Hope Mills News

Reece continues public sharing of breast cancer struggle

13ReeceNunny Reece has been open during her two-year battle with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. She has shared regular posts on Facebook about her journey and her crusade to increase treatment options for people like her who are suffering with the advanced stage of the disease.

A new treatment she is undergoing has pushed her to another challenge in her battle: the loss of her hair. But like everything else she’s endured with battling cancer, Reece decided to take control of the issue.

Instead of waiting for her hair to fall out in clumps, she attacked it head-on. She invited some family and friends to join her, drove herself to a Hope Mills barber shop, and had everyone watch as Victor Fontanez shaved her head bald.

It was an emotional decision for Reece, who has for years seen her purple-colored locks as a statement of who she is. She said getting her hair done is something that makes her feel pretty.

She asked Fontanez to shave her head because he had been a longtime friend of Reece’s sons when they attended school together in the South View district. “He was really, really great making me go through this transition,’’ Reece said.

Nine members of her family came out for the event, including her three sons. She was surprised by one cousin who drove all the way from Greensboro to take part.

Moving forward, Reece is leaning toward remaining bald and not wearing a wig or any other covering for her head. Her first plan was to wear a purple wig made by friends because she feared that her 9-year-old son might be scared seeing his mother with no hair.

Reece said she was afraid he might think the treatment she was getting wasn’t working and that was why she went bald. “I had to explain with this new medication it’s going to bring mommy’s hair out but it’s going to help mommy live,’’ she said.

If she does wear a wig, it will be to special events, like next February, when she plans to renew her wedding vows with her husband.

“We’re hoping by then my hair will grow back,’’ she said. “If it doesn’t, I will wear one for the wedding.’’

Reece said the message she’s trying to send to women like herself is it’s OK to go through the emotional side of things, to cry and to be upset. “It’s our truth,’’ she said. “It’s something we have to deal with, something we have to go through.’’

She’s also sending a message to families of women who are dealing with breast cancer. “I hope other family members understand and try to be supportive,’’ she said.

“I just want to enjoy in the blessing that I’m still here with my family and my friends, that I still have life.’’

Picture:  Nunny Reece at First Impressions barber shop with her sons: Tylan (top left), Ryan (lower left) and Tavon (upper right).

Fireworks likely to remain at Hope Mills Municipal Park

15BrettHamAnyone longing for the days when the fireworks on the Fourth of July were launched from the bridge on the dam at Hope Mills Lake is going to have to keep on longing.

Changes to the local fire code over the years make it unlikely that the fireworks display will be moving back to the lake from its current home at the Hope Mills Municipal Park athletic fields on Rockfish Road.

Brett Ham is the fire marshal for the Hope Mills area. He handles fire safety inspections as well as fire investigations and fire safety education.

Ham, who’s been in the fire safety business for 22 years, said the protocol on handling fireworks has gotten stricter in recent years, resulting in tighter regulations.

“Technically what has happened is (that) the higher a (fireworks) shell flies in the air, the farther you have to extend the safety distance for spectators,’’ Ham said.

Because of that, the size of the shells used has to be adjusted to decrease the amount of a safety distance required. For example, at Municipal Park, the largest shell they can use to stay within safety limits is a three-inch shell.

It would seem the lake would be a perfect location to launch fireworks with all of that water for them to land in and extinguish them. But landing’s not the problem. It’s providing a safe place for the people handling the fireworks to launch them.

Ham said there are multiple issues that make the lake a difficult place for launching fireworks because of the code restrictions.

One of the biggest is that if they are launched from the bridge, the people doing the launching don’t have enough options for where they can escape if something goes wrong.

“They don’t want to jump off the bridge, and that’s what they’d have to do,’’ Ham said.  

Shooting fireworks from the bridge would also block access for emergency vehicles answering fire, public safety and medical calls, he said.

“You can’t have a vehicle near that stuff,’’ Ham said. “That cuts us off from the other side of the lake.’’

Another common-sense problem at the lake is a lack of parking. People would have to walk too far to get close enough to see the fireworks.

For people planning to stage their own fireworks displays in their backyards or on private property, Ham offered some advice.

Don’t cross the border into South Carolina and come back with a carload of aerial fireworks. They are illegal. “Private citizens are not supposed to be launching those in North Carolina,’’ he said. “Nothing that flies.’’

Ham said the fireworks you see sold in temporary locations around Cumberland County are legal as long as they don’t fly. “My best safety tip is to follow the laws,’’ he said.

Even if you are following the laws, there are still some precautions to keep everyone out of danger in the backyard.

It’s a good idea to have a bucket or other large container of water around to throw on even smaller fireworks that might misfire or otherwise get out of hand.

Ham urges parents to supervise children with fireworks closely, even simple things like sparklers and firecrackers.

“Most of the injuries are with children,’’ he said. “Parents lose track of them. You can get a thirddegree burn from a sparkler.’’

Adults also need to be careful and keep fireworks away from things like propane gas cylinders or cans of gasoline for lawnmowers. Stay away from piles of brush and other things that are highly combustible.

“They have to be aware of their surroundings,’’ Ham said. “If you or your children catch something on fire, you’re responsible for it.’’

Photo: Brett Ham

Local veterinarian shares advice on keeping pets cool

14DogJune has barely arrived, and Hope Mills and Fayetteville have already experienced temperatures over 100 degrees. That has veterinarians like Dr. Kent Dean of Southern Oaks Animal Hospital in Hope Mills concerned about heat dangers for outdoor pets.

“Over the summer we’ll see from five to 10 heat strokes,’’ Dean said. Normally, those occur in older and heavier dogs, but as hot as it’s been already, Dean thinks all pet owners need to take precautions to make sure their animals are safe from the heat.

Most of the preparations involve common sense, like making sure the dogs have access to shade and fresh water to drink when outside. When the thermometer reaches 100 degrees or more, Dean said it’s best to bring the animals inside to make sure they stay cool.

Another precaution to keep them from getting injured is to be careful where and at what time of day the dogs get out for a walk. “We see people walking dogs on asphalt,’’ Dean said. “It will burn the pads on their feet. If it were me, I’d walk my dog early in the morning or late in the evening instead of at midday.’’

One of the biggest mistakes a dog owner can make is leaving their dog inside a closed car when making a quick stop while out shopping or running errands. Dean said that’s a terrible idea, even when it appears to be a reasonable outdoor temperature as low as 80 degrees. “Even when it’s 80 degrees, it can get pretty hot in a car,’’ Dean said. “A lot of people can get in trouble for that.’’

North Carolina law prohibits confining a dog, cat or other small animal in a motor vehicle where its health could be endangered by temperature or lack of food.

If a dog is exposed to excessive heat for too long a period of time, Dean said it’s critical to get the animal’s temperature down as quickly as possible. If the animal can’t be immediately transported to an emergency clinic, one possible aid would be to put the animal in a child’s wading pool filled with cool water.

Dean said symptoms of heat illness in dogs include passing out, vomiting and diarrhea. Too much exposure to excessive heat can cause neurological problems that the dogs won’t be able to recover from.

If possible, the best remedy is to transport the dog to an emergency animal clinic so it can have intravenous fluids administered to both lower the temperature and rehydrate them.

Dean also suggested some dogs with medical issues need to be checked out before hot weather arrives. “If they have any kind of heart issues or respiratory issues, they need to be extra careful,’’

Dean said. “They get to where they are breathing too hard or can’t breathe. They start panting and the temperature starts to rise.’’ Dean said when he conducts annual vaccinations he gives dogs a full physical to check for those problems. He suggests that all dogs more than 7 years old should have blood chemistry work done to see if there are any underlying problems with their kidney, liver or heart that the owner needs to be aware of.

For those with additional questions about heat safety for dogs, or any other concerns, Dean’s office can be reached by calling 910-424-3011 or visiting www.southernoaksanimalhospital.com. The Facebook page is Southern Oaks Animal Hospital.

Hope Mills Events Calendar


For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113.

Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday, June 12, 5 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

Board of Commissioners Monday, June 17, Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall

Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Monday, June 24, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

Veterans Affairs Committee Thursday, June 27, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

Festival Committee Monday, July 1, 6 p.m., Town Hall, Front Conference Room

CANCELED: Board of Commissioners Monday, July 1, 7 p.m.

Historic Preservation Commission July 10, 5 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building 


• Independence Day Parade and Celebration Thursday, July 4. Parade starts at 10 a.m. near Rockfish Elementary School. Celebration runs from 4-10 p.m. at Hope Mills Municipal Park.

• Good2Grow Farmers Market Saturday, July 6, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., between Town Hall and Parks and Recreation Building.

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.

Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at Parks and Recreation Building. Senior programs are for those ages 55 and up who are residents of Cumberland County. Various activities, especially Zumba classes, are scheduled Monday through Sunday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at townofhopemills.com. You can call the recreation center at 910-426-4109 or e-mail Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

Promote yourself: Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

2019 Hope Mills Fourth of July Parade gets new starting point

18FireworkTime is running out to apply to be either a parade participant or a vendor in this year’s morning Hope Mills Fourth of July Parade and evening Independence Day celebration.

The separate forms for both parade participants and vendors are available on the town website, www.townofhopemills.com, by clicking on the links to Departments, Parks and Recreation and then Special Events. Both applications are due at the parks and recreation offices off Rockfish Road by June 14. The parade and the evening celebration are both on Thursday, July 4.

Meghan Freeman, who is coordinating the parade and the celebration, said both entry forms and the packets that come with them include specific rules about do’s and don’ts for both parade entries and vendors.

Any questions about what works and what doesn’t can be directed to her via her email at mhawkins@townofhopemills.com.

There will be one major change to the traditional parade route. For years, it has started at Hope Mills Middle School on Cameron Road, wound its way down Main Street, then finished up on Rockfish Road near Town Hall and Municipal Park.

For multiple reasons, this year’s parade route will be reversed. Parade entries will assemble near Rockfish Elementary School on Rockfish Road, then the parade will head in reverse back down Rockfish Road, under the railroad trestle and through downtown Hope Mills, ending at Hope Mills Middle School.

Freeman said a major reason for changing the route involved the schedule of Fourth of July events. The parade begins at 10 a.m., and when it ends there is a long delay until 4 p.m., when the celebration begins at Municipal Park.

With the new route, the area around the park will be cleared as soon as the parade has passed. There won’t be a crowd milling around waiting for the 4 p.m. activities to begin, and vendors will have plenty of time to get set up once the parade is over.

Spectators won’t notice another major benefit from the change, but high school bands and other walking units in the parade definitely will. Now that the parade is headed in the opposite direction, people on foot won’t have to walk up two imposing hills. The first hill comes up from the railroad trestle and the second is the gradual incline from Main Street up Rockfish Road to the Town Hall and Municipal Park area.

Freeman said although the bands didn’t complain, they weren’t terribly excited about the old route for that reason.

Freeman said the Fourth of July parade usually draws about 65-70 entries and 30-40 vendors at the park. The annual Christmas parade is usually a bigger draw, she said, with up to 90 entries. It’s not that one is more popular than the other, she said, noting that the season of the year has a lot to do with it.

“Christmas is usually bigger because it’s on Saturday and school is still in,’’ Freeman said. “There are more people here.’’

A long list of rules is included in the form for the parade, but Freeman hit on a few of the bigger  ones.

Businesses and organizations taking part in the parade can’t throw candy to the crowd from the floats. There is too much danger of people being injured scrambling for it. Any group that wants to give something out during the parade must actually hand it directly to spectators.

No profanity or alcoholic beverages are allowed on floats.

All parade entries who are mounted on horses have to provide for their own cleanup.

All motorcycle riders in the parade must wear a helmet.

The hours for the Independence Day celebration will be 4-10 p.m. and will include the traditional fireworks show.

Several other activities, aside from the planned vendors, will be held at the celebration at Municipal Park. They include pony rides, a petting zoo, a 28-foot rock-climbing wall, a foam pit and a mechanical shark ride. Freeman said in the past the petting zoo has included a lemur, alpaca, kangaroo, llama and a miniature horse.

She described the foam pit as being similar to soap suds. The mechanical shark is similar to a mechanical bull.

Musical groups scheduled to perform at the celebration include Open Road and the Guy Unger Band.

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