Hope Mills News

Hope Mills Memorial Day observance

Hope Mills Veterans MemorialIf it was William Greene’s call, there would be an observance of Memorial Day year round, not just during the final week of May annually.
“These people raised their hands and volunteered,’’ said Greene, who serves as the post adjutant and quartermaster for the Hope Mills Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10630. “These people have died for your freedoms. You’ve got to stop and give thanks for that.’’
Hope Mills has long paid tribute to fallen members of the military on Memorial Day, and this year will be no exception.
The tribute will take place Monday at 4 p.m. at the war memorial located adjacent to the Hope Mills Recreation Center on Rockfish Road. Numerous groups and organizations will take part in the ceremony, and the general public is invited to attend. 
“It’s anyone in the community,’’ Greene said. “We need to give thanks. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be where we are today and have the freedoms we have. To me, that’s really the main point.’’
Greene will serve as master of ceremonies of the event, which will begin with opening remarks and the invocation from Grilley Mitchell, the chaplain for the Hope Mills VFW post.
Two young people, Angeline Vela and Alia Palmer, who were winners of the VFW Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy essay contests, will share their prize-winning entries.
Memorial 2Mayor Jackie Warner will read the town proclamation in recognition of Memorial Day, and the names of three Hope Mills veterans who passed away will be added to the monument at the memorial. They include former town commissioner Bob Gorman, former mayor Al Brafford and Lt. Kathryn Bailey, who was lost in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in August of 2017.
A variety of organizations will present flower arrangements in memory of the fallen. That will be followed by the rendering of honors by Sgt. Richard Schwartz and soldiers from the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion at Fort Bragg. The program will close with the singing of God Bless America and the National Anthem.
Afterward, everyone is invited to enjoy refreshments at the recreation center.
The VFW Post will also hold a smaller ceremony earlier in the day at 2 p.m. at the newly-constructed pier on Hope Mills lake. They will unveil a bench on the pier dedicated to the memory of Vietnam veterans.
Greene said the bench was dedicated months ago but had to wait to be installed after the pier was constructed. He said the VFW post may add a second bench later in memory of Korean War veterans.
“It feels really good to bring the community in on all these events,’’ he said.
Photo caption, bottom: This floral arrangement will be presented during the Memorial Day service in Hope Mills. It’s from Project Healing Waters, an organization that helps introduce physically and emotionally disabled military service personnel to fly fishing. It was designed by Debbie Jones of Hope Mills Plaza Florist.

Hope Mills readies for Fourth of July pageant

10pagThe annual beauty pageant held in conjunction with Ole Mills Days in the fall has been a success for the past few years in Hope Mills, and town officials are expecting similar results from the new Fourth of July pageant that will debut Friday, June 22.

The new pageant is part of the extended celebration of both the Fourth of July and the return of Hope Mills Lake.

The Fourth of July pageant will take place over a two-day period from June 22-23, both times in the gymnasium at the Hope Mills Recreation Center. Both events will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Kenny Bullock, who heads up the recreation department for the town, will oversee the pageant, which will determine winners in five different age groups.

The divisions will be 3-5, 6-9, 10-12, 13-16 and 17-22. 

All contestants must be Cumberland County residents and pay an entry fee of $30 each. Entry forms are available at the recreation center

The deadline for entry is June 1, but this date may be extended if there aren’t enough entries in each of the five age groups

Bullock said they will be aiming for a minimum of five to six entries in each age group with a maximum of 20 per age group.

The entry fee is used to cover the cost of the competition since the town has not allotted any funds to cover the expense. Bullock said they will also seek outside sponsors to cover the cost.

Bullock said the gym at Hope Mills Recreation Center was chosen to host the pageant after the town was unable to find a local school where it could be held.

“We tried several schools,’’ Bullock said. “During the summer it’s hard to get into the schools because they are stripping and waxing the floors, trying to get schools ready. It was hard to fit the pageant in before the summer schedule.’’

In addition to issues dealing with regular summer maintenance at the schools, Bullock also said the summer schedule of the county schools is a problem since they are closed from Friday through Sunday during those months. 

“It’s hard trying to get someone to come in, open the building and stuff,’’ he said. They also looked into using recreation or community buildings at local churches but were unable to find one suitable.

In addition to housing the actual pageant, Bullock said the recreation center also offers space to have dressing rooms for the contestants so they can be split up according to age group.

Bullock said the seating capacity of the gym, with bleachers and chairs set up on the floor, is 400. Tickets, which are $5 each, will be sold at the recreation center. Staff will keep count of the tickets sold to make sure capacity isn’t exceeded, Bullock said.

Each contestant will get one free ticket to give to a family member or friend.

Bullock said the pageant judges will be chosen from outside Cumberland County to try to ensure that none of them know any of the pageant contestants. He said judges will be sought who have previous pageant judging experience, possibly even at the national level.

The pageant will begin on Friday evening, June 22, with the competition for the youngest age group. “They get tired early,’’ Bullock said of the smaller children. “That night, they’ll be done, and they won’t be there until 10 or 11.’’

The remainder of the contestants will take the stage the following day. Bullock said there would not be a talent competition, but the contestants in the two oldest categories will have an onstage interview question during the competition.

We’re looking at natural beauty and stage presence,’’ Bullock said. Contestants are not allowed to wear fake eyelashes or wigs, only naturally-looking, age-appropriate makeup.

For any questions about the pageant, call 910-426-4107.


Student sculptures grace Hope Mills landscape

09Hope Mills sculpture 2The town of Hope Mills is known statewide for opportunities it offers for athletics, recreation and senior citizens. Now Mayor Jackie Warner is trying to expand its cultural horizons by putting a little art on local display.

It’s been two years since Warner went to a meeting of the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County on behalf of Hope Mills to learn about ways she might bring art into the community.

About the same time, her son, Teddy Warner, was working with the city of Laurinburg when it had a relationship with the University of North Carolina at Pembroke to try and do the same thing.

Warner’s idea was to get outdoor sculptures to be displayed in public locations like Hope Mills Lake and the park near Town Hall.

She spoke with Adam Walls, a sculpture instructor at UNC-Pembroke.

Walls came and made presentations to the Hope Mills Town of Commissioners. The plan was for the town to spend $3,000 on purchasing materials for Walls’ art students at Pembroke. In return, they would create original works of sculpture with the town-purchased materials and give them to the town.

Laurinburg didn’t have an agreement with the students on what happened to the art, so Warner and Hope Mills struck a deal. At the end of a year of display, the town could have the option of buying the art from each student, at a cost of $300 per sculpture, based on 10 sculptures for the total of $3,000 for materials.

If the town doesn’t buy the artwork, it will go back to the student and the town will get a new piece to replace it.

For future funding for the project, Warner said she spoke to Deborah Mintz of the Arts Council about writing a grant and getting funding from the council.

“The Arts Council would love to help fund this project so that it will instill in Hope Mills the same kinds of things they’re trying to do in Fayetteville and other areas,’’ Warner said.

The sculptures began showing up in Hope Mills earlier this month, some at Hope Mills Lake and some near Town Hall.

Warner said the various projects now on display are largely constructed from recycled metal, everything from old grate and drain covers to metal poles.

Warner said she hopes to continue putting art on display in other ways in the near future. Part of the upcoming lake celebration in Hope Mills will include art and jazz performances.

“We’re going to have artists down there painting and doing sculpture,’’ she said. “We’re just trying to promote art in Hope Mills.’’

For the time being, Warner said, the focus on art will be outdoors, dealing mainly with metal sculpture.

In the long term, she’d like to offer painting, but finding a place to display paintings is a problem.

“We have to come up with a venue or display area,’’ Warner said. There is a possible limited option for display in Town Hall, she said. The parks and recreation building wouldn’t be suitable because it’s so busy.

Warner said the town may have to limit art displays to those times when special events are going on like the lake celebration.

Once the town builds its long-awaited museum to celebrate its mill village history, Warner said that’s a possible location to display local art.

“I’m tickled we are doing this,’’ she said. “This was something I wanted to do way back when I was first elected mayor and couldn’t get the support for it. Once the Arts Council got involved and they started offering the opportunity for Hope Mills, it just fell into place.’’



For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Acting Deputy Town Clerk Tiffany Gillstedt at 910-426-4112. Most meetings take place at Town Hall.

Veterans Affairs Commission Thursday, May 24, 7 p.m.

Board of Commissioners Monday, June 4. A public hearing on the proposed FY 2018-2019 Budget will be held. Citizens Academy Graduation will take place that evening as well. Students will be presented with a plaque displaying their certificate of completion.


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

Town offices closed for Memorial Day Monday, May 28.

Memorial Day Ceremony at Hope Mills Municipal Park. 4 p.m. Free.

Fall sports registration June 1-July 28. $30 per child; $15 late fee after registration deadline. Season begins Sept. 8. Call 910-426-4109 for more information.

Daddy/Daughter Dinner & Dance Saturday, June 9, 6 p.m. $50 per couple plus $20 for each additional ticket purchased. Call 910-426-4107 to RSVP by June 1.

First Annual 4th of July Pageant Friday-Saturday, June 22-23. Pageant registration deadline is June 1. For more information, call 910-426-4107.

Promote yourself: To include your business’s event, email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

Hope Mills Lake swimming a muddy issue

17Hope Mills Lake 2There’s no swimming in Hope Mills Lake for the time being, but it appears town officials will be swimming through a lot of red tape in the weeks ahead to get approval before residents can take advantage of the restored town landmark. 

According to Beth Brown, the town’s stormwater administrator, there’s no one on the town staff with a background in lake management. Brown said her background is in stormwater and stream standards, adding that the rules governing lakes are considerably different.

Microbac Laboratories on Hope Mills Road, which does stormwater testing for the town, was asked to conduct a test of the water in the lake.

Town manager Melissa Adams shared a report on the results of the test at the most recent meeting of the town’s board of commissioners.

The swimming area tested over the regulatory limit for fecal coliform, a form of bacteria commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals.

The bacteria itself isn’t likely to cause illness, according to information on the N.C. Public Health website, but its presence in water indicates other disease-causing organisms could be in the water.

The next steps involved in determining the quality of the water in the lake are in the hands of outside agencies, Brown and Adams said.

Those two agencies are a company called Mogensen Mitigation and the North Carolina Division of Water Resources.

When water returned to Hope Mills Lake earlier this year, the town was required to have a contract with Mogensen Mitigation starting on May 1.

Mogensen will test the lake for dissolved oxygen, temperature and water depth for the first year water is impounded in the lake.

This is done in accordance with requirements from the Division of Water Resources and the U.S.Army Corps of Engineers.

However, these tests have nothing to do with the safety of the water for human swimming. They are involved with determining the quality of the water for the aquatic life in the lake.

How safe the water is for swimming falls under the jurisdiction of the Division of Water Resources.

“We have reached out to the Division of Water Resources to try to find out who is responsible for testing and what parameters we need to be testing for to determine if it’s safe for public swimming,’’ Brown said. There is a Fayetteville office for the Division of Water Services, but as of May 8, Brown said no one from that office had responded or given any indication when they would respond.

Swimming in the lake was suspended immediately, effective May 4. Adams said the town was caught by surprise that people were already swimming this early and decided to institute the ban for the safety of everyone.

While swimming is temporarily banned, Adams said people are not prohibited from using the lake for boating and fishing as long as they don’t go into the water.

All fishing at the lake is catch and release until the fish population is allowed to grow.

If the safety of the water becomes a greater concern, Adams said there could be later discussion about curtailing boating activities as well.

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