Hope Mills News

Splash into Hope Mills’ first cardboard boat race

16HM boat raceBrent Spivey has had a passion for building and racing cardboard boats for about 15 years. He’s hoping other people and businesses in and around Hope Mills will develop the same enthusiasm when the town holds its first cardboard boat race and demolition derby Saturday, June 30.

Final registration begins at 11 a.m. the day of the race, although pre-registration is encouraged to get a race T-shirt in your preferred size. Judging begins at noon, and the racing follows shortly afterward.

The competition is part of the town’s lake celebration that coincides with the run-up to the town’s annual celebration of the Fourth of July.

Spivey said he’s raced cardboard boats all over the state of North Carolina and even went all the way to Arkansas to compete in the 2015 world championship. He won the world championship that year with a boat called North Carolina Spirit.

He approached Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner with the idea of having a cardboard boat race as part of the lake celebration activities. “She was ecstatic,’’ he said.

Spivey said he built his first cardboard boat, a replica of a Viking ship, from cardboard boxes he scavenged from the dump and furniture stores.

“I laid out the ribs and did everything,’’ Spivey said. “I really overdid it. It was very heavy.’’ Spivey said the basic design of a cardboard boat is to make it with the fewest seams possible, those
points where separate pieces of cardboard come together.

“The more cardboard you have and the bigger the pieces, the better,’’ Spivey said. As for ideas for boat designs, Spivey has borrowed from movies and history. He once did boats modeled after the Civil War ironclads Monitor and Virginia. He also did the famous shark-fishing boat Orca from the hit film “Jaws.”

Other decisions go into the design, like figuring out how many people will occupy the boat. That’s one thing that surprises most people, Spivey said, because when they hear it’s a cardboard boat they assume it’s a miniature, not one large enough for human passengers.

“I did one that had six people in it,’’ he said. “It was 25-feet long. It was a big ambition. It did sink.’’

One of the biggest challenges Spivey faces is staying within the bounds of reality when designing a boat. Getting cardboard the right size is a challenge. For the biggest pieces, he said refrigerator boxes are an excellent option. When people register to enter the boat race, Spivey said the town of Hope Mills has some pretty good-sized sheets of cardboard available to entrants. “They can get one, two or three sheets with their registration fee, then they can buy more,’’ he said.

Another factor to consider in boat-building is the distance of the race and exactly what kind of competition you’re in. For the Hope Mills event, those who are looking to build the fastest boat should know the plan is for this to be what Spivey calls a fairly short course.

For shorter races, he suggests a boat 6 to 8 feet long. The Hope Mills course will be in the vicinity of the public swimming area at Hope Mills Lake. It will run parallel to the shore – about 50 to 75 yards. Competitors will have to make one turn and then come back.

But speed isn’t going to be the only factor in fielding a winning boat, Spivey said.

There will be a Pride of the Fleet Award for bestlooking boat, a Team Spirit Award for the boat with best spirit, which will be judged on theme and costumes, and a Titanic Award for the most spectacular sinking.

At the end of the competition, any boats that competed in at least one heat and survived will be eligible to compete in the demolition derby, with the surviving boat taking the Iron Clad Award.

There’s also a People’s Choice Award for the boat with the most donations. Donations and entry fees will go to support various lake improvement projects.

A complete list of rules on competition categories and materials permitted in boat construction is available at www.townofhopemills.com. For further information, call 910-734-9994.

“This is a family-oriented thing,’’ Spivey said. “It’s fun. You should come with a real fun attitude.’’

Mike Moses Jr. named South View basketball coach

16 Mike Moses JrMike Moses Jr. brings a rich connection with basketball to his new job as head boys coach at South View High School.

Moses, who comes to South View after coaching the St. Pauls High School girls last year, takes over from Wendell Wise, who stepped down earlier this year.

Moses played high school basketball in Detroit before going to Eastern Michigan and eventually playing basketball at Fayetteville State.

He coached for six years with Alphonza Kee at Fayetteville State, who is now head coach at Cape Fear. He worked briefly with Nike conducting basketball camps and also taught at Trinity Christian School in Fayetteville before getting back into coaching at St. Pauls last year.

He took a team that was 3-25 the previous year and guided them to a 13-11 record.

When the South View job opened, he was immediately interested. “I’m totally familiar with the success of South View,’’ he said of the school whose gymnasium is named for former coach Ron Miller.

The Tiger program has slumped in recent years, and Moses thinks it needs not rebuilding but what he calls rebranding. “You bring in a new coach, you bring in new philosophies,’’ he said. “I have an energy that’s unmatched. I’m super passionate about this game.’’

Moses said his father, Mike Moses Sr., coaches at the collegiate level and was a college player himself for St. John’s in the mid-1980s.

“I’m going to bring it every day,’’ he said. “Your players feed off that. I’m going to set a standard and expectation, and it starts with me.’’

Moses said he planned to hold his first meeting with the players at South View last week. He already has a plan set for off season workouts.

He wants the team to condition on Tuesdays and Thursdays and practice on Mondays and Wednesdays during the summer.

He also wants to get video of last year’s South View team to familiarize himself with the returning players.

“I’m an up and down guy,’’ he said of his basketball philosophy. “I’m trying to get a shot in the first seven seconds of a possession. We want to score in transition. It requires a lot of talent to come down every possession and get a basket in a set play.’’


PHOTO: Mike Moses Jr.

Policing signs in Hope Mills a never-ending challenge

14 Hope Mills signsThinking about putting up a sign to advertise something in Hope Mills? Do yourself and the town a favor by checking first with Chancer McLaughlin, development and planning administrator for the town. You could save his department and yourself some headaches.

McLaughlin and his staff oversee the good, the bad and the ugly of the signs that pop up all over Hope Mills. They recently sent out a mailer to all the businesses in town with a refresher on what is and isn’t allowed by the town’s sign ordinance.

That ordinance takes up about 14 typed pages. Why so much reading material? McLaughlin said it’s because there’s a lot of ground to cover.

McLaughlin said the sign ordinance stretches to14 pages not because there are so many different signs, but because the rules covering how different signs are regulated tend to be layered.

Since a person or a business may only be looking at one type of sign to install, McLaughlin said there may be only a couple pages in the sign ordinance that apply specifically to them.

If there’s one sign McLaughlin said the town is most likely to have a problem with, it’s what’s called a flag sign.

Flag signs are portable or moveable signs not meant to be permanently attached to the ground or a building. Sometimes businesses use flag signs, and that’s where problems arise.

“The sign ordinance allows flag signs for the grand opening of a business for a period of a week,’’McLaughlin said. “You can’t have a flag sign that’s a permanent attachment.

“In addition to providing information about the sign ordinance, the mailer the town recently sent out to local businesses about signs alerted the businesses that Hope Mills plans to become more aggressive in its handling of violations.’’

But McLaughlin and his staff haven’t exactly been ignoring the sign issue in Hope Mills. At least every other Friday, and sometimes more often if they notice an increase in illegal signs, McLaughlin and his co-workers do sign sweeps of Hope Mills.

Normally, McLaughlin said, his team divides the town into quadrants,focusing on the commercial areas, and take one quadrant each Friday of a sweep. Their aim is to cover the whole town in the space of one month. On some days, they’ll tackle a larger area.

While on these tours they also try to educate people they encounter on what signs they can and can’t use.

He noted nearly all the signs you see posted on public right of ways advertising various small businesses are against the rules.

On some weekends, McLaughlin said, his team picks up as many as 60 signs. And the sweeps continue.

“As fast as we keep picking them up, they keep putting them down,’’ he said. “We have to be very consistent with continually putting the message out there.’’

If you have questions about what signs are legal and illegal, contact McLaughlin’s office at 910-426-4103.

Dague departs Jack Britt for The Citadel

15 Dr. Christopher DagueDr. Christopher Dague has long been on the path to be a college professor. But he’ll take many pleasant memories with him from his 13-year detour as a teacher and coach at Jack Britt High School.

Dague, the baseball coach at Britt, will be leaving the school at the end of this year to become a professor at The Citadel in Charleston, SouthCarolina.

He got his Ph.D from North Carolina State University in 2015 and has continued coaching baseball and teaching at Britt, along with doing some teaching for Campbell University.

“I’ve told a lot of people, it’s bittersweet,’’ he said. “For me it’s more about the fact that this school and the people here will always mean more to me than I will ever mean to it.’’

Dague said he can’t imagine ever teaching high school anywhere other than Britt. “It’s a place that has such incredible expectations of the faculty, students and athletics,’’ he said. “It’s special here. I can’t really describe it.’’

He has a similar feeling for his new job at The Citadel, where he’ll teach educational psychology and curriculum instruction to both cadets and graduate students.

“I’m going to an institution with an incredible and historic tradition,’’ Dague said. “Hopefully the information I’m going to provide to those students will impact students across South Carolina.’’

Dague is the only baseball coach in Britt history tow in a share of a conference title. That happened last year. There is no baseball or coaching in his immediate future at The Citadel, and it’s something he will miss.

“It’s the last connection with my father,’’ said Dague.“I lost him in 2002. I thought a lot about him over the last couple of days. It’s been such a great opportunity for me. I’m going to leave the door open.’’

15 Steve ClabaughJack Britt named Steve Clabaugh as its new baseball coach. Clabaugh is a former coach at Seventy-First and Overhills High School and has been an assistant at Britt for three years.

In a prepared statement, Clabaugh said, “I am honored and am very excited about my new role in the Jack Britt baseball program. I’m inheriting a program with a strong tradition of excellence, thanks to the hard work of some great coaches who have come before me.

“I’m really looking forward to working with this great group of young men, parents, administration and community.’’



PHOTOS: (Top to Bottom) Dr. Christopher Dague and Steve Clabaugh

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.


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