Hope Mills News

Harmony holds Fall Family Festival

16 01 hair stuff


Due to the threat of severe weather Saturday from Tropical Storm Nestor, the Fall Family Festival at Harmony at Hope Mills has been postponed to a later date.

Harmony at Hope Mills, an assisted living facility, is still somewhat new to the Hope Mills community. It’s located at 7051 Rockfish Road, a short distance from Jack Britt High School.

To help introduce itself and to give back to the town it hopes to serve, Harmony is holding a Fall Family Festival on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“We want to say thank you and bring the community together as well, as with our families that are currently residents,’’ said Taneshia Morris, the move-in coordinator at Harmony.

Harmony is partnering with the group that sponsors the annual Cut My City event to offer a variety of activities and services to anyone who would like to take part, especially members of the senior citizens community.

One of the big features of the festival will be free haircuts and some makeovers.

Hair dressers and professional makeup artists will be on-hand to help with the makeovers.

Morris said Harmony has reached out to local churches to ask them to nominate deserving members as candidates for the makeovers.

Around 2 p.m., Harmony will hold a seniors fashion show for anyone ages 60 and up. Morris said the fashion show will be complete with a catwalk for the participants.

16 02 harmonyThere will also be senior games, carnival style, with prizes for the participants.

Other events will include a photo booth, an antique car show, a cornhole competition and a variety of food trucks.

Anyone who would like to find out additional information about the event or RSVP for the makeovers or the fashion show is asked to call by Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the latest.

The number is 910-635-0555.

“We just want people to know we are here,’’ Morris said.

Pig racing added to popular Gallberry Corn Maze

15 01 goatsThe popular Gallberry Corn Maze is back for a sixth season of weekend fun for families, with a special added attraction this year.

“We are doing pig racing,’’ said Jeanette McLean, spokesperson for the corn maze.

They try to get in at least two pig races during Friday’s hours for the corn maze and as many as three or four during their longer hours on Saturday.

This year’s hours are 5-10 p.m. on Friday, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The last tickets are sold each day one hour before closing.

The pigs have their own track at the corn maze, the Gallberry Nas-Hawg Speedway.

The four competing critters are named Earnhawg Jr., Danica Porkchop, Stinkerbelle (a Southern pig, of course) and Spongehawg Spampants.

The pigs are Gloucestershire old spots and were originally bred as orchard pigs. “They are actually leaner, longer pigs and aren’t messy,’’ McLean said. “They don’t root as much as a farm pig does.’’

Each pig is assigned a number and a color prior to the race and children that come to the corn maze are encouraged to cheer for the 15 02 Corn Maze signpig of their choice to win.

In addition to the racing pigs, Galberry continues with many of its traditional attractions that have made the corn maze a fall hit.

There is the jumping pillow along with a wide assortment of farm animals. They include Hee Haw the Donkey, baby goats and baby peacocks, Tom Tom the Turkey and rabbits.

Other attractions include a giant corn shack with 6,000 pounds of corn, various slides, a climbing wall, cornhole games, tic tac toe played with Styrofoam pumpkins, a barrel train and a hayride.

Of course, the main attractions are the two mazes, a one-acre children’s maze and the five-acre main maze. McLean estimates it takes about 45 minutes to walk through both mazes.

Flashlights are required in the maze after dark. They are available for sale at the concession stand but McLean said most customers use the light on their cellphones.

Tickets are $11 for everyone ages 3-65. Children under three are free. Cumberland County school teachers, seniors 66 and over and military can get a $1 discount with proper identification.

The hay ride stops at dusk for safety reasons.

All sales are cash only and there is an ATM at the main ticket gate.

The only thing a ticket doesn’t include is the popular air cannons which are three shots for $1.

Pumpkins and all food from the concession stand cost extra.

Concession items include water, soft drinks, juice boxes, funnel cakes, fried Oreos, honey buns, corn dogs, hot dogs, nachos with chili and cheese and fried corn on the cob. There are also S’Mores kits available. Fire pits are also provided.

The Gallberry Corn Maze, located on 5991 Braxton Rd., is open through Nov. 3. For more information, visit the Facebook page, Gallberry Corn Maze, the website, gallberrycornmaze.com, or call McLean at 910-309-7582.



Young Creed Kolasa battles rare disorder

17 CreedPictures and videos of 7-year-old Creed Kolasa don’t show anything unusual except a youngster with an effervescent smile who quickly charms his way into the hearts of anyone he comes in contact with.

“He is so funny,’’ said his mother, Jessica Kolasa. “He comes up with the most off-the-wall comments. And he has no filter. He loves people and his smile just melts you.’’

He is a huge fan of dinosaurs, with Tyrannosaurus Rex his clear favorite. His mom isn’t sure why, but she thinks possibly it’s because of the dinosaur’s ferocious roar.

With his cherubic face and small stature, Creed doesn’t look like a formidable adversary, but he, his family and all the available tools of modern medicine are fighting back with everything they have against a potentially fatal disease that has beset him since birth.

Creed is among an estimated 200,000 people worldwide suffering from a rare disorder called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Creed’s body is unable to produce a protein called dystrophin that helps with normal muscle function.

He was born four weeks premature and suffered issues with breathing and jaundice. At one time, it was thought he would need a liver transplant.

Creed’s father, Doren Kolasa, was transferred to Fort Bragg not long after his Creed’s birth. Although the family lives in Eastover, Doren is a successful coach in the Hope Mills Dixie Youth program.

He led his Hope Mills Angels 10U team to the Dixie Youth state title last summer and a berth in the Dixie Youth World Series in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Creed plays youth sports in Hope Mills, currently competing in the 8U fall baseball league.

Jessica eventually took the infant Creed to the emergency room at the University of North Carolina after being unable to find a doctor in Fayetteville who would treat a patient as young as Creed.

It was at UNC Hospitals that a resident who had studied Duchenne made the diagnosis when Creed was six months old.

She said the family was told at the time there were no treatments for someone as young as Creed. So Jessica Kolasa began her own quest to find a doctor somewhere who would give Creed the weapons he needed to fight Duchenne.
“I started reading what kind of therapies have helped slow the progression of the disease and the natural history of it,’’ she said.

Eventually, they turned to Duke University and found Dr. Edward Smith. Smith is an associate professor of pediatrics at Duke in the division of neurology.

“I’m the doctor here who sees all the kids with suspected or known muscle and nerve diseases,’’ Smith said. “We follow about 140 Duchenne patients now, kids and adults.’’

Duchenne is unique to boys, Smith said, and in most cases you don’t see outward signs of the disease until two or three years of age. He said they look essentially normal by the age of three or four and then signs appear like not being able to keep up with children their age or having difficulty standing or going up and down stairs.

Over time, things get worse. They lose the ability to walk by age 10 or 12, then eventually lose arm function. Since the heart is a muscle, it is also affected over time. By the time the patient reaches the age of 30, they are in a wheelchair and can barely move.

Standard care of Duchenne includes administering steroids, which basically help the patient to walk a little longer. The Kolasas went to Duke to try an experimental therapy that it offers.

Creed was originally taking a drug called Vamorolone, a newly synthesized steroid molecule. It basically does the same thing the other steroids do, with hopefully fewer side effects.

Currently, he’s switched to another drug that helps his body with a process called Exon skipping. In layman’s terms, this drug is sort of a molecular patch. The faulty gene in Creed’s body is tricked into producing the dystrophin protein that helps his muscles do their job.

Smith said it’s not the normal level of dystrophin that the body produces, but any dystrophin that can be created will slow the advance of the disease and help Creed to live as normally as possible for a longer time.

Research is ongoing into even better ways to get the body to produce the needed dystrophin Smith said. Advanced gene therapy is looking at a way to deliver a micro dystrophin gene through a virus that would carry the gene to the muscles and turn on dystrophin production. “There are currently three trials going on in the United States with three different companies,’’ Smith said. “It looks promising.’’

Life goes on at a hectic pace for Creed and family. He has regular occupational and physical therapy sessions, along with speech therapy, to help him battle what the lack of dystrophin does to his muscles.

He makes weekly visits to Duke for an infusion of the Exon, skipping medication he’s currently using. He’s had 115 visits to date. In each one, he undergoes an hour-long infusion of the drug, then has to wait an additional hour to be observed for a reaction.

Not surprisingly, he’s no stranger to all the folks at Duke. “He is on a first-name basis with half the hospital,’’ Smith said.

That is likely one of the reasons Creed was front and center at the recent Duke Children’s Gala, an annual benefit held to raise money for Duke Children’s.

Blue Devil basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and his family were honored for their support of Duke Children’s. Creed was called to the stage to share his story, and to receive an autographed basketball from Krzyzewski.

I just loved Creed being able to go up on stage and tell his story, lighten up the room,’’ Jessica said, “being able to bring awareness to Duchenne and raise some money for the hospital.’’

But while the moment in the spotlight was special, Jessica and her family face the reality of daily challenges seeking the best care for Creed while raising a family of three other children ages ranging in age from 12 to three.

“It’s a tough balance,’’ she said. “There have been a lot of tears shed by my other kids when they wanted to do something and know they can’t because I can’t pick them up at that time.

“It really pulls on my heart because I’ve had to see them mature faster, but the love they have for him (Creed) overshadows all of that.’’

Meanwhile, Jessica says she and her family pray daily for a miracle that will deliver Creed from the grip of Duchenne and allow him to lead a normal life.

“We also have learned life isn’t about things, it’s about memories,’’ she said. “We try to soak in everything we can, possibly soak in with him and all four kids.

“That’s what life’s about. Making memories.’’

And keeping them alive as long as possible.

Pictured:Creed Kolasa gets autographed basketball from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Photo credit: Les Todd for Duke Children’s

Hope Mills again hosts Trunk R Treat event

14 01 TRUNK R TREAT 1Trunk R Treat announcement: Due to the threat of inclement weather, the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department will host this year's Trunk R Treat event inside the Hope Mills Recreation Center from 6-8 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 31. Doors will open promptly at 6 p.m. 

The Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department continues its safe alternative to door-to-door trick or treating on Halloween with the annual Trunk R Treat event at Hope Mills Municipal Park on Rockfish Road.
This year’s Trunk R Treat is scheduled Oct. 31 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Family fun will again be the focus according to Meghan Freeman of the parks and recreation staff. Free music will be provided by Cumulus Media and there will be a costume contest. All costumes are asked to be family appropriate with no drugs, alcohol or profanity.

Freeman said the Trunk R Treat will be a free-flowing event with no single-file line for people to stand in as they go from trunk to trunk to collect candy. Families are asked to make sure each child has a bag to collect candy in.

For individuals, businesses or organizations that want to have a vehicle at the event handing out candy, they must preregister by Monday, Oct. 21.

The form they have to fill out includes information like business, organization or individual name, mailing address, a contact name, phone number and email address, along with make and model of the vehicle and the type of vehicle.
They also need to specify how many parking spaces the vehicle will require.

Anyone giving anything away from a vehicle is reminded that no homemade treats are permitted. All food items given away must be prepackaged and sealed when they are handed out.

Those taking part in the candy giveaway also should not hold any prize giveaways or games that would cause people to have to stop and stay at an individual vehicle, slowing down movement of the participants past the various vehicles.

14 02 Halloween Vehicles registered to take part in Trunk R Treat need to arrive as early as 4:30 p.m. and no later than 5:30 p.m.

Gates won’t open to the public until 6 p.m. sharp, Freeman said.

“There’s no reason for them to come super, super early,’’ she said.

Parking will be available behind the recreation center, at Rockfish Elementary School across the street and at the nearby public library. The cars giving away treats will be set up in the lot closest to the outdoor basketball court Freeman said.

For questions or concerns about Trunk R Treat, call Freeman at 910-426-4109 or email her at mhawkins@townofhopemills.com


Picture 1: Mayor Jackie Warner dressed in costume with her car at a previous Trunk R Treat.

Picture 2: Trunk R Treat, hosted by The Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department is a safe alternative to door-to-door trick or treating.

Hope Mills sets outreach for community’s homeless, disadvantaged

16 AlmsHouseThere’s a calendar day to celebrate just about everyone and everything it seems — even the homeless. But Kenjuana McCray and the people from the Community Awareness Alliance plan to do more with World Homeless Day than recognize the homeless. Their goal is to provide them with tangible help.

The ALMS HOUSE in Hope Mills will host a feeding and food drive on Friday, Oct. 11, which is actually the day after the official observance of World Homeless Day on Oct. 10.

The Community Awareness Alliance is a Cumberland County organization that helps promote concern for the homeless locally, according to McCray, who was asked to help bring an event for the homeless to Hope Mills.

“This is the first time World Homeless Day has ever been recognized countywide in Cumberland County,’’ McCray said. “It is something done all over the United States.’’

She chose Oct. 11, the day after World Homeless Day, for the observance in Hope Mills because it worked better for the schedules of those she wanted to involve in the event.

“It was supposed to be something where it’s not just a Fayetteville thing,’’ she said. “They wanted all the municipalities represented, to do something to bring awareness to the homeless.’’

McCray said she also involved Grilley Mitchell of the Hope Mills Festival Committee in the planning for the World Homeless Day observance.

The Hope Mills observance of World Homeless Day will take place at the ALMS HOUSE on Ellison Street. The event has been in the planning since last November, McCray said. The ALMS HOUSE was chosen as the site because it is already involved in helping to feed the homeless in the Hope Mills community.

McCray said representatives of the culinary department from Fayetteville Technical Community College, where she works, will be on hand to provide a free meal of hot soup and bread for any homeless and low income families who would like to eat.

The free meal is also available to anyone who comes to the event to donate nonperishable food items or toiletries to give to those in need.

The food items and toiletries will be shared between the ALMS HOUSE and the FTCC Food Pantry.

As far as toiletries are concerned items like soap, toothpaste and deodorant are always welcome. “Those are sometimes forgotten items,’’ McCray said. “They are things low income and homeless people could really use and need.’’
The time for the free soup is listed from noon until 1 p.m. but McCray said they will most likely continue to serve those who attend until the supply runs out.

In addition to the food and donations, there will be information available to those attending regarding services for the homeless and low income families.

Lindsey Wofford will represent an organization called Seth’s Wish, which supports low-income and homeless people in the county. “They do clothing drives, food drives and all kinds of things,’’ McCray said of Seth’s Wish.

McCray said Wofford would share information about the various services provided by Seth’s Wish.

Also present will be Christine Sheets of the Hope Mills office of the State Employees Credit Union.

Sheets will have an informational table set up to share services that the SECU offers for low income families like low-cost life insurance and nominally-priced income tax preparation.

“I know a homeless person is not necessarily looking for that, but a low-income family might use some of the advantages the SECU provides,’’ McCray said. “It’s not only feeding the homeless and people that are low-income. It’s showing them other resources that are in the community and that can assist them.’’

The Students for Social Justice at FTCC will be on hand to help with the collection of the items people bring to donate.

For any questions about the event, contact McCray at kenjuanamccray09@gmail.com or contact her during office hours at FTCC, 910-494-1352.

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