whoever had it would come to a bad end. It's not nice to steal from dwarves, even if they are in the form of a fish.

    Loki's background is nontraditional. When Loki was male, he was the proud father of a daughter named Hel, the goddess of the Underworld. Loki also had two sons. Loki was a bit of a jokester. Being bored one day, he turned himself into a mare and managed to get in the horsey family way by a stallion. While in his mare form, Loki gave birth to an eight-legged colt. Loki enjoyed shape-shifting and appeared as a number of critters, including a fly. He used the stolen ring to bribe Odin to give Loki a pass for killing the son of a god. A whole bunch of sword fighting, dragon-slaying and talking birds ensue from the curse of the ring. Lots of Viking folks end up with the ring, with each coming to a bad end. In one version, Queen Gurun ends up with the ring. Gurun then marries Attila, the Hun who succumbs to the ring's curse, losing his war with Rome.

    Loki's bribe to Odin ultimately led to the death of one of Odin's sons. When Odin discovered Loki's role, he and his buddies are sorely vexed. Trigger warning: Don't upset Odin. Odin turned Loki's son Vali into a wolf, who then chowed down on Loki's other son Narfi creating shredded Narfi. The gods plucked out Narfi's unchewed organs and turned them into iron bands. Odin used the iron bands to fasten Loki to a rock. Some might consider being chained to a rock with the vital organs of a child to be a pretty harsh punishment. But not the Norse gods. Oh, no. Like Karen Carpenter once sang, they had only just begun. The goddess of the moon, a lass named Skadi, wanted to get in on the action.

    She caught a giant drooling poisonous snake. Skadi tied the snake over Loki's head where it would drip venom right onto poor Loki, causing him pain and great mental anguish. This punishment lasted for quite a while until Loki's sweet wife Sigyn found Loki. She brought her favorite Calphalon pot to catch the venom as it dripped down on Loki. Sigyn is still sitting by Loki, catching venom even as you read these words.
    Unfortunately, Sigyn must empty the pot when the venom fills it up periodically.

    When she takes the pot away, the snake drool keeps hitting Loki while the pot is being emptied. The impact of the venom makes Loki shake in pain. The Vikings explain that Loki's shaking causes earthquakes.

    So, what did we learn today?

    Even if you can turn yourself into a fish, don't do it.

    Don't anger the Norse gods.

    And always be nice to your wife if you don't want venom dripped on your head.

  • Greetings,

    Thank you all for serving on the Fayetteville Ethics Committee and doing your civic duty. We have proudly published the Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper for over 25 years and have never swayed from our mission and mandate to promote, accentuate and uplift the Fayetteville community while serving its residents. Those who know me personally know I am as passionate about this newspaper as the community. Consequently, I can be highly opinionated and sometimes brutally honest when it comes to the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Up & Coming Weekly has a reputation for always striving to be forthright and honest and never a purveyor of misinformation, gossip or drama. As a community publication, we aim to bring clarification, insight and opinion to policies, issues and matters affecting the local quality of life. Again, I love this community, and it saddens me to see our City's direction under its present leadership. This love of community is why I am writing this letter and voicing my opinion. I offer my advice and recommendations as the Ethics Committee moves forward in evaluating former City Council member Tisha Waddell's allegations of potential mismanagement and corruption, as stated in her November resignation letter.

    My biggest concern is that you at the Ethics Commission may not have the full context as volunteers and Council-appointed members. You may not know what is happening at City Hall and who the people are making the decisions that raised Waddell's concerns and prompted her resignation. This lack of context could put the entire Commission at a significant disadvantage. The recently reversed and unanimous decision made by the City Council to send Waddell's allegations to the Ethics Commission has only increased citizens' suspicions that a cover-up is in the making. The reality is that the Council appoints the Ethics Committee. The assumption is that the Mayor and Council will not investigate themselves and intend to use members of the Ethics Committee as pawns to exonerate themselves and dismiss the allegations out of hand. Public opinion seems to echo that, if there is no substance to Waddell's claims of mismanagement and corruption, as the Council claims, then why not call for an independent external investigation and be done with it? If "there is nothing to see here," why not have a thorough external investigation? The Ethics Commission's previous decision to dismiss the eight charges against Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins has created even more mistrust and skepticism among citizens. It again confirmed that City Council would not investigate itself.

    Most people would agree, "Where there is smoke, there's fire." We know every member of the Ethics Commission is an upstanding, law-abiding and honest community member. Still, the fact remains they are far removed from the realities of what is taking place in our city government. Undoubtedly, the Commission wants to do its best for the residents and the community. I ask that the Ethics Commission listen intently to all the concerns and allegations brought before you. If the circumstances warrant it, call for an independent external investigation of all allegations. Once the independent analysis is complete, the chips will fall where they may. If there is substance to some or all the complaints, they can be addressed individually. At least, once an independent investigation is conducted, it really will be over and done, and Fayetteville residents will be satisfied knowing that fairness and justice have prevailed. This external investigation is the only way the truth will ultimately come out, and confidence can be restored in our City government leadership.
    Suppose the Commission finds no legitimacy to the Waddell allegations and dismisses the case like they did with Hawkins. In that case, I fear it will only cast dispersions on the Committee and cause more skepticism and mistrust among the Fayetteville residents proving the City Council will not investigate itself.

    Calling for an external, independent investigation into Waddell's allegations is the only way to put these issues behind us and restore citizens' confidence and trust in the integrity of the City government and the Ethics Commission process.

    There is much to learn from talking to residents out in the community. The unsolicited comments from city residents, city employees, downtown businesses, Fayetteville police officers and first responders speak of significant concerns with city leadership as well as concerns over escalating homicide and crime rates, the suspicious dealings surrounding the Prince Charles project and the parking deck fiasco, the halfway house Dismiss Project on Cain Rd. and the Barnhard Capital Partner's clandestine bid for Public Works Commission.

    Again, I thank you for your service to our City and community. I write this as a friend and concerned citizen. You are not obligated to heed any of the advice. However, keep in mind that the City of Fayetteville today is nothing like when most of us started building our businesses and raising our families. We must do everything possible to maintain the integrity of our local government for the sake of those who will come after us.

    A call for an independent external investigation will assure this.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    Best Regards,
    Bill

  • pexels julia larson 6455778 The fitness industry continually evolves with apps, exercise equipment and the latest concepts in exercise science. The newest buzzword in the industry is "functional training." If you are not in the industry, you may ask what functional training is? Ask any personal trainer or group fitness instructor what functional training is, and chances are you will get a variety of explanations.

    Functional training done correctly has a huge carry over on the way we move in everyday life with benefits for everyone regardless of age or fitness level. Fitness centers have historically modeled their floor exercise stations with sectorized equipment that uses a singular motion for specific muscle groups, emphasizing muscle development based on repetitions and weight. The bodybuilding industry had and still has a significant influence on training and gyms filled with machines designed to target muscle isolation.

    Functional training enters the arena as an added approach to overall training. Fitness centers are seeing the need for functional training and making entire additions for rooms or an area with selected equipment specifically for this purpose.

    Functional training is defined as training that relates to how we move daily. Functional training consists of five daily life patterns: bend and lift, push, pull, single-leg movement, and rotation. Our movements are multi-planar. The planes of motion incorporated with the five-movement patterns are frontal (side to side), sagittal (forward and backward movement) and transverse, which is rotation. As an example, you go to the grocery store pushing your cart, back up for something you missed, select items that are high and low on the shelves, take the items and place them on the checkout, put the items back in the cart, push the cart to the car and put the bags in. Drive home, take them out, carry groceries up the steps into the house and place them on shelves. You may not realize it, but this scenario involves all three planes of motion and all five movement patterns.

    You pushed, pulled, bent and lifted, worked in a single leg motion and rotated. How does functional training help you with this scenario? Functional training significantly impacts life outside the gym and gives an added advantage in the sports arena. Fitness centers add entire rooms or areas for training that are distinctively different in concept and flow. A room might include workstations that involve multiple movements and unconventional exercises. Types of equipment might consist of a ski machine that works you in a forward motion like the movement of cross-country skiing using the triceps, back muscles, quads, glutes and core. A sled machine that requires you to push and pull from one point to the next, which involves the entire core and leg muscles to push and pull. A punching bag works the core, rotation, leg, back, arms and pectoral muscles. TRX equipment, weighted balls, rowing machines, air dynamic cycles and treadmills. Versatile workstations and a variety of equipment that is fun and challenging. Functional training is also becoming part of group fitness classes, emphasizing compound movement patterns that include weights. If you are thinking about joining a fitness center or hiring a personal trainer, inquire about functional training. It can improve your daily activities, sports games and recreation with strength stability, performance and movement patterns. Live, love life with increased movement and strength.

  • Faith Column When we first meet someone, we're often taken by their accomplishments, the way they dress or speak or even the way they enter a room. Rarely though, do we consider the forces of life and nature which made them this way. Similarly, when we see the beauty – or even the desolation – in nature, we rarely consider the long-term change or forces by which it was created. Consider for a moment the steep, multifaceted walls, stunning colors and sheer magnitude of the Grand Canyon.

    For as much beauty as it offers any beholder, it has obviously made it through a very violent past. It is living to tell the story of ice and raging waters, wind and time, which have made it the breathtaking beauty we see today. As humans, though our experiences alone do not define us, we are surely shaped, to various extents, by the waters of experience that have flowed through us, and maybe more so by our responses to them. Every one of us has a past. Measured in hours, days or years, the events of our lifetime have gradually developed us into what others see today. Our tendency is to see objects we consider beautiful without any consideration for the process of its creation. I enjoy giving gifts to family and friends that extend from one of my many hobbies (many, because I am 'blessed' with a short attention span). One of the hobbies I particularly enjoy is woodworking.

    Rather than furniture or items that require great precision levels, I prefer to make small things where the appreciation value comes from their uniqueness. If I really dug into my psyche, I'd probably discover that this actually comes from a sense of inadequacy and that unique, one-of-a-kind gifts leave less room for judgment. But more than that, I believe there can even be a somewhat redemptive quality to woodworking. One year I wanted to do something special for the people I work with at Christmas and decided to make wooden Christmas ornaments. I first pulled a few pieces of firewood from the stack near the edge of our property. After cleaning them up, I began shaping them into rectangles about eight inches long and three to four inches across. After some preparation, I secured each piece on a lathe, which causes the wood to spin at rotations up to thousands of revolutions per minute. At first, they wobble. So, I spin them a little more slowly and introduce a large chisel to take off the rough edges, causing them to be unbalanced.

    As the wood becomes a little more stable, I can increase the speed and use smaller chisels to begin the process of refining and shaping each piece into a definable shape. Eventually, I'm able to use sandpaper to make the newly formed shape smooth to the touch. This is us. This is the Grand Canyon. We are, over time, shaped with cuts both deep and shallow at the hands of a Creator. And just as one can see the beauty in one, or the wonder in another, so is the beauty of our uniqueness. We have all lived a story worth telling, and when we do, we can point people back to the Creator, who had a plan from the beginning of it all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • coffee Gerrymandering.

    It is a word only a sitting legislator in the majority party can love. For everyone else, it is a word that can send us into a deep sleep lasting the duration of any given election year. Yes, it is a boring concept for most of us, but make no mistake. When it comes to gerrymandering — you snooze, you lose.

    Here is a quick tutorial. The US Constitution requires an actual count of how many people live in our nation taken every ten years, and that count is called a census.

    The first census was taken in 1790 and found just under four million newly minted Americans. The 2020 census found almost 334 million of us. Census data has many uses, but their most important role is determining representation in the US House of Representatives and state legislatures.

    For example, our least populous state, Wyoming, has only one member of the US House, while North Carolina, the 9th most populous state, now has 14 members of the House to represent us in Washington.
    Redistricting based on census data is done in all states, mostly by partisan legislatures, including the NC General Assembly.

    The idea is that each citizen has roughly equal representation — that no state’s and no citizen’s political clout is appreciably greater than any other’s based on population.

    It is a simple stab at fairness that has been polluted from the birth of our nation. Simply put, the party in power at any given moment manipulates the census information to ensure that more candidates representing its point of view get elected than candidates from other parties and points of view. It has been done by political parties that no longer exist, and more recently, by both Democrats and Republicans.

    At its basest definition, gerrymandering means politicians select their voters and not the other way around.

    And why should you care? Isn’t gerrymandering just politics, as usual, no matter who is doing it? You should care because the people doing the gerrymandering may well be taking your vote away from you.

    Consider this. If you are a Democrat in a congressional or legislative district heavily gerrymandered to be Republican, there is really no reason for you to make an effort to vote. The Democrats you support are not going to be elected. It works the other way, as well, for Republicans in heavily gerrymandered Democratic districts. Gerrymandering is a theft of a basic right of citizenship — your right to vote and choose who represents you.

    But it is complicated. Over time, various and sometimes conflicting court rulings have made the redistricting process consider the rights of minority voters, the wholeness of communities both by geography and culture and other factors.

    These are often difficult to assess and balance and are virtually impossible for average voters to grasp, which translates into a national sleeping potion.

    Complicated though it is, legal redistricting and its ugly twin, gerrymandering, are facts of American life that affect each and every voter and those they love. You should care because not caring and opposing gerrymandering essentially gives your vote to others whose viewpoints and goals may well be the exact opposite of yours and may promote policies that harm you and your family.

    More cynically, if you agree with the current gerrymanderers, legislators in North Carolina and throughout the nation, the political pendulum always swings. They, and you, will eventually be on the receiving end of gerrymandering, and you may not like that — not one little bit!

    Much less painful and much more palatable is redistricting reform to rein in out-of-control gerrymandering birthed by vicious and out-of-control political partisanship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • sedar I previously reflected on the then-upcoming observance of Martin Luther King Day. For me, it both honors a towering American figure and serves as an annual occasion to remember his (and many others’) legacy in the continuing struggle against all forms of enmity, intolerance and inequity.

    But that weekend saw a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, held hostage on the Jewish Sabbath. Blessedly, after many tense hours, the incident ended without any loss of innocent life when the rabbi and congregants utilized previously learned security preparedness and response training. Ironically, on that Sabbath, synagogues worldwide were reading the weekly scriptural portion about Moses and God’s miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from ancient Egyptian slavery.

    Tragically, houses of worship, schools and all manner of public and private institutions must be concerned with the potential for violent attacks rather than focusing their energies solely on the purposes for which they exist. Some faith traditions, ethnic communities and distinctly identifiable groups may be at more significant risk, but disturbingly, none of us is guaranteed complete security.

    We each receive guidance from different sources, which for me means the teachings of the Jewish tradition. The Bible records that the Israelites found themselves trapped at sea with Pharaoh’s army in pursuit when leaving Egypt. An ancient Jewish legend says that Moses prayed for deliverance, but not until a single man waded into the water up to his neck did the sea split for the Israelites to pass through safely.

    The Jewish views parallel the saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” Accordingly, Jewish tradition teaches not to rely on miracles, for they are purely gifts from God and not expectations to be ordered on demand, even though sincere prayer and devotion.

    There are different opinions regarding appropriate steps in considering possible threats, but again I am guided by my tradition. Firstly, to follow in the footsteps of Moses’ brother Aaron, who Judaism teaches always sought peace and the resolution of discord. Still, it also teaches the legitimacy of self-defense if preventive measures fail. Even deadly force may be used, but only when there is no reasonable alternative, as our tradition teaches, “How do you know your blood is redder than the blood of another?”

    And when direct defensive force cannot be avoided, I still learn from another Jewish legend. After the sea collapsed on and drowned Pharaoh’s army, the Israelites sang praises of thanksgiving for their Divine deliverance. In heaven, the angels wanted to join in the songs of praise, but God objected, asking rhetorically, “My handiwork (i.e., the Egyptians) are drowning in the sea, and you recite a song?!”

    The Israelites who were saved understandably rejoiced in their relief, but others need to recognize that even while justified, human suffering still occurred.

    So, it is customary at the Passover Seder ritual-meal to diminish the symbol of joyous redemption, wine, by removing a drop from our cups for each of the ten plagues suffered by the ancient Egyptians. All human life is always precious.

  • 1200px Pelops and Hippodamia racing News Flash: The Winter Olympics will be in full force when this column appears. The Olympics are brought to us by that paragon of human rights, Communist China. This year’s event will be spiced up by the Rona, Chinese soldiers in HazMat suits, wall-to-wall nasal swabs, and the inscrutable sport of Curling. It’s going to be huge. Have you been pondering the historic origin of this fine event? The Olympics have been around even longer than Betty White, RIP. Mr. Google reports the ancient Greeks started the festivities around 776 BC. The Greeks ran the Olympics every four years from 776 BC to 425 A.D. That works out to about 1200 years, not a bad run. After a brief pause of 1471 years, the modern Olympics resumed in 1896 in Athens, Greece, for those of you counting.

    Let’s take a ride in Mr. Peabody’s Way Back Machine to find out how the games began. Like most events that happened over 2700 years ago, the birth of the original games is shrouded in a bit of mystery. Here are three Greek stories about how the games came to be. Uh oh, herein lies yet another column mangling Greek mythology. Beware. Beware.

    Version One says the Olympics began at Olympia when Zeus defeated his father, Cronus. Cronus was not a candidate for Dad of the Year. He ate his children to keep them from overthrowing him. Zeus’ mom substituted a rock for Baby Zeus, which Cronus ate, thinking the rock was Baby Zeus. Hence the term dumb as a rock was born.

    Version Two says Hercules gets credit for the Olympics by celebrating his victory over King Augeas. The King hired Herc to clean out his stables. Herc did his job, but then the King reneged on paying him. Troubles ensued. Herc terminated the King with extreme prejudice. Then it was Party On, Herc. The Olympics were born.

    My favorite Olympic origin story involves Prince Pelops of Ionia. The Greek King Oenomaeus decided to give the hand, and the rest, of his lovely daughter Hippodamia in marriage to anyone who could beat him in a chariot race. Pelops jumped at the chance to win Hippodamia. His love for her was as overwhelming as the love felt by Claude King for Clifton Clowers’ pretty young daughter in the classic song Wolverton Mountain. Pelops’ love for her was big as the sky. He wrote her a love poem promising: “Sure as the vine twines round the stump, you are my darling sugar lump.”

    Pelops went all out to win the chariot race. In the first documented case of Olympic cheating in sports history, Pelops came up with a nefarious plan. He got a team of magic horses from his old buddy Poseidon the God of the Sea. It is unclear if the equines were originally sea horses. No matter. If magic horses weren’t enough, Pelops bribed Myrtilus the Chariot Master to sabotage King O’s chariot. Myrtilus pulled out the linchpins holding the chariot’s wheels to their axles. He replaced the pins with wax replicas. Once the race started, the heat from the spinning chariot wheels melted the fake wax linchpins causing the wheels of King O’s chariot to fall off. King O got tangled in the reins of the chariot. He was dragged to a painful gooey death by his team of horses. Naturally, Pelops won the race and Hippodamia.

    In the case of the old double-cross switcheroo, when Myrtilus came to collect the rest of his fee for waxing the chariot, Pelops refused to pay him. Instead, Pelops threw Myrtilus off a convenient cliff to his death on the rocks far below. Pelops operated on Stalin’s theory: No Man, No Problem. Or the pirates’ theory that dead men tell no tales. But the story doesn’t end there. Myrtilus’ ghost began haunting Pelops. The haunting became such an irritation for Pelops that he realized the only way to rid himself of this meddlesome ghost was to perform the ritual Funeral Games.

    Nowadays, people stand around at funerals viewing the deceased guest of honor saying: “My, oh my, don’t he look natural? He never looked that good in life,” before retiring to the Fellowship Hall to eat fried chicken, deviled eggs and potato salad. Back in Greek mythology days, people performed the precursors of Frank Costanza’s Festivus Feats of Strength by having athletic Funeral Games like races, rassling and javelin throwing.

    To get rid of Myrtilus’ ghost, Pelops put on a giant set of Funeral Games which gave birth to the Olympics. A funeral today with javelin tossing would be much more entertaining than just eating deviled eggs and discussing why the Tar Heel basketball team is so erratic. But I digress.

    So, what have we learned today? Once again, precious little. However, we can now have an enhanced appreciation of the long history of cheating in the Olympic games. The Chinese, Russian and North Korean teams’ efforts along these lines are just following the traditional Olympic Spirit initiated by Myrtilus and his waxed linchpins. Don’t get upset. Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

  • Downtown Alliance Well, it's big news in North Carolina when the Fayetteville/Cumberland County CEO of the Economic Development Corporation announces industry giant Amazon is bringing 500 new jobs into our community with its 1.3 million square foot distribution center. That's precisely what Robert Van Geons reported last week. This announcement marks the second Amazon facility to grace our community. An Amazon delivery center will open on Dunn Road soon. These announcements are excellent news and are a pretty good indication that Van Geons has additional positive economic news forthcoming.

    What makes the Fayetteville community so attractive, you may ask? Well, many things, but I would think the two biggest influencers are our location with easy access to the I-95 North-South corridor and a young and abundant labor force of thousands of men and women exiting Ft. Bragg each year. So, what's not to like about creating hundreds of jobs and bringing thousands of new residents into our community? With this being the case, you would think the City of Fayetteville would be doing everything possible to welcome these new arrivals by showcasing our unique local amenities that create and enhance our quality of life. Indeed, we would want to welcome these newcomers, introduce them to our diverse resources, invite them to engage in our abundant cultural activities, explore our historic Downtown, shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants. At best, you would think city leadership would not intentionally create barriers for this kind of introduction and indoctrination. You would think.

    Well, I was surprised to learn that the Downtown Alliance Vice-President C. John Malzone announced that they would be introducing and circulating petitions asking the City to eliminate evening parking fees Downtown because the Alliance feels these fees are stifling the growth and development of local downtown businesses. The Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)(6) entity of people, organizations, and businesses in downtown Fayetteville. Over the last decade, the Alliance has invested in and nurtured a hospitable, consumer-friendly downtown business district. They have facilitated many changes that have allowed businesses to grow, expand and prosper by implementing suggestions and improvements that have made the Fayetteville Historic downtown experience more inviting, exciting, and enjoyable. Outdoor merchandising, better signage and sidewalk dining options are just a few of their many accomplishments. These business and property owners are located in a Municipal Service District. The MSD requires that they pay an additional self-imposed property tax. This allows Alliance members to have a voice on how these tax dollars are spent and weigh in on policies and ordinances that directly and indirectly affect their businesses and livelihoods.

    Specifically, the Downtown Alliance will distribute petitions to downtown businesses, make them available online, and ask all residents to sign on and support the demand to end nighttime paid parking and charges for event parking during ball games. The petition also supports limiting the number of event paid-parking locations and hours. Free evening weekend parking supports downtown businesses, restaurants, museums and entertainment venues that visitors and residents love and support. This action comes 18 months after enforced paid parking went into effect. During this period, it has become evident that people avoid coming downtown in the evenings to enjoy movies, dining, shopping, fitness and even just walking to enjoy the city's ambiance. Alliance members are adamant that there should be no on-street parking enforcement after 5 p.m. at any time. Without a doubt, paid parking and evening enforcement drives away visitors and customers. It's a complaint heard repeatedly and is becoming too hard to ignore. Paid parking after 5 p.m. and during events on weekends has harmed downtown businesses' cultural and economic vitality. We agree. This practice hinders patrons and investors and penalizes visitors who readily support downtown Fayetteville, art venues, restaurants or cultural events. We don't agree with or understand why the Downtown Alliance organization carries this initiative forward by itself? The evening and event parking fees are a problem that affects the members and operations of several organizations. Is there support from the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce? The Cool Spring Downtown District? Fayetteville Convention & Visitors Bureau? And, the Arts Council? These are questions that need to be answered.

    The Downtown Alliance is made up of business people. Entrepreneurs operate bottom-line, profit and loss operations that become a reality and "hard truth" of their success or failure. These are not agencies that depend on government funding, specialized community grants or donations through the generosity of others. These folks have their livelihoods on the line every day. These small to medium-size local companies are the lifeblood of a prosperous city center. Up & Coming Weekly supports this petition and feels the City of Fayetteville should be doing everything within its power to encourage, support and nurture these businesses rather than continually imposing barriers and hardships impeding their success. The organizations mentioned above, all relevant in their own right, need to step up and support those who have readily and unselfishly invested in Fayetteville's Historic Downtown community. I end with this reality and insight: Every prosperous City has a thriving downtown community. It's time to dismantle all the organizational silos, count the empty storefronts and the businesses that have come and gone out of business trying to support the downtown community, and start working as a dynamic coalition in support of a city we love.

    To support this initiative, contact the Downtown Alliance at shopdowntownfaync@gmail.com, www.faydta.com, Facebook/fayDTA. To sign the petition, contact any Downtown Alliance downtown merchant or sign online at www.change.org/freeparkingdowntownfaync. For more information or questions about the petition, contact C. John Malzone 910-813-7378. And, as always, thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • pexels jacob colvin 1761279 From time to time, we all have things pop up that throw a wrench into the works of our usual schedule, and as it turns out, I'm not immune.

    I work in radio, and I host a local radio show that meets people in their cars on their way to start their day. However, on a recent morning, I had some appointments, so I prerecorded a portion of my on-air work the previous day.

    I typically spend some thoughtful time preparing the things I'll talk about through the morning. I even prepare and plan to talk about what people think about as they head to work or school. In addition, there are remarks I'll make in passing – things that strike me at the moment or come out of something I recently read or heard someone say – and on this particular day, I made one of those passing remarks that caused someone listening to respond with a text message after it played on the air the following day.

    Keep in mind that the number of comments and stories I might share over the course of a week (three and a half hours a day, five days a week) is considerable. Suffice it to say: I don't always remember exactly what I said.

    The text message I received was, "I want to be a bridge." Though it came as a result of one of those comments I made in passing, it was driven by something that had been in my notes for a while.

    As a Christian, it meant enough to me that I jotted it down to keep it as close to top-of-mind as possible.

    What I said was more of a question on this day.

    I asked, "What kind of representative are you as a follower of Jesus? Are you a bridge, or are you a barrier to people coming to Christ?"

    Honestly, these questions should be top-of-mind for anyone who calls themselves a Christian.

    What we do, the things we say, the love and compassion we lack or show – they all factor into what those around think and believe about who Jesus is.

    Just as the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church in ancient Corinth, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20, ESV)

    As an ambassador, people equate the message we bring or send with one coming directly from the one we represent.

    In other words, the opinions others form about the one who sends us depends, to a great extent, on how we treat them as we deliver the message.

    Whether you represent your family, our government, the place you work or – in this case – Jesus, it's best to be true to what you declare.

    And like the person responding to my questions that day, as a Christian, I want to be a good ambassador and bridge rather than a barrier to people coming to Christ.

  • pexels pixabay 47356 It is a myth that adults cannot learn to ski because I started skiing when I was forty. It is easier for children, but these days, many adults are taking lessons. Skiing is an engaging aerobic and anaerobic sport that the entire family can enjoy. The Baby Boomer generation continues to hit the slopes, and it is not unusual to see skiers in their seventies.

    Making a good plan for your ski trip is essential to having an enjoyable experience. Look for a beginner-friendly slope with a good rental department and quality instructors. In the beginning, avoid investing in expensive ski clothes and equipment to see if you like the sport. Wearing water-resistant clothing will help keep you dry when you fall. Let’s face it: you will fall, get cold, and get snow down your pants. Your clothing should be layered, moisture-wicking and avoid cotton because it absorbs sweat and will make you colder. My advice to the beginner is to buy an inexpensive pair of bibs, a jacket, a good pair of gloves and wear sunglasses with a holder strap or goggles and a helmet. Rent your skis or snowboard and go early because the lines are usually long. It takes a while to properly fit equipment, not to mention how long it takes you to get settled and put it on. Go to a ski slope that offers other activities such as ice skating or tubing for other group members that may not be interested in the sport.

    A lesson or lessons are a prerequisite for navigating your skis or snowboards, to learn starting, stopping, and getting on and off the lift. Going straight to the top is no way to learn how to ski or snowboard and can be dangerous for you and the others around you when you are unable to stop. The “bunny slope, “ as it is affectionately called, is there for a reason and a fantastic way to learn and build confidence. Hydration is also a key factor for endurance during the day, taking breaks and eating something nutritious.

    Choosing a slope suited for your level of experience is essential for building good memories and helping you look forward to your next trip. I have skied out west and in the North Carolina mountains, including Beach, Sugar, Appalachian, and West Virginia, including Winterplace and Snowshoe. The ambiance of the North Carolina mountains is perfect for skiing and shopping. Still, the downsides are the popularity and crowds. My suggestion for beginners would be Winterplace in West Virginia, which is usually less crowded with various beginner-friendly runs. Try to schedule that trip on weekdays instead of the weekend if you love the North Carolina mountains to avoid crowds.

    Churches or schools offer road trips or weekends for youths, and these options are a fantastic way for your children to try skiing with supervision. Planning will save you time and money if you decide on taking a family trip. Plan out your lift tickets, available times, ski packages that include rentals, lessons and account for any days that may be sold out. Ski season on the east coast typically runs mid-December through March.

    Adults learning to ski should take lessons from a qualified instructor to learn the basics and opt-out of lessons from those eager friends that want to teach you.

    Enjoy that friend time later while you talk about your runs!

    Live, love life with skiing and snowboarding!

  • pexels pixabay 433333 Americans have traditionally valued education in general and higher education in particular. Harvard University was founded in 1636, more than a century before the United States managed to birth itself. As our newly formed nation was gelling, North Carolina legislators chartered our country’s first public university, what is now known as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is worth a mention here that an education-hungry young man named Hinton James walked close to 150 miles — you read that correctly — from his home in Wilmington to Chapel Hill to enroll as UNC’s first student. He was UNC’s only student for about two weeks until some others turned up, for an initial 1798 graduating glass of six. A 20th-century dormitory in Chapel Hill is named in James’ honor.

    Since young Hinton took his long walk, millions of American families have sacrificed and saved, borrowed and sought financial aid to make higher education possible for those they love. Over the centuries, more and more of us have achieved that goal. Higher education has made us professionals of all stripes, led to successful careers in many fields and enriched countless lives the way only an understanding of the world around us can.

    Here comes the challenging news.

    The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports that about one million fewer undergraduate students enrolled in higher education institutions in 2021 than in 2019. The declines are seen at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, at public and private institutions, at four-year institutions, most dramatically at community colleges and for-profit institutions. The declines are more pronounced among minority students as well.

    While a million fewer students over two years is an eye-popping statistic, the trend is not new.

    College enrollment has been declining for at least a decade, in part because our nation’s low birthrate means fewer 18-year-olds to enroll at all and because the cost of college continues to spiral. The COVID-19 pandemic, still besetting us in 2022, has merely accelerated the trend. “The reality is that the pandemic has disrupted the education of the next generation of young professionals, and that’s going to have immense consequences on the career options, their livelihoods,” said Doug Shapiro, executive director, Student Clearinghouse.

    Shapiro is correct, of course, because educational attainment correlates with lifetime earnings. At the same time, declining higher education enrollment scares the socks off employers looking at fewer skilled workers in their immediate future.

    COVID-19 and high costs are apparent factors in the decline, but other factors may be at work as well.In 2013 70% of adult Americans told Gallup pollsters they believed a college education was “very important.” In pre-Covid 2019, only 51% thought so.

    Both students and parents are debating the value of higher education compared to its price tags, but is there something more? Something more nebulous and more difficult to pin down?

    It is clear many Americans have thrown traditional scholarship and learning to the winds for reasons the rest of us will never know, much less understand.

    How else do we account for Covid-deniers, anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists of all sorts—people who persist in their beliefs and behaviors despite scholarship and scientific evidence to the contrary? How else do we perceive a seemingly growing anti-intellectualism in our nation? I saw a woman on television tell a reporter that she simply did not care about the facts. “I just believe what I believe,” came out of her mouth before an international audience.

    We need a visit from Hinton James to help us remember why education is important to us as individuals and as a nation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • CelebrationBHM 01 As a publication, we get suggestions and requests weekly for content coverage. We cannot always follow up on every idea sent our way, whether because we have already budgeted the space in the paper or because we have already committed resources elsewhere. But, sometimes, the suggestion is so heartfelt, timely and important that you just make space where otherwise there might not have been. This is how it went a few weeks ago when Tammy Thurman, community relations manager at Piedmont Natural Gas and vice chairwoman of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber, approached Up & Coming Weekly to cover Black History Month in a unique and important way. We met and discussed her vision. Some stories everyone knows explained Thurman. No matter their origins, some stories are told and retold every February, but there are more. Stories that go unnoticed but are equally important.

    As Thurman explained, stories are repeated every February, and the leaders who are spoken into the fabric of our community and society through those stories are hugely important. But the lesser told stories, shared on a smaller scale, are quietly told among people of color, and they deserve a louder voice and a broader audience. It is these stories Thurman hoped we, at Up & Coming Weekly, would help to amplify.

    This month we will be featuring a series on local Fayetteville Black history heroes. This week and for the next three consecutive weeks, we will feature the story of a Fayetteville-connected Black folk hero. We will share an account from the past that marks the struggles and triumphs in the history of our local Black community. This week we share the story of Isaac Hammond and the Fifer’s Grave, shared with us in an interview with Charles Anderson Jr., a history lecturer at Fayetteville State University (see page15). In the following weeks we will tell the stories of Robert R. Taylor, architect and educator; Mable C. Smith, local politician and fighter for the disenfranchised; and Charles Waddell Chesnutt, political activist and author. We are reaching out to Black community members to help us tell these stories, both through their time via interviews or through their writing.

    In addition to our local Black History Heroes from Fayetteville’s past, we will also be speaking with Black community members making a difference and impacting our Fayetteville community today. Look for our cover story next week on a local veteran artist mentioned on pages 12-13, this week, Damien Mathis. And in the issue hitting stands on Feb. 16, we will be profiling veteran business owner Joseph Dewberry.

    Join us on this journey while we share stories that may get overlooked in national headlines but are a vital part of the unique, diverse and storied Fayetteville community’s Black History. Pick up our paper each week this February or click in via our website and social media to read about and hear these voices.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 15 bookIs it really just a fairy tale?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Smirnoff is excited to return to Fayetteville.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Picture 2: “Through It All” by Lamar Whidbee

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

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

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

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

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

    Yanoff Music Program:

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

    Fuller PLC:

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

    CIS Sites:

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

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

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

    Educational Mini Grants:

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

    Bill Harrison Scholarship Fund:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  •    The 2008 “G3” version of the Warmthru battery heated gloves have been updated since last reviewed here; most noticeable is the battery pocket, which is now part of the gauntlet rather than an external pocket outside the gauntlet.
       The rest of the G3 update includes minor differences in styling and abrasion protection, but the Warmthru gloves are still waterproof and windproof, passing our “bucket test”. 
       The 3300mAh, 3.7V Lithium Ion battery is claimed to last about 3.5 hours, which is about right. The battery is claimed to stabilize the heat in the gloves at 35 degrees Celsius (95 F), which is just under body temperature. 
       This means that the feeling of heat is subtle — the gloves do not provide overwhelming warmth akin to something like holding on to a heated grip. They are designed to provide enough heat to keep the hands from getting too cold to be uncomfortable, and in that regard, they do work.
       Each battery is a 50x70x15 mm block weighing 79 grams (2.75 oz.), and each glove (or glove liner) has its own battery. 
       The battery has a female connector that plugs to a wire inside the battery pocket.  Once the wire is plugged in, the gloves are “On,” but Warmthru offers an optional battery with an On/Off switch. We have a pair of each type and I don’t really miss the switch, so potential owners can save a few quid by not opting for the switched battery.
       The gloves seem a bit bulky for motorcycle use; the size large shown here runs about one size big. Each glove has thick insulation all around and a wind- and water-proof liner, making them feel about the equivalent of the big Held Freezer gloves in terms of bulk.
       The battery is held inside the gauntlet with a waterproof zipper, adding to the overall thickness. The gauntlets are also snug by design, so the Fingerheater gloves are best worn under, rather than over, a jacket sleeve.
    The additional thickness of the battery can make the gloves a bit difficult to fit under some jacket sleeves. Several local riders tried the gloves and we got together and one of the suggestions was to make the battery an external device that could be worn on an elastic or hook-and-loop armband over the jacket sleeve, then extend the wire from the glove to plug into the battery.
       This could allow the gloves to be worn with any type of jacket, no matter the sleeve thickness. It could also make the battery more accessible when riding in case the rider wishes to switch it on or off.
       The Warmthru Fingerheater batteries are CE approved and are ROHS-WEE (reduction of hazardous waste for electronic components, a European manufacturing directive) compliant. The gloves are available with battery chargers for the UK, Europe or the U.S. and the batteries are claimed to last through approx. 500 charge cycles during three years of use.
       The charger will charge two batteries simultaneously and we found that the first charge took about 8 hours, with subsequent charges taking about five hours. It is possible to order an extra set of batteries also.
       The gloves have a large swath of reflective material and the rubbery surface on the palms provides excellent grip in any type of weather or conditions that we encountered.
  • Dogwood The 40th annual Fayetteville Dogwood Festival hosted a media event at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 16. Run by a nonprofit by the same name, the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival group says that they “aim to entertain the members of our community, promote and sustain new and existing business. Enhance a positive community image, and attract out-of-town visitors, while sharing the cultural and recreational opportunities available in the Fayetteville Area.” While the organization supports and plans multiple events throughout the year, none is larger or more expansive than the Dogwood Festival.

    And, after two years of pandemic-driven cancellations and rescheduling, according to Dogwood Festival Executive Director Sarahgrace Snipes, attended can expect a “full-fledged dogwood festival.”

    “We are back,” Snipes proclaimed on Wednesday evening.

    And back they are, with a record-setting five national acts slated to perform across the three-day festival beginning on April 22 and ending April 24.

    On Friday, April 22, national acts Marcy Playground and Hoobastank will take the stage. On Saturday, April 23, Dillon Carmichael, Kameron Marlowe and Tyler Farr will perform an evening of country music. Sunday, April 24, will finish off the event with headliners The Purple Madness – A Tribute to Prince. Throughout all three nights, local talent will perform alongside these headliners.

    At the media night, festival organizers assured attendees that all of the tried and true Dogwood Festival favorites would be back in full force and “better than ever.”

    Attractions will include: Airborn Aerials performances, Boom & Bloom fireworks on Friday night, King BMX bike shows, the Cork and Fork event will return, there will be a silent auction, Lafayette Ford will present the Car, Motorcycle and Truck Show, there will be a performance area on Hay Street in front of the Market House, a street fair in the downtown area, the Midway with a mix of rides and attractions for all ages and finally the KidZone will be back as well.

    In addition to these attractions, the Dogwood Festival has added new events for visitors this year. The Downtown Stage powered by Piedmont Natural Gas will offer country music on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at noon on Gillespie Street. Ring Wars of Carolina will be hosting a wrestling tournament on Saturday and Sunday at the intersection of Ray Avenue and Hay Street. Local attraction Sweet Valley Ranch will also be out with a mix of entertainment on offer as a new addition to this year’s attractions.

    Sweet Valley Ranch Owner Fred Surgeon spoke at the media event and shared an impressive list of options Sweet Valley Ranch will bring with them to the Dogwood Festival. They will set up on Green Street, where visitors can enjoy a petting zoo with a broad mix of animals, carnival games and even take a ride down the street on a dinosaur.

    Surgeon was particularly excited about the variety of animals with which festival-goers can meet and visit at the petting zoo.

    “It’s about engaging with nature and with our animals,” Surgeon said.

    In addition to these activities, the Surgeon explained that they would have their food truck on site. According to Surgeon, the Sweet Valley Ranch Giveback Food Truck partners with local nonprofits, and in November and December last year, the food truck program raised $25,000.

    Snipes also announced continued support with annual events that, while not directly affiliated with the Dogwood Festival, are sanctioned by the organization. These include the annual Crimestoppers BBQ and the All American Tattoo Convention.

  • RHF Meet Us At the Park Rick's Place has planned an afternoon away for the families dealing with the stress of last-minute deployments, a way to connect with other military families and to take a break.

    The Rick Herrema Foundation focuses on strengthening relationships and building community for military families through fun, quality activities. They host events and fun days at Rick's Place, a 50-acre park, to offer children a place to have fun and a place to support military families, so they know they aren't alone.

    This weekend they are supporting families by hosting a Meet Us at the Park event specifically for families dealing with the rapid deployments occurring over the past three weeks.

    "We wanted to do something extra," Vicky Jimenez, director of programs at RHF, said. "We wanted to do an event that would be dedicated for those families who have been impacted by the recent deployment."

    From 2 to 5 p.m., there will be activities, inflatables, games for kids and local organizations offering resources to families. In addition, the food truck, Hot Dog Central, will be at the event feeding families in attendance.

    Jimenez told Up & Coming Weekly that while families are at Rick's Place, they can set aside the stressors that deployment may have placed on them, at least for a short time.

    "The importance of having these events is to connect people to these other families that are going through the same challenges as them," Jimenez said.

    The Meet Us at the Park event will be followed by the monthly scheduled event, Family Fun Day, which is open to any military family. This month, RHF will be hosting a drive-in movie screening.

    "This will be our first drive-in movie. So we wanted to try and give it a chance and give families different activities here at Rick's Place," Jimenez said.

    The 2000s family classic, "The Chronicle of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," will be playing on the big screen. Families can enjoy the movie from the comfort of their warm vehicles or pull up a chair with blankets to watch it outside. RHF will give out free popcorn and hot cocoa to families. The movie starts around 5:30 p.m.

    The two events take place on Saturday, Feb. 26. Registration to both events is required. Jimenez said that she is expecting 100 to 150 people to be at the two events, but they know there are countless more families who are impacted.

    If families find out about the events after registration is closed, they can contact RHF by calling 910-444-1743 to see if space is available.

    To pre-register for the event, visit rhfnow.org/event/meet-us-at-the-park-rapid-deployment-impacted-families-event/. To register for the movie night, visit rhfnow.org/event/february-family-fun-day-evening-drive-in-movie/.

    The next Family Fun Day is scheduled for March 26 and is planned to be a Physical Fitness Family Challenge.

    Families will have a change to compete against each other in several activities and lunch will be provided at no cost. Registration for that event is open.

    Rick's Place is located at 5572 Shenandoah Drive.

    For more information, visit rhfnow.org/events or call the Rick's Place team at 910-444-1743.

  • Valentines Day Valentine's Day is upon us and Fayetteville and Fort Bragg have some unique and fun options for everyone. Looking for a "Gal"entine's event drop in at the Fayetteville Pie Company for some music bingo. Out of love with love? Head to Bright Light Brewing Company to Axe your Ex. Want to celebrate with the whole family? Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom has you covered. Looking for romance, head over to Fort Bragg's Iron Mike Conference Center for a romantic meal and music. Read on for all the fun and all of the details.

    Events in and around Fayetteville for Valentine’s Day

    Valentine’s Music Bingo
    Fayetteville Pie company is hosting a Valentine’s Day-themed music bingo on Feb. 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will be held at 253 Westwood Shopping Center. Perfect for gal pals and friends or date night attendees who can expect duets, sexy hits and love ballads. Call 910-483-4097 for additional information.

    Hearts and Hops: A Family Valentine’s Celebration
    Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom is hosting a family-friendly Heart Day celebration. Attendees can purchase crafts and baked goods from the Bird’s Nest Montessori School, create crafts with KidsPeace, have faces painted by Artistic Brush Face Painting and take photos in a photo booth by Raul Ruberia Photos. There will be live music. Dirtbag Ales is located at 5435 Corporation Drive. For additional information call 910-426-2537.

    Axe Your Ex
    Axes & Exes will be at Bright Light Brewing Company on Feb. 13 for the ultimate anti-Valentine’s Day event. Just bring a picture of your ex and $10 and you can throw an axe at the picture. Bring an extra $5 if you need BLBC to print your picture out for you. Baja Dogs will be serving food from 5 to 8 p.m. with a special heartbreak meal. This event begins at 3 p.m. at 444 West Russell St. Suite 102. For additional information call 910-339-0464.

    Fort Bragg Valentine’s Day Events

    Valentine's Day Dueling Pianos
    Celebrate Valentine’s Day a little early at the Iron Mike Conference Center. Cost is $80 per couple and the event promises an evening of fun, laughter, music and great food. Tickets include the show, dinner for two with a glass of champagne for each person. This event is open to the public and sponsored by the Gary Sinise Foundation. For information or to book by Feb. 9 call 910-907-2582

    Guns and Roses
    The Rod and Gun Club on Fort Bragg is hosting a Valentine’s Range Day. The cost is $40 per couple. Couples must provide own guns, ammunition, ear pieces and eye protection. Ear pieces, eye protection and additional targets are available for purchase at the range. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb 11-13. The Cost includes range time, a free shooting target, a Valentine’s Day gift box and a chance to win a one year membership at the range. This event is open to the public and organizers ask that interested parties register at McKeller’s Lodge by 1 p.m. on Feb. 10. For additional information call 910-907-5253

  • Judas Sometimes we take life a little bit too seriously. That is why we look to the arts for a reprieve. In watching a theatrical production, we become emersed in another world and forget about our unique problems for a while.

    The Gilbert Theater is presenting "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot." It is a crazy take on, as the title indicates, the last days of Judas Iscariot. Pulitzer-prize-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis created the show. It debuted first Off-Broadway at The Public Theater on March 2, 2005, directed by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

    The show centers around a court case deciding the ultimate fate of Judas Iscariot. The resulting decision will determine Judas Iscariots goes to Heaven or Hell. During the show, the characters are in Purgatory. The bailiff is a Barney Fife-like character played by Justin Gore-Pike. Gore-Pike also plays Judas.

    "Judas is a sad, haunted person," Gore-Pike said.

    The play utilizes flashbacks to an imagined childhood and lawyers who call for such witnesses as Mother Teresa, Caiaphas, Saint Monica, Sigmund Freud and Satan.

    El Fayoumy, the lawyer, is in hell and thinks that he proves his worth that he belongs in Heaven or at least Purgatory by prosecuting this case.

    The witnesses are funny and provide comic relief. Mother Teresa cannot hear very well. El Fayoumy gets her earphones, and then she can hear, and she also comments on how attractive El Fayoumy is.
    Saint Monica is brash and uses harsh language, not something you would imagine in a play centered around Judas Iscariot.

    Sigmund Freud is as one would imagine and brings some comic relief to a serious subject.

    Satan, played by Matt Gore, takes a solemn subject and character and makes light of him.

    Gore-Pike describes the play as "a fun, dark comedy."

    The play is not for children as there is a lot of foul language, especially by Saint Monica, played by Deannah Robinson. It may also be offensive to religiously devout Christians and Jews.

    The stars of "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" are Eden Kinsey, who plays Fabiana Cunningham, a lawyer in the Judas case. The other star is El Fayoumy, played by Chris Walker.

    Walker describes the show as " thought-provoking and leaves you with something to talk about... filled with many fun-loving actors who take a serious subject and flip it into something funny."

    "The biggest takeaway is to never be afraid to challenge the system when it needs to be challenged," Gore-Pike explained. "Never be afraid to ask questions."

    "It is more about self- forgiveness than God's forgiveness," said Walker. "Jesus doesn't care what Judas did. He is forgiven."

    In the end, Jesus, played by Michael Ormiston, comes to Judas, played by Gore-Pike, and washes Judas's feet, proof that Judas was forgiven.

  • wiz The renovations at Cape Fear Regional Theatre came just in time — just in time for the girl from Kansas in sparkling red heels. The theater's production of "The Wizard of Oz" does justice to the classic tale of Dorothy Gale and her three unlikely road companions. A new sound system, lighting and pyrotechnics bring an added measure of engagement and thrill to the audience.

    Beyond the technical aspects of the show, the quality of acting really brought the musical together. Fayetteville native Kiara Hines took the stage as that eternal optimist, the most loyal of friends, Dorothy Gale. Hines was charismatic and a great embodiment of Dorothy. She floated around the stage just like a sunny teenager who cannot be dismayed even with plenty of reason for concern presents itself. Hines nailed Dorothy's innocence and juvenile behaviors. Her mannerism and voice perfectly balanced with the three co-stars that often shared the stage.

    The first of those co-stars, Lee Jean Jr., played the sometimes timid, brain-searching scarecrow. He was a mighty force next to Harris. Lee's own ability to carry his character's happy-go-lucky, doubtless behaviors into dance-like movement on the stage was perfect for this straw-filled friend. He was what seemed like the closest of Dorothy's friends, bringing truth to one of Dorothy's last lines, "I think I'll miss you most of all." During this show, the scarecrow did feel like one of the most comforting of friends.

    Tinman, played by Michael LoBalsamo, was the next to enter the stage beside the duo. LoBalsamo and Jean's witty banter played wonderfully against

    Dorothy's child-like questions and demeanor. LoBalsamo's movements were fluid or perhaps not so fluid, as called for by his rust-challenged character. He frequently left the audience hoping for more of his lines, as he was full of heart.

    And lastly, but by far not the least, was Nicholas Pearson as the cowardly lion. Pearson's version of this character was perfectly played with terrific voice acting and very well-timed comedic lines. He often left the audience laughing at his additions to each conversation. Children in the audience seemed to take to the lovability of his character. They appeared to look forward to each swing of his tail, a sudden exhibit of cowardice or fainting.

    The four friends were well-suited to come up against both the Wicked Witch of the West, played by Becca Vourvoulas and Glenda, the Good Witch, played by Nicki Hart. The actors succeeded in bringing their characters to life on stage. Vourvoulas nailed the voice and shrill laughter of Dorothy's green-faced foe.

    While the music in this musical was not bad, Harris herself belting out a beautiful version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," the lines and interactions between the characters were by far the most captivating portion of the show and an excellent reason to purchase a ticket. The four main characters stole the show more often than their counterparts. If the show had more conversations between them, the audience would not be found wanting.

    The only distraction from Oz was the use of the face shields for the actors on stage. They sometimes caught the shine of stage lights. While this addition might be the best solution in the covid-era of on-stage productions for safety, it would have been nice to watch the talent of the actors without this occasional pull back to reality. For how well-performed this production was, the audience wanted to stay in Oz, even if only for just a little while.

  • book black women Book Black Women, LLC will be hosting a night of performance, Feb. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the SkyView on Hay in downtown Fayetteville.

    The concert-like event will feature four local female Black singers. Refreshments will be served by Chef Judy from Uptown.

    "I created this entity [Book Black Women] because I wanted to provide performance opportunities for Black women. With colorism being loud and silent all at once, it can sometimes be hard for Black women to get the shots they deserve," said Ayana Washington, founder and CEO of Book Black Women, LLC.

    Washington came up with the idea of holding a concert in the spirit of Nina Simone's "Four Women."

    "Nina Simone knew the Black woman is not a monolith. She used that song to speak to that, and I hope to do the same," said Washington.

    Washington will perform in the Feb. 13 show herself, reprising Simone's famous song during her time in the spotlight. Washington was born in Fayetteville and has performed with Cape Fear Regional Theatre. She last appeared on the CFRT stage as the Dragon in Shrek, the Musical.

    Also performing will be North Carolina native Desiree Tolodziecki. Tolodziecki has also previously worked with CFRT and is currently pursuing a career in New York. Ashley Jones, a Fayetteville native who works in law enforcement, will also be taking the stage.

    A fourth singer is in the works to round out the quartet.

    "These ladies will sing songs that mean something to them and hopefully capture the attention of people in the audience who would like to book them for other events!" said Washington. "I am excited to watch these ladies perform and tell their stories through song. It's rare we get the chance to be 'unapologetically Black and female' and show people that that phrase has a range you wouldn't believe!"

    Four Women is the first event planned by Book Black Women, LLC. Washington says she plans to stay busy and has several other events planned for the year. Potential performers and sponsors can contact her at bookblackwomen.nc@gmail.com. Performers don't have to be singers, according to Washington.

    Those interested in attending can find information and tickets for Four Women at visitdowntownfayetteville.com/events/four-women-presented-by-book-black-women-llc/. Tickets range from $55 to $75.
    Select tickets will have access to an open bar. Attendees can take photos in a 360 photo booth, and tickets include a swag bag. The event is formal, with black tie attire requested.

  •    Over the last six months, Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County has served 260 people — all of whom were having the worst, or one of the worst days, of their lives.
       All of these 260 victims reached out to Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County (RCVCC) in their time of need, clutching for a helping hand to guide them through the nightmare of sexual assault.
       And now, RCVCC is reaching out to you.
       The organization, founded in 1976 to provide support services to victims of sexual assault, needs volunteers to help out with the facility’s 24-hour hotline for sexual assault victims, as well as serving as hospital companions and/or providing courtroom accompaniment. Volunteers also assist with community education presentations and special projects throughout the year.
       Deanne Gerdes, executive director of RCVCC, says there are no real requirements to become a volunteer... other than being 18, a good listener and showing dedication toward the client.
       And you should be emotionally ready to deal with it... to be able to separate what happened to the victim and your own life,” said Gerdes.
       And they’re not looking only for female volunteers. Gerdes says that since the overwhelming majority of sexual assault victims are women, volunteers who serve as hospital or courtroom companions should ideally be female; however, Gerdes says one of RCVCC’s most dedicated help line volunteers is a blind male. Also, men are needed to go into the schools and counsel male students on doing their part to prevent sexual assault on women as well as appropriate dating relationships.
       Getting the word out that “no means no” would appear to be especially important here in Fayetteville — a military town where Gerdes says soldiers returning from overseas sometimes have trouble readjusting to their return.{mosimage}
       “Out of the 260 victims we’ve helped in the last six months, 156 were military-related,” said Gerdes. “These victims are more comfortable sometimes going off post to talk to us.”
       Despite the number of military-related cases, Gerdes praises the staff at Womack Army Medical Hospital for the professionalism the staff shows when treating victims of suspected sexual assault.
       “Womack does a great job,” said Gerdes. “It has nine nurses trained in treating sexual assault.”
       Katie Krob RCVCC’s victim’s advocate community liaison, says sensitivity is extremely important at the hospital, on the part of both the staff and RCVCC volunteers.
       “There’s no easy way to ask the graphic questions and the examination itself is almost like an assault itself,” said Krob.
       Krob adds that local law enforcement is extremely sensitive when dealing with sexual assault victims and is a great partner with the RCVCC. One of those folks standing behind the thin blue line helping serve and protect is Teresa Currey, a victim advocate for the Fayetteville Police Department.
       Currey says the best treatment for sexual assault is prevention. She offers these tips for preventing an attack:
       • Make sure the front of your apartment or house is well lit and free of heavy vegetation an attacker can hide behind;
       • Be cognizant of your surroundings, particularly at night;
       •Travel with friends, especially when going out to bars.
       •Make sure you know plenty about your date before going out for an evening on the town.
       •Take self-defense classes.
       •Don’t ever leave your drink unattended in a bar. Both Currey and Gerdes warned that sexual predators will often slip GHB — the date rape drug — into a victim’s drink.
       And Currey and Gerdes also emphasize that parents need to be aware of who their children are talking to on the Internet, as sexual predators have become experts at accosting the young via the Web.
       And finally, Currey offers one final piece of wisdom if you are attacked: “Just survive,” said Currey. “You can recover from anything... even something as terrible as this.”

    Contact Tim Wilkins at tim@upandcomingweekly.com



































     
     







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     02-04_cover.jpgClick on the photo for the Online Edition!

    William Tell has nothing on Marti Peltonen.Peltonen, a world-renowned archer who will bring his crossbow skills to Fayetteville Feb. 12-15 as part of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, does the old apple splitting trick all right— though he takes it up a notch... or rather, eight notches.
       “For the climax of my act I arrange eight crossbows around the ring and stand against a pole with an apple on top of my head,” said Peltonen. “I shoot the first crossbow, which triggers all the others and sets off a chain reaction that causes the final crossbow bolt to fly across the ring and split the apple.”
       Leading up to the climactic goring of a Golden Delicious, Peltonen shows off more “mundane” displays of skills, such as cutting the stem of a rose held in his wife’s hand from 20 feet away, and shooting a playing card held between her fingers... performing the latter with his back turned to the target, using a mirror to guide his aim.
       Not only would it be a tragedy for Peltonen if he one day missed and injured his lovely wife, Liina Aunola, it it would be a blow to the circus, as Aunola serves double duty as both Peltonen’s assistant and is a star in her own right: she is employed as an aerialist with the circus.
       “I don’t get nervous when I work with Liina,” said Peltonen. “If I ever felt nervous I would not step into the ring.”
       Both Peltonen and Aunola grew up in Finland. As a boy, Peltonen practiced archery as a hobby. The hobby became his vocation when he joined the Finnish army in 1997, where he excelled in both marksmanship and explosives.
       After leaving the army, Peltonen worked for a while in demolition, though soon became bored with blowing things up. In 2000, Peltonen decided to realize a lifelong dream of millions before him by running away to join the circus — the Sirkus Finlandia.
       He didn’t become a headlining archer right away — in fact, it took six years of training before he was ready to step into the ring on his own. Along the way he met his future wife and performing partner, Liina, who had joined the circus’s youth program despite a decided lack of playground prowess.
       “I was lousy in sports in elementary school, but I still ended up in a very athletic profession,” said Liina, who joined Sirkus Finlandia at the ridiculously young age of 11.
       Years of performing at death-defying and dizzying heights while tethered precariously to a thin rope has honed Liina’s body for her aerial acrobatics; likewise, a strict regimen of training has prepared her husband to take both their lives into his hands when he steps into the ring with crossbow cocked.
       “It’s constant work,” said Peltonen. “I rarely have time to practice because I’m too busy working. So far this year we’ve been to 23 states and traveled more than 23,000 miles... I get my practice in the ring.”
        And while Peltonen says he never gets nervous, he adds the same is not true for the audience.
       “Right before the climax, before I shoot the apple off my head, the room usually gets incredibly quiet,” said Peltonen. “I live for that moment of complete and utter silence... It is an awesome, awesome moment.”

     

    The Greatest Show On Earth

       It may not be the three-ring variety, but the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is still the “greatest show on Earth.”
       The world’s most famous circus — rechristened BOOM A RING — rolls into the Crown Coliseum Feb. 12-15, confining its action into one ring to provide a more compact, cost-effective product to the thrill-seeking public.
       Don’t worry though, while it’s one ring rather than three, the action is just as fast, furious and frenetic as you remember. It’s also much more intimate — circus-goers will enjoy an up-close and personal experience as they sit feet away from white tigers, majestic Asian elephants and acrobats from around the world.
    In addition to the crossbow wizardy of Marti Peltonen, featured acts include: Los Scolas in a gravity-defying performance on the whirling Wheel of Steel; Vicenta Pages, one of the world’s youngest performing tiger trainers, demonstrates the bond she shares with her rare white-striped Bengal tigers in a display of acrobatic jumps, balancing and even a high-five; Patti Zerbini performs alongside Asian elephants; and the Vedyashkina family presents a delightful Daschund dog act.
       One of the best things about the BOOM A RING format is it allows for an all-access pre-show, which starts an hour before show time and allows the audience to meet and get to know the performers personally.
       The performance schedule is: Thursday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 14, 3-7 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m.
       Tickets start at $15.50 and are on sale now and available through http://www.Ringling.com, Ticketmaster or the Crown Coliseum box office. Contact the Crown at 438-4100 or visit its Web site at www.crowncoliseum.com.


    Contact Tim Wilkins at tim@upandcomingweekly.com

     
     
     
     




     

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  • 02-03-10-woman-in-rocker.gifThe art community in Fayetteville is a vibrant one. It is not uncommon to fi nd high quality art and exhibits year round at different venues throughout the city, in fact the Friends of African & African-American Art is sponsoring Art of the Masters: A Survey of African American Images, 1980-2000 at the Arts Council. The exhibit opened on Jan. 22 and will hang until March 6.

    The show is bigger than the art on display at 301 Hay St., though. There is a sister exhibit at the Rosenthal Gallery at Fayetteville State University.

    “People can visit Rosenthal and read the panels to learn more about the artists and see reproductions of the works” said Mary Kinney, Arts Council Fayetteville/Cumberland County marketing manager. “Then they can come here and see the exhibit to learn more — or vice versa. To get the full effect and full benefi t people should visit both places because it is all really one big exhibit.”

    There are also events and activities scheduled through the month of February. Assistant Professor of Art at FSU, Dr. Rollinda Thomas, will give a lecture titled Style and Politics: the African American Masters. She’ll be speaking at Rosenthal Gallery Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. and again at the Arts Council at 6 p.m. on Feb. 11.

    Thomas is excited about the opportunity to speak with the public about Art of the Masters. As an educator, she welcomes the opportunity to broaden the horizons of interested parties in the community.

    “The lecture is intended to give an overview of the artistic styles of the artists,” said Thomas. “We’ll look at how the politics of the time period infl uenced their work. For instance, there is a beautiful ceramic piece that harkens back to Benin, Africa.

    ”While there is a wide range of art work in the exhibit that covers everything from modern art to more traditional and natural pieces, Thomas is seeking to open the eyes and minds of the audience to the exhibit as a whole.

    “This is a wonderful opprtunity to have the chance to share information with the public and with students,” said Thomas. “It is a chance to discuss the exhibit. I am excited about opening people’s eyes and making art accessible.

    ”Although it is billed as a lecture, Thomas is seeking an exchange with the public. The stunning presentation of African American artists not only lends itself to visually appealing to the audience, there is also an opportunity at the lecture to offer opinions and questions.

    “This is definitely meant to be interactive,” said Thomas.The lecture is family friendly.

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

  • 02-08-12-mike-epps.jpgAre you ready for a night of laughs and non-stop entertainment? Well get ready, because Mike Epps is live at the Crown Center on Sunday, Feb. 19. The comedian is back again to give the audience new laughs and enjoyment as part of his I’m Still Standing Tour.

    The funnyman has proven his talents numerous times in the entertainment industry. Epps’ biggest debut was his appearance on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam. In 1999, Epps received recognition for these outstanding performances on the national stage. It took the comedian to the next level. He decided then to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in comedy. Of course, the comedian had been doing stand-up for many years. It was something he believes he was destined to do and it shows with his success in the entertainment industry.

    Fellow entertainer, rapper and actor, Ice Cube took notice of the comedian while he performed at the L.A. Comedy Store. This encounter lead to one of the comedian’s first roles in a movie, Next Friday. He played the role of Day-Day, the cousin to Ice Cube’s character, and the movie was a true comedy hit. Since his debut as an actor, Epps appeared in the movies Bait, How High and even played the voice of Sonny in Dr. Dolittle 2.

    It is safe to say that the comedian has had a great career and it continues to grow. He has truly made a name for himself in the entertainment industry. Of course, Epps still tours the country and performs at many sold-out arenas and theatres. His onehour comedy special, Inappropriate Behavior, that aired on HBO was rated the top one-hour special of the year. DVDs, of the performance, were made available to the public that same month.

    On Sept. 10, 2006, Epps switched roles and began to host HBO’s Def Comedy Jam. Epps has performed in many other movies since his debut as an actor including: All About the Benjamins, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Soul Men, Hancock, Open Season, The Fighting Temptation, Open Season, Friday After Next and Jumping the Broom, to name a few.

    The Crown Center is delighted to see the comedian perform again for the community of Fayetteville. Garry Marshall, director of marketing and sales, stated the comedian had another performance at the Crown Center a year ago, which was very well received by audience members.

    “He is a very talented performer,” Marshall explained, “He gives a show that is very crowd-pleasing.”

    Tickets for the show are selling rather quickly and it is highly recommended that future audience members purchase tickets soon to ensure the best seats.

    “This is a reserved-seat show and the sooner you purchase your ticket the better the seats you will get,” Marshall adds.

    At the Crown Center theatre, parking is free and all normal concessions will be opened on the night of show. The comedy show will begin at 7 p.m. Call 438-4100 or visit www. atthecrown.com for ticket prices and hours.

    Photo: Comedian Mike Epps.

  • The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (FSO) is noted in the community for its strong support of and02-08-12-faysymphony.jpgcommitment to bringing symphonic music to the young, including many who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a concert. Just recently, the FSO held its second annual Exceptional Children and Adult’s Concert, complete with the “instrument petting zoo.” Its Holiday Extravaganza featured the Cumberland County Youth Orchestra and the Music Makers Fall Cohort, a program funded by the Youth Growth Stock Trust through the Cumberland County Education Foundation and developed by the FSO with the Boys & Girls Club and Fayetteville Parks & Recreation. And now, funded by a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Jordan, some members of the FSO, under the baton of Maestro Foaud Fakhouri, will travel to Jordan, February 16-24 to perform with the Amman Symphony Orchestra and present concerts to schoolchildren.

    The symphony will engage in three different programs while in Jordan, Fakhouri explained. The first performance is an evening concert, which is part of the Amman Symphony Orchestra’s regular season Masterworks, similar to what the FSO does here. The concert will include the overture to Verdi’s “La forza del destino,” Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 1.”

    The second and third programs involve working with students.

    “We’re doing four other performances during the day for schoolchildren, similar to what we do in Fayetteville for our third graders,” Fakhouri said. “This project came through a grant with the U. S. Embassy in Jordan. So they want us to focus on education. That was one of the priorities that they wanted to see happen. And we’re introducing children to classical music by performing American blockbuster-movie music. The idea is that these kids may have heard of Harry Potter or Pirates of the Caribbean or Star Wars, but they would not have associated that what they heard on that movie screen is actually performed by an orchestra. I thought that this would be a good idea to sort of say, ‘You’re familiar with this music, but here’s how it’s done, and these are the instruments that make that type of sound.’”

    And Fakhouri wants to ensure that the experience will be meaningful beyond just the 40 minutes of the performance.

    “They’ve probably never been to a symphonic concert in their lives, they’re going to see this and then they’re going to go home. What do we give them to take home and extend that experience and actually get them to say, ‘I saw this instrument, and this is what I want to learn’?” asked Fakhouri.

    Fakhouri approached one of the symphony’s education coordinators as well as librarian, who plays with the FSO.

    “She created a mini booklet that we’re going to give to every one of those kids while we’re there,” he said.

    The FSO is also providing master classes to students of the National Music Conservatory as well as students at King’s Academy, a private boarding school about 45 minutes outside of Amman. Members of the FSO will stay at King’s Academy during their visit.

    This cultural exchange is not the fi rst between the FSO and musicians of Jordan.

    “For our 50th anniversary, we invited the Queen of Jordan to come” said Fakhouri. “One of the Queen’s projects is the National Music Conservatory in Jordan. We invited musicians from the conservatory to come here, and she came and saw us perform with them. She invited the symphony to go to Jordan to perform, which was funded by the conservatory.”

    Fakhouri notes that this trip is a bit different. During a guest conducting engagement, he spoke with a friend about the project, and she suggested bringing some of the musicians from the FSO again, and she would explore sources of funding.

    “The embassy was very interested, provided we did the education component. And the embassy seems quite excited to be involved in this project,” Fakhouri said.

    In addition to rehearsals and performances, the FSO will take some time to explore the historic area, including the “lost” city of Petra, familiar to many from Raiders of the Lost Ark fame; Jerash, a well-preserved Roman ruin; Mt. Nebo, where Moses stood, and of course, the Dead Sea and the baptismal site of Jesus. The FSO hopes to post updates and pictures to its Facebook page while in Jordan and then create something on the FSO website after their return.

    Fakhouri stresses the signifi cance of such cultural exchanges relative to the Fayetteville community.

    “We are taking Fayetteville overseas, and we are introducing people to what we do here and impacting their lives. What we do to represent Fayetteville is important, and the only reason we are able to do these types of projects, to take them outside, is because of the generosity of the people who support us,” said Fakhouri. “And from their support, we are able to do these programs here and get positive feedback from our community, from our children and the schools, especially with regards to education, and that’s what we’re modeling this program in Jordan upon. We’re basing it on the positive experiences and our long history with these types of projects in Fayetteville. We’re just duplicating them there for a place that really needs them. There aren’t many orchestras our size that can say that they do this type of work.”

    “There’s a lot of chaos in the world, and these types of things maybe help make people understand each other a little bit better.”

    For more information on the FSO, visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org.

  • 01-12-11-fireantz-logo.gifAs you read in last week’s edition of Up & Coming Weekly, the FireAntz have some exciting hockey coming up. There are also some really unique and fun promotions coming soon. Here are just some of the highlights of what is to come:

    Saturday, Feb. 5, the FireAntz, fans and corporate partners will once again take an opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women of the military.

    The FireAntz will wear special, patriotic jerseys for the game and all of the themes of the night are in support of the military. Several of their partners have joined them in supporting the military that night; Fort Bragg Federal Credit Union, US Logoworks, Stanley Steemer, First Class Property Management, Wilson Off Road, Century 21 Agents, 4G Communications, Carpet Dry Clean and Restoration, Wolfe Audio, Century Link, Dex Knows, Master Exterminators, and Caviness and Cates. It’s su02-02-11-fireantz.gifre to be a great night and a great tribute to the military.

    Friday, Feb. 25, is Kidsville Kids Night. The singing/dancing troupe known as the Kidsville Kids will be in attendance and performing throughout the game. They put on a spectacular show and this is one you won’t want to miss.

    Tuesday, March 8 is Kids Night presented by Cape Fear Valley Health. There is a great ticket promotion for that game and the proceeds are going to a wonderful cause. Fans who donate $1 to Friends of Children will get a free ticket to the March 8 game. There will be select locations that you may donate.

    Make sure to circle these dates and check out the other ones as well. There is guaranteed to be exciting hockey, and as you can see, some really exciting promotions as well.

    Photo: FireAntz Forward Chris Leveille streaks into the zone. Photo
    Courtesy: J. Shank.

  • uac020911001.gif There’s the Kentucky Derby and the Boy Scouts have the Pinewood Derby, but a Duck Derby? You betcha — and you’re invited to participate.

    The Fayetteville Duck Derby has been in the making for well over a year. It all started with Fayetteville Urban Ministry. The organization was looking for a fundraising idea and wanted to do something different. A little bit of research and imagination — and a lot of hard work later, event co-chairs Katie Crenshaw and Aurora Alexander are ready to introduce Quacky and the whole Duck Derby experience to the community.

    They’ve made the rounds, gathered the support of local businesses and several fellow nonprofi ts and now it is time to share their vision and watch the fun begin!

    You might be asking yourself what exactly is a Duck Derby? And we can understand that, because we asked the same question. 

    The Duck Derby will take place on May 7 at Campbellton Landing. If you are on hand that day, you will see a rare site. Between 5,000 and 15,000 yellow rubber ducks will be launched into the Cape Fear River in a race to support Fayetteville Urban Ministry and many other local non-profi ts.

    To make it to the river, a duck needs to be adopted. Anyone can adopt a duck, it costs $5 per duck, less if you buy a package of fi ve or more.

    “The actual duck drop is going to be really cool,” said Crenshaw. “They’ll drop off the bridge by Campbellton Landing and the end is right about where the railroad trestle begins. We’ve timed it and that is about a 10 minute race.”02-09-11-duckderby1.gif

    The prizes are impressive — a 2011 Toyota Camry generously donated by Rick Hendrick Toyota, a Las Vegas getaway, a Myrtle Beach escape and a catered Cape Fear River cruise. 

    When you purchase a duck, your name will be entered onto a tag. May 5 is the tagging party. This is where the thousands of ducks that have been purchased by caring members of the community will be assigned numbers and prepped for the big race. Crenshaw is hoping for plenty of volunteers, since they are expecting a sizable amount of work.

    “We have a minimum 5,000 ducks to tag,” said Crenshaw. “Our goal is much higher than that though, and they all have to be tagged.”

    While Fayetteville Urban Ministry is the lead nonprofi t for this event, duck sponsors can help other nonprofi ts even if they only adopt one duck.

    Visit the website, and click on “Teams.” There will be a list of nonprofi t organizations that are participating in this event. Choose your team, then adopt a duck, or two or three — or more.

    “Choose your team and $1 for every duck you purchase will go to that nonprofi t,” said Crenshaw. “The rest will go to Fayetteville Urban Ministry. It is no cost to the other nonprofi ts to sign on. We have such a good working relationships with these other organizations and we are all working together to better the community. We just wanted to share a little bit with them. We thought ‘Let’s all combine our efforts. Let’s all work together.’”

    Organizers timed the event to coincide with the month-long celebration of Days of Glory, which occurs in May. Throughout the month of May, local organizations put together events honoring and celebrating Fayetteville’s military heritage with ceremonies, art exhibits, sport and charity events and much more.

    “This is part of the 31 day salute, and it is just so special because so many people have come together to support this in the community,” noted Crenshaw. “It is so much more than a one person event.”

    02-09-11-duckderby2.gifWhile the actual race is short, Crenshaw and Alexander are planning an entire days worth of fun on the big day. From 1-6 p.m., Campbellton Landing will be fi lled with music, kid-friendly activities and educational resources.

    “It will be an opportunity for all our non profi ts to share their mission, if they choose. We’ll have entertainment on the stage the entire day, too,” said Crenshaw. “We have Rattler Jake coming. He talks about different snakes and will educate the children. We have riverboat tours. Basically, it’s a free event with tons for the kids to do.”

    May might be a long time away, but there are other things you can do now to support the Duck Derby.

    “Just like the Kentucky Derby has the Mint Julep, we are looking for that perfect signature drink for the Duck Derby, and an appetizer, too.” said Crenshaw. “We’ve asked our local restaurants and the community to be part of this and help us with that.”

    Eleven local restaurants (Huske Hardware House, The Hilltop House, Pierro’s Italian Bistro, Morgan’s Chop House, It’z Entertainment City, Scrub Oaks, Circa 1800, Luigi’s, Riverside Steak & Oyster Bar, Latitude 35 Bar & Grill and Chris’s Steak House) are pulling out all the stops in a competition to see who can create the signature cocktail and appetizer for this event. From Feb. 11 until May 6, the community is invited to visit these restaurants, sample their creations and then vote for their favorite at www.fayettevilleduckderby.com. The winner will be announced at the derby. The possibilities are incredible, and the competition is sure to be intense, so don’t miss out on a chance have your say.

    May 7 will be here in no time, so you need to buy a duck, taste an appetizer, cast your vote and sign up to help. To do all of this, visit www.www. fayettevilleduckderby.com.

    Middle Right: Quacky the duck stands by the Toyota Camry that is the grand prize in
    the Duck Derby. Bottom Left: Tom Costello, of Hendrick Toyota gives Quacky a hug.

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  • 12MasseySculptureEditor’s Note: Up & Coming Weekly Senior Staff Writer Earl Vaughan Jr. is a native of Massey Hill. He spent the early years of his life on Princeton Street off Southern Avenue next to Massey Hill Baptist Church. Had his father not entered the ministry and moved away from Fayetteville in the early 1960s, Earl likely would have been in the final graduating class of Massey Hill High School in 1972.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “So it reflects that.’’

  •  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Photo: Morgan Hunkele

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 020613001.gif It’s halfway through the season, and the FireAntz are in top form. After taking on a new coach this year, recruiting strong players and working hard, the team is back on top of their game and currently in first place in the Southern Professional Hockey League.

    “This team is far more competitive than last year,” said FireAntz general manager Kevin McNaught. “Three years ago we went to the finals  but lost the final game. We’ve always been a competitive team, but the last two years have been down years.”

    The new Head Coach, Mark DeSantis, didn’t waste any time turning things back around. McNaught credits the coach’s ability to build good chemistry between the team members as a key ingredient. DeSantis came to the FireAntz after playing professional hockey for 16 years and then taking on the role of assistant coach in Rapid City, S.D. for three seasons.

    For DeSantis, building a good hockey team is as much about character as it is about skill. In the end, coach made the foundation of the team around three key players.

    Obviously with a guy like Bobby Reed, our captain, he was a good example of what I want to build our team around,” said DeSantis. “He is a great person, he has good character and he’s a good hockey player. That was my number one thing — getting a guy like him.”

    Andrew Small played for DeSantis his last two seasons in the Central League, and joined the FireAntz this year.

    “He is a little older, comes with a lot of experience and just wants to play a lot more,” said DeSantis. “He plays 30-35 minutes a game. Bringing a guy like him in has been good for the team.”

    Marco Emond was DeSantis’ next pick for building a strong team.

    “Marco Emond, our goalie, has won 32 championships. You want to build around this type of person; they are what we need here in Fayetteville … and you just go from there,” said DeSantis.

    Once these three players were on board, it was clear what needed to happen next.

    “We have a rising star in Josh McQuaid,” said DeSantis. “His talent is off the charts — he brings it every night. The great thing about Josh is that he just loves to score, and you can’t fault a guy for that. “

    At the moment, the FireA02-06-13-fireantz1.gifntz are at 12-1. They’ve worked hard and played their best every game, but with 19 games to go in the season, DeSantis has no illusions about what lies ahead.

    “I am very happy, but it is real tough because I know we have a real good fan base and they suffered the last two seasons,” said DeSantis. “It is a tough one to start 12-1, I mean, I love it but it is hard to make changes when you make 12-1. I know that other teams are going to get better and with this record it is tough to make changes. Our fans are great and they want to see us do well every night. But as a coach, I can live with losing if we work the other team hard and give 100 percent.”

    Don’t miss the next game on Feb. 8. The Fort Bragg Patriots — the Fort Bragg hockey team formerly known as The Dragons — is playing right before the FireAntz.

    “They are playing the Fort Benning team,” said McNaught. “On that night it will be two for one tickets for military members. One ticket will get you in to both games if you are in the military.”

    The FireAntz have a strong relationship with the military community and partner with the U.S. Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office to distribute tickets to FireAntz games among other things. Throughout the community the team partners with businesses and organizations, too.

    For example, the team has been known to attend and sponsor blood drives, food drives and fundraisers for local charities. The Feb. 10 game is a fundraiser to benefi t the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation’s Friends of Children. “We’ve visited the hospital and they do more than cancer related things,” said McNaught. “They do a lot of fundraising and a golf tournament to raise money for local children. We are happy to work with them and support their work.”02-06-13-fireantz3.gif

    Of course, the FireAntz love playing hockey and making every game a good time, but the team is also serious about giving back to the community, starting in the rink. FireAntz home games often include themes like military appreciation night, beach night, scout night, ladies night and more. McNaught says that the team asks a lot from the community so it is only right that they give back.

    Outside the rink, the team is always looking for ways to make a difference. “We visit about four schools a week. The players go out and visit schools and we do a lot of rec centers, too,” said McNaught. “We really enjoy getting the players out with the kids. In fact, we have more kids at our games than anyone in the league. We do one kid’s night a month.”

    After 17 years in the community, McNaught says keeping things fresh and fun is important to the team. “The biggest challenge when you are around it a lot is keeping things from being stale. We try to get the best team that we can on the ice every year. Off the ice we try to do more and more with the community. It is something to always work on and have an open mind about.”

    Find out more about the FireAntz at www.fireantzhockey.com.

    Photos courtesy of Tom Groves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Photo: Boris Kodjoe

  • Music is a magical thing. It is a phenomenon uniquely human, but it is popular in every culture in one form or another. In cultures all over the world communities gather and bond over music. Musicians bring people of all walks of life together to enjoy the beauty of song. Fayetteville is no exception. For 76 years Community Concerts has brought various musicians of all different genres to the town to share their art with the Fayetteville community, with the simple goal of “making Fayetteville a better place.” The next musical group coming to Fayetteville is Kool and the Gang.

    The band was originally formed in 1964 as the Jazzicas, but changed its name in 1969. Since then, they have sold more than 70 million albums worldwide. Kool and the Gang is a group of talented musicians, who for more than 35 years has created a unique intersection of jazz, rhythm and blues, funk and pop. They have won two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits and have 31 gold and platinum albums. Some of their most well-known songs that made them famous are “Celebration,” “Cherish,” “Jungle Boogie,” “Summer Madness” and “Open Sesame.” The current members of the band are Robert “Kool” Bell, his brother Khalis Bayyan, their friends Dennis “DT” Thomas and George “Funky” Brown.02-20-13-kool-&-gang.gif

    It is truly a feat that Kool and the Gang has been able to perform and create at this level for more than four decades. “Kool” explains the success by saying, “Hard work is very important. We are extremely grateful to all of our fans. The business is extremely competitive, but we have been touring a lot and it is great to have been able to perform throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and into today.”

    As glamorous and rewarding as the music business is, there are some hardships that the artists must endure for the love of their craft. “

    Waking up at 4 and 5 a.m. to go to the airport with all of our bags and go through all the TSA is hard. Tour buses are a lot nicer, but after 40 years there is wear and tear.” Kool said. Regardless, Kool and the Gang still travels and performs all over the country with the same passion and energy they performed with in the ‘70s.

    Experiencing music through concerts is different than listening at home. Seeing the music performed by the artists who created it adds an entirely new level to the sound. Kool and the Gang is skilled at bringing music to the crowds in a relatable and exciting way. Whether those attending are long-time fans or new to their sound, the performance is sure to be memorable and engaging.

    “We have very high-energy shows. We perform hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s. It is a choreographed show, but we make sure to keep the energy up while we play all the hits,” Kool says.

    Kool and the Gang will be at the Crown Theatre on Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Crown Box office at www.aththecrown.com or call 438-4100.

    Photo: Kool and the Gang is set to perform at the Crown on Feb. 23.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Twelve pieces from his “Cowboys and Indians” portfolio are also on display. They pay homage to Western lore and include John Wayne, Annie Oakley and Geronimo as they’ve never been seen before. There are also works from Warhol’s “Flash” series and more.

    A lively twist at the exhibit is its sound accompaniment. Methodist University musician and music department employee Yaroslav Borisov created a soundtrack collage that features commercials and sound bites from characters and movies to match the art on display. This soundtrack helps to the viewer connect with the art on another level.

    Nicole Dezelon, assistant director of learning at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, travelled to Fayetteville to conduct educational workshops with visitors earlier this month. She said, “I hope visitors to the exhibition will take away that same sense of wonder and intrigue about the ‘everyday’ that Warhol had. He erased the boundaries between high and low art and made art accessible to the masses."

    Dezelon continued, “Warhol said, ‘Once you ‘got’ pop, you could never see a sign the same way again. And once you thought pop, you could never see America the same way again.’

    “Once visitors see this exhibition, they will never see Warhol in the same light again. …It tells you a whole different side of who you may think Andy Warhol is. Somebody who misses this exhibition will really miss something spectacular.”

    The 34 silkscreen images in this show are on loan from The Cochran Collection, a private collection based in Georgia, and the Ackland Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    David McCune International Art Gallery is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturdays from noon until 4 p.m. It will be closed March 4-11. A donation of $10 per person is suggested to help cover the cost of the exhibit.

    To learn more, visit davidmccunegallery.org.

  • 08Annie WarbucksFrom Mary Kate Burke’s soft rock introduction to the final curtain, the opening night performance of Cape Fear Regional Theater’s production of “Annie” was nothing short of spectacular, often drawing cheers from the full house.

    With the book by Thomas Meehan, lyrics by Martin Charmin, music by Charles Strouse and a setting in the midst of the Great Depression, the adventures of a young orphan in search of her parents touches on a theme still relevant today. The contrast between Hooverville, where Annie takes refuge, and her life as a guest in Oliver Warbucks’ mansion emphasizes the vast gap between the very rich and the majority of citizens just struggling to eat and keep a roof over their heads. Yet, despite the dire circumstances in which the musical is set, the message of “Annie” is hope.

    The Orphan Ensemble captivates from the very beginning. Lily Hogge, playing the title role, has an amazing vocal range for such a young girl. She plays Annie with tomboy-ish enthusiasm and transitions seamlessly from wistfulness to defiance to winsomeness as the situation demands.

    Thanks to the orphans, the mood never descends to pathos. Their superb rendition of “It’s the Hard Knock Life” and subsequent heckling of Miss Hannigan convince the audience these are resilient little girls determined not to let the circumstances of their lives break them.

    Erin Fish’s Miss Hannigan, a role she played on the national tour, is the villainess we all love to hate. Yet there is a certain upbeat cheerfulness to her chicanery. Fish plays Miss Hannigan for laughs, of which there are plenty, which allows the audience to see her as overwhelmed by all the little girls in her charge, rather than evil.

    Greg King, as Rooster Hannigan, and Jodi Bluestein, as Lily St. Regis, ooze a greasy, bumbling, minor criminality from the first moment they set foot onstage. Not to put too fine a point on it, but their “Easy Street” number reminds us of why we really play the lottery.

    Robert Newman’s character transitions believably from the gruff, enormously rich and influential Oliver Warbucks to the openly affectionate “Daddy.” This is in large part due to Newman’s seeming lack of celebrity ego and to the positive onstage chemistry between Newman and his young co-star.

    Newman is believable as a successful, no-nonsense businessman with time for little but work when we first meet his character. We watch him mellowing before our eyes as his character goes from bellowing his disgust at President Roosevelt to humbly asking for the president’s help on Annie’s behalf.

    Finally, we watch him opening himself to the charms of his winsome assistant, played by Becca Vourvoulas, and expressing completely believable affection for Annie.

    Newman brings star power to Fayetteville, having appeared for 28 seasons as Joshua Lewis on the longrunning TV program “Guiding Light” among many of his stage, film and television credits. Yet there was no sense of his celebrity status evident onstage at CFRT on opening night. He is a generous actor. He commanded the stage when appropriate to his character and managed to be just another member of the cast whenever the script called for some other character to take center stage.

    Newman, Fish and Pegues are supported by a cast of talented actors, a few of whom appeared for the first time at CFRT on opening night.

    Artistic direction for all CFRT productions is provided by Mary Kate Burke. “Annie” is ably directed and choreographed by Robin Levine, assisted by Sebastiani Romagnolo. Both the set, designed by Charles Glenn Johnson, and the costumes, designed by Sarah Harris, are simple yet evocative of the era in which the musical is staged. Musical direction is supplied by Jillian K. Zack. The orchestra is superb, taking care to enhance rather than overwhelm young voices.

    “Annie” runs through the evening performance on Sunday, Feb. 24, with a special Sensory Friendly performance scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 10. Contact the CFRT Box Office at 910-323-4233 Tuesday-Friday from 1-6 p.m. for more information and ticket prices.

    Photo: Robert Newman as Daddy Warbucks; Zoi Pegues as Annie

  • 02-15-12-ftcc-50-years-logo.jpgThe Business Programs Division of Fayetteville Technical Community College is proud to highlight four new curriculum certificates out of several that will be offered in the fall 2012 semester.

    These certificates were developed based primarily on feedback from our Program Advisory Committees and input from several other business and industry partners regarding skills and competencies needed in today’s workforce.

    Two of the certificates are business-management related, and two are information-technology related.

    Our new business-management related certificates are the nonprofit-management certificate and the project-leadership certificate.

    The nonprofit-management certificate is designed to provide individuals with the fundamental principles of nonprofit management. The course covers fundraising, stewardship, governance, leadership, marketing and legal/ethical issues related to nonprofit organizations.

    The project-leadership certificate includes learning the basics of project management, acquiring the skills necessary to lead a successful project team, utilizing the collective knowledge of groups and managing a team through the process of completing a project.

    The two new information-technology related certificates are the Microsoft desktop-support certificate and the social-media certificate.

    The Microsoft desktop-support certificate is designed to develop proficiency in end-user support skills, procedures and processes necessary to support an IT operating system. Upon completion, students should be able to prepare for industry-level certifications and utilize advanced support tools to resolve end-user problems.

    The social-media certificate focuses on using social media in a business or organizational setting. Topics include using popular social-media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, et al, as part of marketing or branding strategies), blogging, using social-media analytical tools and ensuring compliance with industry standards.

    As an added bonus, all these certificates are positioned under the umbrella of a related associate in applied science degree, so all credit hours earned in the certificate can be applied toward completion of the related A.A.S. degree.

    FTCC is excited to begin offering these and other new certificates in the fall 2012 semester! For additional information, please contact William Griffin (dean of business programs) at 678-8564 or via email at griffinw@faytechcc.edu.

  • uac022912001.jpg Does the idea of fighting crowds at the airport or standing in line at theme parks leave you cold? If so, you are not alone. In the United States, nearly one in 12 U.S. vehicle-owning households (about 7 million) now owns a recreational vehicle. That number is expected to grow by about 15 percent in the coming years.

    Why? Rowland Bostock, the promoter for the Eastern North Carolina RV Show doesn’t have all the answers to that question, but he does have some.

    “The outdoor lifestyle is a very appealing lifestyle,” said Bostock. “When you go to campgrounds, you find other like-minded people who are looking for quiet and relaxation (for the most part.) They are open and friendly and willing to lend a hand or advice.”

    Bostock said there is no better feeling than sitting quietly around a campfire at the end of a fun day and reflecting on the day and planning for the next.

    “It’s just very relaxing, and then you lay down in the comfort of your own bed with the sounds of crickets or a river putting you to sleep,” he said. “It’s just a very unique and different lifestyle.”

    Bostock said that the solitude isn’t for everyone. Some RV owners use their trailers for getting into the mix of things and tailgating at Nascar races or at football games.

    “They enjoy the excitement and camaraderie that goes along with those events,” he said.

    This is the seventh RV show in Fayetteville. Years ago there was another show, but they stopped coming and started concentrating on bigger venues. Two RV Sales owners came together with the idea of starting a local show. They enlisted Bostock, and other RV dealers from eastern North Carolina, and put the show together.

    “All of these folks work really well together and have a little friendly competition,” said Bostock.

    Just as the dealers come back year after year, so do the attendees at the show.

    “We see a lot of the same faces year after year,” said Bostock.

    Annually about 2,500 people come out for the show. That number dropped slightly over the past couple of years, because of the economy, but attendance has remained close to the 2,500 range.

    “Our dealers all have had success at the show,” he said.

    This year there are nine RV dealers participating in the show, including Fayetteville dealer, Hawley’s Camping Center. “We have a really good representa-tion from RV dealers, as well as RV parks,” said Bostock.

    Throughout the three days of the event, dealers will offer special sales on RVs. Vendors associated with the RV industry will be on hand to showcase products and prizes will be given out throughout the event.

    Bostock said some folks come out to the show simply out of curiosity, while oth-ers have been a part of the RV family for years.

    “Some people come just because it is something to do, while others come to trade in older RVs and others come who want to try out the lifestyle for the first time,” explained Bostock.

    He noted that the love of the outdoors beckons many people to the RV lifestyle.

    “There are a lot of people who don’t want to take the fly/drive vacation to busy spots,” he said. “Many of them want to take quiet vacations and just enjoy being with their families in the great outdoors. So the idea of having an RV appeals to them.”

    Bostock said pet owners are also very intrigued with the idea of camping.

    “A lot of people really love their pets and want to take them on vacation. It’s really hard to find hotels that will allow you to do that, and some of the ones that do, well, you wouldn’t want to stay in them,” he said. “With the RV, the pet can come along with no problems.”

    Bostock said that many of the first-time buyers will go for something simple like a pop-up camper. But over time, they may upgrade their RVs a num-ber of times. He noted that RVs have come a long way from their early days. These days, the RVs are spacious and have everything from full bathrooms to well-equipped kitchens and entertainment centers. With a number of slide-outs on a camper, the RV can be as spacious and roomy as some people’s homes.

    “We have some people who come in and trade up every year, and others that come every three to five years,” said Bostock. “What we see a lot in our older RV’ers is them trading down so they have a simpler set up and something that is easier to pull.”

    The Eastern North Carolina RV Show rolls into the Crown Agri-Expo Center on Friday, March 2 from noon-8:30 p.m. On Saturday, March 3, the show opens at 10 a.m. and runs through 8:30 p.m. The show closes on Sunday, March 4, with hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Bostock said it’s a great event for people whether they are experienced campers or02-29-12-camping.jpg just thinking about getting into RVing. This year’s show will include new exhibitor’s from eastern North Carolina providing a wider selection of RVs. Speak with experi-enced sales professionals about features and benefits of owning an RV… then shop and compare for your best deal.

    Tickets to the event are $7 for adults, $2 for children ages 7-12, with children under 7 admitted free. Friday is military appreciation night, with all military admitted at half price after 4 p.m. For more in-formation, visit www.encrv.com.

    Photo: Many of the first-time RV buyers will go for something simple like a pop-up camper. But over time, they may upgrade their RVs a number of times.

  • 02-13-13-huske.gifSince 1957, a small club in Los Angeles has been rocking the music world. The Troubador has welcomed and launched the careers of musicians like Bob Dylan, Elton John, the Eagles, Neil Young, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, The Knack, Guns and Roses and Pearl Jam. It’s stage is legendary, a place where the dreamers, the poets, the singers and musicians go hoping for a chance to make it big. A lot of them do.

    You might ask what The Troubador has to do with Fayetteville, N.C., and the answer is simple. Fayetteville is also a place where dreamers, poets, singer and musicians are looking for their big break. And for a lucky few that search starts on the wooden fl oor of Huske Hardware House.

    Since 2011, Huske has played host to a singer/songwriter competition that brings some of the areas brightest and best to downtown to share their talent and their souls. Held each Wednesday night, the competition has grown with each iteration, and this year it’s gone over the top. The first iteration, was put together in the hopes that it would draw area performers. The idea was brought to Huske owner Josh Collins by Greg Biltz, a musician and emcee of the event, who saw the need for such a venue in the community. Over the years, the competition has brought hundreds of talented writers/performers to the Huske stage, many of who have gone on to bigger and better things. Biltz thinks this year will be no different.

    “Nobody does it any better,” said Biltz, prior to the second night of the competition, “not in Raleigh, not in Wilmington. This is where it’s happening.”

    From its small beginnings (Collins put up a $2,000 cash award), the competition has bloomed and taken on a life of its own. This year, Huske has teamed up with PCG Nashville, a Nashville-based development company, to give performers a leg up in the industry. PCG Institute is an innovative artist development company dedicated to addressing the unique needs of the recording artist. The artists and managers at the institute take what they call a “customized scientifi c approach to development, producing balance in all areas of the artist’s mind, body and spirit.” They look beyond the music and ensure that aspiring musicians have “the skills, knowledge and strategic planning needed to achieve success in the music business.”

    The addition of PCG Nashville to the competition has resulted in changes in the way the competition is judged and the way songwriters enter. There are now two categories for contestants to enter. The fi rst is for performers between the ages of 12 and 30. Performers who enter in that category will compete to win a $15,000, six-month scholarship to the PCG facility in Nashville. Those over 30, will compete for a $3,000 cash prize. Collins explained that the addition of the scholarship category will allow young artists to gain the experience and shaping needed to really succeed in the industry. Collins’ daughter, Summer, is currently enrolled in PCG, and is learning a lot about the industry and is making the necessary contacts to move forward with her career.

    The finales of this year’s event will be judged by Bernard Porter, who is the president of PCG. With more than 25 years in the industry, Porter is recognized nationwide for his skills in artist development, and in fact, was instrumental in signing Jason Aldean to Broken Bow Records. Collins believes having someone of Porter’s standing in the industry involved in the competition will bring more attention to the performers who are competing.

    As in year’s past, performers have the opportunity to sing two songs. The fi rst song can be a cover, but the second song must be an original. Each week, the top two performers will move forward in the competition, with everything coming down to the fi nale in late March. Sign-ups for the event begin at 7 p.m. each Wednesday night, with the showcase beginning at 8 p.m. For updates on the competition, visit Huske Hardware House on Facebook and check out information about the competitors in upcoming editions of Up & Coming Weekly, one of the sponsors of the competition.

    Photo: Nathan Fair at the grand finale of the 2011 competition.

  • uac020514001.gif FireAntz fans have a lot to look forward to this month as the hockey team readies for a series of fun-filled nights. Hockey, hijinx and heartfelt apprecia-tion come together at the rink with activi-ties that fans are sure to love. Don’t miss the 2nd Annual Weiner Dog Race Night on Feb. 7. “It is really a lot of fun,” said Jason Fleming, director of media/sales. “This was a big success last year and we already have more entries for this event than we did for last year’s.”

    It takes two people per dog to make this race work. At the first intermission every-one, including the canines, head on to the ice. One person stands at the starting line with the four-legged contestant. The other person heads to the finish line. When the race starts, the person at the finish line does their best to entice the pooch in their direction. The first three dogs to finish win a prize.

    Fleming says that the race is a lot of fun for the dogs and the people, but there is still more going on at this particular game. “We also have a pet adoption going on that night where Fayetteville Animal Protection Society comes out. Last year they brought 15 or so dogs and they all got adopted.”

    The next night, Feb. 8, is Military Appreciation Night and Race Night and is sponsored by Folds of Honor. Not only is this a chance to celebrate local heroes and their families, there will be a jersey auction at the end of the evening.

    “This is always a really fun night. We have big crowds that average 6,000 to 7,000 on military appreciation nights,” said Fleming. “We spotlight some of the drag race guys and some of them bring their cars. We set them up in the VIP parking lot. Some of the military units come out and they bring some of their equipment. People can check that out, too. The cars and military things are always popular with the fans.”

    The doors open at 6 p.m., which gives everyone plenty of time to check out the cars and equipment before the game starts at 7 p.m.

    Folds of Honor, which is affiliated with Budweiser and is the02-05-14-fireantz.gif sponsor of the game, has strong ties to the militaryand works hard to support soldiers and their families. The foundation was founded by Maj. Dan Rooney. Rooney is a former F-16 pilot, golf course owner and PGA Professional. The Folds of Honor website www.foldsofhonor.org showcases the many ways the organization works to support service members and their families: “Through scholarships and other assistance, we give back to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country. We provide healing, hope and an opportu-nity for dreams to be realized...with the support of people like you. We feel this is our duty as citizens of the greatest country in the world.”

    Feb. 11 is a great chance to mix things up midweek and take advantage of $2 Tuesday. Groups of 10 or more can call the office and get tickets for just $2. It’s a fun wholesome way to spend a weeknight with friends and family — and it’s affordable.

    The game on Feb. 22 promises to be something special. Star Wars fans should mark the calendar now for this fun themed night. “There is a local group called the 501st Legion of Storm Troopers. They are really cool and have invested in authentic Star Wars costumes. We’ll have them at the game that night,” said Fleming. “They come out deep — like 30-40 different characters.

    Throughout the game the storm troopers walk around and interact with the crowd and are available for pictures. The highlight of the night, though, is in-termission. “There is an amazing light saber duel at intermission,” said Fleming. “In the past we’ve had Darth Vader versus Luke fighting on the ice. They do a great job with the choreography and the crowd loves it.”

    Star Wars Night is such a favorite that the FireAntz team will wear specially designed Star Wars themed jerseys during the game and auction them off at the end of the night. “These are really, really cool jerseys. This is my favorite of the 60 we have done since I have been here in the last ten years,” said Fleming. “We put a Darth Vader helmet on our logo and his stick looks like a light saber.”

    The FireAntz go out of their way to make every home game a fun and com-munity-friendly event. They reach out to various groups, support local causes and try to make sure that everyone who shows up for one of their games has a good time. While all these extras are part of what makes them such a special part of the community entertainment scene, local fans also expect a good season from the team.

    This season hasn’t been without challenges. The team took on a new coach and several new players this year. Which, in the long run, Flem-ing believes will be a good thing. “It takes a little while to get to know one another and get that cohesiveness on the ice — and we have done that. Everything is looking good and we are moving forward.”

    The regular season ends March 22. There are 10 homes games remain-ing. “We are battling through injuries but still playing well,” said Fleming. “We are in the middle of the pack but we are pushing for the play-offs. The parity in the league now is really good. The competition is great. We are looking for a playoff seat. There is still a lot of hockey left to be played, so there will be moving in the standings, but we are going to keep playing our best and see where this season takes us.”

    Find out more about the FireAntz at www.FireAntzhockey.com or call the office at 321-0123 for information and tickets.

    Photo: FireAntz games are about more than hockey. They are also about having fun and supporting the community. 

  • 02-20-13-charles-chestnut.gifWith the celebration of Black History Month throughout February, Professor Charles Anderson of Methodist University will share the contributions of African-Americans throughout Fayetteville’s history on Feb. 23, at 2 p.m. at the Museum of the Cape Fear. Professor Anderson is an adjunct faculty member at Methodist University and was an adjunct faculty member on the Fort Bragg campus of Central Texas College.

    “The history of the African-American in Fayetteville begins in 1754 when the fi rst black was recorded on the tax rolls. Over the last 250 years, the African-American has been essential in weaving the fabric of Fayetteville,” said Anderson.

    The presentation will highlight E.E. Smith, Charles Chesnutt and Lewis Leary among others. E.E. Smith was born into slavery in 1852. He availed himself of educational opportunities and was able to study in public schools and eventually became a teacher at the age of 22. He graduated from Shaw University in 1878 and was licensed to preach. In 1883, at the age of 36 he became the principal of the State Colored Normal School in Fayetteville. He was also Secretary to the State Colored Baptist Convention, commissioned as a Major in the North Carolina Guard and in 1888 he was appointed United States Minister and Consul-General to Liberia. He was a multi-talented man who excelled in all aspects of life.

    “The adage of ‘a thousand mile journey begins with a single step’ is apropos. From being sold in the marketplace to occupying the White House indicates the strides African-Americans have made. My vision is we get away from color and get to people. A contribution to the well-being of mankind is colorless,” said Anderson.

    Charles Chestnutt is best known for his novels and short stories exploring the myriad issues of racial identity in the post-Civil War South. His parents, both “free persons of color,” were from Fayetteville and moved to Ohio. He had white ancestry and was able to “pass” but elected not to. When Chestnutt was 9-years-old, the family moved back to Fayetteville and at 13 he became a pupil-teacher at the Howard School. He subsequently became an assistant principal at what was to become Fayetteville State University. He was a prolifi c writer whose books focused on the post Civil War South. He was a realist, and on occasion he challenged the status quo. While well-respected by his literary peers, novels he had penned failed to generate sales. In 1901, he became more politically active and joined the newly founded National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and became one of the 20th century’s most prominent activists and social commentators.

    “We have made strides but there is a distance to go. I fi rmly believe we are slowly but steadily moving towards ‘we the people.’ Moving towards Dr. King’s hope that ‘no longer will a man be judged by the color of his skin.’ Moving towards Rodney King’s plea of ‘Why can’t we get along?’ In history, there is an underlying message of hope and that is what I wish to share,” Anderson explained.

    Lewis Leary was born in Fayetteville, N.C. in 1835. He lived a short but full life. At the age of 22, he moved to Oberlin, Ohio, and married. He became involved in the abolitionist movement the next year and eventually joined John Brown’s ill-fated attack on the Federal Arsenal in Harpers Ferry, W.V. He was shot and survived long enough to get a message to his wife, who did not know he was participating in the raid. Leary passed away at the age of 24. He was a man of deep principle and hope.

    “There are many others of note who are part of the African-American history in Fayetteville. Isaac Hammond was a member of the Light Infantry in the Revolutionary War. Henry Evans was the pastor of the fi rst black church in the area. Many of the stones, bricks and mortar in the Market House were laid by a black master brick mason. Fayetteville has a rich history and I am excited about the direction we as a city have and where we as a people are headed,” said Anderson.

    For more information, please visit www.nccultervents.com or call 910-486-1330.

    Photo: Charles Chesnutt

  • 02-19-14-tyler-perry.gifLove is a beautiful emotion that is supposed to make you feel good, but sometimes the person you allow in your heart can cause so much pain. The Crown Center presents the latest Tyler Perry Production, Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned on Thursday, Feb. 27 –Saturday, March 1.

    Tyler must have written this play about me. The play is about Anita Lincoln, a single, successful woman who has a great job, family and friends but cannot seem to find a loving man. Anita meets Randy online and he appears to be loving and charming, but things change during a trip to Las Vegas.

    “I play the character Anita in the play and I am the woman who has been scorned,” said Cheryl Pepsi Riley. “Anita is in her 40s, an overachiever, has a good heart and has always tried to do the right thing when making decisions in her life.”

    Riley added that Anita has a best friend who sets her up on an online date and with a little hesitation she decides to go on the date with the guy. As always, it is too good to be true and from there the story gets really good.

    “It is a story that all women can relate to,” said Riley. “Women should bring their significant other with them to the show as well.”

    Riley added that women need to be wiser in their counsel about relationships because the flesh can sometimes make decisions that spiritually we would not do.

    Riley is best known for her number one hit 1998 ballad, ‘Thanks for My Child.’ After a hiatus from the music industry, she reemerged as a star in a number of gospel plays for playwright Tyler Perry. She has started “Black Velvet Mondays” which is a platform for up and coming artists which is her way to pay it forward for the next generation.

    “Everybody knows someone that has dealt with some not so wonderful relationships,” said Riley.

    “You really get the complete ride on this show and the cast is amazing.” Riley added that the singing is phenomenal and people will laugh, cry, think, question and ponder as they watch the show.

    Show times are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $41.50 for Thursday’s show, $47.50 for Friday’s show, $48 for the 3 p.m. show on Saturday, and $51 for the 8 p.m. show on Saturday. Tickets are available online at Ticketmaster.com, the Crown Center Box Office, and all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information call 1-800-745-3000.

  • 02-27-13-soiree.gifChildren are the future leaders of the community, and because of this, educating them is a community effort. Many brilliant and ultimately successful people have come from low-income families, but it is often only because of the motivation from a member in their community that they’ve risen to positions of infl uence and power. Every child deserves a chance to learn and to achieve their dreams — regardless of their home situation or socio economic status. Since 1908, The Partnership for Children has been supporting just that by helping children from low-income backgrounds succeed in school.

    In previous years the organization held a fundraiser in conjunction with the Academy Awards. This year they are trying something new — a Soirée.

    “The meaning of soirée is an elegant party that is held in the evening. We created the soirée and each year the theme is a little different, this year we are going to kick this off with a Parisian theme: A Night in Paris. We know people will feel the French flare,” said Partnership for Children Communications and Development Administrator Tina Newcomb.

    Tickets for the Soirée are $100 each. This pays for a beautiful dinner, a lovely night of entertainment, and great programs that reach the local community.

    “The funds are for two outreach programs that we have. We are funding The Partnerships Kidstuff Activity at the Dogwood Festival as well as working with government and military affairs. This engages elected and military leaders to make sure civilian and military families and children get the support they need. We’ve received much engagement from legislators and local government, too.” Newcomb explains.

    For entertainment, there will be a Dueling Piano Show. The entertainers will take song requests for a donation of $5. The pianists compete to see which one can play the most requests. To further support the cause and for a chance to win fabulous prizes, raffle tickets will be sold for $10 and $20. Prizes will feature wonderful travel packages, local dining, a trip for four to Disney and a trip for two to Paris. The event organizers will accept payments in cash, debit and credit cards the night of the event. And for all the sports fans, there will also be a viewing room to check on the score of the ACC Duke versus Carolina game.

    The Soirée will be held at the Embassy Suites, with a start time of 6:30 p.m. Attire is semiformal. Cocktails will be served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., every guest will receive a drink ticket, but there will also be a cash bar. Starting at 7:30 p.m., dinner will be served, and guests will have assigned seats for the dinner. The Embassy Suites is located at 4760 Lake Valley Dr., Fayetteville.

    Tickets are $100. To purchase them, stop by The Partnership For Children or go to website, www.ccpfc.org, which is a purchase-secure site. Sponsorship packages are still available. For more information, contact Debbie Holland at dholland@ccpfc.org or via telephone at 910-867-9700.

  • uac022614001.gif You can tell a lot about a society by the way it treats its most vulnerable members. Partnership for Children of Cumberland County’s mission is to build partnerships with families and the community so that all children have the opportunity to succeed in school and be prepared to contribute to our social and economic future. Partnership for Children’s tag line is “The support you need to help children succeed,” and it is not just for parents. “Our customers are parents, caregivers and teachers in early childhood,” said Partnership for Children of Cumberland County President Eva Hansen. “We partner with other organizations that serve kids, too, like the Autism Society, the Boys and Girls Club and the March of Dimes. Our focus is to work with families, service providers and policy makers to have the best outcomes for children.”

    On Saturday, March 8, Partnership for Children of Cumberland County is set to host its signature fundraising event of the year — The Soirée. The theme is the Roaring Twenties and period attire is encouraged, dress is semi-formal/black tie optional. Ladies, put on your flapper dresses and headbands. It’s time to dust off those dancing shoes and boogie the night away. “The food is going to be fabulous,” said Hansen. “The menus will reflect the type of foods of the era — the type of food that would be served at an elegant party in the 1920s. The Waldorf salad is just wonderful. There will be an amazing tender pot roast with truffle mashed potatoes along with a couple of choices for fantastic desserts. It will be truly elegant from the décor to the food to the band. Several guests have said they will come in 1920s attire. As an extra bonus we are having a game room so people can keep up with the UNC/Duke game that night.”

    Before guests make it through the front door, they will be met by paparazzi as they step out onto the red carpet. “We will have a car from the 20s era at the entry and paparazzi will be there,” said Hansen. “We will also have a photo area set up so people can take formal photos with 20s backgrounds or use fun props to do creative photos. The photos will be available to take home that evening. It will be an opportunity to enjoy fine dining, great conversation and a party atmosphere.”

    The entertainment includes 13-piece jazz band Orchestra Casablanca. With a song list that includes more than 300 tunes that cover several genres and features works by musical greats like Count Basie, Woody Herman, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, and contemporaries Thad Jones and Harry Connick, Jr., this is an event you won’t want to miss. Guests can dance to period and contemporary music throughout the evening.

    In addition to great entertainment and a five-course dinner, guests can look forward to a raffle that has some impressive offerings. “We have great raffle prizes that include a trip to Savannah, a trip to Disney, jewelry, a stay at the Embassy Suites in Raleigh and a Hilton Head package,” said Hansen. “The Wine Café is putting together a downtown date night package and A Little Panache is doing some cool things, too. It should be a swanky and decadent night — very Great Gatsby. We chose the 1920s theme because we are celebrating our 20th year and we knew we could have fun with it.”

    The Soirée is sure to be an elegant night to remember. The fact that it is for a great cause is a bonus.

    Partnership for Children of Cumberland County has a vision for local children — a community committed to the health, safety, happiness and education of all children and their families. Based on decades of research that shows the first five years of a child’s life are critical to their development, Partnership for Children of Cumberland County focuses a lot of time and energy on providing ways to improve child health, family support, and access to high quality child care and education. Programs are built around the organization’s four primary goals: advancing the well-being of children and making sure they are healthy and prepared to succeed when they enter school; strengthening families by helping caregivers, nurturers and teachers help kids prosper; raising the quality of early care and education and building partnerships by providing options, resources, and support collaboratively to help children and families reach their full potential. Partnership for Children of Cumberland County works with many businesses, government organizations and other nonprofits to bring the most current and useful resources to the community.“02-26-14-soiree-pic.gif

    Our theme for the year is 20/2,000 — 20 years championing the first 2,000 days,” said Hansen. “That is the time between a child’s birth and when they start kindergarten. Ninety percent of a person’s brain development happens in the first 2,000 days of life. Children will learn and grow no matter where they are. The question is, what are they going to learn and how are they going to grow?” Additionally, a persons brain develops more rapidly in the first five years of life than in any other time in life — 700 neural connections are formed each second. Children in low-income families understand 3,000 words by the age of four compared to children from higher income families who understand more than 20,000 words by the same age.

    Partnership for Children of Cumberland County has seen many milestones in helping area kids, including recognition as a best practice model of Smart Start. Partnership’s KidStuff at the Dogwood Festival is an effective outreach to the community at large. In 2011, Partnership for Children was one of three nonprofits recognized by the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits as exemplary stewards of the public’s trust and resources. The organization’s child care resource and referral services help families find quality child care. Partnership for Children of Cumberland County is one of the first organizations in the state to implement the N.C. Pre-Kindergarten program previously known as More at Four. Fundraisers like The Soirée have helped to raise more than $300,000, increasing private sector investment in the community. More than 375 total volunteers have contributed to Partnership for Children of Cumberland County. The creation and full ownership of the Partnership for Children Resource Center is a resource where 16 like-missioned organizations with more than 80 programs serve children, families, early childhood educators and service providers.

    While the impact of Partnership for Children of Cumberland County is substantial, the money raised at The Soirée is earmarked for two outreach projects — the government and military affairs program known as Forward March and the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County’s Kidstuff area at the Dogwood Festival. Both are important projects with a broad reach.“

    Our government and military affairs is about the advocacy and education on early care and education for policy makers and the Forward March Conference held in conjunction with Snyder Memorial Baptist Church and Southern Regional Area Health Education Center,” said Hansen. “This helps professionals inside and outside the gates to be better equipped to serve and support military families and veteran families who have been involved with 12 years of deployments. This will be our fifth year for the Forward March Conference.”

    The Kidstuff area at The Dogwood Festival is a favorite for many young families because it offers a fun space to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the festival, which can be overwhelming for kids under five and their families, too. “Kidstuff is focused on very young kids and their families,” said Hansen. “It provides interactive activities for the kids. It is free, and we use this opportunity to get surveys from parents telling us what their experiences are and what their needs are. We use that to plan activities and confirm if we are on the right track. It is a huge outreach and a way to share resources in a way parents are receptive to. It is one thing to distribute flyers, it is another to have the kids come and families have fun experiences together. The parents can talk to our partners about resources like the Autism Society, Army Community Services and Cumberland County Library programs. We’re excited the PNC Grow Up Great interactive exhibit is again available. Many of our partners have fun activities and information and booths there. Summer camp and summer activity information will also be available. A lot of times parents say ‘I had no idea these were available!’”

    Like many nonprofits, the joy that comes from making a difference is priceless, but there is always more work to do at Partnership for Children of Cumberland County. There are many ways to help, though. Make a monetary donation, volunteer, support the organization online, reach out and share your experience and attend local events like the Soirée. Find out more about Cumberland County Partnership for Children at www.ccpfc.org or call 867-9700.

    Photo: The Soirée is sure to be a fun-filled night. Last year the event raised more than $100,000 for Partnership for Children of Cumberland County.

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113. Most meetings take place at Town Hall or the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation center.

    Veterans Affairs Commission Thursday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Board of Commissioners Monday, March 4, 7 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall

    Board of Commissioners Saturday, March 9, 8 a.m., Camp Rockfish Retreat Center (Budget workshop for fiscal year 2019-20)

    Board of Commissioners Monday, March 18, 7 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall

    Lake Advisory Committee, Tuesday, March 19, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Activities

    Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at the Parks and Recreation Center. The Senior programs for people ages 55-plus who are residents of Cumberland County have resumed. The rec center was closed in mid-September after Hurricane Florence. Various activities are now back and are scheduled Monday through Friday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at www.townofhopemills.com, call the rec center at 910-426-4109, or email Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

  • 13TrafficThere’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel for drivers in Hope Mills — or, to be more accurate, there are a couple of extra passing lanes.

    The North Carolina Department of Transportation recently held an information session to get residents’ input and share details about its new plan. The North Carolina DOT plans to widen both Rockfish and Golfview Roads and install a couple of roundabouts to help ease traffic congestion.

    “Our local leaders and local transportation agency (Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) requested that we make this a priority that we widen these roads and somehow improve them,’’ said Andrew Barksdale, a spokesman for North Carolina DOT.

    The best news for Hope Mills is that the roughly $12 million needed to make the project happen is already funded. The only bad news is the project won’t get started until the summer of 2022. Barksdale said the estimate is it will take from two to three years until the widened road will be finished.

    For now, DOT is still seeking input from both local government officials and people in the Hope Mills community on any changes or tweaks that need to be made to the plan that the state has already mapped out for the roads.

    Barksdale said the state no longer builds fivelane roads with four lanes for normal driving and one center turn lane. “It has to be an extreme, unusual circumstance due to topography,’’ he said, for a five-lane road to be built.

    The current practice is to construct four-lane roads with a raised median in the center.

    The plan for Golfview and Rockfish roads is to do the same, adding two roundabouts at critical locations.

    One roundabout would be at the intersection of the two roads. The second would be at a current traffic bottleneck at Rockfish and Park Boulevard at the entrance to Rockfish Elementary School, Brower Park and Hope Mills Municipal Park.

    “You’ve got all these issues out there,’’ Barksdale said, referring to the busy intersection. “The school. Ballfield. Town Hall. We don’t need people flying through there speeding. People are crossing back and forth.’’

    A sidewalk is already under construction on one side of the roadway.

    Roundabouts provide a safer option for traffic, forcing drivers to slow down and also making it easier for pedestrians to cross the street because they can go halfway first and safely stop if needed.

    “It’s a good fit for the right intersection,’’ Barksdale said of the roundabout. “The project overall is going to decrease congestion during peak travel times and improve safety.’’

    Barksdale said widening a road, as is planned for both Rockfish and Golfview, and adding a median reduces the risk of serious T-bone type accidents.

    Barksdale stressed the design that has been put forward by the state DOT is preliminary. Public input on any needed changes to the design will be accepted until mid-March.

    “We can still tweak it based on feedback from everyone involved, including emergency services, town officials and property owners,’’ Barksdale said. “We feel this is the right plan for this use. We need people to be safe going through there because of all the uses.’’

    One potential conflict to the plan is a project the town of Hope Mills has in the works to build a combined police and fire department complex near the current location of the existing buildings for both. They are also located in the area where the road project will take place.

    An official target date for starting the police-fire complex hasn’t been set, according to Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner. But it could start as soon as 2020 if the town secures funding and likely would take only a year to build.

    If the town delays its start of the police-fire complex, Barksdale said, the North Carolina DOT would coordinate with the town to avoid adding to traffic problems or interfering with driveway access for police and fire vehicles. “It’s all part of the planning process,’’ he said.

    People who were unable to attend the information meeting held earlier can still offer their input about the project. The two contacts are Sean Matuszewski and Steve Scott.

    Contact Matuszewski by emailing him at spmatuszewski@ncdot.gov or by mailing him at P.O. Box 1150, Fayetteville, 28302. He can be reached by phone at 919-364-0603.

    Email Scott atsscott@sepiengineering.com or call him at 919-573-9929.

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113. Most meetings take place at Town Hall or the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation center.

    Parks and Recreation Committee Monday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Appearance Commission Tuesday, Feb. 26, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Activities

    Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at the Parks and Recreation Center. The Senior programs for people ages 55-plus who are residents of Cumberland County have resumed. The rec center was closed in mid-September after Hurricane Florence. Various activities are now back and are scheduled Monday through Friday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at www.townofhopemills.com, call the rec center at 910-426-4109, or email Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

    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.

    Promote yourself

    Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

  • 17Chef Glenn Garner2   Glenn Garner has an idea for families with homebound senior relatives who are looking for better meal-time options when it’s hard to get out to eat.

    Garner, a veteran in the food truck and catering business, is rolling out a new service. It’s aimed especially at seniors and anyone who may be stuck at home and would like good food prepared for them that they can refrigerate and reheat.

    His plan, which he says is still in the developing stage, is to deliver diner-quality meals twice a week to people in their homes. Menus will vary for each meal. He’s planning prices of $5.99 for breakfast, $6.99 for lunch and $7.99 for dinner.

    Garner stressed his program should not be confused with any government-connected food delivery service. “It’s out of my pocket,’’ he said, referring to how the service is paid for on his end.

    While his target audience is home-bound senior citizens, he said anyone is welcome to sign up. "Could be it’s people my age (late 50s) who don’t want to cook,’’ he said. “So I’m delivering twice a week, four-day and three-day packages.’’

    Garner said the reason for twice-weekly deliveries is to guarantee freshness and good taste. He’s experimented with a variety of menus and came to the realization that the food he’s serving isn’t as good after a maximum of four days in the refrigerator.

    “I’ve been working for the last 10 years to get a menu that will work and taste just as good coming out (to my restaurant) as it will coming out of the microwave at the house,’’ he said. “The four days is a stretch. By that fourth day, you need to have stuff we know is going to hold up.’’

    He added that there’s not a safety issue with the food after that long. Rather, he can’t promise four days later that the food will taste as good as the dishes he serves fresh to his restaurant customers. His opinion is based on close to 40 years as an operator of food trucks, catering businesses and restaurants.

    All the food will be prepared at Garner’s newest restaurant, The Diner, by Chef Glenn and Company. It is located in the former Becky’s Cafe at 3740 South Main St. in Hope Mills. “We (will) put it in to-go microwaveable containers,’’ Garner said.

    Sample options for breakfast include boiled eggs, scrambled eggs or an omelet. Meats for breakfast include bacon, sausage links, sausage patties or corned beef hash. Hash browns or home fries will also be available.

    For those who want a simple lunch, he plans to offer a cold sandwich every day with chips and a fruit bowl. He’s got some bad news for hardcore vegetable eaters, though. “We can’t do broccoli or asparagus,” he said. “That’s out of the question.’’

    Garner stressed that in the early stages, things are going to be fluid. He said he’ll have to see how it works and how it’s received.

    At the time of this writing, he was scheduled to share information about his planned service, along with menus, at a meeting of local health care providers who work primarily with the senior community.

    “They know if their customers at home need food service,’’ Garner said. He added that with the exception of government-based programs, there’s not a lot available for the homebound seniors group when it comes to economical food delivery choices.

    He said he knows one local family of three who are all disabled and have restaurant food delivered by a company that specializes in that area, charging a delivery fee in addition to the cost of the food. “They were paying from $60 to $70 per meal,’’ he said.

    Garner said his initial target delivery area will be Fayetteville, Hope Mills, Raeford and Gray’s Creek, with the possibility of adding Spring Lake at a later date.

    In a perfect world, if the idea takes hold, Garner would like to prepare his meals in a facility separate from The Diner and deliver them in his own fleet of trucks.

    He stressed he’s not looking for government support. “To have good, quality food, it’s not a hot dog or a peanut butter and banana sandwich,’’ he said. “It’s not what I want to do. That’s where I’m going to draw the line. I don’t want to serve an inferior product to make a dollar.’’

    To inquire about signing up for Garner’s delivery service, call 910-705-2664. He can also be reached by email at ggarner2045@aol.com or on his Facebook pages, The Diner by Chef Glenn & Company or A Catered Affair by Chef Glenn & Company.

    Photo: Glen Garner

  • 16Jackie Warner copy  When Jackie Warner was first elected to be mayor of Hope Mills in 2011, she had heard vaguely about an organization known as the Cumberland County Mayor’s Coalition.

    Now serving as vice-chairman of the organization, Warner feels the coalition plays a vital role in allowing the mayors of nine municipalities in Cumberland County to work together for the betterment of their individual communities and the county as a whole.

    Warner feels the coalition was especially important in helping the mayors work to resolve differences over the allocation of revenue from county sales tax to the various communities.

    The concern over the sales tax issue dates back to the early part of 2000 when annexation became a big issue around the county and there was ongoing debate about how to split up the revenue.

    Warner said under its two previous mayors, the city of Fayetteville argued it wanted to get 100 percent of the sales tax revenues from the annexed areas.

    The Mayor’s Coalition argued for a more equitable split, basing the allocation on a per capita arrangement so each of the nine communities in the coalition would get a proportional share.

    The nine communities in the coalition are Fayetteville, Hope Mills, Spring Lake, Linden, Falcon, Wade, Godwin and Stedman.

    Warner said her early memories of the Mayor’s Coalition meetings were that they were little more than a feel-good kind of affair, where the mayors gathered quarterly to simply share a meal and talk about what was going on in their communities.

    Warner credits former Spring Lake mayor Chris Rey with helping change the direction of the organization. She and Rey came aboard at about the same time, and Rey was elected chairman of the coalition.

    “He was the one who got the spirit going,’’ she said. “He wanted to make our coalition a unified team that could get some recognition for all the small towns.’’

    Warner said that, for the most part, the mayors have made a good effort to be in attendance at nearly every meeting.

    The current chair of the coalition is longtime Falcon Mayor Cliff Turpin. Warner said she worked with Turpin and other mayors, along with representatives of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, to reach a resolution on the sales tax agreement.

    Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin played an important role in finalizing the agreement.

    Serving as mayor pro tem of Fayetteville before eventually being elected mayor outright, Colvin frequently attended meetings of the coalition over the last several years and developed a good rapport with the other members.

    “That’s how we got more familiar with Mitch and could talk with him about it,’’ Warner said of Colvin’s regular appearance at the meetings. “We had some sales tax committee meetings with Glenn Adams and Jeannette Council (of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners).’’

    Warner said the mayors also interacted at county-wide ethics training sessions they all attended. “That’s been the good thing, the show of unity,’’ Warner said.

    In addition to hearing from each other, Warner said the mayors also got input from people like Robert Van Geons of the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation.

    “They talk to the mayors and try to locate properties or things in their area that would be good (to try and) come into Cumberland County,’’ she said.

    Warner said meetings have dramatically improved as far as the substance of matters discussed over the last several years.

    Each meeting has a printed agenda that may include a variety of presentations about topics of interest to all of the municipalities in the county. “Everything we do is to try to get information for everybody,’’ Warner said. “It’s information for all of us, especially with economic development.’’

    The meetings aren’t just limited to the nine mayors, Warner said. They are allowed to bring guests from the town staff.

    When a municipality hosts one of the quarterly meetings, that town’s entire group of elected officials, like the Board of Commissioners in the case of Hope Mills, is invited to attend.

    Warner said she routinely brings Hope Mills town clerk Jane Starling with her and has also brought town manager Melissa Adams.

    In addition to the regular quarterly meetings, the mayors also hold called meetings, as they did last December to deal with the sales tax situation.

    One of the biggest benefits of the meetings is sharing news of economic development opportunities that may not work in one area of the county but would be welcomed in others. Warner cited the failed chicken plant of some years back that would have been a wanted addition by some of the county’s rural communities because of the jobs it offered.

    “The idea is to try to boost the whole county by representing all of us and not just Fayetteville,’’ she said. “We know we live under Fayetteville’s shadow, but with each of our small towns growing, we want them to start to look at us for opportunities, too.’’

    Warner said another benefit of the coalition is the sharing of ideas between the communities — things they’ve tried that worked and things that weren’t as successful.

    “Cliff Turpin showed us an issue they had with a drainage ditch,’’ Warner said. “There’s always something that has happened in one of the towns they can share, like special events. Often the mayors can just identify with each other, what’s going ideas and we can share them.’’

    The mayors also hear presentations by the state legislators from Cumberland County. “When the legislators come to the mayor’s coalition, they know they are speaking to everybody,’’ Warner said. “It’s a neat feeling that we are strong now because we speak as one.

    “It’s no longer a social group. Now it serves a purpose. We get good information, and we come away with something that will help us.’’

    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. Most meetings take place at Town Hall or the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation center.

    Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday, Feb. 13, Parks and Recreation Center

    Board of Commissioners Monday, Feb. 18, Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall

    Board of Commissioners Tuesday, Feb. 19, Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall. Special meeting to discuss proposed Donut Hole annexations and recommendations from Town of Hope Mills Plan Review Committee.

    Parks and Recreation Committee Monday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Activities

    Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at the Parks and Recreation Center. The Senior programs for people ages 55-plus who are residents of Cumberland County have resumed. The rec center was closed in mid-September after Hurricane Florence. Various activities are now back and are scheduled Monday through Friday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at www.townofhopemills.com, call the rec center at 910-426-4109, or email Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

    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.

    Promote yourself

    Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com

     

  • 02-05-14-mu-loyalty-day.gifHigher education is a great investment that has many rewards. It is not always easy to afford the rising cost of tuition and that is why Meth-odist University is holding its 2014 Loyalty Day Scholar-ship campaign on Tuesday, Feb. 25. It is so important that Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson proclaimed Feb. 25 Methodist Loyalty Day.

    The idea began in 1955 when the fundraising was done by the community. Indi-viduals would walk door to door and ask for money to start a school at Methodist. “It is an annual tradition that Methodist has been doing since before the school was founded,” said Krista Lee, director of annual funds. “All of this is made possible by our foundation board.” Lee added that the foundation board goes out and recruits team members and they are put into teams and there is a competition to see which team raises the most money. The foundation board is made up of business owners and community leaders from all walks of life in Cumberland County.

    The fundraising campaign raises money and 100 percent of the donations are given to students to help them pay for their college education. The students are selected by a myriad of criteria: merit, academics, scores from high school and other components handled through the financial aid office. The goal this year is $150,000. More than 95 percent of Methodist University students receive financial assistance and the University devotes more than 29 percent of its budget to scholar-ships. In the 2012-2013 academic year, Methodist University awarded $17.3 million in financial aid to students. There is also a plan for many major structures on campus to be renovated and exciting new academic and athletic facilities will be built.

    “This is the largest fund-raising effort that we do,” said Lee. “We have 136 volunteers in our community who have volunteered to go out and they are given assignments to the people they know in the community.”

    Lee added that they talk with people about making a donation to Methodist for student scholarships.

    Each year a Loyalty Day supporter of the year is selected. The person selected is someone who has supported Loyalty Day for many, many years. The name of the person will be announced at the Loyalty Day luncheon on Feb. 25. Tim Richardson, area vice president of First Citizens Bank, is the Loyalty Day chair this year and will be speaking at the luncheon.

    “You can give cash, checks, stocks and land,” said Lee. “You name it and we will accept it because no amount is too small and every bit makes a difference.” Lee added that there are many individuals in the community that give every year to help Methodist succeed because they see the jewel Methodist is and want to invest in it and help Methodist grow. Please make checks pay-able to Methodist University. For more information call Krista Lee at 630-7169 or email her at klee@methodist.edu.com.

    Photo: Each year supporters of Methodist University come together to raise funds that are used to help students pay for education and expenses.

  • 13Kretzu  When Dr. Bob Kretzu leaves Hope Mills United Methodist Church in June, the town of Hope Mills will be losing more than a pastor.

    At least that’s the opinion of Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner, who’s a member of Kretzu’s congregation at the church.

    “He has been an asset to the town of Hope Mills,’’ Warner said. “He went out and helped organize events during the lake festival. He was very involved not only at the church but in the arts and cultural events.

    “That was the other plus, his willingness to serve. He will be sorely missed.’’

    Kretzu, 66, is planning to retire from congregational ministry and relocate his family to the Asheville area. This did not come about suddenly, he said, adding he has been thinking about it as far as 10 years back.

    A father of four, with children ranging in age from 43 to 33, Kretzu said he’s ready to spend more time with his extended family while still being active in the United Methodist Church in the Asheville area.

    From his earliest days at Hope Mills, Kretzu felt the need to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Rev. Dennis Sheppard, who followed the teachings of Methodism’s founders by stressing something called social holiness.

    “I think most Methodist ministers feel responsible for relating to the other Christian churches in the area and being involved in the community,’’ Kretzu said. “Dennis had done a great job of that, being involved in the community, reaching out to other pastors. He headed the clergy association and asked if I wanted to continue that, and I said absolutely.’’

    Kretzu took things a few steps further by getting involved in the Lake Festival Committee and helping organize activities, including Church at the Lake and Jazz and Art at the Lake.

    “Because of my art background, they invited me to provide leadership in Jazz and Art at the Lake,’’ Kretzu said. “I had been involved in arts councils before in different communities. I really enjoyed that.’’

    Kretzu said he will miss the small-town atmosphere in Hope Mills and its trademark events like the annual Fourth of July and Christmas parades.

    “That’s wonderful,’’ he said. “That’s wholesome North Carolina.’’

    Something else he said he will miss is the area’s large military presence, the largest he’d ever ministered to as a pastor.

    He encourages whoever follows him at Hope Mills to get involved with community leadership and the lives of other pastors in the community.

    “This church has been involved in the ALMSHOUSE from the beginning,’’ he said. “That’s a wonderful local cooperative ministry.

    “You need to be intentional about blocking time for devotions and getting out in the community, getting to know the neighbors, serving the community. I see a lot of pastors who don’t seem to have time for that.’’

    As for his retirement plans, Kretzu said he loves being a pastor and there are specific areas of ministry he’d like to focus on. Those include discipleship, small group work, evangelism, mission work and teaching.

    “The bishop in the western conference is a former district superintendent of mine,’’ Kretzu said. “I feel like I’ve got connections there. We’ll see what doors the Lord opens up.’’

    Photo: Bob Kretzu

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113. Until the Parks and Recreation building has been repaired following damage from Hurricane Florence, some meetings may be moved to Luther Meeting Room at Town Hall at regular dates and times. Those meetings are noted with an asterisk below.

    Board of Commissioners Monday Feb. 11, Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall This is a meeting to receive findings of a comprehensive plan and proposed master plan for the Hope Mills Golf Course.

    Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday, Feb. 13, Parks and Recreation Center*

    Parks and Recreation Committee Monday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center*

    Appearance Commission Tuesday, Feb. 26, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center*

    Veterans Affairs Commission Thursday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center*

    Activities

    For more information on these activities, contact Meghan Hawkins at 910-426-4109. 

    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.

    Promote yourself

    Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

     

  • 15CreekGenStore Looking for someplace in the Hope Mills area to grab a snack where the staff is committed to its work and they all have hearts of gold? Look no further than the newly-opened Creek General Store at Gray’s Creek High School.

    The store is the latest project of Miller’s Crew, an organization founded by Terry Sanford High School soccer coach Karl Molnar and his wife, Kim.

    Miller’s Crew is named after the Molnars’ son, who is autistic. The purpose of Miller’s Crew is to establish vocational training and vocational labs in educational settings for adolescents with special needs.

    By doing this in an educational setting, the hope is to give participants the chance to practice specific skills that will carry over into the workforce when they graduate high school.

    Miller’s Crew already has stores, or labs as they prefer to call them, set up at Jack Britt, Pine Forest, Terry Sanford, Seventy-First and West Bladen High Schools. Another lab is near completion at Westover High School. Miller’s Crew has also been contacted by Union County Schools near Charlotte about doing labs there.

    Lisa Stewart, the principal at Gray’s Creek, met with Kim of Miller’s Crew last summer to begin planning for the lab at Gray’s Creek.

    “I thought it was an amazing opportunity for our students, teachers and community,’’ Stewart said. “It’s something that will benefit our students and  let them learn some life skills.’’

    Molnar said the lab at Gray’s Creek is one of the smaller ones in the Miller’s Crew program, which got its start in October of 2016.

    Some labs, like the ones at Jack Britt and Pine Forest, are larger and include stations for stocking groceries. The one at Pine Forest has a bicycle assembly station.

    “The whole point of these labs is to create as many jobs within that setting so the children can be trained and feel comfortable being trained,’’ Molnar said.

    The lab at Gray’s Creek is under the leadership of occupational course of study teacher Ali Arostegui. Arostegui and her students surveyed the faculty at Gray’s Creek to see what items they’d like to be on sale at the Creek General Store.

    The store can only sell pre-packaged food items, so the teachers opted for selections including coffee, pastries, muffins, granola bars and peanuts among other similar items.

    “Ms. Arostegui has done a great job training the students,’’ Stewart said. “She’s been training them most of the first semester. We wanted to open the second semester.’’

    The store is located in a converted teacher workroom at Gray’s Creek, on the first floor of the school building near the atrium.

    The store can only be used by teachers because of restrictions placed on what kind of food can be sold to students during the school day. Typical store hours are from 8:45 a.m. until 11 a.m.

    If teachers can’t leave their classroom to get to the store, the students running the store are allowed to make deliveries to a teacher’s room.

    The startup stock for the store was provided by Miller’s Crew through grants that have been awarded to the organization. The goal is for the Creek General Store to become self sustaining and be able to use the profits it makes to restock the store.

    “When that door opens and the kids are in Miller’s Crew Gray’s Creek aprons, they have the purest of grins and are happy to see you,’’ Stewart said. “If that doesn’t warm your heart, you must not have one.’’

    There are about a dozen Gray’s Creek students currently working at the store, Stewart said. The goal is to add students from another class of special needs students later.

    “The biggest benefit for Miller’s Crew and the Creek General Store is they are able to learn how to work as a team,’’ Stewart said. “They’re able to learn how to serve other people. They are pouring coffee, getting food ready, taking their money, making change, prepping for the day, getting inventory ready.

    “They take pride in their jobs, and that’s most important.’’

    There’s a sign painted on the wall of the store that says it all, Stewart said. “Opportunity. Community. Bear (as in Gray’s Creek Bears) essentials.’’

    For any school interested in learning more about bringing a Miller’s Crew lab to their school, visit www.millerscrew.com.

  • 14Gina Currie with singing bowls  Get Twisted Yoga on Trade Street in Hope Mills has taken the words of The Beach Boys’ hit “Good Vibrations” to a new level.

    The staff offer a specialized kind of relaxation using crystal singing bowls. In short, music provided by different tones each bowl plays is designed to help get the body in harmony with the surrounding world.

    Kyle Jackson, who operates the 1910 Apothecary at the same location as Get Twisted Yoga, described it as vibrational healing that has been around for thousands of years, dating back to the monks of Tibet.

    “Each crystal singing bowl has its own tone and unique sound,’’ Jackson said. The bowls come in various sizes, going down as small as a cereal bowl and as large as a punch bowl. “There are lots of different shapes and sizes,’’ he said. “They are a little bit different in design and a bit taller than they are wide.’’

    The bowls are also made of different materials. Some are metal. Some are crystal. The bowls are usually empty, although sometimes water is placed into them to change the tone each one makes.

    In trying to explain exactly what the vibrational healing is about, Jackson said everything in the world, from fixed structures to people, has its own vibration. “Using different things that have different types of tones can bring harmony to those vibrations, including people and spaces,’’ he said. “It’s like doing a reset of their personal vibration.’’

    Get Twisted Yoga is planning to schedule vibrational healing sessions starting in March. The initial plan is to hold them on Saturdays and ask those participating to make a donation for each session rather than setting a flat fee to start.

    The sessions will be led by Gina Currie of Raeford, a certified yoga instructor.

    Each session at Get Twisted Yoga will be limited to 20 people because that’s as many people as the studio can handle once everyone is in place on a yoga mat.

    Jackson said no previous yoga experience is needed to take part in a vibrational healing session. “We get you in the studio and get you relaxed,’’ Jackson said. That simply involves getting everyone in a comfortable position on the floor on a yoga mat.

    “We adjust them and make sure they have blankets or whatever they might need to be comfortable,’’ Jackson said. “There’s a little guided meditation at the beginning. Gina gives an explanation of the purpose and what those participating may or may not experience, and then she begins playing the singing bowls.

    “We want to make this available to everybody who would like to try it,’’ Jackson said, adding they plan to offer it at least once a quarter if demand continues.

    Kimberly Ratcliffe is a Get Twisted Yoga client who recently took part in a demonstration of vibrational healing. A 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, she said it’s a good treatment for anyone involved in a high stress lifestyle.

    “You can walk into a yoga studio or class like this and quiet your mind, come out of that class and be completely refreshed,’’ she said. “I think that’s what a lot of people need to understand.’’

    For more information about the vibrational healing sessions, visit the Get Twisted Yoga page on Facebook or go to www.1910apothecaryyoga.com.

    Jackson is also available by phone at 910-835-6833.

  • uac020415001.gif Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is an American classic. So it is only suiting that this brilliant play is brought to life in a theater that prides itself on presenting quality works:

    The Gilbert Theater. The Gilbert Theater is set to open A Street Car Named Desire — its third play of the season — on Feb. 13. Following the smashing success of the season’s comedic opener, Nunsense, and a warm welcome for the traditional favorite A Christmas Carol, the Gilbert tells an intense tale with this classic.

    Artistic Director Robyne Parrish sets the stage. “Blanche DuBois (Amanda Brooke Lerner), a fading, though attractive Southern Bell — a troubled woman trying to find her place in the world. Blanche arrives at the doorstep of her polar opposite sister, Stella (Staci Sabarsky) and brute of a man brother-in-law, Stanley (Chris Daftios),” explained Parrish. “Blanche is shocked by her sister’s low-class lifestyle of living and Stanley’s aggressive behavior. Blanche’s efforts to impose herself between them only enrages the animal inside Stanley. Mitch (Nathan Pearce), Stanley’s friend, himself alone in the world, sees Blanche as a beautiful and refined woman. Blanche’s secrets slowly catch up with her and the world she knows and lives in rapidly falls apart.”

    Sabarsky is no stranger to the Gilbert stage. She played Maureen in Rent. This season she carries the role of Stella.

    “What I love about Stella is how well-rounded and multi-dimensional she is,” said Sabarsky. “At times she is strong at others she is weak, but she is always interesting and integral to the storyline. It’s easy to say that this is Blanche’s story, but really it’s about the dynamic between the two sisters and Stella’s husband, Stanley. I always love delving into the relationships between the characters in a play and Williams’ characters are so rich and never boring. That’s one reason why I believe this piece of American theater is still so relevant today.”

    A performing arts teacher by day, Sabarsky also directs. When it comes to acting though, it is all about making a connection.

    “I love that theater, in particular, is a shared experience with the audience. For those few hours, we take a journey together. It’s magical … it’s never the same. And, for those few hours, you get to step into someone else’s skin and experience what their life is like,” she said. “Tennessee Williams is one of America’s best playwrights. He understands the dynamics of relationships and his work is still touching and relevant more than 60 years later.”

    Sabarsky could not have said it better. In many ways, having a shared experience is what the Gilbert Theater is all about. Since its early days in Lynne Pryer’s (the founder of the theater) home, then moving from one location to another, people who make the Gilbert Theater the place the community so dearly loves have worked tirelessly to reach out to and train performers, playwrights and directors and engage and entertain the community.

    “The Gilbert is a place to come and grow as an artist. We are a very inclusive, open community. One of our main goals of late is diversity. We create more opportunities for actors and other artists who have been historically underrepresented on and off the stage,” said Parrish. “And while we do welcome guest artists occasionally, for example the two New York City actors in Streetcar, we are very much a community-minded organization that showcases local talent. Ninety percent of our artists annually are made up of locals.”

    Director Brian Adam Kline is eager to open the show.02-04-15-street-car-named.gif

    “We have a brilliant cast and look forward to affording the opportunity for the community to experience Tennessee Williams live and in color. If you love any of the films you will love the play,” said Kline. “Travel back in time with us and experience this legendary piece of theatre.”

    “We cannot tell you how excited we are to present this breathtaking story as our feature classic this season,” Parrish added.

    The cast includes two Equity actors, Amanda Brooke Lerner as Blance and Chris Daftios as Stanley.

    Other performer are:

    Stella: Staci Sabarsky (Rent, Maureen)

    Mitch: Nathan Pearce (Carol, Company)

    Yudor Forbes, Deanna Robinson, James Merkle, Brandon Shane Bryan, Michael Carney, Kaley Morrison, Justin John, Maria Forte and Joanne Mason represent on stage as well.

    In addition to stage performances, the theater hosts The Gilbert Repertory, a resident repertory company of a 12-14 actors who call the Gilbert Theatre their artistic home. Artists are admitted to the program by audition only and the repertory only accepts new members every two years.

    The Repertory has its own show every season and members also direct and write.

    Gilbert Glee is the Gilbert’s youth company. Through the Glee initiative, the Gilbert aims not only to entertain, but also to educate young people by engaging them with timeless literature through expressive theatre and music. Glee runs September through June and culminates in a performance in June 2014.

    Parrish has big plans to connect with the community this coming year in new ways, as well.

    “We plan to partner with Cumberland Peace to bring a staged reading of VESPA which deals with end-of-life challenges in April,” she said. “We will also partner with the Cape Fear Museum on the annual Poe House Halloween event in October. Our season is only halfway through and next season is going to be the best yet! A hint about our fall opener — it involves monsters.”

    To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.gilberttheater.com or call 678-7186.

    Photo: he cast of the A Street Car Named Desire, on stage at the Gilbert Theater, are deep in rehearsals as they prepare to bring an American classic to the stage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  •    Going in, I expected Revolutionary Road (119 minutes) to be a movie that could only be enjoyed after a hefty dose of Prozac. It looked like the sort of heavy handed overly (and overtly) emotional tripe that gets award recognition but otherwise lacks appeal (see Atonement, Road to Perdition, and Mystic River). Surprisingly, within minutes of the opening credits, I was deeply engrossed in the story. What if Jack didn’t die at the end of Titanic? Would he and Rose have lived happily ever after, or would the blush of young passion have faded to dishwater during their struggle to make ends meet? The trailer promised a glimpse into the darker side of suburbia, and it certainly delivered.  However, the trailer failed to reveal the subtle acting skills of Leonardo DiCaprio (who apparently can act), from whom Director Sam Mendes gets an outstanding performance. Kate Winslet deserves all the award nominations she is receiving, and she was shamefully overlooked for the Oscar nomination. 
       {mosimage}The film opens at a party, where April (Winslet) catches Frank Wheeler’s eye (DiCaprio). We skip to Connecticut in 1955, where April’s dreams of acting have been reduced to starring in a poorly received community play, and their promising relationship has turned to verbal sparring and poorly concealed hate. Since that first meeting, April has forced herself (or been forced) into the disappointing and unfulfilling life of a housewife while Frank works at a job he seems to hate in order to support her.
       April suggests they move to Paris, and despite the tragic air of the whole movie, it really seems like the two will recapture the lost promise of their youth and find a way to lead mutually fulfilling lives instead of being stuck in their mutually destructive roles. They begin to tell people of their plans, only to be met with open criticism and hostility. 
      Then, their friend Mrs. Helen Givings (Kathy Bates) introduces the couple to her son (The awesomely crazy Michael Shannon from the awfully awesome Bug). He, at least, approves of their plan, and it seems like these two crazy kids are really gonna make it work…but this is not that kind of movie.       
      In the final analysis, the film reads like a contemporary take on a too often idealized time in America. To my surprise, it is actually based on a novel by Richard Yates from 1962.  Mendes does great things with the material, and the story is incredibly involving.  The actors strike just the right emotional tone, making this film a must see.
      Despite the lack of the spectacular Nina Simone song playing over the trailer (“Wild is the Wind” for those of you who were going crazy trying to remember the title), the soundtrack nicely complemented the overall aesthetic of the fifties. The dialogue is letter perfect, skillfully integrating the appropriate slang and accent of the period. The sitting room, dining room, restaurant décor and knick knacks are nicely done, and a close eye for detail is evident throughout the film. The story kept me guessing, and while the climax is not a huge surprise, the foreshadowing is subtle enough to keep the audiences in suspense. Overall, an excellent film.   


    Contact Heather Griffiths at editor@upandcomingweekly.com


  • 022416-jeff6.jpg

    Fayetteville Developer D. Ralph Huff III has added his voice to those in support of Fayetteville’s $35 million Parks & Recreation Bond Referendum March 15. He’s imploring more than 200 friends and fellow business people to support and vote for the issue. The Greater Fayetteville Chamber is also on board. “This makes business sense,” Chamber Chairman Brian Kent says. The Fayetteville Regional Association of Realtors also endorses the referendum in a resolution “encouraging citizens of Fayetteville to support these investments in our community.” Local sources also indicated that the Fayetteville Home Builders Association would more than likely support the bond referendum. 

    “This is a call to action from me to the people that I know and respect and I’m asking you to join me by coming out publicly for the local parks bond,” Huff said in a mass mailing. Ralph and Linda Huff are recognized in North Carolina as respected business and community leaders and philanthropists. They’ve built more than 4,000 homes as well as commercial and multi-family developments. In his letter, Huff notes that Fayetteville has fallen behind Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Asheville and Wilmington in the development of community amenities. 

    Mayor Nat Robertson says he is grateful for Huff’s support. “Mr. Huff’s commitment to Fayetteville is evident by his investments here. He understands that for our community to grow, and for us to be competitive, our amenities also have to be equivalent to what our peer cities offer,” Robertson said. Huff contends the lack of amenities resulted in many military families who relocated from Atlanta following the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act choosing not to live in Fayetteville. Huff knows the real estate market intimately and contends enlisted military families and officers “are choosing Whispering Pines, Aberdeen, Pinehurst, Carthage, and Seven Lakes,” to live rather than Fayetteville.

    The letter also addresses objections some have raised. He cites an unnamed former city council member quoted as saying “Why build more parks and pools……?”  His response: “We need a better place to live for all of our citizens.”  He also notes that with the closure of Dark Branch Swim and Racquet Club there are 1,000 families which no longer have a convenient place to swim and play tennis.  

         Huff is not completely supportive of some of the projects in the bond issue. He favors a safer place in the old Fayetteville area for tennis courts and a pool. “I do not consider Mazerick Park to be that location.” He says he’s only heard objections from one respected business leader/friend who doesn’t agree with him because he thought it should be more specific. “I for one would have been more aggressive than the current council, but at least we have a good beginning,” Huff said. The N.C. Homeowners Alliance, the Fayetteville Regional Association of Realtors and the Home Builders Association of Fayetteville will conduct a forum on the referendum at a luncheon March 10 at the Kiwanis Recreation Center, 352 Devers St. 

        Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously in December to hold the referendum. Proposed projects include two senior centers, a tennis complex, a sports field complex, two skateboard parks, a Cape Fear River park, seven splash pads and several neighborhood park improvements. Passage of the referendum would result in a maximum ad valorem tax rate increase of $.135 per hundred dollars of property valuation.  Huff points out that’s $20 a year for the average home in Fayetteville. That’s the cost of attending a movie, or buying three packs of cigarettes. As for the cost of floating a bond, “Today’s interest rates are lower than they have been in my 40 years in the business,” he says.  Huff adds “My partners, my bankers and I own $145,000,000 worth of real estate in this country” and a tax increase affects few people more than me.


  • 02-02-11-hairspray.gifHave you ever sat in the theatre and had to physically restrain yourself from getting up and dancing? If not, then you obviously haven’t made it to the Cape Fear Regional Theatre yet to see the musical production of Hairspray. Because if you had of found yourself sitting in the seats of the theatre, you would defi nitely have found your toes tapping and your hips twitching.

    The latest production staged by the CFRT’s talented staff is a certifi able box-offi ce hit. I caught the show on a preview night, and while the CFRT staff took great pains to explain that a preview is really just a warm up, other than some minor sound issues, I didn’t see a lot to fault.

    The cast, which has enough energy to light several city blocks, sang their hearts out, while dancing their butts off. The show, set in Baltimore in the ‘60s, has a rich dialogue that can make you laugh out loud, but can also break your heart. And the music, well as you read earlier, the music can also make you soar.

    Director Tom Quaintance has done a great job of bringing a relatively young cast together in a very short amount of time. With just three or four weeks to pull the show together, Quaintance and crew should be extremely proud of the job they’ve done. The dancing, choreographed by Todd Michael Smith, an original member of the Broadway cast of Hairspray, was beautiful and very energetic. The cast Ponied, Mashpotatoed and Twisted their way throughout the twohour production.

    The vocals were executed beautifully, and I’ve got to tell you this cast has some chops.

    At center stage most of the performance was Amy Rowland, a student at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, who plays Tracy, the chubby Baltimore teen who turns the town upside down with her big hair, her dancing and her desire to integrate the daily dance show. Rowland, a music major, spends four or five hours in class singing every day, and then comes to the theatre and puts on one heck of a show. The petite Charlotte native has a great vocal range and she has a really big voice for such a small girl.

    Also getting high marks in the vocal department is Joy Ducree Gregory, who plays Motormouth Maybelle, the quick talking DJ, who spins records in her record store for the black teens, while the white kids dance on TV. Gregory, a Wilmington resident, stopped the show with her performance of “I Know Where I’ve Been,” an epic song that refl ects on the changes she has seen throughout her life, and the changes yet to come. This performance had the audience sitting on the edge of their seats, and brought home the tensions and pain of that segregated time.

    Fayetteville resident Alexis Dove Chieffet, playing Velma Von Tussle, did a great job of creating the character that everybody loves to hate. Her show-stopping moment came during the first act when she belted out “Miss Baltimore Crabs.” This song and this scene are laugh-out-loud funny.

    I would be remiss not to mention Richard Pruitt, a New York actor, who plays Tracy’s mom Edna. Pruitt, a big teddy bear of a man, made the transition to Edna beautifully. His mannerisms were great, and his comedic timing superb. I really loved his interaction with Ken Griggs, a CFRT regular, who played his husband. The two played off each other nicely. Of particular note was their performance of “You’re Timeless To Me.”

    The supporting cast did a wonderful job and put everything they had in the show. They seemed as energized at the end of the show as they were at the beginning. And that’s saying a lot.

    If you haven’t made it down to the theatre yet to see this great production, don’t worry, you still have time. The show runs through Feb. 13, but I would suspect if word-of-mouth works, tickets are going fast. So dance your way downtown so you can catch the beat and while the evening away with the “Nicest Kids” in town.

    For show times and dates, visit www.cfrt.org.

  •  Too often, the governed feel a disconnect with the governing.
    Elected officials are perceived as being ensconced behind the fortess-like walls of Capitol Hill, isolated and removed from their constituents.
       Well, those walls will officially come tumbling down Feb. 9 when the citizens of Cumberland County get the opportunity to meet, greet and (gently) grill the folks calling the shots in D.C., as a who’s who of North Carolina-based politicians — U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, U.S. Congressmen Mike McIntyre, Larry Kissell and Bob Etheridge, and N.C. Sen. Tony Rand — will be at Fayetteville Technical Community College for a Congressional Community Conversation — a forum free to the public.
       The event is sponsored by the county’s three leading schools of higher learning — FTCC, Methodist University and Fayetteville State University.
       The program is the brainchild of a group of private citizens, including local attorney Gardner Altman Jr., who sees the public forum as an opportunity for input into the decisions that affect our lives.
       “We wanted to get these folks together in one place and let them know that they represent us,” said Altman. “This will allow our elected officials to take a few minutes to listen to the concerns of their constituents and our community. So many people have told me that they don’t get an opportunity to talk to their elected officials... Well, here it is.”
       The program will run from 4:30-6 p.m. and will be held in the Tony Rand Student Center on the campus of FTCC, which seats more than 600. A host of local officials and politicians will also speak, as well as introduce the visiting politicians. Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne will welcome everyone, followed by an overview of the program and the introduction of Brig. Gen. Paul Dordal, who will give a presentation on perhaps the single most important issue confronting the future of Cumberland County — Base Realignment and Closure.
       “I will discuss the latest as far as what we have done and what we still need from the government as far as getting funding for BRAC,” said Dordal. “These politicians have been so supportive of our efforts to do what is best for Cumberland County as the BRAC deadline bears down, but more is needed to be done.
       {mosimage}“For example, our latest information shows us that there is probably going to be the biggest influx of families moving into the western part of the county,” said Dordal. “Right now, it looks like Jack Britt is going to be the most popular school system of choice for these families and there will be an influx into gated and/or golf communities such as Gates Four. We need to get federal funding to improve our infrastructure and we need to make our case to these politicians.”
       After Dordal’s presentation, Hagan is scheduled to speak for 20 minutes, followed by Etheridge, McIntyre and Kissell, all of whom are scheduled to speak for 5-7 minutes. There will then be a question and answer session with questions from audience members lasting approximately 20 minutes. According to Altman, questions will be written down on index cards by audience members and submitted to the moderator.
       Kissell says he is particularly looking forward to the event, both to meet with his constituents and to pick up pointers from his fellow congressmen.
       “I think it’s important to communicate with the voters... and not just to answer questions... but to really listen,” said Kissell. “And I can’t wait to share a stage with Congressmen Etheridge and McIntyre — there’s a lot I can learn from them.
       And the BRAC discussion will be very important. I am a big supporter of Fort Bragg and want to help make this transition as smooth as possible.”

    Contact Tim Wilkins at tim@upandcomingweekly.com

  • Feb 24 Shooting One man is dead and another is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries following a shooting in the Douglas Byrd neighborhood.

    On Thursday, Feb. 24, officers with the Fayetteville Police Department responded to a reported shooting along the 4600 block of Fen Court around 6:17 p.m.

    Officers and medical personnel arrived on the scene and located two men who had been shot. Both were transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries where one of them later passed away.

    The circumstances surrounding the shooting are under investigation by the Fayetteville Police Department’s Homicide Unit.

    Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective M. Waters (910) 635-4978 or Crimestoppers at (910) 483-TIPS (8477). Crimestoppers information can also be submitted electronically, by visiting http://fay-nccrimestoppers.org

  • PWC A new crypto mining facility in Fayetteville will be among the city’s top 10 power consumers when it starts operations in August.

    California-based Plan C Crypto will operate an old 20,000-square-foot industrial facility near Fayetteville Regional Airport. It will operate at 5,000 kilowatts, according to the company and the Fayetteville Public Works Commission.

    PWC doesn’t release specific power consumption information on businesses without consent, but the facility’s electrical draw will put it in the company of PWC’s top customers, including Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville Technical Community College and Walmart, among others.

    Many critics consider the industry’s high carbon emissions to be wasteful, contributing to climate change and rising global temperatures.

    Lee Reiners, a researcher at Duke University who studies financial technologies such as cryptocurrency, is among those critical of a business plan for which he sees no legitimate financial utility in its future.

    “Cryptocurrency provides no useful economic function,” he said. “Anything that is an input into that process is not useful. It is wasteful. That’s my opinion with crypto. There’s no there there.”

    Why crypto is so power hungry
    Instead of operating through financial institutions, which verify monetary transactions among other things, cryptocurrencies like ethereum and bitcoin operate outside this structure.

    Cryptocurrency transactions are verified through a process called proof of work whereby multiple entities on a network will verify withdrawals and deposits in the crypto space, in essence cutting out the need for a centralized bank.

    This process of verification is called mining, and once a majority of computers on the network have confirmed the transactions, it’s updated to a public ledger known as the blockchain.

    “Everyone has the same exact copy of the ledger, and everyone agrees on the canonical state of the ledger,” Reiners said. “And that’s made possible by mining.”

    Mining is incentivized, Reiners said, as miners, like the one coming to Fayetteville, are given a certain amount of bitcoin, or whatever cryptocurrency they are mining, for participation in the verification process.

    “You need to incentivize this mining because otherwise, anyone with 51% of the computing power on the blockchain network could just make up whatever they wanted on the ledger,” he said.

    “So, you impose a cost, and you impose that cost in the form of energy consumption. You have to solve this complex mathematical puzzle.”

    Solving that puzzle is what requires so much energy.

    According to reporting from The New York Times last year, the collective process of verifying bitcoin transactions, annually, uses up more energy than the entire country of Finland.

    It’s seven times more than all of Google’s global operations.

    ‘There’s an opportunity cost to all this’
    Plan C Crypto CEO Antonio Bestard said he founded the company as a means to provide more clean energy to the power grid. He said his company would provide an incentive for Fayetteville to buy more energy that is carbon neutral.

    “I’m creating an economic need for more green energy on the grid,” he said. “We found an economic way to help the city of Fayetteville, help green their grid over time.”

    When asked, Bestard would not specifically say how this process would work beyond imploring Fayetteville to find more green energy.

    “We look forward to working with the city of Fayetteville on how they procure power,” Bestard said. He said he has asked the city to run the mining facility with 100% clean energy.

    And it’s not just Fayetteville. By the time the miner there is up and running, Bestard said, there will be facilities in Tarboro, Wilson and Boone.

    But providing exclusively green energy is not something Fayetteville or any of those municipalities can promise.

    According to PWC, the city purchases almost all of its power from Duke Energy, which has a near-monopoly over the power grid in North Carolina.

    While Duke Energy has a goal of 50% carbon emissions reduction by 2030 and net-zero by 2050, the company has a long way to go.

    In 2020, 7% of electricity generated by Duke Energy was from wind, solar and hydroelectric sources. The company’s projections have that number at 23% by 2030.

    Nuclear energy, which is also carbon free, made up 35% of electricity generation in 2020.

    That still puts carbon-emitting energy at nearly 60%.

    Reiners said the claim that crypto incentivizes green production has no basis.

    “I hear this argument a lot,” he said. “‘Oh, cryptocurrency incentivizes the production of green energy.’ I mean, there’s no basis of fact to make that claim.”

    Even if Plan C Crypto’s facility operated 100% carbon free, Reiners said, green energy could be used for something with a legitimate economic purpose.

    “There’s an opportunity cost to all this as well,” he said.

    More revenue for Fayetteville with no investment
    While Plan C Crypto’s facility will become one of the top power consumers in Fayetteville, Bestard said the miner will not run during peak demand hours, when energy consumption and costs are at their highest.

    Fayetteville PWC CEO Elaina Ball said no additional infrastructure will be needed to accommodate the mining facility. Most importantly, it won’t require any peaker plants, large power generating facilities that often use cheaper energy like coal or natural gas during peak hours.

    Ball said Plan C Crypto will provide needed revenue due to the high amount of power it will purchase.

    “By adding a … 5-megawatt consumer like this, what that does is our retail sales are going to go up,” she said.

    “We’re going to have higher usage, 24/7, outside of that window, right, that peak window. When you generate more revenue off of our system that exists, like an industrial customer like this, it helps offset the cost to serve residential customers in the long run.”

    Robert Van Geons, CEO of the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corp., or FCEDC, said that despite criticisms of the crypto industry, the new facility will be good for the area.

    “It brings jobs. It brings taxable investment, it’s beneficial for our utility system. And ultimately, regardless of how you feel about cryptocurrency, it is an emerging technology that will continue to evolve,” he said. “We’re going to continue to have newer and newer technological innovations in this country, and we want those to happen here in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.”

    Bestard said the facility will initially employ 19 people, targeting military veterans. Those jobs will be in the electrical, security and information technology fields.

    He said the lowest-paid employees will make $40,500 a year, while a majority will earn in the $60,000 to $100,000 range.

    Bestard said he anticipates dozens more jobs in the coming years.

    Van Geons said that no economic incentives were made to Plan C Crypto, and there is no financial investment from either the city or county.

    Ball said that beyond the typical costs for attaching a new customer to the power grid, there will be no significant costs for PWC.

    The uncertain future of crypto
    In a press release introducing Plan C Crypto to Cumberland, the FCEDC cited market statistics projecting cryptocurrency to grow by more than 100% by 2028.

    But Reiners said that projected growth is speculative.

    “The only reason people buy (cryptocurrency) is they think they can sell it to someone else for a higher price in the future,” he said.

    “It’s been around for a while. It’s been since 2009. So now we’re 13-plus years. How has it impacted a product, a service, a process that we all use, right? It hasn’t. And so, if it hasn’t happened yet, you have to ask yourself when it’s going to happen.”

    He described the industry as a bubble, based solely on the speculative value of what someone else is willing to pay for a product that hasn’t proved its value, in his view.

    “You’re relying on greater fools showing up, and eventually, the supply of greater fools is exhausted,” Reiners said. “And they don’t show up.”

    He said cities like Fayetteville should not be encouraging crypto companies to come to their area in any way.

    “Crypto is a cancer,” Reiners said. “You’re making a deal with the devil.”

    He cited crypto miners buying up cheap carbon-based power in upstate New York, as reported by The New York Times.

    Reiners said he wouldn’t be surprised if the facility in Fayetteville didn’t exist after five years.

    Even if the company fails, though, Ball said it’s not a risk for the community.

    “If I were building a power plant to support this, that would be a huge risk, but we’re not because they’re not increasing capacity,” she said.

    “They’re not increasing the demand. So, this is just sales. We’re not putting in a power plant to support this because they can move out of the demand window. …

    “I know other people in other communities want to have their own perspectives on the industry — that’s fine. But I wear the hat of what’s right for our community and our customers, and this is good.”


    Photo Credit: Fayetteville operates its own Public Works Commission, a public utility that purchases power almost entirely from Duke Energy. Ben Sessoms / Carolina Public Press

  • Editor’s note: This story was initially posted on Feb. 23 but was updated at 8 a.m. Feb. 24 to include the appeal denials.

    Supreme Court Within hours of a three-judge Superior Court panel’s decision in North Carolina’s redistricting lawsuit, all four parties involved filed appeals spanning hundreds of pages to the state Supreme Court. 

    Then, at 10 p.m. Wednesday, the state Supreme Court denied every appeal. Candidate filing was set to open at 8 a.m. Thursday. 

    County elections staff worked feverishly with the N.C. State Board of Elections ​​in the 20-hour window from when they received the latest maps to the opening of candidate filing to be ready to place state and local candidates in the right districts. 

    “As elections officials, we have become accustomed to adapting to quick-changing situations,” said Pat Gannon, spokesperson for the State Board of Elections.

    Elections officials had to rush to prepare, not knowing if any of the appeals would be successful and if filing would start on time or be delayed yet again

    For now, it looks as if the 2022 primaries will be held May 17. But there’s one possible legal twist yet to play out.

    Republican leadership in the legislature, named as defendants in the redistricting case, are unhappy with part of the Superior Court panel’s decision, claiming it violates the federal constitution. 

    Now that their appeal has been denied by the state Supreme Court, the defendants have an option to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Those appeals usually take some time, and the high court accepts very few cases. It turned down appeals based on similar federal arguments from North Carolina Republicans in November 2020.

    But with one new conservative justice on the U.S. Supreme Court and a new federal hook for state Republicans, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen this time around. State Republicans have not yet released a formal statement saying they will make a federal appeal.

    How we got here

    The Superior Court panel, consisting of Judges Graham Shirley II, R-Wake, Nathaniel Poovey, R-Catawba, and Dawn Layton, D-Richmond, managed to upset every party with its ruling on the maps Wednesday. 

    The judges were guided by three special masters — former state Supreme Court Justices Robert Orr and Robert Edmunds Jr. and former UNC System President and Superior Court Judge Thomas Ross — who were themselves assisted by four nonpartisan experts in political map-drawing. 

    The state Supreme Court had tasked the judicial panel with judging whether redrawn political maps were fair under the state’s constitution after the higher court declared the Republican-controlled General Assembly’s previous maps to be unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders

    In a unanimous decision Wednesday, the Shirley panel said the redrawn state House and Senate districts were constitutional. But the judges ruled that the redrawn U.S. congressional map was still not fair under the state Supreme Court’s new standards. 

    As a remedy, the Shirley panel adjusted the General Assembly’s map to make it fair under political science measurements that the state Supreme Court had suggested, called “efficiency gap” and “mean-median difference.” This map, the panel suggested, could be used for the 2022 election, and the General Assembly could redraw the map that would be used from the 2024 elections until the state redistricted again in 2031. 

    Legislative defendants appeal

    Republican legislative leaders Phil Berger, Senate president pro tempore, and Tim Moore, House speaker, both among the defendants in this case for their official roles in drawing political maps, said they will challenge the panel’s decision on the congressional map. 

    “Today’s ruling is nothing short of egregious,” Moore said in an official statement. 

    “The trial court’s decision to impose a map drawn by anyone other than the legislature is simply unconstitutional and an affront to every North Carolina voter whose representation would be determined by unelected, partisan activists.” 

    Each of the Superior Court judges is in fact elected, as are the Supreme Court justices who ruled the prior maps were unconstitutional and who will review the appeals. Judicial elections were nonpartisan for 22 years and were publicly financed for nine until the General Assembly, led by Moore and Berger, made the elections partisan again and eliminated public funding in 2018 and 2013, respectively. 

    Legislative defendants think that Article 1, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, often called the “time, place and manner restrictions,” give state legislatures exclusive jurisdiction over drawing federal election districts. 

    Under this argument, the state courts cannot legally intervene when the state legislature draws maps for federal elections. The state Supreme Court previously dismissed this claim, meaning the legislative defendants will likely have to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to have a chance to win on this argument. 

    Plaintiffs appeal 

    Three groups sued the state in November and December to block the political maps the Republican-led General Assembly passed over Democratic opposition. Those maps were the ones ultimately overturned by the state Supreme Court on Feb. 4.

    The General Assembly had two weeks to redraw the maps to seek Superior Court approval on Wednesday. 

    In the mirror image of the legislative defendants, all three groups suing the state supported the Shirley panel’s intervention on the congressional map. 

    One group, the good-governance and nonpartisan nonprofit Common Cause, appealed both the state House and state Senate maps. 

    The group recognized that the General Assembly passed the House plan with near-unanimous bipartisan support, yet still opposed it and the Senate map, passed by Republicans on strict party-line votes, because each map still “dilutes the voting power of Black communities and relies on misleading data to cover up extreme partisan gerrymanders,” according to the group’s press release. 

    The Common Cause plaintiffs were especially focused on the voting power of Black North Carolinians in the eastern part of the state, centered on Wayne County for the House map and Edgecombe, Wilson and most of Wayne in the Senate map. 

    “We appreciate the bipartisan efforts of the trial court and special masters to remedy illegalities in the congressional map, but justice that is partial is no justice at all,” said Hillary Klein, senior voting rights lawyer at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which represents Common Cause, in the press release. 

    Two other two plaintiff groups, the nonpartisan N.C. League of Conservation Voters and the National Redistricting Foundation, which is backed by the national Democratic Party, appealed only the state Senate map

    The NCLCV plaintiffs also asked for the U.S. congressional map to last the rest of the decade, rather than allowing the General Assembly to try drawing the map again. 

    In its opinion, the Shirley panel stated North Carolina’s political geography, or the way Democratic and Republican voters self-sort in where they live, explains why the Senate map favors Republicans. Even so, the panel stated in its opinion, the difference is within the fairness boundaries the state Supreme Court laid out. 

    In their appeals, both the NCLCV and foundation plaintiffs disputed the panel’s analysis and claimed the map would only ever allow Republicans to have a majority in the state Senate, despite North Carolina being near a 50-50 state in partisan vote share. 


     Photo Credit: The Supreme Court of North Carolina building in Raleigh. Courtesy of the state courts.

  • Fortuna BMC Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation has announced that California-based IT and business management consulting company, Fortuna BMC, Inc., will be coming to Cumberland County. They are expected to hire 50 call center employees, which are remote work opportunities.

    “We are eager to select Fayetteville for our expansion on the East Coast due to its proximity and connection to Fort Bragg, the largest military installation in the United States by population,” said Jack Smith, CEO and founder of Fortuna BMC. “As a veteran of the United States Air Force, I can identify with the challenges presented by the military-to-civilian transition, such as fundamental career support, and helping others understand the skills I can bring to the table from serving my country in the armed forces. After our recent visit to Fayetteville, we are fully convinced that this is a welcoming community for organizations like Fortuna BMC that are passionate about connecting the military community to great job opportunities post-service.”

    Fortuna BMC is an IT consulting and staffing company. They will be working with Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville Technical Community College, NCWorks Career Center, JMH Group, Center for Economic Empowerment & Development, The Small Business and Technology Development Center, Fort Bragg’s Transition Assistance Program and the economic and community development departments for the City of Fayetteville and Cumberland County to help collaborate on workforce development and hiring initiatives. 

    “Creating these types of employment opportunities for and within our local community brings financial stability, and it eases the post-service transition for many veterans. We’re excited that Fortuna BMC selected our region as the place to create those meaningful connections, which will undoubtedly bridge the gap for the veterans,” stated Rob Patton, FCEDC Vice President.

  • scam alert CCS The Cumberland County Department of Public Health has put out an alert saying there is a phone scam targeting citizens.

    The robocall, which is mimicking the Health Department's main phone number, 910-433-3600, states they are delivering medical information. However, the Cumberland County Department of Public Health states that it would never call and leave medical information in such a manner. The Health Department's policy is to never provide a medical diagnosis or lab results via robocall, never provide a medical diagnosis or lab results without first identifying you as the patient or guardian, and they would never ask for a social security number or payment via robocall.

    Anyone who believes they were contacted by one of these scammers should contact the Attorney General of North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or (910) 716-6000. You can also contact the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office at (910) 323-1500.

  • Kurilla Fort Bragg’s Lt. Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla will take responsibility for all U.S. military operations in the Middle East and neighboring nations in the coming weeks.

    The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to confirm Kurilla’s nomination to lead U.S. Central Command and be promoted to a four-star general.

    According to the Pentagon, he will soon replace Gen. Kenneth McKenzie of the Marine Corps, who has commanded CENTCOM since 2019. McKenzie is retiring in April.

    Kurilla is the commander of the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. He is a West Point graduate who led special operations and conventional forces in Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan. He previously commanded the 82nd Airborne Division, the elite 75th Ranger Regiment and its 2nd Battalion. He has also served as the assistant commander of Joint Special Operations Command and as the Pentagon’s deputy director for special operations and counterterrorism.

    Kurilla is currently deployed to Germany, leading a task force of troops helping NATO allies in the unfolding Ukraine-Russia conflict.

    Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue was confirmed by Senate to be promoted to lieutenant general and take command of the 18th Airborne Corps in Kurilla’s place. Donahue, the current 82nd Airborne Division commander, is also deployed to Europe in response to the Ukraine crisis.


    Photo Credit: Lt. Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, gives a speech at the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) change of command, March 5, 2021, at the division parade field, Fort Campbell, Ky. Kurilla spoke on the great work that Maj. Gen. Brian Winski achieved and how he’s excited to see what Maj. Gen. JP McGee will accomplish.

  • 7054393 Close to 5,000 Fort Bragg troops are in Eastern Europe amidst a Ukraine-Russia standoff. Many of these soldiers are from the 82nd Airborne Division - an infantry division that is ready to go anywhere in the world within 18 hours.

    Last week, the deployment of the second round of 3,000 paratroopers began to leave Fort Bragg. Several hundred soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault from Fort Campbell on the Kentucky Tennessee border are also headed to Eastern Europe.

    Several commercial jets graced the runways at Pope Army Airfield last week, waiting to take several hundred soldiers overseas. While the paratroopers were waiting at Green Ramp, the final springboard for deploying soldiers, pizza, fried chicken and all types of food were being given out. The Religious Support Office had religious texts and books ready to go if anyone wanted, and there was a long line for stations set up to handle last-minute paperwork.

    Many of the waiting paratroopers were socializing, rechecking their gear or catching a few moments of sleep.

    Specialist Bryan Flores was laughing with the men next to him. He has been in the Army for almost four years and moved to Fort Bragg three months ago from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska.

    Flores said this will be his first deployment and going out and serving on a mission is exciting.

    "From the human's perspective, I'm really nervous. But as a soldier, I'm prepared, and because I know what to do, I know my job."

    Flores is stationed at Fort Bragg with his wife, Marta, and her two children - ages 10 and 7 years old. He said he didn't want to tell the two kids he was leaving.

    "I didn't want to tell them to their faces that I'm leaving because, of course, they would be very upset and really scared," Flores said. "It's hard to tell kids goodbye; I'm leaving somewhere, especially if it's in regard to conflict."

    He says it's especially hard to leave his family as they just moved to Fort Bragg and were still getting adjusted to the base.

    "I certainly didn't expect it to happen; it was more of a last-minute thing. But of course, that's what we're here to do," Flores said. "When we are ready to go, we're supposed to go and confront the enemy and protect the citizens of the world because that's what the United States is about; we protect."

    Flores said that if he could bring something home from his deployment, he would try and find a figurine of a historical monument or something that represents liberation from World War II.

    On the other hand, 27-year-old 1st Lt. Alex Blankenship said he would want to bring home a magnet for his unadorned fridge doors. Blakenship, who's been serving in the Army for almost three years, says he was able to see his family a week before his deployment orders came in. They took his cat and wished him a happy birthday before he left. For his family, deployments are just part of the military lifestyle.

    "My parents went through this stuff with my dad being in the Navy," Blankenship said. "So, it's not anything new."

    According to White House officials, these soldiers are not being sent to fight in Ukraine officially; they will support the allies of the United States. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the 82nd Airborne Division was chosen because they were already on heightened alert and multi-mission capable.

    "I think their versatility, their ability to move quickly and to conduct a range of missions across a range of contingencies which is well-proven, that is why the Secretary has ordered them to go," Kirby said.

    One of those missions might be to help support American evacuees fleeing Ukraine into Poland.

    On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to deploy to the two separatist regions of Eastern Ukraine.

    More troops could be mobilized to Europe as the Russia-Ukraine crisis continues. The Pentagon put 8,500 troops on "high alert" in January for possible deployment if NATO's response forces are activated.

  • 02-23-11-fanteractive-with-football.gifSo you’re a football fan. You attend the games. You follow the players, can recite their stats –– where they came from, their strengths, weaknesses, records. You know precisely where the game was won –– or lost. Think you have what it takes to pick the next great quarterback or running back? Well, you may have your chance! A new subscription-based service, Fanteractive, offered through the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL), the minor league that includes the Fayetteville Force, hopes to create the ultimate fan experience and bring the fans as close to a team as possible. Andrew Bondarowicz, president & CEO of Fanteractive, LLC explained this new approach to bringing the fan experience to a whole new level.

    “I’ve been an NFL-certifi ed agent since 2004, so one of the things I noticed is that it’s become very apparent that scouting is in the eyes of the beholder,” said Bondarowicz. “A player that one person may think fi ts may totally not be the right fi t for a different team, for a different coach. We were at a college all-star team back in 2006, and there was one quarterback that everybody was screaming about. ‘He’s going to be all pro one day.’ He gets drafted in the second round of the draft, has a mediocre career so far and you look back and say, ‘Well, what was everybody raving about?’ It’s just the luck of the draw. A year later, ESP [Entertainment & Sports Plus, a national, full-service athlete and entertainer management fi rm] comes out with a players report that the best general managers in the business only get it right 55-60 percent of the time interviewing the top draft picks.”

    Bondarowicz reasoned that perhaps fans could offer better odds.

    “More and more, there’s such an appetite for the business side of the sport — not just football, but any sport. We’re all obsessed with what kind of contracts the players get, what kind of deal did they sign, what kinds of trades get worked out between teams, and it’s a whole drama that fans never get to be a part of. We can all talk about what we think is the best thing to do, but when’s the last time the GM of an NFL team called up the fans and said, ‘What do you think we should do?’ What we want to do is create the ultimate fan experience. With Fanteractive, we have a database of players where fans can go in, write scouting reports, familiarize themselves with players who are available so that they can make decisions and recommendations to the coaching staff on the players that we want to bring in. We’re not going to be able to accomplish it for this year, but in future years, we’re going to have a fan draft, where fans are literally going to draft a number of the players who are going to come in for training camps, and then have the fans make decisions on the fi nal rosters.”

    After all, where would the players and the league be without the fans?

    “At the end of the day,” Bondarowicz said, “the fans are the ones who are our customers. They are our profi t, so what better way to give our fans what they want than to allow them to weigh in on the process? We have football coaches, we have closet football coaches, we have guys who have never played the game or never coached the game, but they have an eye for talent. It’s a pretty systematic process that we’re putting into play, and when you have 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 people weighing in on a player saying, ‘Hey, I think this guy’s pretty good,’ chances are, he’s going to be halfway decent. When you look at the NFL, the second biggest event on the NFL calendar, second only to the Super Bowl, is the NFL draft. What we’ve patterned our Fanteractive after is to simply recreate that on a minor league level.”

    Fanteractive within the SIFL is live for the first year, so not every option of the system will be available in its02-23-11-fayetteville_force_v2_final.gif “kick-off.”

    “For this year, what fans will have the ability to do is to essentially interact with the players and coaching staff during the season. They’ll be able to work with the coaches on roster decisions. They’ll make decisions on the fi nal rosters at the start of the season. They’ll be involved in certain game-playing decisions,” said Bondarowicz. “We’re trying to work in certain in-game elements, for example, when it’s fourth and one, and whether we should take the fi eld goal or go for it. We want to incorporate some of those elements to really get fans into the game.”

    Bondarowicz also explained that although the system is ready to go “full boat,” the fans will necessarily encounter a bit of a learning curve as they share the responsibility of providing their valuable input.

    “We want to give the fans as much opportunity as possible, so we have to scale it back to administrative feasibility. From the fan perspective, we have to bring the fans along the way, too. We almost have to coach up the fans along to a certain point where they understand the decisions they’re making. They’re understanding the implications of some of those decisions from a player personnel perspective. It can’t be a popularity contest. You have to try put the best players on the fi eld. You have to look for the right parts to put into a system, so just because somebody may be a hometown hero, there may or may not be room on the roster for him, depending on what the team’s needs are going to be, so it’s a change in mindset from the stands just as much as anybody else.”

    And the cost for fans to have their say? A bargain, especially when compared to the cost of owning one’s own franchise –– a $50 fee for the season. The option is included in the ticket packages for season-ticket holders. Response to the Fanteractive system has been positive, and it’s being extended to all players and ticket holders across the league –– potentially tens of thousands of people.

    “People who are on the system really like it because the system itself incorporates the social media aspect,” Bondarowicz said, “so it’s kind of like Facebook wrapped up within a whole larger system. Right now, fans are voting on some of the league rules, player celebration rules, like how far are we going to let players go as far as celebrations, making some decisions about playing the ball off the wall. We’re giving the fans the ability to go through a full gamut of decisions, and it’s on a league-wide level.”

    Although the Fanteractive system is essentially being done in the SIFL this year, Bondarowicz sees the application advancing into other sports as well.

    “It’s really to infuse technology and fans back into the games. One of the challenges you have with minor league sports is that a lot of fans don’t really know who the players are, so you go to a minor league baseball game, and you go there because it’s affordable family entertainment, and you watch the game, but you don’t necessarily get engaged in the games in the same way because a lot of times, there’s just not as much information available. The history of the players is not as traceable to you. This is just one of the ways to really kind of make minor league sports relevant in a different way. You give people a reason to care. You care who your quarterback is or who your second string guy is because you’re making decisions on him, so you want to make sure you got the best players available. We’re also working on an element where the cheerleaders will essentially be selected by the fans, so it’s through the same premise; you go through, and you scout and you judge criteria, such as dancing ability, appearance, poise, character, and you assemble a team. We’re a Dancing with the Stars and American Idol generation now, where we tell you those things,” said Bondarowicz. “So we really make this fun. We really want to make this interactive and create a whole new experience.”

    No more will fans be relegated only to painting their bodies in bold team colors, sporting jerseys and hats and waving giant foam hands promoting their favorite team as “number one.”

    Fanteractive puts them right in the game from behind the scenes. For more information, visit www.fanteractive.com and www.fayettevilleforce.net.

    Photo: Fanteractive, a new subscription-based service hopes to create the ultimate fan experience.

  • court house faytteville Eligible Cumberland County residents at risk of spreading COVID-19 will be provided isolated shelter for the foreseeable future.

    The county Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the renewal of the N.C. Non-Congregate Sheltering program on Monday.

    The program provides shelter for those eligible who need to isolate due to exposure or contraction of COVID-19 and don’t have another way of safely quarantining.

    Among those included are first responders and health care workers who need to isolate from family members because of exposure and those who test positive or were exposed and need to quarantine.

    Those who need to socially distance as a precautionary measure are also eligible. It’s up to the discretion of public health officials, but it typically includes high-risk groups, such as people over age 65 or those with underlying health conditions.

    The county, in partnership with local nonprofits and religious organizations, pays for shelter in a hotel along with other needs such as food, medicine and transportation, among other things.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency and N.C. Emergency Management then fully reimburse the county.

    The county reported that it has provided shelter and food to more than 70 people in Cumberland and transportation to 35.

    Over 92% have been for those at risk of severe COVID-19, according to the county.

    The program will operate as long as the federal government approves it or the governor’s state of emergency order stays in effect, or for one year, whichever date comes first.

    Those who don’t have a safe way of quarantining due to their living arrangements and think they are eligible can email county Emergency Management Coordinator Garry Crumpler at gcrumpler@co.cumberland.nc.us.

    Latest COVID-19 data for Cumberland

    The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies Cumberland as a high transmission county, along with all of North Carolina and a wide swath of the rest of the country.

    That designation is made based on new case counts and percentage of positive cases in the past week. New case counts over 100 per 100,000 people and a positivity rate over 10% are considered high transmission.

    As of Monday, Cumberland has seen more than 350 new cases per 100,000 people in the past week, according to the CDC.

    Among all tests in the past week, 19% have returned positive.

    But that number has gone down. Earlier in the month, the positivity rate was more than 31%, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Based on the high transmission, the CDC recommends that anyone indoors in a public setting in Cumberland County wear a mask to reduce transmission.

    But that will be by personal choice, as the county ended its indoor mask mandate on Sunday.

    The county still recommends mask-wearing, and businesses can still require them if they choose to.

    As of Monday, 548 people in Cumberland County have died due to COVID-19 during the pandemic.

  • State Map Feb 17 NEW After a two-week sprint, the state Supreme Court’s deadline looms for North Carolina’s General Assembly to submit revised political maps after justices ruled the prior maps to be unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders favoring Republicans.

    On Thursday afternoon, the General Assembly passed the new map for the state House with bipartisan support. Later that night, the legislature passed the state Senate and U.S. congressional maps on party-line votes.
    Earlier Thursday, state Sens. Paul Newton and Warren Daniel, the Republicans responsible for drawing new state Senate and U.S. congressional maps, presented them to the House redistricting committee.

    “We believe that if either party runs good candidates and good campaigns and touches the issues that people care about, either party could have a majority at the end of the next election,” Newton said about the Senate maps.

    Daniel presented the U.S. congressional maps and described them as highly competitive. Both senators described the maps as passing the mathematical measures for partisan fairness that the state Supreme Court laid out as potential tests for constitutionality.

    But Democrats protested, along with one Republican.

    “Boy, I’m really not sure how this map is going to pass constitutional muster,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, during the floor debate.

    The constitutional standard for these maps was only set earlier in the week, when the state Supreme Court released its full opinion on Monday. The court previously released an order Feb. 4 that gave some guidance about what it would look for in constitutional maps.

    Harrison based her analysis of metropolitan counties, such as Guilford in her district, that were split in the proposed congressional map.

    Rep. John Szoka, R-Cumberland, a 20-year military veteran, voted against the congressional maps for splitting up Fort Bragg, the largest military base in the county. The maps followed the court’s mathematical standards for fairness at the expense of keeping communities of interest together, he said.

    Rep. Charles Graham, D-Robeson, partially agreed with his Republican colleague. Graham had hoped to see more preservation of communities of interest, namely a U.S. congressional district encompassing all of the Sandhills region of the state. An early proposed version of the map included such a district, but in this passed version, the region is split into three districts.

    On Friday, the maps will be filed with the three-judge panel at the trial court to review the maps for compliance with the state Supreme Court’s order on what counts as constitutional political maps. The court may also consider maps from the three groups that sued the Republican legislative leaders in December to stop their first attempts at redistricting from going forward.

    As it stands now, the 2022 primaries are scheduled for May 17. Here are the court and election deadlines leading up to Election Day, and the ways it could all get delayed again.

    Trial court to decide, again
    When a plaintiff raises a constitutional question in North Carolina’s courts, it goes in front of a panel of three Superior Court judges. The panel appointed in this case, of two Republican judges and one Democrat, previously said the Republican maps drawn in November were constitutional.

    Plaintiffs appealed that decision to the state Supreme Court, which overturned the decision. The higher court laid out some standards by which the partisan skew of a map, or how much it favors one political party over another, can be measured for constitutional compliance and sent the case back to the three-judge panel.

    Now, Judges Graham Shirley II, R-Wake, Nathaniel Poovey, R-Catawba, and Dawn Layton, D-Richmond, will have until noon Feb. 23, to decide which maps the state will use in its 2022 primaries.
    Each of the plaintiff groups in the case — the N.C. League of Conservation Voters, the Democratic Party-affiliated National Redistr