Hope Mills News

Residents urged to safely dispose of dangerous medications

 13pina messina 464953 unsplash 1 The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department is preparing to conduct its annual drop-off of prescription and over-the-counter drugs in Fayetteville and Cumberland County. 

  The event is scheduled Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., and there will be three locations in the Hope Mills area where residents can safely get rid of expired or unneeded medications. 

  The three drop-off points are Hope Mills Fire Department, Pearce’s Mill Fire Department and Stoney Point Fire Department. 

  Lt. Shawna Leake, who heads the community policing section for the county sheriff ’s department, said the drug drop-offs are normally held twice a year, once in the spring in conjunction with National Poison Prevention Week, and again in the fall. The three locations in Hope Mills are among seven countywide where people can drop off medications. 

Leake said fire departments are a good location for the drop-offs. “Those are places the public is familiar with,’’ she said. She added locations are chosen based on where there has been the best response from the public in previous years. 

  Leake said the public is encouraged to bring any kind of prescription or over-the-counter drug they’d like to safely dispose of – not limited to medications. 

  “Sometimes people bring us diabetic needles,’’ she said. “(Like) when they’ve lost a loved one and don’t know what to do with their medicines and have a lot of different drugs they are taking.’’ 

  Even seemingly harmless items like cough drops that aren’t being used anymore or any medicines that have expired are welcome. 

  The main drugs that need to be turned in are any narcotics, especially opioids, to prevent them from falling into innocent hands or the hands of those who would abuse them. 

  “We have an opioid epidemic we are currently combating,’’ Leake said. “Those are the things we really want people to turn in. We don’t want them to be flushed down the toilet or put in the trash.’’ 

  Any drugs disposed of in that manner have the potential to get into the local water system, Leake said. 

  The only kind of drugs that should not be brought to the drop-off are illegal drugs, she said. If individuals or families have substances like that they need to dispose of, they need to contact law enforcement directly. “We’ll respond to that call in a different fashion,’’ Leake said. “We would rather they not bring them to this event.’’ 

  For specific questions or concerns about the drug drop-off, call Leake at 910-438-4015.

Hope Mills to get more downtown sidewalks

12SidewalkHope Mills residents should consider buying a new pair of walking shoes because they’re going to be getting some more sidewalks. 

The town of Hope Mills has been awarded a grant from the Fayetteville Metropolitan Planning Organization to build sidewalks from Johnson Street near the Robin’s on Main restaurant down to Trade Street. 

The sidewalks will be on the opposite side of Main Street from Hope Mills Lake, said Chancer McLaughlin, development and planning administrator for the town. 

McLaughlin said the grant from FAMPO is for a little under $400,000. It’s what’s known as an 80/20 matching grant, which means the town will add about $80,000 to the project. 

This newest grant will allow for a continuation of a project already underway that’s constructing sidewalks near the Hope Mills town offices on Rockfish Road. 

It will extend existing sidewalks in the downtown area and make it possible, once completed, for people to walk via sidewalk all the way from the town hall area to the restored Hope Mills Lake. 

  “It will possibly cut down on traffic and create a safer balance between vehicular and pedestrian traffic,’’ McLaughlin said. “The main goal is to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment, connecting the town of Hope Mills.’’ 

  In addition to the sidewalks, the grant will help pay for some enhancements on Main Street, McLaughlin said. 

  “We are going to do a major crosswalk installation at Johnson and Main because there is no crosswalk now,’’ McLaughlin said. “We are also going to do a raised mid-block crosswalk halfway between Johnson and Trade Street. At the intersection of Trade and Main, we’re going to do a major enhancement, adding more pedestrian signals.’’ 

  Now that the grant has been awarded, McLaughlin said the new sidewalk project for Main Street is in the design phase and there is no timetable yet for when the sidewalk construction will actually begin. 

  “We are moving forward and filling gaps,’’ he said of the various sidewalk projects going on. “We’re applying for another grant in November. 

  “This is not a one-time thing and by no means (is it) the end of the road. It’s the beginning.’’ 

New guidelines, registration set for Trunk R Treat

11Trunk1The Town of Hope Mills will hold its annual Trunk R Treat celebration on Halloween night this year from 6-8 p.m. on the athletic fields at Hope Mills Municipal Park on Rockfish Road. But the preparation for the event is going to be a little different from past years. 

Meghan Hawkins, recreation programs supervisor for Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, said there will be a deadline to register to have a vehicle at the event and there is a form individuals and businesses need to fill out to take part. 

“This is the first year we actually have a registration form,’’ she said. “It gives us the option to track who we’ve got, who’s coming, how much space is needed and also to establish some guidelines and policies regarding the night of the event.’’ 

  Anyone planning to bring a vehicle and give out Halloween treats at the event must fill out a registration form and return it by 5 p.m. on Oct. 22. 

  In addition to gathering information about the person or business taking part in the event, the form includes information about what is and isn’t allowed at each individual display. 

  As in the past, participating vehicles in the Trunk R Treat will be parked on the outfield area of one or both fields at Municipal Park. 

  Hawkins said vehicle check-in for the vendors will begin at 4:30 p.m., and all cars or trucks must be in the field area and parked by 5:30 p.m. Late arrivals will not be allowed to enter. 

  There will be no electricity available on the field, so any displays on cars that need electric power will have to get it from the vehicles themselves or from batteries. Portable generators are not allowed on the field. 

  The actual Trunk R Treat will run from 6-8 p.m. Once vehicles are in place on the field, they will not be allowed to leave the area until the event ends at 8 p.m. 

  Businesses are encouraged to take part and are allowed to give out items to promote themselves. 

  All candy or edible treats given away must be pre-wrapped. No homemade goods of any kind are permitted. 

  Hawkins stressed that the Trunk R Treat is both family-friendly and kid-friendly. There should be no adult-themed displays or costumes. 

  Displays should not be designed to attack or disparage anyone, and no profanity or alcohol are allowed. 

  There are two contests currently planned in conjunction with Trunk R Treat, Hawkins said, one for best decorated trunk and one for most original. 

  Judging of both contests will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the winners will be announced at 7 p.m. 

  Copies of the registration form are available on the town of Hope Mills website or the Parks and Recreation Department Facebook page. 

  For those who need to meet someone face-to-face about the event, the recreation department offices are temporarily located in Town Hall on Rockfish Road. For other questions, call 910-426-4109. 

Photo:Mayor Jackie Warner at last year’s event. 

 

Hope Mills Calendar

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. 

Mayor’s Youth Leadership Committee, Monday, Oct. 22, 6 p.m., at Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall. 

Appearance Commission, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 6:30 p.m., at Parks and Recreation Building.* 

Senior Citizens Advisory Committee, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 4 p.m., at Hope Mills Parks Senior Center. 

Veterans Affairs Commission, Thursday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m. at Parks and Recreation Building.* 

Activities 

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. 

Pumpkin decorating for seniors Tuesday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-noon in the small activity room of Parks and Rec. No fee, but advanced sign-up is required. Only 20 pumpkins are available. Prizes will be awarded for the best three pumpkins. 

Ghostly Gala for seniors Wednesday, Oct. 31, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Parks and Rec community room. Advanced sign-up at the reception desk required. Costumes are preferred. There will be a costume contest and pumpkin decorating contest. Potluck social. Bring main dish, side dish or dessert. 

Trunk R Treat Wednesday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m. at Hope Mills Municipal Park. Anyone planning to bring a vehicle and give out treats at Trunk R Treat must fill out a form and turn it in by Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. Forms available at www.townofhopemills.com under Parks and Recreation. 

Hope Mills commissioners reject veteran retreat center: How did this happen?

10LSF On Oct. 8, the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners voted against selling a piece of land to the Lone Survivor Foundation. 

Here is a statement from Tim Byrom, board president of LSF: “We’re very disappointed with the actions of the (town of Hope Mills) board. I made plans to attend the November meeting and was hoping to discuss our offer with them in person. Of all the people I’ve spoken to, only a half dozen indicated they were opposed to this partnership, and three of them were the board members who voted against it. We want to thank the Hope Mills community for the generous support and encouragement they’ve provided. But now it’s time to refocus our efforts elsewhere.” 

LSF first established a facility in Crystal Beach, Texas, in 2010, and provides rehabilitation retreats to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma. More than 30 percent of the veterans treated at the Texas center came from the Southeast, so LSF has been scouting potential sites for a second retreat facility for more than a year. 

Terry Jung, who served as executive director for LSF until stepping down recently, presented the idea of establishing a local LSF center to the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners in a closed session on June 4. Five of the six board members were overwhelmingly in favor of the project. Commissioner Mike Mitchell was the only board member who showed hesitation. On June 5, the board directed town staff to contact LSF and let its representatives know the Hope Mills Board was excited to receive an official offer. But on June 11 when the town of hope Mills board met again, three of the commissioners were suddenly opposed to the idea and voted to deny the offer. 

At a July 23 Hope Mills board meeting, Jung spoke to the board again. Members of the audience were so moved by his comments and so enraged by the board’s actions, they signed up to speak on behalf of LSF. Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers made a motion to hold a public hearing, and one was scheduled for late August. But on Aug. 1, the board voted to cancel the hearing until the members had seen the results of a comprehensive parks and recreation study. Officially, the board members were waiting to know what the study indicated the town should do with the land LSF wanted to purchase. 

  The results of the study were presented Oct. 1 by Rachel Cotter, project manager for McAdams Group. The study indicated the municipality has more than enough land for current and future development. In fact, it has enough to cover the 10-year plan plus an additional 60 acres. Cotter’s presentation also indicated municipalities often choose to partner with outside organizations, such as LSF, to offset the costs of funding development projects. But the plan does not identify specific parcels of land to be developed or indicate what should be built on them. 

  While the results should have cleared the path for LSF’s purchase, it did not. Commissioner Meg Larson blasted McAdams Group during the Oct. 8 meeting. She indicated the study had been a waste of money and the information obtained could have been found in a Google search. 

  Larson made a similar claim several months ago when Hope Mills Public Works Director Hector Cruz presented information to the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners. Cruz resigned soon after. 

  Commissioner Jerry Legge echoed Larson’s comments and went on to say investing $87,000 into the survey on the off chance the town is able to obtain grant money was a poor investment. Both Larson and Legge voted to spend the $87,000 on the comprehensive plan earlier this year. And on the night of Oct. 8, they voted to have Cotter move on to the second phase of the survey, despite their reservations. 

  After the regular meeting, the board left for a closed session to discuss personnel issues. It’s common for the board to remain in closed session for an hour or more then reconvene to adjourn, so most of the staff and nearly all the audience members left. When the board reconvened just a few minute later, there were four people in the audience. Mitchell immediately made a motion to decline the offer from LSF. Bellflowers made a lengthy statement, arguing that the board members don’t own the land in question, but the people do. He said the board had an obligation to hold a public hearing not just because they said they would, but because the people of Hope Mills had a right to be heard. He also asked the board to seek an appraisal of the land before considering LSF’s offer. 

  But Larson interrupted to remind him there was a motion on the floor. Mayor Jackie Warner, who was visibly upset, insisted each board member give a reason for their decision as they voted. 

  Legge voted no and stated the land was never for sale. But the land was most definitely for sale as of June 5, when the board asked to receive a financial offer. Larson voted no because the board’s consensus on June 11 was to not sell. But that consensus pertained to LSF’s first offer to purchase 4 acres for $35,000. Mitchell voted no and stated an 8-1 margin of his constituents, including veterans, have spoken against it and asked him not to sell their land. 

  Bellflowers and Commissioner Pat Edwards both voted to sell the land to LSF. And Warner, who does not have a vote, went on record as being in favor of selling the land. She reminded the board of how much the town needed the money the sale would bring them and mentioned that it would be years before the board could even consider developing the land. 

  On the morning of Oct. 9, news of the board’s decision spread across social media. Wherein the board silenced them, the public found a platform on social media, and people are making their voices heard quite effectively. The discussion and vote weren’t on the agenda for this meeting. The public had a right to know prior to the decision. Hope Mills citizens had a right to be present, and they had a right to be heard. The hundreds of online comments indicate the people are furious and feel like the board manipulated the situation. 

  The comments also indicate the public won’t be silenced next November when this board is up for reelection. 

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