Hope Mills News

Gallberry Corn Maze back after brief hurricane delay

20gcm spookley pumpkin barn After a brief delay caused by Hurricane Florence, the popular Gallberry Corn Maze is back and better than ever at 5991 Braxton Road in the Gray’s Creek community. 

Originally scheduled to open Sept. 15, things finally got started at slightly reduced hours the weekend of Sept. 29. 

By the time this story publishes, corn maze spokesperson Jeannette McLean expects regular hours to resume from 5-10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday. 

The last tickets go on sale an hour before closing time each day. Admission is $10 per person ages 3-65. Military, county school employees and senior citizens 65 and older get a $1 discount. Groups of 20 or more also get a $1 discount. 

The admission fee covers basic entrance to the corn maze and children’s maze plus a host of activities, McLean said. The list includes a hay ride, barrel train ride, jumping pillows, interaction with farm animals including maze mascot Mr. Hee Haw the donkey, a double barrel tube slide, the giant fort over the double sand- box, and a corn shack with 6,000 pounds of corn to play in. 

One activity that comes with extra charge is playing with air cannons that shoot tennis balls. 

There is one new activity called rat rollers. McLean described it as huge corrugated plastic tubes that children get inside. They then navigate down a track made of plumbing pipe. “They work together, race down the pipes and turn around and roll back,’’ she said. 

The rat rollers is included in the general admission price. 

There is also a full concession stand featuring a variety of special items including things like fried corn on the cob, fried Oreos, fried honey buns and family-sized s’mores packs for the maze’s fire pit. 

A final decision hasn’t been made, but McLean said it’s likely the maze will be kept open an additional week to Nov. 11 since the opening was delayed by the hurricane. 

“We think the crop will hold up,’’ she said. They use sorghum instead of corn, and McLean said it generally stays greener than corn longer. 

For folks who are concerned about the mosquitoes that have descended on the area since the hurricane, there will be insect repellent available on-site, but spectators are encouraged to bring their own as well in case the problem continues. 

“Once it turns cooler, we won’t have a problem,’’ McLean said of the mosquitoes. 

For further information, check the Facebook page, Gallberry Corn Maze, go to www.gallberrymaze.com, or call 910-309-7582. 

MS golf tournament labor of love for Lockamy

19Amanda Lockamy When her daughter, Amanda Lockamy, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001, Linda Lockamy decided to channel her energy toward finding a cure for the disease.

As part of that commitment, she’s working on the ninth annual Tee It Up For MS Golf Tournament, which is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 19, at Cypress Lakes Golf Course.

Lockamy said the tournament isunlike some fundraisers becauseit’s deeply personal not only for her, but for many of the participants.

“I would say 90 percent of the people that play in this tournament know someone who is afflicted with MS,’’ she said. “They truly want a cure to be found.’’

According to the National MS Society, about 400,000 people in the United States have this disease, which attacks the central nervous system and causes a variety of prob- lems, including paralysis and loss of vision.

The golf tournament, which is affiliated with the annual MS walk held in the spring of the year, normally accounts for about a third of all money raised from Cumberland County annually toward fighting the disease.

For the second year, Coffman Plumbing is serving as the title sponsor of the tourna- ment, Lockamy said.

The format for the event remains the same: four- man captain’s choice teams, with an entry fee of $300 per team.

If a team would like to sponsor a hole as well, the fee is $350.

For any businesses that don’t want to play golf but would like to sponsor a hole only, that fee is $100. Lockamy suggested that politicians running for office who would like to post one of their signs on a hole can use the hole sponsorship as a way to do that while supporting a great cause.

In the wake of Hurricane Florence’s recent visit to the area, she suggested businesses might seek to honor area first responders by sponsoring a team of first responders to play in the tournament.

The entry fee includes a pig picking for all participants, along with a goody bag and a chance to win a variety of prizes donated by local businesses.

Lockamy said the deadline for entering the tournament is the Friday before play, Oct. 12.

Entry forms are available at the clubhouse at Cypress Lakes. You can also contact Lockamy at 910-977-8662 or via email at swanlock74@aol.com.

Photo: Amanda Lockamy

Florence forces Hope Mills to move one-stop voting

21Florence copyDamage caused to the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Center offices will force this year’s fall one-stop voting to relocate from there to the Gray’s Creek Recreation Center. 

Both Cumberland County Board of Elections officials and representatives of Hope Mills are hopeful that voting will return to the recreation center on Election Day in November. If it can’t, Election Day voting will move to Town Hall. 

Terri Robertson of the Cumberland County Board of Elections said she was informed there was dam- age to the center that could not be guaranteed to be repaired by the time one-stop voting begins Oct. 17. 

Robertson said nothing about one-stop voting will change in Hope Mills except the location. Hours of operation will be the same. To confirm what those are, visit the Board of Elections website at www.co-Cum-berland.nc.us/departments/election-group/elections. 

Adams said the recreation center had already been scheduled for repairs caused by possible condensation from the air conditioner before Hurricane Florence arrived. The storm did further damage to the roofing, which led to interior leaking and damage inside the building. 

The repairs of the earlier damage have been rescheduled to coincide with the repair of the roof. 

Adams said the town is in the process of getting bids on the repair work. While insurance will pay for some of the cost, she said the matter will likely have to go before the Board of Commissioners for approval. 

If the bids are obtained in time, she hoped to make the presentation at the board meeting scheduled for Oct. 8. If the bids weren’t available by then, she indicated a special meeting may have to be called since she didn’t want to wait until the next scheduled meeting on Oct. 22 to get approval to begin the repairs. 

In addition to forcing a change in one-stop voting, the damage to the recreation center has forced parks and recreation staff to temporarily relocate to space in Town Hall so they can continue planning for the town’s big Ole Mill Days and Trunk or Treat events coming up later this month. 

The damage has also disrupted the schedule of many regular activities held at the recreation center. 

“We are terribly sorry for the inconvenience for events scheduled at parks and recreation,’’ Adams said. “We are trying to work as quickly as possible so they don’t have to be disrupted any longer than they have to be. 

“We apologize and ask for the public’s patience.’’ 

Fall Festival institution at Gallberry Farm Elementary

18Llama kiss In past years, Gallberry Farm Elementary School Principal Dawn Collins has kissed a rabbit and a pig at the school’s annual Fall Festival. 

Now she’s bracing to pucker up for a llama. Again. 

The vote to determine if Collins or Assistant Principal Natasha Norris gets to be a little too personal with the llama is one of the highlights of this year’s annual event. It’s scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12, from 5-8 p.m. at
the school of about 1,000 students. 

Collins started the festival about eight years ago after becoming principal because she felt they needed some kind of community outreach that would involve the school and surrounding area. 

“We talked about a spring fling, but so many children are involved in sports in this community (that) we decided the response would be better in the fall.’’ 

The event is always scheduled on the same Friday when Gray’s Creek High School has an open date on its football schedule. Collins said that’s because she borrows a host of volunteers from the high school student body, pulling from organizations like Future Farmers of America, Student Government Association, National Honor Society, JROTC and the school’s technology academy. 

“We truly do not have enough staff to pull this off on our own,’’ she said. 

She was briefly worried that Hurricane Florence was going to disrupt this year’s football schedule and possibly wreck the festival, but she remained hopeful things would work out, and they did. 

After Hurricane Matthew hit the area in 2016, Collins said Gallberry had the most successful fall festival in school history. She’s hoping for similar results this year. “People were looking for something happy and positive to do,’’ she said. “That’s what we’re hoping now. We know there is a lot of loss in the community. We are hoping we can bring them back together for something lighthearted.’’ 

For Collins, that probably means kissing a llama again this year. Last year she lost the vote to Norris, and she’s already fearful it will go against her again this time. 

She plans to use the same strategy for kissing the llama as last time. 

“I tried to go to the side, kiss him on the side of the mouth, and when I did, he turned his whole face to mine,’’ she said. “The kids love it.’’ 

Anyone from the Gallberry or Gray’s Creek community is welcome to attend, whether they have a child attending the school or not, Collins said. 

An entry fee of $10 gets you an armband that pro- vides admission to a host of activities, the highlight of which is the haunted hallway, a hallway in the school building that features child-friendly scares and thrills. There will also be a trunk-or-treat event and unlimited access to an assortment of games. 

The armband also covers a hot dog, drink and chips. 

There will be additional food items on sale that can be purchased either for cash or with tickets that can be bought on-site, $5 for 20 tickets. All transactions on site will be cash. An ATM will be available. 

Collins said the festival is by far the school’s biggest fundraiser each year and holds a special place both for faculty and students. 

“It makes me feel very positive about the culture of our school,’’ she said. “It’s just a great community event.’’ 

Hope Mills Lowe’s assists Alabama cleanup volunteers with needed supplies

14Lowes staff who helped load up the donation for the Alabama volunteers. 15Alabama Baptist volunteers with donations from LowesIn the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells his followers to ask and it will be given to them. 

Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner learned that in a time of natural disaster, the Lowe’s store in Hope Mills takes that admonition literally. 

Immediately after Hurricane Florence came and went through Hope Mills, a disaster relief team from the Alabama Baptist State Convention arrived at Southview Baptist Church on Elk Road and set up operations with their mobile trailer. 

They were here to provide meals for various relief shelters around the county. 

Warner stopped by to introduce herself to the Alabama visitors and ask if there was anything she could do to help. 

As it turned out, there was. A second wave of vol­unteers from Alabama would be arriving within days to help with the cleanup. Unlike the cooking team in the trailer, they would not be coming fully equipped for the job they wanted to tackle. 

They provided Warner with a shopping list, a rather lengthy one. It included items like rakes, wheelbarrows, masks, safety glasses, gloves and protective suits for cleaning up hazardous substances like asbestos. 

Warner immediately turned to Jennifer McMillan, the manager at the Hope Mills Lowe’s, which opened about a year and a half ago. 

“Lowe’s has come in and become a part of the Hope Mills community,’’ Warner said. “They started by making a contribution to the special needs playground we’re going to set up. Anything we need, they’ll support.’’ 

McMillan wasn’t working that day, but Warner gave her the shopping list and McMillan’s team at Lowe’s took care of the request. 

McMillan told Warner to give her a number on how much of each item she needed. The folks from Alabama gave Warner an estimate but would have been glad to get anything they could, she said. 

Warner said Lowe’s came through with 35 pairs of work gloves, 30 masks, 30 pairs of safety glasses and protective suits, along with 10 rakes and six wheelbarrows. 

“I went there for whatever I might get, and they gave us exactly what I needed,’’ Warner said. 

McMillan, who saw the damage Hurricane Matthew did to Hope Mills, said Lowe’s isn’t just a for-profit organization. We are an organization that is there specifically to take care of the community,’’ she said. “We position ourselves to be available, especially in areas that are impacted.’’ 

McMillan said Warner has been an avid supporter of Lowe’s since it came to Hope Mills as well as a good customer. “When she came, we knew there was going to be a need in the community,’’ McMillan said. “We wanted to be there to support the community from Lowe’s perspective and to be able to support the mayor as well.’’ 

McMillan said it comes down to basic human kind­ness. “We care about our communities. We live in our communities, and we want to make sure everything gets back to normal as quickly as possible and that those in need have the ability to provide solutions for themselves as quickly as possible,’’ she said. 

“They have become a great team member of Hope Mills,’’ Warner said. 

As for cleanup of the entire town, Warner said Hope Mills is ahead of where it was after Hurricane Matthew came through.

“I believe the difference between Matthew and Florence is we were prepared,” Warner said. “People have started signing on to FEMA because they have the contact information. We already have trash and debris pickup.”

Photo: A group from the Hope Mills Lowe’s (left) helped provide supplies for volunteers who came from the Alabama Baptist State Convention (right) 

 

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