Harvest season announced for striped bass

19 The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Executive Director, Cameron Ingram, has signed a proclamation outlining the 2023 striped bass harvest season in the Roanoke River Management Area.

The entire Roanoke River Management Area will be open for harvest of striped bass April 14 to 17 and April 22 to 23. The daily creel limit is one striped bass per day. The minimum length limit is 18 inches, and no striped bass between 22 and 27 inches may be possessed at any time.

The Roanoke River Management Area includes the Roanoke River and tributaries from the Roanoke Rapids Lake Dam downstream to the Albemarle Sound, including the Cashie, Middle and Eastmost rivers.

In 2020, a stock assessment of striped bass in the Roanoke River/Albemarle Sound indicated that the stock was overfished, and overfishing was occurring. To conserve and rebuild the striped bass population in the Roanoke River, this year’s harvest quota is 12,804 pounds. The six harvest days outlined in the proclamation were selected using past angler creel data with the goal of anglers having an opportunity to harvest fish throughout the river.

“Since 2006, we’ve seen declines in the abundance of Striped Bass, specifically, dramatic declines in the abundance of fish larger than 30 inches. These larger, older fish can produce over 1 million eggs per spawn. River flow is also important to having a successful spawns and high egg survival rates. NCWRC staff work weekly with staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide the best possible flow for spawning fish on the Roanoke River. Larger fish and river flow during critical spawning periods are keys to rebuilding the Roanoke River-Albemarle Sound Striped Bass population,” said Chris Smith, District 1 Fisheries Biologist with the Wildlife Commission. “However, appropriate flows alone will not help. The current management actions are intended to increase striped bass survival on the spawning grounds. Over time we anticipate the population will rebuild including larger older females which are very valuable to the population.”

Anglers can continue to catch and release striped bass throughout the spring. To reduce handling stress on fish that are released, the Wildlife Commission recommends anglers use a single barbless hook or a lure with a single barbless hook, which is a requirement when fishing in the upper Roanoke River above the U.S. Highway 258 bridge near Scotland Neck from April 1 through June 30.
Signage will be posted at boating access areas along the Roanoke River to notify anglers of the changes to the open harvest dates. More information can be found using the agency’s online BAA locator.

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission     

Since 1947, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities.     

To purchase or renew a fishing, trapping and hunting license and renew a vessel registration visit www.ncwildlife.org.     

BlackLIT Book Fair aims to close reading gap

17 As part of its ongoing Black Culture Experience, The Arts Council of Fayetteville and its subsidiary, We Are The Arts, will host this year’s BlackLIT Book Fair on March 18 at the Volta Space in downtown Fayetteville.
Now in its second year, the BlackLIT Book Fair “continues to be an intentional effort to motivate, highlight, reaffirm, and empower cultures and the younger generation by making literacy relatable and relevant in communities of color.”

Working to close the significant reading gap present within the black community, the BlackLIT Book Fair works to showcase and uplift the lived experiences of African Americans as expressed through fiction, self-help, romance, empowerment, poetry, children’s books, and a variety of other genres.

Data pulled from the National Assessment of Educational Progress suggests an initiative like this couldn’t be more timely. In 2019, the Nation’s Report Card showed that only around 15% of Black 8th graders were at or above a proficient reading level.

The numbers don’t look much better after high school, as around 23% of Black adults are considered to be low literacy according to a 2019 report from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Boosting literary engagement is of crucial importance within the Black community and critical to its long-term success.

Literacy improves mental health, builds life-long learning and critical thinking skills, creates jobs, and is a powerful tool against poverty. The BlackLit Book Fair will host a number of activities, reading, panels and presentations for readers and writers of all ages throughout the day.

The Children’s Read-Aloud “inspires children and their parents to learn, grow and explore the world through the pages of a book,” shared Christy McNeil, Director of Marketing for the Arts Council of Fayetteville.
Six African American storytellers are slated to appear during this time and offer dynamic readings designed to grow the imaginations of their audience while fostering a love of reading and an expanded view of the world.

As an added incentive, all children in attendance will receive a BlackLit Voucher which can be redeemed for one free children’s book of their choosing at participating vendors as long as supplies last.
For poetry enthusiasts, The Literary Cafe: Poetry By The Hour will create an opportunity for authors and aficionados to engage in conversation over refreshments as “poetic expressionists read excerpts from their books.”

And for those writers of color, both emerging and established, the BlackLIT Book Fair will offer a Professional Writers Panel to offer advice and guidance around the ins and outs of the publishing world. Topics include “distribution, access to funding and small business loans, and other aspects of artist development,” according to the event’s website.

The BlackLIt Book Fair is an opportunity to support Black authors, discover new perspectives, and bolster the audacious notion that stories of color are stories worth reading and the world is better served by sharing them.

The BlackLit Book Fair is free to attend and open to the public. The Volta Space is located behind 116 Person St. in downtown Fayetteville.

For more information about the BlackLit Book Fair, visit https://www.wearethearts.com/blackculture.

Kaiju-Quest Film Series brings classic films back to the big screen

14 The smell of fresh popcorn permeates the air as individuals line up for the snack, ready to purchase wine, beer, soda or candy as they prepare themselves to enjoy the Kaiju-Quest Film Series on Wednesdays at The Carolina Theatre of Durham.

Jim Carl, Senior Director of Film Programming at The Carolina Theatre of Durham, has curated a film series for kaiju film fans called, Kaiju-Quest.

What in the world is ‘Kaiju?’

The Japanese word ‘kaiju’ means “strange creature” or “giant monster.” There is a plethora of kaiju films.
Carl said American audiences think of Godzilla when they hear kaiju. He explained that there are many movies not necessarily from Japan that have “giant monsters” or “strange creatures” that can embody the word, kaiju.

“Kaiju can be a monster underwater or in space,” he said.

He said to think of the monsters in “Pacific Rim,” “The Host” or the queen alien in “Aliens.” The giant shark in “Jaws” can also be considered a kaiju.

“It doesn’t have to necessarily be a towering monster tearing down skyscrapers and national monuments,” Carl said.

Retro Film Series

In 1998, Carl started the Retro Film Series at the theatre.

“Throughout that series, we bring probably 100 films— classics — back to the screen that range from horror to action to westerns and sci-fi,” he said.

While a lot of classics are on streaming services, he said the theatre has cultivated an audience that enjoys coming back to see classics on the big screen. The requirement for a movie to be seen in the retro series: it must be 20 years old or older. There are other sub-series under the Retro Series where he hones in on niches like horror, noir and animated Disney films that are hard to find.

“At some point over the last few years, I started noticing that when I ran a foreign action film in its original Japanese version, attendance was huge,” Carl said.

He stated he wondered if there was an audience willing and clamoring to see some of the old Godzilla films.

“Not just to bring them back, but retro-rize them,” he said. “So I created the Kaiju-Quest Film Series.”


To those in Fayetteville who are worried about the hour-and-a-half drive to Durham on Wednesdays, the experience may be worth it. When they screen Kaiju-Quest titles at The Carolina Theatre of Durham, they are not just showing you a classic film on a screen. Carl’s goal is to provide an experience.

Before the film starts, audiences are given an introduction to the film, door prizes, movie trivia and trailers from the film’s opening night in Japan. You read that correctly. He has trailers from when these kaiju films first opened in Japan. He researches the trailers and compiles them for the series.

For example, if the theatre showcases “Godzilla vs. Hedorah” which premiered July 24, 1971, attendees will get a “retro” experience. Attendees will watch montages of happenings related to the 1971 premiere. They will get an introduction from Carl, the door prizes and the trivia about the film. A title card comes up on the big screen which reads, “Tonight is July 24, 1971. It is the opening night of ‘Godzilla v. Hedorah’ at theatres across Japan.

Then a title card appears on screen announcing audiences will see trailers of Japanese movies which were playing in theatres during July 1971. As if you were indeed in attendance on that film’s opening night.
Then the featured film will begin.

Toho’s Agreement

This current season’s edition of the Series began in January and ends June 21, with eight films being shown. The reason Carl is doing this is because of Toho.
Toho, a production studio company in Japan (imagine Warner Bros or Disney), owns the rights to the original, uncut Japanese Godzilla films. According to Carl, very few of these movies have been available in America for theatrical screenings for decades. He said while there are uncut, original Godzilla films that can be found on some streaming services, some people have never had a chance to see these classic films on the big screen.

Two years ago, Toho entered an agreement with an American distributor named Janus Films. The agreement outlines that for a certain number of years, Janus will have theatrical rights to screen many of the original Godzilla films in America.

Carl said at some point in the future, the agreement with Janus Films will expire and these movies will no longer be available for exhibition in the United States.

“While that agreement is still in place, I’m trying to screen as many of these original Japanese language, uncut films. There are so many of them.”

He does his best to spread them out during a typical six-month season.

“You want to spread them out over a few months to give audiences a chance to discover the Series and tell their friends,” he said.

If they miss one kaiju film, there’s another one coming down the pipeline. In the inaugural season of Kaiju-Quest, he screened 10 films from July to December 2022. Between January and June 2023, he will showcase eight films. Another installment will run from July to December 2023.

Carl does occasionally make exceptions to his 20-year rule for films such as Toho’s 2016 “Shin and Godzilla.” He explained many people didn’t have the chance to see it at movie theaters during its brief theatrical run in the United States.

Picture Perfect

The theatre has a photo booth where guests can stand in front of a green screen for free photos. Stills from that evening’s films can be utilized as the backdrops. They can email or use a QR code to access their photos.

Carolina Theatre

Carolina Theatre has live events, film festivals and a two-screen arthouse cinema. They do present first-run Indie movies like Oscar contenders and Oscar shorts. They are a repertory theatre — bringing back classic movies to the big screen for new generations — like “E.T.,” “Casablanca,” and “The Goonies.”
All these Series are curated and produced by the Carolina Theatre and are not a traveling series. For more information about the Series, visit https://carolinatheatre.org/series/kaiju-quest- film-series/.

Storytelling Festival moves to ‘The Rhythm of a Story’

16 “Rhythm is our universal mother tongue. It’s the language of the soul”
– Gabrielle Roth

Music has always played a major role in my life. I grew up listening to music, singing in choirs and dancing to all kinds of beats. One of my favorite artists was Michael Jackson, who captivated me with his unique voice, smooth dance moves and the ability to tell stories through music and movement.

I have been following the rhythm, not only in music, but also in life, for as long as I can remember. That’s why I’m excited about the theme “Rhythm of a Story” for the Cumberland County Public Library’s 14th Annual Storytelling Festival.

Throughout March, library programs will promote storytelling through various lenses while celebrating diverse cultures. All events are free and will highlight rhythmic talents and stories from various cultures, encouraging children to explore, embrace and express their own stories through rhythm. Join us and enjoy story times, guest performances and arts & crafts during the month of March.

The festival kicks off at Festival Park on March 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. There will be games, music and performances from local artists and organizations.
The featured presenter will be Carolina Storyteller, a bilingual performer born and raised in Cali, Colombia. Her stories explore the myths, legends, folktales, historical narratives and literature of Latin America and Hispanic cultures.

Carolina Storyteller will also perform March 3 at West Regional Library located at 7469 Century Circle in Fayetteville. Other performers for the festival include Lee Bryan, “That Puppet Guy” and Greg Whitt.

Bryan specializes in puppet performances and will be at North Regional Library, lcoated at 855 Mc Arthur Road, on March 6, and the Hope Mills Community Branch, 3411 Golfview Road in Hope Mills, on March 7.
Whitt promotes life in rhythm and harmony through an interactive experience called Drum for Change. He will perform at East Regional Library, located at 4809 Clinton Road, on March 23 and Cliffdale Regional Library, located at 6882 Cliffdale Road, on March 30.

The Storytelling Festival is supported by a mini grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, in part by contributions from community partners, and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

For more information on these programs and more, call 910-483-7727, visit any of our eight locations or check out our website at www.cumberlandcountync.gov/library.

HERFayetteville event empowers local women to focus on Heart, Equality and Resilience

13a Assisting and empowering local women are goals of the Women’s Business Center of Fayetteville at the Center for Economic Empowerment and Development. As part of a new annual tradition, the event, HERFayetteville aims to empower women through mentorship, education, networking and collaboration. These events are being organized by the Women’s Business Center of Fayetteville.

Efforts to celebrate #HERFayetteville will focus on Heart, Equality and Resilience while celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.
Suzy Hrabovsky, the Executive Director of the Center for Economic Empowerment and Development, said that she is excited to bring this event back after a successful launch last year.

“This is a week long celebration of what women have done, what they can do, and celebrating each other and coming together. So often we hear negative things about women empowerment, but this is just an inclusive, celebratory pat on the back and a time to just be happy and excited about what we've done and to continue to move forward and just take a little time to catch our breath,” Hrabovsky said.

The event starts on March 5, and each day has a specific theme. The themes are correlated as hashtags, so if people go or participate in the event, they can use the hashtags when they post about it on social media.

Day One: #HERImpact

Join CEED and the Women’s Business Center of Fayetteville on March 5 at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden for a morning full of delicious brunch and motivation. In honor of the launch of #HERWeek, they will be hosting inspiring female leaders in our community to celebrate the accomplishments of women in Fayetteville.

“We will have someone there from the SBA talking about the women in business. And we'll have a panel that’s talking about impacts women have made here locally,” Hrabovsky said.

At the time of publication, the panelists had not been named yet. Meraki Creative will also be at the brunch with interactive booths. The brunch starts at 10 a.m. Individual tickets are $35.

Day Two: #HERHealth

As the name suggests, the day is focusing on women’s health. CEED is offering Women's Health Expo sessions with Origins Naturopathic Health and Wellness — holistic team and medical partners from Fayetteville throughout the day. They will be highlighting not only physical health but also focusing on women’s mental and spiritual wellness. 13b

Topics that will be discussed include breast health, the lymphatic system, movements, hormones, sleep, diet, general health and chiropractic health. Tickets are $25.

Day Three: #HERPitch

Join the Women’s Business Center at Volta Space March 8 to listen to aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their amazing business ideas to a panel of Fayetteville professionals. Think of it like “Shark Tank,” but for local women entrepreneurs. CEED Capital and Women of Power Society will award up to $10,000 in prizes to the entrepreneurs with the best pitch. Last year, eight competitors presented plans. Three business owners were awarded grants in the competition.

For more information about registering call 910-323-3377.

Since March 8 will be International Women’s Day, HERWeek Fayetteville will celebrate with an International Women’s Day Parade. The parade will be celebrating women from different cultures, nations and heritages. There is a $5 fee for parade entry.

Day Four: #HERBuild

The Women's Business Center of Fayetteville is partnering with Habitat for Humanity as part of the annual Women’s Build event. This event on March 9 will have stations where women can learn how to build and construct a home. Participants can learn the basics of plumbing, drywall and electrical work.

The class aims to give women the confidence to make home repairs and home improvements without having to spend hundreds of dollars for a professional to do it for you. No experience is necessary. There will be lunch, speakers, raffles and more to celebrate female entrepreneurship by learning new abilities, and sharing your support using the #HERFayetteville hashtags!

There will be a $25 fee. For more information and to sign up, go to https://www.fayettevillenchabitat.org/womensbuild2023.

Day Five: #HERService

This day is completely virtual. The Women’s Business Center of Fayetteville will be showcasing the female workers who support our local community. On their social media pages, the Women’s Business Center of Fayetteville will highlight firefighters, EMS workers, teachers, police officers, and military service members.

“We’ve done a bunch of interviews with different women in the community, from teaching to veterans to women who are firefighters, women who are at the 911 station, just women doing different services in our community,” Hrabovsky said.

For more information about the events during HERWeek Fayetteville, go to https://www.wbcfay.org/

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