Hope Mills News

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.

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

Board of Commissioners Monday, July 15, 7 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall

Lake Advisory Committee Tuesday, July 16, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Monday, July 22, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

Appearance Commission Tuesday, July 23, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation

Veterans Affairs Commission Thursday, July 25, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

Activities

Good2Grow Farmers Market Saturday, Aug. 3, 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.

Hope Mills Parks and Recreation is currently accepting registration for men’s and coed adult softball for the fall 2019 season. Registration will end Aug. 3 or when all leagues are filled, and the season will begin Aug. 12. The cost is $500 per team. For additional information, call 910-308-7651.

Promote yourself: Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

New group seeks to bring public art to Hope Mills

15Hope Mills Creative Arts CouncilFor the last five years, Elizabeth Blevins has been exploring ways to bring art to the town of Hope Mills. After finding out she wasn’t alone in her quest, Blevins put together a committee that is going to try to make this dream happen. The newly created Hope Mills Creative Arts Council held its first official meetings last month and has as its ultimate goal bringing public displays of art to the community.

During her search for ways to bring art to the town, Blevins learned about the nearby town of Cameron in Moore County. Some years ago, a Cameron native moved to New York and became a prominent artist. He then returned to his hometown with some artist friends and painted numerous murals on various local buildings. The murals drew many visitors to the town, and Blevins would like to see Hope Mills try something similar.

“We love art, but art with a purpose,’’ Blevins said. One of the biggest reasons to bring art to a town like Hope Mills, she said, is research shows it can increase both commercial and private property values.

In addition to increasing property values, art has an effect on citizens. “It makes them proud of their community to know we have this,’’ she said. “When they are proud, they act a little better. They invest emotionally and then financially in their own community.’’

A spinoff of the art group would also be to promote a garden club and an appearance club that would work one-on-one with property owners to help them beautify their homes and businesses.

“We want to move forward with that to create an artist’s cooperative where we pair artists with local businesses,’’ Blevins said. “We already have space available and can turn businesses in our community into micro-art galleries.’’

Blevins said this could also lead to local performances with musicians, comedians, dancers and all manner of entertainment.

“We want art to be an integral part of daily life in Hope Mills,’’ she said. “We want Hope Mills to be the kind of destination people are willing to drive three hours to visit because of the art.’’

Karoll McDonald, who runs her own creative marketing agency, reached out to work with Blevins when she first heard about Blevins' idea to bring public art to Hope Mills.

“Whenever you do things that promote art, it creates a connection with the community,’’ McDonald said. “Whenever people see colors, see art, it gives them a sense of belonging, that they are part of something.’’ 

McDonald said the committee has already gotten positive response from a number of businesses. “There are a couple of exciting things coming up this year for the people in Hope Mills,’’ she said.

Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner has attended meetings of the committee and is excited citizens of the town are involved in this project. “They’re so interested and have so many creative ideas,’’ she said of the group. Warner said she has displayed local art in her private business and has sold some pieces created by local artists.

“We can tap that talent to start with,’’ she said. “The cultural side has not been developed like it should be. I think we need to start promoting (the fact) that we do have some talent here and some creative people here.’’

Photo:  Some founding members of the Hope Mills Creative Arts Council, left to right: Kenjuana McCray, Beth Cooper, Dennis Brechner, Pat Edwards, Sue Moody, Elizabeth Blevins, Adam Walls, Jim Blevins, Karoll McDonald

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.

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

• Board of Commissioners Monday, July 15, 7 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall

• Lake Advisory Committee Tuesday, July 16, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

• Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Monday, July 22, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

• Appearance Commission Tuesday, July 23, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation

Veterans Affairs Commission Thursday, July 25, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

Promote yourself: Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

Activities

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.

Mayor, commissioners share Fourth of July thoughts

12mayorjackiewarnerUp & Coming Weekly asked the mayor of Hope Mills and the members of the board of commissioners to share what they thought the Fourth of July means to their community. We received responses from Mayor Jackie Warner and Commissioners Jessie Bellflowers and Pat Edwards. Here are their replies.

Mayor Jackie Warner

Parade, traditions, family, friends, fireworks and homemade ice cream — July Fourth, Hope Mills.

Like many military families, we moved a lot. But unlike most, we stayed in the Fayetteville area, just different houses — new schools every year while our dad served in other countries.

When I married and Hope Mills was Alex (Warner’s) home, it became my permanent home finally. So, like many of our retired veterans and active-duty military who find Hope Mills a perfect location to raise a family, I also share that same sentiment.

What makes Hope Mills special? First and foremost are our people. Our small town offers so much for families — youth programs for all ages, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Adventurers, churches of all religious preferences and the best schools in Cumberland County.

Family activities, especially around special holidays, we have so many special memories. Christmas parades — some watching with family on the front porch of Countryside Furniture — or participating in the parades, walking among floats and vehicles with scouts, bands or special groups.

The Festival of Lights at the lake with Christmas carols, hot chocolate and the Christmas story shared by a local minister are times we look forward to every year.

But a favorite time in Hope Mills has to be the July Fourth special events, which for my family have changed so much over the years.

The July Fourth parade starts the day off with families lining the parade route wearing patriotic clothes and waving flags.

Our Countryside Furniture porch has been the place for many to come and watch the parade since 1979. I can still see pictures in my mind of Mac and Pete Warner, Colleen and Milton Smith, Fronnie and Jimmy Jackson, along with friends and neighbors sitting on the porch or in the parking lot.

Over the years, the faces have changed as our family has grown — Colleen, Milton, Micah and Caleb Smith; Teddy, Tiffany, Parker and Peyton Warner; Molly, Nick, Kate, Cooper and Jackson Capps — share the porch with new neighbors and friends.

The classic car rides or town float have made the parade trip special, but also sometimes because I wave as we pass the porch that has so many memories.

The events at the park or lake are also etched in my mind, but not as much as the fireworks display. (Alex's and my) first July Fourth, in 1979, we watched the fireworks from our Hillcrest Street front yard eating homemade ice cream. As our family grew, we moved to Frierson Street, where we watched from our backyard. Then it was on to our current Legion Road home, where we watched from our driveway from 1994-2003. After the dam failed and the fireworks were moved, we watched from various locations. The best display we watched from our back porch, as it was staged at South View High School.

Traditions such as family cookouts, Christmas in July events and many churns of homemade ice cream are captured in my heart and mind.

This year, like the past 10 years, we will watch the fireworks display from the Moulder home side yard — never sure how many or who will share the best view ever because we are across Rockfish Road from the park.

Also, the ice cream churn has to start by 8:30 p.m. to be ready for the show. 

Patriotism, traditions, family, community, church and schools are why Hope Mills is our home.

Hope Mills gives our children firmly planted roots in family values, traditions and love of their home. Memories are made every day, but the favorite memories come to mind on July Fourth.

Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers

Each year on the Fourth of July, most folks in Hope Mills ask two questions: When is the town parade, and where is the fireworks ceremony.

In our community, more and more families each year celebrate our nation’s birthday by attending and participating in the parade; and the

Fourth of July just wouldn’t be the same without a stunning fireworks show in the park.

On this day, let us recommit ourselves to the principles upon which our great nation was first founded. We must continue to reflect upon the price of freedom and honor America’s brave patriots who gave their last full measure and (those who) defend the freedoms we enjoy today.

Stand and salute our national colors. Let us renew our sacred pledge that will forever remain: “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’’

I am honored to stand with thousands of American patriots who have a genuine love of country and willingness to sacrifice everything in their life for it, without regret. Over the past 243 years, it has taken generations of sacrifice to make sure our nation’s independence endures. Those of us who have fought for freedom know all too well the high cost of maintaining the freedoms we enjoy today.

It has often been said, “A nation’s strength is not measured through military might; it’s measured in the patriotism of its people.’’

So, on this Fourth of July, please share a love of country and patriotism with your family and friends, but also pause to remember and honor all of America’s patriots who unselfishly sacrificed themselves for us to celebrate our past, our present, our future — our nation’s Independence Day.

And don’t forget to thank our active-duty members and their families for their bravery, boldness and the courage to protect the core values of America ... the very values upon which our great nation was founded 243 years ago. Enjoy a hot dog, hamburger, and raise a glass of celebration to let freedom ring across our great nation.

Happy Birthday, America.

Commissioner Pat Edwards

The Fourth of July means so much to me. It glorifies the freedom and liberty for every man and woman on earth. We commemorated the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. Patriotic displays and family events are celebrated throughout the United States.

I am proud to be an American. I deeply believe that every day is Veterans Day. Our town will celebrate with a parade, vendors, food trucks (and) activities for children, followed by fireworks. Everyone is welcome. Fun time for all.

Photo: Mayor Jackie Warner

Hope Mills mourns passing of longtime police chief Hodges

11policechiefjohnhodgesIt has been 10 years since John Hodges served as the police chief for the town of Hope Mills. But he remained a familiar figure to the people of the small town after his retirement, and they still held him in high regard because of the respect he showed for its citizens.

Hodges, 84, passed away just over a week ago.

Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner was a member of the town’s board of commissioners during Hodges’ final years as police chief.

“If I’m not mistaken, he was at our last board meeting,’’ Warner said. “He would come to board meetings, and you’d always see him at local restaurants.’’

He had a fun side beyond his role as police chief. “The most unusual thing was when I found out he loved to dance,’’ Warner said. “He traveled all over North Carolina and competed in Fayetteville’s Dancing With the Stars.’’

While she described Hodges as softspoken, Warner said his interest in the town was genuine. “You always knew he was concerned,’’ she said.

He was also supportive of his son Chuck Hodges, who currently serves as the town’s fire chief.

“He grew up in a town kind of like Hope Mills,’’ Chuck said of his father. “He loved Hope Mills. He loved the people. He loved that hometown feeling.’’ Chuck said it was rare for his father to go anywhere in Cumberland County without running into someone who knew him.

The elder Hodges was an avid sports fan, having played sports in high school and some semipro baseball. He officiated local high school sports as well.

Neil Buie, regional supervisor of football officials for the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association, said John had a calm, unexcitable demeanor as a football official and that he worked well with coaches.

“He just brought respect to the football field from his private vocation," Buie said. “John was a good guy. He really enjoyed it.

Above all, Chuck said his father instilled in his family a sense of the importance of public service. John's son Tim Hodges is a sergeant with the Cumberland County sheriff’s department. His daughter-in-law, Kara Hodges, is a senior assistant district attorney for Cumberland County.

“Our whole family has been in some form of public service, giving back to the community, helping to protect the community,’’ Chuck said.

Although John's role as police chief required him to enforce the law, Chuck said, his father won the respect of many people he interacted with who were on the wrong side of the law.

“I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘Your dad busted me, but he treated me like an individual,’" Chuck said. “I think he was honorable.

“You might not get the answer you wanted from him, but he would listen to your side. I just think he treated people fairly.’’

Photo: John Hodges

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