• 07All answers in this forum have been printed as submitted by the Hope Mills mayoral candidates. The only edits have been for style and punctuation where needed. Each candidate was given the same questions and the same requested word count for their responses.

    Jessie Bellflowers currently serves as the department chair at Fayetteville Technical Community College and is retired from the United States Army. Bellflowers was born August 22, 1956. His Family members include his wife, Bambi, daughter, Jessica and he has three granddaughters. Bellflowers has served as commissioner for the Town of Hope Mills since 2017.

    Jacquelyn Warner is a small business owner at Carleen’s Baby Boutique and a retired principal and teacher. Warner was born June 24, 1950. She is married to, Alex, and has two children a son, Teddy, daughter, Molly and has five grandchildren. Warner has served as mayor of the town of Hope Mills since 2011 and previously served as a town commissioner from 2007 to 2009.

    As Mayor of one of Cumberland County’s fastest-growing communities, describe what a typical routine work week would look like.

    BELLFLOWERS: According to the U.S. Census, Hope Mills has grown 17.3% in the last 10 years. More and more people and businesses are choosing our community mainly because of schools and recreational opportunities. But, despite this growth, the town hasn’t been able to keep up [with] infrastructure and traffic congestion.

    Since I was first elected four years ago, folks ask me what a typical week looks like. I always respond with every week is different — there is no typical weekly routine. Serving as an elected official, regardless of position, is a full-time 24-hour, 7-days a week where you must be available to community citizens — returning phone calls, answering emails and text messages, checking the town website, meeting with citizens and business owners, attending town sponsored business functions and serving on various committees, for example the Gateway Study Committee, Heroes Homecoming IX, etc. Over the past four years, I have attended every town board meeting with 100% attendance, something unheard [of] these days in politics.

    The role of mayor is one who conducts the meetings, signs legal documents and acts as ambassador for the town.

    Each week, I review the upcoming town board meeting agenda, for example, I spend hours researching every agenda item before board meetings. This action includes driving to each zoning and annexation property location to learn if the request fits the integrity of the surrounding neighborhoods.

    As mayor, our sense of inclusiveness and identity as a community will always be a priority for me. Remember, elected officials are public servants.
    We should always support community engagement that builds deeper, stronger and more trusting relationships between our town board and citizens. Servant leaders are also ethical leaders with no hidden agendas.

    WARNER: A mayor’s primary role is leadership in the best interest of the municipality. The mayor represents its township in ceremonial events and, when necessary, states of emergency, e.g, hazardous weather conditions, accidents, etc. that disrupt normal town functions. The mayor presides over board meetings and other committee meetings. The mayor also promotes partnerships with other stakeholders for the benefit and future planning for the community at large.

    As mayor, my typical work week is busy rotating around attending meetings, virtual workshops and answering emails or phone calls. I prioritize work based on how urgent and important the different activities are. I address the issues or concerns in the order of priority. But, being mayor is not limited to our home government. The role must be integrated with surrounding mayorships (Mayors Coalition), participation with local and state programs such as FAMPO, Senior Tarheel Legislature, Mid-Carolina Council for Aging, FCEDC and interacted with cooperative participation with state and national issues as well. Being part of a larger government makes our local board even stronger.

    Even though being mayor is highly rewarding in seeing progress for Hope Mills, the extra hours required, especially overseeing such a busy town, makes it challenging. I work overtime to be constantly available for town concerns as the spokesperson for our citizens. Building partnerships to bring more resources to our town is a priority, therefore my involvement with the Mayor’s Youth Council, Tier I Committee, Heroes Homecoming Committee are examples of how my time is spent to get input from our youth, seniors and our veterans to identify what is needed to improve our quality of life through partnerships. Being retired from my chosen field of employment, I have the time to be available. I know that I possess what is required and will deliver to the best of my resources. I love serving people and believe the happiness of Hope Mills residents provides the motivation for our board to work harder and smarter. Being mayor is an honor for me, personally, to work for the citizens in one of the finest small towns in our great state.

    As Mayor, what will be your top three (measurable) priorities for improving the livability in the town of Hope Mills? Which one will present the biggest challenge.

    WARNER: The priorities that are listed below are my personal opinions only since the mayor has no vote in our actual prioritization of future town projects and appropriations for such. That responsibility is left to our elected town commissioners. Personally, I feel three projects of concern and need are as follows:

    1. The completion of capital projects, namely, our Public Safety Building, grant-funded improvements for Main Street items (cross walks, bike path), municipal park improvements adding splash pad and all-inclusive playground is a family priority, a restoration of the location of our first and largest mill factory area known as Heritage Park is a historical priority. These projects will provide recreational opportunities for our citizens along with improvements for public safety.

    2. Transportation for our citizens to provide bus routes around Hope Mills and to surrounding points of interest or need. This can be accomplished by working with community partners to maximize our funding sources to include grants available for seniors, youth and the disabled mobility.

    3. Preparation for present and additional traffic concerns related to the impact of the fast approaching I-295. This priority is the most challenging as we continue working with Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Department of Transportation for completion and opening of I-295 along with the widening of Rockfish, Golfview Roads and Main Street to improve traffic patterns. This priority will present the biggest challenge because of the inconvenience of the construction work to include road closures, paving and detours.

    Also the time it will take to complete projects will be frustrating—our community will benefit in the end with sidewalks, pedestrians crosswalks to improve safer walk-ability along with safer movement of vehicular traffic.

    BELLFLOWERS: Without question, our community is at a crossroads regarding residential and economic development growth. With growth, comes traffic congestion. One of the enormous challenges will be to address our town’s aging infrastructure where public safety and limited community parks and recreational opportunities are high priorities.

    These challenges may be separate, but I consider them linked to our community’s sustainable quality of life, commercial/residential growth challenges and economic development opportunities.

    We must have the courage to be smart about planning our future and managing growth with a sustainable, visionary long-term strategic economic development plan. For example, future residential and economic development growth regarding I-95, Exit 41 and Future I-295 bypass gateway areas.

    Public safety has always been my number one priority. Currently, the new police and fire department complex, named the John W. Hodges Public Safety Center is being built and [will be] completed in 2022. Even with completion of this project, we must still find a workable, affordable solution to build at least one or two new satellite facilities over the next five years.

    Another top priority is community recreational programs whereas the town must invest in improvements to existing facilities, programs and the development of new recreational opportunities in order to maintain and enhance community quality of life. Hope Mills Lake Park is the centerpiece of our downtown and another testament to the power of vision, planning and results-driven leadership that will be required to address future residential and economic development growth in our community, for example, the Heritage Park and Golfview Greenway projects.The biggest challenge with managing these priorities going forward will be to locate sustainable funding resources without raising property taxes.

    The U.S. Congress is currently debating infrastructure legislation. What infrastructure project(s) in Hope Mills should have the highest priority? What ways would you maximize funding resources for Hope Mills?

    BELLFLOWERS: The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is a defining moment with a unique opportunity to invest in our town’s long-term future. But, I would like to emphasize the importance of municipalities-county collaboration. For example, elected officials should think as one Cumberland County regarding the strategizing of priorities for spending this one-time funding throughout our county.

    In July 2021, the town received $2,525.517.90 in ARP funding. The town will receive the second half of the funding in July 2022. The town has until 2024 to obligate the funds, and 2026 to use them.
    This is not the time to make quick, unresearched decisions to spend this money on immediate needs that may not be eligible for these funds. Eligible uses for ARP include: supporting public health expenditures; addressing the negative economic impacts of the pandemic; providing premium pay for essential workers and investing in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. Remember, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity not only for Hope Mills, but all the municipalities in Cumberland County. Collectively, it may not be the best practice to duplicate spending efforts.

    If elected mayor, my sound recommendation to maximize funding for Hope Mills: Identifying eligible ARP funding priorities should start with reviewing the town’s current Capital Improvement Plan and the Stormwater Strategic Master Plan. During the Spring 2022 Budget Retreat, departments should make priority recommendations during the budget process to begin the process of researching the priorities that may qualify for matching grants, therefore, adding additional funding to the ARP funds. We have one time to get this right regarding appropriate uses of the funds and the audits required.

    WARNER: In my opinion, the maintenance and paving of our town streets should be ranked near the top.

    We have had a study completed with a plan for maintenance and paving for all town streets with the price tag that we simply can not afford.

    Even budgeting on a yearly basis, it would be difficult to stay on target with inflation issues, normal road deterioration, etc.

    Also needed is the ever-present, growing funding for stormwater preparations. Thankfully, included within the state budget expenditures for 2021 is $350,000 for our town’s study for future requirements for storm water funding.When this study is completed we can use it for leveraging our infrastructure funding. Our town’s strategic plan can be used for evidence in both instances (street maintenance and stormwater) to assure ways of acquiring and maximizing funding.

    Working collectively with the other Hope Mills Commissioners over the current term, what three achievements are you most proud of?

    WARNER: One of the achievements that our board can be proud of is the successful adoption of another balanced budget with no property tax increases for our citizens.

    Our budgets have provided cost of living increases for our staff and met the needs of our community with a focus on public safety. Another achievement would be successful planning, financing and ground breaking of our new public safety building. This construction is on schedule and our board receives timely reports on expenditures and progress.

    Third, results from a first ever round-table discussion with area legislators of town needs that have been granted within the state budget of 2021. Our Capital Improvement Plan allowed quick access to projects with estimates of cost to give necessary information to our legislators. Our request for $350,000 for stormwater projects was put in the budget first and thanks to our delegation more projects were requested for possible funding.

    We should receive with approval of the state budget the following funding: at Municipal Park -$340,000 for splash pad, $340,000 for all-inclusive playground, at dam area-$500,000 for Rockfish Creek Bed clearing, $2,500,000 for repair of sides of creek bed on East Patterson Street (due to flooding damage from hurricanes) and $650,000 for pavement and repairs of streets in Woodland Hills. Our board can now re-prioritize the remaining Capital Improvements and plan for additional community needs. This mayor is thankful for Senators deViere, Clark, Representatives John Szoka, Billy Richardson, Marvin Lucas and Diane Wheatley for making this happen for Hope Mills.

    BELLFLOWERS: Town operating budget. The town board approved its budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year that does not include an increase in the tax rate. The approved budget is the largest town operating budget in the history of Hope Mills that meets the needs of the town while living within its means without raising property taxes!

    John W. Hodges Public Safety Center, the town board unanimously approved a new police and fire department complex at the site of the old headquarters next to Town Hall.

    The new safety facility is being built and completed in 2022. The town budgeted $17 million for the project which is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan. Even with completion of this project, we must still find a workable, affordable solution to build at least one or two new satellite facilities over the next five years.

    Closing Crampton Road stub. As our community continues to grow, neighborhoods must be protected from the dangers of too much traffic. For example, recently the citizens of two established neighborhoods (Golfview and Brightmoor) voiced their concerns about a potential traffic problem that would have evolved with an apartment complex that wanted to use their neighborhoods as a possible ingress and egress for apartment traffic. I agreed with their safety concerns.

    This issue dragged on for eight months while Mayor Warner formed a committee to study it. The committee only met one time without resolution. Finally, after frustrating delays by Commissioners Marley and Edwards, Mayor Pro-tem McCray and Mayor Warner, the town board made the decision to close the road stub. It was the right thing to do to protect and maintain the safety for these neighborhoods.

    Hope Mills has a very diverse and growing population including young families, millennials , military, seniors and plenty of retirees and disabled veterans. Collectively, what programs and policies would you recommend and implement to enhance everyone’s quality of life?

    WARNER: As mayor, to identify quality of life programs, I have aligned with our youth through a Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council — representative of our three high schools-Southview, Grays Creek and Jack Britt — our veterans and military by being involved with Heroes Homecoming, attending and participating with our military at Fort Bragg events, our seniors by representing our community on the Senior Tarheel Legislature and the Mid-Carolina Council of Aging, the Pastors’ Coalition, using these avenues to identify the needs and concerns for a better Hope Mills.

    Partnerships are important as we address the needs of these populations to include available funding that can be acquired by working together with others in our county. Currently, our Tier 1 Committee with board approval is in the process of researching how a facility could provide services for our seniors and veterans to include rehabilitation and prepared meals free of charge, a pool for high school competitive team practice, swimming lessons for our youth, a family friendly facility with childcare while other members are involved in certain activities and more gym space for our recreational needs — funding partnerships so our citizens receive the benefits without tax increases. Our committee’s findings to include estimated costs and details will be presented to the town board for their input and approval. We need to encourage recruitment and retention of our police department personnel to include more funding for a drug task force. Our new Public Safety Building should help in recruitment. Public safety is necessary for quality of life—as our population increases our policies and programs must develop around a safe and secure town.

    Finally, bringing programs to Hope Mills such as classes provided by FTCC, FSU or Methodist University, Art Council exhibits and cultural arts programs to enhance our community such as we have started with our partnership with UNC Pembroke.

    BELLFLOWERS: Research has shown that recreation is an important factor in quality of life for everyone, for example, a very diverse and growing population in Hope Mills. One of Hope Mills most valuable resources is its network of parks and the main recreational facility.

    For example, Hope Mills Recreation Center is a recreational facility primarily used for Parks & Recreation programs. With just over 28 acres, Hope Mills Municipal Park is one of the community’s most treasured resources along with Ed Herring and Bonayre Gardens neighborhood parks.

    And, Hope Mills Lake Park is the centerpiece of our downtown where people from all over our community gather to enjoy recreational opportunities and the natural beauty of the lake. Another example is the Golfview Greenway Park where open green space is a premium in any community as a quality-of-life amenity.

    Parks are places to meet and celebrate with family and friends. They are inclusive, accessible and venues for community events and sports activities. On any given week day and especially on weekends, you will find plenty of young families, millennials, senior citizens, military families and disabled veterans with service dogs all enjoying the park.

    And, on the horizon is the Heritage Park project which has been funded for Phase I completion. Going forward, we need a senior citizen center and a town museum. Our community parks and recreational facilities can be just as important as fire and police services to the quality of life in our community.

    We must guard these valuable community assets that has served generations past and those generations to come. This is called vision and if elected as mayor, I pledge to protect our limited recreational space and the historical culture of our town.

    Finally, each candidate was asked to include a question of their own. One they felt should have been asked.

    BELLFLOWERS: Why would Hope Mills citizens vote for you as Mayor?

    I am totally committed to improving quality of life, economic development, public safety, recreational opportunities and preserving the history of our community. My vision includes addressing and finding workable solutions to fix infrastructure needs, traffic congestion and roadway improvements.

    There is no question that addressing the many challenges that face our community will require results-driven leadership, creative thinking, building cooperation and consensus, and a tremendous amount of teamwork.

    Our community deserves an effective town board, one that can work and communicate together with a “collective vision” for future prosperity and one that demonstrates unselfish representation and pre-eminent leadership.

    I am committed to ensuring that Hope Mills continues to be a wonderful place for all people to live, work and raise their families. Hope Mills continues to grow in residential and economic development growth. Managing this growth requires continued vision, planning and results-driven leadership. We need a vision with the passion, time and energy to continue to build a family-oriented community all of us are proud of today and years to come! I bring to the table many years of results-driven, proven leadership and pledge to listen to citizen issues and concerns, have an open mind on all decisions, and spend a significant amount of time researching community issues facing our community. I am committed every day on enriching the lives of our town citizens by creating an exceptional community to work and live in while providing exemplary town services that enables our community to thrive and prosper, while leading our community as one we are proud to call home … this is my compass. This election is not about me … but all about YOU, your vision, issues and concerns! I respectfully ask for your vote on Nov 2nd.

    WARNER: Do you think a plan is needed for downtown?

    What is considered our downtown is our historic Trade Street—in the 1900s it was a busy street with shops, a pharmacy, post office, theater, pool halls, groceries and a funeral home to name a few.

    Nearby were two Mills and the mill villages where people lived. The train depot and a boarding house also meant visitors came to Hope Mills and spent time on Trade Street.

    Today Trade Street is important to our town not only for historical reasons, but it is near our lake where many people congregate for a variety of activities so we are putting more emphasis on revitalization.

    This area, with new opportunities for funding, is in the early stages of planning for revitalization — I am excited to say that after early attempts to join the Main Street program did not materialize, we now have a new focus on Trade Street.

    We have new businesses willing to share in the vision along with our Historical Committee and Appearance Committees providing leadership.

    Our Economic Development Planner supports revitalization in this area and is looking for ways to make it happen.

    Election Day is, Nov. 2. On Election Day, go to the polling place assigned to your precinct between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Those in line by 7:30 pm, will be able to vote. If you go to the wrong polling place in Hope Mills and don’t have time to go to the correct poll, ask to use a provisional ballot. If you have any questions or concerns you can call the Cumberland County Board of Elections at, 910-678-7733.
    If you are properly registered, your vote will count.

  • 48Often overlooked objects such as bottle caps, jars and marbles step into the spotlight thanks to artist Donna Slade’s new exhibit The Color Of Ordinary featured at Cape Fear Art Studios until Oct. 23. The exhibit honors the colors and textures of these everyday items.

    “I try to bring those objects — that maybe in an antique store that somebody walks by — to life in a pencil drawing,” Slade said.

    The Wake Forest based artist said many pieces in the exhibit draw inspiration from objects found in antique shops. Many of these items now receive less attention due to modern technology, according to Slade.

    “Those things are disappearing or folks are not as interested in them anymore, and you just don’t think about those things as much anymore, so it’s just important to keep them out there and remember those things,” Slade said.

    Steve Opet, board president of Cape Fear Studios, said he hopes events such as this exhibit help to expose those in the area to art, further elating those already interested in art, and encouraging others to get more involved in viewing and practicing art.

    “It’s an important way to express to the community and bring art to the community that they otherwise normally wouldn’t have a chance to be exposed to,” Opet said.

    Describing the exhibit as “light and airy,” Slade said she hopes this collection of her work brings viewers enjoyment and some respite from the stresses of life.
    Most of the works have been created with colored pencils.

    Slade’s process for approaching this exhibit’s pieces begins with a reference photo. After making a sketch, Slade begins incorporating colors, moving from dark to light. Her pieces have as many as 25 to 30 layers.

    Though the process can take up to hundreds of hours, Slade says she doesn’t bother keeping track of time.

    “I would spend more time keeping track of the hours than working on them, and I’m not sure I want to know,” she joked.

    Slade originally spent time as a graphic designer for around 30 years and always was involved in art. Originally composing pieces with pen and ink, Slade turned to colored pencil for more detail. Slade says she has been creating with colored pencils for about 25 to 30 years.

    Opet highlighted that anyone could come to enjoy the art featured in the studio, saying the studio seeks to expose those in Fayetteville and the surrounding areas to various forms of art and expression.

    The Color of Ordinary is not Slade's only active exhibit. Her collection of works entitled Faces of Colombia: The Invisible Communities will be displayed at the Cumberland County Arts Council until Oct. 29.

    Slade said she hopes the significance of physical art is not lost due to technology, and she emphasized the importance of continuing to appreciate it.

    “The world needs art,” Slade said. “And I have a feeling that the technologies are taking that part away from everybody and I hope that the computers and the computer programs and the drawing programs never take away original art. And I think it's something that everybody needs to appreciate and hopefully that continues.”

    Cape Fear Studios is located at 148 Maxwell Street in downtown Fayetteville. For more information call 910-433-2986.

  • 36Like moths to a flame, most of us are interested in seeing original works of art by our favorite celebrities. What would be the subject of a painting or drawing by Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash or Mohammed Ali?

    What art style would Jimi Hendrix prefer that reflects his musical genius or Richard Petty when he was not racing cars?

    From sophisticated paintings to whimsical watercolors, the newest exhibit at Gallery 208, The Alex Munroe Collection: Artwork by Celebrities, which opens Oct. 11, reveals what multitalented superstars have chosen to create in paint, colored pencils or watercolors during their private life.

    The exhibit is also as much about the collector as it is about the exhibition. The Alex Munroe Collection: Artwork by Celebrities reveals much about the collector's personality, his personal life choices, and why he has chosen to collect over 200 works by celebrities.

    Curiosity will bring you to the gallery to see the original works by the following celebrities: Janice Joplin, John Lennon, Grace Slick, Mohammed Ali, Jacques Cousteau, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Sid Cesear, Nancy Wilson, Red Foxx, Jimi Hendrix, Tony Curtis, Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson, Charleston Heston, Phyllis Diller and Richard Petty.

    You will leave the exhibit with an unexpected and surprisingly pleasant experience. We can compare what we have already experienced, the mass media way of knowing a celebrity, juxtaposed with something that feels personal and private. The more you know about each star, the more you will appreciate the experience of seeing the exhibit.

    For example, Jimi Hendrix's career gained popularity with his first single, “Hey Joe,” and his follow-up, “Purple Haze.” A pioneer as one of the most outstanding instrumentalists in rock music history, Hendrix manipulated the distortion and feedback from an electric guitar into a type of fluid language.

    While superstar Hendrix is on the road traveling, in a motel room waiting for a concert, or home — what and why did he choose to paint, and what style best suits the fluid language of his music? Would it be a narrative story and have a figure in the painting? What would the figure be doing?

    Hendrix was likely sensitive to seeing color as sound. Instead of a narrative style, Hendrix selected patterns and abstract-colored shapes to create movement across the surface of the page. Each color chosen creates a rhythm: the color yellow pops forward, sky blue slows down the repetitive beat and holds us in a musical pause, while the color deep red, like a symphony slowly increasing in volume, gains momentum in the overall composition.

    Hendrix didn't need to know Chromesthesia is the name of a neurological phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to an involuntary experience of another sensory way. If we are familiar with Hendrix, all we need to know to enjoy his work is that a musical genius chooses only colors to create mood and rhythm in his design.

    It's noteworthy that country singer Johnny Cash, like Jimi Hendrix, also abstractly uses patterns of color. Unlike Hendrix, whose design does not reference an object or person, the color mosaic patterns of Cash result in the image of a bird in movement. Centered on the page, Cash's bird seems to be ascending upward.

    The imaginative, whimsical and minimal watercolor by John Lennon hangs on the gallery wall in contrast to a large painting by a cultural icon, the actor Tony Curtis. An American film actor, well known for six decades, he was the most popular in the 1950s and 60s. Of the 100 movies Curtis made and always performed with award-winning academy actors, the pop culture generation may know him for his role as a supporting actor in “Spartacus” or by his daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis.

    Curtis had a passion and talent for painting in the post-impressionist style. His choice of subjects were colorful still lifes, landscapes and portraits. His painting titled “Red Table” is in the collection of the media wing in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

    Seeing another of his works, the sizeable figurative painting at Gallery 208, visitors will easily recognize the influences of Van Gogh and Henri Matisse. Whereas some of the works in the exhibit reflect a relaxing hobby, Curtis created a large body of work during his lifetime and was very clear on his intent. Artnet quoted Curtis saying, “When I paint, I don't paint shapes; I paint colors.”

    If you attend the Oct. 11 opening, you will not only be fascinated by the exhibit but also by the collector. Alex Munroe will briefly discuss the art of collecting at the opening reception. Gallery 208 only exhibits 18 of an extensive body of work — over 200 pieces in his collection.

    What someone chooses to collect tells us a lot about the individual. All collectors like the works by the artist(s), but they also assume the work could appreciate. For many investors, their collection symbolizes success within social circles.

    Attending the exhibit, you will not assume Munroe's eclectic collection is a way to affirm himself as a social success. Instead, it is easy to sense the collection represents the collector as having an entrepreneurial passion for the unexpected and a highly creative way of seeing the world and culture around him. Upon meeting Munroe, you will readily see the collection as a self-expression of a fun-loving personality with various interests and a positive outlook.

    Munroe stated, “I buy art for the sheer enjoyment of sharing it with people. Research has shown that when people view art, the brain releases chemicals that make them feel secure and happy. My art takes this concept to an even higher level as a celebrity has the added benefit. To see a piece by Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney or Richard Petty adds an element of awe.”

    So, how do you share over 200 works by celebrities with the public? Create the ambiance for a restaurant by hanging your framed original art collection stacked up on the walls and even hanging the work in the bathroom and bathroom stalls. That's easy to build and own a restaurant with good food but also has the restaurant's décor that exudes your outgoing and engaging personality.

    This gallery and eatery exists in Elizabethtown, off Interstate 87, and is a combination restaurant, bar and ballroom. The stacked artworks filling the walls are in an 1850 Salon exposition style. The list is unexpectedly endless, while dining at the Cape Fear Winery, and includes works by Picasso, Salvador Dali, Matisse, Ron Wood, Ringo Starr, Dr. Suess, Jonathan Winters, Eric Clapton and more.

    As noted earlier, the collector is just as curious as the collection is. Graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Advertising, Munroe started his first company in Wilmington, in 2000, producing and selling detectable warning systems. Munroe then returned home to expand his company at the Elizabethtown Industrial Park.

    Munroe states it best: “The abandoned winery was across the street from my office. It was a beautiful property, so that I would walk my dog there every day. I discovered it was in foreclosure, so I leased it the day I found out. Worst case, it was a beautiful property, so it was a valuable real estate to me. I asked around and decided the area needed an event venue, restaurant and lodging.”

    The Cape Fear Winery expanded to include a restaurant, a distillery, a venue for weddings or special occasions, and a new gift shop and spa. With the collection always hanging, the restaurant is always the place to venture to when you are ready for good food and an eclectic dining experience!

    Eventually, visitors to the restaurant will be able to see his most recent works, six more "Peanuts" pieces by Tom Everhart and an original by famous guitarist, Slash.
    One would assume Munroe had lived in Los Angeles for many years and was directly influenced by celebrities to collect celebrity art. To my surprise, Munroe's brothers unknowingly influenced him to become a collector.

    Munroe tells his story about going to New York City with his family as a young boy. He stated, “Coach Dean Smith was on the plane, and my brothers dared me to go get his autograph. I did, and my brothers thought I was so cool. So, to keep impressing them, I bought more stuff and suddenly had a nice collection. I have a broker in San Francisco who helps me acquire rare pieces when they come available, usually about a year after the celebrity passes away.”

    What began as a “way to impress his brothers” became a sincere passion, enriching the area where he was raised as a child. Munroe believes “great art will be around forever, and long after I'm gone. I think of myself more as the current proprietor of the art instead of the owner. You usually have to go to a big city to see the caliber of some of the art I have, so I'm happy to be able to share it locally. Before I opened the winery, most of my art was in cylinders in my attic. I originally thought I'd display select pieces, but as people started coming and asking if I had more, I happily hung more pieces on the walls.”

    The public is invited to attend the opening reception of The Alex Munroe Collection: Artwork by Celebrities on Oct. 11 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at Gallery 208 on Rowan Street in Fayetteville.

    Gallery hours are Monday thru Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For anyone who cannot attend the opening, the exhibit will remain at Gallery 208 until Dec. 15. For information, call Up & Coming Weekly at 910-484-6200.

  • During the first 10 days of November, the Fayetteville community will honor Vietnam veterans during the Heroes Homecoming event. The Cape Fear Regional Theatre is doing its part to honor these American heroes through the staging of Miss Saigon.10-26-11-miss-saigon.jpg

    Miss Saigon, a modern adaption of the opera Madame Butterfly, is set during the closing days of America’s involvement of Vietnam and revolves around an American soldier and a Vietnamese girl who find love in the midst of war and its associated pain. The two are ripped apart as Saigon falls, and the musical ultimately addresses the hard questions of what people will do to survive and who are the real victims of war.

    Under the direction of Bruce Lumpkin, the cast of Miss Saigon has been working at a quick pace to put the show together. According to Lumpkin, who is revisiting the play for the fifth time, the staging of this show in Fayetteville is going to be unique.

    “Each time I’ve done the show, it has been totally different,” said Lumpkin, “but this one will be even more different. We are using a lot of projections and photo montages to bring people into the story.”

    Lumpkin hopes that the use of actual footage and photos of the fall of Saigon will help people really see the reality of that moment and the way that people’s lives were torn apart.

    “I know that many people in the audience will have served in Vietnam and will have memories of those days,” said Lumpkin. “I hope this will strike a chord with them and those memories.”

    For Shannon Tyo, who is playing the role of Kim, the show is very personal.

    “For someone of my age and ethnicity and vocal range, this part is tailor made for me. It is a beautiful, wonderful part, and hopefully I can do it until the day I die,” said Tyo. “I love this part.”

    “I was adopted from Korea when I was 3-years-old. In the musical, Kim is forced to make a very difficult choice concerning her child,” she explained. “For me, it is interesting to see what it is like from the mother’s side. I think about a lot of things that have happened in my life, and think about the mother who wanted a better life for her child, like Kim wants for her child. This is truly a story of great love and sacrifice.”

    Tyo, like Lumpkin, is very aware that many in the audience may have actually lived through these times, and sees it as a great honor to get to perform for them.

    “This is really a beautiful interpretation of the musical,” she said. “Being here in this place with such a strong miltiary background, it is very important for us to get things right. I am nervous to a certain extent, but I am very excited for them to see what we are doing. I hope it is going to be beautiful and mov-ing for them, and I am excited for them to come and see it.”

    Of the videos and photos, she noted, “It’s mind-blowing how the videos and photo take you exactly where you need to be. In an instant, you are in Sai-gon in 1973.”

    Lumpkin has been working night and day to ensure that atmosphere is set. “Miss Saigon is a big show, but it is also a very intimate piece of theatre. If it is well done, and you have a great group of people — like we have here – you don’t need the expansive scenery or the helicopter, because the story is what is important.”

    The musical will run from Nov. 3 through Nov. 20. Tickets range in price from $12 to $27. All Vietnam veterans will recieve tickets for $15, while other veterans will receive a $3 discount. For show times, and to make reservations, visit the website at www.cfrt.org.

  • 10-10-12-bragg.gifBefore Fort Bragg was Fort Bragg, the area was home to Camp Bragg, but what was there before the establishment of Camp Bragg? Get on the bus and find out!

    Join the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum on Saturday, Oct. 13, for a tour of historic sites on Fort Bragg. The bus will leave the museum at 8 a.m. for a day-long tour of the Old Post Historic District, Long Street Presbyterian Church and the Old Argyle archaeological sites, conducted by historians from Fort Bragg’s Cultural Resources Department. The cost is $3 per person.

    While this is the first early Fort Bragg history tour hosted jointly by the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum and Fort Bragg’s Cultural Resources Department, the museum has previously worked together with Fort Bragg, noted Bruce Daws, historic properties manager for the City of Fayetteville.

    “We’ve worked in conjunction with Fort Bragg in the past on a tour of the Rockefeller property and Monroe’s Crossroads,” said Daws, “but the way this tour is structured will be the first time that we’ve done it. The Cultural Resources Department employs archaeologists, and they get a lot of archaeology out of Fort Bragg. A lot of it is prehistory and Native American, but then they do archaeology on sites related to the earlier Camp Bragg. They also have archaeological historians that oversee — similar to our Historic Research Commission — the old part or any historic buildings.”

    The tour will include the old Long Street Presbyterian Church that dates back to the 1750s.

    “The church was surrounded by a little Argyle community, so we’ll talk about archeology that they’ve done out there,” Daws said. “It was a very early settlement in a very early church. We’ll actually get to go out there and tour the inside of the church. It is surrounded by a beautiful cemetery with a stone wall around it. There’s a mass Confederate grave of the solders killed at the Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads.”

    The original Long Street Church dates to about 1758; the current church on site is a later church from 1847.10-10-12-bragg-2.gif

    “It’s a beautiful wood-frame church, a kind of Greek revival-style church,” said Daws. “It was part of that land acquired by the army when they established Camp Bragg in 1918, so they had to kind of displace this congregation and a bunch of people who lived on that land which would later make up Fort Bragg. The United States Government entered into an agreement that it would always maintain the church.”

    Interestingly, the church is available today for services in a number of different forms, Daws explained.

    “I think there is a group of descendants of people who worshipped there that meet there annually. The Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry does an annual worship service out there. The military has used it on occasion for special services. So it’s a real jewel. It has not been modernized. It is an outstanding time capsule. There are no heaters or air conditioners. It’s just very, very intact and represents what it looked like when it was built in 1847. And it’s set in a very rural-type setting off of Long Street.”

    In addition to the church and Argyle archaeological sites, participants will also tour the main post area. Daws explained that the main post area generally centers around the current corps headquarters for the XVIII Airborne Corps and all the brick buildings around the post built after Camp Bragg changed from camp status to fort status in the 1920s.

    “It’s going to be a very interesting look at early Fort Bragg, and when we talk about early Fort Bragg, we’re going to talk about the land and what was there before the establishment of Camp Bragg, and then we’ll look for remains of the early, early post, which in 1918 was essentially established as a tent city,” Daws said. “Then there was some built environment, and then there was a greater drive to build it once it achieved fort status in the 1920s.”

    While much of the tour will take place from the bus, it will involve some moderate walking. Tour guests should also bring a lunch and beverage for a picnic at Wilson Park. Daws stressed that participants must have a valid photo ID to be admitted on Fort Bragg, and space for the tour is limited, so preregistration is required.

    To preregister or for more information, please call (910) 433-1457, (910) 433-1458, or (910) 433-1944.

    Photo: Long Street Church is one of the many sites that the tour will visit.

  • Community Concerts is as much about the community as it is about the concerts, really. For this all-volunteer organization, the past two decades have been about working together to show audiences a good time and fi nding new ways to say thanks to those who have helped shape the community.

    This year, Community Concerts has another outstanding list of performers scheduled. The concert season opens on Nov. 9 with Gladys Knight. A seven-time Grammy winner, Knight has recorded more than 38 albums and has a philanthropic heart.

    She is the national spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association, she supports the American Cancer Society, the Minority AIDS Project, amFAR and Crisis Interventions. She is also a recipient of the BET’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

    She’s been topping charts and wowing audiences for more than 50 years. Her latest work is titled Before Me. The album includes Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” Lena Horne’s “Stormy Weather” and Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday.” 10-31-12-gladys-knight.gif

    The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Visit www. community-concerts.com or www.atthecrown.com for more information.

    Next in the line up is country sensation Martina McBride on Dec. 17. Breaking away from RCA Records after her contract ended in 2010 was a big step for McBride, but she took a chance and signed with Republic Nashville, one of the Big Machine Records labels and has been hard at work. Her latest album, Eleven, was released in October of 2011. McBride co-wrote six of the 11 tracks on the album.

    With more than 20 years of entertaining behind her, McBride delivers top-notch performances for her fans. She’ll be at the Crown on Dec. 17.

    Styx comes to town on Jan. 19 as the third of fi ve concerts this season. This group has been rocking the stage since the early 70s and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. They performed more between 1999 and 2012 than they did in the previous years. Early fans of the group remember them for songs like “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man” and “Fooling Yourself.” More recent fans have heard their work in TV shows like South Park and Freaks and Geeks as well as on car commercials.

    Relive old memories and make new ones at the Crown with Community Concerts. Find out more about this iconic rock and roll band at www. community-concerts.com.

    They started out as the Jazziacs in 1950 and were later known as the Soul Town Band. You probably know them better as Kool & the Gang. Known for their versatile sound, Kool & the Gang perform jazz, funk and soul as well at Top 40 hits. With songs like “Ladies Night” (1979), “Too Hot” (1980) and Celebration, a 1980 platinum album, the group has enjoyed great success. Spend an evening with this eclectic group and get your groove on. They will be at the Crown on Feb. 23.

    Ricky Skaggs closes the season. He stared in Blue Grass and transitioned to mainstream country music in the late 1970s. He’s won 14 Grammy’s, more than a dozen number one hits and eight County Music Association Awards, including Entertainer of the Year in 1985.

    It’s been 53 years since Skaggs picked up the mandolin and he is still going strong. Skaggs is slated to perform at the Crown on April 23.

    Find out more at www. community-concerts.com.

    Photo: Legendary performer Gladys Knight kicks off this season’s Community Concerts. 

  • 11They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Personal fulfillment is the essence of capturing compelling moments in life that tell a story, that have a profound impact and create indelible memories that last a lifetime. As with all matters of the heart, Dara Colón’s passion is priceless when it comes to her love of photography.

    “I own a photography business and I also offer videography and graphic design services,” said Colón, owner, Serendipity Creative Media, LLC. “The biggest thing that I want to say about my photos is that no matter how you look, whether you are tall, short, young, old, different nationalities, ultimately everyone, in their own way, is beautiful and deserving of having a moment where they feel confident in who they are.”

    She is a native of Bronx, New York, and moved to Fayetteville, during her senior year of high school. She is a graduate of E. E. Smith High School and Fayetteville State University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration.

    In 2014, Colón was practicing photography as a hobby and in 2018, she decided to make it legal, form an LLC, and turn it into a professional side hustle. She left her full-time position at FSU as a marketing and social media coordinator for Student Affairs in March of 2020 to make her photo hobby a full-time business.

    “It was a great way to make some extra money on the side in addition to my job at the time,” Colón said. “It has been going great so far and I love what I do, I love to make people smile, I love to make people feel good about themselves. And being behind the camera gives me an opportunity to do that. ”

    Every photographer has a favorite camera and Colón’s favorite is the Canon 5D Mark IV.

    “My favorite part of my camera is the lens that I use, which is a Sigma 135 mm lens,” said Colón. “It gives me a really amazing shallow depth of field, which is when the subject really stands out and the background is blurry so that the focus is on the individual.”12

    Her skill set as a photographer did not come from the classroom.

    “It comes from trial and error, YouTube University and following other local or out of state photographers on social media,” Colón said. “I have to give credit to two amazing local photographers, Larry Shaw and Ezekiel Best, for their mentoring and support.”

    The sky is the limit for this rising photographer and her ultimate goals for Serendipity are promising.

    “I want to have a sustainable income where I am comfortable, but I am also growing the business,” Colón explained. “Secondly, I want to pay it forward and pour into other up and coming photographers.”

    The studio runs by appointment only. For questions or information about picture packages a visit www.serendipitycm.com or follow her on Instagram @serendipitycm_ and on Facebook at Serendipity Creative Media LLC.


  • 17 01 Ribbon CuttingSusan Moody strongly supports anything that can improve the quality of life in her adopted town of Hope Mills. Since she moved there in 1986 she’s embraced any positive changes to the community, including last Monday’s ribbon-cutting that officially opened the new Golfview Greenway Walking Trail to the public.

    But with some projects, and the Greenway probably tops Moody’s list, she wonders if the town’s Board of Commissioners hasn’t gotten ahead of itself in making the venue open without doing everything it could to make it fully ready.
    Moody is a regular at Board of Commissioners meetings. When she’s not able to attend in person, she scours the minutes that are provided after the fact to see what business has been transacted.

    She started having reservations about the haste involved with the Greenway when town director of public works Don Sisko discussed at length changes that would be needed to made to the greenway.

    “He started sharing what it was going to take to bring it up to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance,’’ Moody said. “He was talking about the grades of different paths. He was talking about the width of the path, what they were going to have to do.’’

    Moody said Sisko also discussed areas of the trail that were washed out and other issues.

    “My concern has been all along that it’s not ADA compliant,’’ Moody said. “The town has already been sued once.’’

    Moody is correct. In 2013, the town settled a lawsuit with Tim Wallen over handicapped access to the Parks and Recreation Building and facilities at Municipal Park and Brower park.

    17 02 Greenway signThe town agreed to pay for a variety of changes and was also assessed $6,000 in attorney’s fees for the lawsuit.

    But at its Aug. 20 meeting in 2018 when the Board of Commissioners scheduled tours of the golf course, Heritage Park and Hope Mills Lake bed No. 2, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Mitchell expressed no concern for taking its time in opening the new greenway at the golf course to the public.

    “All this property belongs to our citizens,’’ Mitchell was quoted as saying in The Fayetteville Observer. “They should be able to make use of it. As for liability, everywhere we look we have liability. It’s what insurance is for.’’

    Most people don’t purchase insurance with a goal of having to test its limits. They do it to be cautious. Pushing the envelope on what insurance covers would be risky in a case of someone who suffered a serious injury on the walking trail that would affect them and their families for the rest of their lives.

    Opening the park so soon could be compared to opening a big box store to consumers when construction is still in progress, hard hats are needed in some departments and others aren’t fully stocked.

    “We have a large senior population,’’ Moody said. “We have people that are wheelchair-bound. We have people that are in walkers. We have people that just can’t walk that far.’’

    Moody is concerned nothing has been done to address most of the issues that Sisko first raised with the board months ago.

    “It’s another rabbit hole that this board goes down,’’ she said. “They see something, the rabbit goes down the hole and they chase it.

    “Where are the plans? There have been no plans presented to the board.’’

    There was one plan presented that the board took no action on. At an earlier meeting a suggestion was made to construct an ADA compliant walking track at the new greenway. The board considered it, but took no action.

    “This wasn’t in the (recreation) master plan that cost how many thousands of dollars?,’’ Moody said. “They are going at this piecemeal. Where is the strategic plan to do any of this? That’s my concern.’’

    In a recent town manager’s report from Melissa Adams, a consultant for the town listed some minimum notices the town should post at the greenway.

    The list included signage describing the length, surface and slope of the trail. The signs are currently on order but as of the ribbon cutting on Monday had not been put into place at the greenway.

    Some who attended the ribbon cutting said a few modifications not related to handicapped access had been made and pine straw had been removed from the trail.

    Moody said she definitely wants the greenway open for all the people of Hope Mills but not in a hit-and-miss manner where it’s going to be put a band-aid on this or a temporary thing on that.

    That belief by Moody seemed to be confirmed by a Facebook post from town commissioner Meg Huse Larson. Responding to a post from someone saying that the greenway was in need of water stations along the trail, Larson said the town was putting in two watering stations and more “as finances permit.’’

    The town is also leasing the greenway’s only existing parking lot at a cost of $4,800 for one year.

    “What’s going to happen a year from now when this lease is out and these people have gone through and decided they are going to develop it or do something else with it,’’ Moody said.

    The total bill for the greenway so far is $11,769, with much of the signage that has been ordered still not in place when the ribbon cutting took place last week.

    “It should have been in place before they took down the no trespassing signs,’’ Moody said.

    The good news, if you can call it that, is the insurance is in place, ready for one bad incident on unfinished walking trail to test its limits.

    Picture 1: Jackie Warner went to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Hope Mills Greenway.

    Picture 2: Moody said she definitely wants the greenway open for all the people of Hope Mills, but not in a hit and miss manner.

  • 08 FSO 3Want to get in the Halloween spirit through music?

    Well, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra is hosting a fantasy and ghostly themed performance, just in time for Halloween. The Ghosts and Ghouls one-night event will take you on a Halloween themed journey of exceptional orchestral music.

    The performance will feature music from Disney’s Fantasia as well as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Some of the other pieces that will be performed include:

    • "Waltz from Masquerade" by Aram
    • "A Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest
      Mussorgsky arr. Rimsky-Korsakov
    • "Danse Macabre" by Camille Saint-Säens
    • "Beauty and the Beast" from "Mother Goose" by Maurice Ravel
    • "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice" by Paul Dukas
    • "Firebird Suite (1919)" by Igor Stravinsky

    Stefan Sanders will be the conductor of Ghosts and Ghouls. He is an arts advocate, and focuses on cultivating cultures of artistic excellence, sustaining growth and development and having meaningful engagement within the community.

    When asked what his favorite piece to conduct has been, Sanders explained that whatever piece he is conducting at the moment is his favorite. Although he does have some preferences.

    “I like the ending from the "Firebird Suite" 1919 by Igor Stravinsky,” Sanders said.

    The entire performance will be an hour and 20 minutes long.

    Ghosts and Ghouls will also be kicking off the 2021-2022 season for the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. There are six total season concerts this year. People have the option to buy tickets for the full season, tickets for three concerts or tickets for each individual concert.

    Ticket prices for the Ghosts and Ghouls performance ranges from $5 for children, $20 for military and seniors, and $25 for adults.

    However Ghosts and Ghouls isn’t the only spooky event that the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra is performing. They will also be performing at the Heckler Brewing Company Oct. 28 for their community concert series, Symphony on Tap. This concert will be Hogwarts Edition, so the music – and the alcohol – will all be Harry Potter themed.

    Symphony on Tap is a new series by the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra that aims to engage the community through music and beer. Symphony on Tap performances are free admission.
    While there is no dress code to attend, the Ghosts and Ghouls concert encourages costumes for both attendees and the musicians. The one thing that is required to be worn are face masks.

    Ghosts and Ghouls will take place, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Seabrook Auditorium at Fayetteville State University. Tickets can be purchased at https://ci.ovationtix.com/36404/production/1075542

  • 16 01 eatonOf all the people who will be hit hardest by the departure of the Fayetteville SwampDogs from the community, few will be more affected than Sam Eaton.

    Eaton is a 16-year-old special needs student at Gray’s Creek High School. For the past 12 years, the SwampDogs provided him with a place of joy that also gave his life a genuine purpose.

    The team embraced Eaton and Eaton embraced the team, and finding something that will fill the void of what used to be busy summers for Eaton will be difficult.

    It all started one day back in 2007 when Eaton’s mother Robin, a teacher in the Fort Bragg schools, was looking for a way to entertain her son and wound up taking him to a SwampDogs game.

    “He became very immersed in the rhythm of the onfield promotion of what was going on between innings,’’ she said. “The game was secondary to the fanfare.’’

    Despite an assortment of ailments that impaired his speech and also made it difficult for him to walk, Sam and the SwampDogs baseball team grew to be inseparable. He became close to the characters who wore the team’s Fungo mascot costume.

    Sam became an official unofficial member of the SwampDogs staff, and as time passed his responsibilities with the team grew.
    16 02 SN class
    He became friends with the guys in the Fungo costume, on and off the field. He’d advise them to drink water and stay hydrated on hot days at the ballpark, even making sure they went into the walk-in cooler on especially warm days.
    But he wasn’t just a sidekick to Fungo. “He knows the ins and outs of that whole place,’’ Mrs. Eaton said. “He knows when to turn on the lights, what inning to get the postgame meal prepped, what sequence of events is for the onfield promotions.’’

    In the real world, young Sam is just beginning to read, hasn’t mastered writing, and can’t drive a car or ride a bicycle.

    But in the SwampDogs world, he’s an asset. “He’s fully successful, depended on, relied on and treated as one of the staff and one of the team,’’ Mrs. Eaton said.

    Sam isn’t the only special needs person that the SwampDogs have offered a hand to. “They did the whole Special Olympics intern program,’’ Mrs. Eaton said.

    Sam is searching for something to occupy his time in place of the SwampDogs. He’s found some help at Gray’s Creek High School, where various members of the Bears coaching staff have welcomed Sam into their programs, including the baseball and football teams.

    But summers are still looking like a problem now that the SwampDogs are gone and Sam’s older sister has left for college.

    “I think he’ll be bored,’’ Mrs. Eaton said. “It will be a big change for our family and for Sam.’’

    Sam won’t be able to fit in just anywhere, because he doesn’t consider himself a fan. “He’s a worker,’’ Mrs. Eaton said. “He was in the right time at the right place and we’re sad it’s come to an end.’’

    But even in a time of sadness, Sam thought enough of his friends to make them recipients of charity from the SwampDogs.

    His grandmother, Peggy Jennings, helps keep the books for the SwampDogs, and she had the idea of putting together swag bags of team souvenirs that were no longer going to be needed. Sam immediately thought of his friends.
    “What came to mind were his classmates, Special Olympics athletes and Buddy Baseball athletes,’’ Ms. Eaton said. “Those are his peers. He knows they have a place with the SwampDogs.’’

    One of the groups that benefitted was the special needs classes at Gray’s Creek High School where Earl Horan is a special education teacher.

    He came into his classroom recently over a two-day period and saw bags filled with souvenirs, shirts and caps for his class and members of the faculty.

    "Sam’s a neat little character,’’ Horan said. “He has an infectious smile and everyone likes having Sam around.’’

    Horan also praised the SwampDogs for the work they’ve done with young men like Sam. “It gives the kids such a feeling of acceptance and self-worth,’’ he said. “It touches the whole family, makes them feel a part of the team and the community.’’

    Picture 1: Sam Eaton posing with and SwampDogs mascot, Fungo

    Picture 2: Students with Earl Horan’s special needs class show off SwampDogs swag shared by their fellow student Sam Eaton.

  • 14 benefits of art educationWhy does art matter? This is a question that has given philosophers and artists food for thought for centuries.

    It’s also been a leading question in many school districts when budget cuts have forced school administrators to put various curricula on the chopping block. Very often arts programs are the first to be cut.

    From their earliest years, many children communicate and learn through artistic expression. Songs help them learn words and repetition to develop speech and reading skills. Drawing, painting and crafting helps to solidify motor skills. Though 88% of Americans consider the arts part of a well-rounded education, an American for the Arts public opinion survey found that the percentage of students receiving arts education has shrunk dramatically over the last few decades.

    Houston’s Arts Access Initiative, in conjunction with Houston Education Research Consortiums, found a substantial increase in arts educational experiences had remarkable effects on students’ academic, social and emotional outcomes. Students who participated in arts education experienced a 3.6% reduction in disciplinary infractions, an improvement of 13% of a standard deviation in standardized writing scores, and an increase of 8% of a standard deviation in students’ compassion for others. Compassion translated into wanting to help people who were treated badly and being more conscious of how other people feel.

    The Nation’s Report Card, the largest ongoing assessment of what students in the United States know and can do, shows that American students continue to score lower than many of their peers in Europe and Asia. Seeking to improve performance in reading and math may be as simple as including arts education. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education say that instruction becomes more effective when educators integrate creative activities.

    Encouraging creativity and imagination across all disciplines can help shine light on new concepts and help students discover connections and innovative ideas.

    To bolster support of arts in the classroom, parents and educators can point out the following benefits of arts education.

    Increases creativity: The arts let students express themselves in different ways and offer outlets for all types of skills.

    Improves academic performance: A report by Americans for the Arts indicates young people who regularly participate in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement than non-participants.

    Develops motor skills: Arts helps foster motor skills, which are essential for writing letters and words, playing musical instruments, using paintbrushes, and much more.

    Helps one appreciate numeracy: Art involves patterns and problem solving. Learning these skills translates into many different disciplines, including mathematics.

    May accelerate brain development: Bright Horizons, a U.S.-based child care provider, reports learning to play an instrument has been found to improve mathematical learning, boost memory and lead to improved academic scores.

    The benefits of arts in the classroom cannot be ignored. The arts encourage students to use many skills that translate to various subjects.

  • Elements of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command are conducting realistic military training on Fort Bragg and in the greater Fayetteville area, including Hope Mills, from Oct. 28 until Nov. 22.

    You may see soldiers in civilian clothes meeting at predetermined locations throughout the city as part of the training scenario. This has been coordinated with Fayetteville law enforcement and the city manager and the town manager of Hope Mills.

    This type of training is routine and gives soldiers the opportunity to work in a more realistic environment. The military sincerely appreciates the cooperation of citizens and local businesses in the vicinity of this training and apologizes for any disturbance it may cause.

    Q. Are townspeople likely to notice anything?

    A. The soldiers taking part in this training will not be in uniform, carrying weapons or driving military vehicles. Members of the community are not likely to notice anything out of the ordinary while this training is conducted.

    Q. Can you share anything about the general purpose of the exercise?

    A. Special operations soldiers regularly conduct this type of training off of military installations because it adds an increased level of realism and greater training value for our special operations personnel.

    Q. Why does the exercise last as long as it does?

    A. Four weeks is simply the amount of time it will take to cover all of the course material and complete the practical exercises. Readiness determines our ability to fight and win our nation’s wars. It is the capability of our forces to conduct the full range of military operations to defeat all enemies regardless of the threats they pose.

    Q. Will different Fort Bragg personnel rotate in and out of the exercise from week to week or will it be the same group of participants start to finish?

    A. This is a single course, therefore the same personnel will be participating in this training for the entire four weeks.

    Q. Is this a 24/7 event or will the exercise only be in morning or evening hours?

    A. This training will mostly be conducted during the day, Monday through Friday.

    Q. How many personnel will take part?

    A. A total of 18 students will take part in this course.

    Q. What kind of things will the participants be doing?

    A. Special operations soldiers will be conducting network enabler training. This training will certify civil affairs soldiers on their informant network-building skills, a critical skill for special operations soldiers.

    Small groups of soldiers in civilian clothes will conduct interviews in public places throughout the greater Fayetteville area. It is important to note that any interaction with members of the public will be secondary.

    Soldiers will not be interacting with members of the public to gather information for this training.

    All information gathering will take place between students and instructors or previous graduates of the course.

  • 10 bazaar 6Are you looking for some interesting gift ideas for the upcoming holidays? Or do you just want to get out and enjoy some good food?

    There are two bazaars scheduled this month in Fayetteville and Hope Mills that will offer both while benefiting good causes.

    Pencil in the Berean Baptist Church Holiday Bazaar in your planner.

    The bazaar takes place at the Berean Baptist Church located at 517 Glensford Drive in Fayetteville. It will be open to the public on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    The bazaar will have 35 vendors, many of whom are selling handmade crafts such as floral arrangements, goat’s milk soap, honey, quilts, canned goods, baskets and a variety of other items.

    The church’s first bazaar was in 2019 (pre-COVID-19). The first event saw about 450 people attend. The church and organizers are hopeful for a large turnout for this year’s event. Organizers hope to increase attendance and sales by extending the hours of the event this year.

    The church has a lot of people involved with making the bazaar a success. There are 15 people on the committee. The day before the event there will be 40-50 church volunteers preparing the church and, of course, there will be vendors.

    Lunch will be available at the bazaar. Patrons can pick two items from the menu. The menu is pick two from three different soups, three different sandwiches and three salads. Chips and drinks will accompany lunch. The cost of lunch is $7. When you are done with lunch, check out the baked goods for sale.

    There will also be a photographer on hand to take holiday photos.

    Visitors can stop by the church’s café for specialty coffee drinks to enjoy while browsing the vendor offerings.

    All of the proceeds from the Berean Baptist Church Holiday Bazaar will go to Operation Blessing, which is a (501c3) nonprofit Christian humanitarian organization. Operation Bleesing provides short term assistance of food, clothes, limited approved financial assistant and crisis pregnancy support to those in need in Cumberland County and surrounding areas.

    The Gray’s Creek Bazaar and Buffet will be held at the Gray’s Creek Community Building, 3024 School Road in Hope Mills on Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

    It is a great way to support local vendors. Items up for sale include craft items such as holiday decorations, wreaths, door hangers, ornaments, candles, jams, jellies, pickles, dried herbs, cakes, pies, cookies and candies. The bazaar draws people in with country store items for the crafts, canned goods, homemade cakes and pies.

    Crowd expectation depends on the year. About 4-500 visitors have attended in election years while other years draw 3-400. Of those visitors, many come from other counties and states.

    “As a Club committed to our budgeted community service projects, we were concerned last year,” said Helen Brockett, corresponding secretary and the Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club’s publicity chair.

    “We reached out to our annual sponsors to consider their usual contributions to meet our service commitments, and the response was very good. With a pork roast and loin donation from Smithfield, we were able to hold two drive-by, take out benefits earlier this year which were very helpful. These plate sales provided much needed monies for the general and budgeting funds.”

    The Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club Bazaar began in 1970 and has always been held at the Gray’s Creek Community Building owned and maintained jointly by the Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club and the Gray’s Creek Ruritans.

    The all-you-can-eat buffet was added to the bazaar in 1974, and probably the best addition to the event for those who love southern cooking and eating as much as browsing through handmade items and baked goods.
    It been 51 years since the first bazaar. Even with a pandemic cancelling the event last year, they are thrilled they are able to hold number 50 this year,
    Brockett said.

    The biggest annual item is the hand pieced quilt made by the members. Raffle tickets are only $1 each and folks from near and far buy tickets for a chance to win. The drawing will be held at 2 p.m. at the close of the bazaar. You do not have to be present to win.

    The “all-you-can-eat” buffet is $12. The menu includes chicken ‘n pastry, country ham, fried chicken, green beans, corn, cabbage, sweet potatoes, collards, potato salad, deviled eggs, variety of relishes, pies and cakes.

    The community outreach includes scholarships, the Grays Creek Christian Center, four district Gray’s Creek Schools, and other needs that might present themselves.

    Pictured above: A highlight of the Gray’s Creek Bazaar and Buffet is the raffle of a hand pieced quilt made by members of the Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club. (Photos of previous event courtesy Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club)

    Pictured below: Volunteers work diligently to get the Berean Baptist Church Holiday Bazaar ready for vendors and visitors. (Photos of previous event courtesy Berean Baptist Church)

    11 BBC volunteers

  • 17 moxieBusiness partners Mary Susan Megill and Tara Freeman don’t look at what they do as owners of Moxie Hair Studio on Legion Road as a job.

    “A lot of people look at it as a hobby, which kind of in a way it is, but it’s a hobby that is also a job that we like,’’ Freeman said. “It doesn’t feel like work. I genuinely like my clients and like to make them feel good about themselves.’’

    The two recently opened their new studio in the Coffman Commons shopping center at 4251 Legion Road.

    “I had previously worked in Hope Mills and had built a clientele out there,’’ Megill said. “It’s close enough to most things in Fayetteville and it wasn’t too far for most of our clients.’’

    Freeman lives in the Gray’s Creek area and saw it as a chance to add another hairstyling option for people in what is a rapidly-growing part of Cumberland County. "It’s an opportunity to market this area more,’’ she said.

    They describe the business as a full-service hair salon available to the entire family. Women, men and children are all welcome.

    For the time being, Megill and Freeman are the only stylists in the shop, but they have openings to add more stylists in the future.

    There are no firm hours with most business being appointment-based. Walk-ins are welcome but depending on the appointment load, it’s better to schedule something in advance.

    Generally, the studio is open during traditional business hours Tuesday through Saturdays.

    Freeman got her cosmetology training at a vocational high school in Ohio. Megill learned the trade at a local hairstyling school.

    Both took the traditional 1,500 hours of training, which for both is ongoing on the job. Between them they’ve got 33 years of experience on the job.

    “It’s always changing,’’ Megill said. “There’s always something new, the client thing, as well. You become close to your clients. You build a relationship with them.

    “We both have clients we’ve been seeing for years. (You) watch them grow with their families and their jobs and whatever else is going on in their life.’’

    Megill said that technique-wise there is always something cool coming out in the hairstyling business. “It’s not boring,’’ she said. “It really, truly is a fun job.’’

    While the main services they offer are hair cutting and coloring, they offer specialty work like rainbow hair coloring and balayage.

    Balayage is when dye is actually painted on to create a graduated, natural-looking effect.

    The procedure can take as long as two hours to perform. The two also do fashion colors and corrective colors.

    For further information on the business, visit their Facebook page, Moxie Hair Studio. You can contact them at 910-491-4542 or by email at moxiehairstudio19@gmail.com.

  • 16 generatorA short time ago, the Hope Mills Police Department swung an amazing deal to get a new tactical vehicle for special situations.

    Now the Hope Mills Fire Department is following suit, helping secure a generator that will provide power to keep Town Hall up and running enough to do business during times of power loss.

    Deputy Chief Steve Lopez of the Hope Mills Fire Department wears a number of hats. In addition to his role as a firefighter, he is also the operations chief for the fire department and the town safety director for Hope Mills.

    After a lengthy search, Lopez has located what is called a tactical quiet generator that he is now working to get final approval and installation for.

    Lopez said that when the Town Hall building was originally constructed, the intent was to get a generator.

    For whatever reason, that never took place, and after Hurricane Florence, when power was out to Town Hall for eight days, something needed to done.

    “We had a sit down (after Florence) and did a lessons learned type of thing,’’ Lopez said. “The problem we were having was the fact all the infrastructure for the servers and the phones were located in the Town Hall.’’

    During that same period of time, Cumberland County dispatch services were also down for two or three days. That meant certain services could not be dispatched by radio or reached by telephone. “The gist of the situation was we needed to try to get a generator here as quickly as we can,’’ Lopez said.

    But that’s a lot easier said than done. A generator of the type Hope Mills needed to keep Town Hall running cannot be purchased at the typical big box chain. The cost for a new one runs upwards of $35,000, which is well beyond the reach of the town budget.

    Lopez began looking at options available via military surplus. “The thing with generators on the military side is they are very powerful, they are made to government specifications and they are made to operate in the worst conditions,’’ he said.

    Lopez finally found what he was looking for with a federal surplus outlet in Raleigh. The cost was only $3,975.

    He checked it out and brought a generator mechanic with him. “He tested it and it passed with flying colors,’’ Lopez said.

    He then took the generator to a local trucking company to do further checks on the generator’s diesel motor. “They judged it to be in super condition,’’ he said.

    “It’s very, very quiet,’’ he said of the generator when it’s operating. “It’s actually used in a forward area where you have to keep the noise to a minimum.’’

    The next step will be to get an estimate on the cost for installing all the hardware needed to connect the generator to Town Hall and set it up so it will automatically turn on just 1.5 seconds after the building loses power in the next storm event or other cause of power failure.

    Should the cost to do all the connections run over $5,000, Lopez said it will have to go to the Board of Commissioners for final approval.

    Lopez added the generator is not designed to power Town Hall completely like normal current would, but he also noted that not everyone comes to work when power is out so every light and power outlet in the building won’t be needed in that situation.

    “There are critical functions in a municipality that need to stay functioning or have the ability to function,’’ Lopez said. “The manager’s office is one and payroll is another. We prioritize which areas we want stood up (powered).’’

    Another major consideration is the detrimental effect no power can have on some equipment. During the time of Florence, Lopez said it got too humid inside the building, causing problems for some of the town’s computers.

    “This generator should power pretty much everything we need in a storm event and post-storm event,’’ Lopez said.

  • 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.

  • 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.



  • 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.

  • uac102214001.gif Unique, energetic, heart-pounding, amazing, these are all words that have been used to describe a show that is coming to Fayetteville on Nov. 6, as the Crown Theatre welcomes the world famous Blue Man Group.

    The Blue Man Group is currently on a 50-city tour that began at the end of September and runs through April. The show is part of Fayetteville Live, a three-show series at the Crown that also includes Stomp on Jan. 11, 2015 and Celtic Woman on April 8.

    The Blue Man Group was originally formed back in 1987 by three men, Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton. The show they created was a blend of powerful percussion and unique visuals and featured a set of characters that are special, to say the least. The three men donned black jumpsuits, blue face paint and blue bald caps to become the enigmatic Blue Men.

    Since those original three men started the phenomena that has spanned the globe, more than 150 more men have donned the blue paint to call themselves a Blue Man. Currently, there are between 80 and 100 men working in teams of three performing worldwide. The group has permanent shows in Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City, Orlando and Berlin to go along with the touring team that is coming to Fayetteville.

    One of the Blue Men who will be appearing in Fayetteville is Mike Brown, who first saw the group back in 1997, when he said he, “fell in love with them and dreamed of working with them.” A few months later, his dream came true when he was hired to work on the backstage crew. Brown was classically trained in theater and also played the drums in a series of bands with friends. So, with the urging of friends and family, he answered an open casting call for new Blue Men. He won a spot and has spent the past 11 years touring from city to city as a part of the group.

    Brown is excited to play before the local fans. He said that in preparing for the show, he learned of the city’s connection to Fort Bragg. Brown said that the prospect of playing before a large military audience is exciting. It is something he has done before and wants to do again.

    “We performed at West Point last year and that was amazing. When we got there, we looked out over a sea of cadets all in their uniforms. That was kind of a change because everyone was wearing the exact same thing and our show likes to magnify people’s individuality. We had fun using our imaginations with that … it is always exciting for us to be able to give back to those who are serving.”

    Brown added that The Blue Man Group show is centered on percussive music that is, “very tribal, you are going to feel it inside your body, inside your heart. Hopefully, inside your soul and who you are as a person. Drums are perfect for that because it drives right into a part of your body and your being that you can feel and understand. This energy can build up inside of you. It really is beautifully scored music that will give you goose bumps. You can really expect the music to move through you and, hopefully, elicit a change.”

    One of the trademarks of a Blue Man Group show is the feeling of spontaneity that the show carries. Brown described the group’s preparation and attitude towards their shows, “We want everything about being a Blue Man to represent the ‘in the moment’ feeling of our show. You want it to feel like a show is happening for the first time and the first time only. In terms of character preparation, when you become a Blue Man you learn the regular things like the blocking and how to play the music and doing certain artistic things.10-22-14-blue-man-group-portrait.gif

    “But there is another element that you can’t really plan for, that is just being in the moment and responding with your instincts and your impulses to play from the audience. That is something that you can’t really prepare for, but it is very conducive to Blue Men.” He continued, “It’s all happening for the first time so it is a trial by fire type of thing.”

    He went on to say that part of being a Blue Man is, “being comfortable with yourself and what is going on around you to just have fun. To let your inner child come out and say, this might be crazy and dangerous but that is the fun of it!”

    According to Brown, audiences that attend a Blue Man show are at a loss for words when leaving a show, “Often afterwards, you are not really able to describe it. That’s because it causes feelings inside of you that are tangible. It makes you speechless. As we grow up we start to shy away from the types of things that might cause us to get embarrassed, maybe because we don’t want to get in trouble. The Blue Men urge you and welcome you to move past that and get to that place where you are like, ‘this is natural home-grown fun’. Not only do the Blue Men share that with the audience, but the audience shares that with each other. I have seen people that, by the end of the show, who were strangers, dancing with each other and high-fiving having a great time together. That is the spirit of the show, connecting people in that way. ”

    Brown encourages everyone to come out and enjoy the show, “Everybody has a Blue Man in them. It doesn’t matter if you are short or tall, male or female. We like to use the show to help people find that. Really, there are 6 billion Blue Men in the world … If you want to have the time of your life, come see Blue Man Group!”

    Tickets for the show are still available through Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and in person at the Crown Complex Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets. To purchase a package of tickets that covers all three shows offered by Fayetteville Live call 888.512.BWAY (2929) and online at www.fayettevilleliveshows.com.

    Photo:  The Blue Man Group has been entertaining audiences since the late ‘80s. Fayetteville will get a chance to enjoy their unique sound on Nov. 6.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 18 Race CourseThe seventh annual Run for the Pink 5K to support the fight against breast cancer is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19, at 8 a.m., in Hope Mills near the municipal complex at the police and fire stations off Rockfish Road.

    Coco Ramirez established the race with the help of her husband Julio Ramirez and has continued it for the last three years in his memory, after he passed away from leukemia.

    Her goal is to raise money to donate to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center to help fund breast cancer screening for women who may not be able to afford it.

    Ramirez stressed that the Run for the Pink is a family-friendly event designed both for serious runners and for people who just want to get out and walk the course to support the battle against breast cancer.

    “It’s very emotional for me to continue,’’ Ramirez said. “The community supports me a lot. My goal is for them to have a very good time.I’m trying to bring a lot of people. You can run, you can walk to support the Cape Fear hospital.’’

    There are multiple divisions and various prices for entering them.

    The fee for the 5K is $30. There is an additional $3.50 signup fee.

    The 5K for children ages 13 and under is $25. That is the same fee for participants who want to compete as members of a team.

    For active duty military, the 5K is $20. That is also the fee for cancer survivors.

    All teams must register to compete by Oct. 12.

    There will be cash prizes awarded for the top three overall male and female winners, $100 for first, $75 for second and $50 for third.

    Medals will be awarded in all age groups for the first 400 to cross the finish line.

    For more information on the race and to signup go to www.runsignup.com and search for Run for the Pink 5K. Ramirez can be contacted directly at 910-922-6301.

    In addition to the Run for the Pink 5K, Ramirez also holds the annual Cinco De Mayo 10K and 5K with Fayetteville Elite Running in downtown Fayetteville.

  • 17 GazeboChurch at the Lake returns to Hope Mills this year with a new date but the same commitment to share the unity of the town’s many faith groups.

    “I think it’s important for us as a community to take advantage of the opportunity to come together with a display of unity, an opportunity to display our faith as a unified community,’’ said Pastor Michael McGill of Grace Place Christian Church on South Main Street.

    McGill is one of the pastors involved with planning and coordinating this year’s Church at the Lake event, which moved from July to Sunday, Oct. 6, from 4:30-8 p.m.

    The service will be held at Hope Mills Lake with the various performers setting up at the gazebo near the large grassy area by the lake.

    McGill said although the area has been hit by multiple hurricanes in recent years, Hope Mills has been relatively fortunate that the damage done by the storms wasn’t more extensive.

    “There is always the potential for destruction when there is a lot of water around,’’ McGill said. “Church at the Lake is an opportunity for us to come there and give thanks for the goodness of the Hope Mills community.’’

    McGill said 10 different churches of all denominations from the Hope Mills community will take part in the observance this year. “We’ve met several times this year to discuss the program and to organize the event,’’ he said.

    A number of the churches will have a music ministry from their particular faith group performing at Church at the Lake. In addition, the minister from each of the performing churches has been invited to speak briefly before that church’s group performs, talking for not more than three to five minutes.

    McGill said each pastor’s message will focus on words of encouragement and unity for Hope Mills.

    McGill said the music will offer a variety of styles from bluegrass gospel to contemporary worship and more traditional hymns.

    The service will conclude with a unity number performed by multiple groups.

    Those planning to attend are welcome to bring chairs or blankets to sit on as no formal seating will be provided.

    Parking will be available at the lot at Big T’s by the lake and at the various businesses across the street from the lake.

    “We are looking forward to coming together as a community,’’ McGill said.

  • 10-05-11-picture-it.jpgAn initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Assocation, Teen Read Week is celebrated annually at thousands of public libraries, schools and booksellers. Teen Read Week is officially Oct. 16-22, but the Cumberland County Public Library and Information Center is choosing to celebrate all month.

    This year the theme is Picture It. The library is embracing this theme and has two month-long programs to engage local teens.

    The first one is the Teen Read Art Show at West Regional Branch. It is an opportunity for teens to show off their talent. Teens are invited to submit artwork for display throughout the month of October. There will be prizes including ribbons and gift cards, although people can enter their work without competing. Find out more at 487-0440.

    Taking the Picture It theme in a different direction, Headquarters Library is having a photo scavenger hunt. Teens can go to the TeenSpace at Your Library Facebook page, the library’s website or any of the Cumberland County branch locations and get the list of items for the scavenger hunt.

    “We are hoping the teens will be really creative,” said Missy Lang, assistant youth services coordinator. “For example, if the list included a license plate, and someone sent in a picture of a funny or interesting vanity plate, we would consider that as a winner for most creative. We really want them to have fun with this.”

    Here are the rules that are posted on the Cumberland County Public Library and Information Center website: The library is using Flickr for this contest, since it allows tagging and grouping, and teens can create a free account. The contest tags (which need to be added to each photo in your submission set exactly as listed) are: CCPLIC teenreadweek2011 photoscavengerhunt. Please label your pictures with the item and number taken from the list. Create a set for all of your photos so that viewers can see all your work together and leave comments. There will be one winner and one runner up for this contest. To be eligible, participants must submit 31 separate pictures, must be the creators of the photos and the pictures must be taken during the month of October 2011. Cheating isn’t nice. Don’t do it. A three-judge panel of library staff will select a winner based on creativity and photo quality.

    “We are excited about this contest and hope that we can get a lot of teens to participate,” said Lang. “We have many teen related programs at the library, but sometimes people don’t realize that, or for whatever reason they can’t attend. This event is designed to draw in those teens who can’t always make it to our events but would like to.”

    For more information, please call Missy Lang at 483-7727 ext. 306.

  • 16 Ellen and BarneyThe Rev. Ellen McCubbin brings a unique set of skills to her new job as the pastor of Hope Mills United Methodist Church.

    A native of the Baltimore, Maryland area, she’s a self-described second-career pastor with 30 years of experience working for IBM as a computer scientist and systems analyst.

    “Over my career I designed command and control systems for submarines, high-availability systems for banking and the stock market worldwide,’’ said McCubbin, 62.

    Her computer job first brought her to North Carolina, where she fell in love with the state.

    Her computer and pastoral roles have taken her to the Research Triangle, Wendell, Burlington and, most recently, Burgaw before she relocated to her new pastorate in Hope Mills in June with her shih tzu Barnabas, Barney for short. He is named for the biblical apostle who accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys.

    After 30 years in the computer business, McCubbin said she couldn’t dodge the fact God was calling her and affirming her in the ministry she had been doing as a layperson.

    She spoke to some minister friends about it, and then said God began opening doors to allow her to get her ministerial education while completing her job at IBM.

    “I had tremendously supportive management at IBM who were not surprised at all that I was called to the full-time ministry,’’ she said.

    She has served in both large and small towns but she likes being in a town like Hope Mills that’s adjacent to a larger community like Fayetteville.

    “I really like Hope Mills,’’ she said. “I find that the people are welcoming, hospitable and are from all over. “We’ve got that small-town feel and yet we are not a really small town. We are about three times the size of the last town I served.’’

    McCubbin said she’s been told her gifts for her current work are preaching, teaching and pastoring. She also thinks she’s a pretty good administrator. She feels the local congregation helps define for her where she’s needed the most.

    She has a big love for pastoral care, which to her means hospital visits for those who are sick, especially visits with the ailing elderly members of the congregation and advocating for proper care for them.

    She loves the teaching aspect of ministry and leads a weekly Bible study. She likes small group studies to help people learn how to share and discover their own spiritual gifts, feeling that all are called to ministry in some way.

    While some feel there is a natural conflict between science and faith, McCubbin looks at the situation differently, calling the Bible a textbook on God’s interactions with humanity over recorded history.

    She said Methodists try to examine complex issues through the experiences of scripture, tradition, reason and experience. “When you apply them to new things science can come up with, you can usually find an answer that I think would be acceptable to God,’’ she said. “I use science examples all the time because I’m still a geek and proud of it.’’

    In the short time she’s been at Hope Mills United Methodist Church, she’s learned her congregation has a real heart for transforming the world to Jesus Christ as well as for missions.

    Recently, she said some 25% of her members committed to helping with North Carolina hurricane relief through United Methodist Church hurricane relief centers.

    “I see them as making disciples for Jesus by what they’re doing and how they’re reaching out to the community, and by how they study,’’ she said. “They are passionate about it and I’m passionate about it. I think the bishop and the cabinet sent me to the right place.’’

  • 10-10-12-methodist-logo.gifDuring a recent campus-wide convocation, I talked about the importance of partnerships to the community and to Methodist University. These partnerships help the university deliver on the promise made to each Methodist student that he or she will have an exceptional educational experience.

    Partnerships are another way to say “relationships,” and we are very fortunate to have so many caring people, representing scores of businesses and organizations, who are invested in the university and want to see our students succeed. In fact, many have joined various advisory boards so that they can maximize their effectiveness as partners.

    As we strive to implement a variety of initiatives that will move Methodist University forward, I have announced a goal of creating and celebrating 100 partnerships with the greater community. Throughout the year, we will be highlighting the many benefits from these partnerships and featuring their contributions to the university. They will certainly play a pivotal role in meeting our strategic priorities — priorities that will benefit our students and prepare them for success during their time at Methodist and beyond. The partnerships will also contribute to the success of our community and make it an even better place to learn, work, live and play.

    I would like to share just two examples of these partnerships to illustrate the benefits they will bring to the University and the community. We recently announced a partnership with the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce at the September Chairman’s Coffee Club event. Through the MU Center for Community Engagement and Reeves School of Business, a team of students led by a faculty mentor, Mark Kendrick, will assist with a re-branding campaign and marketing efforts for the chamber. According to Vinnie Venturella, a member of the chamber’s board of directors and the event’s host, this arrangement will “strengthen and engage our chamber, as well as the business community.”

    Methodist University will also partner with the United Way of Cumberland County by developing pilot projects that can be utilized in various community campaigns. A team of MU students will design a campaign at Methodist University and create a United Way Day and United Way Fair that will bring representatives of United Way agencies and MU employees together, thus increasing their awareness of the benefits received through their contributions. We also hope to develop a student organization that can be a model for other student groups. In the end, the student group, mentored by Director of Public Affairs, Pam McEvoy, will develop a comprehensive campaign that will enable them to create similar campaigns in other settings.

    Our goal is to give every Methodist student an opportunity to be involved in a community project in virtually every corner of Cumberland County. By developing their problem-solving skills and serving as a part of a team, students will be more competitive in the employment market and in gaining entrance in the best graduate schools. They will also learn how important it is to be involved in their home communities and enhance the quality of life. Students who are involved in the community will continue to be involved as adults. Indeed, our democratic society is built on the tradition of engaged citizens, so we think it is imperative to engage young people while still at Methodist.

    The philosophy of university-community partnerships is central to Methodist University. The institution owes its very founding more than 50 years ago to community leaders who believed in this principle and saw the promise of educating our students and having them return to the community as engaged citizens and leaders. So much has been accomplished in the five decades since then, and generations of leaders have emerged and contributed to the betterment of our community.

  • adjusted helmet
    Where has this football season gone?

    I write this picking column the day before Halloween, and when we kick off Friday night we’ll be in November with only one more week left in the regular season.

    Also as of this writing we’re still waiting, as usual, for those magical, mysterious average daily membership numbers from the State Department of Public Instruction that the North Carolina High School Athletic Association will use to determine which schools will be AA and which will be A in the state playoff brackets.

    Those that pull out the slide rules and sun dials and try to forecast who’s going where suggest we could have as many as four Cumberland County teams in the 4-A classification playoffs and two in the 3-A classification. 

    I’ll wait until the official call from the NCHSAA before going through all those headaches.
    The record: 52-16
    This picking business can drive you insane if you let it. I missed two games last week, both by a single point. That put the record for the week at 5-2, running my season count to 52-16, 76.5 percent.
    Cape Fear at Pine Forest - The title of hottest team in Cumberland County now goes to Cape Fear after the Colts notched their fifth straight win with a huge 7-6 victory over South View last Friday.
    With only one Patriot Athletic Conference loss to Terry Sanford, Cape Fear is in a strong position for a state playoff berth, but the Colts need to win out and get some help from the rest of the league to get the best seeding possible.
    I think they start the process for themselves Friday with a win over Pine Forest.
    Cape Fear 28, Pine Forest 13.
    Gray’s Creek at Douglas Byrd- Two teams facing disappointing seasons to date. The Bears are my pick in this one as they bid to finish the year strong.
    Gray’s Creek 30, Douglas Byrd 12.
    Jack Britt at Pinecrest - I’d love to pick the Buccaneers in this one, but Pinecrest is playing too well.
    Pinecrest 27, Jack Britt 13.
    Seventy-First at Richmond Senior - I’m afraid it’s going to be a long night in Rockingham for the Falcons.
    Richmond Senior 32, Seventy First 12.
    Terry Sanford at South View - South View is in command to get the No. 1 4-A playoff berth from the Patriot Athletic Conference. Meanwhile Terry Sanford has already locked up the 3-A top seed by sweeping its 3-A league opponents.
    So all that’s at stake here is the regular-season conference championship. Trust me, both teams want it badly.
    South View 20, Terry Sanford 18.
    Overhills at Westover - The frustration is likely to continue for Westover this week.
    Overhills 24, Westover 16.
    Open date: E.E. Smith.
    Other games: Trinity Christian 39, Asheville School 6.
  • 21 01 Roscoe BlueRoscoe Blue

    Terry Sanford • Football• Senior
    Blue has a 3.854 weighted grade point average. He is a captain on the football team. He is a member of the Key Club and enjoys taking college courses at Fayetteville Tech. Blue volunteers at other sporting events here at Terry Sanford and enjoys cooking at the baseball games.  During his free time he enjoys fishing.
    Jacob Knight

    Terry Sanford•Football•Senior

    21 02 Jacob KnightKnight has a 3.937 weighted grade point average. He is a captain on the Terry Sanford football team.  He is a member of Academically/Intellectually Gifted and National Honor Society and enjoys taking college courses at Fayetteville Tech.  Knight is a active member of Epicenter Church where his father Mark Knight is pastor.
  • 20 BazzleSouth View athletic director Chad Barbour said Tyler Bazzle is the kind of student who brightens your day whenever you see him.

    Despite being hampered by cerebral palsy that makes him non-verbal and forces him to walk with the help of a walker, Bazzle is a friendly, outgoing youngster who is beloved by his teachers and fellow students.

    He also loves the Tiger football team, and Barbour came up with an idea for allowing him to experience being a part of the team firsthand.

    In September, Barbour approached head coach Rodney Brewington with the idea of allowing Bazzle to put on a uniform, go on the field with the rest of the team and score a touchdown.

    Brewington took the idea and in Barbour’s words, ran with it. He put together a full uniform for Bazzle, down to equipment and shoes, and gave it to him to remember the special night, which they scheduled for South View’s homecoming game with E.E. Smith.

    Barbour then reached out to Smith athletic director Lawrence Smalls to clear it with him. The plan was to delay the kickoff of the game and run an unofficial play near the goal line with Bazzle carrying the football prior to the actual kickoff.
    Barbour said Smalls agreed immediately, saying anything that the schools can do for kids they’re going to do.

    Just to cover all bases, Barbour also spoke with Neil Buie, the regional supervisor of high school football officials for the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
    Buie and his officiating crew bought in, manning their usual positions on the field while the play with Bazzle was run.

    The ball was handed off to Bazzle, his walker shoved to the side, as his best friend Kevin Brewington and South View star running back Matthew Pemberton helped Bazzle into the end zone for his touchdown.

    Long after the game was over, Barbour said Pemberton removed his game cleats and presented them to Bazzle as another gift.

    “It’s an experience I’ll never forget,’’ Barbour said.

    Barbour said the whole evening was a testament to the all-inclusive athletic program that has been promoted by Vernon Aldridge, the student activities director for Cumberland County Schools.

    Aldridge has been pushing the concept of Unified Sports, which tries to involve special needs students at the schools into mainstream sports. So far, special needs students in Cumberland County have been able to participate in track and field and wrestling.

    This winter, plans are in place to add bowling to the list of Unified Sports the county offers.

    Aldridge said he thought the special ceremony for Bazzle fit in perfectly with the county’s goal of inclusiveness. “I would love to have a unified sports in each of our sports seasons,’’ Aldridge said.

  • 19 Dorian Clark copyThere has been no shortage of great running backs at Fayetteville and Terry Sanford High Schools, dating back to the tales of the great Nub Smith during the post-World War II era.

    In modern times, names like Roger Gann, Booten Jackson, Louis Craft, Dwight Richardson and Jordan McRae were often in headlines.

    But all of them never achieved the numbers that current standout Dorian Clark has.

    Clark recently became the all-time rushing leader in the rich history of Fayetteville High and Terry Sanford. Through last week’s win over Douglas Byrd, Clark has rushed for 4,724 yards in his career as a Bulldog with 50 touchdowns.
    This season alone he’s amassed 1,125 yards and 15 scores.

    None of this came as a surprise to head coach Bruce McClelland, who saw Clark’s potential as he came up through the middle school ranks. He arrived at Terry Sanford as a freshman eager to learn and get even better.

    “He’s one of those gym rat type of kids that always wanted to know what was going on and when we were working out,’’ McClelland said. “Combined with the skill set and wanting to work, you put those two together and you see the promise of him.’’

    McClelland describes Clark as a downhill runner who can put his shoulder into a defender and carry two or three of them with him. “I would probably say at least half of his yards have come after contact,’’ McClelland said.

    While Clark doesn’t possess sprinter’s speed, McClelland said he’s got enough to to make him an effective runner. It’s also been enough to attract the attention of colleges like Wake Forest, Wofford and Elon to name a few.

    If anyone is surprised by Clark’s success, it’s Clark himself, who just came to Terry Sanford hoping he could live up to the reputation of the running backs that preceded him.

    As far as his thoughts on his running style, he considers himself a disciple of the Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott. “I watch him and study how he runs,’’ Clark said. “That’s my favorite football player. That’s who I feel like I run like, with toughness, the physical part of running.’’

    Clark said he still wants to hit 5,000 yards for his career. With three regular season games and a near certain first-round state playoff game left, he has time to make that happen.

    But he and the Bulldogs are seeking bigger prizes. “I want us to win our conference,’’ he said. “I want us to be conference champions and go undefeated (in conference play). I’m really excited about what’s going to be coming up for us and all the things we are about to do.’’

    Pictured: Dorian Clark

  • 18 Generic football helmetWhen it comes to the long-term effects of concussions in sports, there is a wide range of information published — almost on a daily basis. Unfortunately, much of the media coverage as it relates to high school sports — and particularly the sport of football — is misleading.

    Recently, the Concussion Legacy Foundation introduced its new public-service announcement that compared youth football dangers to smoking. As the pre-teen football players puff on cigarettes, the voiceover says, “Tackle football is like smoking, the younger I start, the longer I’m exposed to danger.”

    The “Tackle Can Wait” campaign by the foundation is an attempt to steer children under the age of 14 into flag football. Although establishing a finite age may be difficult, reducing contact at youth levels is certainly a positive. USA Football is doing just that nationally through its Football Development Model. Likewise, the 51-member state associations of the National Federation of State High School Associations have enacted limitations on contact during preseason and practice sessions.

    Our concern is the term “exposed to danger.” These types of messages continue to spread unwarranted fear to parents of high school student-athletes. The “danger” refers to reports that players who incur repeated concussions can develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

    A 2017 study from the Journal of American Medical Association linked CTE in the brains of deceased National Football League players. Even if this report is accurate, these are individuals who endured repeated blows to the head for 20 to 25 years BEFORE any concussion protocols were in place.

    Less publicized is a study by Dr. Munro Cullum and his colleagues at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, which is a part of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Cullum’s group studied 35 former NFL players age 50 and older who had sustained multiple concussions throughout their careers. The findings showed no significant association between the length of the individuals’ careers, the number of concussions and their cognitive function later in life.

    Two studies, two different conclusions. Regardless of the outcome, however, they are not applicable to kids playing football before and during high school. There is absolutely no linkage to CTE at these levels, and the word “danger” should not be a part of the discussion.

    A more applicable and significant study was also published in JAMA in 2017. In a study of about 4,000 men who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957, there was no difference in cognitive function or decline between those who played football and those who did not as they reached 65 years of age. We would assume the majority of these individuals discontinued football after high school.

    With more than one million boys — and girls — playing the contact sport of football each year, severe injuries do occur from time to time, but parents should know that efforts to lessen the risk of a catastrophic injury, including head injuries, have never been stronger than they are today.

    In fact, new data from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study indicates some positive trends in concussion rates. The study, which was released in the American Academy of Pediatrics online issue of Pediatrics this week, indicated that concussion rates during football practices dropped from 5.47 to 4.44 concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures between the 2013-14 and 2017-18 seasons.

    In addition, repeat concussion rates across all sports declined from 0.47 to 0.28 per 10,000 exposures during the same time period.

    Concussion laws are in place in every state. All NFHS sports rules books have concussion management protocols. Helmet-to-helmet hits are not allowed in football. Limits on contact in preseason and practice in football are in place in every state.

    After considering all the available research, we encourage parents to let their kids play their sport of choice in high school, but we would discourage moving away from football – or any contact sport – solely based on the fear of developing CTE later in life.

  • prediction football RESIZEDAs we head into the final weeks of the high school football season it’s a good time to remember the rules regarding fighting and ejections in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

    There’s never a good time to lose your temper on the field and get into an altercation with an opposing player, but the stretch drive is the worst time, especially for teams with playoff aspirations.

    The following violations get you kicked out of a game immediately: fighting, biting, taunting, baiting or spitting toward an opponent, obscene gestures or disrespectfully addressing an official.

    Everything on that list carries an additional penalty of one game missed, with the exception of fighting.

    If you are guilty of fighting, that means you are gone for the next two contests.

    Worse, if three players or coaches are ejected during a game, or six for a full season, that team loses its state playoff privileges for that year.

    It has happened before to teams from this area.

    Please make sure your team isn’t one of them this year. Keep calm and play by the rules.
    The record: 47-14
    I was almost perfect for two straight weeks but dropped one game to finish 7-1. The count for the year is 47-14, 78.3 percent.
    South View at Cape Fear- This is a huge Patriot Athletic Conference game for two of the league’s hottest teams.
    Both are peaking at the right time of the season. Home field definitely helps Cape Fear, but that still might not be enough for the Colts.
    I expect this to be a close one that a big play or key turnover could decide.
    South View 21, Cape Fear 20.
    Douglas Byrd at Overhills - I think Overhills has too much offense for the Eagles to get a win in this one.
    Overhills 28, Douglas Byrd 14.
    Pine Forest at E.E. Smith - This is a tough call because both teams have been inconsistent. I’m giving Smith the edge playing at home.
    E.E. Smith 22, Pine Forest 18.
    Hoke County at Jack Britt - Hoke has clearly been the surprise team of the season in the Sandhills Athletic Conference with its return to success. This is a big game for both teams trying to improve their state playoff chances.
    I think Britt will figure a way to win this one.
    Jack Britt 24, Hoke County 18.
    Purnell at Seventy-First - The Falcons get a much-needed win against a Swett team having a difficult season.
    Seventy-First 30, Purnell Swett 12.
    Westover at Terry Sanford - The Bulldogs celebrate homecoming with another victory as they brace for bigger foes down the road.
    Terry Sanford 31, Westover 8.
    Open date: Gray’s Creek.
    Other games: Word of God forfeited to Trinity Christian earlier this week; Faith Christian 30, Fayetteville Christian 14.
  • 22 01 jessica waltonJessica Walton

    Douglas Byrd•Tennis/basketball• Senior

    Walton has a 3.9 grade point average. She is a member of the Academy of Finance, National Honor Society and the Key Club. She volunteers weekly with Feeding 5,000. She plans to attend North Carolina A&T and major in business administration.

    Michael Jurado

    Douglas Byrd•Soccer•Senior

    Jurado has a 4.24 grade point average. He is captain of the soccer team. He is a member of the Academy of Green Technology and the National Honor Society. He plans to attend North Carolina State University and major in electrical engineering.
    22 02 michael jurado
  • 21 01 toni blackwelllEditor's note: The Cape Fear girls won their third consecutive N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A East Regional title on Tuesday and Toni Blackwell took her second consecutive individual title. Blackwell shot a 76 at Reedy Creek Golf Course in Four Oaks. The Colt team shot a 269 to beat second-place Topsail High school by nine strokes. Cape Fear’s other scores that counted were a 91 by Gabby Bynum and a 102 by Lexi Perez. After a season dominating play in the Patriot Athletic Conference, the Cape Fear girls golf team is ready to make another run at state golf honors.

    Led by overall conference champion Toni Blackwell, Cape Fear won all seven conference regular-season tournaments, with Blackwell taking medalist honors each time.

    Blackwell averaged 77.9 per match, only shooting one round in the 80s. The average winning score for the Colt team was 268.8.

    They ended the regular season with a round of 255, their lowest of the year, on their home course at Baywood Golf Club.

    Colt golf coach Todd Edge said the final two weeks of the season the team exceeded his expectations. In the last match at Baywood his top four golfers all broke 100.

    He knew the Colts would be led by returning veterans Blackwell and Gabby Bynum, but at the start of the season he was concerned who would step up to provide the third score in each match that’s used 21 02 Gabby to determine the team total.
    That turned out to be freshman Lexi Perez, who ended the season with a 100.6 average.

    “We knew she could hit the ball, but there’s a difference between hitting and scoring,’’ Edge said. “She has really picked it up and become our No. 3 scorer for the majority of the season.’’

    This is only Perez’s second year playing golf, and she said she felt pressure not to let the team down and prevent them from having a chance to take the conference title again.

    “All of my clubs have improved from when I started,’’ she said.

    With her one round of 83, Blackwell missed her goal of having all of her regular season rounds in the 70s. She felt she played well during the year and is looking forward to another shot at regional and state success.

    “I think it will help me and Gabby because we know what to expect and we’re used to it,’’ she said of the postseason. “We have to stay focused, work hard and practice.’’

    Bynum said the biggest difference in the postseason will be the level of competition the Colts will face. “These girls are shooting in the 70s and lower 80s,’’ she said. “It’s just the nerves. They really do get 21 03 lexito you.’’

    She said the key to success in the postseason will be containing nerves and hitting the ball well in the right spots.

    The Colts have won the 3-A East Regional tournament the past two seasons, but Edge knows winning a third will be a challenge.

    The regional was held this past Monday at Reedy Creek Golf Course in Four Oaks.

    It’s the home course for a number of schools scheduled to play in the regional, so they all have more experience on the course than the Cape Fear golfers do.

    The state tournament, which the Colts hope to qualify for, will be held at Foxfire Village’s Red Course.

    ”It’s been closed for the majority of the year,’’ Edge said of the Red Course. “They redid their greens.’’

    Cape Fear finished fifth in the state on the Red course last season.

    “We’ve got to get there first,’’ Edge said. “Going to the regionals is our goal, then getting a team into states. Once we get to states, we’ll see.’’


    Pictured from top to bottom: Toni Blackwell, Gabby Bynum, Lexi Perez

  • 20 01 jalestyTo say the Gray’s Creek Bears have dominated volleyball play in the Patriot Athletic Conference this season is an understatement.

    Through games of Tuesday, Oct. 15, the Bears are 21-0 overall, 16-0 in the league, and have already clinched the regular-season title. To date, they’ve lost just three sets.

    Regardless of how they fare in the conference tournament, they are assured the No. 1 berth from the league in the upcoming state tournament.

    Early projections by WRAL-TV’s High School OT have the Bears as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern bracket, although official state tournament pairings won’t be out until all conference tournament play is over.

    Head coach Jalesty Washington clearly isn’t surprised the Bears have done this well coming off a 17-5 record last year that saw them finish one game back of Cape Fear in the Patriot Athletic Conference standings.

    20 2hailey “I feel like they are mentally stronger this year,’’ she said. “I only lost two seniors last year and they want it more than anybody this year.’’

    Washington thinks the key to success in volleyball is to have a strong defense, a smart setter and a solid front row to put the ball away. She also believes in keeping the ball moving and controlling the game.

    She credits much of the team’s success this season to her senior captains, Hailey Pait and Summer Powell. Pait plays the libero position while Powell is a defensive specialist.

    “Hailey is focused on passing and keeping the team straight,’’ Washington said. “She tries to keep them together. She’s a mature leader.’’

    Washington calls Powell the glue on the team. “She’s the goofy one who keeps everybody laughing,’’ Washington said. “She’ll call you out and let you know you did something wrong and she’ll let you know if you did something right. She’s the vocal leader.’’

    20 03 summerThe one thing Washington can’t control is the quality of competition Gray’s Creek faced during the regular season. Washington thinks her team has gotten good tests from teams like Union Pines, Scotland and Harnett Central along with conference rivals Terry Sanford and Cape Fear.

    “I always tell the girls, we haven’t lost yet so there’s no need to start now,’’ Washington said.

    Pait and Powell are also anxious for a rematch with Conley.

    “I think we run everything faster and we have better energy,’’ Pait said. “We don’t get down as much. Even when we are down we come back, and it’s a lot more fun this year.’’

    Powell said the Bears know how good they are this year and are anxious to make a much deeper run in the state playoffs.

    “I feel like we have a better chance,’’ she said. “We have more drive this year. The farther we get in the playoffs, the better we’ll play. We’ll want it more because we’ll be so close.’’

    Pictured from top to bottom: Jalesty Washington, Hailey Pait, Summer Powell 

  • 19 mcdanielWhen veteran athletic administrator Fred McDaniel became the latest person with Fayetteville ties to be named to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, he had difficulty figuring what the fuss was about.
    “I don’t know why you’re doing this,’’ he said after learning he was a member of the 2020 class of inductees that will be honored in April. “I’m just doing my job. I was doing what I was supposed to.’’

    In doing that job, McDaniel has become recognized in both Cumberland County and around the state of North Carolina as a hardworking professional who helped raise the profile of the athletic director’s job while also providing guidance and leadership to others in the position.

    A Fayetteville native, McDaniel is a graduate of old Central High School and what is now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, earning a degree in health and physical education.

    He taught briefly at Red Springs High School before returning to Cumberland County to coach baseball, wrestling and football at Terry Sanford High School.

    He advanced to the administrative level in 1988 when he became athletic director and assistant principal at Westover High School.

    From there, he went to the same position at Cape Fear High School in 1994, then moved to the Cumberland County Schools central office as student activities director, were he remained until 1999 when he retired from full-time work.

    McDaniel played a key role for the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association, which earned him both state and national recognition.

    He received a citation award from the National Federation of State High School Associations in 2011 and was selected to the NCADA Hall of Fame in 2013. He’s also a member of the Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame.

    The NCHSAA honored him with its Dave Harris Award as the state’s athletic director of the year.

    McDaniel gives credit for much of his success as an athletic administrator to three great athletic directors he worked with earlier in is career: Len Maness at Terry Sanford, John Daskal at Reid Ross and Terry Sanford and Bill Carver of E.E. Smith, also a former county student activities director.

    “These people helped me tremulously along the way and made me what I was,’’ he said. “I want to give them credit too. Len Maness taught me more than I can imagine anybody could teach me about life and anything else.
    “They did it for me. They made me who I am.’’

    McDaniel said the most gratifying thing about his career were the memories of times former players came back to him and thanked him for the influence he had on their lives.

    “You don’t see it right then,’’ he said. “Down the road you see you had an influence, hopefully a positive influence.’’

    Another area where McDaniel has had a positive influence is teaching NCADA Leadership Training Institute courses for fellow athletic directors to help them better understand the nature of their job.

    McDaniel remembered when he was first hired as an athletic director he was given a set of keys and pointed toward the football field.

    “We’ve tried to make it easier for people so they know what to do better,’’ he said. McDaniel still teaches LTI courses for the NCADA.

    “We want to make a better athletic program for the kids,’’ McDaniel said. “It’s all about the kids.’’

    From L-R: NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker takes a picture  with Fred McDaniel and his Hall of Fame plaque.

  • 10-13-10-zombie.gifFew people are suprised by what they see around Halloween, but if you are driv-ing downtown on 4th Friday, Oct. 22, you might get a little more than you bargained for if Christina Cole and the members of the Feral Art Collective get what they are hoping for.

    Cole, a Wilmington-based artist and her husband, Sameul Guin, have put together quite an event for ghouls and goblins to enjoy — a Jazz Funeral and Zombie Walk.

    We know, it’s not the usual celebration of Halloween that people expect for downtown, but Cole believes the undead are going to really liven downtown up.

    “This event has really snowballed,” said Cole during a recent interview. “We were all talking about the fact that in Fayetteville unless you go to a bar and party, there’s not a lot for adults to do on Hallow-een. So we started talking about ideas for something fun, something different for adults.”

    Initially, the idea was to sponsor a Jazz Funeral Cole explained.

    “My mom died last December and we didn’t really have a fu-neral,” she explained. “Later we went to New Orleans and saw a Jazz Funeral and thought it was a great idea.”

    For those not in the know, a Jazz Funeral is a New Orleans tradition that is rooted in music. Most commonly such musical funerals are done for individuals who are musicians themselves, connected to the music industry, or members of various social aid and pleasure clubs or Carnival krewes who make a point of arranging for such funerals for members. The music starts out somber and then moves on to joy in a celebration of life and death.

    “We started talking about hosting a Jazz Funeral here, but culturally a lot of people don’t know what a Jazz Funeral is, but most people know about zombies, so we worked in the Zombie Walk to bring out the fun side and then we are working in the cultural side with the Jazz Funeral,” said Cole. “There’s an interesting parallel between the two of them.”

    To make the tie in perfect, the Feral Art Collective tied their event to 4th Friday knowing that downtown would already be full of life.

    The event will kick-off at the library where all the zombies will gather. From there, they will shamble over to Maxwell Street where all sorts of may-hem will unfold.

    According to Cole, there will be a lot of zombie interaction in and amongst the artisans who will be on hand as part of 4th Friday. There will be break dancing zombies and belly dancing zombies. Members of the collective will be on hand to help you zombie-fy yourself if you didn’t get a chance to do it before you come downtown.

    What might be the highlight of the event will be performances of “Thriller” — complete with a cast of zombie dancers. Voice, a singer/performer, will put on one performance of Michael Jack-son’s pop sensation, and the student’s from Leslie’s Dance Studio will put on another.

    Once you’ve had your fi ll of “Thriller,” you can make your way over to the Climbing Pace to watch Air Born Aerial Arts’ Aerial Zombies put on a display of aerial acrobatics that is sure to take your breath away.

    All of the fun kicks off at 9 p.m., when the zombies meet at the Headquarters Library Fayetteville on Maiden Lane. They will proceed down Burgess Street onto Maxwell St. where they will connect with the Jazz Funeral and proceed down Maxwell in the procession. Please be sure to comply with city laws and keep to sidewalks and obey traffi c rules!

    A live brass band led by Donna Grimble will accompany the funeral proces-sion and second line for the Jazz Funeral complete with a hand-carried zombie coffi n procession.

    After the downtown events, be sure and make your way over to The Rock Shop where a whole weekend of mayhem is planned during the Zombie Grind.

    For more information about those events, visit facebook.com/therockshoplive.For more information about the event and special discounts being offered by downtown merchants, visit www. facebook.com/pages/Fayetteville-Jazz-Funeral-and-Zombie-Walk.

  • 20 Daryl SmithlingDaryl Smithling


    Smithling has a 3.7 grade point average. He is a member of the Superintendent’s Student Voices organization. He is president of the Westover Student 2 Student Program. He is also in the National Honor Society and the Academy of Schools.

    Kadyn Staab

    Staab has a 3.75 grade point average. His activities include participating in Science Olympiad, National English Honor Society, robotics and Westover Academy of Engineering and being the girls’ soccer manager.
    20 02 KadynPictured from top to bottom: Daryl Smithling, Kadyn Staab
  • With four weeks left in the regular season let’s take a look at the standings in the Patriot Athletic Conference and Sandhills Athletic Conference and consider what’s in store as far as championships are concerned.
    The Patriot title is likely to hinge on the outcome of a huge game on Nov. 1 when Terry Sanford visits South View.

    The Tigers have the longest win streak in the county at six in a row, but they have another key game at Cape Fear on Oct. 25 before that meeting with Terry Sanford.

    Regardless of how that Nov. 1 meeting between Terry Sanford and South View goes, both teams are in an excellent position to take the No. 1 state playoff berths for the 3-A and 4-A brackets because of the split conference rules that govern the Sandhills.

    Cape Fear is going to need some help to get back in the title picture. They lost to Terry Sanford the fifth week of the season, but the Colts are still likely to finish in the upper half of the standings with little trouble.

    In the Sandhills it looks like it’s all about Richmond Senior and Scotland for the championship. Jack Britt and Seventy-First are already two games back of the co-leaders and one back of Hoke and Pinecrest.
    The record: 47-14
    It took eight weeks but I finally managed a perfect record, 7-0. That pushed the season total to 47-14, 77 percent, inching closer to that desired 80 percent mark.

    Let’s see if this week’s schedule will be as kind. 
    • Cape Fear at Westover - Two teams headed in opposite directions. Cape Fear needs to keep peaking heading into next week’s game with South View.
    Cape Fear 29, Westover 12.
    • Terry Sanford at Douglas Byrd - Terry Sanford is unbeaten where it counts, in Patriot Athletic Conference play, and should stay that way after Friday night.
    Terry Sanford 30, Douglas Byrd 8.
    • E.E. Smith at South View - I think Smith’s three-game win streak will come to an end as South View seeks to earn its seventh straight victory.
    South View 26, E.E. Smith 12.
    • Overhills at Gray’s Creek - This is a matchup of two teams that have had their problems. The Bears have really hit a rut of difficulty with some injuries to key players. I’ll take Gray’s Creek because of home field advantage. 
    Gray’s Creek 14, Overhills 13.
    • Jack Britt at Purnell Swett - Britt needs to regroup quickly after the loss to Richmond Senior. I think they’ll do that Friday night.
    Jack Britt 30, Purnell Swett 14.
    • Seventy-First at Scotland - It’s back into the fire for Seventy-First, and I don’t think the result will be pleasant.
    Scotland 24, Seventy-First 18.
    Open date: Pine Forest.
    Other games: Arendell Parrott Academy 29, Fayetteville Christian 14; Trinity Christian 20, Providence Day 18.
  • 19 knightsWhen high school football officials prepare to call a game, traditionally the whole crew holds a pre-game meeting to go over any important details before the contest begins.

    Sgt. 1st. Class Ryan Reis had to miss the meeting held with the rest of his crew prior to the recent Pine Forest at Westover contest, but he had a good excuse.

    He arrived at the field via parachute, jumping in during a pregame exhibition by the famed United States Army’s Golden Knights parachute team.

    Reis, who is a native of Tacoma, Washington, is in his third year with the Golden Knights and his second as a football official with the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association.

    He got the idea to arrive at the Westover game via parachute when he first learned the Golden Knights were scheduled to jump at Westover’s homecoming game.

    He was not originally assigned to the Westover game as an official, so he called Neil Buie, regional supervisor of football officials for the SAOA.

    “I had refereed one of the Westover games earlier this year and knew they were in our scheduling district,’’ Reis said. He said he always thought if he ever had the opportunity, arriving via parachute at a game he was going to be officiating would be something special.

    Aware that Buie sometimes has challenges scheduling officials to call games because of a current shortage in available crews, he called to see if there was any way it could be done.

    “Obviously, my Army job comes first,’’ Reis said. “There’s no way around that.’’

    Reis had cleared the idea with his Army superiors and Buie supported the suggestion 100%, so Reis was added to the officiating crew for the game.

    Reis works any of three positions when he’s a football official, either the line judge, head linesman or back judge. For the Westover game, he was the head linesman.

    The original plan for the Westover jump was for Westover principal Dr. Vernon Lowery to accompany the Golden Knights in a tandem jump.

    They had done the same thing last season when Terry Sanford principal Tom Hatch jumped in to a Bulldog home game.

    Unfortunately, the Golden Knights have specific criteria that must be met during a tandem jump, and conditions for Friday night prevented them from allowing Dr. Lowery to jump with the team.

    But the Golden Knights themselves jumped with no problem Reis said.

    Reis hoped the jump sent a message about both high school football officials and soldiers. “I understand it’s not for everybody,’’ he said. “Officiating football isn’t for everybody, and being in the Army isn’t for everybody.
    “We do the things we do because we like them. Also it’s a great opportunity to show it’s an avenue of something that you can do.’’

    Reis said people don’t have to be pigeonholed into doing things a certain way because of their background or certain pressures they are dealing with in life.

    “There are multiple things you can do in your life that don’t necessarily have to be the standard operating way for everybody else,’’ he said.

    Back row pictured from left to right: Football officials Jeremy Hall, Charles Davenport, Todd Hewlett, Greg Rooks.
    Front row pictured from left to right: Golden Knights, SFC Mike Koch, SFC Ryan Reis, SSG Blake Gaynor, SGT Jason Bauder, SPC Skyler Romberg, SGT Adam Munoz.

  • 18 Stadium CeremonyIt took a few years, but family and friends of former Reid Ross High School football coach John Daskal were finally able to celebrate the installation of a permanent sign in his honor outside the football stadium bearing his name.

    It was around 2002 that the stadium, at what is now Reid Ross Classical High School, was named in honor of Daskal, the only coach the school ever knew before it closed as a traditional high school in 1984.

    When Daskal finally retired in 1991, he had 211 wins, at the time the most of any high school football coach in Cumberland County history.

    He was inducted into the Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame in 2006.

    High school football has returned to John Daskal Stadium this season as it has become the temporary home of Terry Sanford High School, which ironically was the last school where Daskal was a head coach before he retired from the profession.

    Daskal’s daughters, Kim Daskal Lee and Kristina Daskal Magyar, led the push to raise money to get a permanent sign installed.

    They held a golf tournament at Gates Four Golf and Country Club in April and had numerous people reach out to make donations toward the project.

    A family friend, Dr. Wally Mohammed, took the lead in the construction of the sign.

    Mohammed operates a restaurant in Lillington, and he and Daskal became friends when Daskal and his wife Carol first visited the restaurant years ago.

    Lee praised the efforts of men who coached and/or played for her father. Among them were Fred McDaniel, Bill Yeager, Billy Starks and Reggie Pinkney.

    “Every planning meeting, they were there,’’ she said. “We made so many contacts with people we would not have been able to reach out to. They have gone above and beyond.’’

    The ceremony for the sign was held at halftime of a recent Terry Sanford junior varsity football game at Reid Ross.

    Lee estimated about 50 alumni of Reid Ross, including some former football players of Daskal, came out for the ceremony. Pinkney, Yeager and Starks were among those attending.

    “He treated all the players like sons,’’ said Pinkney, principal at Ramsey Street High School in Fayetteville. “We played so much harder for him, and that was why we were

    Yeager, former head coach at Terry Sanford and Gray’s Creek High Schools, works as an assistant coach at Terry Sanford.

    “He was just a fine man,’’ Yeager said of Daskal. “He cared about his players while he coached them and after they got through and went on doing what they do in their lives.
    “He was the real deal, the whole package.’’

    Starks, principal at Pine Forest Middle School, said Daskal was bigger than life and the kind of coach you would run through a brick wall for.

    “He was just a good person,’’ Starks said. “He loved us, cared about us and we would do anything for him. He was just a special human being.’’

    Pictured: Retired Reid Ross High school football coach John Daskal is joined by men who played and/or coached with him during his career at the ceremony. Pictured from left to right: Current Terry Sanford coach Fred McDaniel, retired Cumberland County Schools student activities director Fred McDaniel, Daskal, current Ramsey Street High School principal Reggie Pinkney, current Terry Sanford assistant coach Bill Yeager and current Pine Forest Middle School principal Billy Starks.

  • 17 David SchmidtBrian Edkins was principal at South View High School when he first got to know Davin Schmidt. Although initially he saw him from afar, he was quickly impressed.

    “I’ve never seen a coach as positive and optimistic as he was with kids,’’ Edkins said. “He’s the one you would want to coach your kid. You would hope he would pick your kid because you knew they were going to have a great experience.
    “He was going to treat all the kids well.’’

    Schmidt, who was an assistant soccer coach at South View and Hope Mills Middle Schools and coached many years in the Hope Mills recreation program, died earlier this month after lengthy battles with an assortment of ailments. He was 47.

    “He could get the worst news in the world and somehow find a silver lining,’’ Edkins said. “It was just amazing. He would try to lead as normal a life as he could during this fight.’’

    In his final year at South View, Edkins recalled a time when Schmidt’s oldest son, Davin II, was being recognized for making the A-B honor roll.

    Schmidt was in the hospital at Duke at the time, but got permission from his doctors to come to South View to see his child recognized. “Throughout his battle, he tried to give as much normalcy to his family as possible,’’ Edkins said.
    The battle started early in his life as Schmidt dealt with colitis and Crohn’s disease. In 2005 he was diagnosed with early stages of colon cancer and his colon was removed.

    He contracted a disease that caused his bile ducts to shut down, which led to liver cancer. He fell into a protocol that made him eligible for a liver transplant, which took place in March of 2017.

    Six months after the successful transplant, he was diagnosed with leukemia.

    He went into remission from the leukemia for a year, and then it returned. Chemotherapy was unsuccessful, so he underwent a stem cell transplant, using stem cells from his own body.

    He wanted to try a promising experimental drug, but four appeals to his insurance company to use it were denied.

    His condition worsened. He developed bleeding on the brain, and the leukemia became more aggressive.

    Despite his poor health, he got permission for a day pass from Duke so he could return to Fayetteville a see his twins, Darin and Drake, play soccer shortly before his death.

    “Even until the end, he was not ready to go,’’ said Kelly McLaurin Schmidt, Davin's wife. “He was still fighting. It was just too much.’’

    He died Oct. 3.

    “He’s always coached the boys in everything,’’ Kelly said. “Soccer, basketball, baseball.’’

    When he started his first recreation team in Hope Mills and named it Gators, friends assumed it was because of Schmidt’s love for the University of Florida.

    Kelly said that wasn’t the case. “It’s actually from the time an alligator was found in Hope Mills Lake,’’ she said. “Everybody loved him so much. He never thought he deserved the recognition, but he does.’’

    Pictured: Schmidt, an avid duck hunter posed for a picture with his dog, Jäger, after a successful day of hunting.

    Now that we’re seven weeks into the high school football season with five left in the regular season, here is how things stack up according to the statewide MaxPreps.com football rankings.
    We’ll start with the rankings for all classes, public and private, in North Carolina.
    The top Fayetteville school is Jack Britt, which comes in at No. 24. Next is Trinity Christian at No. 44.
    South View is No. 57 with Terry Sanford No. 63. Seventy-First is No. 81, Cape Fear No. 85. 
    Gray’s Creek is No. 156, E.E. Smith No. 161 and Pine Forest No. 196.
    Completing the list are Westover at No. 248 and Douglas Byrd at 284.
    Fayetteville Christian, which plays eight-man football, is ranked only in North Carolina, and is No. 7 among the 8-man teams.
    Moving to the specific rankings for classifications, among 4-A schools, Jack Britt is No. 15, South View No. 24, Seventy-First No. 31 and Pine Forest No. 63.
    Among the 3-A schools, Terry Sanford is No. 23, Cape Fear No. 31, Gray’s Creek No. 54, E.E. Smith No. 56, Westover No. 83 and Douglas Byrd No. 94.
    In the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Class II 11-man rankings, Trinity Christian is No. 1 in the state.
    While I respect the work of those who try to forecast who’s going to be in or out of the playoffs, there are too many directions things could go at this point for me to try and make that projection.
    We’ll have the answer for sure when the state playoff brackets are announced the second Saturday in November.
    The record: 40-14
    I was 5-2 for the week, putting the season total to 40-14, 74.1 percent.
    Douglas Byrd at Cape Fear - Cape Fear finally has a winning streak going and is looking to make it three in a row this week. 
    Cape Fear 28, Douglas Byrd 7.
    Westover at E.E. Smith - The Golden Bulls continue their rebound from a rough start to the season.
    E.E. Smith 21, Westover 14. 
    Gray’s Creek at Terry Sanford - This is a dangerous game for the Bulldogs, who control their own fate in the Patriot Athletic Conference but have played inconsistently in recent games. Gray’s Creek has also had its share of problems, but the Bears are a potent offensive team and the Bulldogs need to take them seriously.
    Terry Sanford 28, Gray’s Creek 14. 
    Richmond Senior at Jack Britt - I’d love to keep drinking the Kool-Aid with the Buccaneers this week, but Richmond looks like one of the best teams in the state this season.
    Richmond Senior 32, Jack Britt 18.
    South View at Pine Forest - Despite a rugged start, Pine Forest still can control its fate in the Patriot Athletic Conference. But in order to maintain that control, a win against South View is a must this week. I’m not sure the Trojans can make that happen. 
    South View 29, Pine Forest 12.
    Lumberton at Seventy-First - I think the Falcons will snap their surprising three-game slide this week.
    Seventy-First 35, Lumberton 8.
    Other games: Trinity Christian 30, North Raleigh Christian 8; St. David’s 30, Fayetteville Christian 12.
  • 16 JH 09125After a six-month hiatus due to COVID-19, the Gilbert Theater is back in action with “Barefoot in the Park,” a Neil Simon classic. “Barefoot in the Park” runs through Oct. 18 with limited seating and social distancing in effect due to COVID-19 guidelines for public gatherings.

    “Barefoot in the Park” first premiered on Broadway in 1963 and went on to have a successful movie adaptation with countless stage performances around the country since. Seeing it now — in the year of pandemics, riots and election ads — is a breath of fresh air and a simple reminder that a little bit of laughter is often just what you need.

    After a six-day honeymoon, Corie and Paul start their married life in their fifth-floor-walkup in New York City. The tiny apartment leaves something to be desired, but Corie sees the possibilities. Paul sees the lack of a tub and a hole in the skylight.

    The newlyweds differ in their attitudes toward these inconveniences with Corie being the fun-loving free spirit wearing her heart on her sleeve. Paul, a new lawyer, has a more business-like approach and is not spontaneous as his wife, who is always willing to, as they say, walk barefoot in the park.

    Director Lawrence Carlisle III brings together a terrific cast and crew to deliver an entertaining escape from our own troubles in 2020. If only we could go back to when a gal could still get excited about getting a new Princess phone. In the meantime, “Barefoot in the Park” is a fun two hours to enjoy live theater.

    The “Barefoot in the Park” cast includes Tanisha Johnson and Gage Long as newlyweds Corie and Paul; Deannah Robinson as Mother Banks, Corie’s mom; Gabe Terry as neighbor Mr. Velasco; and James Merkle as the telephone repairman.

    It is a small cast of solid performances, each engaging and interesting. Johnson is full of energy and delivers a fun, believable and adorable Corie. I wanted everything to work out for her character and I look forward to seeing Johnson at the Gilbert in future shows.

    Long holds his own because his portrayal of Paul and is as much measured with patience as Johnson’s is uninhibited. Long and Johnson make a good pair on stage and their performances remind me that love and relationships are often about how our differences make us stronger rather than tear us apart.

    Robinson is convincing in her supporting role of Mother Banks. One of my favorite Gilbert regulars, Robinson always delivers and is a great addition to the cast.

    Terry and Merkle deliver fine performances as quirky neighbor Mr. Velasco and the telephone repairman. Both bring levity to the story and the ensemble.

    Safety precautions in place include masks for theater attendants, hand sanitizer stations, no-contact concessions, temperature checks upon entry and cleaning between performances. There will also be two performances on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 2 and 8 p.m. in which the actors will wear masks.

    The Gilbert Theater is located at 116 Green St. Contact the box office for more info on the show or to purchase tickets at boxoffice@gilberttheater.com.

    Pictured: The cast of "Barefoot in the Park" take a break during a recent dress rehearsal. The play runs through Oct. 18 at the Gilbert Theater. Photo by Jonathan Hornby Productions.

  • 21 01 SierraSierra Gosselin

    South View•Volleyball•Senior
    Gosselin has a weighted grade point average of 4.05. In addition to playing volleyball, she’s a member of the National Honor Society at South View.

    Jay Benefield

    South ViewCross country•Sophomore

    21 02 Jay BenefieldBenefield has a weighted grade point average of 4.31. In addition to running cross country for the Tigers, he’s enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Academy at South View.


    Pictured from top to bottom: Sierra Gosselin, Jay Benefield




  • 15 DSC 5176Following the best theatrical tradition that the show must go on, Cape Fear Regional Theatre returns to “telling great stories” with the opening performance of its 2020-2021 season on Oct. 8, featuring an innovative and exciting musical production of “Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill.” Performances will be outdoors at 100 Broadfoot Avenue (behind Haymont Auto). Thanks to the graciousness of the owner of Haymont Auto, and with support from the city of Fayetteville, CFRT is able to provide live theater that is safe and enjoyable for die-hard jazz fans and those who may be new to this national treasure.

    Nicknamed “Lady Day,” by her good friend and occasional musical partner, tenor saxophonist Lester Young, Billie Holiday remains one of our most renowned American jazz legends. Like all great jazz musicians, Holiday was known for her improvisational skills. She was influenced, while still quite young, by Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong, and she became enthralled with “scat singing” wherein a singer uses the voice as a musical instrument, improvising melodies and rhythms rather than singing actual words.

    Despite a very rough childhood, and as a victim of rampant racial prejudice throughout much of her career, Holiday became an international jazz sensation. Recording for various record labels, her instantly recognizable hits are too numerous to list in this preview. Frank Sinatra lauded her as “the greatest musical influence on me.”

    “Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill,” was written by Lanie Robertson and played successfully on and off Broadway before being made into a movie. Set in a South Philly bar, it tells the story of one of Holiday’s last performances before her untimely July 1959 death. Although chock full of legendary jazz numbers, it is called a “musical play” because the title character engages in quite a bit of intimate conversation between songs. Despite some raw moments, this is ultimately a story of resilience.

    “During this period when many of us may feel unsure of life itself,” said Greensboro-based artist, Gregory Horton, who directs and designed the costumes, “Lady Day will be so life affirming … especially in the face of COVID-19.”

    Janeta Jackson, from CFRT’s sold-out May 2019 production of “Crowns,” brings her amazing voice to the role of Holiday. Jackson reprises her 2019 Charlotte performance, albeit under very different circumstances. Asked how she planned to compensate for an outdoor performance, Jackson replied, “I intend to reimagine the whole setting. I worked at Disney, so I’m used to performing outside.”

    Broadway artist and Fayetteville native Brian Whitted acts as music director for the production and also plays the part of Jimmy Powers, Lady Day’s pianist. CFRT audiences will remember him from the 2015 production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

    Due to the size of the outdoor space, which might mimic the capacity of that Philly Bar& Grill, seating will be very limited so everyone is “encouraged to book early.” The show runs through Oct. 25. Tickets and programs will be paperless and masks will be required of all staff and audience members.

    For performance schedules along with available ticket and discount information, please visit cfrt.org or call the box office at 910-323-4233. Please join Up & Coming Weekly in welcoming CFRT’s bold resurrection of live theater here in Fayetteville by making sure that all of these performances are sold out.

    Pictured: Janeta Jackson performs as Billie Holiday in CFRT's "Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill" Oct. 8-25.

  • 20 NCHSAAThe North Carolina High School Athletic Association estimates there are over 200,000 student-athletes playing for high school teams across the state.

    Every year,  16 students are chosen to represent their peers on the Student Athlete Advisory Council.

    This elite group of sophomores and juniors represents every region of the state and serves as the voice for all the state’s athletes, reporting directly to the NCHSAA at both a regional and state level.

    This year’s SAAC includes two students from Jack Britt High School, E.J. McArthur and Colin Baumgartner. McArthur plays basketball and is the son of Britt girls’ basketball coach Nattlie McArthur.

    Baumgartner competes in indoor and outdoor track, cross country and swimming.

    Both are looking forward to serving on the committee and are ready to come to the table with ideas to make things better for their fellow athletes.

    McArthur has already had a taste of what the SAAC does. This summer the NCHSAA sent him and some other SAAC members to a national meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the headquarters of the National Federation of State High School Associations.

    They learned about problem-solving, leadership and the Unified Sports program that is designed to increase interscholastic sports opportunities for special needs students.

    “One of my main goals is to get Unified Sports in all schools, not just Cumberland County, but all of North Carolina,’’ McArthur said.

    While in Indianapolis the SAAC members worked with special needs children. McArthur was moved by the looks on their faces when they got the opportunity to participate in sports.

    Another concern for McArthur is sportsmanship. He and Baumgartner attended the recent Region 4 meeting of the NCHSAA held in Fayetteville. During the meeting they learned that no Cumberland County School managed to avoid having a player or coach ejected from an athletic contest during the 2018-19 school year.

    “We want to form an initiative to get that (the number of ejections) down,’’ McArthur said. “Respect the refs, respect the rules. Do what you have to do as an athlete, but do it accordingly.’’

    He thinks it’s important that the NCHSAA is open to getting input from student-athletes. “Adults don’t really understand what students want the way students understand what we want,’’ McArthur said. “Having this committee is better because they have a direct outlet to student-athletes.’’

    Baumgartner agrees. “I feel like there’s a lot of situations where we might see things going on that might not be seen at a higher level,’’ he said.

    Baumgartner wants more attention to sports not often in the spotlight. One where he has a personal interest is swimming.

    He is concerned about access county swimmers have to indoor pools, noting they practice at times in outdoor pools covered by an inflatable dome that sometimes collapses and causes problems.

    He also has a concern about alcohol abuse by his fellow students and thinks more needs to be done by students to curb the problem.

    “We shouldn’t go to a party one day and a funeral the next,’’ he said. “Having a peer tell you something I think gives it a deeper meaning and a different perspective.’’

    L-R:  Jack Britt students and SAAC members E.J. McArthur and Colin Baumgartner

  • 14 heaven hellReligion is everywhere, even in three important books with North Carolina ties.

    North Carolina’s beloved novelist Lee Smith takes us back to an earlier time in her novella, “Blue Marlin.” Its central character, Jenny, age 13, deals with her strong but immature religious views as she seeks to have God help her patch up her parents’ crumbled marriage. On a trip to Key West, she bargains with God to do good deeds if he will bring her parents together again.

    Smith says that for all the stories she has ever written, “this one is dearest to me, capturing the essence of my own childhood.”

    The book is also a reminder that Jenny’s immature view of God is one that is widely shared and not to be scoffed at.

    What really happens to us when we die? Active churchgoers are caught between two ideas. First is the belief set out in the Apostles’ Creed in “the resurrection of the body” and judgment day accounting. Second is the conflicting idea that believers in Christ go directly to heaven when they die while others go straight to a place of punishment that lasts forever.

    UNC-Chapel Hill religion professor Bart Ehrman’s “Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife” deals with this dilemma, and he sets out a detailed history of ideas about afterlife.

    Ehrman describes how ideas about afterlife developed in many religious traditions. He asserts that Jesus and the Apostle Paul did not believe in hell. The punishment for sinners was, they believed, simply annihilation, not everlasting punishment.

    Many North Carolinians do not appreciate our state’s important place in the history of modern popular music or the influence of religion and church music on our music culture. Former Raleigh News & Observer journalist David Menconi’s new book, “Step It Up and Go, The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk,” helps set the record straight.

    The connections between gospel music, both black and white, run throughout the book. Menconi gives Ray Charles credit for “turning sacred gospel into secular soul, a new style that translated religious rapture into much earthier feelings.”

    Charles transformed a gospel song, “It Must Be Jesus,” into a “randy song” called “I Got a Woman.” Menconi writes, “Changing that song’s subject matter from uppercase him to lowercase her scandalized the church, but it caused a pop music sensation.”

    A Winston-Salem group, “The 5 Royales,” brought evangelistic fervor to secular music even before Charles. The group was one of the top R&B bands in the 1950s. Though forgotten by many, the group is immortalized by a street in Winston-Salem named after them.

    Menconi writes about a Charlotte group called Jodeci whose “spin on hip-hop soul was churching it up with gospel feeling. Whether pleading for sin or salvation, they had the same urgency.”

    In 1992, one member of Jodeci told Menconi, “Someday I’m sure we’ll all go back to gospel because that’s where our roots are.”
    Maybe he was speaking for some of the rest of us.


  • 19 Brooke BieniekChris Lucas is in his fifth season as head girls tennis coach at Cape Fear High School.

    He inherited a program where most of the players hadn’t played the sport until they went out for the Cape Fear team.

    But five years of pushing his players to perform their best reached a peak last month when Cape Fear defeated perennial Cumberland County tennis power Terry Sanford 6-3 in the second meeting between the teams this season.
    According to retired Terry Sanford tennis coach and local high school tennis historian Gil Bowman, it was the first time since the 2003-2004 tennis season that Cape Fear won a match over the Bulldogs.

    Since coming to Cape Fear from Pinecrest High School, Lucas has been trying to change the tennis culture at the school. It’s a slow process, but the win over Terry Sanford shows Lucas is on the right track.

    Lucas said his primary goal is to turn each of his players into a true tennis player and not just an athlete with a tennis racquet in hand. That means watching professional players on television, understanding the strategy and mental aspect of the game and playing as much tournament tennis outside the high school season as possible.

    19 02 Paige Cameron“My biggest hope is they will fall in love with every aspect of the game,’’ he said. “I’m very fortunate I’ve had coachable girls and ones that have bought into that.’’

    This year’s team has only one player, freshman Brooke Bieniek, who played the sport before she got to Cape Fear.

    Bieniek plays No. 1 singles and won at both singles and doubles in the match with Terry Sanford. Her parents are both physical education teachers at nearby Mac Williams Middle School and got her into the sport at the age of seven.
    “I love just hitting shots and getting all the emotions out,’’ she said. “Like if you had a bad day at school you just hit and hit a ball. It’s fun. Especially with teammates.’’

    She gives all the credit for the team’s success to Lucas. “He’s taught us a lot of stuff and made us what we are today,’’ she said.

    Lucas said that’s part of his philosophy, which he sums up in the phrase, "Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn."

    19 03 Dajia Rucker“Every single match is a match where you can learn,’’ he said. “We broke down why we won that match, what we did right and what we didn’t do before.’’

    Senior Paige Cameron, who plays No. 2 singles, agreed with Bieniek and said Lucas has always encouraged the team, even when they lost a match 9-0.

    “Everything he’s done has pushed us to where we were when we finally beat them (Terry Sanford),’’ Cameron said. “Honestly, that was the best night because that’s what we’ve been looking forward to, beating Terry Sanford, and we finally did it.’’

    Cameron, who is the team captain, said the energy the team got from newcomers like Bieniek was a big boost to this year’s team.

    “The biggest energy is them being positive whether they are playing or not,’’ she said, “showing support for all the girls.’’

    Dajia Rucker, a junior, won at fifth court singles and teamed with Bieniek to win in doubles against Terry Sanford. “Everyone just stepped up,’’ she said. “We knew we wanted to beat Terry Sanford, so that’s what we did.’’

    But the Colts know they must keep working. “I think the main thing is we don’t take this one for granted,’’ Cameron said. “We need to play with the best we have and do the best that we can no matter who we are playing.’’

    Meanwhile, Lucas is looking further down the road, hoping to continue to change the tennis culture not just at the school but in the community.

    “Every summer, we hold a clinic for kids, ages 7-13, and every year it’s grown,’’ he said. “The younger we can get them, the better. We want to be a program that turns in good  team after good team and is a revolving door,’’ he said.

    Pictured from top to bottom: Brooke BieniekPaige Cameron, Dajia Rucker

  •     Dear EarthTalk: Is using nitrogen to inflate my car’s tires really better for the environment than using air? And if so, how?                    
    — Roger Mawdsley, Abbotsville, BC

        Whether or not it makes environmental sense to inflate car tires with nitrogen instead of air is a matter of much debate. Proponents of nitrogen say the element is a smart choice for the environment primarily because it leaks from tires at a slower rate than air, so tires stay inflated longer at full capacity, which helps a vehicle attain maximum fuel efficiency, i.e. better gas mileage. According to the Get Nitrogen Institute, a Denver-based non-profit which advocates for replacing the air in our tires with nitrogen, under-inflated tires inadvertently are a big contributor to global warming as they cause drivers to waste fuel.
        Although auto experts recommend checking your car’s tire pressure weekly, studies show that the majority of drivers rarely if ever check to see if their tires are properly inflated and usually only add air when a tire is visibly low or beginning to go flat. A recent study by the European division of tire maker Bridgestone found that 93.5 percent of cars in Europe have under-inflated tires, wasting some 2.14 billion gallons of high-priced, polluting fuel every year. Analysts believe that a similar percentage of North Americans are driving around on under-inflated tires as well.{mosimage}
        While properly inflated tires certainly promote better fuel efficiency and are thus good for the environment, not everyone is convinced that filling tires with nitrogen instead of plain ol’ air makes a difference. Terry Jackson, who writes the influential “Driving for Dollars” column for the Bankrate.com Web site, points out that air is composed primarily of, you guessed it, nitrogen; some 78 percent of the regular air you put in your tires is nitrogen, with oxygen making up most of the remainder. “So going to pure nitrogen only squeezes out a small amount of the oxygen molecules that nitrogen proponents argue are so detrimental,” relates Jackson.
        Nitrogen proponents may quibble that it’s the oxygen in the mix that causes problems, though, as oxidization can start to degrade the rubber inside tires while corroding the interior of the wheels as well. But Jackson counters that tires and wheels will have been long worn out on the outside before any oxygen-induced interior damage causes them to come apart. Also, he adds that a lot of the leakage from tires happens because the wheel and the tire do not line up perfectly, and air (or nitrogen) escapes accordingly.
        Another factor, of course, is cost. Nitrogen-equipped service centers will fill up your tires with nitrogen for something like $10 per tire, which is a far cry from the couple of quarters (if even that) it takes to trigger the air machine at your local gas station. “When it comes down to a dollar decision, it’s hard to argue that spending as much as $40 for nitrogen in a set of tires is a good fiscal move,” writes Jackson.
        “Save your money and just keep an eye on your tire pressures,” he concludes.

    CONTACTS: Get Nitrogen Institute, www.getnitrogen.org; Bankrate.com, www.bankrate.com

    GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.

  • 12 01 Stanley GreavesCape Fear Studios will host “Retrospective - A Varied Path” featuring member artist Stanley Greaves through Oct. 20. Greaves is an internationally acclaimed artist from Guyana who now lives in Fayetteville. He is well-known for his colorful surrealist paintings which have made him popular in the Caribbean art world.

    “I am showing examples of work I have done in different regions including recent woodworking activities,” Greaves said. “I have been making boxes, two of them are on show at the exhibition, which showcases a mix of sculptures, examples of my calligraphy and my poems in calligraphic form, and ceramics.”

    The name of the exhibition, in effect, would be kind of retrospect because not all of the work exhibited is recent, he said.

    Greaves’ exhibition as a member artist at Cape Fear Studios is a glimpse into the heart and soul of an internationally recognized artist, or ‘maker’ as he refers to himself, said Rose Kennedy, also a member artist.

    “This is a rare opportunity to experience his work in painting, pottery and sculpture in an intimate, welcoming environment,” said Kennedy, who also serves as the retail gallery chairperson for Cape Fear Studios. “Stanley … is widely recognized throughout the world for his contributions to art and literature.”

    Kennedy said Greaves’ artwork isn’t usually for sale, but he has generously donated a pottery piece to be auctioned benefitting Cape Fear Studio’s mission of providing arts and education to the community.

    The pottery piece up for auction is called “Key Pot.”

    “I had a collection of house keys that I collected over the years and always wanted to do something with that,” Greaves said. “And eventually, the thought came up that you know what, I can use some of these keys and put them on the pot. And that's why I named it a ‘Key Pot.’”

    Greaves asks people to bring their own experiences to the exhibition, and he doesn’t think it's a necessity for the artist to explain the meanings behind the work.

    “In order for people to look at the picture and read it and extract whatever they can from it. And in that way, those experiences are more valid to them instead of me giving them something,” he said.

    Born to Guyanese parents, Greaves studied and lived in the United Kingdom, United States and Barbados. He doesn’t think living in different places has affected his art but instead made him more secure of it, as to not follow trends, he said.

    Now living in Fayetteville, Greaves said he tends to avoid big metropolitan scenes and crowds stating the work he’s interested in doing is of no relevance to the art scene in larger

    Although he has received many awards and prizes, including Guyana’s national honor ‘Golden Arrow of Achievement’ in 1975, Greaves says he hardly seeks art exhibitions.

    “I am not a competitor, I don't feel the need to show myself that way,” he said, “I have been able to hold exhibitions from time to time, but that's just not for me.”

    According to Kennedy, Greaves works in the pottery studio and is very engaging to talk to and a joy to watch as he intently works his magic with clay. He was a natural choice for a feature show because of his stellar work, introspective nature and international recognition, she said.

    “Come in to absorb the workings of an extraordinary, creative mind and place a bid in the auction. His work is (usually) not for sale, so the auction is a great opportunity to own a special creation by Stanley,” she said.

    Cape Fear Studios is located at 148 Maxwell St. in downtown Fayetteville. “Retrospective - A Varied Path” runs through Oct. 20. Admission is free to the public during their new hours of Wednesday and Friday from 2-5 p.m. and by appointment on Saturdays. For more information visit http://www.capefearstudios.com or call 910-433-2986.

    12 02 IMG 5865

    12 03 IMG 5867











    Pictured:  (top) Stanley Greaves is a member artist at Cape Fear Studios. (above left) "Key Pot," a pottery piece by Greaves will be auctioned off. (above right) A work by Greaves on display during "Retrospective - A Varied Path" at Cape Fear Studios through Oct. 20.

  • 18 Soccer and footAbout four weeks ago, we distributed an op-ed suggesting that inappropriate behavior by parents and other adult fans at high school sporting events was causing many officials to quit before they even reached two years on the job.

    Although we received mostly positive support from this article, some people thought we went too far in telling parents to “act your age” and “stay in your own lane.” On the contrary, perhaps we should have been more direct.

    Last week, one of our member state associations shared a resignation letter it had received from a 20-year veteran soccer official who had taken all the abuse he could handle. A portion of that letter follows:

    “Soccer parents: you are absolutely 100 percent the reason we have a critical refereeing shortage and games are being cancelled left and right. And you are at least a part of the reason I’m done here. The most entitled among you are the ones that scream the loudest. And every time you do this, you tell your son or daughter the following:

    “'I do not believe in you, I do not believe in your team, I do not believe in your collective ability to overcome your own adversity and you absolutely will not win and cannot do this without me tilting the table in your favor.'

     “On behalf of myself and so many other referees — and I say this with every ounce of my heart and soul — shut up about the referees and let your kids rise or fall as a team, as a family. Because the vast majority of you truly have no idea what you’re talking about, and even if you have a legitimate gripe about one play or one decision, you’re not fixing anything.”

     And if that wasn’t enough, last week the Eastern Panhandle Youth Football League in West Virginia released the following statement:

     “Unfortunately, it has come to the point that because of the abuse, negativity and utter disrespect shown to our officials from parents, coaches and most recently from our players, the Eastern Panhandle Officials Association president stated today that the association will no longer schedule officials for our league games at any field. This means effective immediately all remaining games are cancelled.”

    This statement is from a youth league, which means the coaches are likely also parents of players, and the players are sons and daughters who are emulating their parents’ behavior.

    So, no, our previous message was not too direct or emphatic. The kind of boorish parental behavior that compels a 20-year soccer official to quit cannot be allowed to continue. While we would hope that parents and other fans would embrace the concepts of education-based athletics by respecting the efforts of those men and women who officiate high school sports, that unfortunately is not occurring in some cases.

     As a result, schools must adopt and enforce a strict fan behavior policy. In soccer, a player receives a “yellow card” as a first warning for unsportsmanlike conduct. If the action occurs again, the player is hit with a “red card” and is ejected from the contest. Some schools have implemented a similar penalty structure for parents and other fans — not just at soccer games but all high school events. If the inappropriate behavior and verbal abuse of officials continues after one warning, the person is removed from the venue. There must be consequences for these offenders before we lose any more officials.

    Most of the 7.9 million participants in high school sports are on the fields and courts every day to have fun and compete as a team with their classmates, and the 300,000-plus officials assist in that process. Now, if parents would let the players play and the officials officiate.
  • 01 01 20161001 164327Five years ago, the inaugural Indigo Moon Film Festival weekend was nearly washed out by Hurricane Matthew. Festivalgoers braved strong winds, heavy rains, power outages and the beginning of historic flooding in downtown Fayetteville to take part in a sold-out opening night.

    If a hurricane couldn’t cancel the IMFF, there was little chance that a pandemic could.

    Instead, IMFF founders Jan Johnson and Pat Wright put their heads together with the festival board of directors to devise a way to continue the festival while reducing health risks associated with in-person audiences.

    The solution is a fully virtual event for 2020. All films will be streamed online through a virtual portal. Anyone who purchases a ticket or pass can watch from the comfort and safety of their own home on a computer or television using common apps for streaming.

    While some festivalgoers will miss the experience of viewing films on the big screen in one of the traditional venues, Johnson and Wright said the virtual experience has opened up a lot of possibilities for this year and for future festivals, too.

    “It’s been exciting learning this new interface,” Johnson said of the process to prepare the virtual venues on the internet site and upload trailers and interviews with filmmakers.

    What audiences will see is a streamlined online site that can be searched and selected as easy as ordering any product online.

    “If you can turn on your computer, you can watch the films,” Wright said. “Or hook up your computer to the TV, whatever you are comfortable with.”

    Festivalgoers can watch trailers and select which films to see, Johnson said.

    The virtual experience and online platform allow viewers to watch all of the films if they choose — something that wasn’t possible during past festivals. At four traditional venues, viewers would choose which films or blocks of films to see over a weekend. Using the online platform, viewers have a week to watch as many of the films as they choose.

    “Before, each person had to buy a ticket,” Johnson said. With a virtual festival, you buy a pass and can watch films for the entire run of the festival.

    There is still a schedule this year, but all films will open on Saturday, at different times. After they are shown, they will be available online and viewers can rewatch them if they want.

    Passes are available at VIP, “Three Fer” and student rates. A VIP pass is sold online at $100 and will give access to all films after their scheduled showtime until the festival ends at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 16. Student and “Three Fer” passes are sold online for $25 each. Viewers can choose to purchase single viewing tickets and can purchase anytime during the festival.

    There are more than 60 films in this year’s festival, including opening night’s “Finding Manny,” a documentary directed by Kacey Cox. The movie is inspired by the book “Carved in Stone” and tells the story of Holocaust survivor Manny Drukier, who jumped from a Nazi “death train” at the age of 16 and found refuge in a home for orphans. Drukier was tracked down 71 years later by a German researcher who invited him to return to the orphanage, now a school, to share his story.

    “It is a fantastic film,” Johnson said. “The kind of film that makes you laugh and cry.”

    In the documentary, as Manny Drukier revisits places that hold some of his darkest memories, he tries to reconcile the past so that he can educate the future.
    This sentiment is similar to the motto Johnson and Wright have for the festival — “film inspires change.”

    “This is again the season of year and time of our lives we can take a look at how we’re going forward,” Johnson said.

    Creating and sharing films can inform and enlighten us — and others — to different experiences, customs and cultures, Wright said. It is a benefit to taking part in a film festival that offers diverse film topics from around the world.

    “We get to watch all these films from all over the world,” Wright said. “It’s a way to make our world a little bit smaller and work on these issues that face us.”

    One benefit of a virtual festival is that filmmakers can provide Q&A videos to run after the films, Wright said. So far, more than two-thirds of the films will have accompanying Q&As. This introduces viewers to filmmakers and gives some insight to how the films were made.

    One Q&A available is from local filmmakers Brian Adam Kline and Nicki Hart who made “Live Vid,” in the Shorts Block: Love.

    “It’s about a woman dealing with COVID-19, and I thought Brian’s script was hilarious,” Hart said of the film that takes places in the early stages of the pandemic.

    “She is locked down with her husband in her apartment,” Hart said. “She had a social life and friends. Now, all of a sudden, they’re forced to be cooped up and she has no other way to talk to her friends than in a live chat room.”

    In the film, viewers see the character talking to her friends, and the responses of her friends, typed out on screen. “She’s really telling them how she’s really feeling,” Hart said.

    Making the film was a rewarding experience, Hart said. A veteran of local live theater, this was Hart’s first film to be released to the public. It is also her first producing credit.

    Kline, who has directed Hart in multiple shows at the Gilbert Theater, approached her with the script earlier this year.

    “In this crazy time of COVID-19, we wanted to do something to make people laugh,” Hart said. “I’m proud of it. It’s a small film, but it’s still impactful. We make you laugh with this film, but we explore that dark underbelly of COVID-19.”

    “Live Vid” is also semi-finalist in the Peak International Film Festival, but Hart is proud that her collaboration with Kline was accepted in the IMFF.

    “Indigo Moon has a great following and reputation,” she said. “It’s a great, great thing we can claim, culturally, to have a film festival in this town.”

    This year’s festival will have Jury and Audience awards that will be presented online after the festival is complete. Viewers will have the opportunity to vote on awards in categories at the end of viewing blocks.

    Much of the transition to a virtual festival was made possible by a grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville Cumberland County, Johnson said.

    The 5th Annual Indigo Moon Film Festival will take place Oct. 9-16. To purchase tickets/passes or learn more about viewing, visit


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  • 21 01 Ben LovetteBen Lovette
    Gray's Creek• Football, swimming, golf• Senior
    Lovette has a weighted grade point average of 4.31. He was a junior marshal and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is on the Gray's Creek Student Athlete Advisory Committee and helps with Buddy Football. He is a member of Future Farmers of America and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
    Hannah Sterling
    Gray's Creek• Volleyball, swimming• Senior
    Sterling has a weighted grade point average of 4.32. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the Future Farmers of America and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She also took part in her church's Vacation Bible School. 
    Pictured from top to bottom: Ben Lovette, Hannah Sterling
    21 02 Hannah Sterling
  • FootballDuring the month of October, the National Federation of State High School Associations observes National High School Activities Month.
    Each week highlights a separate aspect of high school activities.
    The current week is devoted to sportsmanship, fan appreciation and public address announcers.
    The week of Oct. 6-12 focuses on the performing arts. Oct. 13-19 is for coaches, sponsors, advisors and officials.
    The month wraps up Oct. 20-26 with community service and youth awareness week.
    Karissa Niehoff, executive director of the National Federation, best summed up the important role high school activities play across the country.
    “High school sports and activity programs provide one of the best bargains in our community and nation and will continue to do so as long as our nation supports them as an integral part of the education of our young people,’’ she said.
    “Not only do these programs teach the more than 12 million young people who participate in them valuable life skills lessons, such as ethics, integrity and healthy lifestyles, they also provide the best entertainment value in our nation.’’
    The record: 35-12
    Last week was shaping up as a disaster after a 1-2 start on Friday and Saturday. Some close calls in Monday’s postponed games were threatening to push my record for the week under .500.
    But most of the close calls went my way and I wound up with a 6-3 record which ran the total for the season to 35-12, 74.5 percent.
    Cape Fear at Gray’s Creek - I think Cape Fear has shaken off the slow start it got off to and appears poised to get into the thick of the Patriot Athletic Conference race. 
    Meanwhile, Gray’s Creek is having problems coming off the stunning upset at the hands of an E.E. Smith team that hadn’t won in its last 17 outings.
    I definitely like Cape Fear in this one.
    Cape Fear 28, Gray’s Creek 14.
    E.E. Smith at Douglas Byrd - Everyone had been saying if E.E. Smith can correct a few mistakes they can get a win. That’s exactly what happened last week in knocking off Gray’s Creek.
    I think the Golden Bulls will have a shot at two in a row against a Byrd team likely to be brooding over a tough loss to Pine Forest. 
    E.E. Smith 22, Douglas Byrd 20.
    Jack Britt at Lumberton - Look for Jack Britt to rebound quickly from its first loss of the season to a strong Scotland team.
    Jack Britt 32, Lumberton 12.
    Pine Forest at Westover- Westover is experiencing some tough times while Pine Forest finally came up for air last week in its win over Byrd. I look for the Trojans to continue heading in the right direction this week. 
    Pine Forest 29, Westover 6.
    Seventy-First at Hoke County - The Falcons are on a rare two-game losing streak, and even though Hoke is vastly improved, I have a hard time seeing Seventy-First losing three in a row. 
    Seventy-First 24, Hoke County 18.
    Terry Sanford at Overhills - The Bulldogs got a wakeup call at Rolesville last week. I look for them to return to Patriot Athletic Conference play this week with a win.
    Terry Sanford 30, Overhills 12.
    Open dates - South View, Fayetteville Christian.
    Other games: Trinity Christian 31, Charlotte Christian 14.
  • Recent articles have documented the rising costs of club sports, with one noting that about 62 percent of “travel ball” parents will go into debt to involve their kids in year-round sports.

    ​A USA Today article in 2017 suggested that travel baseball or volleyball could cost a family upwards of $8,000 a year, with soccer running about $5,000 on the high end. A study by TD Ameritrade suggested some parents were spending about $100 to $500 a month to fund their kids’ participation on a club team, with about 20% spending $1,000 a month.

    ​Why? In some cases — unquestionably the minority — students are in the elite category from a skills standpoint and could benefit from a higher level of competition in preparation for college. In most cases, however, it is a case of parents spending beyond their means with the hope that playing club sports will be the difference-maker in their children receiving an athletic scholarship to an NCAA Division I school.

    ​It is, in fact, true that an overwhelming majority of NCAA Division I athletes played club sports. According to an NCAA survey, 92%of women and 89% of men played club basketball, and 91% of women’s volleyball players competed on a non-school team in high school. At the other end, however, only 24% of football players competed on a club team.

    ​Herein lies the difference. There are more than 540,000 boys who played high school basketball last year and fewer than 6,000 who played basketball at the NCAA Division I level, where most of the scholarships are available. Stated another way, about 1% of high school boys basketball players will play at the NCAA Division I level. About 2.8% of the one million-plus boys in high school 11-player football will play at the Division I level.

    ​The answer? Parents should encourage their kids to play multiple sports for their high school teams and save the money they would spend on club sports for college tuition if scholarship money does not materialize. Even in those situations where students are charged a modest fee to participate, school-based sports remain an incredible bargain when compared to club sports.

    In many cases, Division I football and basketball coaches are looking to recruit multiple-sport athletes. While there are a few sports where non-school competition is crucial, college coaches will find those athletes who excel in school-based sports.

    ​High school-based sports have more interest, more media coverage and more fans than club sports, and the kids have more fun because they are representing their team and their community.

    ​Playing one sport in the fall, another during the winter and yet another in the spring is the best route to future success — whether that success is on the playing field or court, or in a boardroom.

  • 50/50  Rated R  3 stars10-19-11-movie-review.jpg

    Interesting trivia: Director Jonathan Levine is the guy who directed All the Boys Love Mandy Lane! So, here’s hoping 50/50 (100 minutes) makes a TON of money, because fan boys and girls have been talking about that Amber Heard flick since it was finished in 2006, and a successful box office for 50/50 might give an American Studio the impetus to release it stateside.

    Quality-wise, this is way better than Seth Rogen’s other cancer comedy, which we have all collectively decided to pretend is in no way similar to this movie. Except Seth Rogen is in them both and they both involve his friend who has cancer. But when I think about it, they are actually very different movies, because this one involved interesting characters instead of caricatures of real people, and was actually funny.

    Adam (Joseph Cobra Commander Gordon-Levitt) is dating Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard). Howard is usually gorgeous, and Rachael is supposedly out of Adam’s league, but she is com-ing off as kinda whiney and trashy. Not only is Adam way more together than her, her whole character is a poorly put together clichéd mess. Since the script is loosely based on an incident in the life of screenwriter Will Reiser (who is friends with Seth Rogen in real life as well), it begs the question: did he date a girl named Rachael who was this much of a mess? Is she a real person who he is making look way, way worse in the screenplay because he needs to work some stuff out and bashing an ex-girlfriend in his movie was one way of doing that? It would be a sad commentary on his screenwriting skills if he made up a character this limited.

    Adam works at a kind of NPR with his friend Kyle (Rogen). Adam doesn’t drink, smoke, or drive, so he is genuinely puzzled when he finds out he has a rare, difficult to effectively treat, spinal cancer. Because jogging every morning and living a super healthy lifestyle will guarantee that you live forever. Really though, Adam does a pretty good job of dealing overall. As he points out to his therapist Katie (Anna Kendrick), life is 100% fatal (I may be paraphrasing).

    Having dealt with the shock of a cancer diagnosis, Adam invites his mother (Angelica Huston) and father (Serge Houde) to dinner so he can fill them in. Again I wonder: In real life did Reiser have a father with Alzheimer’s? If not, then this is a pret-ty cynical attempt to jerk the audience around. If yes, then why not leave out that part of the story and focus on how his mother deals? Is it padding? The scenes with the father don’t add a whole lot of depth to the film, Houde doesn’t get a whole lot of dialogue, and the character is a sort of emotional wallpaper.

    So, having filled in the family, Adam heads in for his chemo treatment. Naturally, Rachael refuses to share the experience. To make up for failing to handle the situation perfectly, she invests in a retired race dog named Skeletor. Let us pause and acknowl-edge how awesome that name is. While sitting through chemo-therapy, Adam makes friends with Alan (Philip Baker Hall) and Mitch (Matt Frewer). Mitch brings pot infused macaroons to the hospital, and a good time is had by all.

    Kyle starts using Adam’s cancer to pick up chicks, which works well for him (since he is a player) but not so much for Adam (due to Adam’s awkwardness/domesticity/overwhelming depression). Here’s where things start to get a bit depressing. In a movie about cancer, it is surprising that didn’t happen earlier. My husband suggested that, overall, the movie was uplifting. I pointed out that I felt jerked around and manipulated. Perhaps, as he said, this move falls outside my skill set.

    Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.

  • 19 brian edkinsA state championship event headed to Fayetteville and an update on the complicated process of realigning the state’s high school conferences were the major topics of discussion at last week’s Region 4 meeting of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association held at the Cumberland County Schools Educational Resource Center.

    NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker and members of her staff spent the morning discussing the business of the association and shared a variety of information with the athletic directors, coaches and superintendents in attendance. The region includes high schools in 11 counties in the Fayetteville area as far west as Richmond and Montgomery, north to Harnett and Lee and south to Robeson, Bladen and Columbus.

    The biggest surprise of the day came when Tucker announced that this year’s NCHSAA volleyball state championships will be temporarily moving from their home at North Carolina State’s Reynolds Coliseum and coming to Fayetteville State University’s Capel Arena.

    The Wolfpack has a women’s basketball home game scheduled Sunday, Nov. 10, against UNC-Wilmington that would have cut into the time needed to get Reynolds Coliseum ready for basketball the day after the volleyball championships.

    The volleyball championships are scheduled Saturday, Nov. 9.

    Tucker said the NCHSAA explored a variety of other places where they had previously held state championship events, but none of them were either suitable or available for the volleyball championships.

    When the NCHSAA contacted Fayetteville State, the school expressed interest. Tucker said Fayetteville State has an away football game that day, at Winston-Salem State, and there were no other on-campus conflicts that would prevent hosting the volleyball.

    “You go where you’re wanted and we are excited about the possibility,’’ Tucker said. “Capel Arena is a wonderful facility and we look forward to it.’’

    Vernon Aldridge, student activities director of the Cumberland County Schools, said the school system has an excellent working relationship with Fayetteville State. Capel Arena is a regular home for the county’s high school swimmers and has also hosted both the NCHSAA Eastern Regional basketball tournament and the finals of the annual Cumberland County Holiday Classic basketball tournament.

    “Anytime you get to host a state championship event it’s great for the local area,’’ Aldridge said. “We have a great working relationship with Mike King (assistant athletic director at Fayetteville State) that will allow us to put this on short notice.’’


    The headache that is realignment of the NCHSAA’s conferences is about to begin anew after the association’s Board of Directors decided to put it on hold at its meeting last spring.

    The NCHSAA got into the business of deciding what schools play in which league back in 1985-86 Tucker said when schools drew up their own leagues and left some member schools with no place to play.
    Now, realignment is ordered by the NCHSAA bylaws every four years.

    Because there was some potential for major changes in how realignment works, last spring’s board decided to delay the process to allow additional information about realignment to be gathered.

    The initial step will be to create a special realignment committee which will number about 25 people from across the state who will come up with the official plan for realignment that will be presented to the full board of directors near the end of the process.

    Schools had until the end of last week’s series of eight regional meetings around the state to submit potential names to serve on the committee from each region.

    Region 4 has two representatives on the NCHSAA Board of Directors for 2019-20, Gray’s Creek athletic director Troy Lindsey and Cape Fear High School principal Brian Edkins.

    They will work with the president and vice-president of the NCHSAA to narrow the list of nominees for the realignment committee from Region 4. When the committee is picked, each region only gets two members. Additional members on the realignment committee will come from the state coaches and athletic director’s associations and the state department of public instruction.

    Tucker said a special meeting of the board of directors will likely have to convene in late February or early March of 2021 to hear the final report from the committee.

    One of the major questions that the committee will likely have to wrestle with is whether to change the number of classifications the state has. For years the NCHSAA has operated with four classifications based on school enrollment: 4-A, 3-A, 2-A and 1-A.

    The idea of adding a fifth classification for the largest schools, 5-A, has been discussed but never implemented.

    Even if the committee thinks 5-A is an good idea, it can only suggest it to Tucker and the NCHSAA board. A change would require a call for a vote of the membership to decide if a fifth classification can be added, or if any change can be made in the number of classifications.

    One important note Tucker added regarding the average daily membership figures is the numbers the NCHSAA gets from the State Department of Public Instruction that are the enrollment of each school in the state.
    Tucker said the NCHSAA is guided, but not bound by, the ADMs in determining conference membership.

    Other notes

    Here are some other items of interest from Monday’s regional meeting:

    • The sites have been determined for this fall’s NCHSAA football championship games. The 4-A and 4-AA will play at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan Stadium. The 3-A and 3-AA will play at North Carolina State’s Carter-Finley Stadium. The 2-A and 2-AA will be at Wake Forest’s Groves Stadium and the 1-A and 1-AA at Duke University’s Wallace Wade Stadium.
    • For the 2018-19 school year, the NCHSAA assessed 154 penalties resulting in $63,950 fines with 11 teams winding up ineligible for the state playoffs. The list included seven football teams, three boys’ basketball teams and one girls basketball team.
    To date in 2019, there have been 39 penalties with $16,150 in fines and one team ineligible for the playoffs.
    • The NCHSAA is joining the number of state associations who are beginning to feel the squeeze on the availability of high school officials to call games. The average age of officials in the state is from 59 to 60. The NCHSAA noted that some states like Tennessee have resorted to playing high school football on multiple nights each week to spread games out because of the officiating shortage.
    • Tina Bratcher, administrative assistant to Vernon Aldridge, was named the 2018 winner of the NCHSAA Region 4 Special Person award. The presentation was delayed a year because year’s meeting was canceled due to the hurricane.
    • The NCHSAA has established an education-based athletics grant program for its member schools. Any person on the staff of an NCHSAA member school may submit an application for the grant.
    The only criteria is that the money must be used for unmet needs facing the student athletes at a particular school.
    The application is available at the NCHSAA website, NCHSAA.org, and can be found under “Fundraising and Grant Opportunities” in the School Central section of the website.
    The deadline to apply this year is Nov. 30.

  • Ides of March(Rated R) 4 Stars10-26-11-movie-review.jpg

    The Ides of March (101 minutes) is one of the early fall “prestige” flicks that I usually don’t have a whole lot of patience with. When a political film, based on a play (by Beau Williamson), does the awards circuit I expect to be bored. George “Facts of Life” Clooney takes the director’s chair for the fifth time, and I confess I would be more tolerant of the implied vanity if he had a lesser role in the film. While he doesn’t take up an unreasonable amount of screen time, he did cast himself as a presidential hopeful that almost everyone loves and admires.

    Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) is a Junior Campaign Manager for Governor Mike Morris (Clooney). The Governor is in the middle of the Ohio Primary, competing against Senator Ted Pullman (Michael Mantell) for the Democratic nomination.

    When the film opens, Meyers is playing with podiums prior to a political debate. Following the debate, Pullman’s senior campaign manager Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) persuades Meyers to meet with him. Meyers is unable to contact Senior Campaign Manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and in the absence of direction, curiosity drives him to the meeting. Unless you think Meyers is sort of shady, then ambition drives him to the meeting. Judging by the reaction of Zara later in the film, that is a very bad choice.

    During the meeting, Duffy tries to seduce Meyers to the dark side of the Democratic Party, and Meyers compares his tactics to that of Republicans. Them are fighting words, and the meeting ends with Machiavellian laughter echoing over the hot wings. Also, Duffy ends the meeting with explaining that Meyers’ infantile approach to politics will inevitably turn into jaded cynicism. Watch Duffy help him with that!

    Soon after Meyers’ expresses his undying loyalty to Morris and Morris’ ideals he gets to know intern Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood). Given the number of times she lies or otherwise misleads him, a smart politico would be asking to see some identification for proof of age, or would at least Google his sweet young thing. Since Meyers is fairly naïve (as becomes glaringly obvious later in the film) he elects to trust that the manipulative blonde is totally legal. Sucker.

    Molly clearly likes older men, so it is no surprise when one older man in particular makes random late night/early morning calls to her personal cell phone. Too bad for her gentleman caller that Meyers is on the case. Molly makes no attempt to cover up the inappropriate nature of the call, and methinks she wanted to get caught. Or maybe she’s just that dumb. Given the events in the remainder of the film, I lean towards the latter.

    Somewhere in there a New York Times reporter gets tossed into the mix. Ida Horowicz (Marisa Tomei) dogs the Morris campaign managers for insider information. While Meyers’ believes that loose lips sink ships, Zara is far more willing to leak tidbits to the press. His leakage eventually inconveniences poor dumb Meyers who had unthinkingly confessed to meeting with Duffy (though it takes Meyers a bit of time to figure out the mystery of who told). Why everyone gets their panties in a twist over this one brief meeting seems a bit confusing, but I agree that it’s a nice contrast between how Molly is treated by Meyers over her non-mistake and how Meyers is treated by everyone else over his non-mistake. Too bad he doesn’t seem to appreciate any of the hypocrisy he is embracing.

    Meyers spins out in fairly short order. With every scene his nostrils flare a bit wider, his eyes twitch a bit more, and his inability to accept the reality he has chosen to inhabit gets more obvious. Overall, this is an interesting political thriller that entertains more often than not.

    Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.

  • The Thing   (Rated R)  3 Stars11-02-11-movie-revue.jpg

    The prequel The Thing (103 minutes) needs to get from point A to point B. Point B, of course, equaling all the details revealed in the 1982 John Carpenter remake of the 1951 movie, The Thing From Another World, which was itself based on the John W. Campbell, Jr. short story, “Who Goes There?”

    Those details include a charred and smoking two-headed corpse, a large block of ice with the top middle portion miss-ing, a radio guy with frozen blood at his wrists, a dog running from an abandoned research station, two dudes who only speak Norwegian flying a helicopter to shoot the aforementioned dog, and most importantly, no survivors at the station.

    Yes, the film does that. But I am still not sold on the idea that the film needed to be made at all. There are one or two im-provements to the original plot, but for the most part, the flaws of the original remake (which still managed to be a great movie) carry over into the prequel without any of the redeeming points. There are still far too many cast members, many of whom behave like idiots. Despite the minor improvements to the narrative, the prequel is burdened by a lack of creativity and an overabundance of computer generated effects. Rob Bottin didn’t need a com-puter to scare the bejeebies out of the audience with the 1982 spider head guy and right now, even though he is alive, he is rolling over in his grave.

    The 2011 version opens a few days before the 1982 version. A Norwegian science team has nearly fallen on top of a large hunk of metal. In a dramatic scene, there are stuck upside down in a glacial crevasse. I bet the story of how they escaped this seemingly inescapable situation would be an exciting tale! Too bad we don’t get to hear it. Maybe they died? I can’t tell. All grimy, frozen, snow suited, dirty-joke-telling Norwegians look alike.

    A scene shift introduces both Dr. Sander Halverson (Ulrich Thomsen) and improbable paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). I mean, she seems competent enough when dissecting the saber tooth (?), but loses that pretty quickly in the face of a male authority, which spends quite a bit of time telling her to hush. Imagine how Macready would have reacted if a Halverson told him to shut his trap and concentrate on extracting the monster? He would have whipped out the flame thrower in about five seconds. After all, he does spend most of the 1982 film restraining and killing people who turn out not to be monsters at all. Good times.

    Anyway, completely ignoring the possibility of expos-ing the entire station to an alien pathogen, everyone gathers round the ice block to collect a sample using a drill. During a drunken Norwegian celebration, American pilot Derek (Adewale-Akinnuoye-Agbaje) watches The Thing escape from the block of ice. The group splits up, and we get our first on-screen casualty, Henrik (Jo Adrian Haavind). Kate and Adam (Eric Christian Olsen, looking like a young Cary Elwes) perform an autopsy and discover that even after burning, The Thing is still alive on a cellular level.

    Too bad she puts all the pieces together after the pilots have already left the base with a couple of shell-shocked survivors, one of whom immediately trans-forms and eats the other. Because, for an alien, that is a totally reasonable re-sponse when you are in midair and in full view of witnesses.

    The cast is steadily whittled down and the film approaches the climax in fairly short order. The film ends on a fairly ambiguous note, although the disap-pearing/reappearing Lars (Jørgen Langhelle) remains a bit puzzling, almost as if the filmmakers left him out of the sec-ond third of the film because they couldn’t figure out what to do with him.

    Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.

  • 10-31-12-wine gala 2012 - 3.jpgSince Clara Barton first tended to wounded soldiers in the Civil War, at extreme risk to herself, the Red Cross has been known for selfl ess charity in the face of both disasters and everyday hardships in both the national and international arena.

    The Red Cross is not, however, known for wine. Never-the-less, for eight years the Highlands Chapter of the American Red Cross has hosted a Red and White Wine Gala, and this year — for the ninth time — the tradition continues. This gala is a fundraiser for the Red Cross to help fund its many outreach programs. Victoria Raleigh, executive director of the American Red Cross-Highlands Chapter, said, “The money goes to support the American Red Cross locally in Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke and Sampson counties and Fort Bragg.”

    The local chapter of the American Red Cross has fi ve different program areas that money raised specifically supports. Raleigh gave an example of the programs carried out across the counties by saying, “The Red Cross has disaster services, for tragedies like home fires, etc. Also, the county decided to open a shelter after last year’s tornadoes. We provided 1,007 nights of shelter for the community during that hard time. We also have preparedness and health and safety programs including life saving certifi cation, C.P.R., first-aid for babysitting, life guarding and much more.”

    Another example of the work that the American Red Cross does to support the Fort Bragg community is the American Red Cross emergency communication program.

    “The emergency service for military members and family is used when a service members is deployed. We are the sole organization the family members can use to call overseas in combat zones. We verify the message and send it to the service member’s command when they are overseas. It is a lot of help when there is a death in the family back home but our favorite messages to deliver are birth messages. We also do pre- and post-deployment briefings on how to initiate an emergency communication and offer courses in coping with deployment and tips on reconnecting when you come home. They are hosted by a mental health professional, these are all free,” Raleigh explains.

    In addition to great food and wine on the night of the event, there is also a silent auction including exciting packages. “We have items including an African safari, a week and the beach, a portrait sitting, gift certificates to local restaurants, tickets to college football and basketball games, fine jewelry and a day with the Swamp Dogs,” said Raleigh. “We have all sorts of things — several local artists have donated their work to the auction, too.”

    The cost to attend the Red and White Wine Gala is $45 in advance and $50 at the door. Attendees are treated to a lavish hor d’oeuvre buffet that will be created by the well-respected and award-winning chefs of U.S. Food Service. There are also 75 different wines provided by Mutual Distributing to choose from and enjoy.

    The Gala will be held on Nov. 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. More information about the event, tickets and sponsorship packages is available by calling the Red Cross Highland Chapter at 867-8151. Attire is business casual.

    Photo: On Nov. 8, Red and White Wine Gala takes place at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux.

  • 13 THE CROSSINGTwo of North Carolina’s most beloved authors, Ron Rash and Charles Frazier, come from our mountain region. Two of our most promising younger writers, Jason Mott and De’Shawn Winslow, are African Americans from eastern North Carolina.

    These four important writers join together in November to close the current season of UNC-TV’s "North Carolina Bookwatch."

    Growing up in a working class family in rural Columbus County, Jason Mott developed an imagination, story telling gifts and a flair for writing that propelled his first novel, "The Returned," to The New York Times’ best seller-list and a television series based on the book. “The Returned” featured the reappearance in fully human form of people who died years ago. Mott’s ability to persuade literalists like me to suspend disbelief opened the door to my enjoying his provocative stories. He has done it again in his latest book, “The Crossing,” a story of a teenaged narrator and her twin brother coping in a world battered by deadly disease and war.

    For many of us, Charles Frazier’s “Cold Mountain” is a favorite novel, blending his beautiful writing with a compelling story. From the books that followed, “Thirteen Moons” and “Nightwoods,” Frazier gained recognition as North Carolina’s most admired writer of literary fiction since Thomas Wolfe.

    Now he has another book set in Civil War times, with another imaginative story of a refugee from war. This time the central character is Varina Davis, wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and until now an obscure Civil War footnote.

    Through his fiction Frazier attempts to portray a true idea of Varina’s life and the times she experienced. Frazier refers to Varina as “V.”

    He builds V’s story around an unusual fact. While living in Richmond as first lady of the Confederacy, she took in a young mulatto boy she called Jimmie. She raised him alongside her children. At the end of the Civil War, Union troops took the six-year-old Jimmie away from V, and she never learned what happened to him.

    Ron Rash is famous for his poetry, short stories and novels. He is perhaps best known for the best selling novel “Serena,” although some of his fans and critics say that his latest, “The Risen” set in the mountains near Sylva, is his best.
    Early in “The Risen,” in the present time, the local newspaper reports the discovery of the body of Jane Mosely, who had disappeared in the summer of 1969. The central character, Eugene Matney, and his brother had become involved with Jane with drugs and sex. When Jane’s body is found, the boys, now grown men, become possible murder suspects.

    Almost all the characters in Elizabeth City native De’Shawn Charles Winslow’s debut novel, “In West Mills,” are African American, but the book’s themes are universal.

    West Mills is a fictional small town in eastern North Carolina, somewhere near Elizabeth City, where the author grew up.

    That main character, Azalea Centre, or Knot, as she is called by everyone, has moved to West Mills to take a teaching job. Knot loves 19th century English literature. She also loves cheap moonshine and bedding a variety of men.

    Two unintended pregnancies result in Knot’s having two daughters. They are adopted confidentially by local couples who name them Frances and Eunice. The girls, not knowing about their common origin, come to despise each other and fight for the attention of the same man.

    On this situation, Winslow builds a series of confrontations and complications that challenge the comfortable order of the community.

    I hope Bookwatch will produce a new season soon. In the meantime repeat episodes from the current season will air and give us another chance to experience these four important North Carolina authors.

  • 14 Tell me a storyDid the late great writer, Pat Conroy’s late-in-life marriage to fellow writer Cassandra King make him a better writer?

    Just in case you don’t remember, Conroy, who died in 2016, was the best-selling author of “The Great Santini," “The Lords of Discipline,”  “The Prince of Tides," and “Beach Music." 

    All of these were dark compelling stories filled with angry characters and sad family conflicts.

    Conroy had what every writer or aspiring writer longs for, being a great storyteller and having a gift for writing moving prose.

    His storytelling gifts were intertwined with a life that was filled with turmoil and with unhappy and abusive family situations. Most memorable was his relationship with his father, Marine Corps Col. Don Conroy, who became the iconic and central figure in “The Great Santini.” 

    Conroy said that his dysfunctional family and abusive father were gifts that fueled his moving fiction.

    All that began to change in February 1995 when Conroy met Cassandra King at a party during a literary conference in Birmingham, Alabama. Their friendship began around a buffet table and conversations about food. But when the conversation turned to King’s book, Conroy told her to have the publisher send him a copy. “If I like it,” he said, “I’ll give you a blurb. If not. I’ll pretend it got lost in the mail.”

    King, now Cassandra King Conroy, tells the rest of the story in “Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy,” to be released October 29.

    I will hold most of the details for a later column, but will share some of the story as it relates to the question in this column’s opening paragraph.

    After a long and mostly long-distance friendship, one that only gradually turned to romance, Conroy and Cassandra wed in 1998 and settled down in Conroy’s house at Fripp Island, near Beaufort, South Carolina.

    Conroy’s close friends worried about the gossip Cassandra would hear about his former wives and girlfriends. But when they learned that Cassandra’s first marriage had been to a minister, she joked, “From a holy man to Pat Conroy. Talk about a leap of faith.”

    Cassandra’s writing benefited from Conroy’s encouragement. Talking with author and Conroy friend, Anne Rivers Siddons, Cassandra said she was writing a book about a group of her women friends, “real-life friends I’ve had for years.”
    Siddons was alarmed and asked if Conroy had “urged you to do that.”

    When Cassandra nodded, yes, Siddons cautioned, “Tread carefully. You know what that very thing has cost Pat. Beneath his tough shell he suffers more about the stuff he’s written than he’ll ever let anyone see."

    In 2013, Conroy appeared with me on North Carolina Bookwatch to discuss his non-fiction book, “The Death of Santini," a memoir that centered on the death of his father. He was calm and relaxed as he talked about his writing routine.
    In the early part of the day, he and Cassandra would each spend several hours writing alone, then lunch together, and have afternoons to relax. He radiated happiness. See this interview at https://video.unctv.org/video/nc-bookwatch-pat-conroy-death-santini/

    And his writing did change. He published only one more long book of fiction after his marriage, “South of Broad," which got a mixed critical reaction. In his New York Times’ review Roy Hoffman, while acknowledging that “Conroy remains a magician of the page,” wrote that his traditional themes “have simply been done better — by the author himself.”

    On the other hand, his non-fiction books such as “My Losing Season,” and “Death of Santini,” although they show some of Conroy’s fiery spirit, the tone is moderated and sustains an authoritative command of his narrative. These books are two of my all-time favorites.

    So did marriage make Conroy a better writer?  Certainly it made him a happier one.  And, I think it made him a better one, too.

  • 15 jazzThere’s just nothing quite as distinctive as jazz music. It reaches into the depths of your core and seems to radiate throughout your being. It’s smooth, harmonious and full of dynamic rhythm. It is perfect for relaxing after a long day, hanging out with friends and even to help set the mood for a romantic evening. It expands into multiple cultures, ages and generations. The Cape Fear Jazz Society knows the impact and the reach jazz has, which is why it has invited performer, Jazzmeia Horn, to provide an evening of culture and entertainment on Nov. 3, 2019 at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Kenan Auditorium. 

     According to Primus Robinson, who represents the Cape Fear Jazz Society, the collaboration between the Society and the UNCW provides an opportunity to bring in nationally renowned talent, such as Horn, to a larger audience within this larger facility and contributes to the arts culture of the community.

    This is the first collaboration between the society and UNCW, and the staff with both organizations chose Grammy-nominated, award-winning talent of Horn to share her unique, jaw-dropping vocal talent to foster and promote jazz, a mission of the CFJS.

    The day after the concert, Horn will also teach a free “Artist Master Class,” offering students and fans an opportunity to learn from her about how the art of jazz captures her essence and how they can find that within themselves.

     The CFJS presents jazz in different locations, from small to large, with its tenth season currently in progress at The Cameron Art Museum. They havehad continued success to date with a sold-out crowd for its eight-month run.

    CFJS just wrapped up its five-month outdoor series at the Bellamy Mansion Museum, making it their most successful while also celebrating their 10-year anniversary.

    The CFJS is a nonprofit organization and has a mission to educate others on the appreciation of jazz, which is why it will continue to present jazz artists.

    In the words of Robinson, “My favorite thing is experiencing togetherness. People enjoy exploring and delighting in innovative art. Jazz is creative, intellectual, accessible and unifying. Music is the healing force of the universe, Cape Fear Jazz Society has the great gift of music and art, which is the goal of the CFJS. We've been getting it right for 21 years.”

    Tickets for the Jazzmeia Horn Concert begin at $20, and the event is appropriate for all ages and demographics.

    Jazz lovers can look forward to seeing Jazzmeia Horn perform on Nov. 3 at the UNCW Kenan auditorium.

  • 08 Heroes vs villainsThere will be a battle of massive proportion when the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra performs Heroes vs. Villains at Methodist University in Fayetteville Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Up  & Coming Weekly spoke with Deborah Teasley, FSO interim president/CEO.

    UCW: Is this the first time the FSO has performed something like this?

    FSO: The symphony does a variety of genres of music from many eras each season. Each season we try to offer something that appeals to everyone, whether they are looking for classical music from the baroque period (or) contemporary styles. This includes a concert of contemporary music that is readily recognized by a large number of people. Last year, it was a concert of John Williams’ music. I think everyone recognizes his movie themes. This year, we decided to have some fun with a Heroes versus Villains theme.

    UCW: Who chooses the songs?

    FSO: The primary responsibility for music selection is that of the music director Stefan Sanders but he takes suggestions and ideas from a number of sources. The season selections and concert themes are done by a committee led by Stefan Sanders.

    UCS: Can you share the songs being performed?

    FSO: The songs being performed at the Heroes versus Villains concert Oct. 18 at Methodist University are songs from Pirates of the Caribbean, “Themes from 007” (James Bond) “Wonder Woman,” “Armed Forces Salute,” “Godzilla Eats Las Vegas,” “Zarathustra,” “Star Trek through the Ages,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Spider Man,” “Mulan,” “Incredits” from the Incredibles, “William Tell Overture” and a tribute to John Williams.

    UCW: What is the best way to describe what the audience can expect from coming to this performance?

    FSO: The audience can first expect excellent music. The FSO is comprised of professional musicians. Then they can expect a good time.  There will be characters in costume, a preconcert discussion of the music by “the music nerd,” and a musical battle between the heroes and the villains. You have to be there to find out who wins.

    UCW: Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know about the FSO and the Heroes vs. Villains performance?

    FSO: Attendees are free to dress as their favorite character if they wish.  This concert is the same weekend as the Fayetteville Comic Con, so we are hoping that some of the people attending Comic Con will come to the concert in their costumes.

    Get your tickets today for your opportunity to experience the battle of these phenomenal heroes and vicious villains firsthand. Tickets range from $10-$26 and can be purchased in advance at the FSO website: http://www.fayettevillesymphony.org/2019-2020-season-concerts/

  • 14 Thats Rufus In this time of political rancor and hate, it is nice to find something that old time politicos agree on regardless of political affiliation, when they answer this question: Who is North Carolina’s most colorful political figure?

    The answer today is clear: It is Rufus Edmisten, Democratic nominee for governor in 1984, attorney general, secretary of state and author of a recent book, “That’s Rufus: A Memoir of Tar Heel Politics, Watergate and Public Life.”

    Edmisten begins his book not with his birth and growing up on a farm just outside the mountain town of Boone but with his favorite story. In 1973, he served the president of the United States with a subpoena on behalf of the Senate Watergate Committee, which was led by another North Carolinian, Sen. Sam Ervin. Serving the president with this demand for the records ultimately led to President Nixon’s resignation. Edmisten’s position as Ervin’s right-hand man made him a nationally known personality that he leveraged into political stardom.

    Edmisten makes the story a good one. He describes the frantic rush to prepare the subpoena document, including a heated discussion about using correction fluid to cover a mistake and a ride to the Executive Office Building where the president’s lawyers respectfully accepted the subpoena. Then the cheeky Rufus reached in his pocket, pulled out his copy of the Constitution and gave it to the president’s lawyers in a pointed message that they should study it.

    This incident and Edmisten’s work with Sen. Ervin were the launch pad for his political career.

    Edmisten’s prelaunch story is set in the North Carolina mountains on a farm near Boone, where he grew up tending cows and pigs and working fields of cabbages and tobacco. He made extra money plowing garden plots for his neighbors and used a tractor to visit his kinfolks around the mountains.

    After success in athletics, Future Farmers of America, student politics and academics in high school, and almost winning a Morehead Scholarship, he landed at UNC-Chapel Hill. From there, he made his way to Washington, D.C., teaching at a Catholic high school, attending law school at George Washington and securing a low-level job on Sen. Ervin’s staff. Edmisten soon became one of the senator’s full-time trusted assistants in the Watergate-Nixon impeachment matter.

    The “That’s Rufus” chapter on Watergate is good background for those following the current battle between Congress and another president.

    He returned to North Carolina in 1974 and mounted a successful campaign for attorney general. His triumph over a host of prominent Democrats gave notice he would run for governor someday.

    That day came in 1984 when Gov. Jim Hunt ran for the U.S. Senate and a host of Democrats lined up to run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Edmisten won in a brutal primary runoff against Eddie Knox and then lost the general election to Jim Martin.

    Some believe he lost because he made disparaging remarks about barbecue. His version of that incident is, by itself, worth the price of the book. But Edmisten says it was Ronald Reagan’s “sticky coattails” that “swept both me and Jim Hunt away from our dreams. We were not alone, either. The sweep was broad and far reaching.”

    Edmisten felt crestfallen and abandoned. “The ache in the bottom of my stomach was so great nothing appealed to me except finding some dark place to crawl away and hide,” he writes. “I swear I saw people cross the street so they wouldn’t have to talk to me.”

    “That’s Rufus” describes how Edmisten came back from that defeat, won election as secretary of state, lost that position in disgrace, came back as a successful lawyer and lobbyist and learned lessons that will be important for every citizen.

    In a future column I will share some of that wisdom.

  • uac100511001.jpg Fayetteville Technical Community College opened it’s doors 50 years ago because community leaders at the time realized that it was time to modify the economic out look of the state. They realized it would take a skilled work force to take full advantage of the opportunities the future held for them.

    FTCC President, Dr. Larry Keene is well aware of the great progress the school has made this past half century and he’s looking forward to making the next 50 years just as productive.

    “I am not a hockey player,” said Keene. “But they tell me that when you are playing hockey you skate to where the puck will be — not to where it is — because if you go to where it is right now you will always be late.”

    Like any good hockey player, Keene is positioning FTCC to take the lead in technology, job training and whatever else comes along.

    That includes staying on top of the latest technologies like interactive learning and 3D training opportunities and implementing them within programs that will benefi t students, who then take these skills and talents into the workforce. FTCC currently utilizes these technologies in applications like health care and construction, but the possibilities are endless. Students are able to not only look at an image of a heart on a screen, but they can virtually journey into the heart and learn its functions as they interact with the image. It is a huge leap from what they can learn with just a book and a plastic model.

    One of the things that makes this strategy a success is public/public partnerships and private public/partnerships. In other words, if major manufacturers of products and services fulfi ll a need world-wide FTCC will be there to partner with them, providing education training and working in concert with them to utilize the institution’s effectiveness for their purposes as well. That is the kind of partnership that benefi ts not only industry, but FTCC students and the economy.

    The institution currently partners with several local industries including GoodYear, Time Warner, MJ Soffee, K3, RLM Communications and Clear Path Recycling to provide job training for employees. “The Customized Training Program allows us to reach out to local industries and provide state funded training to their employees,” said Brian Haney, executive director of economic development and emerging technologies.

    Century Link is a perfect example of this system at work. Vice President for Learning Technologies, Bobby Ervin became aware of Century Link’s plans to introduce “Prism” — a new digital technology — in the area. It involves bringing 20 – 25 new jobs to Cumberland County and an additional 75 jobs to eastern North Carolina. He reached out to Century Link and now FTCC is providing training to employees and job applicants. In fact, there will be a Career Fair on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. for those interested in applying for these jobs.

    It would be easy to assume that putting together a training program would be time consuming, especially when it involves high tech objectives, but that is not the case.“

    We live in an area that is rich in talent,” said Haney. “We are able to find people with the right skills and contract with them to meet the needs of our partners, and often it is at a much lower cost than if people were travelling to be trained in another city like Raleigh.10-05-11-ftcc-article.jpg

    ”With one eye on the future, Keene and the other leaders at FTCC have not lost sight of the current needs of FTCC students — and there are many.

    When a student comes to FTCC their objectives are vast and varied. Whether it is retraining for a career switch, preparing for a four-year college, starting a new business, venturing into a new hobby or taking on new skills in hopes of a promotion, FTCC is ready to meet the needs of it’s students.

    When it comes to meeting the needs of both students and industry partners, the staff know how to make it happen.

    “We listen,” said Haney. “Sometimes institutions dictate to their students and partners because they think they know better. We don’t do that. We listen to the needs of the people we are working with and then find ways to meet them.”

    “We are all about jobs,” Ervin added. “We educate and train people, work with corporate partners and do whatever we can to help bring jobs to the community and have people ready to fill them.”

    Find out more about FTCC and their many programs at www.faytechcc.edu or by calling 678-8400.

    Photo: The institution currently partners with several local industries to provide job training for employees.

  • 10 Choral ArtsThe recently rebranded Cumberland Choral Arts, formerly known as Cumberland Oratorio Singers, is set to debut its 2019-2020 concert season with “A Night at the Opera” Friday, Oct. 18, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 1601 Raeford Road. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

     “A Night at the Opera,” featuring opera choruses both familiar and obscure, will be the latest of CCA’s more diversified musical programming. Among the more familiar pieces will be a “Porgy and Bess” medley performed by guest soloist, Dr. Denise Payton of Fayetteville State University. Selections from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and the chorus popularly known as the “Can-Can” from Offenbach’s operetta will also be among the featured performances of the evening. Less familiar choruses scheduled to be performed are “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from the Verdi opera “Nabucco” and “Chorus of the Servants” from “Don Pasquale” by Donizetti.

     Since CCA Director, Jason Britt, took a leave of absence during this season’s first quarter due to health reasons, Ryan Pagels, director of music at St. John’s Episcopal Church, is filling in as interim artistic director. “I am very humbled to be conducting this concert, especially one programmed with such special music,” said Pagels. “It is no secret that some of the most iconic and memorable melodies in opera come from the choruses. This program is very much a celebration of the art form, and full of melodies that will stick with you as you leave the concert. I am especially excited to feature Dr. Denise Payton from FSU as a guest soloist, as well as some of the members of the CCA.”

     In addition to the CCA choir, there will be performances by the Cross Creek Chorale and the Campbellton Youth Chorus. A pianist will provide the only instrumental accompaniment of the evening.

     Sponsors for “A Night at the Opera” include Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, Cumberland Community Foundation, Cumulus Media, Up & Coming Weekly and many others who will be listed in the program.

     “I cannot speak highly enough of this ensemble’s dedication to creating beautiful, moving music, said Pagels. “They are a delightful group of people, and you will not be disappointed.”

     Tickets for this concert may be purchased at the door for $15. Also available for purchase at the door will be $45 season tickets, which will cover the four regular-season concerts. Visit www.facebook.com/CumberlandChoralArts for additional information. 

     In addition to the CCA choir, there will be performances by the Cross Creek Chorale and the Campbellton Youth Chorus.

  • Holidays are right around the corner and that means that you need to start on your gift list. A great way to start would be to visit the annual Small Business Expo held by the local North Carolina Center of Economic Empowerment and Development, otherwise known as CEED.

    Every year CEED gives local business owners an opportunity to show off their exclusive and lim10-12-11-small-business-expo.jpgited products and have them available for individuals to purchase. This is a wonderful opportunity to start shopping for the holidays and get your hands on exclusive deals that no one else offers. 

    Visitors to the event will find a wide variety of goodies to give to their favorite someone — or even to keep for themselves. There will be a vendor from Pretty & Pink where one can get their hands on fashion accessories, handbags, clothing and more. D-Unique Jewelry and Accessories will be there along with Hope Thru Horses, which is an equine-assisted psychotherapy program. Diamond Home Essentials and Ways of Wellness will be in attendance as well.

    There are about 80 vendors who will be present during the expo this year including several food vendors. Chef Julius III, who is well known for the Bezzies Home-style Barbeque Sauce, is a local favorite and will be at the event.

    According to Laura Solano, who is a business consultant at CEED, “This is our third year for organizing the Small Business Expo, and it’s our first time holding it at Cross Creek Mall. Our objective is to stimulate our local business growth and bring exposure.”

    Cross Creek Mall, being a centralized location, will bring an increased amount of vendors and attendees this year. CEED has a main goal of finding ways to help individuals and businesses succeed. By going along with the mission of promoting growth, productiveness and well being through peer counseling, education, information and advocacy programs, CEED is anticipating a successful event that is sure to please both the vendors and the event attendees.

    CEED provides a variety of programs to the community, both on an individual and business level. Last year, according to CEED statistics, 2,407 small business owners attended 1,645 workshops and $285,000 was loaned to seven small business owners. Along with classes and workshops, CEED also provides many resources to displaced homemakers. Last year CEED helped 148 people in this category with resources like financial aid counseling, the career makeover workshop, the family law clinic and the computers for the workplace clinic.

    The North Carolina Center for Economic Empowerment and Development is located at 230 Hay St. Find out more about the organization by visiting the website at www.ncceed.org or smallbusinessexpo@ncceed.org.

  • The knotCan the struggles chronicled by four North Carolina authors help the rest of us deal with our own everyday challenges?

    A wife whose beloved husband is crippled by a botched medical procedure? An African American judge breaking through centuries of institutional racism? A grossly overweight man’s daily struggle to lead a normal life? A teenaged girl tossed suddenly into a part of her family she had not known before?

    These stories will be featured on UNC-TV’s "North Carolina Bookwatch" during October.

    In  “Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap,” Charlotte’s award-winning author Judy Goldman tells how a newspaper ad and a doctor promised a simple procedure to give relief for her long-suffering husband’s back pain. Instead, it led to paralysis and a new set of pains, which changed the lives of her husband and Goldman. She tells the poignant story of how they and their marriage survived this challenge.

    November 1971 Gov. Robert Scott appointed High Point lawyer Sammie Chess Jr. as a superior court judge. Such appointments are always special but this one was historic. Judge Chess was the first African American superior court judge ever to serve in North Carolina. His story of how he came from a cotton field tenant shack to the judgeship, through poverty and racism, is one every North Carolinian should remember. That story is well-told by Joe Webster, a lawyer, judge and Chess’s admiring friend, in “The Making and Measure of a Judge.”

    When Judge Chess was asked how he was able to get beyond the Jim Crow situations of his youth and early law practice, he said,  “You treat people the way you want to be treated, not the way you are treated. I didn’t let them set my standards. If a Klan member can bring you to his level, then you are not well rooted.”

    Tommy Tomlinson is a terrific writer with a big fan club from his more than 1,700 columns in The Charlotte Observer and compelling stories as a freelance writer for Esquire, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Forbes and Garden & Gun.

    He also had a terrific problem that he summarized as follows: “The government definition of obesity is a body mass index of 30 or more. My BMI is 60.7. My shirts are size XXXXXXL, which the big-and-tall stores shorten to 6X. I’m 6-foot-1, or 73 inches tall. My waist is 60 inches around. I’m nearly a sphere.”

    In “The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America,” Tomlinson speaks to all of us who have trouble resisting Krispy Kreme doughnuts, bowls of ice cream, M&M's, hot dogs, cinnamon biscuits and Chips Ahoy cookies, all the while being worried about getting or staying fat.

    In her 14th novel for young adult/teen readers, “The Rest of the Story,” Sarah Dessen introduces us to Emma, whose father is taking his new wife on a long honeymoon trip to Europe. Emma’s mother is dead, but somehow Emma winds up with her mom’s family in a working-class section of a resort called North Lake, where her mom grew up. Her dad’s family had vacationed in a wealthier section.

    Emma’s struggles to find a place in her mother’s family, along with the usual adjustments required of a teenaged woman make for an inspiring story. There is a strong sense of place in North Lake, which Dessen says was inspired by her family’s vacation trips to a popular North Carolina vacation spot, White Lake, in Bladen County.

    All four books have inspired this North Carolinian to put his life’s challenges in perspective.

  • 10-02-13-highland-games.gifThe 5th Annual Scotland County Highland Games is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5 on the grounds of the John Blue Home and Historical Complex in Laurinburg, N.C.

    “This whole upper Cape Fear Region was at one point the largest settlement of Highland Scott in all of North America,” said Bill Caudill, chairman of the Scotland County Highland Games. “There is a lot of Scottish presence and Scottish identity here and has been for the last two centuries.”

    Caudill added that the Highland Games is the cultural festival that celebrates that tradition and heritage within this region. The organization took the lead after the Flora MacDonald Scottish Games were discontinued in Red Springs in 2008.

    “Once they announced that they were discontinuing their event the phones starting ringing in Laurinburg,” said Caudill. “They indicated that we had hotels to stay in, restaurants to eat in and wonderful places in Laurinburg so why didn’t we take the lead by continuing this festival in this region?”

    Caudill added that they decided that they would give it a try and it has been a great success.

    The weekend event has something for everyone such as piping, drumming, children’s activities and games, athletic games and dancing. There are 15 pipe bands competing and they are coming from throughout the southeast.

    “We have one of the world’s top players, Bruce Gandy, who will be one of the guest judges and will do a recital on Friday night,” said Caudill. “The Highland dancers will compete and will do dances such as the Highland Fling or a sword dance.”

    The Whisky Tasting was the hit event of the festival last year.

    “It is like a wine tasting and folks want to taste whisky at one point during the festival,” said Caudill. “We have 8 single-malt whiskies paired with gourmet food.”

    Caudill added that one is being paired with a strawberry dish, another with smoked North Carolina scallops, and with chocolate caramel and sea salt. Each person participating in the event will get to taste eight whiskies and food for $25. Registration is required for this event and limited to 50 people.

    “The event has been a great success since we began particularly during the time in which our similar festivals nationwide have been hit by the economic downturns,” said Caudill. “People love coming here and they love the historical connection to the region that they can find by coming to this area.”

    Caudill said it has been a great opportunity to draw people in from really far and wide as a tourist opportunity. No firearms, pets or outside alcohol will be allowed on the grounds. Patron and sponsor information can be found on the website. For more information visit www.schgnc.org.

  • 10-09-13-walk on the dark.gifFayetteville has a colorful history, but what you may not know is that it is also spooky. In and around downtown Fayetteville, there are many buildings that have historical signi茀cance and more than a few ghosts. One of the most accurate and entertaining ways to learn about Fayetteville’s spooky history is through the Historic Hauntings Hayride.

    Historic Hauntings has been a fun and educational tradition for several years. This year’s ride is a very special one, however.

    “This year is very different. We have written a different script that we have never done before. It is not concentrating on downtown and the Cross Creek Cemetery. We have moved a little up hill and are focusing on Historic Haymount on Hillside Ave. This year it is also more interactive,” explained Carrie King, the executive director of the Dogwood Festival.

    “Before, patrons would just get on and off the hayride and have skits going on around them, but this year patrons can be pulled into the skit. A prime example would be our amputation scene where patrons can be pulled in to participate. This year there is also a lot more walking. This is not an activity intended for people with limited mobility or strollers. There is just no way we could fit a stroller through some of the paths through the neighborhood yards,” continued King.

    The Historic Hauntings Hayride is a unique haunted tour. Of course, there are ghost stories and spooky houses, but there is also the real history of this community. Fayetteville is a community full of a rich and often surprising history.

    “This is a great opportunity for education. We are educating our community on our history in a unique way. It makes history fun. Bruce Daws, our city historian, and his team work so hard to be accurate with the costumes, props and scripts. Its like you are really on the eve of Sherman’s march. That is our theme for this year. It is a fun and educational way to learn history,” said King.

    For anyone that is interested, the night of history and ghosts doesn’t have to end at the conclusion of the hayride. King added, “We are also doing a haunted house this year. We depart from the Lion’s Club at 725 West Rowan St., and when we return there after the ride, patrons can make a $6 donation and go through the Hillside House of Horror. If patrons bring canned goods to benefit the Fayetteville Urban Ministry they will get $1 off.”

    Reservations are required for Historic Hauntings, and tickets cost $17.Tickets are available by calling 323-1934 or by going to www.etix.com/ticket/online/venueSearch.jsp?venue_id=4265. The hayride will depart from 725 W. Rowan St. at the Lion’s Club. It is advised to come early to ensure time for parking as the wagons leave at scheduled times. There will be hayrides on Oct. 17-19 and Oct. 24-26. This is a rain or shine event so bring umbrellas if needed. For more information visit www.faydogwoodfestival.com/historic-hauntings.

    Photo: Relive some of Fayetteville’s spookier moments on at the Historic Hauntings Hay Ride.

  • For more than 20 years the people of Cumberland County have had access to incredible music through the Cumberland Oratorio Singers. The Cumberland Oratorio Singers are a symphonic chorus that was originally inspired by the bicentennial of Mozart’s death. Since their first performance in 1993, the group has grown in both notoriety and membership. The have performed in venues all over the county and have been represented at many different community functions, often as featured guests. The 2013/2014 season opens on Oct. 25.10-16-13-cumberland-oratorio.gif

    The members of this group of vibrant and diverse singers show their love of music by sharing it with the community. They do this not only through their performances, but also through the diversity in the choir itself. “There are lots of church choirs in Fayetteville, but we are the only community choir. We are not the only choral music in Fayetteville, but we want the community to understand music is for everybody and singing is for everybody,” said Michael Martin, the director of choral activities and music education.

    Choral music does a lot more for the community than just provide entertainment. It helps to keep the city active and is part of what makes Fayetteville a great place to live. Through the outreach for potential members as well as the many performances around the community, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers help to keep the arts in Fayetteville vibrant and interesting, as is their goal. “As composer Robert Shaw once said, ‘If it wasn’t for community choirs there would be no choral music,’ and he was right. For a city to be vibrant it must have a strong arts and culture and I am happy to help strengthen the musical aspect of culture,” said Martin.This year the first performance of the season is on Oct. 25. The performance is titled Life Through Poetry and Song and focuses on how art reflects aspects of life and society. Like all of their performances, the night will be filled with beautiful and touching music. “This particular performance is based on some poetry set to music composed by some famous composers,” Martin said.

    Poetry and music are very similar forms of art that both make use of rhythm and language to convey meaning. For this reason combining the two is only natural and many poems have been set to music. The performance will also feature the Cross Creek Chorale, which is a completely new aspect of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers. These 26 singers auditioned and were chosen from 45 members of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers.

    The poetry of this night will be set to the music of composers Britten, Clausen, Effinger, Vaughn-Williams and other composers. It is notable, however, that there is a theme to these composers as well. Martin explained. “We will be hearing music done by American and British composers. We call it across the sea and back again. This is not the overall name, but we do have it set up in the program so that we start with American composers, go to British composers then come back again.” The show will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Highland Presbyterian Church 111 Highland Ave.

    For more information on the Cumberland Oratorio Singers or their upcoming 2013-2014 season visit the website www.singwithcos.org.

    Photo:  he Cumberland Oratorio Singers join with the Cross Creek Chorale to open the 2013/2014 season on Oct. 25 at Highland Presbyterian Church with Life through Poetry and Song.

  • 10-23-13-sos-band.gifSounds of Success, more commonly known as S.O.S., was first conceived in 1977 in Atlanta, Ga., but they are known nationally, and on Friday, Nov. 1, the band will bring its unique sound to the area as it performs at Givens Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

    For a number of years, the band performed under the name Santa Monica. Gaining popularity in their hometown, S.O.S. came onto the national music scene in 1980 when its single “Take Your Time (Do it Right)” sold 2 million copies and went platinum.

    The band takes joy in its performances, but is also proud of their work. Even after 32 years of performing music, each member still strives to make every performance the very best it can be. This can clearly be seen in the comment of Mary Davis, the lead vocalist, when asked about the typical concert.

    “People should expect nothing but the best,” she said. “We are going to take our time and give them the best show they’ve ever seen.”

    Davis’ love of music began very early in life, and based on the funky style of S.O.S, the genres that first inspired her may be surprising.

    “As a kid I always liked music. I mostly listened to country and western because I am from Savannah, Ga., and at the time we didn’t have a black radio station. As a result, we mostly listened to country western and rock,” she explained. “I always liked music and knew I wanted to sing. I used to use old Coke bottles or water bottles as a microphone and I listened to all the music and learned all the lyrics to sing along. I joined the Baptist church, and as a member of the choir, I was able to do solos. I saw the responses of the audience and I knew I had a gift from God.”

    Membership in a popular band that travels all over the country isn’t all fun and games, however. There are a lot of challenges that all of the members face as they travel and perform. Davis says that one of the biggest challenges is just the wear and tear that they experience as they get on and off the airplanes. These challenges have not deterred them.

    Davis explains why they continue to tour, “The most rewarding thing is being able to sing a song that everyone can relate to and bring back a happy memory and bring a smile to peoples face. We enjoy doing what we are doing and enjoy having people relate to our songs and the feed back makes it all worth while. We really appreciate the love and support that our audience has given us over 32 years. We really, really appreciate them.”

    Join the fun as The S.O.S. Band performs at the Givens Performing Arts Center on Friday, Nov. 1. Tickets are $25 for adults or $15 for children and students. For more information and tickets, visit www.uncp.edu/gpac/broadway/index.htm.

    Photo: The S.O.S Band brings great music to the GPAC.

  • 10-30-13-sweeney-todd.gifLast season’s line-up at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre caused quite a buzz in the region. But that doesn’t compare to the hum that is going through the community as Sweeney Todd comes to the stage this week.

    The show, which tells the story of love, when twisted, can go really, really wrong. Because at its heart, Sweeney Todd is a love story. For those who are only familiar with the Johnny Depp movie, the stage production will be quite the wake-up call.

    “Because of the Johnny Depp movie, there is a perception of the play as being a horror tale,” said Tom Quaintance, the theatre’s artistic director, who is also directing the show. “But that’s because that is the direction the producer of the movie leaned. Much of what is delightful about the play winds up cut out.”

    Quaintance characterizes the play as a dark comedy.

    “There is no question that this is a horror story. Bad things happen. But the scope is so much broader, and as such can appeal to a much wider crowd,” continued Quaintance. “The play is a contrast between this dark character Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett who sees almost everything as bright and funny. She is the light to his dark. There is a lot of heart in this show, even in its darkness.”

    The depth of the show’s content made prep work for the show very important. Months leading up to the casting of the show, local actors were giddy over the possibility of performing in the show. The auditions were intense. The performers seeking a role had to have the total package. That was particularly true of the lead roles of Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett.

    “These two parts are towering roles,” said Quaintance. “You can be a great vocalist and be in the show in the ensemble. But for these roles, you really need to be a vocalist, actor and a lot more. These roles are just that hard.”

    To that end, Quaintance took the auditions to New York City.

    “I’m always interested in getting the best people in the show, no matter where they come from, but for this show, we needed the absolute best all the way across the board. If we couldn’t have found those folks, we could not have done it.”

    Quaintance knows what he is talking about, as he has been working on and with this show since early May through a partnership with Playmakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill. Over the summer, Quaintance worked with a student production of Sweeney Todd at Playmakers, and now, he is using the experience he garnered with that show to make this production even better.

    “Going into rehearsals for this production, my time in Chapel Hill really helped move the process along very fast,” said Quaintance. “Actors, like those we have cast in this show tend to rise to the occasion, but having the past experience has really helped to make this a wonderful process.”

    Quaintance said that while he learned from the summer production, what the CFRT patrons will see is a very different animal.

    “This is not a restaging of that production,” he said. “It is a very different show because there are very different actors. I learned a lot of traps that can get in your way in producing this show, so we are not getting stuck.”

    While Quaintance was doing his homework, the cast was doing theirs. Steve Minow, who recently played the role of the Aviator in The Little Prince has the lead role of Sweeney Todd. Leanne Borghesi, an actor, vocalist and vocal coach, has the role of Mrs. Lovett. They are joined by former Miss North Carolina, Hailey Best, who plays the role of Lucy, Zack Burkhardt playing the role of Tobias Ragg and Ken Griggs playing Judge Turpin.

    Playing Lucy in Sweeney Todd is a lifetime goal for Best.

    “This is really a different role for me,” said Best. “I do a lot of roles as the love interest, like Elle in Legally Blonde, but his show really challenges me. I had to sit down and prepare before I got here. I couldn’t have walked into these rehearsals without knowing the music.”

    The role of Lucy calls for a vocalist who is a “stratospheric soprano.” Best said the songs and music have a lot of context, it’s not always pretty, but it’s deep and complicated.

    “You can’t sing this role and just sound pretty,” she said. “The lyrics are very important. They tell the story without being too obvious.”

    Borghesi likens the score to a feast. “The more you can prepare to get ready for dinner, the more you can eat,” she said.

    While the featured artists carry a lot of the weight in the show, the large ensemble, which is largely comprised of local actors, more than meets them half way.

    “The ensemble has some of the hardest music, but they are incredible. They are killing it,” said Best, who related that she was blown away on the first night of rehearsals with the depth and skill of the local vocalists.

    In conjunction with the play’s opening, the theatre has planned several events.

    On Monday, Oct. 28, patrons are invited to join Quaintance for a look Behind the Curtain. Quaintance and other artists will host a dialogue with patrons about the show. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Headquarters Library at 300 Maiden Lane, and those interested in learning more behind the scenes are invited to “nibble and sip” their way through the conversation. There is no fee for this event and reservations are not required.

    With comedic irony that mirrors the show, the CFRT slated a Halloween Preview Night on Thursday, Oct. 31. Attendees are invited to dress in costume, and to donate... blood that is. Between 5 and 7 p.m., the Cape Fear Valley Mobile Blood Donor bus will be at the theatre. Those interested in participating in the blood drive can schedule their donation at www.savingliveslocally.org or call 910-323-4234, ext. 222 or just show up

    For tickets or more information, visit the CFRT website at www.cfrt.org or call the box office at 323-4233. The box office is open Tuesday-Saturday from 2-6:30 p.m.

  • 10-10-12-reading-rocks-worm.gifEducation is the key to success, and a passion for reading makes education that much easier. It is for this reason that for nine years the local community has been coming together in order to support local schools in inspiring youngsters to read with the Reading Rocks! Walk-A-Thon. Belinda Cashwell the director of media services for Reading Rocks! says, “Literacy opens the doors for every opportunity. Literacy is the window to the world, and without it a community will not flourish. A nation will not flourish, so we want the very best reading materials available in our school libraries. This year we are trying to make the move to being 25 percent digital so it’s really important that we have the best materials available. We have a program to really bring it full circle with students reading then using commuters to check their comprehension, and involving the whole family in reading. We want this to be a family affair and a community affair. We are passionate about reading and providing the best materials, and we have great parents contributing.”

    Reading Rocks is a local fundraiser put on by Cumberland County Schools that donates the proceeds to buy new books for local schools. In each school, kids collect money and often local businesses donate to help support this investment in the community’s future leaders. This year Cargill Inc. is the largest sponsor. Last year more than $225,000 was raised and 20,000 people participated in the walk-a-thon. Every year the turn out and donations improve as the community rallies around the fundraiser, and this year the “Nifty Ninth,” expectations are even higher. The Cumberland County School System is calling for 25,000 walkers this year, surpassing last year’s attendance by 5,000 supporters.

    “This thing has just grown. Cargill is our largest corporate sponsor, each year donating $10,000 - $15,000. We just got Lafayette Business Machine and many other corporate sponsors both large and small. Our penny war has amazed us; we raise more than $20,000 in just pennies,” Cashwell says.

    At the walk-a-thon groups of students and faculty will represent their schools, and the schools that have raised the most money will lead the walkers. All along the route school bands will play for the entertainment of the walkers. There will also be mascots roaming the crowd helping in the celebration.

    “The walk is 1.3 miles. We intentionally don’t make it too long because many of our walkers are young students. Our youngest walker has been about two weeks old and our oldest around 90. The people at Heritage Place and other local nursing homes bring rocking chairs out and rock for reading rocks. Even thought they can’t walk they rock around the route, “ says Cashwell proving that you don’t need to be able to walk to support the Reading Rocks Walk-A-thon.

    The NCAEOP Secretaries will have breakfast for participants, with cheesy grits, bacon, coffee and hot chocolate, among other things for sale. All the money raised through the sales goes to scholarships for local high school students.

    Reading Rocks! Walk-A-Thon will take place on Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. at Festival Park, which is located at 335 Ray Ave. For more information about the walk-a-thon or about being a sponsor, call 678-2613, the Cumberland County Schools’ Social Media Services.

  • uac102313001.gif With Fort Bragg at the heart of the community, the people of Cumberland and the surrounding counties don’t wait for Veterans Day to say thank you to America’s veterans. They do it every day in all kinds of ways. So when Veterans Day comes around, it seems like a little something extra is in order to send the message home.

    For the past two years, along with honoring all of America’s veterans, Heroes Homecoming has shone a spotlight on veterans of specific conflicts and reached out to tens of thousands of veterans to welcome them home, to honor them and to celebrate their accomplishments.

    This year Heroes Homecoming focuses on Korean War veterans. About 5.72 million American soldiers fought in the Korean War, (more than 70,000 of them hailed from North Carolina) yetit is often called the Forgotten War. Friday, Nov. 8 through Monday, Nov. 11, Fayetteville is set to celebrate Veterans Day and honor Korean War vets.

    “With the parade celebrating Korean Vets, we thought we should build on this,” said John Meroski, president/CEO Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The Korean War is the only war with a TV series about it. This year is the 30th anniversary of that show — M*A*S*H — and it is also the 60th anniversary of the Korean War. We were able to get several of the characters from M*A*S*H to come and be a part of the weekend.”

    Loretta Switt (Hot Lips Hoolahan), Jamie Farr (Klinger) and William Christopher (Father Mulcahy) will all be on hand to help the community say thank you to America’s vets.

    On Friday, the public is invited to attend a candlelight vigil at the N.C. Veterans Park. It starts at 6 p.m. and concludes at 8 p.m. at the Arts Council with a special screening of the final episode of M*A*S*H.

    On Saturday, don’t miss a long-standing tradition, the Veterans Day Parade, at 10 a.m. in downtown Fayetteville. George Breece, who cochairs the Veterans Day Parade with Kirk deViere, is excited about this year’s event.

    “We’ve got approval for a fly-over, which is always an exciting part of the parade,” said Breece. “Right now, we have 83 units in the parade. And something we are doing differently this year is that all of the JROTC units, which usually march with their high school bands, came to us and said that they want to march together. So we will have Navy, Air Force and Army JROTC units marching together in the parade.”

    The event is set for broadcast on WRAL, and WUNC-TV, as well. “This is seen in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia,” said Breece. “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to show our community like this and to have this image of Fayetteville out there.”

    City Manager Ted Voorhees will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and Erin Murdoch will sing the National Anthem. In the reviewing stand look for Fort Bragg Commanding General Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson; Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, commander of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command; and Wing Commander of the 441 Airlift Command, Brig. Gen. James Scanlan; as well as other local dignitaries.

    “A few members of Congress have said that they hope to attend, too,” said Breece.

    Along with the military units, service organizations, law enforcement, Veterans Affairs organizations, military heritage organizations and law enforcement will be represented. Perhaps one of the most moving floats is the Fort Bragg Daisy/Brownie Troop 1290.

    “All of the girls in this troop are military children and all of their fathers have served at least once overseas,” said Breece. “The girls are ages 5-8 and they are coming out to say thank you to our veterans. It definitely pulls on the heart strings.”

    The Grand Marshall this year is Korean War Veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Corporal Rodolfo (Rudy) Hernandez. The Honorary Parade Chair is Sgt. Maj. Jacob (Jake) G. Roth Jr., who was a prisoner of war during the Korean War.

    At noon, following the parade, a formal veterans ceremony is planned at the N.C. Veterans Park. Stay and spend the afternoon enjoying family friendly fun and entertainment.

    On Sunday, Korean War vets, along with the visiting celebrities, will tour Fort Bragg. “So many of our soldiers shipped out through Fort Bragg, in fact, Womack is named after a Korean War Vet,” said Meroski. “We hope to give people a chance to remember and share their stories.”

    After the tour, which is for Korean War Vets only, the public is invited to a meet and greet with the members of the cast of M*A*S*H at the N.C. Veterans Park at 3 p.m. The cast will sign autographs, answer questions and pose for photographs. Who knows, maybe it will include a peck on the cheek from Hot Lips Houlihan, too.

    Find out more about Heroes Homecoming III at www.heroeshomecoming.com. To find out more about the Veterans Day Parade call 920-0045 or e-mail VeteransDayParade@gmail.com.

    Photo: Join several characters from the cast of M*A*S*H as they honor Korean War veterans at Heroes Homecoming III.


    This year’s Heroes Homecoming will feature special appearances by three of the cast members from the hit TV series M*A*S*H. Jamie Farr (Corporal Klinger), Loretta Swit (Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan), and William Christopher (Father Mulcahy) will be in town to participate in a number of Heroes Homecoming III events, helping to pay tribute and say thank you to our brave Korean War veterans.

    * Airing on CBS in the 1970s, M*A*S*H was a popular American television series about a team of medical professionals and support staff stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. With eleven seasons and the most watched series finale of all-time, the “dramedy,” showed the effects of war not only on those fighting but those that repaired the ones who were fighting.

    * M*A*S*H stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital

    * The series finale was watched by over 105 million viewers

    * The stories on M*A*S*H were based on real-life tales told by hundreds of actual M*A*S*H surgeons

    * Starting Oct. 21, the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County will be showing the entire M*A*S*H series, from beginning to end. Fans will be able to drop in on the free marathon screenings at anytime while they’re going on throughout the three weeks prior to the start of Heroes Homecoming III. It all leads up to the special screening of the M*A*S*H finale on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. 9 a.m.-5p.m.; Fri. 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; Sat. 12-4 p.m. Call 323-1776 for viewing details.

  • uac100814001.gif October 17 is the date the 79th season of Community Concerts kicks-off at the Crown Theatre. Since 1935, Community Concerts has worked to provide the area with high caliber entertainment.

    Last season the organization brought in Joan Rivers for a night of comedy in what proved to be one of her last performances. Other notable acts that Community Concerts has brought to the area include: Gladys Knight, Kenny Loggins, Earth,Wind and Fire, Martina McBride, The Doobie Brothers, Styxx, Kool and the Gang, LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker and the list goes on.

    The all-volunteer organization also does more than just promote shows. Since 2008, the group has produced The Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame that honors individuals who have contributed to the local musical community. Since 2004, more than 20 young people that have been awarded scholarships to institutions of higher learning to pursue their love of music. The organization also promotes area talent by including local up-and-comers in the show’s lineup whenever possible.

    All of the other work that the organization performs comes directly from the support of the community for their yearly show series. The 79th season will feature six exciting and diverse shows for the residents of Fayetteville/Cumberland County to enjoy.

    To kick-off the season with a local flair, 2011 American Idol winner and North Carolina native, Scotty McCreery will bring his See You Tonight Tour to Fayetteville for a night of country music on Oct. 17. The tour, which began in early 2014, was supposed to have concluded by now, but McCreery said he and his touring companions decided they wanted to keep going.

    “It has been an awesome time. The whole summer was awesome; a lot of fun. Me, the band and crew had a blast. So we decided, might as well not end it and keep the momentum going. We extended the tour and the buzz and response has been pretty awesome with the fans coming out to the shows. It is going to be a fun fall. We are lucky enough to have Danielle Bradbury to join us for some of the dates. It’ll be a blast.”

    This tour is the first tour in which McCreery received top billing. While McCreery is no stranger to performing in front of large audiences both as part of the American Idol Tour and other artists’ tours he was invited to participate in, he said that this tour was a big change.

    “It is definitely different. The fans are coming to see you and not somebody else. That is kind of cool to know while you are on stage. To have that reassurance that the fans are really digging what you are doing. We are having a good time,” he explained.

    McCreery also went on to describe how different the show preparation process is, “You have got to put a little more thought into your shows. It’s an hour and half instead of 20-30min like when you are opening for someone else. You have got to put a good show together to try to take the audience on a journey from beginning to end,” he said. “That’s what we are trying to do. All summer we have had a good time doing that. We are going to change up a few things going into the fall but, mostly, it will be the same show. It’ll be a fun hour and half packed show.”

    The show on the 17th at the Crown Theatre will be the only stop in North Carolina that McCreery makes while on this tour, but that fact seemed to motivate him even more,

    “It is always a little different for me when we get back to North Carolina and play a local show. Something always happens or changes whether I bring on a guest or change up a set or something. It’s always a little more special when you play the hometown shows.”10-08-14-scotty.gif

    After winning the 2011 American Idol competition, McCreery quickly found himself on the receiving end of the adoration of fans both locally and nationally.

    “It has been pretty wild to see. It is pretty much everywhere nowadays. I haven’t gone out into public without a hat on in, I don’t know how long. That might not bode well for my hair over the next 30 years.”

    He spoke fondly of his experiences with fans recognizing him out in public, “Some folks get annoyed by it; me, not as much. I see it as a pretty cool thing. If they see you and know you, that means they know your music… It’s cool. I have got some of the best fans in the world. I am blessed to have them. I enjoy the fans and hope they dig the music, which is what it is all about.”

    Despite all of the fame that came with experience on American Idol and the success that has come along with having two albums hit number one on the country charts McCreery has somehow managed to stay grounded.

    “That’s the way I was wired by my parents growing up. But it also has a lot to do with the kind of people that you keep around you. My band and crew, on the road, they don’t treat me any different. They keep me level headed. My friends back home, too, I don’t get any special treatment anywhere in life. I get enough of the spotlight when I am on stage; when I get off the stage, I just want to be treated like Scotty.”

    After McCreery’s performance, Community Concerts will have five more shows:

    Sister Act Friday, Nov. 14

    Trace Adkins Wednesday, Dec. 10

    Dancing Pros Live Wednesday , Feb. 11

    The Australian Bee Gees Wednesday, March 24

    Smokey Robinson Thursday, April 16

    More information about each of the shows, tickets and/or season tickets is available via the Community Concerts website at www.community-concerts.com.

    Photo: North Carolina Native Scotty McCreery, the 2011 American Idol, will kick-off the 79th Community Concert Series at the Crown Theatre on Oct. 17.

  • Hope Mills Candidates

    Up & Coming Weekly sent a questionnaire to local candidates. Below are the responses from the Hope Mills candidates, which were not included in the paper edition of the 10/30 Election Guide.


    Bob Gorman



    Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?


    Hope Mills is part of the Cumberland County 2030 plan and also participating in the Southwest Cumberland Detailed Land  Use Plan. We have incorporated ordinances from the Cumberland County Planning to manage development with in the town of Hope Mills.  


    With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?


    Hope Mills is very fortunate to have the very best Police Department working for the citizens. One of my top three priorities if elected is to work with the Board of Commissioners, the Town Manager and staff to upgrade our Public Safety Departments. Both our Fire Department and Police Department have out grown their buildings and also need additional men and equipment. As for the crime rate, Hope Mills Police calls volume is up going along with the increase in population, but from January 2012 to October 2012 vs. January 2013 to October 2013 the Property Crime Statistics actually has dropped 5 percent from 912 to 864 or -48 crimes. The violent crimes are up 9 percent from the previous year 44 to 48 or +4 crimes. The Town Manager and its staff will be working with the Police Chief and his staff to come up with a 5-year plan to increase the sworn Officers from the present number of 39 to 45 in the next five years to accommodate expected population growth. This is some of the plans that will address the issue of crime and volume of service calls. They will then present this to the Board of Commissioners for their approval. 


    Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?


    The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners had its positive and negative issues this last two years. The five Commissioner seats and the Mayor seat will be up for election on November 5, 2013. Whoever is elected will be faced with some difficult decisions for the next two years. I feel like this board needs to be focused on the positives, rather than the negatives and move forward. The past we cannot do anything about, but in the future we can work together as a team to make Hope Mills the very best. We can utilize the League of Municipalities and School of Government to help train board members in their roles and responsibilities as Commissioners.  


    What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?


    The Hope Mills legal team has been working on the litigation of the Hope Mills Dam for the last year and 1/2. The Hope Mills Legal team is having a meeting with the Judge Spainhour and all parties involved on October 24, 2013 to discuss the scheduling. 

    What is your number one priority for the town?


    Hope Mills Lake is one of the biggest priorities for the next two years. The Board of Commissioners will be faced with the on going litigation that if not settled on April 30, 2014 at the Mediated Settlement hearing, the law suit will go to trial on July 28, 2014.


    In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?


    I have been a Hope Mills Commissioner for the past 10 years. I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience and have always been honest and consider integrity to be very important in my personal life as well as conducting Hope Mills business as an elected official. In my regular job I am an account executive for Holland Freight and have been in management for the past 33 years doing everything from dispatch, supervisor, terminal manager and at the present time, I am an account executive. I would like to thank the citizens of Hope Mills for the opportunity to serve you over the last 10 years and I would appreciate your support and vote on November 5, 2013 for the position of Hope Mills Commissioner.


    Jerry Legge



    Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?


    I think that the town should do a study and look hard at doing a moratorium on residential building until the infrastructure catches up. The roads are already a major concern in our area and if we build 100 additional residential structures without road improvements, then that would be about 200 extra cars on what is already crowded roads and inner city streets each day. We should work with the Board of Education to ensure that the schools can handle the growth of 1.7 children per household. I call this planned growth.


    With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?


    Watch programs may be the best tool to help in this area because extra eyes and ears will help our officers. At this time, I don't believe that we have a growing crime problem in Hope Mills because our police department does such a good job.


    After much research, I found that the deal number of sworn police officer for Hope Mills should be two per every 1,000 people and we are at 15,000 plus people which means we need about 30 officers. We have 39 sworn officers, this number also includes our detectives. 


    Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?


    The board should be a team. It is not a place for people with personal agendas. Classes can be conducted to help with the training for the elected. The residents of our town control which candidates are elected to represent them. Obviously we have had our share of issues this term, so at this point, it is up to the residents to find the source of the issues and remove it. Being an elected official should be treated as a privilege, not a right.


    What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?


    The "end game" is the dam being restored and I think that should be done at no cost to the town, state or federal taxpayers. We are in a lawsuit against the contractors to recover our people’s monies right now. Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes and we have to let it work itself out in court.


    What is your number one priority for the town?


    I want to see peace and stability in our town board so that we can concentrate, as a team, on the issues that are important such as restoring Hope Mills Lake back to what it used to be.


    In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?


    I feel that I have good leadership skills as I have served as a commissioner for the people of Hope Mills for 11 years. I am also the retired owner of Better Built Builders Construction Company for over 25 years. I am a former member of the Planning Board, Zoning Board, Finance Committee and The Quality of Life Committee. I also have been a member of the Hope Mills Youth Association Board of Directors for over 25 years and a coach in that program for over 27 years.



    I believe in God and our country, I support our troops and that children are our future. I do not believe in forced annexation and think that our employees’ pay scale should be competitive with the same classified jobs in our geographical area.


    I believe that if you always tell the truth, you never have to worry about remembering what you said.


    I am happily married to Diana Millen Legge. We have three married daughters Tammy, Chrissy and Bobbi Jo and we have eight wonderful grandchildren.


    Jessie Bellflowers



    Greetings! I am Jessie Bellflowers, who is running as a write-in candidate for one of the five positions on the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners. My family and I have lived in the Hope Mills community since 1996. I currently serve as a Business Administration Instructor for Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) since July 2003, after retiring from the United States Army with 26 years of service to our great nation. I hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Webster University and pursuing a doctorate in Organization/Management from Capella University, and a graduate of the Institute for Community Leadership.


    Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?


    Hope Mills is one of the fastest growing communities in our state and will continue to grow over the next several years. However, over past years, commercial and residential growth leads town infrastructure and services growth. One of the enormous challenges will be to address our town’s aging infrastructure where public safety, sanitation, and limited community recreational opportunities are high priorities. These challenges may be separate, but I consider them linked to our community’s sustainable quality of life, commercial/residential growth, and economic development. To meet these challenges, the next town board must approve funding in support of a short/long term infrastructure needs as identified in a workable Capital Improvement Comprehensive Plan. The answer is to stop wasteful spending and fund a Capital Improvement Plan to address our town’s aging infrastructure. We must also use smart innovative and proactive planning approaches toward managing commercial/residential growth.


    With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?


    According to the latest Hope Mills police crime statistical reports, our Hope Mills community does not have a growing crime problem. The credit for low crime problems in our community belongs to an excellent police department, community policing groups, community sports and recreational programs, community civic organizations, and outstanding community church programs. However, our police and fire departments have out-grown their current facilities with our community’s fast-growing population. We must find a workable solution to build satellite police and fire stations in our community over the next several years. 


    Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the Board?


    I believe in a workable, open and transparent government. One that practices fiscal conservatism instead of wasteful spending, listens to and understands citizen issues and concerns, values town employees and one that seeks consensus while always moving our community forward in a position direction. Our community deserves an effective town board, one that can work and communicate together with a “collective vision” for future prosperity and one that demonstrates unselfish representation and pre-eminent leadership. Those in our community who know me know my deep commitment to hard work and open, transparent government. I pledge to listen to citizen issues and concerns, have an open mind on all decisions, and spend a significant amount of time researching community issues facing our community.


    What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?


    The restoration of Hope Mills Lake remains a top priority, as it should be because this community quality of life issue is currently in litigation with a possible trial date next year. A year ago, the engineering and construction firms estimated $8.6 million in dam structure repairs. Dam safety will not allow the failed $13.5 million dam structure to remain in its current state of disrepair indefinitely. Therefore, the town has two options: remove and replace or repair the failed dam structure. I do not believe the failed dam structure can be repaired after sitting for over three years. In addition, I do not believe that the engineering and construction firms were ever going to repair or replace the failed dam structure on their own dime either. However, I remain optimistic that a monetary settlement will be reached before the trial date. Therefore, the town should use these funds to remove and replace the current failed dam structure with a much smaller, efficient and effective dam structure in support of the original lake water level. The “end game” is an acceptable monetary settlement or a court ordered judgment…just that simple!


    What is your number one priority for the town?


    Regardless of how you personally feel about the restoration of Hope Mills Lake, this issue will be a front and center priority for the next town board in their first year. In fact, all parties have until April 30, 2014 to agree to a mediated settlement or the lawsuit goes to trial on July 28, 2014. Like you, I ride by the 3-year-old empty lake with frustration and despair. Another top priority in our community is public safety. Over the years, our police and fire departments have out-grown their current facilities with our community’s fast-growing population. We must find a workable solution to build satellite police and fire stations in our community over the next several years. Another “hot topic” top priority of discussion in our community is massive traffic congestion. Direct action is long overdue to address this important quality of life community issue! We must request a Hope Mills area traffic congestion management study be commissioned by the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO) Transportation Advisory Committee. Just about everyone I meet say, “public safety, massive traffic congestion, and the restoration of Hope Mills Lake are the main priorities in our community.” However, I would like to add community recreational opportunities and economic development to the list of community priorities. These priorities may be separate, but I consider them linked to our community’s sustainable quality of life.


    In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?


    I currently serve as State Junior Vice Commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and have formerly served as State District 8 Commander and Post Commander of Post 10630 in Hope Mills. I have served on the Board of Directors of the Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce, on the Hope Mills Veterans Affairs Commission, and as a Charter Board Member of the Friends of Hope Mills Lake. I am a graduate of the Institute for Community Leadership Course (ICL) and the President’s Leadership Institute (PLI) at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC). I bring to the table many years of positive leadership experience and education, and ask for the opportunity to help lead our community in a positive direction forward as one we are proud to call home.


    My vision is simple: “Continuous improvement of quality of life for our community that will naturally grow and progress in an economically sustainable and healthy environment.” We must focus every day on enriching the lives of our town citizens by creating an exceptional community to work and live in while providing exemplary town services that enables our community to thrive and prosper. There is no question that addressing the many challenges that face our community will require effective leadership, creative thinking, building cooperation and consensus, and a tremendous amount of teamwork.


    We are truly blessed to work and live in a great community…Our Hope Mills Community…one we all call home. In our community, you will find the best schools, churches, police, fire, and sanitation departments, recreational center, senior center, sports and recreational programs, civic organizations, various community events, and businesses. This is who we are as a blessed community and our best days are ahead of us!


    If you have any issues, concerns, or suggestions, please email me at jbellflowers@nc.rr.com and/or call me at (910) 964-8103.


    Tonzie Collins



    Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?


    You cannot stop growth, however you can control the growth by enforcing the town ordinances that the town currently have. 


    With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?


    The board should give the police department the necessary equipment and manpower that they need so they can continue to do the great job that they are doing.


    Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?


    The board should realize that they were elected to represent the people and town employees!!!! Not themselves and a select few.



    What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?


    The existing lawsuit is the end game.Once the lawsuit is completed we will then pursue completing the rebuilding of the dam.


    What is your number one priority for the town?


    To represent the people and employees of this town to the best of my ability by making sound and proper decisions.


    In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?


    I attempt to do research on everything that pertains to the Town of Hope Mills so that I can make  the proper decision of any topic that may that may arise.



    Vinnell Jackson

    Hope Mills Mayor


    Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?


    As a citizen volunteer for the Southwest Cumberland Land Use Plan we identified strategies to assist the board with control/directing growth. Strategies identified were mixed-development, create single-family residential developments and provide incentives for cluster subdivisions. This plan will guide development for the next several years when adopted by the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners.


    With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?

    It is imperative that community policing is enhanced to reduce/eliminate crime. According to our crime analyst 2012 data, aggravated assault and robberies led crime in Hope Mills. There are communities where the mayor created a task force to address the root of crime and created community safety officer volunteers.  In addition, anonymous email addresses to report suspected crime was created for the residents. The final strategy is to ensure that annexations include police resources to cover the newly annexed areas, i.e. commercial, residential or institutional land uses.

    Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?

    The Hope Mills board and the community is interested in visionary leadership. The position of mayor is a non-voting member except to settle tie decisions. That person must lead and see into the future of what may happen and ensure we are proactive instead of reactive. The town should not have to wait on a plan developed by county staff for us to know we must prepare our community for demographic changes that impact housing or the need for veteran housing, or additional elderly housing and infrastructure. We must implement innovative strategies to enhance economic development opportunities that all concretively improve our quality of life.



    What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?


    Based on a recent update by lead attorney Nick Herman we have scheduled hearings forthcoming and will permit the legal process to take its course. However, the town leaders could pursue other options for the dam as it relates to economic opportunities as a source of electric or power generator. Again, the leaders should be proactive as opposed to reactive and waiting on the litigation outcome.


    What is your number one priority for the town?


    The Town of Hope Mills needs visionary leadership. In the decision-making process it means nothing if leadership is not able to implement decisions successfully.  Quinn Mills stated “leadership influences the thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors of others”. He further states leaders see what lies ahead and direct the rest of us; they help us see what we might achieve; and encourage and inspire us. Quinn Mills further states “without leadership a group of human beings quickly degenerates into argument and conflict, because we see things in different ways and lean toward different solutions. It is time to move forward with new ideas and team effort to voice the concerns of the community.


    In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?


    A vote for Vinell Jackson as Mayor of Hope Mills provides a fresh start for the town and visionary leadership. The community is in need of a leader who is objective and open to the ideas of others. As mayor, I bring years of experience in local and state government working in planning with planners, developers, and engineers. In addition, my knowledge of transit, ADA, Title VI and budgeting are assets. This experience has afforded the opportunity to collaborate with representatives from the state, local and federal agencies. A vote for Vinell Jackson for Mayor is a vote for unity and progression.




  • Dr. Michael Martin, director of choral activities and music education at Methodist University and10-22-14-cos.gifartistic director and conductor of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers, takes his work seriously. That’s a win for the community and for local musicians as well. The Cumberland Oratorio Singers’ 2014-2015 season opens on Oct. 24, and it’s a performance that chamber music fans won’t want to miss.

    The performance, titled There Is Sweet Music Here, features two local musicians along with the talented singers of the Cross Creek Chorale.

    “We are featuring two guest artists — Deanne Renshaw on oboe and Brian Adamski on French horn,” said Martin. “Deanne is going to be featured in the title piece of the concert and it is quite beautiful. Adam will be featured in one of our other pieces.”

    J. Michael Hayden, Morton Louridsen and Andre Thomas are just a few of the composers that are showcased in this first performance of the season.

    The second concert of the season is the Hallelujah Chorus, a local holiday tradition. The community is invited to join the Cumberland Oratorio Singers in a performance of “The Messiah.” This performance is on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Ann Catholic Church. Those who don’t care to join in are welcome to come and enjoy the performance as part of the audience.

    On March 21, don’t miss Maurice Duruffle’s “Requiem” and “Quatre Motets.” Popular in the world of chorale music, Duruffle’s pieces represent comfort, hope and faith. The Methodist University Chorale is set to join the Cumberland Oratorio Singers for this concert. It is at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

    During the month of April, the Beth Israel Synagogue hosts The Cumberland Oratorio Singers for Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms.” In 1965, Rev. Walter Hussey of Chichester Cathedral in Sussex, England asked Bernstein to write a piece. It was to be used for the 1965 music festival that included Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals. Bernstein delivered a piece that seemed to mix theatre music with Judaic liturgy.

    The season closes with a performance of Francis Poulenc’s “Gloria” and Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. The Terry Sanford High School Varsity Choir, under the direction of Sean Closz, will join in the performance.

    Such a well thought-out season is not only a joy to the performers. Martin searched for pieces that would challenge the performers as well as delight the audiences.

    “Last spring, I was thinking about chorale music and what people like about it,” said Martin. “We listen to it and sing it because we like the sound of it. For people who like chorale music, hearing a rich choir piece is ear candy. I was drawn to ‘Sweet Music’ because it has choir and oboe. I called Deanne right away and asked her to join us for this performance. I am driven to make sure this idea of a select choir drawn from Cumberland Oratorio Singers succeeds, so I picked some more difficult pieces for the chorale. There are pieces with eight and even 10-part harmony.”

    While There Is Sweet Music Here is sure to entertain the audience and push the chorale to deliver a top-notch performance, Martin admits that there is something in it for him, too.

    “This is all the kind of stuff we like to sing. I wanted to challenge the choir and expand their lexicon. The president of Methodist University always says ‘I have the best job in America.’ Well, when I conduct, I have the best seat in the house; I want music that will wash over me like a nice warm shower — and so I chose the kind of music that I think will do that.”

    The performance is at Highland Presbyterian Church at 7:30 p.m. Find out more about the Cumberland Oratorio Singers at www.singwithcos.org.

  • 10-01-14-cigars-&-guns.gifIt’s no secret that being a soldier or a law enforcement officer is dangerous. But the work is vital to the safety of our nation. Volunteers selflessly step up to handle the business of the American people every day. Tragically, it sometimes means that families are left without their soldier or police officer who have fallen in the line of duty and they carry on.

    Gary Clarke is one of the Founders of North Carolina Tactical Response and Community Care, a nonprofit designed to help bridge the gap for survivors of heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice. On Saturday, Oct. 4, NCTRACC is partnering with The Range Complex for Cigars and Guns, a fundraiser to benefit NCTRACC.

    Clarke and some of his friends came up with the idea for the event.

    “It just seemed like a natural fit,” he said. “When I was a team leader for the Cumberland County SWAT team, we enjoyed our jobs and many of us liked fine hand-rolled cigars. We wanted to bring people together and also benefit a nonprofit and this seemed like a good way to do that.”

    The main attraction is the 3-gun competition.

    “The team at The Range Complex has designed a pretty nice realistic scenario-based course with different shooting positions and different platforms and things like that to provide some interesting challenges to the competitors,” said Clarke. “The main thing to is to give people a chance to watch these professionals from military and law enforcement do what they train for every day. There are some guys that are really good with weaponry and they will compete. It will be entertaining to watch what they do for a living and see them for compete for time and accuracy.”

    There is still time for competitors to enter the event.

    “This is only open to military and law enforcement personnel to compete,” said Clarke. “We are very serious about safety and making sure that no one gets hurt. Law enforcement and military members have a good understanding of range protocol and safety along with the kind of training that will make this a fun event for them. This is going to be a lot of fun to watch, too, because so many of these guys are experts at what they do.”

    While Clarke sees this as a fun event for weapon enthusiasts, it is also a good way for families to come and see their soldier or law enforcement officer in action.

    “A lot of these wives and kids don’t really have a good idea of what goes on at work for their loved one, so this is a chance to meet other family members, too,” he said.

    There will be an air-soft shoot house, face painting, vendors, food and more. And, of course, fine hand-rolled cigars provided by Anstead’s Tobacco Company.

    “Since it is so close to Halloween, we decided to dress up the shoot house for the kids and turn it into a zombie house,” said Clarke. “There will be plenty to see and do here, and the proceeds definitely benefit a good cause.”

    Tickets cost $7, children under 10 get in free. The event starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. Find out more at http://proshop.therangecomplex.com/cigars-and-guns-3-gun-competition.aspx or by calling 910-670-4790.

  • vecteezy voting no check box 7133427 517 We recently attended one of the city’s bond referendum sessions. It was a PowerPoint briefing which basically reiterated the points in the city's current web page.
    From our perspective, it was a check -the-block, we informed the citizens, pat ourselves on the back, presentation. It was not a meeting where citizens could bring up concerns for city representatives to address.

    The primary issue of the meeting was to inform the citizenry regarding needed housing, emergency services and city infrastructure. What this session didn’t do was explain to Fayetteville what the economic impacts of these bonds are, why they weren’t addressed in previous city budgets, who is accountable for accumulated funds, and who is receiving these funds should the bonds be approved.

    None of the recent city budgets on record go into a by-line-item review or detailed explanation of where or to whom any of the city’s money is directly going. The city officials and representatives at the meetings could provide no answers.

    The Public Safety Improvement Bond addresses the needed improvements to the 911 call center and city fire stations. These have had critical needs beyond just the last few years. When asked when those were first identified as a requirement, the 911 representative stated that since she's been there for over 20 years, it was initially identified 28 years ago.

    The fire chief stated that with the increasing radius of the city that they require additional fire stations with those increases. Then why weren’t these issues addressed and budgeted in the last 10 years of budgets at a rate of $97 million divided by 10? Instead, we get watershed studies at the cost of $3.5 million per year.

    In regard to the $12 million affordable housing bond, this bond will be used to incorporate stop gap loans for developers that cannot get a loan for the total amount of their development. The city will cover the deficit and the developer will repay the city. We asked what happens to the money they repay each time it is used, and how is it quantified and when does it come back to the people? City officials were ambiguous on whether it would even go back to the people or how it was accounted for after the developer paid it back. This sounds like an agenda slush fund to us.

    Another portion of the $12 million, unidentified as the exact amount, would be going to down payment assistance for citizens in the city to purchase a house. So to clarify, the city is asking residents to give the city money so the city can then give forgivable loans to other residents to help them with down payments that the city will then forgive if they stay in that house for a set amount of time.

    The amount of down payment assistance would be the difference between the purchase price of the house in order to get it down to a no more than 30% of income based payment. There is no grandfather clause in the program to offset homeowners that saved to purchase a house prior to this bond program. How does it help current homeowners that are struggling to keep their house? Again, no response from city officials.

    We further outline that a greater percentage of residents in the city were struggling just to maintain their house and there was no program to help them keep their mortgage afloat.

    The city officials should answer this question publicly: Is it right to take millions of more dollars from taxpayers who can’t even put food on the table? We have charities now supporting other charities and city leaders are talking about building castles and infrastructure.

    After the meetings, we are more convinced that the $97 million bond will have a lack of oversight and enough holes in the program for whomever wants to move money around, to easily move money around.

    After listening to the city's deliberate propaganda, if any of you want a better city, you must fight for it. If we had not attended the meetings, it would have been a one-sided conversation. Not everyone in Fayetteville lives in a gated community and can afford a tax increase. How about letting people keep enough of their tax money so they can eat?

    Take a stand and vote NO on the bond referendums.

  • vote METRO Joe Biden may not be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, but he sure can eat ice cream and answer questions about the economy simultaneously. When a reporter asked him recently in an ice cream shop about the state of our economy, Biden, almost in mid-bite, replied that it is “strong as hell.”

    This assessment might come as a surprise to most Americans, who know from regular visits to a grocery store or a gas station that our economy is many things, but “strong as hell” isn’t one of them.

    In issuing this proclamation, Biden has demonstrated why no one should vote for any Democrats in the upcoming midterms. There are two ways to interpret his response: Biden either knows the economy is in terrible shape and is lying to avoid taking responsibility for it, or he is clueless about conditions in our country and the hardships Americans are dealing with every day. Neither one of these explanations is a good look for him or his party.

    Why should any of us be surprised at this point by the probability that Biden and everyone in his party are either pathologically dishonest or detached from reality or both? I cannot think of a single thing Democrats have done since gaining control of both houses of Congress and the White House that has benefitted Americans.

    What have Democrats done regarding our energy policy? They have allowed their obsession with climate change and their hatred of the fossil fuel industry to make us energy dependent after a brief period of energy independence under Trump.

    By reducing oil and gas production in our country and pressuring banks to stop lending to fossil fuel companies, Biden and his cohorts have created serious financial and geopolitical consequences for America.

    Because the price of fuel is connected to almost every sector of our economy, an increase in fuel prices has created an increase in the costs of goods and services. We pay more for food, clothing, entertainment, and transportation. This winter, we will pay more to heat our homes.

    Because the Biden administration refuses to produce more oil in America — which would not only lower fuel prices but also create thousands of jobs — we are going hat in hand to other oil-producing countries asking them to sell us oil. So far, all of them have refused.
    This issue alone demonstrates the lunacy of Democratic policy. We sit on some of the largest oil reserves in the world, and we produce the cleanest oil. Yet the ideologues in charge would rather buy dirty oil from countries that mock and despise us than reopen the refineries at home. If this isn’t madness, I don’t know what is.

    Can you think of one aspect of our lives that has improved since the Democrats took control? We spend more on necessities than we did just two years ago. We live in cities where crime rates have increased dramatically, causing businesses and residents to flee. We have had 2-3 million immigrants enter our country illegally because our southern border is wide open (although the Democrats deny this). As a result of our open border, we have a fentanyl crisis that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Americans and is now the leading cause of death among adults between the ages of 18 and 45.

    In less than two years, the Democrats have wreaked havoc on our country, and now they are asking for our vote so they can continue implementing their dangerous policies. If they maintain control of Congress, they will continue their out-of-control spending, further weakening our economy and creating even greater hardships for Americans.

    They have worked hard through their radical policies and persistent dishonesty to lose our trust, and they should be appropriately rewarded by losing our vote.

  • vecteezy traditional wooden pinocchio toy italy 1422973 No doubt about it, six is more than two. Six is also better than two, especially when it comes to choosing our elected city leadership.
    Who wouldn't want to have more choices on who runs their city? So why are our existing city leadership so adamantly against the VOTE YES Fayetteville Charter Referendum?

    You would think that giving every citizen (every Democrat, every Republican, every Independent) resident four more choices in determining Fayetteville leadership would be a stimulating campaign message that would resonate among voters.

    Well, the hard truth is city officials are not being honest with the citizens of Fayetteville. This is very concerning. Even more concerning is Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin and staff along with several members of our City Council are systematically trying to divide our community racially for the sole purpose of maintaining their seats, power and stranglehold control over our local government for their personal gain.

    This opinion is based on information, observations and facts that their supporters have chosen to ignore to the detriment of our entire community. It is unconscionable that they would perpetrate a lie so egregious as to state that increasing city representation by adding four "at large" seats and providing each citizen six votes rather than two is a racist maneuver to get Blacks out of power.

    This is absurd, ridiculous and an insult to the Black community. We currently vote for "at large" positions in the elections for Cumberland County Commissioners, Cumberland County Board of Education, and board members of both Spring Lake and Hope Mills.
    All of which have an impressive amount of Black representation. So, why not Fayetteville?

    The answer lies in the thread of incompetence and corruption that has permeated our local government and manifested itself under Mitch Colvin's leadership.
    The only way to eradicate this cancer and rid our city of fiscal irresponsibility, incompetence and mismanagement is to Vote Yes for the Fayetteville Charter referendum that will provide us more citywide representation so we can be the city we need to be and take our place in the respectable ranks of other first class North Carolina cities.

    You deserve it. We deserve it. Fayetteville deserves it. Vote Yes.

    And remember, six is always more than two!

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • YES Outing Are you looking for a way to make a lasting impact in the lives of those who are “up and coming?” Perhaps you are someone, or you might know someone, who could benefit from individuals who have real-life experience in this world.

    If you fit either one of these categories, then Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Minority Male Success Initiative is for you. A statement by one of the most prolific individuals in our great history — Benjamin Franklin — provides the foundation for this life-changing program, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and
    I learn.”

    In this program, success originates from the purposeful, direct interaction that students have with the mentors who walk with them through their life experiences.
    The Minority Male Success Initiative, or MMSI, is not an ordinary college club — it is a community that fosters holistic development as well as genuine belonging. MMSI’s primary mission is to increase the engagement and success rates of students at Fayetteville Technical Community College by way of mentoring through exposure to academic and social/career-based activities and opportunities.

    Across the FTCC campus, students, as well as faculty and staff, acquaint MMSI with its coined program name, the Y.E.S. Mentoring Initiative (You + Effort = Success). Herein lies the thrust of MMSI — the student exerts the necessary effort to actively engage in the numerous opportunities presented by Y.E.S., resulting in the achievement of personal successes — both in the classroom and in life.

    The Y.E.S. Mentoring Initiative provides services that encourage college, career and character enhancement. In particular, students participate in mentoring and success coaching, college and career planning, tutoring in a wide variety of subjects, opportunities to meet and engage with key campus and community stakeholders, activities that build networking and social skills, and prime access to scholarships.

    The Y.E.S. Mentoring Initiative hosts workshops throughout the academic year that equip students with the necessary tools for academic achievement, career readiness and life development skills. Previous workshop series have been conducted on “How to Maintain Healthy Relationships — Dating, Marriage, Parenting, and Beyond,” “Building Positive Rapport with Instructors,” and “Mastering Soft Skills and The Workplace Culture.”
    Additionally, Y.E.S. students participate in college tours across the state of North Carolina to assist in the transfer process after they complete their program of study at FTCC.

    The Y.E.S. Mentoring Initiative is open to all current Fayetteville Technical Community College students and all activities are free.
    As the MMSI Coordinator, the most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing students move from feeling hopeless and on the verge of giving up to realizing their purpose/passion in life as they begin to overcome life challenges while achieving their dreams.
    If you would like to serve as an MMSI mentor or become an MMSI student participant, please contact mcdonalr@faytechcc.edu, 910-486-3940, or visit https://www.faytechcc.edu/campus-life/yes-initiative/.

  • WomanScarfHC1610 source The month of October is breast cancer awareness month and in 2022 about 287,850 cases will be diagnosed in women in the U.S. I recently took a fitness training seminar and at lunch sat with one of the attendees. Getting acquainted, we talked about ourselves, and her input was that she is a breast cancer survivor.

    She shared with us how important exercise has been to her for her well-being, and the struggles and victories she has had in the process. By conversation, it was apparent that her breast cancer has been serious. Her driving force to overcome, heal and continue pursuing the fitness industry was obvious in her language and approach to the session.

    I left my seminar with much more than continued education. I left inspired by an individual with determination. Building an exercise program based on the type of cancer a person has and treatment can be an important step in the healing process. Sometimes exercise is done as part of the rehabilitation program and there is a difference between exercise and rehabilitation.

    Rehabilitation may be the first step before you can implement an exercise program. Once the person is cleared to begin activities the benefits of exercise can help reduce treatment-related fatigue, and maintain lung fitness, strength and physical ability.

    Exercise can also be beneficial for feelings of anxiety and depression and improve the quality of life and new studies suggest the importance of overall healing.
    The type of exercise and or aerobic activity is solely based on a doctor’s recommendations. However, there is an overview of exercises that may be beneficial if the person is cleared to begin an exercise regimen. Stretching can help improve flexibility and posture, increasing blood flow and oxygen to the muscles.

    As an example, radiation therapy can limit your range of motion causing your muscles to stiffen.
    Regular stretching can improve mobility and flexibility and help break down scar tissue.

    Loss of balance can be a side effect after treatment. Balance exercises can help you regain your stability and fear of falling. Some treatments can cause your feet to feel numb and hard to maintain balance. Incorporating balance exercises can help offset instability. Aerobic exercise can help increase your heart rate helping you feel less tired. Walking can be a good start for just a few minutes per day increasing the amount of time and your pace. Seated exercises can be done with paper plates under your feet while moving your arms and feet to a favorite song.

    Strength training is important for muscle loss and is done with light dumbbells or stretch bands. Increasing your muscle mass and endurance can help with your core and stability. Seated exercises can also be done with the use of dumbbells and stretch bands.

    Start slowly with your exercise and listen to your body. Rest on the days that you have the treatment and if your energy level is low adjust the amount of time that you exercise or rest. Staying hydrated and eating nutritious foods is an important part of fueling your body.

    If your health provider has cleared you, ask questions concerning what is and is not advised, such as: what time of day is best, what am I cleared to do or stay away from, how much time do you suggest starting, should I begin my exercise seated, can I go to a fitness center, work with a trainer, and what medications affect exercise?

    Live, love, life and strength.

  • Yes scrabble letter blocks pexels miguel padrin 2882686Fayetteville residents will have an important opportunity when they go to the polls on Nov. 8 , or take advantage of early voting. The ballot will include a City Charter Amendment that will change the structure of the Fayetteville City Council from its current nine single-member districts to a combination of five single-member districts and four at-large seats.

    This change will ensure that every Fayetteville resident will have six council members reporting to them versus one and the mayor. That means if you have a problem, whether it be with trash pickup or public safety, you will have six council members accountable to you at the ballot box. We all agree that we need more representation, not less.

    I had the honor to serve the City of Fayetteville as an at-large member, a district councilman and as mayor from 2013-2017. I served as a council member with both structures of government. With those real-life experiences, I have seen the advantages and disadvantages of both models. There is no question that having a combined model with both at-large and single-member districts provides the best opportunity for success for our city.

    Fayetteville competes against other major North Carolina cities for good jobs, economic investment and an enhanced quality of life. To be successful, we need to have the same tools and best practices that they use to lead their cities. Unfortunately, we find ourselves following behind these other cities as we spend excessive time dealing with district infighting and too little time on the key issues, and the big picture that prevent us from keeping pace with the rest of the state.

    Nine of the 12 largest cities in the state have at-large members as a part of their city council structure. Practically all of the local governments in Cumberland County also include at-large members. They include the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, the Cumberland County Board of Education, and the towns of Hope Mills and Spring Lake. None of these entities are considering the elimination of their current at-large seats because they see that a balanced approach — with both at-large and single-member districts — works best for them.

    The remaining five single-member districts will continue to provide attention to district issues. The target population of around 42,000 residents for each of the five districts is far lower than the Cumberland County Board of Commissioner districts with an average target population of 64,500 or the Cumberland County School Board with an average of 55,760 residents.

    Fayetteville residents will no longer have to live in gerrymandered districts where City Council members choose their own voters. This results in numerous neighborhoods and even voting precincts being split in order to promote incumbent protection, fostering civic disengagement and voter apathy. Quite honestly, it’s confusing for everyone almost every time we have the opportunity to go to the polls.

    Equally important is the fact that there would be a balance on the City Council with half (5) of the council members also charged with looking at the big picture and addressing city-wide issues that continue to hold us back, because they don’t get the attention needed, at the urgency we need.

    Successful candidates for the at-large seats will have to spend time educating themselves about the entire city, not just one of the districts. They will also be directly accountable to every Fayetteville resident at the next election. This accountability is sorely needed in our current City Council structure!

    To be competitive, Fayetteville needs a structure of government that allows us to compete with the other major cities in North Carolina.
    The Vote Yes Charter Amendment will provide you more voice and more representation on the City Council.
    I encourage you to join with me and Vote Yes on the City Charter Amendment on Nov. 8.

    Editor's Note: Nat Robertson is a former Mayor of Fayetteville (2013 to 2017). He also served as an at-large council member from 1989 to 1995, and the District 5 representative from 1999 to 2001.

  • Jesus handI’m writing this week to those of you reading who consider yourselves a Christian. Those who —along with me — make up what we call the church. If you’re one who would rather not be bothered with the whole Jesus thing but would like some ammo for your next debate with a Christian, you might find some here, so read on!

    I fear that, as David Platt penned in the foreword to Francis Chan’s “Multiply,” we have subtly and tragically taken [the] costly command of Christ to go, baptize and teach all nations and mutated it into a comfortable call for Christians to come, be baptized and listen in one location.

    That’s a reference to an oft-quoted passage in the New Testament book of Matthew. In verses 19 and 20 Jesus is speaking to the eleven men He called one-by-one to follow, learn from, and become like Him.

    He said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Christians commonly refer to this as The Great Commission.

    The passage is frequently used as a base charge to move to some other part of the world and make converts to Christianity through missionary work. Those men did just that. They began telling people about this amazing Jesus who walked on water, healed physical infirmities, cured diseases, and fed thousands when little or no food was available. They testified that even though they were witnesses as this man was himself beaten and nailed to a cross where he died a painful and cruel death, they had later seen, eaten with, and spoken to Him — and He was alive!

    Theirs was anything but a comfortable life. They were threatened, beaten, imprisoned, and generally treated as outlaws because they would not back down from their story. Yet, as Platt wrote, though we quote and even revere these eleven original disciples, we have determined that somehow, we are owed a comfortable place in a world every bit as vile and cruel as the world they offered their testimony to.

    It’s impossible to be a disciple or a follower of someone and not end up like that person. Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).

    Remember this, Christian: We are not merely responsible for our own spiritual well-being; we are called to minister to the people around us, teaching them to obey all the things that Jesus commands. And in a dark world playing hide and seek from absolute truth and any moral base, it’s only getting darker.
    But Jesus says you’re the light of the world. I promise to pray for you as you learn to truly shine. I only ask that you do the same for me.

  • 10-13-10-passport.gifDo you have your passport? That is your National Park Passport. Earlier this spring I visited the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. America is rich with some of the largest and most notable landmarks in the world. The National Park Service man-ages more than 388 national parks, national monuments, and national historic sites.

    At the visitors center, I noticed a book called the National Park Passport. This little passport is a fun way to document your visit. Like a passport stamp from the U.S. Customs, the park service can stamp your National Park Passport book to record and commemorate your travels.

    While planning a trip to Vermont last month, I decided to break up my trip with something new and educa-tional. I stopped at the Shenandoah Skyline National Park Visitors Center and picked up a book and got my stamp. From there I scouted out my route to Vermont and hit as many parks as I could during the trip. Working maps and the GPS gave me hours of fun riding and a sense of purpose. By the end of my 10 day trip I had visited eight parks.

    North Carolina has nine national parks in our great state. These parks include the Blue Ridge Parkway and the National Heritage Area (Asheville), Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Manteo), Cape Lookout National Seashore (Harkers Island), Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site (Flat Rock), Fort Raleigh National Historic Site (Manteo), Guilford Courthouse National Military Park (Greensboro), Moores Creek National Battlefield (Currie), and Wright Brothers National Memorial (Manteo).

    There are fees for visiting some of the parks. Day passes are available and the price varies from park to park. The National Park Service offers a seasonal pass called the America the Beautiful: National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. These passes can be purchased for $80. There are three types of lifetime passes available. A Senior Citizen’s lifetime pass is advised for U.S. citi-zens or permanent residents age 62 or over. Second, a Lifetime Access Pass is available for those with permanent disabilities. To show proof of disabilities you will have to show documentation. Acceptable documentation includes: state-ment by a licensed physician; document issued by a federal agency such as the Veteran’s Administration, Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income; or document issued by a state agency such as a vocational rehabilitation agency. Finally, a Volunteer Pass is free for those who acquire 500 service hours on a cumulative basis.

    Sadly, there is no free admission for our military folks. While doing my exploring I wanted something a little more than my National Park Visitors Guide book. I did a quick search on my iPhone’s app store and found the National Parks Companion app. This app gives great infor-mation at your fingertips. The app gives you the park’s locations by state, helpful information about the park, visitor center addresses and phone numbers. The app even has a place that allows you to check off which park you have visited.

    Whether by car or motorcycle we all have to do some fun exploring. I hope you get a chance to visit North Carolina’s National Parks. For more information about the National Park Service visit www.nps.gov.

    If there is a topic that you would like to discuss you can con-tact me at motorcycle4fun@aol.com. RIDE SAFE!

  • Pitt swine and rosesOnce upon a time in the far away country of Australia there lived a fine young feral pig named Swino. Swino, as a piglet, was filled with curiosity and promise. The oldest of his litter of six, Swino was a natural leader.

    His mother Matilda, the Waltz Queen, knew he was special. All the neighborhood pigs believed Swino would be a pig of prominence and distinction when he was grown. Do you know what a pack of feral pigs is called? It’s a called a sounder. Now you know. You can stop reading this column as no other useful information will be imparted hereafter. I will give you a moment to turn the page to the cross-word puzzle.

    Now, for the two of you still reading, listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight raid of Swino and shed a tear. Swino’s twisted tale is not an uplifting Horatio Alger story of a poor but plucky lad overcoming an impoverished childhood. Nay, a thousand times, nay. This is a sad story of an exemplary feral piglet who had the advantages of a good family, a supportive sounder, and an excellent education who came to rack and ruin due to Demon Alcohol.

    Swino went to the finest private schools that Australia could offer. After high school, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Melbourne with a double major in nuclear physics and medieval poetry. He was president of the student body while working 30 hours a week as a tutor at the Home for Wayward Wallabies. After graduation, he was selected as a Rhodes Scholar where he achieved his Ph.D. in theoretical mathematics. Upon attaining his doctorate, he moved to Perth, Australia, to work at the Institute of Advanced Metaphysics. Swino literally had the world on a string.

    At Perth he met the love of his life, Petunia Pig, a wealthy debutante whose family had the largest Vegemite factory in Australia. For those of you fortunate to have never encountered Vegemite, it is a vile dark brown paste made mostly of leftover brewer’s yeast, snips, snails and puppy dog tails. For reasons unknown, Australians enjoy smearing Vegemite on toast and then consuming the hideous result. It was love at first sight for Swino when he first laid eyes on Petunia. There could be no other love for Swino but Petunia. Unfortunately for Swino, as a result of Petunia’s wealth and beauty, there were many other suitors for Petunia’s trotter.

    A veritable pack of wealthy famous pigs sought to marry Petunia. Her suitors included the Practical Pig from the Three Little Pigs, Porky Pig of Looney Tunes, Man-Bear Pig from South Park, and Snow Ball from Animal Farm. Petunia even had a brief experimental fling with Miss Piggy. Ultimately to the eternal heartbreak of Swino, Petunia married Arnold Ziffel the Pig. She moved to America to live
    on a farm near Hooterville with Arnold, Oliver and Lisa Douglas, Mr. Haney and Sam Drucker.

    As Petunia sailed away to her new life in America, Swino turned to drink. His consumption of alcohol made Edgar Allen Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway look like teetotalers. Here is where our story turns true as reported by Doug Williams in the Outdoor Revival newspaper of 24 April 2019. Doug wrote the greatest headline ever written. Mr. Williams wrote: “Pig Steals Campers’ Beer, Gets Drunk & Starts Fight with Cow.” The beauty of this headline makes me cry every time I read it.

    A group of campers were in the Australian outback. After a night of carousing, they left their beer out. In the middle of the night they were awakened to the sound of a feral pig rooting around, chomping the beer cans, and drinking the beer. The report says the pig (who we later learned was Swino) drank 18 cans of beer.

    Soused on these adult beverages, Swino got into a ruckus with his erstwhile friend, Elsie the cow. Whatever Swino said to her led to Elsie chasing him around the camp. Some pigs, like some people just can’t hold their liquor. After the fight with the cow, Swino swam across a nearby river and passed out under a tree to sleep it off.

    Here comes the weepy part of the story. Swino woke up with a terrible hangover. He wobbled across the highway looking for either an Alka Seltzer or hair of the dog that bit him to ease his aching head.

    Unfortunately, he was still drunk. He did not notice the truck coming down the road. Splat! Swino was no more.

    It is unclear if Petunia attended his funeral. The campers reported despite their sadness at Swino’s unexpected demise, that the barbecue served at his wake was excellent.

  • Yom Kippur Metro Recently, Jews around the world observed the most sacred day on our calendar — Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). In truth, one should atone for wrongdoing whenever committing a transgression. The ancient sages advise repenting the day of death; the message being that since we don’t usually know exactly when we will die, we ought to repent every day.

    Nevertheless, Yom Kippur is a day set aside to focus exclusively on admitting one’s failings, repenting and resolving how to do better.
    Often misunderstood is that Yom Kippur only atones for transgressions against God. Trespasses against fellow human beings require direct apology and forgiveness. Harm to another also violates against God’s law, but the Almighty can only forgive the aspect of violating God’s teaching. The actual hurt can only be forgiven by the one harmed.

    Yom Kippur is traditionally observed through countless hours of synagogue worship aimed at spiritual cleansing. Nearly all the prayers and confessions are phrased in the plural. In a community everyone shares a degree of responsibility for the failings of others by insufficiently supporting each other in avoiding shortcomings. We are indeed our brother’s keeper.

    Yom Kippur is characterized famously by refraining from any food or drink from sunset until nightfall the next day (as all Jewish days begin at night). Because of worship requirements, the actual fast lasts closer to 25 or 26 hours. Yet, whenever health is a concern, food or drink is not only permitted, but required.

    Other traditional prohibitions for the day include refraining from bathing, anointing (i.e. ancient cosmetics), sexual relations, and wearing leather shoes (which were considered luxurious, particularly in earlier times). The idea is that by removing our usual physical concerns, we can focus completely on our spiritual needs.

    I like to tell my congregants the following story.

    An arrogant hiker visiting Israel ignored directions given to him. Following several predictably wrong turns he found himself lost in the Negev desert. After hours of wandering, desperate for water, he saw something in the distance. He walked toward the object only to find a little old man at a small stand in the middle of nowhere selling neckties emblazoned with the words “Repent! God forgives.”

    The lost hiker asked, “Do you have any water?” He replied, “I don’t have any water, but would you like to buy a necktie? They’re only 5 Israeli sheqels.”

    The hiker screamed, “I don’t need your stupid ties! I just need water!”

    “Okay” said the old man. “I recommend getting a tie, but you can find water over that hill about 5 kilometers. There’s a really nice restaurant there. But, don’t take too long, you don’t want them to close on you.”

    A couple hours later the hiker staggered back. The old man asked, “Is everything okay?” “What do you think?” gasped the hiker. “Your brother won’t let me in without a tie.”

    Too often we are so focused on our material needs and desires that we don’t think we need anything else. But, before it’s too late, let’s remember to bring along a spiritual tie.

  • pumpkin Metro I love fall. The first things I begin to think about are pumpkins, brilliant colored foliage, cool mornings, the first fire, sweaters and boots.
    There is no in-between, you either like the flavor of pumpkin or you don’t. There are many ways to enjoy pumpkins in the form of drinks, cuisine and decoration. I like everything about pumpkins and decided to write about them.

    When you initially think of pumpkins in the fall we may think about pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie, or pumpkin doughnuts which are just some of the ways to enjoy them outside of the many uses for décor!

    Pumpkins have been around for more than 5,000 years and the word pumpkin was debuted in the fairy tale “Cinderella.” The pumpkins known as rouge Vif d’Etampes are thought to be the inspiration for Cinderella.

    The carriage for Cinderella may have been used because of the resiliency of a pumpkin. They are a fruit that can grow in sparse soil and the vines engage by sharing nutrients along a connected vine that reaches into the soil to replenish itself. For this reason, pumpkins are a symbol of prosperity, abundance and growth. Maybe this is the reason that the perfect mode of transportation for Cinderella was a pumpkin.

    Cinderella’s fairy godmother told her to go into the garden and pick out a fine pumpkin, so she went to the garden and picked the finest pumpkin she could find and could not imagine how a pumpkin would get her to the ball. Her fairy godmother hollowed out the pumpkin and touched it with her ring turning it into a beautiful coach.

    Did you know that there are Cinderella pumpkins? They are medium to large averaging thirty to thirty-five pounds, round, and flattened blossom and stem end. They have thick skins and are a rich orange color.

    When cooked they have a slightly sweet taste, creamy and moist. They were one of the most popular items in French markets and sold as an heirloom variety in the 1880s. They are a favorite with chefs for soups and pies. They are also used in many homes as décor.

    Pumpkins have not always been jack-o’– lanterns. The original lanterns were made with turnips and potatoes by the Irish to ward off evil spirits. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America but found that pumpkins were much easier to carve. They are grown on every continent except Antarctica and the U.S. produces more than 1. 5 billion pounds each year with 8% of the crop available in October. The largest pumpkin recorded weighed about 2,600 pounds and was grown in Germany. The largest pie baked weighed 3,699 pounds. A normal size pumpkin has about 500 seeds and the recommended planting time is between May and July with more than 45 different varieties.

    Pumpkins are part of the fruit family; every part is edible and offers a wide range of health benefits. They are low in calories and are comprised of about 90% water. One of the health benefits is Beta Carotene, a powerful antioxidant that our bodies convert to Vitamin A. They are good for fiber, boost your immune system, and good for heart health and skin. Aside from the health benefits, pumpkins can make a great mask that exfoliates and soothes the skin. Make a pumpkin mask by combining ¼ cup pureed pumpkin, one egg, a tablespoon of honey, and a tablespoon of milk. Apply and rinse in 20 minutes with warm water.

    Live, love life and pumpkins.

  • pexels polina kovaleva 6185245 USE YOURE VOICE Want to keep PWC from being sold? Vote Yes in November.

    When somebody tells me I can’t vote, it makes me want to vote even more. It makes me want to vote six times instead of just twice for Fayetteville Council offices. The City Council’s actions tell the citizens of Fayetteville that we should not be allowed to vote on the proposal to change the way the Council is elected.

    The road blocks thrown up against voting by the Council are not surprising. People in power seldom want to give up power. The Council is no exception. They like being in power. If more people are allowed to vote, we might vote wrong, thus endangering their power.

    The Council has done its best to prevent citizens from voting on this proposal. It twice postponed its vote to put the referendum on the November ballot. It waited until the last day to actually vote against it due to concerns that a non-existent form had not been completed by the proponents of the referendum.

    By delaying the vote until the last day, the Council apparently hoped that ballots could not be printed in time for the November election.
    Like Dean Wormer in “Animal House,” the Council used the non-existent form excuse to put Fayetteville voters on Double Secret Probation to prevent them from voting.

    The Vote Yes folks immediately filed a law suit to put the referendum on the November ballot. Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons ordered Vote Yes to appear on the ballot. The Council then filed an appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals seeking to stop the vote. The Court of Appeals denied the Council’s appeal and ordered the Vote to go on in November.

    If something walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, it is probably a duck. The City Council is a duck. It wants to duck and cover up your right to vote.

    The Council’s scrambling to prevent the Vote Yes initiative shows they don’t want the voters to decide how they want to be governed. Any political group, Democrats or Republicans, which wants to prevent people from voting is no fan of Democracy. Currently you can vote for two people on the City Council, the Mayor and your District Representative. Five thousand Fayetteville citizens signed a petition to put to a vote the proposal to change the election to allow a citizen to vote for six members of the Council, the Mayor, 4 at-large Council members and a District Representative. Six votes are more than two votes. The average voter gets much more input into how the city is governed if Vote Yes passes.

    Your vote yes is crucial. Local ownership of PWC is on the line. The current Council is quite likely to vote to sell PWC down the river, killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. Like a zombie from “The Walking Dead,” the double secret deal to sell PWC will rise from the grave. The Council will get a big wad of money from the sale to use for pet projects. The windfall will be spent. The current Council will ultimately leave office. Local control of PWC will end.

    PWC rates and preventive maintenance of utilities will take a back seat to the interests of out of state shareholders interested in squeezing every dollar from Fayetteville residents. Citizens will be left holding a very expensive empty bag.

    If you want to keep local control of your City Council and prevent the sale of PWC, Vote Yes on the referendum.
    To quote Woody Guthrie: “Nobody living can ever stop me/ As I go walking the freedom highway/ Nobody living can ever make me turn back/ This Land was made for you and me.”

    Get out and vote yes, this local government and PWC were made for you and me.

  • vote yes3 copy I support Vote Yes Fayetteville because this structure change would give every citizen more voice in our city council with six council members accountable to them versus just the current two.

    I served on City Council under both structures as an at-large and district representative, like most of the major cities in North Carolina. During my service when the council had at-large seats as part of the structure, I saw that the major issues of the city were given adequate attention.

    While serving as a district representative, I witnessed continued infighting over what benefited the elected person’s district and less attention to the big picture.

    For example, it took over eight years to get the Parks & Recreation bond to a vote while we argued over which district received what new facilities.

    Even today, commitments made to District 2, like the Fields Road Park and the Cape Fear River Park, remain undone because money gets moved to other districts.

    We were never able to fully fund stormwater to protect our most exposed citizens from the next flood because flooding only threatens a few districts but is costly to everyone.

    Our major gateway to Fort Bragg continues to include the Shaw Heights blight because of City Council’s unwillingness to spend the funds to address this citywide issue.

    Our community has changed over the years. There are 38% more Black voters than white in Fayetteville today. Both Blacks and whites have a similar voter turnout, and Black candidates continue to be elected in many at-large seats, including the fact that two of our last four mayors were Black.

    I served alongside Marshall Pitts, who was first elected at-large and then became mayor.

    We have tried the current model for over 20 years and can clearly see that Fayetteville is not keeping up with the rest of the state.

    Our growth rate is lower than NC’s other major cities while our crime and poverty rates are higher.

    We should recognize that the progressive cities in our state use a model that provides more representation for every citizen and more balanced attention to city-wide issues.

    Most recently, we have seen our mayor and some council members spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to keep this referendum off the ballot. They were unsuccessful as the courts ordered the referendum be placed on the ballot and citizens be given the right to vote.

    I encourage each of you to support this Charter Amendment and to Vote Yes Fayetteville on Nov. 8 to provide for more representation on our City Council.

    More representation. Not less.

    Editor's note: Bobby Hurst served on Fayetteville City Council from 2007 - 2017.

  • 10Remember when you were in 4th Grade? Sure, you do. Both of the readers of this column completed 4th grade. One even got all the way through 6th grade. Back then you had to write an essay on “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.”

    My 4th grade class with Ms. Delgrande was many moons ago. But here’s to you, Mrs. Delgrande, my annual vacation report. This year we went back to New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment and home of Walter White’s meth labs of “Breaking Bad fame.”

    The most important thing about travel is to remain flexible. Expect bumps. Roll with the punches. At the Albuquerque Sun Port we had a “Seinfeld” moment at the Thrifty Rental car desk. I had reserved a medium sized car several months ago. They had my reservation. Unfortunately, they did not have my car.

    As Seinfeld said in a similar situation, “It’s not enough to take the reservation, the important part is to keep the reservation.” All they had left was a giant GMC Acadia Wagon Queen Family Truckster. We are talking a vehicle big as all west Texas. It was as wide and long as an aircraft carrier with half the maneuverability. The Beast was Yuge.

    Given the choice of walking across New Mexico or driving the Beast, we took the Beast. Having driven a school bus in high school gave me some confidence, but that was long ago and far away.
    Our motel in Santa Fe had two small parking lots, each of which could fit six normal sized vehicles. Squeezing the Beast in and out of the lot provided excitement beyond compare.
    The motel had an interesting sign: Zombies Stay Free. Luckily, all the Zombies were out of town at a Brotherhood of Christian Zombies tennis tournament in Albuquerque. We left town with less money but with our brains intact.

    Santa Fe was having a festival which meant parking was at a premium. Olde Santa Fe has narrow streets which are not conducive to Beastly driving. Upon finally locating a skinny parking space in a public lot I learned to my dismay that one had to pay for parking using a local parking app on an iPhone.

    Oh Boy. I got to stand in the lot while downloading the parking app. The app had at least 60 individual unwanted web sites. While enjoying a baking New Mexican sun, I never located the parking app despite prolonged scrolling. Somehow, I did manage to provide my credit card information to an evil app.

    About 10 minutes after leaving the parking lot, Lord MasterCard’s Fraud Alert robot sent me a text asking if I had charged $1.95 to Cosmic Rip Off, Inc. No, I replied. The cancellation dance of my card loomed as inevitable. In full tourist mode, my credit card was compromised in the first 10 minutes of sightseeing. Pretty smooth move.

    Fortunately, my wife Lani has her own separate card which meant she got to pay for all the meals. So, it wasn’t a total loss for me. I had cash, but not enough to have survived a week without a credit card. I reminded myself to remain flexible.

    We stayed in Santa Fe and then Taos. Apparently, we really like both places as we have been there three or four times and keep going back.
    Santa Fe has more art galleries than you can shake a stick at. Downtown Santa Fe has a central Plaza which is always jumping with activity.
    Taos, which also has a lot of arty stuff, is a much smaller version of Santa Fe. Taos goes to sleep when the sun goes down. I purchased multiple “Breaking Bad” souvenirs there in honor of Walter White, the Albuquerque chemistry teacher gone bad.

    New Mexico is justly proud of their chilies. They have both kinds, red and green. Their license plates proclaim them to be the Chili Capital of the World. They put chilies in everything: Enchiladas, rice, eggs, coffee, ice cream, toothpaste and chewing gum. It’s a chili cult.

    Your restaurant wait person will ask you if you want red, green or Christmas chilies. If you order Christmas, you get red and green chilies. I always ordered Christmas.
    The Beast was very comfortable out on the lone highway. Beasts are designed to roam free, not to be cooped up in the city. New Mexico is big. Big Skies. Big mountains. Big prairies. Big red, tan and white rocks.
    Big elevations — Santa Fe is at 6,000 feet and Taos is 7,000 feet. Just north of Taos lies the Rio Grande Gorge River bridge. You are riding along through essentially flat prairie land. Suddenly the ground falls away into a 650 foot drop off into the Rio Grande valley where the river winds its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

    The Bridge has pedestrian walkways which shake when big construction trucks whiz by. It’s a pretty dramatic walk which I recommend if you enjoy vertigo tinged with fear and quaking. Pretty nifty. There are souvenir tents at the edge of the Bridge where you can buy all manner of silver and turquoise jewelry.

    They accept American money in New Mexico. Have a chili and a smile.

  •     In these trying and troubled economic times, business owners and administrators must often get in touch with their creative sides to keep their businesses and organizations in the red.
    For those folks looking for novel ways to keep ahead of the global recession, the Fayetteville Technical Community College Center for Business and Industry and the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Chamber of County are a presenting a one-day workshop entitled, “Surviving and Growing Your Business in a Troubled Economy.”
        The free seminar will be held Wednesday, Nov. 12, at the FTCC Center for Business and Industry. Teaching the seminar will be John Peterson, the founder of The Peterson Group — a media and marketing firm established in 1995. Peterson is the former president of a $40 million newspaper company and has worked with more than 200 newspapers and has more than 20 years experience planning and implementing programs for small- to medium-sized businesses and healthcare organizations throughout the country.{mosimage}
        At the seminar, Peterson will will touch upon some of the following speaking points:
        •How smart businesses outperform the market conditions;
        •How to position and market your business in today’s challenging economy;
        •How to create a growth-oriented business strategy;
        •Effectively promoting, marketing and advertising your business;
        •Examining how your business stacks up to others.
        Tamara Bryant, FTCC’s small business coordinator, says it’s a an excellent opportunity to teach businessmen and organizational leaders how to “think outside the box.”
        “With the economy the way it is, people are trying to find ways to maintain and sustain their businesses,” said Bryant. “Marketing is key to helping these businesses keep their customers and gaining additional ones.     This seminar will teach people how to grow their business in these hard times.”
        The event is being sponsored by several local entities, including Up & Coming Weekly, the FTCC Center for Business and Industry, the Fayetteville Technical Community College Center for Business and Industry, the Courtyard Marriot and Campbellton Landing.
        There will be refreshments and door prizes, with each participant receiving a marketing gift reportedly worth “hundreds of dollars.”
        {mosimage}In order to register, contact Bryant at 678-8462, or via e-mail at bryantt@faytechcc.edu. The FTCC Center for Business and Industry is located at 2723 Fort Bragg Road.
  • 8 The North Carolina of my childhood had an economy very different from that of the average state. Today our economy remains distinctive, though not by as much.

    When I started my first paid job in 1979 — teaching four-year-olds how to tap dance — manufacturing accounted for fully a third of North Carolina’s gross domestic product, 10 points higher than the national average of 23%. On the other hand, our financial sector had not yet vaulted into national significance. Banking, insurance, and real estate accounted for 11% of North Carolina’s GDP in 1979, vs. the national average of 15%.

    Forty years later, in 2019, our state’s manufacturing base was still larger than that of the average state: 16% vs. 11%. (That’s the last year for which a clean comparison is possible. The onset of COVID skewed the 2020 figures, and we don’t yet have granular data for 2021.)

    If you work out the ratios, you’ll see that the relative contribution of manufacturing to GDP in North Carolina and in the nation as a whole didn’t change much during this period. But the actual shares of GDP are much lower. That’s not because manufacturing cratered. Output went up significantly. In inflation-adjusted terms, the output of manufacturing businesses in North Carolina was about $64 billion in 1979. It was $98 billion in 2019.

    What really happened is that service industries exploded. Look at the aforementioned financial sector. Banking, insurance, and real estate now account for 21% of the country’s GDP. North Carolina’s overall proportion is the same, while our banking share is a bit higher than the national average.

    To broaden the story a bit, North Carolina is more populous and prosperous than it was back when I was attempting to corral the rambunctious preschoolers sliding across my dance floor. In 1979, some 5.8 million lived in the Tar Heel State. Their average personal income was an inflation-adjusted $26,665. By 2019, our population totaled 10.5 million and personal income averaged $48,261. Over those four decades, then,

    North Carolina’s per-capita income rose about 81% in real terms, somewhat outpacing the regional (77%) and national (71%) averages.
    I think these statistics are useful for level-setting. They are difficult to square with the extreme claims of partisan activists, professional boosters, or professional worrywarts.

    For example, contrary to what you may have heard, North Carolina has not seen its manufacturing base disappear, or the formerly sunny prospects of its “working people” fade into a depressing dusk. These are gross exaggerations. Mainstay industries such as textile, apparel, and furniture did shed lots of employees — primarily because of technology-fueled gains in productivity, not trade deals — but other manufacturing enterprises began or expanded in our state during the same period, as did many other sectors that hire many people to make, sell, or deliver many wonderful goods and services.

    On the other hand, it is also true that North Carolina has not always outperformed the rest of the Southeast or United States over the past 40 years. It is true that some communities and groups within our state are clearly struggling to make ends meet. It is true that North Carolina’s progress remains hampered by a long list of problems that can sometimes seem intractable. These problems include educational deficits, infrastructure woes, legal and regulatory impediments, declines in family formation, increases in violent crime, and rampant substance abuse.

    Some of these problems are worse than they were back then. Some are better. When I was a teenager of modest means in 1979, however, I was largely unaware of broader social conditions. I thought primarily, and optimistically, about my own future and that of my peers. I figured we’d live more comfortable lives than our parents or grandparents had. I figured I’d find a fulfilling career that paid enough to support my future family (though even then I suspected that career might not be tap dancing). For the most part, I figured correctly.

    Are today’s teenagers so optimistic? Should they be?

  • 16 casting crowns 1

     Grammy Award-winning and multiplatinum selling band Casting Crowns will release its new studio album, “Only Jesus,” Nov. 16. “Nobody (ft. Matthew West)” was the second of six songs that will be released early from the new project before street date.

    Talking about the new album theme and idea behind it, Casting Crowns’ frontman Mark Hall asked, “What does it look like when Jesus is our only answer?

    “The theme that continued to come up while working on these new songs was that ‘I am not the point’ – it is not about me, it is about pointing to him,” Hall said. “God is already at work in our lives, and he has a plan that he places us in so that others can know him. We are here to show the way to God by how we live, how we react to difficult situations, how we handle trials and troubled relationships. Our hope is that through these songs, you can see what it looks like when Jesus is our only source, our only solution and we are pointing to only Jesus.”

    The band released the title track to radio and digital outlets and has already seen it jump into the Top 15 at all AC radio charts in just four weeks. “Only Jesus” has 3.5 million streams across all platforms, and it has been featured on key playlists on Spotify (New Music Friday, New Music Friday Christian, Top Christian), Amazon (Fresh Christian, Playlist Cover, Top 100 Most Played, Christian Hits) and Apple’s The A-List Christian list.

    Casting Crowns kicks off the “Only Jesus” tour in early 2019. The group will conclude 2018 with the “It’s Finally Christmas” tour with guest Hannah Kerr.

    Prolific contemporary Christian band Casting Crowns has achieved sales milestones with more than 11 million albums sold, including one Recording Industry Association of America 2x multi-Platinum album, five RIAA Platinum albums, two RIAA Platinum DVDs, seven RIAA Gold albums, four Gold DVDs, one RIAA Platinum certified single and five RIAA Gold certified digital singles. The band currently holds the position as Billboard’s top-selling act in Christian music since 2007.

    Casting Crowns has also been honored with four American Music Awards out of seven total nominations, a Grammy Award for its 2005 album “Lifesong,” and seven Grammy nominations. In addition, the group has garnered 18 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and two Billboard Music Awards from 11 total Billboard Music Award nominations.

    Casting Crowns’ seven band members all remain active in student ministry in the Atlanta, Georgia, area and tour according to their local church commitments. Serving for 25-plus years in youth ministry, lead singer/songwriter Mark Hall maintains his role as the student pastor at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in Atlanta.

  • 7What would you do with an extra $700 in your pocket each month?

    This is the question families across our nation should be asking, as the highest inflation in four decades is costing the average household an estimated extra $717 each month compared to January 2021.

    As I travel across our region, I constantly hear how this inflation crisis has impacted every community and every part of our lives. Just last month, grocery prices spiked at their fastest pace since 1979. Household electricity prices are up nearly 16% from one year ago. And the average price of gas remains close to $3.80 a gallon, up from $2.38 on President Joe Biden’s first day in office. I am really concerned too about increased costs to heat your home this winter — especially for folks on a fixed income.

    These economic challenges have been primarily driven by out-of-control spending in Washington and the Left’s war on American energy production and jobs. The consequences of these actions are forcing families to make hard decisions around the kitchen table.

    Yet, the challenges facing you and our nation unfortunately do not stop there.

    At our border, roughly 5 million illegal immigrants, including nearly 80 people on the terrorist watchlist, have crossed since President Biden took office and stopped deportations, the wall, and the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy. In August alone, more than 203,000 migrants crossed — almost the entire population of the city of Fayetteville.

    This border crisis is a threat to every community, especially through the increased flow of deadly drugs.

    Due in part to record amounts of fentanyl crossing our border, overdose deaths hit an all-time high last year, becoming the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45.

    North Carolina alone had 3,759 deaths from opioid overdoses. This includes 183 in Cumberland County — 100 more than in 2019.

    On top of this, our communities continue to be plagued by a rise in violent crime. National homicide and aggravated assault rates have risen roughly 50% and 36% respectively, compared to this time in 2019.

    Tragically, these come as intentional killings of law enforcement have reached a 20-year high.

    Under one-party rule in Washington, it is clear that America’s economy, safety, freedom and strength are all under threat like never before.

    I have opposed Washington Democrats’ agenda which will only worsen these crises, such as their so-called ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ that will raise your taxes and hire 87,000 more IRS agents to come after you.

    Washington Democrats are ignoring the crises they have helped create and don’t have a plan to fix them. House Republicans, however, have a plan.

    Called our “Commitment to America,” House Republicans have recently released a detailed plan to take our country in a new direction and establish a future of security, freedom and prosperity for you and your family. You can read our plan at CommitmentToAmerica.com.

    First, we have a plan to create an economy that’s strong. The economy remains the most pressing issue facing families across this country. We are committed to getting it back on track by curbing reckless spending, making America energy independent again, and creating an economic environment that encourages growth, job creation, and lower costs.

    This involves bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. and standing up to adversaries like China that feel emboldened after last year’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    We also have a plan for a nation that’s safe. We will work to tackle the crime wave plaguing our communities by rejecting anti-police and soft-on-crime agendas. Our plan hires an additional 200,000 police officers and gives law enforcement the resources and support they need to get the job done.

    We will also work to secure our border and stop the flow of fentanyl through proven measures such as ‘Remain in Mexico,’ finishing the wall, and by implementing my HALT Fentanyl Act.

    Finally, we are committed to keeping our nation safe by supporting our troops and their families.

    We also have a plan to secure a future built on freedom. This means giving you control of what happens in your kids’ school and confronting big tech censorship.

    It also means personalizing your health care to provide affordable options and better quality.

    In Congress, I have helped move us in the right direction by voting to cap insulin costs at $35 and advancing my bipartisan MOBILE Health Care Act, critical legislation to expand access in rural and underserved communities.

    Finally, we have a plan to build a government that’s accountable. This starts by standing up for your God-given rights like life, and the First and Second Amendments. It also means making sure the government in Washington fulfills its obligations to you through oversight and transparency.

    It is an honor to serve you, Fort Bragg, and our community. In Congress, I have always sought to work across the aisle on commonsense solutions to the problems facing you and your family.

    However, it is clear that two years of one-party rule in Washington have put our economy, safety, and prosperity — as well as an extra $700 a month — in peril.
    Instead of electing more rubber stamps for President Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the choice this November is simple: If you want an economy that’s strong, a nation that’s safe, a future built on freedom, and a government that’s accountable — then we Republicans are prepared to deliver on our Commitment to America.

    Will you join us? 

    Editor's note: Rep. Richard Hudson is serving his fifth term representing North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. He currently serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and in House leadership as the Republican Conference Secretary.
    Rep. Hudson grew up in Charlotte, graduated from Myers Park High School and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte,
    He and his family live in Moore County.

  • 10 arts council Longtime locals are familiar with a pair of tall, friendly red doors at 301 Hay St. in downtown Fayetteville. And new residents can’t help but notice these same doors. Above them reads a simple but stately title: “THE ARTS CENTER.” This month, the organization behind those doors, the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, turns 45.

    Since its founding by local visionaries in 1973, the Arts Council has become an integral driver of Cumberland County’s culture and economy – and not by accident.

    Deborah Mintz, executive director who’s worked at the Arts Council for more than half its existence, is retiring early next year. She’s responsible for the development of many of the nonprofit’s beloved community events, including A Dickens Holiday and the International Folk Festival. These events also draw thousands of outside visitors each year. In September, the IFF celebrated its 40th year and saw about 120,000 people enjoy downtown Fayetteville.

    “I see the cultural arts industry as a dynamic partner with our local and state governments, economic development and educational organizations and institutions,” Mintz said. “Today, the nonprofit cultural arts industry provides close to $60 million annually in direct investment in our community.”

    Behind those red doors, the Arts Council also runs a gallery that showcases art from local and international artists. Its exhibitions highlight and spark discussion of issues that range from the community to global level. The gallery’s latest exhibition, “Touchstone: Images Of Service,” opened last week and invited photographers to submit works that capture heroism, sacrifice and courage.

    The Arts Council also spearheads public art installation initiatives with results that can be seen peppered throughout downtown.

    While most residents are familiar with the Arts Council’s events and gallery, not as many know much about its Artists in Schools program and the grant money it disburses.

    Artists in Schools brings high-caliber arts educatorsto over 80 public and private schools in Cumberland County and Fort Bragg. The program offers matching grants to schools to cover fees for residencies, assemblyperformances and workshops conducted by teaching artists. The Arts Council vets these teaching artists from a pool of local, regional and national talent.

    Last year, said Arts Council Education & Outreach Director Adrienne Trego, Artists in Schools helped students learn about physics through circus acts, create their own silk banners celebrating their school and use drumming to learn about math.

    The Arts Council also grants more than half a million dollars annually to support community organizations and individual artists in this community. These grants include the support of local nonprofit treasures like Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

    Janet Gibson, a Fayetteville native who joined the Arts Council early this year as director of marketing and communications, remembers writing about the Arts Council as a young reporter in November of 1987.

    “That was when the Arts Council moved into the building at 301 Hay St.,” she said. “I remember being here for a reception, and it was beyond celebratory. … It’s been very fulfilling to watch the Arts Council] grow and prosper and become admired by the arts community – not only statewide but nationally – in its reputation for being a leader and a trailblazer.

    “The thing about the arts in our area is they provide jobs and really feed the economy.”

    Mintz said the quality that’s best served her in leading the Arts Council is tenacity – that and “a passionate knowledge that the arts are critical to the growth and success of our citizens and community.” Gibson put it this way: the Arts Council is successful because of “so many visionaries and people who refuse to give up. They know that Fayetteville is this… center of creative expression.”

    Mintz said the thing she’ll miss most in her retirement is working with these passionate people, though she’s not moving. “I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else. I am a Fayettevillian, not by birth, but by choice,” she said. “I will still be right here in my adopted hometown.”

    The Arts Council is conducting a national search for a new executive director who can build on Mintz’s legacy.

    To learn more about the Arts Council and view a full list of upcoming exhibitions at The Arts Center, visit www.theartscouncil.com.

  • 4My wife, Rebekah, and I have spent the last few days in Rome, Italy. Everywhere we look there are reminders of ancient human history... a couple thousand years’ worth anyway.

    We’re learning that many of the old structures here — some of the 1200 churches, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Circus Maximus, many of the monuments to yet another egotistical emperor — were built in part by slave labor, often Jewish slaves.

    So, should they all be torn down, demolished, erased from memory, deleted from history? (As though that’s even possible!)

    Or should they — as they are — serve as objects to make history visible and touchable today, as icons of eras past, providing insight into human behavior and trends of earlier times, even serving as instructional elements for those alive today? And, even as revenue producers by those who come from afar and pay to see and experience them … because they are still here.

    Lift your sights, leaders of Fayetteville, when it comes to the fate of the most iconic, historic building in the town that we call home — the Market House. Learn from places in the world that really are old and historic, all of which have checkered chapters in their past.

    While walking through what was once the Jewish Ghetto in Rome, we saw the bronze plaques embedded in the floor near the doors of Jewish residences in the 1940s. Engraved on them were the names of those who lived there, the year of their birth, the date of their arrest and deportation to Auschwitz and the date of their “assassination.”

    It reminded me of an earlier trip I made to Krakow, Poland, and visited the nearby compound of Auschwitz. I actually walked into the oven where Jews were crammed in and gassed to death. The ovens obviously weren’t originally built for that use, but nevertheless they were the site of some of the most horrific acts of human derangement in history.

    So, should the entire complex of Auschwitz be demolished, obliterated, because of what happened there?

    Obviously not, in the opinion of the worldwide Jewish community, many of whom lost family members there, in much more recent history than anything that happened on the steps of Fayetteville’s Market House.

    In fact, while there, I saw busloads of young Jewish students touring the site, learning first-hand some valuable lessons from history — exactly where it all took place just a generation or two ago.

    I’m fully aware of the fact that because I’m not of African American descent, in the minds of some, I’m unqualified (or unworthy) of voicing an opinion on the matter of the Market House’s link to the issue of slavery.

    Furthermore, I’m a relative newcomer to Fayetteville. I moved here in 2010, after marrying a bonafide “Fayette-Villian,” as I jokingly refer to Rebekah. She’s a graduate of Pine Forest High School. She’s, in fact, a 6th-7th generation native of Fayetteville. So, she’s my ticket to entry into the community I proudly now call home.

    We are fortunate we can choose to live anywhere. Our global business is portable and not tied to any one locale. We have friends and family in many places. All we need is an airport and the internet.

    We are in Fayetteville by choice and love living downtown. As a kid who grew up in church and loves baseball, our daily view of downtown churches and baseball stadiums is about as good as it gets. While we’re here, we want to be good citizens and do all we can to make Fayetteville a great place to live for everyone.

    A Minority Perspective

    I grew up a missionary kid, so a different kind of “military brat” — the Lord’s Army. As such, I had a taste of minority life in my youth. My family was one of only five white families in a SE Alaskan fishing village in the 1950s.

    As a teen in South America, I was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed gringo in a brown-skinned, black-haired world. I never viewed my racial difference as a disadvantage.
    As a child, I was adopted into the Eagle Tribe of the Tlingit Nation and still maintain contact with my Alaskan “family.” Though decades removed from my high school years in Peru, I can still hold my own in Spanish.

    Here's a more current concern of mine as it relates to racial disharmony here in Fayetteville. Rebekah and I have four mixed grandchildren. They are all well-traveled. They’ve lived in Hawaii and blended with Pacific Islanders. They spent time in the Philippines and worked alongside their missionary mother in an orphanage in Cameroon, West Africa. They now live in Idaho, a relatively “white” part of the country. They don’t see color, a virtue I’m proud to have had a part in passing on to them.

    You know what I don’t want to expose them to? It’s some blatant, racially prejudicial behavior I see plainly displayed on the streets of Fayetteville on a regular basis. There are often some “street preachers” loudly proclaiming their message and reading from their religious texts on the streets downtown, often wearing garments compatible with their particular persuasion. I certainly respect their rights of free speech but do question their motives or their effectiveness.

    As one who spent 20 years in full-time ministry, I’m always eager to acknowledge the zeal and enthusiasm of those who are bold in their faith. So, on one occasion, I stopped to have a friendly visit with them. It wasn’t long before I was informed that their version of the gospel was black-centered only.

    I was boldly and emphatically informed that I, as a white person, had “NO HOPE.” Now, on more than one occasion, when simply walking by them on our way to dinner or one of the many downtown shops we like to patronize, I hear them say (in my direction) — “Damn you white people!”

    If I were the leaders of Fayetteville, I would be concerned about such expressions of racial hatred and such example of “hate speech” — happening on the streets of my town in 2022 — just outside of buildings that serve as places of business by respectable members of the community. I wouldn’t be trying to destroy a building that was erected as a place of business, even though it was used by some to conduct business that was most certainly deplorable in every sense of the word.

  • 09 Starcatcher Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s production of “Peter and the Starcatcher” is what going to the theater is all about– inclusive entertainment, inspiration and showcasing great talent. It is a funfilled show with laughs for all ages.

    “Peter and the Starcatcher” is the origin story of Peter Pan. It is based on the 2004 book “Peter and the Starcatchers” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, which was adapted for stage by Rick Elice with music by Wayne Barker. The play provides a backstory for Peter Pan, Wendy, the Lost Boys, Tinker Bell and Captain Hook.

    Director Michelle Tattenbaum and the cast deliver a show not to be missed. Like sticky pudding, it’s so good!

    Molly, played by Malena Pennycook, is a young starcatcher in training, whose father is protecting a trunk of magical “star stuff.” After a series of mishaps fueled by greed and deception, Molly and an orphan boy, played by Graham Baker, survive a sinking ship and go on a swashbuckling adventure battling pirates, island natives and a crocodile to protect the trunk.

    Timothy John Smith steals the show with his bravado and flamboyance as the pirate Black Stache. He is prone to malapropism and delivers a number of anachronistic jokes that keep the audience amused. Although his mission is to steal the trunk, what Black Stache really wants is to find a worthy opponent. The villain finds a hero in the orphan boy (to be named Peter).

    Smith does an outstanding job, but as his character says, “No man is an archipelago,” and he shares the stage with a tremendous cast.

    Local actress Becca Vourvoulas plays Mrs. Bumbrake, Molly’s nanny. James Martin is Lord Leonard Aster, Molly’s father. Paul Urriola plays Alf, a sailor aboard The Neverland. The ensemble includes Zane Burkhardt, Michael Carney, Karsten Otto, Justin Toyer, John Salvatore and Ben Schrager.

    A standing ovation goes out to the cast and crew for the fine production, where just about everything stands out as a quality effort – from the stage direction to the set decoration. The ensemble cast merges nationally recognized actors with local talent and is a testament to the leadership and artistic vision that makes CFRT such a gem for the local community.

    CFRT backstage veterans David Rawlins (scenic artist), Kenneth Blinn (production coordinator) and Bryan Hitzigrath (sound designer) are joined by regional and national talents Robin Vest (set designer) and Marika Kent (lighting designer), among others, to do an amazing job of making the words on the page come to life for the audience.

    A special shout-out to the CFRT interns, who make sure all the prop and costume changes go smoothly backstage. They are surely on their toes for this production, making sure the right actor has the right sword, fish or flying cat in hand when he or she re-enters stage right.

    At first glance, the set may seem minimal compared to some productions at CFRT, but it is quite extravagant in its styling and detail. The wooden planks and boxes that make up the foundation of the ships and the island prove versatile and accommodating to the volume of movement during the show. The set beautifully fits a child’s imagination of a fanciful story of pirates, singing mermaids, ships and a fearsome crocodile.

    Also noteworthy are the efficient costumes by Whitney Locher. The quick changes for the ensemble cast members display a sense of creativity and splendor that add to the characters without detracting from the performance itself.

    I could say something about the mermaids and their costumes at this point, but nothing I can write here would do justice to the performance at the beginning of Act 2. That is where the whole show changed for me. I admit, I thought the first 30 minutes or so was a bit wordy and slow. However, the rest of the audience thought otherwise, as indicated by their laughter and applause (as well as my own post-show polling of anyone under four feet tall). The rest of the audience found the heavy dialogue at the beginning of the show to be a quiet buildup to the action that followed. For the entire second act, I was applauding and giggling. It was fast-paced and had a rewarding conclusion for all Peter Pan fans.

    Fans and newcomers to theater will not be disappointed in this show. It is a treat for theater-goers of all ages.

    “Peter and the Starcatcher” runs through Nov 11. Military Appreciation Night will be Nov. 1. A sensory-friendly performance sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield will be Nov. 4. To reserve your tickets or get more information, visit www.cfrt.org or call 910-323-4233.

  • Tim Altman 1 The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra invites one and all to experience “Something in the Wind” on Saturday, Nov. 5 at St. John's Episcopal Church. The mellow sounds of brass and woodwind instruments are the perfect accompaniment to the falling leaves and autumn weather as the calendar picks up speed toward the holidays.

    The 75-minute concert will feature string performances while bringing special attention to the trumpet, bassoon, flute and oboe.

    “I know for certain these instruments and their beauty will provide such a warm feeling in a venue like St. John,” shared Meghan Woolbright, marketing manager for the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. “It’s the perfect way to start the season.” 

    From the pews of St. John’s, guests will be treated to selected pieces from Guissepe Torelli's “Concerto in D Major,” Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Bassoon,” and other uplifting selections which will highlight the skills and talents of four FSO soloists.

    Dr. Timothy Altman will perform a trumpet solo during the event. Patrick Herring will solo on bassoon, Sarah Busman on flute, and Jessica Miller on oboe will bring the music of classical masters beautifully to life in a concert meant to stir the heartstrings.

    “I believe everybody, no matter where you come from or who you are, deserves the opportunity to be inspired by beautiful music,” Woolbright stated. “We strive to entertain, inspire and educate people with the music we play — we believe our music can resonate emotionally with people, and we want to share that.” Patrick Herring 1 1

    November 5th’s ticketed performance is the first of four to be held in churches around the city this concert season. Events are a mix of ticketed, and community concerts focused on the holidays and will infuse some musical joy into the most wonderful time of the year.

    Sarah Busman Early December will bring a collaboration with Cumberland Choral Arts to perform Handel’s “Messiah” and a festive concert entitled Holiday Brass. In January, the symphony will perform Dan Forrest's “Jubilate Deo” at First Presbyterian Church.

    The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra has been a mainstay of the arts community for more than 50 years. Their professionalism and genuine love for the craft of music have made them a leading force behind music and arts education in the region.

    First and foremost, the FSO believes in promoting, supporting and creating beautiful music easily accessed by the public in an effort to build a more culturally engaged community.

    “I believe anyone who enjoys music and live performances will love this show,” Woolbright admitted. “Anyone who seeks to be entertained, educated, and Jessica Miller web 1 inspired should come to listen —it’s an awesome opportunity to spend time with your family and friends. The orchestra isn’t for any certain class of people — we try to make sure our concerts are for everybody.”

    Guests can purchase tickets by calling 910-433-4690 or online at www.fayettevillesymphony.org. Tickets are $32 for adults and $25 for seniors, military and Cumberland County School employees. Student and children's tickets are $8 and $5.

    St. John's Episcopal Church is located at 302 Green St., and guests are permitted to park at the church during the performance which begins at 7:30 p.m.

  • 08COSFor 27 years this season, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers have been performing traditional choral music throughout the Sandhills – and not without getting the community’s attention. The group was inducted into the Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame for 25 years of service under the leadership of Michael Martin, and has recently established a new youth choir, the Campbellton Youth Chorus. To celebrate the group’s achievements, COS will kick off its 27th season with some unexpected sounds. “A Night of Jazz” is set for Friday, Oct. 19, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 7:30 p.m. 

    For “A Night of Jazz,” the Singers will collaborate with the Fayetteville Technical Community College Choir to perform classic jazz hits from the ’30s and ’40s. According to COS Choral Director Jason Britt, “COS alone is great, but when you add more people to it, it can become really great.” 

    Moreover, the collaboration is an attempt to unify Cumberland County and broaden COS’ audience. “By reaching out to the community, with more people, we can do bigger and better things,” said Britt. 

    The COS plan to team up with a jazz combo band and are set to perform pieces such as “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “The Way You Look Tonight” and “I Got Rhythm,” among others. 

    For most of the group’s existence, the COS has performed captivating traditional pieces that its audience has grown to expect and love. The ensemble’s director, however, is excited to introduce new styles into the group’s repertoire. 

      “My emphasis on this season is to try to relate to the people a little better by performing music that might be recognizable to our audience members,” said Britt. “For the last 26 years, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers have had a reputation of preserving traditional choral music, and I realized that not everybody is a fan of that.” 

      While Britt and many of the members of the ensemble, not to mention its audience, cherish the more traditional works, the group is ready to adopt some new sounds. “A Night of Jazz” is the COS’ first step to achieving this goal. 

      Jazz isn’t the only genre to expect from the Singers’ upcoming season. “I included one night of just traditional music (in this season),” Britt said. “I really didn’t want to alienate our base – some members really expect traditional choral works, and we love performing them.” 

      This year’s COS season includes “A Night of Screen and Stage,” which will include popular hits from famous movies; “Messiah Sings!” a Christmas cantata featuring Handel’s beloved “Messiah;” and “A Night with the Masters,” which features traditional choral pieces by artists such as Mozart and Schubert. 

      “We really wanted a variety of things,” Britt summarized. “It’s very refreshing not to do the same thing every time; you have a variety of elements that make things interesting.” 

      Tickets for the Oct. 19 season opener, “A Night of Jazz,” can be purchased for $15 at the door. Students with ID can purchase tickets for $5. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church is located at 1601 Raeford Rd. 

      Season tickets are $45. Learn more at www.singwithcos.org. 

  • Poe porch witches Visit a local haunt and get your spook on at the 1897 Poe House. The Cape Fear Museum of the Historical Complex is hosting night tours with a Halloween historical twist. Visitors to Halloween Revels: Night Tours will be transported back in time and witness a series of short vignettes. The guests will become immersed in early 20th-century cultural norms, music and poetry.

    “You're actually watching a scripted play with different scenes and skits in each of the rooms of the historic Poe House. So you get guided through. And what makes it fun, of course, is it's after dark, it's at night. And we have the actors from the Gilbert portraying members of the Poe family, and they do different Halloween scenes, including customs, poems, and music that would have been appropriate for the time period of the early 1900s. So you're kind of traveling back in time to a Halloween 100 years ago, over 100 years ago.” Megan Maxwell, the education coordinator of 1897 Poe House at the Museum of the Cape Fear Complex, said.

    The tour is played out like a scripted historical theater show. Actors from the Gilbert Theater will give the night tours even more realism. One of those actors is a local fan-favorite, James Dean. Dean recently was in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” He's also played Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” in the past. He will be taking on the role of Mr. Poe this year.

    This will be the eleventh year that the Museum has held these ‘spooky’ Halloween tours. It first started as a free and small event with actors who mainly improvised as there was no script. Two years into that, a script was finally written and every year it changes.

    “I try and change the script up every year so people that come every year don't see the same thing," Maxwell said. “So this year we have a new script, new scenes, new actors. So if you’re a repeat visitor, it's not going to be the same show. You're going to see something different this year.”

    The tours are family-friendly; however, it is dark and spooky. Parents must make their own judgment on whether their child can handle it. The $5 tickets must be bought beforehand; however, if the tour is not sold out, there may be tickets at the door. Tickets are only good for the time slot purchased.

    Guests should arrive at least 15 minutes before their tour time. Check-in is at the front table in the front yard.

    “It's going to be a little dark because we like it spooky. So when people come up, they get a program, they check in, they can relax on the front porch until it’s their tour time and then they’ll have guides that lead them through the house, so they'll get an introduction about what to expect. And then we’ll start the show,” Maxwell said.

    There are two nights left for the tours — Oct. 27 and Oct. 28. Tours will run on the half hour each night and will be limited to 15 people per tour. Touring hours begin at 6 p.m. and finish at 10 p.m.

  • 13BachtoberThe Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra is committed to educating, entertaining and inspiring the citizens of the Fayetteville, North Carolina, region as the leading musical resource. Making first-rate music affordable takes some creativity, though. That creativity manifests in forms like the FSO’s Bachtoberfest fundraiser, which is set for Thursday, Oct. 18, from 6-9 p.m. 

    “This event helps support a lot of the things we do,” said FSO CEO and President Christine Kastner. “Our ticket prices are (kept) low. They really only cover 20 percent of the cost of a concert, so we have to fundraise and get grants to cover the rest. 

    “We want to keep ticket prices affordable, so we really can’t go higher... or it limits who can come to the shows. Our tickets for concerts and other events are $30 and below.” 

    Like its concerts, the symphony’s fundraisers are inventive and fun. Bachtoberfest will take place in a local, private biergarten and will include delicious German fare prepared by the symphony’s board members. Think bratwursts and German potato salad. Guests can wash it down with a sudsy brew and sample 10 craft beers. Bright Light Brewing Co., Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom, Southern Pines Brewing Company and Healy Wholesale will provide the evening’s beverages. 

    “There will be some games going on, too – relay races with a full beer stein and some of those kinds of fun games,” said Kastner. 

    FSO musicians will play music throughout the event. “There will be oompah music as well as jazz to keep the evening flowing,” Kastner said. “The location has a fire pit, so you can make your own s’mores, too.” 

    Bachtoberfest is intentionally casual and laid back to make it inviting to people who may have preconceived ideas about the symphony. “People think of the symphony as formal and stuffy, and we are not,” Kastner said. 

    The FSO has another fundraiser planned for November – Friendsgiving Brewery Tour, which will include tastings from Bright Light Brewing Co., Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom, Mash House Brewing Company, World of Beer and Paddy’s Irish Pub. 

    These fundraisers not only help keep ticket costs low, they support outreach initiatives like the Nov. 3 free children’s concert, “Once Upon a Symphony.” The concert is for young and special-needs children. 

    “(The children) can move around as they need to and sit on the floor or the bleachers,” said Kastner. “The whole program is kid-friendly. We will have music from ‘Frozen,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Superman.’ It is a way for families to introduce young kids to the symphony.”

    Tickets for the Oct. 18 Bachtoberfest are $75 per person. Call the symphony office at 910-433-4690 or go to www.fayettevillesymphony.org and click on the Support and Events tab, then Special Events. 

  • Fay Zombie Walk with caution tape On the Fourth Friday of every month from March to November between 6 and 10 p.m., museums, galleries and businesses in the downtown Fayetteville historic district become artistic venues, featuring the arts in all forms, for all ages. Fourth Friday is like an old-fashioned art crawl combined with the performances and fun of a street fair. Folks of all ages get a taste of Fayetteville’s arts and entertainment while enjoying the local independent galleries, bookstores, bistros and shops full of unique items.

    On the Fourth Friday of this month, downtown Fayetteville will be hosting the 12th annual Zombie Walk and Prom. Hay Street is turned into a scene from a zombie flick, with creatures and characters on display.

    All are invited to come downtown with your best zombie costume and enter the costume contest. If you need a little help adding that extra flare to your costume by adding some makeup, don’t fret because the Paul Mitchell Hair and Makeup School will be painting faces at the beginning of the Zombie Walk.

    Ring Wars Carolina will be performing on the corner of Hay Street and Ray Avenue during the Zombie Walk. Ring Wars provides quality entertainment that’s fun for the entire family. Wrestlers will be dressed in their zombie best. Come out and cheer them ringside.

    If you get a little tired of walking during the Zombie Walk and Prom, take a ride on the Rocky Horror Singalong Trolley. Janet! Brad! Dr.Scott! will take you on a strange journey for the Rocky Horror Singalong Trolley at 7 and 8 p.m. featuring A Yellow Beanie Project. Tickets are $30 a person. The Trolley will depart from Bright Light Brewing Company located at 444 West Russell Street.

    The Zombie Walk and Prom will also have live musical performances from Lotus Sun and the Living Dead and Nirvani: A Nirvana Tribute Experience that will perform.

    As with regular Fourth Friday events, guests can expect food trucks, vendors, performers, artists and more.
    For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/events/849249152747861.

  • 11OthelLIT“Othello” is a Shakespearean tragedy, based on Giovanni Battista Giraldi’s “Un Capitano Moro,” that is estimated to have been written in the year 1603. The story centers around the lives of Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his love, Desdemona, shortly after their elopement. This tale is fraught with duplicity, racism, envy, revenge and love, and it is because of these human elements that “Othello” is still widely regarded as relevant, even today. 

    Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s apt retelling of “Othello,” entitled “OthelLIT,” guides willing patrons through the winding trials of its characters by enveloping the audience in well- timed and hilarious satire, all the while with drink in hand. 

    “OthelLIT” is a part of STS’ traveling LIT series, which features intimate settings in Fayetteville and beyond, audience participation, adlibbing, drinking games, music ranging from Bon Jovi to Lily Allen and so much more. “OthelLIT” is the definition of a mixed bag. Each element of its reimagining – from kazoo trumpets to slow-motion knife fights and everything in between – exhibits an array of authenticity, wrapped generously in candid humor. Filled with pop culture references from a variety of eras, every audience member will be able to enjoy the endearing marriage of humorous contemporary colloquialisms and the eloquent speech of Shakespeare’s time. 

    The experience of audience members is full of surprises. Scene after scene provides complete immersion into a new kind of world. Villainous Iago, played by Nathan Pearce, has theme music (cue “Pink Panther” theme!) as he devilishly monologues. The dazzling Desdemona is denoted by whichever cast or audience member quick-changes into the blonde Renaissance wig and blue peasant dress; six separate people played the same beauty in one night. Usher’s “Yeah!” heralds each of Othello’s entrances. Three cheers for Music Director Jacob French for intuitively engaging the actors and audience while creating the perfect aura for the night through music and sound. 

    “OthelLIT” encourages the audience to participate in themed games and activities meant to enhance the whole experience, so grab a friend – or 10 – and allow yourself to be swept away in the colorful reverie. With Director Marie Lowe at the helm, the fluidity and talent of the actors and the willingness of the audience to go along for the ride, “OthelLIT” is a splendid evening full of fanciful fun for anyone of age in search of a well- earned laugh. As the actors laugh, ponder, gallivant and sing, they continue another strong season for STS. 

    “OthelLIT” will continue showing through Tuesday, Oct. 30, with tickets ranging from $17.50 to $25. Some military, senior or student discounts may apply for certain showings. By its closing night, the show will have traveled to Paddy’s Irish Pub, Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom, the Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County, Hugger Mugger Brewing Company in Sanford and Fainting Goat Brewing Company in Fuquay-Varina. 

    For more information and to order tickets or view showtimes and locations, visit sweetteashakespeare.com or call 910-420-4383. 

  • backwoodslogo3 original At this time of year, things at Sweet Valley Ranch turn a bit spooky.

    Legend says that Delray Delamorte and his family members were spotted cruising down Hwy 95 South in a hearse with ligaments hanging out the trunk. They left the following note: “Dr. Surgeon, we are heading south and will return next year. We left you some body parts that you can feed your dinosaurs. SIGNED — Delray Delamorte, Slaughterhouse Manager.”

    Through Oct. 30, Sweet Valley Ranch is transformed into “Backwoods Terror Ranch, ” — a frightening adventure sure to produce some shrieks! “Backwoods Terror Ranch” is one of the biggest outdoor haunted events in the county. It will take patrons over an hour to get through six spooky mazes including a ¼ acre cemetery.

    For information or tickets, visit https://www.sweetvalleyranchnc.com/or call 844-622-3276.
    Sweet Valley Ranch is located at 2990 Sunnyside School Road in Fayetteville.

  • 13Atticus FinchWhat explains the staying power of Harper Lee’s book “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the film that starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch? 

    For some, it is its poignant story of Jean Louise, or “Scout.” Scout’s love and respect for her father, Atticus, gave her the courage to face the dangers and unfairness of a flawed world. For others, it is Atticus him­self and his example of dignity, kind­ness and courage. 

    But things are much more compli­cated according to a new book, “Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters: What Harper Lee’s Book and the Iconic American Film Mean to Us Today,” by Tom Santopietro. 

    “Mockingbird’s” staying power is evidenced by its inclusion on PBS’ list of 100 novels in contention for selection as America’s best-loved book. The list is a part of PBS’ “Great American Read” broadcast series airing on UNC-TV September through October. 

    That staying power is remark­able, according to Santopietro because in “the nearly 60 years since Mockingbird was originally pub­lished, the world has changed much more than the previous 300 years combined.” 

    Santopietro gives us a biography of the “Mockingbird” phenomenon. He takes us to Harper Lee’s home­town, Monroeville, Alabama, and introduces us to the friends, family and neighbors who were models for the characters of her book. Readers also learn about Harper-Lee’s gentle home life and her town’s oppressive segregated social system. 

    Readers learn how the book was written, how it was sold to a publisher and how it took the country by storm. They also learn how the movie was made, includ­ing the key casting decisions that brought Gregory Peck onboard and how a North Carolina woman from Reidsville, Alice Lee “Boaty” Boatwright, made the key selec­tion of a 9-year-old Birmingham, Alabama, girl who had no acting experience to play Scout. 

    Santopietro describes how “Go Set a Watchman,” a sequel or a pre­quel to “Mockingbird” written in the 1950s, came to be discovered in 2014 and published the following year. That book shocked readers with its very different look at Atticus Finch, the hero of “Mockingbird.” 

    In “Watchman,” Atticus is shown, in the words of Isabel Wilkerson, as a “gentleman bigot.” He is a supporter of the White Citizens Council and a firm opponent of the court-ordered desegregation of public schools and the efforts to open public accommo­dations to African-Americans. 

    Santopietro asserts that the Atticus of “Watchman” resembles “no one as much as Strom Thurmond.” 

    He continues, “Like Thurmond, Atticus here seems to believe that the worst of all possible worlds lies in any involvement on the part of the federal government, an evil topped in his mind only by the participation of the NAACP.” 

    A better model for “Watchman’s” Atticus than the sometimes mean-spirited Thurmond might be I. Beverly Lake, the segregationist can­didate who opposed Terry Sanford in the 1960 North Carolina gover­nor’s race. Lake sincerely believed in segregation, and like Atticus, he was a gentleman. In fact, according to John Drescher in his “Triumph of Good Will: How Terry Sanford Beat a Champion of Segregation and Reshaped The South,” Lake support­ed the liberal Frank Porter Graham in the 1950 race for U.S. Senate and condemned the racist attacks from the campaign of Graham’s opponent. 

    According to Drescher, “Lake’s personal and public generosity was part of his appeal as a candidate and set him apart from other leading Southern segregationists of the 1950s and 60s. He was not a hater.” 

    The racial views of Lake in the 1950s were like those of Harper Lee’s father, A.C., the model for Atticus. According to Santopietro, these men “represented the typical white south­ern male viewpoint in the 1950s.” 

    Can we still honor the contribu­tions and good qualities of those who held to this discredited view­point of their times? 

    If not, “Mockingbird” will slip off the lists of best-loved books.

    Photo: Gregory Peck played Atticus Finch in the film adaptation. 

  • HollyDayE The season for giving is approaching and people can help the women of the Junior League of Fayetteville do that at the 55th Annual Holly Day Fair Nov. 3 to 6 at the Crown Expo Center. According to the organization, it is the largest holiday gift and craft show in eastern North Carolina. The event draws an average of 22,000 attendees and over 150 vendors.

    “Show-goers have an extensive selection of unique handcrafted and manufactured products to select from including the best in holiday decorations, handmade crafts, stylish jewelry and clothes, children’s toys, specialty food items and much more,” said Juelle McDonald, Holly Day Fair Chair 2022 on the Junior League of Fayetteville’s website.

    This year’s theme is Make Spirits Bright. She noted that over 50 years ago, a group of local women came together to fundraise by hosting a small crafts fair at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville.

    McDonald said a portion of the revenue is given back to the local community through the Junior League of Fayetteville CAP grants, the Junior League of Fayetteville Scholarship fund and other community initiatives. McDonald said it is the organization’s sole fundraiser, but it is big.

    “It's how we raise our money. It's how we're able to help our community and give scholarships and really be a change when it comes to financial aspects and support different community endeavors,” she said.

    The funds they distribute to different organizations come from the fair’s booth rental fees, sponsorships and tickets to the fair.
    They decided not to do the show in 2020 due to the pandemic, but had it last year and received a lot of community support.

    What’s New?

    McDonald said a new item to the show is Cookies with the Clauses.

    “Mr. and Mrs. Claus are going to be there,” she said. “They're going to read a book and it's going to be an activity for the children. We are excited to incorporate that into the show this year. It'll be the first time we've ever done anything like it.”

    “We’re thankful for our community. It's because of our community we’re able to do this. For 55 years our community has come through. Our community has supported us,” McDonald said. “We couldn't be more thankful.”

    The League’s Mission

    “The Junior League of Fayetteville is an organization of women dedicated to serving our community, being volunteers for our community and being that active voice and change whether that's with work that we do with our CAP grants or the work that we do through the Holly Day Fair,” McDonald said. “We're just an organization of women devoted to actively ensuring that our community is a better place.”

    Their mission is to advance women’s leadership for meaningful community impact through volunteer action, collaboration and training. Their values include diversity, collaboration, community, empowerment, leadership, respect and service.

  • 01coverUAC0100318001Gallery 208 has hosted many solo exhibitions by photographers during the last several years. Each artist brings a theme to their work – capturing the beauty of the landscape, a stopped action moment or an unreal circumstance crafted by the use of Photoshop or Light Room. From purist photogra­phers to those who use photographic software, each artist brings an intent. Tuesday, Oct. 9, from 5:30-7 p.m., Gallery 208 will host a reception for photographer Andrew Johnson. The exhibition, “Night Silence: Photographs by Andrew Johnson,” is a masterful group of photographs by an artist who uses the existing light at night to create an alternate reality. 

    The public is invited to the reception to meet the artist, hear a brief artist talk and preview a body of work that is unique. Johnson’s photographs lure viewers into looking more closely at something familiar, like a building or a set of doors in the urban or rural landscape. We recognize a familiar subject, but it is as if we are seeing something unfamiliar. The beauty of the light in the photographs contrasts with the conceptual – familiar versus unfamiliar – and we are fixed in a moment of discovery. As in all great works of art, the image succeeds in representing what it does not represent. In other words, the artist is able to transcend the limits of a photograph. 

    Johnson is a minimalist. He is not copying what he sees, but he uses photography to transcend a subject – to create an illusion beyond itself. He has crafted a physical presence as well as a story that goes beyond the subject. For me, Johnson distills his experiences in image-making to evoke a new order – one that is distinguished by an illuminating, colored light. 

    As viewers, we each bring our sensibilities to the work. Yet Johnson talks about his work from a differ­ent perspective. He shared the following: “For me, shooting at night is a singular experience. It’s not an aloneness. It’s at night, of course, and no one (is) around. But it’s more than that, it’s as if no one else is on Earth and I am consumed by artificial light and the sounds of nature at night. I feel comfort in the absorption of a night environment.” 

    He continued, “You don’t usually think about it this way, but light at night can actually create crisp images when the light reacts with different surfac­es, creating dramatic effects. I am drawn to these surfaces, the stillness of the night and surreal effects of artificial light to create a mood.” 

    Shane Booth, a professional photographer, is familiar with Johnson’s work, since Johnson was an art student at Fayetteville State University. “Andrew’s works are very complicated,” Booth said. “We, the public, are not used to looking at the world at night and so we don’t pay attention to the ways in which light effects things or places. On the other hand, Andrew is drawn to the light at night. He sees what we do not see. He is drawn to the different temperatures of light rays at night. He captures those temperatures to add a sense of mystery to his content.” 

    Booth continued, “Technically, artificial light has the potential to flatten out objects. In Andrew’s case, the light flattens out a doorway, so it becomes a new way of viewing a doorway. As well, artificial light, particularly at night, can mute colors and turn an or­dinary place into a surreal environment. So, Andrew uses this to add emotion to an inanimate object... like a building; he is giving the building a personality by his use of light. As well, he is creating a forebod­ing sense of place by contrasting a dark atmosphere with artificial light. 

    “Andrews’s photos are void of people, yet he creates a supernatural presence. In looking at the photos, you may feel as if there is always someone behind you, or behind the door in the photo. In some ways, the artist has created a moment when the viewers become vo­yeuristic; we are not supposed to be at that location, at that time of the night. It’s uncanny. At the same time, tension is mixed with beauty and stillness, and we are memorized to stare at the photo.” 

    Photography is a popular medium for untrained artists, especially since cell phone and “selfie” imag­es are easy to produce. In some circles, photography is still underrated when compared to painting or sculpture. But in the hands of an exceptional artist, the photograph becomes the quintessential medium to bring meaning and content to viewers. 

    The above is best said in John Berger’s well-known book, “Ways of Seeing.” The author states, “unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does.” 

    Gallery 208 is excited to introduce this talented lo­cal veteran artist to the community. Johnson served in the U.S. Army for six years before he attended and graduated from Fayetteville State University. After graduation in 2017, he became employed by the city of Fayetteville as its graphic production supervisor. 

    Gallery 208 invites everyone to attend the reception to meet the artist. But, if that’s not possible, “Night Silence” will be on exhibit until late December. 

    Gallery 208, located at 208 Rowan St., is open Mon­day through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call the gallery at 910-484-6200 for more information.

  • lawreance and walker If you enjoy country music from the 1990s, you don’t want to miss Clay Walker and Tracy Lawrence performing at the Crown Theatre on Nov. 4. The show is part of the 87th annual Community Concerts lineup.

    Long-time country music fans know that both Walker and Lawrence have a history of hits beginning in the 1990s. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Walker was discovered in the early 1990s by James Stroud, producer and head of Giant Records. He was in his early 20s and gave fans songs like, “This Woman And This Man,” “Hypnotize The Moon” and “Rumor Has It.”

    He considered himself having a sound like George Strait and Clint Black, but Stroud pushed him into pop a bit. Walker has not slowed down either. His most recent album, “Texas To Tennessee” came out in 2021. Lawrence has Texas roots, too. He hails from Atlanta, Texas, and signed to Atlantic Records in 1991.

    He has over 30 years in music and is considered a traditionalist. His first album was “Sticks and Stones.” Lawrence has an impressive catalog, selling more than 13 million albums and charting 18 number one songs including “Time Marches On” and “Paint Me a Birmingham.” His recent music includes, but is not limited to “Good Ole Days” and the album “Made in America.”

    Alexandra Kay 2 Kicking off the show for Walker and Lawrence will be special guest Alexandra Kay. Kay is an independent country music artist who has been building a fan base among country music fans and fellow stars. She will make her Grand Ole Opry debut later in November. Kay started writing songs at the age of 15 as an outlet. She grew up in Waterloo, Illinois.

    No stranger to the entertainment industry, she booked voice over work and commercials. Her skills have been used in musical theatre. She even auditioned for “American Idol” in 2011. Her first single “No More” spent three weeks at #1 on the New Music Weekly Top 40 pop chart. Kay has toured with Walker and Lawrence before, and also toured with Tim McGraw earlier this year.

    For tickets or information, visit https://www.crowncomplexnc.com/events/detail/clay-walker-tracy-lawrence-tour.

  • Boo Tanical Garden The circus is coming to the Cape Fear Botanical Garden for one weekend only to celebrate Halloween. Carnival games, live entertainment, music, food trucks, candy stations and more await under the Big Top this year. The Imagine Circus from Raleigh will be coming down to show off some of their acts as part of the overall carnival theme.

    “We will have a real person who will be doing stilt walking, a hoop artist and a juggler that will be showing through the garden,” Sheila Hanrick, the director of marketing, programs and visitor experience for Cape Fear Botanical Garden, said.

    As with every year, the BOO-crew will be out as well. These skeletons will be acting up in the garden by showing off their carnival side.
    While there won’t be any live animals at the event, there will be some “wild” ones. The topiary exhibit, “Garden Gone Wild” will still be in full force. Elephants, butterflies, gorillas, and more will all be on display as part of the larger-than-life animal topiary sculptures. A topiary is a living sculpture that is created using live plants.

    This family-friendly event invites people of all ages to come in their costumes and enjoy the Garden completely differently. Even the topiary sculptures will be dressed up.

    As part of the event, you can walk the pathways of the Garden, which will be lit by hundreds of lights designed by Mosca Design and jack-o-lanterns. There will be ten trick-or-treat stations throughout the garden for people of all ages to check out.

    The event is all outdoors, so plan your costumes accordingly. Trick-or-Treat bags and flashlights are encouraged for the darker areas of the Garden.
    For one night only, on Oct. 27, dogs will be welcome. Bring your costumed fur friends with you, and they could get a doggy treat as well.
    This fun, spooky event is one of the major events for the Cape Fear Botanical Garden and all the funds go back into planning more events like it.

    “Any time we have a public event like this, any proceeds that are placed at end of the event go back to the garden, whether it's supporting our horticulture or our environmental education or therapeutic horticulture. All money is turned around, and put back into the operating fund of the garden,” Hanrick said.

    The BOO-tanical Garden will be available from Oct. 27 to Oct. 30. The events start at 5 p.m. and run until 9 p.m.
    Tickets range from $7 to $12. Children 2 and under can get in for free. Members can buy tickets for $10. Children above the age of 3 would get a $7 ticket.

    Tickets are non-refundable and are good only for the date/time of the ticket.
    Henrick does recommend buying tickets early as last year, the event was sold out.

    Tickets can be purchased at https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/26840/cape-fear-botanical-garden.

  • hanging pumpkin Official trick-or-treating hours throughout Cumberland County will be Monday, Oct. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. However, throughout the entire weekend prior to Halloween, there are plenty of opportunities to check out different areas of town, go trick-or-treating and get your spook on.

    Friday, Oct. 28

    The Town of Hope Mills Parks & Recreation and Rockfish Elementary School are partnering once again to bring a Trunk R Treat. The event will take place at Rockfish Elementary. Kids are welcome to get dressed up and bring their own bags. The event starts at 5:30 p.m.

    If you want to go somewhere dog-friendly, head over to Gaston Brewing Company Taproom located at 421 Chicago Drive. Gaston Brewing Company and Busybee's Barkery & Co. are presenting a dogs' night out at the Taproom! Bring your pups and kick off the Halloween weekend with an evening of craft beer, live music, corn hole, homemade baked dog treats, and a food truck for the humans.

    If you love animals, but want a more kid-friendly environment, go to Clark Park for their Grumpy’s Halloween Spooktacular. Grumpy the snapping turtle invites friends and families for an evening of Halloween fun at Clark Park Nature Center. There will be games, crafts, candy and prizes. Dress in your best costume for the contest at 5 p.m. This free event is open to kids of all ages.

    Saturday, Oct. 29

    On Fort Bragg, the Throckmorton Library will be hosting their second annual Trunk or Treat. No tricks, just wear your favorite costume and head down to Throckmorton Library. Get yourself a haul of candy and vote for the best-decorated trunk! This event is open to all ages and the library will be open after the event. The Trunk or Treat starts at 9:30 a.m. and will end at 11:30 a.m.

    If you can’t make it to the Throckmorton Library, on the other side of the military installation will be a family friendly Halloween event at the South Post Exchange. Games, safety information, a community Trunk or Treat and a candy cannon will be available. The event starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. The Trunk or Treat will start at 4 p.m. and be held in the parking lot on the left side when facing the building. The Trunk or Treat will all be determined by the number of participants who want to decorate their trunks for a chance to win a $50 Exchange gift card. The candy cannon blasts will start at 5 p.m., on the left side field of the building.

    The candy cannon are air-powered cannons that will launch candy into the air, and kids will then collect the candy.
    In Fayetteville, go trick-or-treating at the 1897 Poe House Museum. This trick-or-treating event is free and will be more than just giving out sugar to little kids. Trick-or-treaters will receive a treat bag and can play old-fashioned games in the backyard. There will be hayrides, games, music and entertainment. All activities will take place outside in the backyard of the Poe House. Joy the Clown will be performing a magic show with live animal acts at 1 p.m. and she will be providing balloon twisting and face painting throughout the event. This event will kick off at 11 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

    Over in Hope Mills, head over to the Hope Mills Municipal Park for the town’s official Bites, Boos & Brews event. They will be hosting over 20 food trucks, carnival rides, a petting zoo, and live music. Musical guests include Lee Jean Jr., Whiskey Pine and Legacy Motown Revue. There will also be a live fireworks show. The event will take place at 4 p.m. and end with the fireworks show at 8 p.m.

    Sunday, Oct. 30

    Join Dirtbag Ales for their fifth annual Trick or Treat the Market. Come trick or treat at the farmers market while enjoying delicious food trucks, live music and more. This event is open to all ages. Wear your coolest, hippest, or scariest costume and trick or treat with the family. Advance tickets are required. Tickets are $10 per family to participate (cash only). Stop by the Dirtbag Ales Taproom prior to the date of the event to pick up your tickets.
    The store, Kraken-Skulls, will be hosting their third annual Trunk or Treat. They recommend everyone, especially the kiddos, to get in that Halloween spirit and set up a car/truck with a decorative trunk/bed. Trophies will be awarded to best setup, best costume and kids choice award. The event will take place from 4 to 7 p.m.

    Monday, Oct. 31

    Join the Village Baptist Church for one of Fayetteville's largest Trunk or Treat and Fall Carnival events. Enjoy a parking lot full of festive trunks, carnival games, bounce houses, food and tons of candy. Wear your best costumes, and bring your family, friends and neighbors ready for some fall fun. This event starts at 6 p.m. and is completely free to everyone in the community.

    If you want to trick-or-treat and support local businesses, check out downtown Fayetteville. Join local businesses, merchants and retailers in the downtown area as they pass out candy to trick-or-treaters of all ages from 5 to 7 p.m.

    If your kiddo likes the aspect of dressing up, but not so much the trick-or-treating, this Halloween Costume Party in Hope Mills may be for them. The T.J. Robinson Life Center is hosting a free family night of fun. There will be a costume party, arts and crafts, games, moon bounce, zombie laser tag and prizes. Admission is free for everyone. However, some attractions may have a small fee. There will be candy handed out so make sure you bring your own bucket, bag or even a pillow case. The event will take place at 4221 Black Bridge Road from 5 to 8 p.m.

  • Chatham Rabbits by Dalvin NicholsThe Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater in downtown Lumberton will present North Carolina-based bluegrass and Americana group Chatham Rabbits on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.

    As one of North Carolina’s most beloved roots music outfits, Chatham Rabbits has swiftly emerged from the fertile Americana scene in the Triangle. The husband-and-wife duo of Sarah and Austin McCombie favors rustic, minimalist acoustic arrangements — mainly claw hammer-style banjo and guitar — that showcase deftness and maturity with their song writing. The pair will be performing with a full backup band.

    Chatham Rabbits’ first album, “All I Want From You,” was recorded with the help of Watchhouse’s Andrew Marlin, and their sophomore album, “The Yoke is Easy, The Burden is Full,” was released in 2020.

    Their song “Oxen” was named one of the Top Folk Songs of 2020 by Paste Magazine, and the band has been covered by Garden & Gun Magazine, American Songwriter, and No Depression.

    Their ingenuity during the COVID-19 crisis led to building their own venue, The Burrow, and creating their mobile concert experience, The Stay at Home Tour, which took Chatham Rabbits to 194 neighborhoods in 2020 and 2021.

    In addition, the duo is the focus of a new television limited series, “On the Road with Chatham Rabbits,” which premiered on PBS North Carolina in May.
    Last month, they signed with Ramseur Records, which also represents The Avett Brothers, Sierra Ferrell and Amythyst Kiah.

    "When you listen to Chatham Rabbits, there is a tangible feeling of warmth, community, and belonging. This comes across in their songs, in their sound, and is most evident at their live shows. Sarah and Austin are so relatable, as is their music, and I believe they're only scratching the surface of what they can truly become," said Dolph Ramseur, owner of Ramseur Records.

    "We are so honored and excited to be on this roster of incredible artists and we are so stoked for all of the things that this can do for our career. Ramseur Records is truly legendary in the roots music world and it's pretty amazing that we have the opportunity to work with this tight-knit team," the band wrote on their Facebook page.⁣

    Tickets for the show in Lumberton are $20 for adults and $15 for students. This performance is partially underwritten by a grant from the Robeson County Arts Council.

    Tickets for the Mainstage Series can be purchased online by going to www.carolinaciviccenter.com. Tickets also can be purchased in-person from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the theater’s second-floor administrative offices or by calling the Civic Center at 910-738-4339. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. The Theater lobby box office opens for ticket sales one hour before the performance.

    The Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater is a beautifully-restored 1928 treasure listed on the National Register of Historic Places that offers visitors a unique and visually stunning experience. The theater is located at 315 North Chestnut Street. There is plenty of parking around the theater.

  • nosferatu 2021Cape Fear’s Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra presents its symphony movie night featuring the film, "Nosferatu," on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. at Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom in Hope Mills.

    “Nosferatu is our symphony night movie and the purpose of this event is to provide a free event to our community to start off the season,” said Meghan Woolbright, marketing and office manager at the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra.

    “There is also going to be a small ensemble involved with about 8 to 10 performers that bring a lot of punch.”

    “The silent film will be playing and we will soundtrack the film,” said Anna Meyer, interim executive director of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. “The arrangement is by a composer named Peter B. Kay.”

    She added, “We did this last year, it was very successful and people really enjoyed seeing the film with the live music that accompanied it.”
    The movie, "Nosferatu," is a 1922 German silent film based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It entails a vampire who preys on the wife of his estate agent and brings the plague to their town.

    “It is kind of a cult classic and people recognize it,” said Meyer. “We are starting around 8 p.m. and the movie will last about an hour.”

    Meyer added that this is a casual event and individuals may come with friends and family, enjoy food and drinks and connect with the community.
    The idea for the event came from Fayetteville Symphony’s music director, Stefan Sanders, who had done a similar project for an orchestra that he conducts in Austin, Texas.

    “He was aware of the arrangements for the films so typically we will select a silent film that has a good arrangement for symphony,” said Meyer. “Nosferatu is a clear choice because it is a popular film, it is recognizable and goes along with the theme of Halloween.”

    Founded in 1956, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra’s mission is to educate, entertain and inspire the citizens of Fayetteville as a leading musical resource. The group performs eight concerts at Fayetteville State University and Methodist University during the concert season. The professional orchestra also performs educational concerts for schools and the community, offers after-school strings and summer music programs and has its own Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra. Partnerships include collaborative performances with Cumberland Choral Arts, Cape Fear Regional Theatre, St. John’s Episcopal Church and the city’s annual Independence Day concert with fireworks.

    The event is free and open to all ages. Food, drinks and alcoholic beverages will be for sale. For more information, call 910-433-4690 or visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org.

  • kiwanis of fayThe Kiwanis Club International has long been known for their mission in serving the children of the world.

    For the Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville, that means serving the children and youth in our community through service projects, fundraising, grants, scholarships and sponsoring school-based service leadership programs. On Oct. 20, the Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville will be holding their annual Care For Kids Golf Tournament at Gates Four Golf and Country Club, located at 6775 Irongate Drive.

    Check in starts at 11 a.m. and tee off starts at noon with shotgun start. The golf tournament is “Best Ball” Captain’s Choice and will feature closest-to-the-pin.
    There will be teams of four golfers for $400 and single players can sign up for $100 to be paired up with three other golfers. Team prizes will be awarded for first place, middle place and last place.

    After the event, dinner will be catered by Gates Four. Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville will also be selling raffle tickets for $20. Barbara Porter, the Co-Chairman, commented, “Everyone who purchases a raffle ticket will win a prize. All prizes are valued at $25 and higher.”

    All financial proceeds will be supporting local children-focused activities. Porter is proud to announce that the event has already raised $20,000 with at least $2,500 earmarked for the Child Advocacy Center in Fayetteville.

    Other local organizations helping children that this golf tournament will support include Terrific Kids programs, Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Fayetteville Partnership for Children, Boys and Girls Home of NC, and Falcon’s Children’s Home.

    Kiwanis also sponsors Little League Baseball teams, and award local high school students scholarships for college.
    The Fayetteville Kiwanis Club also participates in the Reading is Fun program locally. This is where the Kiwanis members go to preschools to read the children a story then give them a book to keep.

    Sponsorships for Care for Kids Golf Tournament include Platinum, Silver and Bronze levels. There will be a sponsorship for each of the golf holes for $125.
    These sponsors include local businesses, politicians and even a few In Memory Of sponsorships.

    “I look forward to helping with the event itself,” Porter said. “This includes running the sign in table and organizing the raffle. I look forward to meeting the golfers and the community that comes out for the event. The proceeds from this event goes to a good cause, for the children in the community of Fayetteville.”

    The Kiwanis International club was established 102 years ago as a pioneer in providing resources to children and improving the communities they serve. The local Kiwanis Club is one of the 7,000 clubs in over 80 countries. Other events that the Kiwanis host throughout the year include the annual pancake breakfast and a reverse raffle.

    If you would like more information on becoming a member or would like to donate, please visit cfkiwanis.us. The Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville's Care For Kids Golf Tournament will be Oct. 20. If you would like more information on the Care for Kids Annual Golf Tournament, please email Co-Chairman Barbara Porter at barbaragailp@hotmail.com.

  • Rocky Horror Poster The Rocky Horror Show cult classic will be performed live in downtown Fayetteville right before Halloween.
    A Yellow Beanie Project will perform the production. Their theater production is rooted in collaboration among regional artists. They want to provide a platform for emerging and established voices within the Cumberland County community.

    The story of The Rocky Horror Show revolves around sweethearts Brad and Janet, who get stuck with a flat tire during a late summer storm and discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker and a creepy butler. Then, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation through elaborate dances and rock songs: a muscular man named “Rocky.”

    “Rocky, at its core, is about love, self-expression, and acceptance. But we all also know that it is a sexy, irreverent party for the cast and audience, and we all need some dumb fun in our lives every once and a while,” A Yellow Beanie Creative Director Michael Curtis Houck said.

    The music will be directed by Cindy Jones and the choreography will be organized by Rhonda Brocki.
    The show was initially scheduled for August, but was canceled after a COVID-19 outbreak among the cast and production members.

    Performances will last just one week, beginning Oct. 20 at the Gilbert Theater. The performance will include a live cast of 12 regional performers and a four-piece band featuring members of the All-American Jazz Collective.

    An official pre-party will take place each night at Gaston Brewing Company. These parties will have themed drinks and music.
    As with any Rocky Horror production, audience participation is always antici...pated.

    Rocky Horror marks A Yellow Beanie Project’s second theater project in Cumberland County. Their first was Party at Jay’s — a collaboration with Sweet Tea Shakespeare back in May.

    This show is Rated R for strong sexual content and partial nudity. This show is restricted to 16 and up; however, anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

    There will be six performances from Oct. 20 through Oct. 23. Tickets are $28 and can be bought at https://bit.ly/3VstpUm.
    And in case the performances leave you wanting more, more, more, A Yellow Beanie Project has you covered. A week after the performances, the cast of A Yellow Beanie Project can take you on a strange journey with the Rocky Horror Singalong Trolley. The Cool Spring Downtown trolley will be transformed to make sure you have a good time to the point where even smiling will make your face ache.

    The trolley will have two sessions on Oct. 28. One tour will be at 7 p.m., and another will start at 8 p.m. The trolley will depart from the Gaston Brewery & Taproom at 421 Chicago Drive.

    Tickets for the trolley singalong are $30 per person and can be bought at https://bit.ly/3ga198O.

  • uac101211001.jpg With the first signs of Fall showing up in the Cape Fear Region, it only makes sense that people’s thoughts will turn away from summer and outdoor pursuits to something a little calmer — but not if you’re a fan of hockey. In Fayetteville, colder weather means one thing: It’s time for FireAntz Hockey. This year, the FireAntz are pulling out all of the stops to ensure a great year as they celebrate their 10th anniversary, according to Dean Russell, the team’s assistant general manager.

    Russell said the team is going into the season with a new outlook, a new coach and by-in-large, a new bench. The team has been busy recruiting new players under the watchful eye of the new coach, Sean Gillam.

    “Sean is looking to build a bigger team, a tougher team,” said Russell. “We are truly a developmental league, so players come here to learn and then they move on. We are looking at about six former players returning, but everyone else will be new.”

    Russell said he doesn’t believe that will affect the devotion of fans, who have a strong support for the team. “We have even more opportunities for fans to get out and meet the new players. We are scheduling more meet and greets and more opportunities for the players to be out in the community,” he said. “I think it won’t take long for the fans to warm up to the new team.” 10-12-11-fireantz-story.jpg

    The new coach and the new team are something of a fresh start for the franchise. Last year was the first time the team did not make the playoffs, something Russell hopes will change this year.

    “This is going to be a bigger team, a tougher team,” he said. “We start training camp Sunday (Oct. 9), and I’m sure we are going to see a lot out of the team.”

    Over the years, the FireAntz have worked very hard to become an integral part of the community. They have participated in everything from promoting the Blood Donor Center to reading to children in elementary schools. That sense of community will be even stronger this year, as the team celebrates its anniversary.

    “We have a lot of special nights already scheduled and a lot of other events, including the choosing of an all-decade team by the fans later this year,” continued Russell. “Our first military night is at the end of this month on Oct 29.”

    Military nights are one way the FireAntz reach out to the military community. The team has already made inroads with the new commands and hopes to continue building relationships with the military.

    The first game of the season is scheduled for Oct. 21 at the Crown Coliseum. Russell hopes that fans will come out and show the new players the support that make FireAntz fans legend.

    “We have some players returning who were fan favorites, but we don’t think it will take long for the fans to warm up to the new team,” he said.

    For more information about meet and greets, how to particiapte at on-ice games or to book appearances by the FireAntz, visit www.fireantzhockey.com. Check out upcoming issues of Up & Coming Weekly for more information on the team, special nights and upcoming events.


     Gillam to Lead FireAntz in 10th Anniversary Season10-12-11-sgillam.jpg

    When Kevin MacNaught, president/general manager of the Fayetteville FireAntz, announced he was looking for a new coach to the lead the team in its 10th anniversary season, he was innundated with resumes. As he pored over reams of paper, one resume rose to the top — that of Sean Gillam, an assistant coach of the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees.

    Gillam replaces Tommy Stewart, who was released April 7 after four seasons with the Southern Professional Hockey League team.

    “The cornerstones are that we’re going to be a hard-working, disciplined team that puts forth 100 percent effort every night,” Gillam said.

    MacNaught noted,“I have faith in him to be able to recruit and put a strong team together,” MacNaught said.

    “I have confidence in him that he’s straight-up. He didn’t brag about anything — I had to pry stuff out of him about his assets, so he’s pretty humble that way. He’s a guy I think the team’s going to be able to follow and believe in.”

    Gillam, is a 35-year-old native of Lethbridge, Alberta, and a third-round pick by Detroit in the 1994 NHL entry level draft. A defenseman, Gillam played in 662 games over 10 seasons as a pro minor leaguer. He signed with Rio Grande Valley (McAllen, Texas) in 2003 when the Killer Bees were launched, and the team retired his jersey in 2008.

  • nightrainThe Rock’n On the River concert series is wrapping up the season on Oct. 21, and it is sure to end with a bang.

    At 6 p.m., local favorite Joyner Young & Marie, opens the event with Top 40s rock ‘n’ roll. At 8 p.m., Night Train, a nationally touring Guns N' Roses tribute band, takes the stage. Joyner Young & Marie have been performing in the Fayetteville area for over 30 years. The current lineup includes drummer Allen Diffee, and on bass, Gil Howel, who recently joined.

    Lead vocalist Marie Grimsley mentioned, “We look forward to Rock’n On The River every year. The crowd always has a good time.”
    Piano player Bill Joyner and Danny Young on the guitar round out the group with one of the best vocal oriented rock ‘n’ roll bands in Fayetteville.

    The cover song “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak is deceptively hard, but Joyner Young & Marie nails it while the audience dances. It has even been said that when Marie sings the cover, “Lie To Me” it rivals the original artist, Jonny Lang. For long time fans of Joyner Young & Marie, Bill Joyner says, “Adding Gil Howel on bass has really changed our sound. If you haven’t heard us in the last two months, you really need to check us out.”

    Night Train has been taking the U.S. by storm for years as a tribute band to Guns N’ Roses. They have previously performed at the House of Blues and Carolina Rebellion. As a fixture of classic rock, Night Train brings an accuracy and vibrant stage presence to the Guns N’ Roses performance that is always a crowd pleaser. The tribute band performers call themselves Slash, Axl and Izzy and even dress like the original performers.

    Joyner Young Marie friendsFrom the drop of the first beat, down to the last note, Night Train’s high energy showmanship, and top hat, will surely captivate the audience, inspire new generations, and impress longtime Guns N’ Roses faithful fans.

    Rock’n On The River is organized by Greg Adair to provide family friendly entertainment outside. “It’s still rock and roll music, but it’s nothing offensive,” he said.
    Adair aims to give the community a few more family shows as summer winds down without competing with other festival events. This is a win-win for live music and the community.

    This is a Healy Wholesale sponsored event, so adult beverages will be available for purchase, but absolutely no outside coolers or containers. At the event, there will also be water and soft drinks, as well as food available for purchase. Food is being prepared by the Deep Creek Grill which is on site.

    This is a free event, but parking is $15 per vehicle. Parking opens at 5 p.m., show starts at 6 p.m. Pets are not permitted except for service animals. Concert goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating. Rock’n On The River is held at Campbellton Landing on the Cape Fear River. The address is 1122 Person St. East in Fayetteville. For more information visit www.facebook.com/rockn-on-the-river.

  • Join in on the fun in Downtown Fayetteville at this month’s 4th Friday celebration on Oct. 28. Take a stroll around the historic district, browse the unique boutiques and satisfy your hunger at one of the many remarkable restaurants. There will be music on every corner and many other fun activities for visitors and resi-dents to enjoy.

    “We have a drum circle, belly dancers, acoustic musicians, jugglers. Different businesses will have refreshments, and the Arts Council has an exhibit,” said Sheri Collins, 4th Friday coordinator at the Downtown Alliance. “Also, this year we started doing different themes. For instance, this month’s theme is the Zombie Walk.

    ”In the spirit of Halloween, Zombies will invade downtown Fayetteville at the Second Annual Zombie Walkon 4th Friday. Join in on the fright fest by slip-ping into your most blood-curdling costume and start lining up at the Festival Park Promenade at 7:30 p.m. The zombies will start invading downtown at 8 p.m. and will begin shuffling down Ray Avenue and making their way toward the Market House on Hay Street. The walk will end on Green Street and the zombies will be greeted by haunting music by the Villains/Misfits and others. “The Zombie Walk ended up being a bigger event than we thought,” said Collins, “There were about 1,000 people who participated last year, and we were only expecting maybe a couple hundred.”

    The Zombie Walk and concert is free and open to the public. It is expected that this year the costumes will be even better than last year and that there will be even more participation.

    Other Halloween related events are the Murder Mystery dinner theatre at the Rainbow Room. This is a fundraiser put on by a group from Fayetteville State University and will benefit homeless and runaway teenagers. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased by calling 322-8266.

    There will also be a showing of The Night of the Living Dead at the Cameo Art House Theatre.

    This month’s feature exhibit at the Art’s Council is Witness: The American Vietnam Experience Told First Hand Through Images and Stories of Local Vietnam Veterans, Native Born Vietnamese and the Texas Tech University’s Vietnam Center and Archive. This exhibit will be open to the public at the Arts Council from 7-9 p.m. during 4th Friday.10-19-11-4th-friday-logo.jpg

    Arts Alive!is another 4th Friday feature that takes place at the Farmer’s Market at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum on Franklin Street. Local artists will set up dis-plays and there will be handmade goods such as clay pottery, paintings and jewelry for sale.

    Cotton Exchange Express will be on site for visitors to ride through the 4th Friday area. “This can be for adults as well, but is mostly something that the kids enjoy,” said Collins. “There’s also the 4th Friday trolley and you can get out anywhere.”

    So come out to this month’s 4th Friday and join in on the haunting and art-centered festivities that Downtown Fayetteville has to offer.

    Photo: Take a stroll around the historic district, browse the unique boutiques and satisfy your hunger at one of the many remarkable restaurants.

  • Sawyer Brown Poster Dominating the charts in the late 80s and early 90s with hits like “Step That Step” and “Some Girls Do,” country-pop music legends Sawyer Brown have long been a band noted for their charismatic stage performances and feel-good music.

    On Saturday, Oct. 29, they'll bring their energetic stage act to Cape Fear Vineyard & Winery in Elizabethtown.
    Widely known as a “cool” country band, Sawyer Brown was founded in Apopka, Florida, in the early 1980s. Since coming on to the scene with their first hit, “Leona,” the band has released over 20 albums, charted over 50 singles, and received several country music awards.

    Now they are primarily a touring band with over 4,000 shows under their belt. Their live performances feature the rollicking dance hits for which they're known and the more serious ballads their fans will remember.

    In addition to Sawyer Brown, concert-goers will be treated to performances by North Carolina's favorite CMA Music Entertainer of the Year,
    Brian Mayer, and Shelby County natives Dirty Grass Soul.
    The family-friendly show will begin at 7:30 p.m., with gates opening at 6. Guests will have an opportunity to purchase food, beverages, wine, and spirits on site during the concert.

    “This show is for anyone who loves country music,” Derrick Rice, Events Director for Cape Fear Vineyard & Winery, told Up & Coming Weekly.

    “Gen Z country music fans and those who remember Sawyer Brown are really going to enjoy this show.”

    The national award-winning Cape Fear Vineyard & Winery is by no means the average concert venue. Founded in 2014, this unique establishment has something to offer anyone looking for beauty and luxury right outside Cumberland County.

    From their beautiful grounds to their romantic on site cabins, Cape Fear Vineyard & Winery offers a wide range of experiences for their guests to enjoy.
    Wine tastings can be scheduled in the vineyard's Cork Room Restaurant, and bottles are available for purchase in the Tipsy Toad Ballroom.

    Additionally, Cape Fear Distillery’s award-winning spirits ought to do the trick for those who like their libations a bit stronger.
    The Cork Room, open Wednesday through Sunday, features southern staples such as fried green tomatoes and more exotic interpretations like black-eyed pea hummus with pita. The menu is full of local ingredients and farm-to-table options crafted by a team of talented chefs trained in the art of southern cuisine.

    Guests can take in the massive collection of sculptures and paintings that dot the grounds and adorn the walls of buildings around the property. Pieces from Sir Paul McCartney, Muhammed Ali, and Burt Reynolds are just a few that make up one of the largest celebrity art collections

    The vineyard is also perfect for a romantic getaway or “day-cation” with a stay at the vineyard's lakeside Cape Fear Cottages or a relaxing trip to the Vines Day Spa.

    Tickets for the concert start at $29 and are available at https://www.capefearwinery.com/.

  • Cape Beard Brotherhood Johnny Schantz, George W. Richards and Tom Diffin sit outside Rude Awakening in downtown Fayetteville. An idyllic cry to their blue-collar roots, they are dressed in loose button downs, T-shirts and worn blue jeans. They would say they are comfortably dressed. In their professions, it doesn’t matter much how they come dressed — one a mechanic, the other an owner of a pet sitting business and the third a motorcycle builder. Each profession carries its load of dirt from a hard day’s work. The clothes they sit in now will look different at the end of most days. They laugh and joke, speaking to one another with an ease of lifelong friends.

    They always address each other as “brother.”

    All of the men are adorned with long, grown out grayed beards. They wear it as a proud token of membership to the group of brothers with whom they belong.

    Without much provocation, Diffin brings out his worn black wallet. It’s well-used and thin except for a bump under which are three coins — one is his, one is his brothers and the third for Ted, a member of the group who has passed on. Each one of the men’s wallets houses one of these thick metal coins — a token of membership. It is a coin of brotherhood. And the rule is, they must carry this on them at all times.

    These brothers, as they call each other, are members of Cape Beard — a beard and mustache group with a unique niche — charity work.
    And they have three main rules: family, work and club.

    “In that order,” Richards says.

    Diffin flips one of his coins back and forth and rubs it between his fingers. He looks like a hardball. One of the first guys to go 200 miles per hour on a Harley Davidson and stereotypical to the look of a motorcycle rider. But as he sits on the sunny Friday morning, he speaks softly, tears at the thought of his brothers who have passed on and talks fondly and proudly about Cape Beard.

    “It all started as a joke back in 2011. A bunch of us got together and watched sports teams and hung out on Sundays,” Diffin says, laughing. “To see what it has blossomed into today is just unbelievable.”

    In the beginning, Cape Beard started out with 10 members. Diffin is number 13. His identical twin brother Tim, the other half of the motorcycling duo, was number 12. He passed away in 2012. George W., a jokester who strongly pronounces both the George and the W in his name, is number 55. When Schantz joined, he became member 75.

    “Tom got me involved in it,” Schantz says. “Love him to death for it.”

    “Don’t blame me,” Diffin says, laughing.

    The group is currently preparing for its upcoming event at Dirt Bag Ales, Beardtober Fest. They have hosted this event since 2012 and held it at Dirt Bag Ales for the last four years. It will include food vendors and of course, beard and mustache competitions of all sorts. Last year, they saw 100 competitors in their competitions. The event’s proceeds will go 100% to the Karen Chandler Trust, which helps local cancer patients with rent, utilities and other expenses while undergoing cancer treatment.

    “It is the best non-profit in the world. No sitting board member gets any money,” Richards says.

    Cape Beard prides itself on choosing only charities that have no overhead. They said this was one of the things that attracted them to the Chandler Trust.

    “They go broke every year.” Diffin says. “Kind of like us.” Diffin laughs.

    “We vet the local organization,” Richards says. “If we don’t like something we cut ties and we leave. We’ll leave if we don’t like where the money is going or if it ends up being corrupt.”

    The group is philanthropic but they say they look atypical for a group whose main focus is charity. They may be right as most of them are burly men who stay bearded at least nine months out of the year to comply with Cape Beard’s bylaws. Most of them hold blue collar jobs. They seem, at a glance, like the toughest of men.

    “People look at us and they go, we are like the dregs of society. Unshaven. Comfortably dressed. We were reluctant to file for the 501(c),” Diffin says.

    Eventually, they did and any money they collect at any of their events goes straight to the local charity that they are supporting. The club has hosted up to five events per year and each event is tied to a local charity. At the end of each event, the members do what they call a “bump up,” where they throw in their own money to round up the donation.

    “The little thing about some of the guys in this group. I have phone calls where some of the guys can’t make it to the meeting because they are low on fuel and ask me to give them a ride. Then they spend their whole weekend raising money to give to someone else? How do you not love people like that?” Schantz asks.

    Diffin tears a little and says a firm, “amen.” Schantz rocks his head a little as he talks.

    “When I saw that — I was hook, line and sinker. I was in the frying pan cooking myself. I was done. This is where I needed to be.” Schantz says.

    Of the events Cape Beard sponsors, the most popular are their Pig Pickin’ for Autism, “Show Us Your Cans” food drive and Beardtoberfest. However, members of the community have been asking the group when they plan to bring back Bearded Beauties. When they were first asked to host the event years ago, the group jumped to some conclusions about the details.

    “We are going — beautiful women … evening gowns … talent. Yeah. What do you want us to do? Be Chaperones?,” Diffin says, laughing. “Miss Sarah looked at us, ‘No, we want you to be the contestants.’ It took 3 maybe 4 meetings to talk the brothers into stepping out of their comfort zone.”

    In the end, the bearded beauties stepped up to the plate. The first Bearded Beauties event even included a calendar of the group that they sold for charity. It was a hit. Diffin laughs as he says the calendar has come back to “haunt” them. People keep asking them about when they are making another one. However, in the end, they admit it was worth it, as every event is to them.

    Some time ago, the group received a note from a young boy in the community. Being unable to write himself, his mother helped him to thank the members of Cape Beard. The young boy was in cancer treatment in Cumberland County and was supported by the efforts of Cape Beard. One of the brothers read the note aloud at a monthly meeting while the others listened.

    “It was the first time I saw that many grown men, that looked like they could take over the town, cry,” Diffin says. “Guys that are tougher looking than me were crying. That just brings meaning to what we do.”

    The men also are a foundation for each other, a brotherhood. They note that some of the group members suffer depression or lingering issues from years of military service. But a brother is just a call away.

    “We lost a brother to suicide,” Diffin chokes up. “All he had to do was reach out. It's disheartening to know there’s nothing in place for them for support. I am the oldest guy here. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. It hurts me when they don’t reach out.”

    The men all nod their heads in unison. They are silent for a second and then continue on to laugh and joke with one another. In the midst of regular conversation, one of them says the acronym, “KTF.” Another repeats it. It’s the rally cry of their group. When asked about the meaning, the three laugh. There's a long story involved and perhaps a swear word or two. But if asked, they’ll share the story and the passion they have for their community.

    BeardtoberFest will be hosted Oct. 15 at Dirt Bag Ales. Doors open at 6 p.m. and competitions start at 7 p.m. Admission is $15. Those in attendance can compete in one event with admission. Any additional events are $5.

  • Dogwood Fall Fest pic It is the time of year for the annual Dogwood Fall Festival, delivering fun and entertainment for all.

    The Dogwood Festival is a non-profit, community-oriented organization dedicated to providing various family-focused activities held in historic downtown Fayetteville. The Festival aims to entertain the community, promote and sustain new and existing businesses, enhance a positive community image, and attract out-of-town tourists while sharing the cultural and recreational opportunities available in the Fayetteville area.

    On Friday, Oct. 14, the Dogwood Fall Festival will be from 6 to 10 p.m. in Festival Park with hayrides, a KidZone, and food trucks.
    Take a ride on a tractor pulled hayride and let the guides tell you and your family all about the history of the downtown district. This ride will delight the little ones without being too scary, while the older ones will be able to appreciate some spooky elements. The hayrides will run through the entire weekend. Pre-sale tickets are going for $5 while day-of tickets are selling at $7 or buy 4 or more it’s $5 per ticket. Children two or younger ride for free.

    Guests are welcome to come out to Festival Park between noon and 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15. The Promenade Fair opens at noon for those interested in taking a stroll down Festival Park Plaza to explore a variety of vendors and sponsors.

    KidZone continues on Saturday from noon until 9 p.m. Hayrides will run from 2 to 10 p.m. The Battle of the Bands will go from 1 to 8 p.m. This year’s line-up includes talented performers from around the Cape Fear area. The Dogwood Fall Festival’s MC, Casey T. Cotton, will lead the performers as they compete for the opportunity to open for the 2023 Fayetteville Dogwood Festival headlining band(s). After the Battle of the Bands, stick around for the Dueling Piano Show with Blazin Keys Entertainment. This dueling piano showdown is free.

    On Saturday, you can also grab your favorite costume and compete in the Dogwood Fall Festival’s Costume Contest. Participants can sign up on the day of the event at the Costume Contest Tent (located in Festival Park - 335 Ray Avenue). The event will begin at 3 p.m. and it’s free to participate.

    The on-site Dogwood Fall Festival will run from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16. On Sunday, the Promenade Fair and KidZone will run from noon until 6 p.m. Hayrides will be from 2 to 6 p.m.

    If you or someone you know owns a hot set of wheels, be sure to check out the Dogwood Fall Festival Car, Motorcycle, and Truck Show, which begins at 9:30 a.m. This event welcomes all vehicles including, but not limited to, cars, motorcycles and trucks. This premier event includes the opportunity to win a variety of awards, music, fun, and of course, bragging rights if you win. Pre-registration will be available until Friday, Oct. 15 at 11:59 p.m. After that, vehicles will meet at the Festival Park Plaza, walk-ups are welcome, but space is limited, so don’t wait to register. It’s $15 for motorcycles to enter and $25 for cars and trucks to enter.

    Participants may register in the following categories: Car/Truck- Antique (1900-1975); Classic (1976-2000); Modern (2001-present day), Motorcycle- General Entry.

    One off-site event will happen at 6 p.m. on Sunday. The I Am Plush Plus Size Fashion Show will take place at the Moose Event Center located at 3740 Owen Drive. The show promotes body positivity and plus size fashion fabulousness. General admission tickets are $25 and VIP tickets are $50. Both can be purchased at Eventbrite.com. For more information about the fashion show call 910-823-7663.

  • Dogwood Pageant UCW 10 5 22 The Fayetteville Dogwood Festival hosted its 24th Annual Miss Fayetteville Dogwood Pageant Sept. 17 at Seabrook Auditorium. The longstanding community tradition celebrates the talent and accomplishments of young women and ladies across the Sandhills.

    This year, 26 contestants were grouped into five competition levels: Little Miss (5-7), Young Miss (8-10), Junior Miss (11-13), Teen Miss (14-17), and Miss Fayetteville (18-24).

    More than a mere “beauty pageant,” the young ladies competing for Miss Fayetteville Dogwood are judged by rigorous criteria, which include both a private and on-stage interview for all contestants, Sunday Best for Young and Little Miss, Evening Gown for Miss, Teen Miss, and Junior Miss, and finally, Talent for the Miss Fayetteville Dogwood level.

    While putting their best dress forward is certainly part of the fun for the contestants, the Dogwood Festival makes their values clear as the interview portion is the most strongly weighted criterion at each competition level.

    All young ladies aged 5-24 are eligible to compete, provided they live in Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Moore, Robeson or Sampson county.
    Winners in the Miss and Teen Miss categories each win a scholarship along with their titles, and winners in all other categories will have an opportunity to represent the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival at various events throughout the year.

    Up & Coming Weekly spoke with Sarahgrace Snipes Mitchell, executive director of the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival, about the organization's involvement with the pageant and its dedication to developing opportunities for young ladies of the region.

    “The Miss Fayetteville Dogwood Pageant is a way for us to interact with a different population within the community,” Mitchell explained. “We usually interact through music and art, but through this event, we're able to have a more personal and intimate relationship with our contestants, the winners, and their families.”

    In a society focused on elevating women based on likes, clicks and views, the Miss Fayetteville Dogwood Pageant seeks to show the value of substance over superficiality.

    Through this pageant, the young women on stage get to compete based on their merit, personality and passions — building strong foundations for their futures.

    “The value of this pageant is in the experience these young ladies get,” said Mitchell. “When we look at female empowerment, young women need an opportunity to build confidence in who they are and who they can be.”

    For 40 years, the Dogwood Festival name has been synonymous with unification and has come to exemplify the best of what Fayetteville and surrounding areas have to offer; as such, their standards for Miss Fayetteville Dogwood Festival are quite high.

    “Our pageant is looking for young women who are honest, have strong integrity, patience, kindness, and the ability to be humble,” shared Mitchell.

    Up & Coming Weekly spoke with this year’s winners to learn a little more about the young women representing the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival.

    Little Miss — Betty Leggett

    Elizabeth “Betty” Leggett is this year’s Little Miss Fayetteville Dogwood Festival title winner. This is the Village Christian Academy Kindergartener's very first pageant.

    A born performer with a great imagination, Betty loves dancing, dressing up, and playing with her baby dolls. Betty also participates in cheer, ballet, and jazz dance. When she grows up, she'd like to use her talents to become a farmer or a teacher.
    Though she loves getting all dressed up and putting on makeup, Betty finds it challenging to sit still and not fidget, but admits it's worth it to win a crown.

    Young Miss — Emma Luchetta

    The winner of this year's Young Miss Fayetteville Dogwood Festival is ten-year-old Emma Luchetta of Eastover Central Elementary. Emma, a fifth grader this year, is new to pageantry, having participated in her first one back in February, where she was named Little Miss Cape Fear.

    Emma is a competitive gymnast on the Gold Team at Omega Gymnastics when not on stage. In addition to her extracurricular accomplishments, Emma is Vice-President of her school's BETA Club and Student-Athlete of the Year.

    Along with the Young Miss title at this year’s pageant, Emma won Miss Congeniality and Best Interview in her category. Emma wants to be a Marine Biologist and hopes to own a cage-free animal rescue when she grows up.

    “I love how much fun you can have and that you can just be yourself,” she said of competing in pageants. “You don't have to pretend to be like anyone else.”

    Junior Miss — McKala Sallie

    Mac Williams Middle School eighth-grader McKala Sallie took home the title of Junior Miss Fayetteville Dogwood Festival.
    McKala is a seasoned performer, having participated in pageants since she was six months old. McKala has earned several titles, including Carolinas’ Miss Unity for Miss Celebrations USA and Junior Miss Eastover.

    In addition to her commitment to pageantry, McKala also runs track for Mac Williams Middle School. When she graduates, she’d like to pursue a career as a sports announcer for ESPN college football or give back all the knowledge she’s gained as a pageant coach.

    McKala admits it can be challenging to overcome her nerves but loves competing in pageants for the skills they teach and the opportunity they offer to talk about her passions.

    “I love pageants because they give me a chance to learn life lessons, like interviews and public speaking,” McKala shared with Up & Coming Weekly. “They also give me the opportunity to tell everyone about my platform, Off-Road OutReach, and why there shouldn't be homeless Veterans.”

    Teen Miss — Olivia Gray

    Oliva Gray is this year's Teen Miss Fayetteville Dogwood Festival Pageant winner. A high school senior at Village Christian Academy, this is Olivia's first foray into the pageant world.

    Olivia is currently a part of the High School Connections Program at Fayetteville Technical Community College and is pursuing a certificate in Criminal Justice. Outside of her academic successes, Olivia is her school's varsity cheer captain, yearbook editor, is involved in several clubs, and speaks two languages. Though she's new to pageantry, Olivia is no stranger to competition. She has danced since age two, danced competitively since age five, and dreams of being a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader.

    After obtaining her Criminal Justice certificate and graduating in May of 2023, Olivia plans to major in pre-law or forensics with a minor in Spanish with the long-term goal of becoming a lawyer.

    Although this is Olivia’s first pageant, she has enjoyed her experience thus far and looks forward to competing in the future.

    “Becoming Miss Teen Fayetteville Dogwood Festival has been one of my biggest accomplishments to date,” she shared. “I have very high expectations for myself, and it pushes me to work hard. Accomplishing the goals I set for myself is very rewarding and worth the challenge in the end.”

    Miss Fayetteville — Janiya Pipkin

    The winner of 2022’s Miss Fayetteville Dogwood Festival crown is 21-year-old Methodist University senior Janiya Pipkin.
    Initially hesitant, the criminal justice major and licensed cosmetologist entered this year’s competition after a chance encounter with Miss North Carolina and at her mother’s urging.

    “I’ve done pageants before but stopped when I was seven or eight,” she confessed. Honestly, my mom encouraged me to enter. I’ve always dreamed of competing for the Miss America or Miss USA title and felt this would be a great place to start.”

    A pastor's daughter, Janiya, is extremely involved in her church and credits her confidence and success to her faith in God. When not working as a cosmetologist, Janiya serves her church as a youth ministry leader and praise and worship leader.

    In addition to pursuing her criminal justice undergraduate degree, Janiya also cheered full-time for the Methodist University Monarchs, finishing up her tenure this past February. After graduation, she intends to enter law school with the ultimate goal of becoming a judge.

    Though she's been out of the pageant game for a while, Janiya says the main takeaway is the confidence competing in pageants gives her.

    “The thing I love about competing is the boost of confidence it gives you,” Janiya said. “For any pageant, whether you win or lose, you’re putting yourself out there to be judged, and it’s important to know that no matter what happens, you’re still a winner. It takes a lot of courage, strength and confidence to put yourself out there.”

    Another aspect of pageantry Janiya enjoys is the camaraderie and the opportunity to act as a role model for young women on a similar path.

    “We all had nerves and jitters, but we came together in support of one another — no matter who won. One thing I would tell the young women behind me is this: ‘you can do it.’ I tell them to remember the process, the excitement they feel backstage, and not to let anyone take those feelings of joy away. No matter what, you have to keep telling yourself you can do it.”

  • FTCC colege transfer day Fayetteville Technical Community College will host College Transfer Day on Oct. 27 from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. at the Tony Rand Student Center Multi-Purpose Room.
    This year, FTCC anticipates representation from 46 public and private universities.

    College Transfer Day serves as an avenue to promote the transferability of academic credits earned by community college students to public and private four-year colleges and universities.

    Students can connect and have questions answered by university representatives on topics such as admissions requirements, programs of study, scholarship and internship opportunities and financial aid processes. The ability for students to connect with a multitude of educational representatives at the same time is a unique and helpful resource.

    The process of transferring to another college is not identical to applying to college for the first time. While a student’s high school transcript and SAT/ACT scores may be reviewed, these items typically take a back seat to the academic college transcript that a student has earned at the community college level. Community college students wishing to transfer to 4-year colleges should strive to achieve excellent grades in order to be competitive during the transfer process, as current academic college transcripts will be reviewed more rigorously than high school transcripts.

    College Transfer Day is a great way for students to learn about each school’s unique policies and deadlines and to make contacts, receive literature and ask questions.

    Transfer students should be mindful of important university deadlines. Universities not only have deadlines that may vary from one school to another but also have specific policies for transfer students who are applying to professional programs.

    The pandemic presented students and universities with many challenges, but the opportunity to visit the campuses of universities before deciding if a college is the right fit academically and emotionally is important. Students interested in transfer tours may reach out to FTCC’s office of University Outreach for assistance.

    The Office of University Outreach also offers many opportunities and programs that allow transfer students to receive a better understanding of the academic landscape involved with the transfer process, and FTCC’s College Transfer Day is one of those opportunities. Transfer Thursdays are offered weekly at FTCC, allowing students to make an appointment to receive an evaluation of two universities of the student’s choice. After evaluation of the current course work, the student is given additional advisement and, if desired, is registered.

    At FTCC, we understand that better skills lead to better jobs with better pay. Helping students achieve their educational goals to prepare for a successful career is our top priority. Finding your way forward is easy, with FTCC.

    College Transfer Day is a free event open to anyone wanting information about college transfer options. Questions may be directed to nelsonl@faytechcc.edu or by calling 910-678-8205.

  • Screen Shot 2018 10 30 at 3.42.54 PM While Hope Mills residents may still be debating what costumes to wear for Halloween, it’s already time to start entertaining thoughts about the town’s annual Christmas parade.

    This year’s event, scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Dec. 1, has an application process that’s already begun. The deadline for receiving applications from any organization or business interested in being a part of the parade is Nov. 19.

    Forms can be picked up at the recreation department’s temporary headquarters in Hope Mills Town Hall or downloaded at www.townofhopemills.com.

    Applications have to be turned in just under two weeks before the parade is held to allow time to review each one and to set the parade lineup and deal with all the logistics involved, said Kasey Ivey, head of senior programs for the town of Hope Mills.

    Ivey said there have been some minor changes in the rules for this year’s parade.

    Previously, stopping during the parade was prohibited to avoid creating gaps in the parade lineup. A new policy has been added that allows individual units to stop if they feel the need to for an unspecified safety reason.

    Spectators are encouraged to arrive early where possible so they can find parking along the parade route and to get to adequate seating for themselves and everyone in their party.

    Another parade rule still in place is that no one will be allowed to throw candy into the crowd from any float or other unit in the parade.

    Ivey said this is to prevent the possibility of children running into the path of parade units to retrieve candy.

    Businesses or organizations that have candy or material they’d like to distribute during the parade will be allowed to have people on foot handing it out as they pass by the crowd on the street.

    A precaution for floats requires them to have a safety hold or side railings for all riders on the float. Also, Ivey said anyone driving a vehicle that is in the parade or pulling a float must be 18 years of age.

    Even though Election Day will have passed, political campaigning along the parade route is not permitted.

    Everyone is reminded that Santa-themed entries are not permitted because, according to the application form, “the real Santa Claus has agreed to participate.’’

    Lineup for the parade begins at 1 p.m., judging of floats at 2:15 p.m. and roll call at 2:30 p.m.

    Contact Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com or Maxey Dove at 910-426-4108 with specific questions about parade entries. Questions can also be answered via the recreation department’s Facebook page, Hope Mills Parks and Recreation.

    If anyone needs to get answers face-to-face, the parks and recreation offices remain closed due to damage from Hurricane Florence. Ivey said they have relocated to temporary headquarters in Town Hall on Rockfish Road. Visit the front reception desk at Town Hall during normal business hours.

  • Guiding Wellness free yoga for mil Guiding Wellness Institute was established as a brick and mortar business in 2016, but entrepreneur Kelsy Timas has been serving the military and first responder communities for the past 15 years with the motto “Live Well. Be Well.”

    As an educational center, Guiding Wellness Institute has a greater reach within society. Guiding Wellness is a registered yoga school offering 200-hour and 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training, as well as continuing education classes for those registered with Yoga Alliance. The organization will graduate their 18th class of students this month from programs held in 3 different states. Over the past seven years, these trainings have resulted in hundreds of trained teachers all over the world. The yoga school takes a nervous system informed approach.

    Kelsy Timas has a passion for teaching people about their nervous system, and how that relates to self-regulation. Timas said, “As adults, we have the responsibility of managing yet we do not equip people with self-regulation. When people come to our yoga classes, some people are learning how to regulate their nervous system for the first time.” For global populations in suffering, yoga provides a unique opportunity for collective growth.

    From a holistic approach, Guiding Wellness offers flotation therapy. As a pioneer in the holistic world, the wellness center even participated in the first evidence-based trial. With the normalization of holistic health, Guiding Wellness offers individual services, such as RTM trauma therapy, and even provides corporate wellness training.

    Guiding Wellness provides therapeutic massages that are customizable, offering cupping and hot stone within a recovery environment. The massages range from deep tissue to myofascial release and neuro muscular release. Massage can help with sleep and relieve pain. The price list for massages can be found on their website.

    For the military community, Guiding Wellness offers a program designed to serve and support the unique needs of the military family through all seasons of the military life cycle from the family perspective. These seasons range from bootcamp to deployment, redeployment and retirement. The Military Advocacy Program, or M.A.P., is committed to creating access to immediate and long-term care with collaborative work to help service members and families. M.A.P. even offers Care for the Caregivers and discount wellness memberships for military, teachers and first responders.

    With the Warrior’s Spirit, Guiding Wellness proudly offers free yoga classes for active and retired members of the armed forces as well as the military family. On Tuesday and Thursday from 11a.m. to 12 p.m., the studio hosts Mindful Movement Chair Yoga. On Friday mornings from 9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Timas facilitates Therapeutic Yoga Mat Class. These military yoga classes are adaptable and accessible. Manager and Yoga Instructor Julia Pillman said, “One class a week could change your life.”

    Guiding Wellness is located at 143 Skateway Drive in Fayetteville. This is off Raeford Road near 71st High School. These class times and instructors are subject to change seasonally, so be sure to follow Guiding Wellness Institute on Facebook and Instagram. For more information on M.A.P. visit the website at https://guidingwellness.com/m-a-p/ and subscribe to the Be Well Podcast.

    If you would like to learn more about services or would like to become an affiliate partner, please email the program advisor at MAP@guidingwellness.com.

  • 19 Teacher of year As Cumberland County’s newest teacher of the year, Amy Stovall of Gray’s Creek High School hopes to use the platform she’s been given to help spread awareness for arts education and the important role it can play in developing the total student.

    Stovall, who teaches vocal music and choir at Gray’s Creek, was named the county’s teacher of the year at a banquet in mid-October.

    A native of Louisiana, a connection with the military first brought her to Fayetteville.

    After starting her education at Louisiana State and Austin Peay, she earned a bachelor of music education at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and followed it up in 2014 with a master’s in the same field.

    It was during her college years that she first felt a calling to become a teacher.

    She grew up around music; she was the daughter of an Elvis impersonator who made money on the side during his college years with his act.

    Stovall’s grandmother played piano, and Amy remembers taking piano lessons off and on from the time she was 8 years old.

    She began teaching at Lumberton Junior High School, spent three years at Scotland High School and has been at Gray’s Creek for the past 10 years.

    She’s mainly taught vocal music and choir. This year, she’s teaching advanced placement music theory for the first time. She also helps out with the school’s band and theater programs, working with the school’s theater teacher to put on a fullscale musical every spring.

    Stovall admitted she was surprised when she learned she was a candidate for teacher of the year.

    “A lot of the messages of congratulations that came to me were from fellow art educators who said, “We’re just so thrilled not just that you got it but that an arts educator got it,’’ she said.

    She said it’s hard for people who don’t teach in the arts to understand or see that arts teachers have a detailed curriculum just like other academic teachers. “I think there’s a misconception that we sit in our classrooms in a circle and sing cute songs,’’ she said.

    She fears many people see arts-oriented classes like hers as little more than places where the teachers are glorified babysitters.

    She said that’s never been the perception of her peers of her classes at Gray’s Creek.

    “I really feel like my kids get a pretty good education in history, in cultural awareness, mathematics and physics,’’ she said. “We talk about the properties of sound also. We put all those frames of reference into the lesson, into the things that we sing. We’re not just learning notes and rhythm.’’

    In addition to learning, Stovall hopes the young people in her classes are also growing and expanding their minds in areas that will help them in whatever field they might try to pursue.

    “This is going to translate into their adult life, when they’re working with people in the real-world settings,’’ she said. “It’s really important that these kids have their imaginations stirred.

    “Their brains need time to imagine, create and play, otherwise we’re just spitting out kids who can pass tests. What are they going to do with that knowledge? If they aren’t imagining and creating now, when they are young, they are going to become scientists who don’t know how to invent anything.’’

    That’s why Stovall feels an obligation to use the platform and voice she’s been given as teacher of the year, even if it’s just local, to speak out about the importance of music and arts education.

    “We need equity in arts funding,’’ she said. “We need to protect our arts teachers’ jobs. Funding is a hard issue, and the arts are usually the first thing to get cut.’’

    She fears cutting arts positions eliminates an essential piece of education for children. She hopes to use her voice to bring awareness to the importance of arts education, what its needs are and how it benefits students.

    “To me, it’s important that I’m standing here being the voice of my fellow music and arts educators,’’ she said.

    Photo: Amy Stovall (center) stands with husband Tommy (left) and Dr. Marvin Connelly Jr. (right), superintendent of Cumberland County Schools.

  • Lafay fall fest fire truck Reliably transporting commodities thousands of miles, moving tons of concrete and battling house fires is only a fraction of what trucks do. In fact, one of a truck’s most important jobs is giving kids the opportunity to climb inside.

    On Saturday, Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lafayette Ford will host its Fall Festival where the whole family can get an up-close and personal look at some of the service vehicles that make our world just a little bit easier and safer.

    “We’re trying to get all of our community vehicles involved,” said Lafayette Ford Marketing Director Paula Lindler. “And not even necessarily trucks. It can be any vehicle, but we’re trying to get” an ambulance, a fire truck, a police car, and interesting things like that for the whole family to enjoy.

    If you’ve taken a drive around town or a walk through the grocery store, you’re aware that we haven’t completely recovered from the pandemic. Thankfully, Lafayette Ford’s Fall Festival is a means to give our imaginations something to contemplate other than the misery of a crippled supply chain.

    All sorts of major industries rely on service vehicles to maintain their supply chain, and this reliance is echoed in smaller industries, said tech company Cloud Trucks. Everything from raw material that come from forests, mines and farms must be transported by truck in a distribution process that repeats itself all the way down to the consumer, CT said.

    Transportation of supplies is not the only industry that relies on vehicles. Utilities, public service, law enforcement, medical care and of course, the fire department, rely on vehicles so workers can accomplish their duties.

    “Kids love fire trucks,” Lindler added. “We want kids to get to know local police, and it’s just a good will community building event.”

    Despite promoting an event called “Truck Day” in November for the past few years, this year they changed the name to the Fall Festival, Lindler said. “Because Lafayette Ford is expanding into things besides trucks.”

    Lafayette Ford’s Fall Festival is a community event, and it is free to everyone. However, Lafayette Ford is asking each person to bring one can of food to donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina.
    The first 250 people to bring a food donation will get a free lunch from one of the food trucks paid for by Lafayette Ford. Plus, you will get a ticket for a chance to win one of the door prizes, Lindler said. You can eat a cheap lunch and win some cool prizes that day, Lindler added.
    The Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center will be on hand, too. So, while the kids are playing on all the cool trucks, the adults can roll up their sleeves and give blood if they want, Lindler said.

    “[Lafayette Ford] isn’t trying necessarily to sell vehicles [during the festival]. It’s really about giving back to the community,” Lindler said.

    “We’re going to have Truck or Treat for the kids. We’re going to have some trucks decorated for Halloween, and we’ll be giving out candy,” Lindler said.

    Lafayette Ford’s Fall Festival is scheduled for Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 5202 Raeford Road. Lafayette Ford is located on the southwestern side of Fayetteville. For more information about the Fall Festival and Lafayette Ford, please visit LaFayetteFord.com.

    Take a break that Saturday, wear your favorite costumes and head down to Lafayette Ford. Kids of all ages can have fun checking out all the trucks and other vehicles while helping a few local good causes.

    “There will be a lot of vehicles on display” at the Fall Festival, such as utility trucks that restore power when there’s a storm, Lindler added.
    Lafayette history

    In 1949, Bess Smith opened Lafayette Motor Sales in downtown Fayetteville. This All-American dealership started out using the fundamental values of honesty, integrity, respect and community involvement. Values that Lafayette Ford holds dear to this day.

    In 1955, George Purvis Sr. purchased Lafayette Motor Sales. As Fayetteville expanded, Purvis realized Lafayette Ford needed to expand, as well, and was essential in turning Lafayette Motor Sales into the dealership it is today.

    In 1982, Lafayette Ford found its official home on Raeford Road. At that time, the dealership consisted of a small new and used sales building and car wash, but, as time went on and the business became more successful, a service and parts department was added, making Lafayette Ford the one-stop-shop for all of our automotive needs.

    In 1995, Don Price purchased Lafayette Ford. Price began his career as a salesman at Lafayette Ford back in the mid-1960s, and, by the time he bought the dealership, he was general manager. Before that, Price was in the Air Force.

    With Price, son Tim and son-in-law Mark Fisher on board, Lafayette Ford continues over 70 years of success by being the dealership that treats its customers like family, and the Fall Festival