• nov18-maxwell-fam.jpgThere is no shortage of people in our area who live their faith daily so I rarely have difficulty writing my article. I usually have more difficulty getting it to the editors than actually compiling the information. However, this week I wrestled with what to write because I wanted to do this particular story justice.

    Like so many others in this area, I experienced a sense of overwhelming sadness and disbelief after hearing the tragic news about the Maxwell family. As a former English teacher at Village Christian Academy, I felt connected to my former students and coworkers who knew and loved the family, though I personally did not. I felt helpless. I wanted to cry. I wanted to try to make sense of things.

    Instead, I made a phone call. I made a phone call to Village Christian and spoke with the one person I felt I could reach out to and that was Kimet Montooth, middle school principal.

    The first question she asked me was, “Did you teach Connor?” I had not. My first question to her was, “Do you need help with grief counseling because that’s all I know to do?”

    She responded to my offer with gratitude and appreciation. We spoke briefly and ended our conversation.

    What I have read and heard about the Maxwell family for the past week is what compelled me to honor them in this way. They are all individuals who loved the Lord and served him to the best of their ability. They were, in life, truly faces of faith in our community and in the lives of others they so deeply touched. In death, they remain the same faces of faith because their faith and trust in the Lord determined their heavenly home. “For to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

    Rest in peace, Maxwell family.

  • There is a distinct joyfulness in the watercolors and oil paintings of Joanna McKethan. Brilliant colors and highly detailed subjects exude11-10-10-gallery-208.gif states of grace, sensation and sentiment.

    Visitors to Gallery 208 on Rowan Street, Thursday, November 18, will be able to get a preview of the exhibition Works by Joanna McKethan and meet the artist between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. The artist will be speaking at 6:00 p.m. to give visitors to the reception insight into her journey as an artist.

    McKethan resides in Dunn, North Carolina, and has a studio and business in Dunn where she has taught painting for many years. A regular visitor to Fayetteville, some of her local activities include being a juror for the Fayetteville Art Guild, studying printmaking with Silvana Foti at Methodist University and winning two Regional Artist Grants at the Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

    I met the artist recently during her gallery talk after she had juried a competition for the Fayetteville Arts Guild. Seeing an exhibition of her work only affi rmed what I already knew of the artist from that initial meeting, she was highly trained and able to verbally discuss works of art in a critical manner.

    In addition, what I see in her exhibition is a body of work that refl ects a personality that was communicated during her gallery talk — exuberance and competence.

    No matter what the subject she is painting, still lifes or landscapes, there are several underlying themes in her work — one is the unfolding of beauty. McKethan calls her style “playful realism,” but I sensed much deeper meaning when I viewed her body of work. For me there is something always unfolding for us to discover among her subjects of feathers, leaves, bubbles or old letters.

    In talking to McKethan, she affi rmed her intuitive approach to painting; response overrules planning. In many of her works the placement of objects unifi es the composition, all the pieces fit to make a whole that results in a type of truth for the viewer.

    The abundance of beauty in McKethan’s paintings invites contemplation. We are immediately drawn to the color and the subject; the signifi cance of play, balance and harmony are spring boards to the essence of meaning in her work.

    The inner harmony of McKethan’s paintings is subtle; the truth in her work is revealed by the way she has come to terms with her environment with selected interest and is presenting that discovery to us. In the process of painting, the artist has attained equilibrium with her environment, one that brings new and fresh adjustments for the viewer.

    For example, a magnolia leaf in McKethan’s painting is not simply green or brown, but for McKethan is “layers of bronzed metallic colors.” McKethan stated, “I see the depth of the color, not just color in terms of brightness.”

    The artist shows us a new environment from the familiar. Her objective study of the objects in her still lifes becomes an experience that moves away from the descriptive and aligns itself with interpretation — equilibrium is always present.

    A well trained artist, McKethan’s experience in art spans thirty years. She studied art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but left the university with a BS in Philosophy. While living in Germany, McKethan undertook three years of Old Masters training in oils by a German master, Bergheim and watercolor training at the University of Munich Extension by a Polish master, Leon Jonczyk.

    Some of her awards include the Salis International Award from the 59th Juried Exhibition in Boone, NC, the Silver Brush Award for the 25th Southern Watercolor Society Anniversary Exhibition in Baton Rouge, LA, two Regional Artists Grants from the Fayetteville and Cumberland County Arts Council and the Purchase Award from the Watercolor Society of North Carolina in Cary.

    When not being exhibited in galleries and competitions around the country, McKethan’s paintings hang at two of her galleries, j’Originals’ Art Studio at 126 East Broad Street in Dunn and at Art on Broad Atelier at 217 East Broad in Dunn.

    In the McLeod Gallery at Up & Coming Weekly, local artist A. Jones Rogers will also be having a reception of a solo exhibition of his watercolors.

    A. Jones Rogers has been exhibiting his large format watercolors in Fayetteville galleries for many years, so I welcome a body of his work to be viewed at one time. Rogers is known for his close attention to detail, panoramic views of local sites and historical moments in time.

    Rogers’s watercolors seem to be more about the details of a moment. In all of his work I feel as if I am in the moment of his experience. Seeing details through the eyes of the artist, I scan his watercolor surfaces as he creates form and story with particulars, information and fi ne points of color and light.

    Like McKethan, Rogers has received many awards for his watercolors; one of his recent awards was a fi rst place award last year for Cargill Plant in the Fayetteville Arts Council’s Cultural Expressions competition and a first place award in this years competition at the Cape Fear Studios on Maxwell Street.

    People attending the reception will be able to meet this enigmatic artist. I have seen his large scale watercolor for years in exhibitions, yet only recently met the artist. So for people familiar with the work, it is their chance to hear the artist talk about his work and his journey as an artist. For those unfamiliar with his work, it will be a perfect time to meet an accomplished local, realist artist.

    The two exhibitions compliment each other. Both artists are a testimony to the types of knowledge we can experience as an artist translates and manipulates a similar medium.

    The public is invited to Gallery 208 in the offi ces of Up & Coming Weekly at 208 Rowan Street, Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m. to attend the opening of these two exhibits. Both artists will be present to talk about their work; exhibitions will remain up throughout the month of December.

  • Annual Christmas Tree Lighting
    The annual Christmas Tree Lighting will help kick off the Christmas season on Fort Bragg.

    In addition to the Christmas tree lighting, the Family of the Year will be announced at the new Family of the Year celebration. Fort Bragg will be kicking off the Christmas Tree Lighting and all of the activities that come with it after the Family of The Year celebration.

    Each year, Fort Bragg’s Army Community Service accepts applications for the Family of the Year which honors soldiers and families that have provided exceptional service throughout the year. This year 21 applications were received.

    The tree lighting will have an aerial demonstration by the Golden Knights, a visit from Santa, holiday entertainment by the 82nd Airborne Division Band and Chorus and of course holiday lights and inflatable displays. Cookie decorating and a trackless train are two of many activities that will be available to the children attending the event.
    The Christmas tree for this year’s Christmas Tree Lighting celebration arrived at the Main Post Parade Field last week. The tree came from Mistletoe Meadows Farm, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The tree is a 24-foot Fraser Fir.

    “We are very excited to see everyone for this year’s in-person event,” Theresa Smith, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said. “The holidays are such a special time for everyone and we love being able to kick off the season with
    this event.”

    The Christmas Tree Lighting and Family of the Year celebration will take place on Dec. 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. Santa will make his appearance around 5:30 p.m. Food and drinks will be available for sale as well. The event will take place at the Main Post Parade Field.

    Trees for Troops
    Service members can get a real and free Christmas tree this year at the annual Trees for Troops event.

    The program is for Active Duty families who are E-6 and below, and for Reservists on Active Orders.

    450 trees are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    In order to get a tree, a voucher will need to be picked up at the Fort Bragg Leisure Travel Services. They will be available through Dec. 3 or until they are all gone.

    Pick-up will be on Dec. 3 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Smith Lake Recreation Area. To pick up the tree, the recipient needs to bring both the voucher and their DoD ID Card.

    Those who did not get a chance to pick up a voucher can try and pick up a tree. If there are any trees leftover, they will be given out first-come, first-serve to service members who are E-6 and below.

    “Not only are service members receiving a free, real tree for the holidays; it’s a chance to bring cheer to those who may not be able to go home for the holidays,” said Staff Sgt. Jakoby Mallory, President of the Fort Bragg Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers. “The abundance of support from volunteers from around the community also shows service members the family they have here, at
    Fort Bragg.”

    Over the past 16 years, the Christmas Spirit Foundation has delivered a total of 262,265 real Christmas trees throughout the country for service members and their families.

    Trees for Troops is a nationwide program that delivers trees to 75 different military bases and installations.

  • 11Military Giving Tuesday is set for its third year of observance on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which falls on Nov. 30. Its inception began in May of 2019 when three of the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year awardees came together with a shared vision.

    Jessica Manfre, 2019 Coast Guard Spouse of the Year, Maria Reed, 2019 Army Spouse of the Year, and Samantha Gomolka, 2019 National Guard Spouse of the Year “wanted to create something special that would unite all the branches of service in a collective effort to serve with purpose and in kindness.” The #GivingTuesdayMilitary movement was born.
    In its inaugural year, 2019, the campaign utilized hashtags to record over 2.5 million acts of kindness. When Stacy Bilodeau, 2018 Coast Guard Spouse of the Year joined the team in 2020 the movement produced Inspire Up, a 501c3 whose mission is to “Inspire Up a kinder and more giving world by uniting the military and civilian communities through empowerment, education, community building and a commitment to serve,” according to inspireupfoundation.org.

    “It’s not about money, it’s about kindness,” explained Director of Community Engagement and Director of GMT, Brittany Raines, who is a Fort Drum military spouse.
    Local Fort Bragg spouse Tawni Dixon, a member of Fort Bragg’s 2020 Family of the Year, connected to the movement via Raines and with her counterpart Shauna Johnson, together as GMT Ambassadors they are bringing the movement to Fort Bragg.

    They have created a Facebook group (GivingMilitaryTuesday – Fort Bragg) and they are spreading the word via personal networks.

    “We have a really amazing volunteer pool here at Fort Bragg. I think Fort Bragg just has a lot of rock-star-volunteers here and so once you talk about it word just travels really fast,” Dixon said. “We know that Fort Bragg is such a family it has been easy to get the word out.” It’s all about improving the community and bringing smiles to people’s faces.

    “Our motto is dropping kindness all over the center of the military universe. It doesn’t matter how, it can be so simple,” said Dixon

    One example Dixon shared is when, at her place of work, someone placed googly eyes on a debit card payment system and in a few other select places and it made people smile.

    “It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture we just want people to spread kindness.”

    The group has several events planned to further their cause. They will be supporting the Armed Services YMCA’s Operation Holiday Hooah to give out gifts to military families in need, and they will be participating in a packing party and helping to distribute food at the ASYMCA Food Pantry on Nov. 30 in observance of GMT.

    If you are interested in participating and want to get involved, the group can be contacted at givingmilitarytuesdayfortbragg@gmail.com.

    It is open to anyone who wants to volunteer, although events on post may require a DOD ID or entry through All-American Access Control Point.

    “Giving Tuesday is not about being grand… it's really just about being kind in the world,” said Dixon.

  • Editor's Note: Small Business Saturday is a national initiative started in 2010 by American Express. It is observed on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is designed to highlight small businesses. This shopping guide is not exhaustive, so, be sure to venture out and check in with all of your local favorites to see if they are offering specials. All offers listed are subject to change without notice and are subject to supply availability. For any additional details please reach out to the individual businesses.
     
    A Bit of Carolina
    A Bit of Carolina will be offering 20% off all Simply Southern items, a free gift with every $50 purchase and free gift wrapping. They will also be featuring two local jewelry vendors and be giving out refreshments, Saturday only. A Bit of Carolina is a specialty gift shop carrying everything North Carolina-themed. They are located in Downtown Fayetteville at 306 Hay St. They are open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
     
    Apple Crate Natural Market
    Apple Crate Natural Market will be offering $20 off of every $100 spent at their store, Saturday only. They focus on nutrition supplements, vitamins and specialty and organic foods. They have two locations, 2711 Raeford Road which is open on Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The other location, located off 5430 Camden Road Suite #103 is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
     
    Bragg Unique Boutique
    The Bragg Unique Boutique Gift Shop will be offering 25% off all wholesale for the entire month of November, as well as a chance to win a $10 gift card for every $30 you spend. The BUB is part of the Association of Bragg Spouses and is supported by ABS Volunteers. They sell gifts, handmade items and specialty items. All profits go directly to the ABS Scholarship and Welfare Funds. They are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Their website, bragg-unique-boutique.square.site is also available 24/7. They are located on Fort Bragg at Bldg 2-2211 Woodruff St.
     
    The Pickin Coop Antique Mall
    This shopping center will be offering 10% – 25% off on certain dealers on Friday and Saturday. Their vendors sell antiques, primitives, farmhouse items, painted furniture and unique gifts. They are open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. They are located at 708 Ramsey St.
     
    City Center Gallery & Books
    This vintage and used book shop will be offering a 25% discount on their vintage and rare collectibles. Everything from Truman Capote’s "A Christmas Memory" in a slip-cover ($20) to a first-edition of Willa Cather’s "My Antonia" ($375). They offer a wide selection of quality used books, vintage black and white pictures and local art. They are located in Downtown Fayetteville at 112 Hay St. and are open daily from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1 – 6 p.m. on Sunday.
     
    The Downtown Market of Fayetteville
    Shoppers who spend $50 or more will be gifted a box of truffles from the Carolina Chocolate Lady while supplies last. A small local-centric grocery and gift shop, The Downtown Market of Fayetteville works directly with farmers, producers, artisans, bakers, anglers, ranchers and others to offer locally sourced healthy products to the Fayetteville community. In addition, The Downtown Market of Fayetteville is home to an award-winning florist. They offer weekly delivery on all items stocked on their website to Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Raeford and Hope Mills. 
     
    Dragon's Lair Comics
    This local comic book store will be offering  50% – 90% off select comic books, Saturday only. Dragon’s Lair Comics has been a part of the Fayetteville community for over 40 years. This store is open Monday through Sunday, typically from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is located at 6243 
    Yadkin Road.
     
    The Fayetteville Doulas
    The Fayetteville Doulas boutique will be offering 10% off all online orders on Saturday. The Fayetteville Doulas is a doula agency focused on families in the surrounding Fayetteville area. They offer classes and services to expectant and new moms. They are located at 2018 Fort Bragg Road and their boutique website is tfdboutique.com.
     
    Heritage Jewelers
    Heritage Jewelers will be offering sales on all items, including gold, pearls and diamonds on Friday and Saturday. Military and custom repairs will be excluded from the sale. Heritage Jewelers is a veteran-owned business. They are known for military custom jewelry, like the Special Forces Ring. They are open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and are open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays. They are located at 114 Westwood Shopping Center.
     
    Leclair's General Store
    Leclair's General Store will be offering store visitors 15% off of three or more bottles of wine/packs of beer, 10% off Leclair's apparel, and for every $25 spent customers will be given a raffle ticket that enters them into a raffle for a gift basket of curated goods from Leclair's General Store. Leclair's is located in the heart of Haymount at 1212 Fort Bragg Road. They offer a unique selection of coffee, wine, craft beers, specialty groceries, vintage decor, antiques, art, jewelry and local goods. They are open Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
     
    Pressed - A Creative Space
    For the whole weekend, Pressed will have sales in their shop and online. T-shirts will be buy one, get one half off; crystal bracelets will be buy two, get one free; all crystals will be 30% off. On Monday, their website will be 30% off as well. Pressed sells clothing, crystals and other items of interest for those who see things differently. They are a veteran-owned business in Downtown Fayetteville. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and are located at 120 Hay St.
     
    Renaissance Day Spa
    Renaissance Day Spa will be offering a 10% discount off all retail in their recently opened holiday boutique, Saturday only. Their little store is filled with gifts and stocking stuffers to give to loved ones. They are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. They are located at 1534 Purdue Drive.
     
    The Rock Guns & Accessories
    The Rock will be having several sales including 30% off all Kydex gun holders, 10% off all Cerakote, 50% off knife sharpening and they will have 50% off select merchandise such as t-shirts. The Rock Guns is a Special Forces veteran-owned business. Their aim is to provide the best products and services to customers in order to meet their firearms needs and build a community around the advancement of firearms knowledge. They are located at 6113 Yadkin Road and are open this Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
     
    Rude Awakening Coffee
    Rude Awakening Coffee will be giving out a free keychain with every gift card purchase as well as donating all coffee bean sales to Connections of Cumberland County, an organization that focuses on giving resources to women and women with children who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. Rude Awakening will also be featuring their Mexican Spice Mocha for the weekend. They are located at 227 Hay St. and are open from 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
     
    Sweet Tea Shakespeare 
    Sweet Tea Shakespeare, a theater company, will be offering special deals on brand new merchandise on their website, as well as an exclusive buy one, get one free discount on upcoming shows. This sale will only be available on Saturday. This non-profit company focuses on gathering a diverse community around a common table to delight in the magic of story, song and stagecraft. Their website is sweetteashakespeare.com/shop/#store.
     
    Guiding Wellness Institute
    Guiding Wellness Institute is launching a new Live Well Lifestyle Boutique on Saturday. At 9 a.m. there will be a Warm Flow class and shopping in the boutique will be open after. The Guiding Wellness Institute is offering 21% off of purchases over $21 and giving free tickets to their Live Well Day Retreat being held Jan. 2, 2022, with boutique purchases over $210. The boutique offers athleisure wear, yoga mats, journals, natural skincare, candles, teas and more. The Institute is located at 143 Skateway Drive.
     
    White Trash & Colorful Accessories 

    White Trash will be offering buy-one-get-one 50% off, Mantra Scarves and free "bah humbug" wine glass for anyone who spends $30 or more. For anyone who spends $50 or more they are offering a tote bag that says "rose all day" and anyone who spends $100 or more will get a free tote bag that says “underestimate me, that’ll be fun.” The sale is on Saturday only. White Trash & Colorful Accessories sells a collection of items from greeting cards to artist jewelry. They are located at 223 Franklin St. and are open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m, Monday through Saturday.

  • 13Carl Pringle has roots in the Fayetteville community. Pringle's mother was raised here, and in 1993 Pringle moved to Fayetteville from Washington D. C. He is a father of four, a daughter and three sons. His sons also live in Fayetteville. Pringle retired from the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant five years ago.

    While in Washington D. C., Pringle was deeply impressed by Party At The Park, a series of community events held in the area. Upon his arrival to Fayetteville, he sought to recreate these events with the plan to create "some positive" in the community.

    The events, which involved renting out parks and hiring a D. J. to provide a safe, fun and positive space, were smaller in attendance than he hoped. But even with smaller numbers, they were creating the positive he was looking to manifest.

    A party-in-the-park-goer stopped after one event to thank Pringle for organizing the event. It was then that Pringle realized it wasn't about the number of attendees, but about making the best of those who had made it out for the event.

    This event and that realization were just the beginning. Pringle has built a community of helpers, and together they selflessly give back to his mother's hometown. Together they help where they can when they can. His main event has come together over seven Thanksgivings.

    Seven years ago, Pringle stopped in at a local restaurant to purchase plates of food for a family in need during the holidays, and each year the measure by which he and his community give back has been amplified.

    The theme of his Thanksgiving event has evolved into We Are 1 Big Family. Pringle explains that many different groups, motorcycle clubs, and groups from throughout the community have become part of the family and the team over the years.

    "We don't care who is doing it; we look at the mission on hand," Pringle said. "We try to touch as many people as we can."

    Last year when Operation Turkey was canceled due to COVID-19, Pringle's group stepped up to deliver over 1000 plates to families in Spring Lake and an additional 500 to 600 plates in Lumberton.
    In addition, he created Lunch On Us. Carl and his army of community-minded helpers handed out food plates across different locations in Fayetteville for twenty-seven weeks on Sundays.

    They served chicken, hot dogs, burgers, anything they could get their hands on to cook in support of feeding the community.

    "If you can kill it, I can cook it," Pringle explained.

    The hope was to fill the gap that school meals and weekend events might miss for hungry families in the community. The event is ongoing but has shifted to one Sunday every month.

    "I didn't want to burn out the volunteers," Pringle said.

    The Lunch On Us crew currently serves free lunch to those in need on the corner of Bragg Boulevard and Johnson Street. This location serves a purpose. Pringle strategically hands out meals at this

    intersection near the Bonnie Doone community because he feels this is a place in need.

    Pringle explained the nearest safe spaces, Westover Recreation Center and College Lakes Recreation Center are too far to walk to.

    14Pringle said that the Bonnie Doone area is a place that needs "some positive."

    Pringle hopes one day to purchase a home in this area to create an extension of a safe space, a place where everyone who walks into the yard can leave the negative behind.

    "When they walk in the yard, they are in a safe place," Pringle explained. "The best way to bring people's property values up is to invest in our communities."

    This year Thanksgiving will see Pringle and his crew serving the community as they have for the last six years. They will be plating up turkey, stuffing and rolls; the vegetables will vary. These meals are available for pick-up and delivery for individuals and families.

    "We try to touch as many people as we can," Pringle said. "Everybody comes together; they are all part of the family."

    This year food will be plated and distributed from the team's base station at 541 Bonanza Dr. (behind Ponderosa Shopping Center).

    Individuals looking for a warm Thanksgiving plate or those who want to donate or volunteer and support the We are 1 Big Family event can reach Pringle via Facebook or at 910-584-0203.

    "Please help us help others," Pringle said.

  • 12Founder of Cora's Community Foundation, Rakeem "Keem" Jones, has organized a community event to "ensure that no family goes hungry or cold during the holiday season," taking place Nov. 21, at Segra Stadium from 2 – 6 p.m.

    Cora's Community Foundation and Southern CC Inc. have partnered together for this community event, entitled "Everybody Eats," as a form of community service and unity with the city of Fayetteville.
    Cora's Community Foundation's mission is listed on charitynavigator.org as “spiritual, educational and economic empowerment of underserved youth, families and other at-risk residents in Cumberland County, North Carolina.” Southern CC Inc. is described on their website “as a non-profit organization whose sole mission is to empower homeless veterans by rebuilding and revitalizing communities — while providing a network of support to assist homeless veterans and residents rebuild their lives.”

    The event will also honor veterans, from 10 a.m. — 2 p.m. by showing Veteran Awareness Films centered around human trafficking, autism awareness and cryptocurrency.

    Jones asserts that Everybody Eats shows that Fayetteville creates more opportunities through citizen and community effort by coming together in unity for the holidays.

    "I remember the different holiday events all over the city. However, I remember my mom not having transportation to get to them," Jones said. "So I felt there should be one major event rather than multiple events."

    Everybody Eats is offering resources and supplies for families to make it through the following months as winter sets in as well as support in recovering from the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "We will have resources to assist with rent, utilities, education, job placement, clothing/hygiene," Jones listed. "Health and wellness, veteran services and youth services, along with food and winter items."

    As a community leader, Jones’ self-proclaimed mission is to guarantee that Everybody Eats because "COVID hurt more than the homeless population... everybody was affected drastically. That's why this event is called Everybody Eats.”

    Jones chose Segra Stadium for the event based on convenience for those traveling.

    "Segra Stadium is the perfect location because of the amount of space. Furthermore, on a personal note, I wanted to show people that grew up with me, or like me, that you can do anything you put your mind and heart to," Jones said. "Don't ever let anybody tell you what you can't do."

    Jones encourages the community to support the homeless population and those who may suffer from the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "I feel like if we come together as a community, we can help the community," Jones said.

    For more information or to help support the Everybody Eats event, contact Jones at 910-709-0826 or rjjones5045@gmail.com or Tony Brown at 910-568-5165 or contact@southernccinc.org.

  • Second Harvest Food Pantry supports southeast North Carolina

    09Action Pathway opened in Cumberland County almost 40 years ago. During that time, they evolved into the Second Harvest Food Bank. They are a partner of Feeding America and serve those in Cumberland, Bladen, Duplin, Harnett, Hoke, Robeson and Sampson counties.

    David Griffin, the Action Pathways Food Bank Director, says they service 196 agencies and organizations daily. With COVID-19 impacting so many people last year, Second Harvest Food Bank saw an increase in need. Last year they distributed 14.6 million pounds of food.

    “We saw a 40 percent increase in first-time pantry usage at our agencies and at distribution,” Griffin said. They will be hosting a mass food distribution to anyone who needs it at the Smith Recreation Center, near Fayetteville State University. It will be a drive-thru distribution and they will be providing produce, canned food and meat. The food will hopefully last families at least a week.

    The mass distribution will take place on Nov. 20 and will start around 9:30 a.m. It will be first-come, first-serve. They will have enough food for 250 households and will serve no more than 2 households per car. Second Harvest is also collecting items at this time.

    They are looking for donations of canned foods, cereal and non-perishables at this time — including hygiene products and household items.

    People can also volunteer their time with Second Harvest. Griffin said that they are looking for people with all different types of skillsets to help volunteer. This can be clerical work, social media/marketing skills or just helping to hand out food at a distribution site. Volunteers are welcome at any time of the year, not just during the holiday season.

    “We continue to bring food to those underserved in our communities,” Griffin said. “It doesn't stop with the holidays, it goes on all 12 months of the year.”

    Another distribution event is planned in December in Cumberland County. Griffin said they are still working on details, but they hope to help at least 1,200 people by bringing in three 18-wheeler trucks full of food. If you want to volunteer your time, donate food, or if you need help, their contact number is 910-485-6923.

    Fayetteville Technical Community College Food Pantry supports local students

    10The Fayetteville Technical College Food Pantry started exactly a year ago opening its doors on November 17, 2020. The FTCC Food Pantry was born in an unexpected manner when it came to light that a sociology professor had been keeping a small pantry of items for students in need in her office. Worsened by the impact of the pandemic it became clear that FTCC students needed extra support in the wake of lost jobs and financial insecurity.

    “It kind of magically happened,” explained Sandy Ammons, executive director, FTCC Foundations. The FTCC Food Pantry is placing specific attention on their need for gift cards this holiday season.

    The Christmas season is of more immediate concern to the FTCC Food Pantry because it stretches over a longer period of time than the Thanksgiving break. Additionally, while harder to come by food items such as canned hams and meats are being requested for donation, the food pantry has a mix of students who use their services ranging from families to single students. Gift cards allow for more flexibility in how they are able to support their students in need. Some folks just enjoy the experience of shopping to help others, so all donations are welcomed. “We are just grateful,” Ammons said of any donations received.

    The FTCC Food Pantry is set up like a grocery store; students can shop from shelves that are stocked with food, household items, personal care and baby items. To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled in classes and have a valid FTCC ID. Students can stop in at the FTCC Food Bank fill out a short form explaining their need and circumstances and help follows.

    The Food Pantry is located on the backside of the Horace Sisk Building (HOS) 2204 Hull Road, Fayetteville, NC 28303. Donations are dropped off at a separate location from the Food Pantry.

    Those wishing to make donations of food and other personal care items are asked to bring those items to the Property Control Office located at 284 Hull Road, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. To donate money or gift cards, contact the FTCC Foundation at 910.678-8441 or foundation@faytechcc.edu; to donate to the FTCC Food Pantry, visit www.faytechcc.edu/giving/give-now/; to learn more about the FTCC Food Pantry, visit www.faytechcc.edu/giving/food-pantry/.

    Fort Bragg's Armed Services YMCA Food Pantry

    11In October of 2019, the Armed Services YMCA at Fort Bragg opened a food pantry for all service members regardless of rank. The ASYMCA Food Pantry helps address food insecurity for active-duty military families and area veterans.

    “The program is a ‘client choice’ model where patrons can shop from a variety of well-balanced perishable and non-perishable items,” explained Jeremy Hester, executive director, ASYMCA Fort Bragg.

    The food pantry is open on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as one Saturday a month. Participants are able to register online to schedule a visit to the pantry once a month. The program is confidential and referrals are not needed for junior enlisted service members, families and veterans. Senior enlisted and officers will need a signed memorandum from a commander.
    The ASYMCA Food Pantry always welcomes support and finds that monetary donations are most helpful, but they will also welcome food drives or drop-off donations.

    Donations can be dropped at 2411 Rodney Trail, Building #2, on Fort Bragg. Monetary donations can be made at fortbragg.asymca.org/give/340604/#!/donation/checkout.

    With the upcoming holiday season, the best way to find out what is needed and what is happening is to follow AFYMCA on Facebook and Instagram. Donation needs vary week to week and a weekly wishlist is released on Facebook every Wednesday.

    Families can register on the website for the food pantry and a turkey giveaway. There will be extended hours and weekend hours during the holiday months. Whatever the needs of service members and their families during this holiday season, the ASYMCA is geared up to help.

    “We want all families in the community to reach out to us no matter rank or situation; especially during the holidays, we are here to help everyone,” Hester said.

    Hester added that even if families are not able to register online, the ASYMCA is open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Families are free to call or come by to see how the AFYMCA can assist, whether it’s with the Food Pantry or any of the other programs they have available. Additional information and registration for service members in need can be found at www.asymca.org/what-we-do-fort-bragg.

  • 11It’s November, the time of giving and saying thank you.

    While Thanksgiving isn’t here quite yet, local organizations are hosting events that are focused on giving back to the local community and supporting local businesses.

    LaFayette Ford is hosting their first Truck Day event which will feature all types of trucks that will interest kids and adults (who are still kids at heart). Firetrucks, police cars, first responder vehicles, food trucks and cars from local businesses will all be on display.

    Rusty Hinton, the General Manager of LaFayette Ford explained that they wanted to host a community event and involve local businesses and local organizations.

    “We are a locally-owned dealership and we like to participate in the community,” Hinton said.

    Normally around this time of the year, the lots are filled with cars and vehicles that would be on display before they get sold. However, because of supply chain issues, those vehicles have not arrived and the lot is primarily empty.

    Which makes it the perfect space to host a community event. The food trucks that will be on display will be serving food. Miller’s Crew, 876 Flavaz, and Bowls on a Roll will be present. The first 250 people who attend the event and donate a can of food for the Second Harvest Food Bank can get lunch for free at any of the food trucks.

    Another way to give back at this event is to donate blood to the Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center blood drive that will be happening during the event

    In order to donate blood, you have to be 17 and older, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health and have proof of identification.

    Veterans who donate blood will be able to earn a challenge coin.

    If you aren't a Veteran, you can still show your military appreciation by donating in honor of a Veteran to earn a challenge coin. The blood drive will also have free COVID-19 antibody or Sickle Cell trait testing by request during a health screening.

    Lastly, there will also be a Toys for Tots donation box present so people can donate toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas this year.

    While there is a lot of giving at the event, there are also many things you can pick up for yourself. Cats and kittens will be available for adoption from Operation Healing Whiskers.

    Operation Healing Whiskers is a non-profit cat and kitten rescue that focuses on placing the most vulnerable felines with the humans that need them the most.

    Their main goal is to place their felines in loving homes with wounded warriors and those suffering from PTSD and other mental illnesses.

    WQSM 98.1 FM will be at the event with their business vehicle and will be playing music from their station. Games, prizes and other entertainment will be available for those who bring the whole family out.

    The event will take place on Nov. 13 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the LaFayette Ford location on 5202 Raeford Road.

  • 13When it comes to Cool Spring Downtown District, there is a new kid on the block.

    In the spot formerly occupied by The Coffee Cup, 108 Hay St., Vagabond Café is putting down roots.

    The owner, Nancy Ramos, was bit by the coffee bug while working as a barista in a popular coffee chain during her undergraduate college days. She participated in coffee tastings, read up, attended more training all in an effort to make the best cup of coffee.

    Coffee is her passion.

    Ramos was a coffee enthusiast in college, but it wasn’t until 2019 that she bought the espresso machine she uses now. Six months after the purchase she started her company. When the opportunity arose to buy a camper van she took a chance.

    She then turned it into the mobile Vagabond Café.

    By January 2021, she was working her business full time.

    Luckily for Vagabond Café the business was not really impacted by COVID-19.

    “We are mobile, so no one was coming into a shop,” Ramos explains.

    Ramos’ dedication to the perfect cup of coffee is not just lip service.

    Her coffee beans are single source, direct trade produce, and Ramos has close relationships with everyone from the farmer to her roaster. This ensures a high quality, fresh cup of coffee every time.

    She is passionate about the process.

    “I like the coffee itself and the science behind it,” Ramos said. “It is a lot more than brewing coffee. Different regions roast coffee beans to bring out the notes the coffee was meant to have. I like the interaction,” Ramos said. “I sell an experience people cannot get anywhere else.”

    Ramos’s coffee beverages are unlike any other coffee served on Hay Street now. Her Mexican heritage is the inspiration for some of her coffees.

    Utilizing ingredients and flavors familiar to her such as those she imports from places such as Teocaltiche in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

    She has created specialty drinks such as “Frida” which is a hibiscus tea and cold brew. Her mother passed down a recipe for “Horta” which is popular. The drink is milk-based with cinnamon and espresso.

    Ramos strives to use authentic ingredients. “I also use Mexican cinnamon, “said Ramos. She will also have pastries available in the shop and is currently talking to a
    local baker.

    “We love seeing our vendors leap from mobile units to storefronts,” said Bianca Shoneman, CEO, Cool Spring Downtown District.

    “When we set out to host the District Summer Market, we designed it to be an incubator for our vendors so they could move up the entrepreneurial food chain," Shoneman said. "It’s a pleasure to see Nancy grow in her business, especially in downtown Fayetteville.”

    When asked if she will continue to use the camper, Ramos said very enthusiastically, “Absolutely, it is the heart of the company.”

    Ramos views her company as a great success.

    “It isn’t all about the money,” explained Ramos. “It makes me happy to change people’s mindset about wanting specialty coffee.”

    Bringing her Latin heritage to the Cool Spring Downtown District is something Ramos finds very exciting.

    There will be 2 – 3 employees working hard to create scrumptious beverages for Vagabond's patrons.

    Vagabond Café’s grand opening will be Nov. 5. The shops hours of operation will be Monday — Saturday from 7:30 a.m. — 6 p.m.

  • uac110514001.gif North Carolina is steeped in tradition from blue grass music to BBQ and craft beer. That being the case, visitors can sample a great many of the state’s finer traditions at When Pigs Fly on Nov. 15 at Festival Park.

    Anyone with a bone to pick in the battle between tomato-based and vinegar-based sauces won’t want to miss this event because the festival showcases the very best when it comes to the finer points of North Carolina BBQ.

    Cindy Kowal, event organizer and director of Communities in Schools is excited about a distinction to the festival earned this year. When Pigs Fly is now sanctioned by the North Carolina BBQ Association. That is significant for several reasons. One of the primary reasons is that it guarantees attendees can sample fare that is prepared in accordance with age-old North Carolina traditions.

    Traditional N.C. BBQ is slow cooked with only wood or charcoal fueling the fire versus cooking with gas, which lets the meat cook slower and absorb the flavor of the wood or gives it the smoky taste derived from cooking over charcoal. While the rules for cooking are strict, there is plenty of room for discussion in the tomato versus vinegar sauce debate, which festival-goers can weigh in on while sampling plenty of both.

    “We are really excited to be a sanctioned event. That adds a lot of credibility to the competition and will draw more big competitors, which can only be good for the people who come out on that day,” said Kowal. “Last year some of our competitors mentioned that it would be nice if we were a sanctioned competition. We decided to look into it. A lot of them were affiliated with Kansas City BBQ. But North Carolina BBQ is not like Memphis BBQ or Kansas City BBQ or Texas BBQ and we wanted to stick to standards that make sense for who we are and embrace our traditions. So we decided to go with a relatively young sanctioning organization: The North Carolina BBQ Association.”

    Competitors from all across the state have signed up to compete for cash, prizes and bragging rights. The categories are whole hog, pork shoulder or chicken. Contestants can compete in one category or all three.

    “Last year we had teams from all over the state,” said Kowal. “We are giving $7,500 in cash prizes to the BBQ teams overall winners — the grand champ is the team that receives the highest score. They will win $3,500, Reserve champ is $2,500 and the first through third place in each category receive prizes, too. In addition there is a really big trophy and a cutting board.”

    Wash down all that BBQ with one of the dozen craft beers that are on tap. From IPAs to porters, there is something for everyone.

    “I’m really excited about this new craft beer Great Lakes. I doubt many folks have seen this one yet and I am also excited about having our new local brewery — Dirtbag — on hand. For non-BBQ lovers, R Burger will offer a BBQ alternative,” said Kowal.

    In addition to great food and drink, four bands are set to play throughout the day. Big Daddy Love is from Charleston, South Carolina.

    “Our State Magazine put together a scenic mountain play list and Big Daddy Love is on that list,” said Kowal.

    Supatight Funk started in Durham and moved to the Asheville area.11-05-14-cover-story.gif

    “They can do anything — funk, groove, country, rock. They have a lot of great original music, too,,” said Kowal.

    Doc Aquatic started in Fayetteville before moving on to Asheville. “When we mentioned the bands to the under 35 crowd, the response was great. It is going to be a lot of fun,” Kowal added. “The final band is the Oak Grove String Band, a traditional blue grass band. We had some incredible blue grass bands last year and people asked for more variety. You will see that this year.”

    If you are worried about calories, burn a few at the 5K that is run in conjunction with When Pigs Fly. The course is somewhat challenging and is sure to build an appetite. It hits Haymount Hill pretty early in the race and then the hills in Haymount keep things interesting. It’s definitely not a flat course.

    “This year we have great prizes for the overall male and female winner; each will win a Dell tablet, donated by Dell Military. Because our pig noses were so popular last year — we’re also giving a prize for the best 5K costume. So, although it’s a challenge, it’ll be a fun race, too. And, the smell of BBQ is a pretty good motivator,” said Kowal.

    VIP tickets are available and include a private concert on Friday night. The gates open at 7:30 p.m. Teams will be in Festival Park throughout the night grilling goodness, with Saturday’s events beginning at 11 a.m. and going to 6 p.m.

    Proceeds support Communities in Schools, which advocates for students in Cumberland County Schools. Communities in Schools leverages resources, which allows teachers to teach and kids to learn.

    “We touched more than 20,000 kids last year,” said Kowal. “And there are still many that need our help.”

    Find out more about When Pigs Fly at www.cisofcumberland.org/when-pigs-fly.

    Photo: Communities in Schools is bringing some great North Carolina traditions to Festival Park: BBQ, craft beers and Blue Grass. Join the fun on Nov. 15 and help bring much needed resources to Cumberland County Schools and students.

  • MessiahThe Cumberland Choral Arts began in 1991 and are now celebrating their 30th anniversary. Sandy Cage, the President of the Board of Directors for the CCA, says they are still the best-kept secret in Fayetteville.

    They are a community group that welcomes anyone to join. They don’t do formal auditions, rather they do voice placements. They hold several performances in a non-COVID year.

    One of their annual traditions is to perform the Messiah, a classical work by George Frideric Handel that is best known for its “Hallelujah” chorus. The CCA will be partnering up with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra for the second performance in a row to present the piece to the community, just in time for Christmas.

    “I think there are people in the community who look forward to this every year,” Cage said. “There are some who say that it's not Christmas yet until they come and hear the Messiah.”

    The annual tradition started at Fort Bragg but grew and is now performed for the majority of the Fayetteville community.

    While COVID-19 did shut down CCA performances for close to two years, some positives did come out of it.

    The CCA continued to post virtual performances on their social media pages and one of their videos went viral.

    “We are extremely excited because last year when we couldn't do our normal concerts, we ended up doing virtual pieces, and our artistic director, Michael Martin, worked to put those together and one of them was noticed online and we received an invitation to sing at Carnegie Hall in May,” Cage told Up & Coming Weekly.

    Cage explained that the composer of the piece is having a musical festival at Carnegie Hall, and because the composer noticed their cover of the piece online, the CCA has been invited to participate. There will be 32 performers going to New York to participate in May.

    "We never dreamed anything like that could ever happen, so that invitation was quite a shock but a wonderful one. We are really looking forward to it,” Cage said.

    The future of the CCA is looking bright as more people attend and join the choral group.

    “We are looking forward to growth in our group, more people singing, more people attending our concerts and possibly sponsoring our own music festival,” Cage said.

    She also tells Up & Coming Weekly that there are plans to possibly hold a European tour in the next couple of years.

    The upcoming concert, Messiah, is free to attend and no reservations are required. However, they are asking audience members to wear masks during the event.

    The concert will feature four soloists, one being a local school teacher - Leigh Montague.

    Montague is a Fayetteville native and attended Pine Forest High School. She graduated in 2008 and attended UNC Pembroke. She currently teaches at Cumberland County Schools and has done so for the past nine years.

    The community concert will take place at Cedar Falls Baptist Church. Doors will open at 2 p.m. and the concert will start at 3 p.m. on Dec. 5.

  • Charlotte Blume NutcrackerOnly a few weeks until showtime, the main room at Charlotte Blume School of Dance is packed and abuzz with energy. More than forty dancers stand, in fifth position, the floor a mixture of soft and pointe shoes, legs extended, and arms outstretched with delicate fingers pointing toward the ceiling.

    The room is small but warm, a far cry from the thirty-degree weather outside. Upon each call from one of their instructors David Alan Cook, the dancers shifted positions in unison — a dance so precise it looks as if they are pulled by strings. Along the walls of the room are nutcrackers, candy canes, tin solider hats and pictures of Christmas lore — all relics of Clara’s fantastical dream, and fifty-one years of tradition. In the back sits the head of the mouse king, crown and all, awaiting his on-stage debut.

    At Charlotte Blume School of Dance and throughout Fayetteville, it’s time for “The Nutcracker.”

    Just beyond the dancers plays a video of Pepta's “The Nutcracker.” The dancers strive for precision. They match their movements against Pepta's dancers. In the studio, the only sound that can be heard is the soft, shallow pattering of feet on laminate floor. The dancers lightly glide to the tape on the floor that marks particular fractions of the stage. Their bodies remain angled out toward the audience. They check their position, readjust and do it again and again. This will continue dozens of times.

    “We’ll run the same two minutes for an hour to get it right,” Dina Lewis, the school’s executive director, says as she watches her dancers’ arms and feet. Lewis says they’ll tell the girls to pretend they are holding pennies between their knees for their bourrée.

    “We say it because quarters are too big.”

    Technique, according to Lewis, is why students come to this dance group.

    The music stops, and just like that, the current dancers run “off stage” and others run on to take their place.

    “Dancers, you have to pay attention while you are working on the stage,” Cook says, his shoulders held back and feet held in position. Like an orchestra leader, he brings his attention to different areas of the room, tightening the dance and congratulating dancers on their hard work. In the other corner, Emalee Smith, another instructor, is perfecting the dance of some of the older dancers.

    The dream continues.

    In many ways, so does the dream of Charlotte Blume. Blume passed away in 2016. “The Nutcracker Ballet” is a legacy of sorts for the North Carolina State Ballet and for Charlotte Blume School of Dance. Blume started “The Nutcracker” in 1959 and it has run every year since, with the exception of last year. It is a legacy that is now kept alive by Lewis, the executive director for the school and the President of North Carolina State Ballet.

    Lewis talks of Blume fondly and reverently like a maternal figure whose ghost is welcomed to haunt the school. Each part of this play, for Lewis and other dancers who knew Blume well, keeps her alive.

    “Each set has a piece of her in it … we have pieces of her that we make sure is [on] that stage.”

    In 2020, like much of the world, this version of “The Nutcracker” did not go on.

    “We sat home last year watching 'Nutcracker' on TV like everyone else did,” Lewis said.

    But in December 2020, around Lewis’s birthday, she received a card from a little girl who played a mouse in “The Nutcracker” just the year before. The note, which wished Lewis a happy birthday, also said, “all I want for Christmas is for "Nutcracker" to come back.”

    When February came around, Lewis said the company was short of funding for the play due to all the closures during COVID-19. She and the board decided that regardless of the funds, 2021 needed

    “The Nutcracker.” The community needed “The Nutcracker.”

    “There’s a little mouse that we all need to thank … one I just couldn’t say no to.”

    The little girl's note is now posted on Lewis’s mirror at home. The little girl has since moved with her family due to the military. Lewis says a lot of what she learned and embodies now comes from Charlotte Blume. It’s all about giving back, she says. While a mouse helped her bring back the beloved play, Blume has always been at the heart of it.

    “You just feel like you owe it to Charlotte to continue this.”

    Charlotte Blume School of Dance will hit the stages Dec. 11 at the Crown Theatre. There are 69 dancers in this year's production, from ages 5 and up. Each year, Lewis says, the choreography changes slightly to keep students and the audience engaged. This year, she tried to keep unification at the center of the play.

    At the end of the day, Lewis sits back and looks at the pictures of “her kids,” handwritten notes from students and pictures of Charlotte and smiles when she speaks about this year’s production of “The Nutcracker.”

    “When the picture comes together … [it’s] magical. It’s the coolest thing. I get chills thinking about it. I think Charlotte is going to be proud of us. She’s going to be pretty happy.”
    Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for military and $10 kids ages 3-16. Kids under 2 are free.

    DANCE THEATERAcross town, in the top portion of Countryside Gymnastics is Leslie’s Dance Academy. Leslie Dumas, owner and executive director, sits among plastic storage containers of all shapes and sizes that house different costumes and props for her production of “The Nutcracker.” She sits, waiting on dancers to arrive. Her dancers, too, are preparing to go on stage and perform “The Nutcracker.”
    Dumas has been running this version of “The Nutcracker” since 2000 when she took it over from Ann Clark, who owned another studio in town. Both Clark and Dumas trained with Charlotte Blume. Dumas trained with Charlotte Blume from a young age until 18.

    For “The Nutcracker,” she collaborates with other studios in town, through The Dance Theatre of Fayetteville, to bring all their dancers together to perform the play. Last year, much like Charlotte Blume School of Dance, her company didn’t perform “The Nutcracker.”

    This year, Dumas wasn’t told they could have their traditional stage at Methodist University until the end of September. This gave Dumas and the other studios two months to prepare the show.
    She said this year they’ve had to make some changes in how they traditionally run it due to all the changes from COVID-19.

    “We didn’t do an audition. I usually do most of the choreography, but I let other studios pick what they want to choreograph.”

    On Nov. 21, the collective group had their second full group rehearsal, just a week and a half before the performance. For Dumas and others, this is about the collective and anyone who wants to be a part of the play can “come in.”

    “It’s supposed to be fun.” Dumas relates the overall experience to the fun and chaos of the party scene at the beginning of the play.

    As she talks, young dancers arrive and come to greet her. She smiles, asks about something personal to each and then they run off to get into dance clothes.

    Dumas is set on getting the show to stage and bringing the dancers together.

    “It’s going to be what it is after a COVID year of nothing,” Dumas says. “Everyone has to understand that perspective. The world stopped in March of last year. There was no dance, no gym, no nothing.”

    The Dance Theatre of Fayetteville will perform the Nutcracker December 3-5 at Methodist’s University’s Huff Concert Hall. Tickets will be $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Kids ages 5-17 will be $5 and kids ages 4 and under will be free.

  • Jingle JogThe Green Beret Jingle Jog is an annual 5K walk/run and 10K road race. This year Jingle Jog is turning a decade old. Last year, 2020, would have been the event's tenth anniversary, but COVID-19 halted the event. In connection with changes made in the wake of the pandemic, participants can register and participate virtually this year.

    The annual run benefits Special Forces Association, Chapter 100, a non-profit organization. The proceeds support Green Berets and their families within the local community, predominantly those associated with the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). Most recently, Special Forces Association Chapter 100 awarded local Special Forces families ten $2,000 scholarships for grade school and college tuitions. Special Forces Association, Chapter 100 supports Green Berets in times of need.

    "If they are gone or away and something is needed, we are the first people they [families can] call," explained Jason Orello, treasurer, Special Forces Association Chapter 100.

    This year Jingle Jog, which began as a downtown Fayetteville event, is joining forces with the Jordan Soccer Complex at 445 Treetop Drive. There will be a selection of vendors on-site that include, but are not limited to, the Vagabond coffee truck and Fizzy Friendz Bath Bombs.

    Two young sisters run Fizzy Friendz Bath Bombs, Cali Rai Campos, aged 13 and Elizabeth Campos, aged 15. The shop carries a selection of bath products. The proceeds from the sales of this business support a community-driven mission. That mission is realized through a charity formed by the five Campos family children, Giving Back Warm Hugs Nonprofit Corporation, helping children in need.

    Orello is hoping for even more vendors to join the event. Last-minute vendors are welcome at no cost. They can reach out to Orello by phone, 910-797-3957 or by email, jayorello7414@gmail.com

    "If it helps somebody and it promotes their business, then come on out," Orello said.

    In Jingle Jog's early days, Julio Ramirez, a retired Green Beret, was a big part of the planning of Jingle Jogs of the past and also planned a host of other local charity runs. Ramirez passed away three years ago from leukemia at the age of 54. In his honor, his wife, Coco Ramirez, has taken up the gauntlet and has been working with Special Forces Association, Chapter 100 to plan the Jingle Jog this year in his stead. Some of the older Jingle Jog t-shirt designs bare his name. The Jingle Jog t-shirt given to registered participants has changed over the years.

    "The shirt is a thank you for coming out and recognition for the sponsors," Orello said.

    In addition to the change of venue, there is also a new shirt design this year. The design features a reindeer with a green beret. The event is on Dec. 4, and the race will start at 9 a.m. Jingle Jog is a family-friendly event and is suitable for the whole household. Jingle Jog is a festive event, and participants, human and canine alike, have been known to dress up in all manner of holiday costumes.

    This year will be no different; costumes, strollers and pets will be welcome at the Jingle Jog.

    There are currently 165 participants registered. Registrants include local high schoolers who are to participate and compete. The high school cadet team with the best overall run will walk away with an 18A Special Forces Trophy. There is a registration discount for high schoolers wishing to compete on the website.

    To register for the Jingle Jog, visit greenberetjinglejog.itsyourrace.com.

  • 15It is Christmas time in 1944 and the men are away fighting the war. Despite their absence, the Carol sisters are determined to celebrate the season. The three Carol sisters are trying to produce “A Christmas Carol” but are having a hard time without the men. This is the premise for the next Gilbert Theater production.

    “The show is special because it's not going to be one of the same Christmas or holiday shows you can see every year,” said Lawrence Carlisle III, artistic director at the Gilbert Theater.

    The Gilbert Theater began in the basement of Lynn Pryer’s home in 1994. The Gilbert Theater has hosted classical theater productions as well as contemporary pieces. In 2012, Robyne Parrish took over as artistic director of the Gilbert Theater. She started educational programs such as the Gilbert Conservatory, Gilbert Rep and Gilbert Glee Club. She also created a volunteer base for the theater.
    In February 2017, the third artistic director, Matthew Overturf, replaced Robyne Parrish. The Gilbert Theater is a very intimate space. The theater is now located at 116 Green St., above Fayetteville’s Fascinate-U Children Museum. The entrance is on Bow Street.

    Popular in Pennsylvania, this is a newer program.

    It's heartfelt, cute and hilarious, according to the Gilbert Theater. This is the second year performing the show for Gilber Theater and the entire cast is back.

    It gives people another chance to see the musical if they missed it last year due to the pandemic.

    “Performing this musical for the second year, everyone is connecting and having so much fun,” said Eden Kinsey who plays the lead, Lilly Carol. “I love her character. Lilly is a very independent person. She’s telling the story. She is strong-willed and hard-headed."

    Kinsey’s favorite part of “The Carols” is the tap number.

    “I love the music and period pieces.”

    It is a family show with a little bit of everything, including different styles of music. “As always, I hope the audience has fun,” said Carlisle. “The show is full of laughs and heart. It is all about family.”

    “The Carols” will run Nov. 26 – 28, Dec. 3 – 5 and Dec. 17 – Dec. 19. Friday shows begin at 8 p.m.; Saturday shows are at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays shows begin at 2 p.m. Concessions are available for donation.

    Tickets are $18 and can be purchased at the Gilbert Theater website, gilberttheater.com, or by calling 910-678-7186.

  • 17For the past two decades, religious organizations around town have come together right before Thanksgiving to host a service focused on gratitude and being thankful for one another.

    Although COVID-19 canceled last year’s interfaith service, it won’t cancel this year’s plan.

    “I think that the idea here is that it's refreshing to see other viewpoints of what organizations bring in their expressions of gratitude, especially in the week of Thanksgiving,” Daniel Tenrod, the communications director of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

    The congregation that hosts the interfaith service rotates every year. This year, it will be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that will host the event. In 2019, Beth Israel Congregation hosted the service.

    Tenrod says that at previous interfaith services, close to 100 people will show up from all different types of faiths from the Fayetteville community, and he says each year new people show up.

    Each participating religious congregation will talk at the service and share a special message of gratitude.

    They want to highlight mutual declarations of gratitude, peace and love.

    Participants who will be represented at the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service include Beth Israel Congregation, Courtyard Church of Christ, Fayetteville Friends Monthly Meeting, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and the St. James Lutheran Church.

    In a newsletter to his congregants, Rabbi Dov Goldberg said that this time can be a place for giving thanks for the blessings everyone has received.

    “Let us come together to lift each other up, not by denying the difficulties we have faced, but by remembering that there is still much good in our lives, and although frequently more socially distanced than we would like, we are not alone,” Goldberg wrote.

    For Tenrod, seeing how people of other faiths express gratitude in their own ways is amazing to see.

    For example, he loves hearing the Hebrew prayers that come from the rabbi of the Beth Israel Congregation and being part of the quiet that comes when the Quakers of the Fayetteville Friends Monthly Meeting pray.

    “Everyone is truly grateful. It's not just something they are saying off their lips. You can feel their sincerity,” Tenrod said.

    After the service, which is typically about an hour-long, there will be a meet and greet reception with light refreshments.

    The event will take place on, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints off 3200 Scotty Hill Road.

    There will be hand sanitation stations throughout the church and masks are encouraged. There will be security at the event as well, but reservations are not required.

  • 13Later this month, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra will be presenting a special concert, About that Brass. There is a great deal of music written for brass and the orchestra is excited to show off their musicians during this program.

    “The orchestra is thrilled to feature our tremendous brass section in this program of primarily original works written for brass dating as far back as the 1590s,” Music Director, Stefan Sanders said. “There will be 14 brass instruments (four trumpets, five French horns, four trombones and one tuba) and three percussionists performing on this program.”

    The concert will take place at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

    “We are grateful for the special relationship we have with the St. John’s community,” Sanders said. “The intimacy of St. John’s is the perfect way for us to feature smaller ensembles from the orchestra. We hope the audience will enjoy the variety of music on this program as well as the range and virtuosity of our world-class musicians. We have such a great orchestra right here in Fayetteville.”

    All About That Brass showcases the brass and percussion sections of the FSO. The program features some of the very best repertoire written for brass and percussion, according to the FSO website.

    Larry Wells became involved with FSO upon his arrival at Methodist University in the Fall of 2006.

    “The conductor of the FSO at that time, Fouad Fakhouri, literally saw me in the hallway carrying my trumpet,” Wells said. “‘Ok...play something’ he said. I stopped and rattled off several orchestral excerpts. ‘Ok...you're in!’ was his response. I've been playing with FSO ever since.”

    “My background is a lot to digest,” Wells said. “I have three college degrees and have been teaching for over 20 years. I've also been playing in various orchestras for roughly 30 years. Additionally, I used to build custom trumpets for the D.G. Monette Corp. On top of all that, I was the GM of a large youth orchestra in Portland, Oregon. That experience has helped me here in that I am the music director of the Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra.”

    The concert on Nov. 20 is special because it features many works for brass spanning over 400 years of history. The antiphonal pieces of Gabrieli, circa 1600 A.D., were written for musicians at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Italy. No less amazing are the pieces were written by contemporary composers like Eric Ewazen. Other selected pieces include Samuel Barber’s Mutations from Bach, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Concertino, Op. 94 and Henri Tomasi’s Fanfare Liturgiques.

    “As for the audience,” Wells said, “I first hope that they enjoy an evening of amazing music in an amazing place. I also hope they leave a bit more enlightened regarding the rich history of brass playing. Finally, I hope they can see the joy that this music brings to the musicians themselves. We have a very close-knit group of brass musicians in the FSO. These types of events are a pleasure to produce. I'm very excited to hear the final result.”

    All About That Brass will take place Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church. The total concert run time is an hour and 15 minutes.

  • This editorial message is a tribute and thank you to the entrepreneurial spirit of all of our privately owned, local Fayetteville businesses. 

    No doubt, creating and developing your own successful business in these hard economic times is a major challenge. I’m talking about real grass root local businesses and not necessarily those hundreds of franchises that have migrated here. You know the businesses I’m talking about. The ones where absentee owners either cling to the elusive dream of striking it rich or revel in the title of “business owner” completely void of any sense of local community. 

    The Internet compounds this situation and contributes considerably to the deterioration of local communities. Sure, “shop local” is a warm and fuzzy sound byte, but my fear is that it has become meaningless and somewhat of a cliché. That shouldn’t be. Small, independent businesses are the heart of America and the heart of this community. Yet dozens of new small businesses go out of business each month from lack of direction and support, while more established Fayetteville/Cumberland County businesses struggle to survive under the pressures of a sagging economy, high  taxes, excessive rules and complicated ordinances. And, of course, we have to again mention the Internet, which attracts and solicits an apathetic following, while returning nothing to the community. 

    We need to celebrate locally owned businesses and create an ongoing awareness of their importance to our local economy. Alarm companies, printers, clothing stores, restaurants, financial services, pawn shops, jewelers, gift shops, art galleries, automobile dealers and even non-profit charitable organizations are local businesses that respond to the needs of our community. These businesses are the ones that sponsor arts and cultural events, buy season tickets and are asked to contribute to our schools, dozens of charities, festivals and cultural events. 

    These people are committed. They are the ones who care about quality of life and have a true investment in our future. Big-box stores, franchises 

    and Internet businesses siphon revenue, profits, taxes and opportunity from our community while locally owned businesses bear the burden of providing amenities  and infrastructure to
    local citizens. 

    Our local businesses are often contributors to the problem: unpredictable hours, short staff and questionable customer service. Look at downtown on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. People are out and about, but a large number of the businesses are closed!

    I believe the majority of the local business owners truly care about their customers and the community. The point is this: No one is denying the lure and strength of the Internet. However, we need a greater awareness campaign marketing and promoting the support and consideration for locally owned businesses. A serious and aggressive one. Residents cannot continue to spend local dollars with Internet businesses and then depend on local businesses to support the community. 

     Here at Up & Coming Weekly we appreciate and salute small businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit. Count on us for continued assistance and  support. After all, we too, are a small business. 

    Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 12The Hoke County Republican Party will be hosting a Veteran Appreciation Freedom BBQ this weekend that is geared around veterans in the area.

    Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and Congressman Dan Bishop will be present at the event and they will be speaking both to the crowd and to veterans one-on-one. Robinson served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1985 to 1989.

    Hal Nunn, the Communications Director and former Chairman of the Hoke County Republican Party, says that this event was inspired by Lt. Governor Mark Robinson when he made a remark last time he was in Hoke County that he wanted to speak directly to veterans.

    He said that Chairman David Frump and Vice Chairman Chris Holland came up with the idea of having a veterans appreciation barbecue featuring Robinson. They would host veteran organizations and Fuller’s Old Fashioned BBQ would help sponsor and provide the food.

    Some of the veteran organizations that will be at the event to provide information and services to veterans include Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 10, the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans.

    “For me personally, I'm a 20-year army disabled veteran, and sometimes I think our veterans' issues are overlooked,” Nunn said. “So I think the Lt. Gov. coming to Raeford is wonderful to talk directly to the veterans and we will have all these veteran organizations there so they can get help if they need it.”

    Prior to the event, Nunn says that Robinson will be at the VFW Post 10 to talk with veterans one-on-one without the giant crowds.

    This kind of opportunity to speak with someone who can not only listen but also make a change when it comes to veterans issues in North Carolina can be major for veterans, according to Nunn.

    Outside of the food and a 50/50 cash drawing, there will also be live music from BonesFolk who will be performing music from their recently released second album, Beautiful Circle. BonesFolk is a band that is made up entirely of former Special Forces military veterans.

    The All-Veteran Parachute Team will also be doing a skydiving demonstration for entertainment. But they won’t be the only ones jumping out of the plane.

    North Carolina Congressman Ted Budd, former Congressman and current Senate candidate Mark Walker, and Senate candidate Jennifer Banwart will be jumping out of the planes with the skydivers.

    Even with all the political figures that will appear at the event, Nunn says that politics is not the purpose of the barbecue.

    “We don't want to make this political,” Nunn said. “We want to thank our vets, we want to help them and we want to keep veteran issues in the forefront.”

    The barbecue will take place on Nov. 13 from 2 –5 p.m. at the Raeford Airport.

    While the event is free, they ask for people to register ahead of time for security purposes.

    Over 200 people have registered to attend the event so far, according to the Hoke County Republican Party. Registration can be found at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/172131739667.

  • 09Throughout the year Gallery 208 exhibits contemporary works of art which include a variety of themes, techniques to express ideas, styles ranging from representational to nonobjective abstraction and exhibits that can often be challenging. Yet rarely do we have an exhibit about beauty.

    Beauty, especially if it relates to the figure, can be a problematic subject: we each see beauty differently and images of beauty have been marketed in ways that result in stereotypes. Yet it is still important in the human psyche to experience beauty. For example, we welcome the beauty of sunshine after many days of overcast and rainy weather.

    Beautiful Strangeness: Photographs by Kyle Harding opens Nov. 9, at 5:30 p.m. at Gallery 208 and is an exhibit that explores the beautiful strangeness of being a child, any child, or our own experiences as a child. The challenge for Harding was to enable us to go beyond a family portrait and experience a universal time that should have been filled with wonder, mystery and simple pleasures in the smallest events, ordinary objects and everyday activities.

    Harding earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education, with a concentration in photography, from East Carolina University in 2008 and earned a Master in Art Education at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in 2017. A public art schoolteacher, adjunct faculty at Fayetteville State University, mother of two young children, married with a large family of in-laws, and a daughter and niece to her immediate family, Harding is a very busy individual.

    Intermittently she takes time to focus on what is happening during the daily and never-ending experiences of being around her two young daughters as an artist. As an artist, she tries to see past the familial and capture the universal.

    After being invited to participate in the 2021 Art Faculty Biennial in Rosenthal Gallery at FSU, Harding shared the following in her artist statement: “I chose a subject I am most passionate about at this time in my life: my 4-year-old and 7-year-old daughters." The selections in the exhibit are part of a larger body of work to capture universal themes with my children as the subject: innocence, reflection, play, hope, and vulnerability. In a larger context, I hope the photographs have the power to evoke memories for everyone of what it means to be a child and to remember the strange beauty of the world around us when we were children.”

    One of the many reasons for visitors to attend the opening of Beautiful Strangeness at Gallery 208 is to meet the artist and enjoy how a photograph, by an art photographer, can go beyond the subject. Harding’s main objective is making an artistic statement through a photograph – photography is used as a medium for creative expression, to express an idea, a message, or an emotion.

    A definition of fine art photography involves bringing a vision, emotion, or a state of mind to life through a photographed image.

    It involves creating something that previously only lived in your mind, as opposed to simply capturing what you see in an artistic way.

    In Beautiful Strangeness, Harding has selected images from activities we would take for granted and elevated the cropped images to convey states of mind through the photographed image.

    In the photograph titled "Three Amigos," the viewer is looking down on two sets of small bare feet standing on cement, the two front legs of a spotted short-haired dog are between the children.

    The legs of the children are captured below the knees and cascade into the photo from the top edge, almost as if thin columns on each side of the photo. Thin, yet muscular front legs of the dog are combined to create repeating pairs of legs and feet, all related in some unknown way while individually anchored to their placement on the
    cement.

    In "Three Amigos", like the rest of the photographs in the exhibit, visitors will enjoy the ways in which Harding’s keen or heightened sense of seeing brings vision and states of mind to life through the photographed image.

    She has successfully shared with us a way to see the world that we may have forgotten is possible.

    In "Sadie with Sunglasses", Harding has photographed a close-up of a young Sadie wearing a seemingly large pair of sunglasses. The face is relaxed and almost expressionless, the child’s eyes are hidden. Details of the hair, sunglasses and gathered printed shirt contrast with an out-of-focused and minimal background. The smooth surface of the skin echoes the minimalism of the background tone but is brighter - the smooth fullness of youth presents itself as a natural and emerging, volumetric form.

    Harding has only included black and white photos in the exhibit for several traditional reasons. Color can distract us from what the photograph is about. When you remove color the emphasis of an image shifts to other compositional elements like contrast, texture, lighting, and form. Viewers are no longer seeing something familiar in color, but a different version of reality.

    One in which black and white photography is more interpretative.

    Harding combines the above advantages of a black and white photograph with its other potential of seeming timelessness. By cropping the figures and often showing us only parts, she used fragments to suggest a larger story.

    In each photograph, we see how a story symbolically overlaps or unfolds into another one. Each picture is a fleeting memory, a momentary experience. We can sense the lives of those in the photograph or remember our own lives as interconnected stories we may have taken for granted.

    Harding brings us back to those moments in time, photograph by photograph.

    I am confident visitors to Beautiful Strangeness: Photographs by Kyle Harding will leave the exhibit happier than when they arrived at Gallery 208. One cannot help but smile when we connect ourselves to innocence, joyfulness, and hope.

    The public is invited to attend the opening of Beautiful Strangeness: Photographs by Kyle Harding on Nov. 9 at Gallery 208 between 5:30 – 7 p.m.

    Gallery 208 is located at Up and Coming Weekly, 208 Rowan Street in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

    The exhibit will remain up until the end of December. Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For information call 910-484-6200.

  • 10The biggest country music event in Fayetteville, Stars & Guitars, is returning. The Unplugged, Unscripted, and Unforgettable lineup will take the Crown Coliseum stage on Monday, Nov. 15.
    The lineup includes legendary country superstar Clay Walker, Scotty McCreery, ACM and CMA award-winner Carly Pearce, and rising stars Matt Stell, Tenille Arts and Drew Parker.

    "We’re so excited to be bringing live country music back to our wonderful WKML audience in Fayetteville,” said WKML Programming Director Tee Gentry. “After a year away, we know our listener family is anxious to see some of their favorite artists on stage at the same time, telling stories and singing great music.”

    One thing that makes Stars & Guitars different than most other concerts is that all the artists are on the stage at one time.

    Outside of the music and the unique performances, each artist will tell a story about their music, who they are, and create an entertaining experience. There are no opening acts and there are no headliners.

    “Our listeners have heard all of these artists all over our radio station,” Gentry said. “It’s going to be such a treat to have legendary artists mixing with great newcomers.”

    The show will be performed at the Crown Coliseum this year, just like the 2019 show. Previous to 2019, the Stars & Guitars performance was at the Crown Theater.

    “Our fans really responded well to our big move into the Crown Coliseum in 2019, and we’re thrilled to be able to get back out there,” Gentry said. “There really is no experience like a Stars & Guitars event, with some of the bests artists in country music joining together on one big stage.”

    Tickets are $25 regardless of where the seat is located, however the show has sold out. The only chance to get tickets is for people to stop at the John Hiester Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Lillington on Nov. 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Twenty pairs of tickets will be available, including front-row tickets. VIP tickets will also be given away at this event. These tickets are being given away by WKML.

    Winners do not need to be present to win the tickets. The list of winners will be published at www.WKML.com. Winners can then pick up the tickets at the radio station.

    The Crown Complex is a clear bag-only facility and still requires face masks for those who do attend the event.

    Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. They advise everyone to park in the lot adjacent to East Mountain Drive and enter there. But all of the Crown parking will also be available.

  • 09Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) has a long history of supporting soldiers wherever they land when they are far from friends and family. Developed in 1989 by the U.S Army Community and Family Support Center (USACFSC) and major army commands the programs are geared towards engaging and involving single soldiers. The program aims to tend to their recreational needs and improve their overall quality of life. The Fort Bragg BOSS program is home-away-from-home to over twenty-nine thousand single and unaccompanied soldiers at Fort Bragg and this includes soldiers who are single-parents.

    “BOSS offers recreational and leisure events, volunteer and community service opportunities, and life-skill activities that are geared towards providing lifelong knowledge,” said Staff Sgt. Jakoby Mallory, president of Fort
    Bragg BOSS.

    For the ninth year running the annual BOSS Thanksgiving will provide single and unaccompanied soldiers a traditional Thanksgiving buffet spread, entertainment and a running raffle for prizes.

    “We hope that single soldiers in attendance benefit from knowing they are not alone during the holiday season,” Mallory said. “We are aware this may be a very difficult time for soldiers who are unable to be with their families and love[d] ones, but the Fort Bragg community is their home away from home.”

    Sgt. Henry Harper, 122nd Aviation Support Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade is opting to spend the holiday with others and will be attending the BOSS Thanksgiving event. This will be the first BOSS event that Harper has attended.

    “To me, it sounds like a great opportunity for single soldiers to get a free meal while interacting with other single soldiers. Even though we are unable to go home, it’s reassuring knowing that we won’t spend the holiday alone,” Harper said.

    The installation sees the care of the soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg as a key priority.

    “We (Fort Bragg) want families and loved ones to know that their soldier will be taken care of by the Fort Bragg community and its leaders,” explained Fort Bragg spokeswoman, Sharilyn Wells. “This event is just one way to ensure that single and unaccompanied soldiers know that they are a big and important part of our community. We are fortunate enough to have organizations volunteer their support, provide a free, home-cooked meal, entertainment and donate their time to ensure the morale and welfare of our soldiers.”

    This year’s event is being supported by donations from the Fort Bragg Federal Credit Union, Geico Military and the Gary Sinise Foundation.

    The BOSS Thanksgiving event will be held at the Iron Mike Conference Center on Fort Bragg, Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The event is free and for any BOSS service member. Those interested in attending should contact the Fort Bragg BOSS program at 910-396-7751.

    For more information on Fort Bragg’s BOSS program and their upcoming events visit www.facebook.com/fortbraggboss.

  • 08"It's been a big part of our lives," Linda Higgins said of the 62nd annual Spaghetti Dinner for the Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church. Higgins is one of the current owners of Luigi's Italian Chophouse and Bar.

    Her father, Peter Parrous, the original owner and founder of Luigi's, started the dinner in 1958 as a way to fundraise for his church.

    The first year they sold around 4,000 plates and it was a dine-in experience.

    "Over the years, it grew and grew," said Higgins. "it really became an event that brought the church members together. It brings the community together."

    This year, she said they expect around 8,500 plates to be sold. Each year, they have to predict the number of patrons that will come but they have been surprised before, selling more than 10,000 plates one year.

    "It has been such a huge community-supported event," explained Higgins.

    Higgins feels like this year is more important than ever for unity in the community after having to cancel the event last year due to COVID-19.

    For Higgins, it's a tradition her father began and a way to continue to honor him.

    When growing up, Higgins remembered her father prepping for the dinner for three or four days.

    Today, her family does the same, spending days preparing for the event.

    "It's been a big part of our lives. It's wonderful to keep up his legacy."

    It takes 4,000 pounds of dry spaghetti, 900 gallons of tomato sauce, and over 100 volunteers to bring this delicious fundraising dinner to reality, according to the church's website.

    Higgins said they will be keeping in mind COVID-19 restrictions during the event.

    The dinner will be hosted on Nov. 17 from 10 a.m.– 8 p.m.

    The plates will be sold for $8 each and assorted Greek pastries such as Baklava, Kouradbiedes, Koulourakia and more will be for sale.

    Folks interested in feeding large groups can order meals in quantities of ten, 15, 20, 40, 50, 100 and 150 on the preorder form. Hungry participants can also preorder their meals by visiting https://www.faygreekchurch.com/2021spaghetti.

  • 10The annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown Fayetteville will kick off Heroes Homecoming week. Cumberland County Veterans Council created Heroes Homecoming in 2011 as a way of showing all veterans that the community remembers and appreciates their courage, sacrifice and everything they did to defend our freedom.

    The parade was canceled in 2020 and all events were limited to being virtual. This year, everything is back and in-person.

    The overall theme this year will be honoring the Armed Forces medical personnel and first responders who served on the front lines over the past 18 months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Grilley Mitchell, president, Cumberland County Veterans Council, said that the council decided to honor the medical forces earlier this year.

    “They were the ones who were on the front lines treating people and the COVID situation. Not just nationwide but worldwide,” Mitchell said. “They are the heroes of today because they were there on the frontlines doing what was required of them to take care of the sick.”

    The parade will feature several high school marching bands, a number of JROTC groups, military equipment, various organizations, color guards, churches and groups such as the Shriners. They will also feature members of the Fort Bragg community, including the 18th Airborne Corps and the U. S. Special Operations Command.According to the Cumberland County Veterans Council, there are about 52,000 veterans that live in Cumberland County.

    That doesn’t include the Fort Bragg population of 545,926 soldiers and their 70,000 family members.

    The two honorees this year are Sgt. Maj. Jacob "Jake" Roth and 1st Sgt. Lawrence "Bud" Wilson. Both Roth and Wilson are Korean War Prisoners of War.

    “They are my heroes. Those two guys are living heroes,” Mitchell said. “They are living legends that you get to actually thank them in person for their sacrifice. I work with both of them, every time I'm with those guys, it's an honor and pleasure to be with them.”

    The parade will kick off Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. and will take place on Hay Street by the Airborne and Special Operations Museum and end at Cool Spring and Person Streets, behind the courthouse.

    Following the parade will be the City of Fayetteville’s Veterans Day Ceremony at the North Carolina Veterans Park.

    Spectators are recommended to arrive early in order to find parking. Mitchell asks that people come out, have a good time and show appreciation to the military and the city’s veterans.

  • 11The Fort Bragg 10-Miler event is officially kicking off this week after several cancellations over the last two years due to the pandemic.

    The run’s goal is to encourage a healthy lifestyle not just among soldiers, but with family and people outside of the military community as well.

    Jennifer Fayson, the Fort Bragg special events coordinator, said that they are excited to hold the event, especially since this run was initially canceled earlier this year and the All-American Marathon was canceled.

    “It's our first big event since 2019. You know, it's a fun event for the troops and for their family,” Fayson said. “They're able to go and participate in something fitness-wise and actually increase the morale of the base.”

    One registrant who has already started training for the run is 2019’s 10-Miler winner, Capt. Daniel Schlich. As of last week, Schlich was running laps at the Hedrick Stadium on base.

    “So starting about four or five months out, we run. I start out probably about 40 miles a week, get up to about 60 or 70 miles a week, running six days, seven days a week,” Schlich said.

    Schlich says he is hoping to run the 10 miles within 52 minutes. In 2019, he ran the race at 52 minutes and 20 seconds. That means he averaged five minutes and 14 seconds for every mile.

    Fayson however says this race is open to everybody, not just the people with speed and a great run history.

    “We also have people with strollers out here, people that bring their kids out here. So it’s all ability levels,” Fayson said.

    For those who are just starting, or may be interested in running the 10-miler for the first time, Schlich says that it’s all about your mindset.

    “I would say pacing is probably the biggest thing because most people, if you haven't ran too much or you haven't been running recently, you got kind of a race mindset. Everyone starts out really fast and you just go way too fast and burn yourself out. So you really have to pace yourself,” Schlich said.

    The race will kick off on Nov. 6 at 8 a.m. Registration for the race closes, Nov. 5, 7 p.m. and there will be no race-day registration.

    So far, over 600 people have signed up for the race, but there is space for up to 1,500 people to register.

    “I’m eager to get back out there, run a race with other people,” Schlich said. “Being able to have a crowd outside, you know, cheering you on to do your best.”

    The race will start at Sports USA and runners will go down Long Street, go down Gruber Road, turn around and come back and finish. For those who just want to watch the event, there will be music and a ‘finish fest’ for those who finish the race. Fayson warns that roads will be closed for a majority of the day starting at 6 a.m., so people will be asked to park at the Womack Hospital parking lot and then walk over to the run site.

    Registration will include an event t-shirt, a finisher coin and a tab for a free beer.

  • Completing his student teaching this December at Terry Sanford High School, retired military artist Rick Kenner is imparting what he learned as a college art student to his students in the public school classroom. Working alongside his cooperating teacher, full time art teacher Kellie Perkins, Kenner is learning how to impart his knowledge of the arts and pedagogy to his students.

    Knowing Kenner was going to open with an exhibit of his work at Gallery 208, located in the offi ces of Up & Coming Weekly on Dec. 3, I hoped his students from Terry Sanford High School might be interested in seeing nov18-dissipation.jpgwhat their teacherin- training does as an artist, and be able to ask him questions about his work.

    I wondered if they had seen his series of paintings and how he integrates X-rays of his spinal cord into his paintings; or how his work can be totally non-objective in style, but always refl ective in content.

    Kenner is the fi rst to admit his affection for the nonrepresentational.

    “Abstraction offers me a vehicle to convey emotion through color and shape without getting lost in the narrative that is often associated with realism. I use color with varied opacity and geometric shapes to form compositions; an attempt to evoke an emotional response from the viewer,” he said.

    As a teacher, he must focus on bringing the student to their own work. Do they know his personal philosophy as an artist?

    “My current work is an exploration of the presence of technology in our lives. It is a personal attempt to fi nd balance and meld the ideas of mind, body, and spirit with the ever-increasing assault of technological advancement,” noted Kenner.

    Since Kenner is a quiet and reserved fellow, I knew he would not have touted his achievements in academe, his many exhibitions in the community, selling his paintings, and also winning the 2008 Lois Ferrari Memorial Art Scholarship at the Cape Fear Studios in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

     A prestigious award, Kenner won the Lois Ferrari Memorial Art Scholarship by competing against regional art students majoring in the fi ne arts at Fayetteville State University, Methodist University, Fayetteville Technical Community College, the University of North Carolina-Pembroke and Meredith College.

    It has been my experience that after asking him a question, you will usually get a one word answer like “Yes” or “No.” So, I was curious as to how he was working out in the public school classroom; I called Perkins, his mentor, at Terry Sanford to get the scoop.

    Perkins was very patient and took time out of her busy schedule to talk about the arts in the classroom and the attributes of a good teacher. To his advantage, Kenner has made the grade with Perkins — she is the only high school art teacher in Cumberland County that is nationally certifi ed (a diffi cult and rigorous accomplishment).

    I first asked Perkins about her experiences with other art teachers and what she felt were the skills that someone needed to have to be a successful art teacher. Perkins didn’t skip a beat, she stated without pause, “Someone who prefers one-on-one with students, is competent in art and education pedagogy, encourages and relates to students, and someone who gets along with their colleagues.”

    She commented that Kenner had these skills, but that he also has other special attributes. “He can fi x anything and he knows a lot about technology, he’s organized, plans in advance, very thorough in what he wants the students to learn in content and very neat,” she said. “He can be very innovative and wants to help the students build a strong foundation in art.”

    That is the Rick Kenner I know. When I asked him how he enjoyed teaching, he didn’t hesitate either. In as few words as possible, he told me he liked it and the students. I reflected on how fortunate Kenner was to have a veteran art teacher to model after; Ms. Perkins has taught for more than 20 years and has kept her enthusiasm for teaching in the classroom. She is presently pursuing a master’s degree in Art Education at UNC-Pembroke.

    I feel as if Ms. Perkins is modest, too, after she said, “A classroom teacher is a role model for a student teacher, but at a certain point I turn my classes over to him, and then I am more like a coach, it’s a journey for any student teacher to discover the classroom and what works during their experience as a student teacher.”

    My last question was in reference to the importance of an art high school teacher that was also a practicing artist. Her answer fi t Kenner.

    “Remaining an artist is very important to being a teacher that is knowledgable about 21st century styles and the infl uences of technology,” she said. “Students need to know the about the latest styles and new techniques artists are using.”

    Before the art students at Terry Sanford High School say farewell to their latest student art teacher, they have a chance to see Kenner’s work at his opening reception, Thursday, Dec. 3, between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Up & Coming Weekly, 208 Rowan St. The reception is free to the public and the artist is asked to do a brief presentation to the people attending the opening around 6 p.m.

    Kenner leaves Terry Sanford High School in December; he will also have earned his B.A. in Visual Art and a B.S. in Art Education at Fayetteville State University. Future plans for Kenner and his wife, Anita, include relocating to Texas to be closer to their daughter and grandchild. While in Texas, Kenner has plans to continue to create art, seek employment as an art educator (preferably at the high school level), and work towards completing an MFA and possibly a PhD in Art Education.

  • 11242010-mike-epps.gifUnless you are a movie buff or a comedy buff, you might not recognize the name Mike Epps. But when you see his face and hear his voice, you will instantly recognize Epps as one of the most popular comedians of the past few years. On Friday, Nov. 26, Epps will bring his comedy to the Crown stage.

    Epps was born in 1970 in Indianapolis, Indiana, into a large family. His family encourage his comedic side and he began performing while still a teenage. Following a move to Atlanta, Ga., where he worked at the Comedy Act Theater. In 1995, he moved to New York City where he found a home on the Def Comedy Jam. During that time he also made his first big screen appearance in Van Diesel’s Strays, a film that explored relationships and drugs.

    Strays was just the first of many big-screen roles Epps has tackled. He became a fan favorite from the Friday series of films, where he brought the role of Day-Day to life in Ice Cube’s Next Friday.

    In 2001, Epps stepped out of the spotlight and behind the mic to bring the voice of Sonny the Bear to life in Eddie Murphy’s Dr. Dolittle 2. He also has voiced the role of Boog in Open Season 2 and Open Season 3.

    2004 and 2005 were busy years for Epps, who starred in Resident Evil Apocalypse and Guess Who? with Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mack, and the remake of The Honeymooners. In 2006, Epps hit the big screen again with a cast of stars in the fi lm The Fighting Temptations, which featured Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyonce. In 2007, he reprised his Resident Evil role in Resident Evil: Extinction, followed up by Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins and Hancock in 2008. He also played Black Doug in The Hangover in 2009.

    When Epps isn’t filming, he is touring the country and performing his comedy act, The Mike Epps On the Edge Tour to sold-out theaters and arenas across the country.

    While Epps has played some diverse roles, he is quick to point out that they are merely roles and do not define who he is. When fans mistake Epps for one of his characters, he frequently makes it part of his comedy routine.

    “I learned that you don’t have to be all over the place, that you can be subtle and you can say what you say,” said Epps. “The words that you put together can be just as hilarious as falling all over the place or doing something.”

    Epps looks to old movies and television comedy to help develop his craft. A key inspiration was the role of Ed Norton in The Honeymooners.

    “I can remember when I was a baby and my mother was there watching the show (The Honeymooners).I went and bought 100 episodes and watched them,” he said during an interview before his remake of the movie was released. “I respect it so much that the sitcom itself and Ed Norton; I’m not playing Ed Norton but my version of it, cause I’m a black man.”

    “I watch old school fi lm so that I can learn so much that I just sort of miss all the new stuff,” he continued.

    Epps takes his success in stride, noting, “I’m a survivor of life. I try to give the glory to God and appreciate what’s happening to me. I’m gonna have to develop myself. I’m just going to do the best that I can do, but I’m humble enough to wait and just chill. I’m having fun just working with these good people.”

    Epps will be joined on stage by comedienne Sheryl Underwood. Underwood, a former member of the armed forces and has two master’s degrees frequently makes jokes about “all the creative places you can get busy on a military base.”

    Underwood refers to herself as “a sexually progressive, God-fearing, black Republican,” and is best known for her stand-up, but has had some time on the big screen.

    The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets for the event range in price from $46 to $55. Tickets may be purchased at the Crown Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information, visit www.atthecrown.com.

  • 11-10-10-ibn-said.gifThe Museum of the Cape Fear is celebrating the life of Omar Ibn Said through Dec. 5 and invites you to join them as they delve into the life of this Muslim slave whose writings and works are still studied by scholars today.

    The story of Omar Ibn Said is an interesting one indeed. A man of privilege, he was born in 1770 and raised in what is modern day Senegal and enjoyed a prosperous life until he was captured and sold into slavery. His family was Muslim and he was educated in the Qur’an, Islamic practices and prayers. He also learned how to read and write in Arabic and knew some math too. He considered himself a scholar, a teacher and a merchant.

    By the time he came to America as a slave, Omar Ibn Said was 37 years old. He ended up in Fayetteville in 1810 after running away from a cruel master in Charleston, S.C. Of course, he was captured pretty quickly and charged with being a run away slave. While in jail, he turned to his faith and used coals from the fireplace to write prayers to Allah on the walls and ceiling of his cell. Being an educated Arab, all of his writings were in Arabic and the citizens of Fayetteville were intrigued by the markings he made in the jail.

    “They weren’t familiar with the writings, but it was obvious that this was an educated man,” said Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex administrator David Reid. Omar Ibn Said was purchased by James Owen of Bladen County and went to live with the family there. “Omar was held in high esteem by the family and treated quite well.” Reid added.

    Little did Omar Ibn Said, or the young town of Fayetteville, know what an impact he would have — one that would last for centuries.

    Although Omar Ibn Said is not the only Muslim sold into slavery in the U.S., he is the only one known to have penned his autobiography in his native language — Arabic. In fact, his original autobiography, which was penned in 1831, is the cornerstone of the exhibit.

    The manuscript consists of two parts. Omar Ibn Said begins with a chapter from the Koran, surat al-Mulk (‘dominion’ or ‘ownership’), then follows with his own narrative. Omar Ibn Said’s narrative is addressed to a “Sheikh Hunter,” who presumably asked Omar to write the narrative.

    In 1836, Omar Ibn Said sent his manuscript to Lamine Kebe, a freed slave and Muslim of Futa Toro, the region Omar Ibn Said grew up in, living in New York and preparing to return to Africa. Eventually, the manuscript of the autobiography was lost. It was found in a collection in Virginia in the 1990s and sold at auction. The current owner has allowed it to be examined by scholars and displayed in museums.

    Lamine Kebe passed the manuscript of the autobiography to Theodore Dwight, a founder of the American Ethnological Society professional traveler, writer and abolitionist. Dwight made it available to Alexander Cotheal, a linguist who was fluent in Arabic. Cotheal produced the first English translation of the work in 1848. A second translation was later done by Reverend Isac Beard, a founder of the Syrian Protestant Mission in Beirut (later American University Beirut).

    “I think the autobiography is something he wrote in 1831,” said Reid. “It is in his handwriting, it has been missing for a while and has come to light, so it is exciting to get the attention brought to Omar. He is an interesting fi gure from our history that people aren’t aware of — I think it will generate a lot of attention and interest.

    ”In addition, Davidson College is loaning a copy of the Lord’s Prayer translated into Arabic by Omar Ibn Said to the Museum of the Cape Fear.

    “The Owen family donated some artifacts to Davidson back in the 1870s or so,” said Reid. “They were staunch Presbyterians and knew of Davidson and trusted them to preserve it.”

    The Museum of the Cape Fear is located at 801 Arsenal Ave. They are open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays. Call 486-1330 for more info.

  • Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) provides education and workforce training to Cumberland County residents. In 2004, FTCC opened a campus in the town of Spring Lake to better serve the growing educational needs of the Spring Lake area and Fort Bragg. The warm and inviting atmosphere of the Spring Lake Campus leads to a calm environment, which allows the students to relax and learn in a peaceful setting.11-23-11-ftcc-logo.jpg

    Located adjacent to Fort Bragg and Pope Army Air Field, the campus has a significant enrollment of military dependents, veterans and active military personnel. The Spring Lake Campus serves approximately 4,000 students each year, about 35 percent of whom are military dependents, active duty military, reservists or veterans.

    The Spring Lake Campus continues to grow in its role as a strong community partner and good neighbor in the greater Spring Lake and Fort Bragg area by offering a number of pro-grams, hosting community events and expanding its program offerings to address emerging needs. The campus offers a num-ber of curriculum and continuing education programs including Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), phle-botomy certification online courses, adult basic education and GED, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and various college-transfer opportunities. Plans are underway to expand its program offerings by adding a social-media program and Homeland Security/Emergency Management and Defense Analysis and Global Securities Studies Programs.

    Some of the resources that are available at the campus include an “I Persist, I Achieve, I Study, I Succeed” (I-PASS) Center, Spring Lake Campus Library Resource Center (located inside the Spring Lake Branch of the Cumberland County Public Library) and a physical fitness center. Plans are underway to add a walking/jogging trail and an athletic field for classes in flag football, volleyball, jog-ging and walking.

    Since its opening in 2004, the Spring Lake Campus has seen dramatic changes in the surrounding community. A new apartment complex, Village by the Lake, has been constructed directly across the street from campus. A number of new busi-nesses have set up shop in the town of Spring Lake as it is evolving into a regional commercial hub that serves northwestern Cumberland County and southwestern Harnett County. In the past few years, the town’s commercial development has soared into the millions of dollars, thereby creating hundreds of jobs and increas-ing the town’s tax base. To help develop a vision for the town’s future growth and development, the Spring Lake Campus served as the site for first “Spring Lake Community Summit.” The theme of the summit was “Connect, Create, and Collaborate.” The town leaders invited representatives from various national, state, county and local government offices, as well as leaders from FTCC and Fort Bragg, to serve as panelists.

    FTCC recognizes that it must take a collaborative approach with the school system and the community to ensure that stu-dents are prepared for post-secondary education. To that end, the Spring Lake Campus sponsors the children of Koala Day Care Center, located just behind the campus, for Harvest Fest/Halloween and Christmas events. For Harvest Fest/Halloween, the children are treated with a story time presented by the staff as well as bags of treats with candy and FTCC information. At Christmas, a special visit from Santa is enjoyed by all who attend.

    The campus is also developing the Spring Lake Campus Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Summer Academy in col-laboration with Fayetteville area schools, military groups and the non-profit organi-zation, Project L.I.F.T (Lift Initiative for Teens). The STEM Summer Academy is a five-week program that provides 3,000 hours of student-centered learning oppor-tunities for 30 middle and high school students in Spring Lake. Scholarships will be provided to most families to cover part of the $100 enrollment fee. Instruction will provide age- and grade-appropriate hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer sciences. To support the program, retired veterans, educators, active-duty military and military spouses will volunteer to serve as teachers, guest speakers and mentors.

    Through activities such as these, the Spring Lake Campus of Fayetteville Technical Community College is proving to be a good neighbor and community partner.

  • 112515_red-apple-run.pngNot everyone has access to appropriate healthcare. Recognizing the gap between needs and services, Better Health has worked since 1958 to give Cumberland County residents the health services that they need. The non-profit organization focuses on diabetes management and education, childhood obesity prevention and education, loans for medical equipment and financial assistance for emergency medical needs. 

    “Several of our programs are preventative and/or disease management, so results come over time. Our most immediately gratifying program is our Direct Aid program. Clients can come to our office in need of help purchasing an emergency medication, having a tooth extracted, travel assistance to a medical appointment in Chapel Hill, etc.,” Amy Navejas M.D., executive director of the organization, explained. “We verify their income information and can assist them the same day. With these clients, we are able to see the impact immediately. Many come to us in tears and leave with a sense of relief that their needs are being met.” 

    In order to support its programs, Better Health relies on the community. One annual fundraiser is The Red Apple Run, which is set for Nov. 21. 

    “Direct Aid, Diabetes Management and Childhood Obesity Prevention are funded through this run. Thanks to operational support from the United Way, the funds raised at the Red Apple Run can go directly towards helping our clients,” said Navejas.

    For Navejas, the organization’s diabetes prevention program has a personal connection. “My father has Type I diabetes,” she explains, “While Better Health does much more than diabetes management, the cause hits close to home for me. I grew up having been taught about a healthy diet, the signs and symptoms of low and high blood sugar and what to tell EMS if I had to call 911 for my father. Working with Better Health allows me the chance to see others learn to manage their diabetes effectively and live their life to the fullest despite the complexities of the disease. It is very gratifying to see clients gain knowledge and confidence that they can manage this!” 

    Though this is only the third year of the Red Apple Run the community support has been tremendous. Last year more than 400 runners participated in the event. 

    Though diabetes education and prevention is the focus for the Red Apple Run, Better Health provides all kinds of healthcare programs and assistance. The organization offers free exercise classes, child obesity prevention and healthy cooking demonstrations to name just a few programs.

    The Red Apple Run for Diabetes is on Nov. 21. The 10K starts at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K starts at 8:45 a.m. Registration is $25 at www.active.com/fayetteville-nc/running/distance-running-races/red-apple-run-for-diabetes-10k-and-5k-run-walk-2015. The races will begin at 101 Robeson St. For more information, visit www.betterhealthcc.org or call 910.483-7534.


  • 18 ALMS HOUSEForgive Grilley Mitchell if he’s been preoccupied the last few weeks. He’s preparing to have several friends over for Thanksgiving dinner again, as many as 60 or 70 to be exact.

    This will make the 10th year that Mitchell, program coordinator at the ALMS HOUSE in Hope Mills, has helped coordinate the annual free Thanksgiving dinner for the town’s underprivileged. It’s held each year on Thanksgiving Day at the ALMS HOUSE building on Ellison Street downtown near the historic Trade Street district.

    Mitchell, who is retired from the military, is a native of Vidalia, Georgia, and has called Hope Mills home since moving there in 2004. He first got involved in activities at the ALMS HOUSE in 2009.

    Mitchell said he usually tries to start getting things organized for the big meal the first of November, but he’s a little behind this year because of his involvement in the recent Hope Mills municipal election.

    The biggest challenge, as always, is collecting all the food that will be needed for the big event, and Mitchell and the volunteers at the ALMS HOUSE cut no corners when it comes to providing everything that’s part of the Thanksgiving eating tradition.

    The tentative menu for this year includes turkey, ham, dressing or stuffing, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, green beans or greens, sweet potatoes or yams, gravy, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and assorted desserts and beverages.

    The food is provided by ALMS HOUSE volunteers and people in the community who step up to help out.

    ALMS HOUSE stands for Associated Local Ministries in Service, Helping Others in Unfortunate Situations and Experiences.The mission of the ALMS HOUSE is to assist with utilities, medicine, food, clothing, household items, school supplies and Bibles.

    The ALMS HOUSE regularly provides free lunches to the underprivileged of the Hope Mills area and makes every effort to avoid turning anyone away.

    Some people bring the food unprepared to the ALMS HOUSE building, but Mitchell encourages them to wait the day of the luncheon and bring it already cooked and ready to serve around 11 a.m. The luncheon begins at noon.

    If people want to donate uncooked turkey or ham, Mitchell tries to get them to stop by on Monday or Tuesday the week of Thanksgiving so he can find someone to cook and prepare them in time for the big meal.

    This year, to avoid excess and duplication, Mitchell sent out a list to a number of people in the community specifying amounts of many of the items to insure there will be enough to handle the expected crowd.

    Mitchell said there has been a recent influx of entire families who have taken part of the services offered by the ALMS HOUSE.

    In some cases, he said, families with as many as six to nine members have come by for help.

    Based on attendance at meals served during at the ALMS HOUSE during the summer months, Mitchell is anticipating a crowd of anywhere from 60 to 70 this year. At past Thanksgiving lunches the numbers have come closer to 100.

    The biggest problem for some of the folks who need to take advantage of the free meal is getting there. The ALMS HOUSE is unable to provide transportation or deliver the food, so the folks who want to come to the Thanksgiving lunch have to find a way to get to the Ellison Street location in order to eat.

    “We’re seeing a lot of new faces we haven’t seen,’’ Mitchell said of the people coming to the ALMS HOUSE. “You have your homeless populations and they are transient. They tend to move around.’’

    Mitchell said food will be served until they run out on Thanksgiving Day, but normally they are usually finished and packed up before 2 p.m.

    There is often food left after the luncheon. Unprepared nonperishable food can be saved for Christmas, Mitchell said.

    In past years, when the ALMS HOUSE had too much prepared food on hand, Mitchell and the volunteers delivered the excess to the Salvation Army in Fayetteville.

    He’s hopeful the specific requests he’s made regarding the amount of food needed this year will help avoid to many leftovers.

    “It’s the love and the compassion of the community coming together,’’ Mitchell said of the event. “We feed anyone that comes in. We don’t discriminate. If you’re hungry, we’ll feed you. We do it out of love.’’

    For any questions about the Thanksgiving meal or other events at ALMS HOUSE call 910-425-0902.
     
  • 15 01 MccrayOn Dec. 2, a new era of government for the town of Hope Mills begins with the swearing in of its new Board of Commissioners.

    In the recent general election on Nov. 5, the town’s voters returned sitting commissioners Jessie Bellflowers, Jerry Legge and Pat Edwards to the board, brought back former commissioner Bryan Marley and made history with the election of Dr. Kenjuana McCray, the leading vote-getter of all the candidates and the first African-American woman elected to a position on the Board of Commissioners.

    The commissioners are listed below in the order of most votes received by each.

    Dr. Kenjuana McCray

    McCray, the only person elected to the board this time who is a complete neophyte to the job, thinks the town has a number of projects on the table right now but also doesn’t think the funding is readily available to complete all of them.
    One item that’s at the top of McCray’s to-do list is the completion of Heritage Park in the vicinity of the Hope Mills dam.

    15 02 bryan MarleyThe previous board put a lot of effort into getting a greenway and walking trail open at the former Hope Mills golf course property, but McCray thinks it’s time to focus attention elsewhere.

    “Whatever we do at Heritage Park, there needs to be a clear plan on what we are going to do with the golf course,’’ she said. “I don’t think we need to do one project without knowing the direction of the other projects.’’

    McCray thinks time needs to be devoted to public transportation and the pending issue of the Interstate 295 outer loop. She wants to learn what the Department of Transportation has in mind for Hope Mills that could aid the town’s ongoing problem with traffic.

    McCray has lived in Hope Mills for 13 years and serves as lead coordinator for social sciences and humanities at Fayetteville Technical Community College. She takes both her community and her new role as a commissioner very seriously.

    “I know everybody is watching,’’ she said. “I have no doubt I’m going to make the people of Hope Mills proud."

    15 03 Pat EdwardsBryan Marley

    Marley said it was a good feeling to return to the board after a two-year hiatus following his loss in the 2017 election.

    A longtime employee of the town of Hope Mills as a firefighter, Marley is currently the Fire marshal and emergency management director for neighboring Hoke County.

    “I’m from here and have lived here my whole life,’’ Marley said. “I’m glad the citizens saw fit to give me another chance.’’

    Marley said the new board needs to be more unified than its predecessor. “The town is a business and it’s got to be run like a business,’’ he said. “You can’t let personal stuff get in the way of handling business.’’
    Marley thinks one of the first things the new board should do is restore some of the powers of office to Mayor Jackie Warner that the previous board took away.

    He feels clear lines of communication between members are crucial. “I feel this new board is going to get it together, and we’ll start moving the town forward,’’ he said.

    Pat Edwards

    Edwards returns to the Board of Commissioners hopeful that this new group will be far more harmonious than the board of the last two years.

    She agreed with her fellow incoming commissioners that there are some big projects on the table that need immediate attention.

    15 04 jerry leggeAll of them are going to require funding. Edwards thinks the town staff can help build partnerships with businesses. “They know all the grants that are available,’’ she said. “We can save a lot of money.
    “Let people talk to us and negotiate,’’ she said.

    Jerry Legge

    Legge hopes the new board is ready to put conflict aside and unite for what’s best for the town.

    With the exception of McCray, Legge said he has previous working relationships with all the members of the new board. He feels McCray brings excellent skills to the job that will help her to quickly become a good commissioner.
    Like many of the other board members, Legge lists completing the Heritage Park project along with the Episcopal Church and parish house projects as important, along with the development of the golf course.

    He also thinks time needs to be devoted to the Interstate 295 outer loop.

    “I think it’s very important we establish what we see out there, although we can’t control all of that,’’ he said.

    “I really do look forward to the challenge of being able to sit down and work with these people,’’ he said of the new board.

    15 05 Jessie BellflowersJessie Bellflowers

    Bellflowers first congratulated the members of the incoming board, calling it an exciting group. “We’ve got some challenges and opportunities ahead of us,’’ he said.

    A major focus for the next two years will be ongoing projects like Heritage Park, development of the golf course and the construction of the new public safety complex for the police and fire departments.
    He also called the Interstate 295 outer loop a huge project for the town.

    He sees all of those items as topics the board needs to focus attention on during its first 60 to 90 days in office.

    He’s hopeful the new board will approach all of the challenges facing the town from a team perspective.

    ”I’m hoping that’s how we get started, because it’s going to take a team effort of everybody rowing the boat in the same direction with these challenges and opportunities we have the next two years,’’ he said.

    At a projected cost of $16 million, Bellflowers said the public safety facility gives him a reason for pause.

    “We desperately need the building, but how are we going to pay for the building?’’ he asked. “That’s a lot of money. It may take two or three years for economic development to develop and be sustainable.’’
     
    Pictured from top to bottom: Dr. Kenjuana McCray, Bryan Marley, Pat Edwards, Jerry Legge, Jessie Bellflowers. 
  • The Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program, or C-STEP, housed in the office of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, seeks to admit, identify, enroll and graduate high-achieving, low-to-moderate income students transferring to UNC-Chapel Hill from partner community colleges.

    Fayetteville Technical Community College’s C-STEP program began in 2011. Each year, two cohorts of students — a group of first-year FTCC students and a group of second-year FTCC students — participate in C-STEP.

    FTCC students Halona Dantes and Anjali Saji attended FTCC’s open house during summer 2019. Both young ladies arrived in Fayetteville the day before the open house event. Both students are from India where their mothers, who are nurses, participated with a recruiting agency for nurses to allow their families to emigrate from their home country to the United States. Neither student nor family knew each other before their arrival in Fayetteville.

    “My parents sacrificed a lot for me, and the thought of having a chance to better myself with the educational opportunities within the United States is what motivated my parents to make the move,” Dantes said.

    The process for Dantes' parents to leave Kuwait and Saji’s parents to leave Bahrain began in 2018 and was not an easy feat.

    Dantes said, “The process is hard and intense, and I wanted to do well in college because of all the advantages my parents were trying to afford me with.”

    Each family had to complete a compilation of tests and exams in English and score proficiently in each area to pass. They also had to complete and pass an interview. At the time, they did not know that both mothers would end up working as nurses at Cape Fear Valley Hospital.

    After applying and being selected to C-STEP, both students quickly adjusted to the program and made friends with their cohorts.

    Saji reflected on that early period: “I was really scared, and I had a fear about coming from abroad and being accepted," she said. "However, my cohort group was very accepting and welcoming. The fear I had about making friends vanished because I got to make friends through class engagement and various other components that the program provides.”

    Each student exudes the embodiment of what it means to be a C-STEP student. Each student has goals, accountability, strong character and a desire to achieve and give back to the community.

    The C-STEP program requires interested students to earn their associate degree at a North Carolina Community College and then transfer to Carolina to complete their studies. Once a student completes a degree at FTCC, he or she is guaranteed admissions into Carolina.

    But the advantages offered to C-STEP students go far beyond providing them with admission into UNC-Chapel Hill. C-STEP is an all-encompassing program that allows students to gain extensive knowledge of the Carolina campus, meet key individuals who will be of aid when they arrive at Carolina, and receive an opportunity to learn and grow with like-minded individuals who become far more than just peers.

    Saji summed up her motivation to succeed: “How could I not do well in my classes? My parents have given up and sacrificed so much to give me a better chance.”

    For more information about FTCC and C-STEP, please contact the author, the FTCC C-STEP Progam Director, at
    nelsonl@faytechcc.edu.

    07 01 DSC 0734Halona

    07 02 DSC 0709anjali

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Pictured:  (Left) Halona Dantes and (Right) Anjali Saji.  Both are students in FTCC's C-STEP program.

  • 14 Jackie Warner and husbandMoving forward. Those are the marching orders Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner has adopted for herself following her re-election to office.

    During the short time since her re-election on Nov. 5 and the swearing in of the new Board of Commissioners on Dec. 2, Warner will follow a game plan that has worked for her after previous elections.  
     
    She hopes to set up meetings with the new commissioners before the swearing in ceremony is held.

    The purpose of the meetings, she said, is to let the new board know that what is passed is passed and her goal is to move forward and build new relationships.

    “I just want us to clear the air,’’ Warner said.

    Warner also plans to include town manager Melissa Adams and town clerk Jane Starling in the meetings to help make all the board members aware of the current limits of the town budget and to share instruction on basic protocols of the Board of Commissioners.

    As soon as everyone is sworn in, Warner hopes to schedule a mini retreat for herself, the commissioners and key town department heads to discuss everyone’s role. She’d like to get someone other than herself to facilitate that meeting.
    Warner would like the retreat to cover understanding town rules and procedures, planning for ethics training and building relationships, so the work on planning for the town can begin.

    Once that’s done, Warner said she’d like to return as soon as possible to conducting town business the way it was done prior to changes enacted by the previous board.

    For one thing, she’d like to see more order to the process of requesting items to be placed on the agenda of business that comes before the commissioners.

    The procedure that used to be in place called for a form to be submitted to the town manager and discussed before coming to the board for a vote. “You don’t have this pushing things through without having some discussion and opportunity for input,’’ she said.

    “Sometimes it’s emergency things but for the most part, we want to get back to the process that was in place that seemed to work very well.’’

    As the board moves into 2020, major concerns are a number of high dollar projects in the works, headed by the new public safety facility for the police and fire departments.

    The goal is to break ground on the building in 2020, and Warner said some tough decisions await the board because of the expense connected with the new building.

    The board also has tough decisions on completing the work at the lake park, something Warner considers very important.

    Heritage Park, another project that has been long delayed, is part of the overall lake park project.

    “We’re going to have to come up with funding,’’ she said. “That’s going to be important. How much funding we can garner from grants and other places without having to do any type of raising of taxes.’’

    She agrees with members of the incoming board that another big project on the horizon is the development of the Interstate 295 outer loop and the impact it will have on the town.

    Warner thinks the town needs to get a handle on projects other big developers may be working on for Hope Mills.

    “I don’t want to limit any commercial development, but we need more diverse types of commercial development,’’ Warner said.

    As for the town’s continuing problem with traffic congestion in the downtown area, Warner thinks the board may be forced to wait and see what the Department of Transportation will be able to do on its own schedule.
    “I think the end product is going to be a new traffic pattern for us,’’ Warner said.

    One area where Warner has strong feelings about the future of the town is cementing partnerships with local businesses.

    She wants to renew efforts to work with the local YMCA on projects of mutual benefit between them and the town.

    As an example of a successful partnership between the town and local businesses, Warner pointed to the successful food truck rodeos the town holds at Municipal Park.

    The town has also partnered with other organizations to secure grants for a number of new sidewalk projects that are still in the works.

    “Because of our growth and our needs, we’re going to have to start looking at the private sector to help us do some of the things we want to do,’’ Warner said.

    Pictured: Mayor Jackie Warner and husband Alex during early voting for her successful 2019 campaign as mayor of Hope Mills.
     
     
     
  • 04 the CarolsThis holiday season the Gilbert Theater presents its newest Christmas production, “The Carols,” starting Nov. 27.

    “The Carols,” with its classic 1940’s style comedy set during World War II, is a story about the three Carol sisters who run the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post and are struggling to put on their annual “A Christmas Carol” production while facing another dilemma — the lack of men in town due to the war.

    “So they decide they're going to cast all women, then put an audition notice out, nobody shows up but this surprise guest,” Director Robyne Parrish said. “This one dude, Melvin, shows up and he's not quite right but he's all they've got, so they hire him on and they put together one of the most ridiculous ‘Christmas Carols’ of all time.”

    She describes it as a sweet, feel-good movie about family, loss and hope. The production shows the sisters struggling to put on their show with just four people, said cast member Evan Bridenstine.

    “It seems impossible for quite some time but then they perform and that's the act two,” he said. “The songs are great, none of them are those you've heard, most of them have that ear-worming quality that gets in your head and stays for a while.”

    Bridenstine, who plays the character of Melvin, described the production as funny, yet having a seriousness to it, due to the times it's set in.

    Parrish said the themes for the hour and 45-minute show are family, ‘there’s no place like home,’ and a kind of Christmas carol in disguise.

    The Artistic Director for the theater, Lawrence Carlisle, described the show as something on a lighter note that is needed during current times.

    “The Carols” will run three different weekends: Nov. 27- 29, Dec. 4-6 and Dec.18-20. Patrons can purchase tickets on the website. Tickets start at $16 but the theater offers discounts for military, students and first responders. There will be a military appreciation day with tickets being $10, Carlisle said.

    Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the theater, which usually holds about 100 people, has had to cut down capacity to 25. There will be temperature checks for patrons, a requirement for masks and contactless entry with use of electronic tickets.

    On Nov. 28, the first Saturday show, there will be a masked performance where the actors will wear face shields to accommodate patrons who don’t feel comfortable with mask-less actors, Parrish said.

    Despite continued concerns with the pandemic, the Gilbert continues to produce local entertainment even as it struggles, Carlisle said. Having to reduce audience capacity, buying additional cleaning supplies and rearranging how they do things has been interesting, he said.

    Parrish said the theater already operates on a small budget where about 50-75% of the annual budget comes from ticket sales.

    “It wasn’t going to work for us to just go in the dark for a year, and wait for a vaccine,” Carlisle said. “To not have any shows at all, you know, we would have just gone out of business.”

    Since a lot of people can’t be with family this holiday season due to the pandemic, Parrish said attending a show can be a way for them to feel like they’re a part of something.

    “If you’re looking forward to a little bit of joy during the holiday season and a little opportunity to escape and just smile … this show will allow people to escape, for a little while, from all that we are going through right now,” she said.

    For more information on “The Carols” and Gilbert Theater, visit www.gilberttheater.com/index.php

    Pictured: Cast members of "The Carols" rehearse for the musical scheduled to open Nov. 27 at the Gilbert Theater.

     

  • 18 town hallFrom now through Dec. 15, citizens of Hope Mills who would like to be more involved in the goings on in their town are invited to apply for membership on any of several official town committees.

    Anyone interested in applying for committee membership who has never served must fill out an application that can be picked up from the clerk’s office at Town Hall on Rockfish Road. Anyone who has applied in the last 12 months does not have to submit a new form.

    Members who are currently serving on a committee and wish to continue do need to contact the town and make it known they’d like to serve again.

    In addition to getting applications at Town Hall, they are also available on the town website, www.townofhopemills.com. Any questions should be directed to town clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113 or by email at jstarling@townofhopemills.com.

    The town reloads its committees every two years in line with the town election cycle.

    Once all the names of candidates have been received next month, a nominating committee will go over them and make assignments to the various committees. A full list of all the committees can be found at the town website as well, along with current members of the committees.

    Hope Mills mayor Jackie Warner said the committees are like advisory boards for the town.

    “When special interests or special projects are brought to the town, they go to whichever committee they would apply to,’’ she said.

    Each committee also has a member of the town’s Board of Commissioners that serves as a liaison between the committee and the board.

    “That member reports back to the board what took place in the meeting,’’ Warner said. “Sometimes they make recommendations for things they’d like to see and for concerns they’ve heard.’’

    One body that’s a little different from the others is the town’s Historical Commission.

    Town commissions can have a budget and spend money. They can also make decisions that don’t require approval of the full Board of Commissioners.

    There are also certain criteria for members of a commission that require the members have specific expertise in the field the commission works, not just a personal interest.

    If more people ask to be on a committee than spots are available, the nominating committee uses a ranking system based on which people submitted their request to be on a committee first, so it’s important to apply as soon as possible before the Dec. 15 deadline.

    Warner said there have been discussions of limiting the amount of time someone can serve on a committee or rotating people between various committees. Neither idea has been approved.

    Warner said it’s feared that any limits placed on serving could cut the number of people interested in volunteering.

    “We get what we hope is a good representation of the community, so we are getting their opinions,’’ Warner said. “It keeps us informed and gives us the opportunity to have input on the decisions we make.’’

  • 01 01 dickens1900037‘A Dickens Holiday’ holds a special place in the hearts of many area residents. Locals look forward to coming together and kickstarting the holiday season with this festive event in downtown Fayetteville. Like so many other traditions in 2020, this year’s event will be a little different due to the pandemic, but participants will still be able to enjoy the beloved event inspired by Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

    “This is the 21st year we are doing this festival, usually it happens the day after Thanksgiving,” said Antonio Renteria, director of operations for the Arts Council of Fayetteville.

    “It started off as a way to bring traffic from the mall area to downtown and focus on those small businesses. It grew from there,” he said.

    Instead of a one-day event, this year’s celebration is titled ‘In the Spirit of Dickens,'” and also offers events on the two weekends before Thanksgiving with musicians and other performers.

    “We’ll have some carolers out there and cut outs to bring the holiday season even sooner,” Renteria said.

    The holiday may look different this year, but the Arts Council is using the opportunity to return the focus to supporting downtown merchants, he said.

    Merchants will be doing different specials leading up to the main festival on Nov. 27. The festival won’t have the usual fireworks or the candlelight procession. Also absent this year will be the arts and crafts vendors set up in the downtown area.

    “These are some things that we are not doing to mediate some of the larger crowds,” Renteria said. “We are encouraging merchants to bring out holiday gear and come out of their shops and decorate,” he said. “We’ll have the Fayetteville Orchestra, and different actors, like Scrooge, Ghost of Christmas Past, walking up and down the streets.”

    This year’s festival will be a combination of efforts with the Arts Council and Cool Springs Downtown District to provide a unique shopping experience.

    What we do plan to do is still support our mission of combining the arts in support of our local business and restaurants, that will also allow us to help support our local artists that have been out of work since March, said Robert Pinson, interim president/CEO of the Arts Council.

    “The idea is that you may not know exactly what is happening downtown, but you know that there is something fun to see and do and shop, or a great restaurant for lunch or dinner,” Pinson said.

    Some of the other attractions downtown for the festival will include Coventry Carolers, local adult and youth musicians from Fayetteville Symphony, brass quartets and Dickens character actors from the Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

    “One of my favorite things that we are doing, and I am glad we are getting a chance to do it again this year, is the ‘Gingerbread Community of Hope’ … a gingerbread house competition,” Renteria said. The competition is open to the public, there’s no cost to enter, and you can go online to sign up, he said.

    The Encore Academy will display entries in their windows beginning Nov. 23, Pinson said.

    “The houses will be up that Monday before and stay up the whole week, so people can come downtown, look at them, scan the QR code and vote on the ones they like,” Renteria said. “It’s a public competition so the community really gets to come out and decide which is the best one.”

    The winner of the competition will receive a $250 prize and will be announced the weekend of the event.

    The Fayetteville Area Transportation Museum will be doing story time for children and there will be horse drawn carriage rides, said Metoya Scott, public relations manager for the Arts Council.

    Like every other year, attendees and visitors are encouraged to dress up in Dickens-themed or Victorian clothing, and a guide to the dress code is available on the Arts Council’s website, Renteria said.

    The Arts Council will stream certain events live on the festival’s event page on Facebook for those who don’t feel comfortable coming downtown due to the pandemic.

    “For me the biggest thing you’re coming for … is getting to see the carolers and Scrooge, the Ghost of Christmas Past, walking around and really just get you into that holiday spirit,” Renteria said.

    The event will end the evening of Nov. 27 with the lighting of the community Christmas tree in front of the Arts Council.

    “If you're looking for a way to forget about 2020 a little bit, then get outside and enjoy the holiday season for the pure sake of it just being the holidays," Renteria said. “This is definitely the time to come out and do it and leave with a smile on your face.”

    For more information about ‘In the Spirit of Dickens,' visit https://www.theartscouncil.com/feature/dickens-holiday

    01 02 dickens1900021

    01 04 dickens1900085

    01 03 dickens1900078

     

     

     

     

     

  • 17 Putt Putt 1 With all the competition for family entertainment in greater Fayetteville, Michael Edwards said it’s good for a business like Putt-Putt Fun Center in Hope Mills to get special recognition.

    The Hope Mills business was recently recognized by the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce as its small business of the month.

    Next year, Putt-Putt will mark its 10th anniversary in Hope Mills. The business is located at 3311 Footbridge Ln., not far from the Millstone Shopping Center.

    “The competition in the area is hard,’’ Edwards, the assistant general manager at the Putt-Putt Fun Center said. “I think it’s awesome we were recognized and we were able to stand out among (our competitors).’’

    Edwards said the secret of success to the Hope Mills location is simple: offer good customer service and a clean facility and try to stay current with the best games available to the public.

    And there’s one other important element he said, affordable prices for the customers.

    While the business continues in the tradition of the Putt-Putt franchise that was created by the late Don Clayton years ago, the hallmark of the Hope Mills location is a variety of family entertainment options.

    In addition to the two 18-hole Putt-Putt courses, the Hope Mills Putt-Putt offers a go-kart track, bumper boats, bumper cars, a two-story laser tag facility and up to 30 video games in an indoor arcade.

    The bumper boats are currently closed for the season and typically won’t re-open until March.

    Hours of operation vary with the seasons of the year. For now, Putt-Putt is open Sunday through Thursday from noon until 9 p.m., Friday from noon to 11 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m.

    Summer hours extend from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to midnight on the weekends.

    In the event of bad weather, including heavy rain or lightning, the outdoor attractions close, but the indoor ones remain open.

    Parties are a big part of what Putt-Putt offers, with package deals ranging from $160 to $240.

    A typical party pack covers a guest of honor and seven guests. It includes two large pizzas and two large pitchers of drinks. The special guest gets a $10 game card and the others get a $5 game card.
    The number of guests can be increased with add-ons. The larger party packs offer more attractions than the smaller ones.

    Putt-Putt also offers fundraisers. For $15 per person, a group can get two-hour unlimited use of the park for each person that buys a ticket.

    The organization doing the fundraiser is required to get everyone planning to come committed prior to the event, then they are given $5 back for every person that pays.
    Group prices are also available for groups of 15 or more.

    Pictured from L-R: Mayor Jackie Warner, Michael Knight, general manager;  Michael Edwards, assistant. gemeral manager; Tammy Thurman, member of chamber of commerce board, board of trustees of Greater Fayetteville Chamber and member military affairs council.

  • Since its founding in April of 1988 the Fayetteville Area Habitat for Humanity has built more than 48 houses in Cumberland County. Habitat's mission is to eliminate poverty housing from the world. They believe that every human has a right to decent housin g and work to provide the disadvantaged with places to live.


    Currently, Habitat Village is where much of their good work is being done. Homes are being built on land deeded to Fayetteville Area Habitat for Humanity by the City of Fayetteville. While the organization is known on a national level, funds are raised locally and are kept in the community to help citizens in Fayetteville.On Dec. 5, Kings Grant Golf and Country Club and Methodist University are hosting a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity - the Cumberland Christmas Classic.


    "It is a new concept and the mission is to give back to the community," said Rob Pilewski, head golf pro at Kings Grant Golf and County Club. "The overall goal is to raise funds for a house for Habitat. We can say ‘Hey, this is for the good of the community - and we can see it right there. We built it.'"


    This is just the beginning of what Pilewski and other sponsors hope will become an annual event that folks all over town look forward to and participate in.

    "We felt like we wanted to benefit the community, Kings Grant is involved with Methodist University and part of those things is giving back to the community. It is in our mission statements," said Pilewski.
    "This is a perfect way to do it. If I could look into the future and could say how I see it down the road, I think it would be great if we could get enough money and if we could get everybody involved from all the community building a house. How great would that be?" he continued.
    11_25_09-10th-blktee.jpg

    It currently costs almost $45,000 to build a Habitat for Humanity home, not to mention all the volunteer hours required. That's a pretty penny no matter how worthy the cause. Pilewski is confident that it can be done, and he is willing to work toward that end, even if it takes a while.

    "Are we going to get there in one year? Maybe not," said Pilewski. "But if we keep banking our funds we will get there - and you've got to start somewhere. I feel like it doesn't matter where you start, it is where you end up. It would be a win-win for everybody. That is our goal and we are excited about it."

    The tournament format is an elimination scramble. Pilewski described it in a nutshell as a game where everybody drives, everybody putts and you eliminate a person in between. Along with the interesting format, he also mentioned that there have been several improvements to the course that should make it a great experience for the players. There will also be a silent auction with items like an autographed picture of Peyton Manning, a football from N.C. State, an item or two from the Charlotte Bobcats as well as some national-level donations from various sports teams. Christmas ornaments are a part of the effort too, and can be purchased at Kings Grant Golf & Country Club.


    Now through Dec. 5 the course is offering a special on greens fees which will return a portion of the fee to Habitat for Humanity so even if you can't make the tournament, you can still help. While the Christmas Classic officially supports Habitat for Humanity, Pilewski noted that the top three teams will have the option of donating their funds to a local charity of their choice.
    Registration is currently open, the fee per golfer is $100, and includes greens fees, cart fees, practice balls, lunch, on-course refreshments and prizes. Sponsorships are still available. The tournament has a 10 a.m. shotgun start.  For more information or to register, call Rob Pilewski at 630-1111.

  • 16 01 south view 2From the 30-year stretch starting in the late 1980s and continuing until 2010, the South View High School marching band consistently ranked among Cumberland County’s biggest and best units.
    A huge part of its success rested squarely on the shoulders of former band director Jay Bolder.

    Bolder was recently recognized for his years of work at South View as he was nominated to be considered for induction into the North Carolina Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame.
    “It’s definitely an honor, without a doubt,’’ said Bolder, who is now retired and lives in Indian Trail, near Charlotte, not far from his native Monroe.

    A graduate of Wingate College, Bolder’s first teaching job offer came from Cumberland County, where he worked at Armstrong Middle School.

    From there he went to South View Middle School then moved to South View High School in 1985. After one year as codirector of the band, he assumed full leadership responsibilities in 1986.
    During his tenure, participation in the South View band swelled, peaking at some 225 members in the 1990s.

    “I guess people wanted to be part of it,’’ he said. “They pushed one another to excellence. It was exciting to play at halftime.’’

    Part of the excitement came from the tremendous success of the South View football program during the band’s peak years, including a state 4-A championship in the 1991 season.
    16 02 bolder“When they won the state championship, it was exciting football game after exciting football game,’’ Bolder said. “We supported the football team and they supported us.’’

    Bolder’s bands traveled frequently for competitions, going all over the southeast as far as South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Virginia.
    They also traveled to Philadelphia and California and even took a cruise to the Bahamas.

    During his career at South View, Bolder’s bands earned 41 superior ratings in competitions.

    He sent 40 of his former band members off to college as music majors, with some of them also becoming band directors in their own right.

    Bolder was awarded North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, and he was recognized with Jay Bolder Day in his adopted home town of Hope Mills.
    In addition to the many awards he has won, Bolder is a composer, arranger and adjudicator.

    He has held membership in a variety of organizations, including the Cumberland County Band Directors Association, the Southeastern District Band Association, South Central District Band Directors Association and he’s a member of the American School Band Directors Association.

    As a performer he’s been in musicals, community bands, symphony orchestras, top 40 groups and jazz groups. He was also involved in casting and choreography for scenes in the movie "Bolden."

    Bolder’s South View bands featured the corps style of performance, which puts emphasis on structure and musical performance, while at the same time offering the band members the chance to have some fun.
    Off the field in the classroom, Bolder was also responsible for the teaching side of the band that gave the members their fundamentals in music.

    “We had to start teaching them general music,’’ Bolder said. “They start in middle school in the sixth and seventh grade and work to the point where they get to high school and do a lot more performing.’’
    In some parts of the country, art and music education are on the wane as local and state government officials direct money to other areas of education.

    Bolder thinks it’s important to keep the role of art and music for students in perspective.

    “I would personally invite someone who felt that way to go through the program for a couple of days, follow the band leaders around for two days and have a chance to see how we do things and                                                                     what we do,’’ Bolder said.

    Whatever Bolder did during his years at South View, it was definitely successful and the results were visible to everyone.

    Picture 1: The success of the South View High School marching band can largely be credited to former band director Jay Bolder. Photo credit: South View Safari Staff

    Picture 2: Jay Bolder. Photo credit: Bobby Wiliford

  • 15 01 Dirtbag AlesThe annual Hope Mills Chili Cookoff is expanding this year to include a fall festival that will offer a variety of events for the entire family. The event is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 9, from 1-5 p.m. at Dirtbag Ales.

    For the second straight year, the chili cookoff will be held at Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom at 5435 Corporation Drive just off Interstate 95.

    The chili cookoff used to be held in conjunction with Ole Mills Days. This is the second year it’s been hosted by Dirtbag Ales and the first since the relatively new Hope Mills business has completed construction at its new location.

    Kelly Spell of the Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce said the chamber decided to make the event more family-friendly by adding a variety of carnival-style activities to the agenda.

    There will be face paining, cornhole boards, potato sack races and music from a live band.

    Other activities include a hula hoop contest, a candy apple station and a hot chocolate bar.

    Some of the event sponsors will also offer other games.

    But the centerpiece of the activities will be the chili cookoff itself.

    15 02 ChiliSpell said entries are still being sought for the competition. The fee is $20 per entry, and each entrant needs to bring a prepared crockpot of chili containing at least five quarts.

    To enter into the competition, go to hopemillsareachamber.com and click on the menu option for Event Ticket.

    The cookoff also welcomes vendors who would like to purchase a table to promote their business for $100 per table.

    There are two categories of chili cookoff competition — mild and spicy. Three cash prizes will be awarded in each category.

    There will also be a people’s choice award presented.

    All those entered in the chili cookoff need to arrive no later than 12:30 p.m. to allow time to set up all the tables for the entries.

    Both the judges and public involved in the people’s choice award will taste-test each chili without knowing who made which batch.

    The deadline for submitting an entry in the chili cookoff is Friday, Nov. 8, to allow chamber officials time to determine how many tables will be needed for the competition.

    All contestants need to make sure to label their chili mild or spicy so it is entered in the correct competition.

    For further information, call Kelly Spell at the chamber office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The phone number is 910-423-4314. You can also email her at hmacc@hopemillschamber.org.

  • 14 veterans memorialA special appearance by the United States Army’s Golden Knights parachute team highlights this year’s observance of Heroes Homecoming in Hope Mills.

    Scheduled on Monday, Nov. 11, the Hope Mills observance will be held at and in the vicinity of the Hope Mills Town Hall complex on Rockfish Road.

    Jim Morris, secretary for the Veterans Affairs Committee of the town of Hope Mills, said the ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the bell tower near Town Hall.

    The end of World War I will be remembered there with a ringing of the bell.

    From there, events will move to the Veterans Memorial Park nearby, where various members of the Veterans Affairs Committee will mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy on June 6, 1944, by reading the names of North Carolina residents who took part in the landings in France.

    Morris said committee members will take turns reading the names.

    Small American flags will be planted around the memorial park as part of the ceremony.

    Following the ceremonies at the 11 a.m. hour, there will be a break until 3 p.m. when the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10630 holds its annual Veterans Day ceremony.

    Weather permitting, the Golden Knights will jump in at the Brower Park baseball field across the street from the Town Hall Complex.

    They will bring with them a wreath that will be used during the VFW ceremony.

    Morris said the jump will recall major airborne operations of World War II, including the jumps at Normandy and later in the war in Operation Market Garden.

    Morris said that now more than ever, it is important for Americans to pause on Veterans Day and appreciate the sacrifices the military has made on behalf of the average citizen during this country’s long history.

    “We are involved in some of the longest wars America has ever been involved in,’’ he said, noting the extended conflict in Afghanistan as part of the war on global terror.

    Morris noted that since the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States, there have been some tremendous sacrifices by America’s active duty military.

    “Some of these guys have done seven, eight, nine year-long rotations,’’ he said. “They are just flat worn out, their families are worn out, the caregivers that take care of them are worn out.’’

    Morris said with the rise of suicides by some in the military, the psychological effects of all those years of strain are becoming evident.

    “I believe it’s important to thank them and have a separate day of remembrance when we just look at all the blood, sweat and tears they’ve given for our country,’’ he said.

  • 13 fitness roomThe fitness room at the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Center is getting a complete makeover and should be ready for use again when the new year rolls around in 2020.

    Kasey Ivey, who has been with the parks and recreation department for six years, said the existing facilities date back roughly a dozen years and the time has come to upgrade them.

    Ivey said conversations about both upgrading the equipment and relocating the workout room to a different part of the parks and recreation building have been going on for about two years.

    The discussion was partly prompted by the age of some of the equipment. “Just like anything, things run their cycle, new models come out, things become more difficult to repair and replace parts,’’ Ivey said.

    There had been some minor modifications made to the room in recent years, Ivey said. The existing space was long and narrow and had no windows, so mirrors were installed to add the illusion of more space and openness.

    The available equipment in the room included two treadmills, two elliptical machines, two recumbent bicycles, four pieces of circuit equipment for weight training, a biceps and triceps machine, a leg extension machine and a lat pull down and chest press.

    Soon after the parks and recreation center reopened after repairs to damage caused by Hurricane Florence were completed, Ivey began to get estimates on what it would cost to replace equipment in the room and expand it elsewhere in the building.

    The new fitness room will move to an area formerly used as a game room where a foosball table, pool table and some other game equipment was housed.

    Most recently the new room had been used for meeting space and as a conference room.

    Starting Oct. 12, the current workout room was closed to begin work on relocating everything to the new space in the building, or in some cases permanently moving it out.

    The new equipment for the upgraded room will not arrive until sometime in December. The current fitness room will transition into a multipurpose room and meeting space.

    The upgraded fitness room will have mirrored walls along with two smart televisions.

    In addition to a new location in the building, the new room will include some new equipment.

    One of the new pieces will be a seated elliptical machine. There will also be a section for free-weight training with medicine balls, dumbbells and kettle bells. There will be no plated free weights, Ivey said, just dumbbells.
    There will also be a TRX machine that allows a variety of workouts for the user.

    Mats will also be available for people to do various types of floor and stretching exercises.

    A small bench will be provided for people to sit and do bicep curls or whatever they like. There won’t be a bench press, but there will be a circuit piece that offers a chest press.

    Ivey estimates the new fitness room will be at least twice as big as the current one. Another benefit, she said, is it’s located on a corner of the building that has windows and will allow natural light into the room.
    People will still access the fitness room via the main lobby at the parks and recreation room. It will be available during normal hours of operation, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays from
    9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    To use the equipment, people will still have to fill out the parks and recreation department’s registration form required of anyone who uses the building’s services.

    Ivey is also working on a set of fitness room guidelines.

    “A lot of it is no-brainer stuff about wearing the proper footwear, no food or drinks other than water, things you see in most workout and fitness room facilities,’’ she said.

    Ivey said the guidelines will be posted in the room once it opens and also on the town website.

    “Part of our goal and purpose is to be the hub of wellness for the community,’’ Ivey said, “not just physical fitness, but all the different things collectively that we offer.’’

    Once the room is ready for use, Ivey said plans are developing to hold an orientation to help people get acquainted with the new equipment to make sure that it’s being used safely and properly.
    If the equipment arrives early enough, Ivey said the room could be ready to use before Dec. 31. People can check on the progress of the room at the recreation department’s Facebook page or on the town’s website.

    “We want a place that gives everyone an opportunity to workout inside,’’ Ivey said.
     
  • 11-03-10-veterans-parade.gifAccording to GlobalSecurity.org, Fort Bragg is the largest Army installation in the world by population, and is home to almost 10 percent of the Army’s active component forces. Approximately 43,000 military and 8,000 civilian personnel work at Fort Bragg.”

    That’s a lot of service, sacrifi ce and selfl essness on our behalf.

    Veterans Day is right around the corner, and with it comes the opportunity to say thanks and to show appreciation for those who offer up their lives and who fi ght to defend our freedom every day. On Nov. 6 Fayetteville will celebrate our heroes at the Veterans Day Parade. It starts 11 a.m. at the corner of Hay Street and Bragg Boulevard and will end at Robeson Street.

    Don Talbot, the event organizer and a veteran, has been organizing this event for the past 13 years. He’s excited about the size and scope of this year’s event.

    “This is a long and interesting and never boring parade of military, ex-military and loyal supporters,” said Talbot. “A typical year has anywhere from 1,000 to 1,400 people in the parade. This year because the majority of the troops are back at Fort Bragg, they are sending me an entire brigade to march in review. That’s 1,200 soldiers from the 3/73 Cavalry of the 82nd Airborne Divison. That one entry doubled the size of our parade. I would guess there are about 2,800 people in the parade this year.”

    Check out America’s future leaders as the local high school ROTC units march by the grand stand. Talbot is expecting anywhere from 80 to 250 cadets. A few of the high schools will also send their drill teams to impress the crowds with their rifl e-spinning skills.

    Restored military vehicles from by-gone eras will be rolling through the streets of downtown as well.

    “In the past we’ve had armored personnel carriers, jeeps and trucks o11-03-10-american-flag.giff various descriptions, as well as artillery pieces,” said Talbot. “We always include heritage organizations, too, such as the Arsenal Camp which is commemorating the Confederacy.

    ”What is a parade without a band? Look for the 82nd All American Band along with several of the local high school bands to entertain the spectators

    .Talbot has arranged for a C-130 fl y-over as part of the event as well.

    With the right coordination and ground control, he likes to have theplanes overhead as the Air Force is passing in review.Come and see what other groups and displays Talbot has in store.

    “The whole parade is dedicated to vets and their service, so everyone in it is somehow connected to the military,” said Talbot. “The theme this year is to honor recipients of the Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds. We are asking everyone that has a Purple Heart to wear it — even if you aren’t in the parade.”

    Take the opportunity to say thanks to the men and women who have proudly served our nation, and enjoy the sights and sounds of freedom.

  • 11172010tagsale.gifA recent walk-through of the Fayetteville Museum of Art revealed empty walls with no exhibits on display. Instead, walls and floors were lined with stacks and stacks of items for sale. These artifacts, treasures and office supplies that were once used daily at the Fayetteville Museum of Art are grouped, priced and ready to make themselves useful at a different home — possibly yours.

    On Saturday, Nov. 20, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. the doors of the Fayetteville Museum of Art will be open once again. Only this time it’s not for a new exhibit, but for a tag sale. They are looking to sell most everything in the building. There will be art, art supplies, appliances, offIce supplies, office furniture, computers, electronics, tools, paint, kitchen supplies, books, cultural artifacts, educational toys and plenty of unique odds and ends.

    “We really have some treasures here,” said Meredith Player Stiehl, of the Fayetteville Museum of Art Board of Trustees. “Everyone from the small business owner looking for offIce equipment and supplies to homeschoolers looking for resources, to teachers, parents, art collectors — you name it, they can find something here.”

    Items are priced to sell. The museum store has Andy Warhol items that normally sell for $15 marked down to $2. Art desks that have been well used and well loved but that still have plenty of useful life left in them are going for $25. Grab a chair to go with it, they are $3 - $5. 11172010desks.gif

    Don’t come expecting to haggle over the price of office supplies, although there will be some wiggle room in price when it comes to the pieces of art that are being sold.

    “We’ll have our curator here for the tag sale,” said Stiehl. “She will be able to answer any questions that people have about the art work we are selling.”

    The offerings range in scope, size and tastes. There are a few pieces by a Disney illustrator, works by students who attended art classes at the museum and pieces that were donated over the years for safe keeping.

    Although it is difficult to watch so much of their inventory go out the door, Stiehl realizes that it is for all the right reasons. The board of directors is keeping the museum’s private collection, library materials and a few other resources and plans to use them again when the museum opens its doors at some point in the future, and hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.

    “We are currently waiting to hear back from a consultant about plans for the future of the museum,” Stiehl said. “We are going to store the few things we aren’t selling at the tag sale, and hopefully we will find a space that we can use to reestablish the museum and make these resources available to the public once again.”

    If you are coming to the tag sale at 839 Stamper Rd., to take advantage of the great bargains, bring cash, as checks and credit cards will not be accepted. Visit www. fayettevillemuseumart.org for more information.

  •  
    Football 01I’ve told this story before because it’s a Thanksgiving favorite of mine. Forgive me if you’ve heard it. 

    My interest in writing began to develop in high school. One of the things that fostered it was finding out you could actually win money and prizes doing it.

    When I was a junior at West Rowan, I entered a statewide essay contest sponsored by the Rural Electrification Administration. First prize was a week-long visit to Washington, D.C., with high school students from across the state to visit the sights there.

    Obviously, it included a trip to the White House with other essay winners from across the country. We were on the South Lawn listening to a short speech from Secretary of Agriculture Clifford Hardin when to our surprise President Richard Nixon appeared and spoke to us.

    As I was trying to shake his hand, a man stepped from the crowd and asked me to join him. Frightened at first that I had done something wrong, I followed.

    His name was John Nidecker, a deputy special assistant to the president. He escorted me and few other students from the group into the West Wing. We were taken on a short tour of the White House and went to the press room where we were interviewed by a reporter about our experience.

    After it was over, Nidecker told us he had intended to take us to the Oval Office and meet with Nixon himself. Unfortunately, the president had an impromptu meeting with some top aides and we had to be bumped from the schedule. 

    About a year or so later, President Nixon had the experience of pardoning the annual Thanksgiving turkey. Of course, this was the time of Watergate, and when Nixon pardoned the turkey, he was subjected to some negative press on the subject. 

    Not wishing to have it happen again, he passed on the job of turkey pardoning to his wife, Pat.

    As reported some years ago by television news commentator Keith Olbermann, Mrs. Nixon did it just once, and the job was passed on again, to none other than John Nidecker, the guy who greeted me during my White House visit.

    So as I like to tell folks, I was the first turkey Nidecker officially greeted at the White House. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and let’s hope I don’t turn into a turkey again with this week’s predictions.
     
    The record: 71-22
     
    I had a miserable effort in the second round of the state playoffs last week, going 2-2 to push the season total to 71-22, 76.3 percent.
    Things don’t get easier this week as we have only three games and tougher calls.
     
    Gray’s Creek at New Hanover - The Bears are the surprise team of this year’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association football playoffs. At a No. 14 seed, they are the lowest-seeded team left in any classification as we head to the third round and one of only four double-digit seeds in all eight brackets.

    They rallied from an early two-touchdown deficit last Friday night to take out last year’s Western 3-AA state champion Southeast Guilford on the road, coming from behind in the final two minutes.

    Now they head to Wilmington Friday night to battle New Hanover at Legion Stadium.

    There’s no magic to what the Bears are doing. Through 12 games, Jerry Garcia Jr. is Cumberland County’s No. 2 rusher with 2,001 yards and 23 rushing touchdowns.

    But the key cog to the equation for the Bears may be veteran quarterback Ben Lovette, who is finally healthy after a bout with injury mid-season. He doesn’t have record offensive statistics, but he’s running the tricky Gray’s Creek Wing-T offense smoothly enough for them to have won five straight games, two of them road playoff nail-biters against teams with much better seeds.

    It’s that Wing-T offense that is the real key for the Bears I think. I ran into another Cumberland County football coach this week and we talked about what Gray’s Creek is doing in the playoffs.

    The coach made the observation that the Wing-T is tough enough to prepare for in a one-game situation like Friday when a school doesn’t see it that often. Add to that the fact that Bear Coach David Lovette isn’t staying vanilla with it and is adding a few tweaks and twists to further confuse the situation, and you can see why that makes it even more of a headache for the opposition.

    One other thing. New Hanover only has one loss on its schedule this year, and that was to another Cumberland County team that came to Wilmington and beat them, Jack Britt. 

    Call me crazy, but I think Gray’s Creek has a chance to be the second one Friday night. 

    Gray’s Creek 28, New Hanover 27.
     
    Scotland at South View - This is one of my favorite parts of the playoffs when two marquee programs from the Cape Fear region get a chance to collide and send one of them on to a deeper run in the state football playoffs. 

    Rodney Brewington has resurrected the once struggling Tiger program, trying to bring back memories of the Bobby Poss years when he was a member of the historic 1991 South View state championship football team.

    For Scotland coach Richard Bailey, this is just more of the same. After surviving the annual meat grinder that is the Sandhills Athletic Conference, Bailey’s Scots are now lining up against schools closer to them in size and have a much better chance of showing their best.

    I think those countless years of postseason experience going back to Bailey’s days at Jack Britt will serve him and the Scots well tonight. South View’s Matthew Pemberton is a versatile talent, and the Tiger defense has been tough all year, but if anyone can figure out where to put all the chess pieces to get a postseason win tonight, it’s Bailey.

    Scotland 22, South View 21. 
     
    Terry Sanford at Southern Nash - I don’t think Terry Sanford coach Bruce McClelland has gotten enough credit for the outstanding job he’s done since taking over as head football coach at Terry Sanford. Despite a number of personnel changes, especially at the position of quarterback, McClelland has had Terry Sanford in contention for a conference title each of the last three years, consistently earning the Bulldogs either a title, a top seed in the postseason, or both. 

    After opening this year’s playoffs with two fairly comfortable home wins, the Bulldogs bite off a major challenge Friday night, hitting the road for the ride up Interstate 95 to take on unbeaten Southern Nash. 

    Defense and turnovers will be huge for Terry Sanford Friday night. 

    The Bulldogs will need one of their best defensive efforts of the year to at least slow the Southern Nash offense. Handing them turnovers that lead to any easy points will be fatal.

    I’d like to take a chance on this one, but the only time Terry Sanford has lost this year was when it wasn’t playing at its adopted home of John Daskal Stadium at Reid Ross Classical High School. I think that will be the result this week.

    Southern Nash 28, Terry Sanford 24. 
  • 20 01 jaysiah leachJaysiah Leach

    Seventy-First • Football • Junior

    Leach has a grade point average of 3.6. In addition to football, he enjoys working out and spending time with his family.


     

     

    20 02 Grafton WhiteGrafton White

    Seventy-First• Soccer/wrestling• Sophomore

    White has a grade point average of 3.5. He was a defender for the Falcon soccer team and is gearing up for wrestling competition which begins for the Falcons on Dec. 4 at Overhills.

  • 19 01 dee hardyThe basketball court at E.E. Smith High School is named in honor of the school’s veteran girls basketball coach, Dee Hardy, for a reason.

    Her Smith girls have been frequent visitors to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 4-A playoffs.

    Last year, led by current Wake Forest University freshman Alex Scruggs, they made one of the deepest runs in Smith history.

    With Scruggs leading the way, Smith went 30-2, falling only to North Raleigh Christian in the John Wall Invitational and Southeast Guilford in the 3-A Eastern Regional finals.
    Southeast went on to win the state 3-A championship, beating Cuthbertson 56-49 in the title game.

    The bad news for Hardy is the bulk of the talent on that team came from her seniors who are now departed. Along with Scruggs, the losses include players like Daireanna McIntyre, Danielle Tripp and Trinity Dixon.

    Scruggs departed E.E. Smith as one of the most decorated players in school history.

    She was the Sandhills Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the 2018-19 season.

    19 02 Kendall MacauleyShe led Cumberland County Schools in scoring with 26.2 points per game. She was also its top rebounder at 12.8 rebounds per contest.

    While three-point shooting wasn’t her specialty, she still finished fourth in the county in that category with 45 made shots for the season.

    She also contributed 3.2 assists per contest.

    McIntyre was the team’s No. 2 rebounder behind Scruggs with 6.1 per contest.

    But the cupboard won’t be completely bare for Smith. First-team All-Patriot Athletic Conference guard Kendall Macauley is back for Smith, along with honorable mention all-conference swing player Keonna Bryant.

    Macauley is the leading returning scoring for the Smith girls, averaging 9.3 points per game last season. Bryant is the No. 2 scorer back from last year’s team with an average of 7.8 points per contest.

    “We are looking for big things from them as far as leadership and direction on the court,’’ Hardy said.

    Macauley feels she let the seniors down last year, falling just short of making the state title game.

    She doesn’t think this year’s team is feeling pressure to duplicate the record of a year ago.

    “If we do what we’re supposed to do in practice and execute in games, we’ll be fine,’’ Macauley said.
    Macauley said her focus will be to bring energy to the team and play a mentoring role to the younger players.
    “I want to make sure I put them in the right direction,’’ Macauley said.

    Filling the huge void left by Scruggs will be a challenge, Hardy said. Scruggs, the conference player of the year, led all Cumberland County Schools scorers with 26.2 points per game and a county-best 12.8 points per game.

    The job of replacing those points and rebounds will have to be done by a process Hardy describes as by committee.

    “We won’t depend on one person to pick up the load,’’ Hardy said. “It’s going to have to be done as a team. We have some young players coming in who have a lot on their shoulders.’’
    Hardy said they won’t have the luxury of veterans playing in front of them to allow them time to take advantage of a learning experience.

    “They are going to get it right in the face while they are on the court,’’ Hardy said. “That pressure will be on them.’’

    One returning player Hardy is counting on is 6-foot junior center Jordan Everett. Everett is rehabbing from a knee injury suffered last year and hopes to return sometime close to the December holiday break.

    Smith could use her sooner rather than later because Smith will already be playing conference basketball games Friday, Nov. 22 when it faces old rival Terry Sanford.
    “We’re not going to have a lot of time once the season cranks up,’’ she said. “We’ll get hit with everything and put them out there and see what happens.’’

    Hardy isn’t sure what to expect from the rest of the Patriot Athletic Conference this season.

    She knows Pine Forest lost star Kendal Moore, now a freshman at North Carolina State.

    Hardy said she’s always wary of South View and its veteran coach, Brent Barker. “I know everybody has been working hard and it’s going to be a coin toss to see what happens,’’ she said.

    She feels Smith has the potential to be in the championship mix but knows that means nothing if the potential isn’t developed.

    “Because we’re so young, it’s just talk,’’ she said. “Our key is going to be our chemistry. Of course with every team, defense is an emphasis.’’

    Lacking height, Hardy said this Smith team will have to defend, box out and rebound to compete. “We need to get to know each other and trust each other so we’re able to play,’’ Hardy said.

    Macauley said the Smith team has much to learn, but Hardy will be a great teacher. “As long as we have her staying on top of us we’ll be fine for the rest of the season,’’ she said.

    Picture 1: The basketball court at E.E. Smith is named after Dee Hardy, pictured above.

    Picture 2: Kendall Macauley

  • footballpsdFive Cumberland County schools survived last week’s first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association football playoffs. 

    The pairing of Jack Britt at South View this week assures us at least one team will make the third round next week, which means somebody gets to celebrate the traditional marker of a good season, still practicing on Thanksgiving Day.

    The big question this week is will it be more than one team from the county that gets to enjoy that experience, or will the postseason ride end for the rest of the crowd.

    Let’s hope the majority of our teams will have to be adjusting schedules next Thursday to get in practice time before that big meal with the family. 
     
     
    The record: 69-20
     
    I had a good showing in the first round last week, going 6-1. The season total is 69-20, 77.5 percent, heading into this week’s second round.
     
    Seventy-First at New Bern - I’ve made a few trips to New Bern over the years for state playoff games. Most of the time the ride back wasn’t too pleasant because it was on a dark road late at night and the Fayetteville team I was covering lost.

    I think Seventy-First has regrouped from a rough stretch during the regular season, and I think the tough conference schedule the Falcons had to deal with is going to be a big help to them at New Bern Friday night.
    Seventy-First 20, New Bern 18.
     
    Jack Britt at South View - These two began the year facing each other at South View, with Britt winning what was then considered an upset in overtime.
    Now they meet again, and the season will end for one of them.

    Britt has only one win in its last three games, a 21-20 victory against Knightdale in the first round of the state playoffs last week.

    South View had a bye last week and has had time to let some wounds heal and put in extra preparation for the Buccaneers.
    I don’t think Britt will be as fortunate this trip to South View as it was the first time.
    South View 22, Jack Britt 20.
     
    Rocky Mount at Terry Sanford - These two have faced each other so much in the playoffs over the years it almost seems like it’s a scheduled game.
    Just last year Terry Sanford rolled to a 30-0 win.

    Revenge will be a powerful motive for Rocky Mount, but the Bulldogs have won six of seven coming into Friday night. Terry Sanford has yet to lose a game at their adopted home field, Reid Ross Classical High School’s John Daskal Stadium, this season.

    I think that streak will continue.
    Terry Sanford 24, Rocky Mount 21. 
     
    Gray’s Creek at Southeast Guilford - The Bears got a huge road win in the opening round of the state playoffs and go for their second Friday at Southeast Guilford.

    Jerry Garcia Jr. has had a tremendous year running the football for Gray’s Creek and will need to be at the top of his game again for the Bears to have a shot in this one.

    I think the score will be close, but I’m going to go with the home team. 
    Southeast Guilford 28, Gray’s Creek 22.
  • 19 01 paige cameronPaige Cameron

    Cape Fear • Tennis• Senior

    Cameron has a grade point average of 4.63. She is active in the Harvard Model Congress, Health Occupations Students of America, the Science Olympiad and the Environmental Club. She is a volunteer at the hospital, pet daycare, the Cape Fear Botanical Garden and at the Cape Fear tennis camp.

     

    Toni Blackwell

    Cape Fear• Golf/softball• Senior

    19 02 Toni BlackwellBlackwell has a 4.57 grade point average. She finished third in this year’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A golf tournament. She’s active in the Student Government Association, Fayetteville Technical Community College High School Connections and the school mentor program. She’s a member of the National Honor Society and a graduation marshal. She’s also active in her church.

  • 18 01 carlos villarealHere is the Patriot Athletic All-Conference team as chosen by the league’s head coaches:

    Coach of the year
    Bryan Pagan, Gray’s Creek

    Offensive player of the year
    Carlos Villarreal, Pine Forest

    Goalkeeper of the year
    Davin Schmidt, South View

    Defender of the year
    Davis Molnar, Terry Sanford

    First team
    18 02 davin SchmidtGray’s Creek - Eric Chavez, Vancy Ruiz
    Cape Fear - Nick Aime, Ian Wenger, Tyler Britt
    Overhills - Noah Maynor
    Pine Forest - Alex Hinton, Christian Qually
    Terry Sanford - Ever Aguero
    South View - Ryan Delaney
    Douglas Byrd - Gabriel Graces

    Second team
    Terry Sanford - Bailey Morrison, Graham MacLeod, Arjuna Gephart
    Gray’s Creek - James Faatz, Connor Boyle, Yancii Johnson, Ryan Dukes
    Overhills - Marvin Vilacrese
    South View - Zack Jones
    Pine Forest - Jarod Collier
    Cape Fear - Walker Brittain
    18 03 davis molnarHonorable mention
    Overhills - Bryson Robinson
    Terry Sanford - Pierre Young, Alex Foxx
    Pine Forest - Christian Ferlage, Eric Benitez
    Cape Fear - Hayden Willaford, Mason Smith
    Gray’s Creek - Hunter Smith, Seth Wallace
    South View - Ricardo Demister
     
    Pictured from top to bottom: Carlos Villarreal, Davin Schmidt, Davis Molnar
  • 11-05-14-mamma-mia.gifThis November the Givens Performing Arts Center brings the ninth longest running show in Broadway history to the community. It was also the most successful movie musical of all time and the international tour has visited more than 35 countries. For one night only, Mamma Mia!, the musical phenomenon that has been sweeping the world, is on stage.

    The music for this performance features the songs of ABBA. The infectious and lively nature of the songs are clearly reflected by the exciting musical performance. It is impossible to sit in the audience and not sing along.

    “The music is what captivates audiences along with the story,” said Chad Locklear, GPAC’s director of marketing. “Fans of ABBA are going to enjoy it for sure because it features all of their greatest hits. Even those who aren’t ABBA fans will still recognize some of the songs.”

    Inspired by the ABBA songs, the story of Mamma Mia!is that of a single day of chaos, love and hope on a lovely Greek island. Sophia, raised by her single and independent mother, is about to get married and all she wants is for her absent father to walk her down the aisle. She invites three men from her mother’s past in an effort to discover the truth about her father and in the process discovers much about love and herself. Sophia’s mother, surprised by the arrival of these men, struggles with understanding but also finds new love. Though Sophia and her mother face some large challenges in their adventure, the overall tone is cheery and energetic making for a consistently high-energy performance.

    “It makes for a really fun and entertaining evening at the theatre. Lots of singing, dancing and a fun story. There’s a reason why it’s been on Broadway now for more than 10 years. It’s a great show that people love. It’s a feel good musical, “ said Locklear.

    Though Mamma Mia! is only showing for one night, the GPAC season is full of many different incredible shows. There is a show for everyone in this star-studded and varied season. GPAC is where the community can come to enjoy Broadway-quality shows without the price tag that typically accompanies them.

    “GPAC brings a variety of quality cultural arts events to the community at a very affordable price. The center recently received national attention as one of the 25 best university performing arts centers in the country,” Locklear said.

    Another great addition to GPAC is its Act 1 Diner Club. Prior to every performance, the club is open for dinner in the Chancellor’s Dining Room. Dinner includes a wine and cheese reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person and reservations are required. For Mamma Mia! the menu includes a chopped fall vegetable salad, beef tenderloin Bolognese, wild rice, fresh cut green beans and tiramisu.

    Tickets range from $21 to $46 and are available online at www.uncp.edu/gpactickets or by calling 910-521-6361. Act 1 Diner tickets can also be purchased online. Mamma Mia! is on stage Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. GPAC is located at 1 University Dr. in Pembroke. For more information visit www.uncp.edu/student-life/involvement-opportunities/givens-performing-arts-center.

    Photo: Mamma Mia! is on stage at the GPAC for one night only, Nov. 13.

  • 17 01 alvin freemanComing off a 26-4 season that included a deep run in the state 4-A basketball tournament, Seventy-First boys coach David Simmons knows he’s got a tough act to follow as the 2019-20 season begins this week.

    “It was a bittersweet end in Raleigh last year,’’ he said, referring to Seventy-First’s advance to the fourth round of the state playoffs with an 80-71 loss to top East seed and perennial power Raleigh Millbrook.

    Two of the top players from last year’s squad graduated, Brion McLaurin and Xzavier Howard.

    McLaurin was a two-year starter who led the team in both scoring and rebounding both years.

    Howard came on strong at the end of the season.

    But Simmons is optimistic about a crop of young frontcourt players arriving who he hopes will quickly mesh with some experienced backcourt players returning.

    The key cog in the Falcon program this year appears to be 6-foot senior swingman Alvin Freeman, along with point guard Quiones Clayton. “Alvin is going to be a senior leader along with Quiones,’’ Simmons said. Clayton is the leading returner in assists with 2.0 per game.

    17 02 david simmons“Both those guys are going to help get our young frontcourt up to date,’’ Simmons said.

    Two freshmen and a sophomore give the Falcons solid height in the low post.

    Freshman Derrick Green, who stands 6-feet-7 and weights 275 pounds, is slated to occupy the post position.

    He’ll be joined down low by 6-foot-7, 290-pound sophomore Kaleb Siler and 6-foot-5, 190-pound freshman Cameron Shelton.

    Green is the most promising of the trio and has already gotten some college interest Simmons said.

    Another promising player in the backcourt who is returning to the Falcon roster following a knee injury two years ago is 5-foot-11, 170 pound senior Isaiah Oratokhai.

    “He played as a ninth grader,’’ Simmons said.

    Looking at the whole county, Simmons thinks Seventy-First will be like many other teams this season as local basketball has hit a cycle where a new crop of players is arriving at multiple schools.

    “You want to have some veterans,’’ Simmons said. “I’m hoping and praying our backcourt and their leadership will help our young guys. If the young guys follow the leadership of Alvin and the rest of the seniors we should be okay.’’
    Freeman said he and fellow senior Clayton both enter the season hungry after failing to reach the state 4-A championship game last season.

    He agrees with Simmons that rapid development of the big but young frontcourt will be key for the Falcons.

    “I want to be a vocal leader on and off the court,’’ he said, “make some shots and get my team more involved.’’

    With all that size down low, Freeman thinks the Falcons will take a different approach on offense this season.

    “Last year we were fast-paced,’’ Freeman said. “This year we’ll grind it out on defense, grind it out on rebounds and pound it inside.’’

    Freeman expects the Falcons will find some challenges again within the Sandhills Athletic Conference.

    “Richmond Senior has a couple of good players they’re waiting on to come out from football,’’ he said. “Jack Britt has a good team and Pinecrest has the same guards.
    “It will probably be the same kind of conference. I think we just need to try to feed the paint and make some more shots.’’

    Pictured from top to bottom: Alvin Freeman, David Simmons

  • uac111914001.gif The holiday season is a truly special time of year — even more so in the greater Fayetteville area because there are so many wonderful events and traditions to celebrate the season. This year marks the 15th anniversary of one of the most well-loved and well-known local traditions: the Dickens Holiday.

    Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, the streets of downtown Fayetteville are transformed into a bustling Victorian village complete with wandering carolers, horse-drawn carriages, Father Christmas, gingerbread, spiced cider, vendors and characters straight out of the Dickens masterpiece A Christmas Carol. The event runs from 1-9 p.m. and is packed with interesting characters, activities and locations. One of the highlights of the day is the candlelight procession from the Arts Council to the Market House. This year the event has a few additional treats to enjoy.

    In addition to Scrooge, Marley and the other characters from A Christmas Carol, actors portraying people who actually knew Queen Victoria will join the festivities. The queen has been quite popular at the event in past years and this will let the crowd peek into her world.

    “Our favorite characters like Scrooge will still be there but we are adding a whole new layer of characters to enrich this experience — all of whom have a connection to Queen Victoria and her court.” said Mary Kinney, marketing director for the Arts Council Fayetteville/Cumberland County. “We are looking to add some depth to the Dickens experience and to be more diverse and educational. We really want to offer a deeper educational experience. Everything we do is an opportunity for lifelong learning. It isn’t about the performance. It is about what you learn from it. I hope people take something beyond the performance and it is perfect timing — our 15th year. What better year to celebrate than by adding the next layer to programming?”

    Meet Sara Forbes Bonetta. Played by local actress Kaity Parson, Bonetta is known as Queen Victoria’s goddaughter. Bonetta was originally from what is now west Nigeria and was brought to England as a child.

    “Kaity is doing a lot of research into Sara’s life and will give a monologue at the Dickens Hol11-19-14-dickens-holiday.gifiday,” said Kinney. “If you are not familiar with Sara Forbes Bonetta’s story, it is worth researching.”

    Local actor Sonny Kelly portrays Ira Aldridge, an African-American Shakespearean actor from New York City who made his way to London. He performed not just for Queen Victoria but all over Europe, including Russia and Austria. He was known by many as “African Roscius.” Don’t miss Kelly’s monologue where he will share some of Aldridge’s adventures.

    Visit Annie’s Ale House, another new addition to the popular event.

    “Annie’s Ale House is a food court and performance area behind the Arts Council,” said Kinney. “We’ll have beer and wine. Annie’s Ale House is open from 1-9 p.m., but programming in that area really picks up after the fireworks during Dickens After Dark. In Annie’s Ale House we will have the Belfast Boys. It is rich music that is very upbeat. It includes instruments like mandolins and has a very toe-tapping kind of beat. That will be an exciting spot to be after the fireworks.” 

    This year Habitat for Humanity and H&H Homes join the festivities as sponsors of the gingerbread village.

    “People from our own community will create buildings that make the village. It can be police stations, hospitals, houses — pretty much anything that you would find in a community. People are signing up now to participate. There are forms at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. The opportunity during Dickens is to come and see the finished community of hope. There is no charge to enter,” explained Kinney.

    Most events run continuously throughout the day, and there is much to experience. Ride through the streets of downtown in a horse-drawn carriage. Have a photo taken with Father Christmas. Sample hot cider, gingerbread and more. Shop the many vendors and businesses. Visit Annie’s Ale House for a bite to eat. Chat with historical figures and literary characters. Don’t miss one of the highlights of the day, Fayetteville’s biggest candlelight procession from the Arts Council to11-19-14-dickens-holiday-2.gif the Market House.

    “While most things happen throughout the day, enjoy the one thing that happens at a certain time — the procession,” said Kinney. “Everyone gathers in front of the Arts Council at 5:30 p.m., where you can get a free candle — while supplies last. Then we all proceed to the Market House together. It is the city’s largest procession and the fireworks are beautiful.”

    The event doesn’t end once the fireworks are over. “There is so much going on that people will want to stay,” said Kinney.

    A Dickens Holiday is a collaborative effort between the Arts Council Fayetteville/Cumberland County and the Downtown Alliance. It runs from 1-9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28 and encompasses the heart of downtown. Find out more at www.theartscouncil.com or by calling 323-1776.

    Photo:  Join the festivities as downtown turns Victorian at A Dickens Holiday on Friday, Nov. 28.

  • 16 DeaverFormer South View High School defensive coordinator Melvin Braswell used to say the best measure of the value of a defensive player to his team was how far he was from the player with the ball at the end of a play.
    Bruce McClelland, head coach at Terry Sanford, hasn’t handed out those kind of grades for his defense, but if he did, the marks for middle linebacker Jackson Deaver would be high.

    “He’s one of the guys in the biggest games who always makes plays,’’ McClelland said of Deaver.

    Deaver recently earned a name for himself in the school’s record book by breaking the career record for tackles held by his former teammate, Dante Bowlding.

    Through the final regular season game with Pine Forest, Deaver’s career total is 439 tackles.

    He has 125 tackles for his senior campaign. That includes 12 tackles for loss and two sacks.

    He’s also had a pair of interceptions, caused four fumbles and recovered two.

    Deaver’s performance hasn’t gone unnoticed by others. He’s a team captain for the second year in a row and has twice been named to the Patriot Athletic All-Conference football team.

    This is Deaver’s fourth year in the Bulldog football program. Early in his career, when Terry Sanford was awash with good linebackers, he was briefly moved to defensive line, but he’s spent the last three seasons anchoring the defense from the middle linebacker spot.

    “He’s obviously a great athlete and great player,’’ McClelland said. But that’s not the only reason Deaver has been so successful on the football field.

    “The biggest thing is preparation,’’ McClelland said. “He’s second to none with any player I’ve ever coached on the defensive side.’’ McClelland puts Deaver in the same company with former Bulldog greats Mark Gilbert and Isaiah Stallings.

    “This guy does a ton of film prep,’’ McClelland said. “He can tell you every position we are lining up in, what our defense is before our coaching staff does. His ability to get everybody else on defense on the same page is remarkable.’’
    Playing defense is a challenge for a lot of players today because of the growing concerns about keeping head contact out of the game. There was a time in football years ago when defenders would use their helmet as a weapon and try to make contact with it when tackling opponents. The concerns that that contact leads to concussions, which some studies show is linked to the possible of permanent brain injury or disease, has caused football coaches to change the way they teach tackling to their players.

    McClelland thinks it’s been a change for the good, seeing new tackling techniques focusing not just on taking the head out of the game, but on getting players to wrap an opponent up and make a more sure tackle. “The biggest thing I see is an improvement in the tackling of defenses week to week,’’ McClelland said.

    Deaver, who began playing youth football at the age of eight, said all the instruction he’s received since being in high school has focused on eliminating head tackling. “Even though there have been a lot of changes to tackling, the grand scheme of things is to get the guy down on the ground,’’ Deaver said.

    Deaver feels he and the rest of the Bulldog defenders have done a good job of that this year.

    As this story is being written, Deaver and Terry Sanford were preparing for their state 3-A playoff opener against Wilson Fike on Thursday, Nov. 14, at John Daskal Stadium at Reid Ross Classical School. “Defensively I could not be happier with our guys,’’ Deaver said. “Our run defense is phenomenal. I think if we keep doing what we’re doing and stay focused, we should make a good run.’’

    Deaver is hopeful that when his Terry Sanford career ends, he’ll be playing at the college level, but he’s not sure if it will be football or baseball.

    He’s talented in both, and he’s already courting football interest from UNC-Pembroke, Wofford and Limestone. “They may put a little more weight on him and put him at middle linebacker,’’ McClelland said of Deaver’s college future.
    Currently Deaver said he’s about 6-feet tall and weighs 225. “I’m not leaning toward anyone,’’ Deaver said. “I’m looking for somewhere I can call home for the next four years, somewhere I’ll feel happy and like I’m part of a family.’’

    Pictured: Jackson Deaver

  • FootballIt didn’t take long for what was already a rugged work week to become next to impossible.

    Things started tough on Tuesday when I spent nearly two hours in a dental chair with a patient hygienist who tackled my messy molars.
     
    To make matters worse, I was facing a stack of early deadlines for Up & Coming Weekly caused by the rapidly-approaching Thanksgiving holiday.

    Then Mother Nature threw us all a curve with a nasty weather forecast for the first Friday of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s football playoffs. 

    As of this writing on Wednesday afternoon, three local schools have switched nights. E.E. Smith at Southern Nash, Wilson Fike at Terry Sanford and Durham Riverside at Seventy-First will play tonight, Thursday, at 7:30 p.m.

    Of the remaining games, only the Knightdale at Jack Britt game is unlikely to move from Friday according to a statement from athletic director Michael Lindsay.

    As for the rest, as of this writing, they are still scheduled Friday at 7:30 p.m. Follow me on Twitter @EarlVaughanJr for the latest updates on the status of all of this week’s county playoff contests.
     
     
    The record: 63-19
     
    The last week of the regular season was a cold cup of water in the face. I struggled to barely break .500, going 4-3. The good news was I got to 60 wins before I got to 20 losses for the year, putting my season count at 63-19, 76.83 percent. Here’s to a much better effort in the playoff openers this week.
     
    • E.E. Smith at Southern Nash - They’re still glowing at E.E. Smith after that shocking 43-0 rout of Cape Fear that likely gave Smith the final push needed to make the state playoffs.
    But I think the glow will be short-lived when the Golden Bulls arrive in Bailey for their game with the Firebirds.
    To say Southern Nash is loaded is an understatement. The Firebirds are 11-0 and ranked No. 6 in the MaxPreps 3-A state rankings.
    I hope the magic continues for Smith, but don’t count on it. 
    Southern Nash 31, E.E. Smith 7.
     
    • Wilson Fike at Terry Sanford - Terry Sanford did a quick rebound from its loss to South View, topping Pine Forest.

    Wilson Fike, a team with a rich if not recent tradition in North Carolina high school football, makes the trip down I-95 to visit the Bulldogs in their temporary home at John Daskal Stadium at Reid Ross Classical High School on Ramsey Street.

    You’re not supposed to compare scores of common opponents but who can keep from doing it, especially at this time of year? 

    Terry Sanford and Fike both played Rolesville and both lost. But the Bulldogs were on the short end of a 34-28 score that went down to the last minute. Fike dropped a 34-13 decision in late August.
    I think the Bulldogs are a safe pick this week.
    Terry Sanford 32, Wilson Fike 8.
     
    • Cape Fear at Cleveland - Cape Fear appeared to be peaking for a good run in this year’s state playoffs until last week’s debacle against E.E. Smith. I don’t recall getting so many calls after a game from people who wanted to know what in the world happened to the Colts.

    From all that I heard, it was a perfect storm of Smith playing at the top of its game and everything falling apart for Cape Fear.

    If that happens again this week it could be more of the same for Cape Fear. Cleveland is a solid team with only a loss to always tough Cardinal Gibbons.
    Cape Fear will have its hands full traveling there.
    Cleveland 29, Cape Fear 12.
     
    • Gray’s Creek at Southern Durham - Southern Durham hasn’t lost since a season-opening 26-13 defeat to once-beaten Cleveland. Southern also got a 21-18 win at Seventy-First.
    I don’t think the Bears are going to have an enjoyable visit.
    Southern Durham 27, Gray’s Creek 12.
     
    • Pine Forest at Heritage - Heritage was riding a five-game winning streak until it ran into powerful Wake Forest and fell 52-26 on the road last week.
    I think they’ll bounce back this week against a Pine Forest team that hasn’t been able to sort out its defensive problems all season.
    Heritage 34, Pine Forest 8.
     
    • Durham Riverside at Seventy-First - Seventy-First came back from an inconsistent stretch much of the season to get a big conference win over Jack Britt.
    If the Falcons can continue that momentum tonight, the home field edge should give them a boost against visiting Riverside.
    Seventy-First 21, Durham Riverside 14.
     
     
     
    • Knightdale at Jack Britt - This could be the closest matchup of the night on paper as both teams bring a lot of similar numbers into the game.

    My biggest worry for Britt is if they can shake off whatever was bugging them last week against Seventy-First that resulted in a season-ending defeat.
    Home field counts for a lot at playoff time, especially on a night when bad weather may come into play.

    Here’s hoping all of that works in Britt’s favor.
    Jack Britt 28, Knightdale 21.
     
    • Bye - South View. The Tigers, the No. 2 seed in the 4-A East, will host the Knightdale-Jack Britt winner on Friday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 p.m.
     
  • 11-23-11-better-health.jpgThe American Diabetes Association tells us that there are nearly 26 million Americans living with diabetes and there are another 79 million at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes.

    Every 17 seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes. This disease kills more people each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless steps are taken to stop diabetes.

    Melissa Brady, health education coordinator for Better Health of Cumberland County, is familiar with these numbers. She works every day to help educate the public about diabetes and to teach people with diabetes how to live with and manage it.

    Better Health offers classes and events year round, but because November is American Diabetes Month, there is a lot more going on in the way of education and activities to raise awareness

    .“Let’s face it, we know how to eat right, we just choose not to,” said Brady.

    And those small choices made each day over time can lead to serious complications.

    She adds. “There are many, many people in Cumberland County who have diabetes and even more with prediabetes. We are here to educate them and give them tools and resources to better manage their health.”

    There are still a couple weeks left in November and Better Health, sponsored by United Way, is using them to the fullest to promote, well, better health. There is an Oral Health and Diabetes clinic scheduled from 8 a.m.to 12 p.m. on Nov. 22 and a cooking class on Nov. 28 at 8:30 a.m. These clinics are all in addition to the regularly scheduled diabetes-related events that are ongoing throughout the year.

    Brady also noted that this is the perfect time to register for the next “Take Charge of Diabetes” class, which will be held in January. This is a seven-week comprehensive diabetes management course. While the class is free, students who are able are asked to contribute a donation to “pay it forward” for the next class. Preregistration is required.

    In addition to the events above, Better Health sponsors ongoing and continuous classes and clinics related to diabetes management:

    • Diabetes clinics are held on Tuesdays from 8 to 11:30 a.m. at the Better Health Office. Individual glucometer instruction is available.

    • Diabetes clinics are held on Thursdays 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Better Health Offi ce• Exercise classes for people with diabetes are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. for experienced students; 11 a.m. for beginners. All classes are offered at the Better Health Offi ce. Exercise regimens include yoga, aerobics, chair-yoga and chair-aerobics. Blood glucose testing is required pre and post class. Supplies are provided.

    • Diabetes Clinic is on a walk-in basis at Gray’s Creek Recreation Center on Wednesday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Individual education is available at the clinic.

    • Eat Smart, Move More Healthy Lifestyle Series can be scheduled at your church or civic group at your request. Call 483-7534 to plan an event.

    For more information, visit the Better Health website at www.betterhealthcc.org or give them a call at 483-7534.

  • 23 01 Shawn HealeyShawn Healey
    Jack Britt • Football/wrestling/lacrosse • Senior
    Healey has a weighted grade point average of 4.22. He is the starting center for the football team. He is active in the Information Systems Technology Academy and enjoys doing volunteer work in the community.

     

     

     

     

     

    23 02 Alyssa Norton Alyssa Norton
    Jack Britt • Volleyball/softball• Junior
    Norton has a 3.8 grade point average. As a freshman she was a starter in the outfield for Jack Britt’s state 4-A champion fastpitch softball team. She’s a member of the Key Club and the honor guard. When not involved in sports she enjoys spending time with her family. She plans to enter college and then pursue a career in the military.

  • 22 01 Ashton fieldsHere is the Sandhills Athletic All-Conference volleyball team as chosen by the league’s head coaches:

    Player of the year

    Lauren Shephard, Pinecrest

    Coach of the year

    Mallory Wheeler, Scotland


    22 02 Sydney ConklinPinecrest - Sophi Gaiford, Vivian Champlain, Madi Ringley, Chloe Modlin, Lexi Allen, Sydney Karjala
    Scotland - Carleigh Carter, Kamdyn Morgan, Abigail Quick
    Richmond Senior - Jadyn Johnson, Jakarta Covington, Layne Maultsby, Carley Lambeth, Georgia Grace Anderson
    Jack Britt - Sydney Conklin, Kaiah Parker, Ashton Fields
    Lumberton - Teyha Bullard, Katelyn Culbreth, Hailey Werrell
    Purnell Swett - Kaitlyn Locklear
    Seventy-First - Jewel Pitt
    Hoke County - Tyshawna Willis-McPhatter
     
     
     
     
    22 03 Kaiah Parker
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    22 04 Jewel Pitt
     
     
     
    Pictured from top to bottom: Ashton Fields, Sydney Conklin, Kaiah Parker, Jewel Pitt
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  • 21 rexperryIf there was such a thing as a hall of fame for being a caring person who reached out to all fellow human beings, Rex Perry would be a unanimous choice for induction.

    Perry, 58, a friend to many and a familiar figure in Fayetteville and Cumberland County athletic circles, died on Oct. 25 at the Hock Family Pavilion in Durham after a lengthy illness.

    An athlete at Pine Forest High School, he played on the highly successful football teams of the late Trojan head coach Gary Whitman.

    Since 2006, he was employed at Fayetteville Technical Community College as the coordinator in the student activities office. In 2017, he added the role of Student Activities Technician.

    One of his coworkers at FTCC is Billy Gaskins, the school’s head baseball coach for the past two seasons.

    Gaskins had known Perry on and off since 2006 when he got involved in coaching high school baseball locally.

    “He was one of the nicest guys I ever met,’’ Gaskins said. “He was always willing to help, even during his struggle the last couple of years. He was the type of person who led by example.’’

    Gaskins said even at the height of his poor health, Perry would continue to try and show up for work as often as possible. He was always enthusiastic and helpful, regardless of how he felt, Gaskins said.
    Whenever Gaskins brought baseball recruits to the FTCC campus, he’d always stop by Perry’s office in the Tony Rand Center and introduce them to Perry.

    “He stood up, shook their hand and had a conversation with them,’’ Gaskins said. “He had a little pep in his step when I walked in with a recruit.’’
    In addition to his work at FTCC, Perry was also an athletic official, working for the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association in sports like football and softball.

    “Rex was just a likable guy,’’ said Neil Buie, regional supervisor of football and baseball officials for the SAOA. “There was never a nicer person, a guy that was easier to get along with. Truly a good human being.’’
    Ronnie Luck was one of Perry’s first coaches, instructing him in football when the two were together at Spring Lake Junior High in the mid-1970s. “He was a good kid,’’ Luck said. “Never caused any trouble. Easy-going, soft-spoken. He always gave you the best he had.’’

    Luck said Perry had an incredible memory for people, places and things and could recount detailed stories about things that happened years ago.

    Shortly before Perry passed away, he and Luck spoke briefly and Perry told Luck he was okay. “He touched my life,’’ Luck said. “I hope I did some positive for him in his younger years. But as a man, he certainly touched mine.’’
    Luck said Perry was respected by his peers, both in the athletic and professional arenas. “He was very selective in what he said and when he said it,’’ Luck said. “He was one of the good guys.’’

    Pictured: Rex Perry

  • 20 kylie aldridgeHere is the Patriot Athletic All-Conference volleyball team as chosen by the league’s head coaches:

    Player of the year
    Kylie Aldridge, Gray’s Creek
    Coach of the year
        Gray's Creek - Jalesty Washington
    First Team
        Terry Sanford - Kara Walker, Natalie Jernigan
    South View - Sierra Gosselin, Katelynn Swain
    Pine Forest - Chayse Daniels
    Gray’s Creek - Kelsie Rouse, Hailey Pait
    Cape Fear - Taylor Melvin, Marlie Horne
    20 2 Jalesty WashingtonSecond Team
    Gray’s Creek - Morgan Brady, Cassie Jacops, Hannah Sterling, Aliyah Brown
    E.E. Smith - Jada Priebe, Serenity Lunnermon, Ja’Nya Lunnermon
    Terry Sanford - Ally Danaher
    Honorable Mention
    Douglas Byrd - Ashanti Smith
    E.E. Smith - Ke’onna Bryant
    Gray’s Creek - Summer Powell
    Overhills - Jade Butcher
    Cape Fear - Megan Eaker
    Pine Forest - Alicia Hairston
    Terry Sanford - Mya Jensen
    South View - Triniti Miles
    Westover - Tia Johnson
    Picture 1:Kylie Aldridge, Gray's Creek, is the player of the year.                       Picture 2: Jalesty Washington, Gray's Creek, is the coach of the year.
     
     
     
  • 19 James FaatzThe months of sacrificing time off during the summer to devote to off-season practice is showing dividends for the Gray’s Creek soccer team.

    This year the Bears swept the regular season and tournament titles in the Patriot Athletic Conference, and opened play in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A state playoffs with a 4-2 overtime win against Asheboro.
    At this writing, Coach Bryan Pagan’s team, 19-5, is waiting to find out who it will play in the second round of the NCHSAA playoffs, either Wilson Fike or Pittsboro Northwood, in a game that was tentatively scheduled for last Saturday.
    Pagan thinks, as far as chemistry is concerned, the Bears have reached their stride offensively. He feels the strength of this year’s team is being able to possess the ball.

    “We pass really well,’’ he said. “Our Achilles heel the whole year has been finishing. For whatever reason things are starting to click. Guys are moving in the right positions, staying onside.’’

    The Bears have struggled with a variety of injuries during the season, but some of the ailing players have healed, and Pagan has been able to plug in less experienced players in key positions who have stepped up, like sophomores Connor Boyle and Vancy Ruiz.

    19 02 Seth WallaceAnother key performer is veteran goalkeeper Ryan Dukes, a senior. Through Nov. 2 according to the statistics at NCPrepSports.net, he had recorded 94 saves while allowing 16 goals. “He’s done an amazing job for us as well,’’ Pagan said.

    Offensively, Pagan feels a strength of his team is it doesn’t rely on one player to score all the goals. Eric Chavez is the team leader in goals through Nov. 2 with 16.

    “It really takes a lot of the pressure off,’’ Pagan said of being versatile scoring. “People take a little more ownership when they know it’s collective rather than one or two individuals.’’

    Two players who play a critical role in helping distribute the ball for the Bears are James Faatz and Seth Wallace.

    Pagan describes Faatz, a center-midfielder, as a player crucial to maintaining possession of the ball.

    “If it gets to him he knows where to get it to,’’ Pagan said. “He’s calm on the ball, makes good decisions for us and is kind of a catalyst. Anything we need to bail out or need somebody to facilitate the middle he’s a great option for us.’’
    The other key performer is Seth Wallace, who plays on the wing. “He’s done a great job winning stuff on the outside and serving stuff into the box in dangerous areas,’’ Pagan said.
    “He’s inspiring, super, super athletic and you’re not going to beat him off the dribble. He’s a strong kid.’’
    Faatz agrees with Pagan that chemistry is a strong point of this Gray’s Creek team, with communication and good passing also being key.

    He thinks the key to success in the postseason is intensity. “I think if we come in hot in the first half, the first ten minutes, and pop a few goals in we can be dangerous against any school in the playoffs,’’ he said. “We can show that Cumberland County has some pretty good soccer schools.’’

    While Cumberland County doesn’t have a public high school with a rich state playoff tradition in soccer, Wallace thinks the Bears have the potential to make some noise.

    ”A Gray’s Creek team like this could surprise some people and have some future upsets,’’ Wallace said. ”We were kind of rocky at the beginning of the year with our finishing. We’ve definitely had some people step up and other people growing into roles because of injuries.

    “We’re not a one-man team. Everyone has a role.’’

    Looking to the remainder of the state playoffs, Pagan said he’s learned the postseason has a lot to do with seeding and tackling each matchup.

    “I like our chances this year because we are more well-balanced than we’ve been in the past,’’ he said. “I feel like we can hold teams to low scores and score when we need to.

    “Our strength is in the middle of the field and in our possession. That gives us a fighting chance to match up against anybody. If we stay uninjured we have a chance to make it pretty deep in the playoffs.’’

    Picture 1: James Faatz 

    Picture 2: Seth Wallace

     

  • earlThe final pieces of the football puzzle fall into place Friday night as the regular season comes to an end for teams in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

    Saturday around lunchtime, coaches and fans will be sitting in front of smartphones, iPads and laptops hitting refresh over and over as they wait for the NCHSAA to post this year’s state playoff brackets so they can get their first certain look at what the path to a state football championship will look like.

    I both love and hate this weekend — love it for the excitement of finding out where everybody is paired and hate it for the annual agony of incorrect information that causes seedings to have to be recalculated and brackets redrawn.

    Here’s hoping everyone pays attention to the data when they report their final records to the NCHSAA so we can all get back to business as usual Saturday afternoon.
     
     
    The record: 59-16
     
    I had another perfect week last Friday, going 7-0, to improve the score for the season to 59-16, 78.7 percent.

    This will be the last week of anything that comes close to easy predictions. Once the state playoffs begin next Friday it gets a lot more complicated.
     
    E.E. Smith at Cape Fear - The red-hot Colts are looking for a piece of the conference title and hoping for some help to allow them to move up higher in the playoff seedings.
    Cape Fear 28, E.E. Smith 14.
     
    Westover at Gray’s Creek - Gray’s Creek should wrap up the regular season with its third win in a row against a struggling Wolverine team.
    Gray’s Creek 30, Westover 17.
     
    Jack Britt at Seventy-First - Both teams are looking to rebound from losses. I like Jack Britt’s chances better.
    Jack Britt 24, Seventy-First 18.
     
    Pine Forest at Terry Sanford - Reminder to Bulldog fans, this game will be played at Fayetteville State’s Jeralds Stadium as Terry Sanford celebrates Senior Night.
    It’s a big game for both teams but even bigger for Terry Sanford as it seeks to wrap up a piece of the Patriot Conference title and the No. 1 3-A seed from the conference in the state playoffs.
    Terry Sanford 30, Pine Forest 22.
     
    South View at Overhills - The Tigers are looking to seal the No. 1 4-A playoff spot and a share of the Patriot Conference title. I think they’ll get it. 
    South View 32, Overhills 12.
     
    Douglas Byrd at Fairmont - The Eagles try to end a difficult season with a win.
    Fairmont 21, Douglas Byrd 14.
     
    Other games: Trinity Christian 31, Southlake Christian 16.
  • 19 01 Carlos CallenderCarlos Callender

    E.E. Smith • Football, indoor and outdoor track • Senior

    Callender has a grade point average of 4.20. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Government Association, Distributive Education Clubs of America, Future Business Leaders of America, Science Olympiad, Campus Life, Fayetteville Technical Community College Honor Society and the Academy of Scholars.

    MiKayla Staten

    E.E. Smith • Cheerleading • Senior

    Staten has a grade point average of 3.68. She’s the captain of the cheerleading squad. In addition, she’s a member of the Academy of Scholars, the National Honor Society, Bulls for Christ, Campus 19 02 mikaylaLife, Student 2 Student, Student Government Association, Academically and Intellectually Gifted, Junior Volunteer for Cape Fear Valley Hospital and Project Uplift at the University of North Carolina.

  • 112515_snyder.png

    The congregation at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church will offer its Singing Christmas Tree for six performances this year. There will be 7:30 p.m. daily showings Dec. 3-6 with additional matinee performances at 4 p.m. on Dec 5 and 6.

    The musical production features 250 singers from the children’s, youth and adult choirs, as well as a hand-bell choir and a 40-piece orchestra. 

    When the church began the event in 1980, they planned to continue the performance for a few years. “It was such a big hit with the community, we kept doing it,” said Sara Barefoot, the music and worship ministry assistant. “It’s become a church-wide mission with hundreds involved either performing or behind the scenes.”

    Barefoot herself has been involved for 34 years. Through the years it became a family event as her children also took part in different aspects.

    The Snyder congregation takes a similar approach with other families contributing and taking part as performers, ushers, or helping to collect canned food. Attendees are asked to bring a canned food item to the performance to be donated to local food banks.

    “We have some performers who have been involved since the beginning, performing as children, then in the youth and now in the adult choir,” Barefoot said.

    While the event is a local tradition for the performance itself, Barefoot said it also gives community members a look into Snyder Memorial Baptist Church and what it offers. 

    “The overall goal is to spread the message of Christmas,” Barefoot said. “If anyone who attends hasn’t heard the message, they can and we hope they start to ask questions. We are always available to follow-up with them.”

    While tickets for all performances have been given out, you can still get on the wait list for returned tickets by calling the church. Doors open one hour prior to each performance. Tickets are honored until 30 minutes before performance time. After that point, viewers are admitted with or without a ticket.

    Snyder Memorial Baptist Church is located at 701 Westmont Drive. For more information call 484-3191 or visit www.SnyderMBC.com.


  • 18 Octavious SmithOctavious Smith is only in his second season running cross country for the E.E. Smith Golden Bulls.

    Based on his performance so far, there’s a pretty high ceiling awaiting him in the years he’s got left as to what he can accomplish on the high school level.

    “He is a pure distance runner,’’ said Roz Major-Williams, one of Smith's cross country coaches, when asked to describe how good he is. “He has so much ability. He does not even know his own ability.’’

    Smith, a sophomore, dominated the field in the recent Patriot Athletic Conference cross country meet at South View High School.

    He won with a time of 16:09.10. Coming in second and third behind him were a pair of Cape Fear runners, Jonathan Piland at 17:04.40 and Julius Ferguson at 17:05.20.

    Cape Fear coach Matthew Hanes wasn’t surprised at Smith’s winning margin.

    “I really didn’t think anybody would touch Octavius,’’ Hanes said. “He wasn’t going to be a factor in the team scores, but individually I knew we couldn’t touch him.’’

    Smith said he’s run about five times on the South View course and felt comfortable with it coming into the conference meet. “It was a mental race,’’ he said as he found himself in the lead nearly the whole way.

    “I would just think he was right behind me at all times,’’ Smith said of his competition.

    Major-Williams said Smith’s cross country talent is natural, and the challenge so far has been getting him to open up and go full throttle instead of trying to hold back too much when he races. “Every time he finished he said I could have run faster,’’ Major-Williams said.

    That showed during the regular season this year as Smith consistently placed among the top ten runners during the regular season meets but rarely came home with an individual win.

    “He was trying to save it for the end,’’ Major-Williams said. “We finally got him to the point to just go all out and see what he has at the end.’’

    In the conference meet, Major-Williams decided to give Smith a time of 15:59 to aim for, which he came within about 10 seconds of achieving.

    “He took off and still had energy left when he finished,’’ Major-Williams said. She’s convinced he can break the 15-minute barrier for a 5K run.

    He’s shooting to qualify for the state cross country meet for a second year in a row.

    He’ll have to survive this year’s regional meet first, which was held prior to the publication of this article on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Northwood High School in Pittsboro.

    “I think he has an excellent shot of getting back this year,’’ Major-Williams said of the state meet, which is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 9, at Ivey M. Redmon Park in Kernersville.

    “If he will just run his race and not be afraid, lay it out on the line, he should make it to the states,’’ Major-Williams said. “I think he has a pretty good head on his shoulders. He listens well and tries to follow direction.’’

    Smith thinks the key to victory at the regional and state levels is simple. “Don’t get stuck in the middle,’’ he said, referring to the pack of runners.

    Both the regional and state meet courses have more hills than the South View course, but Smith doesn’t think that’s a problem.

    “I believe the hilly courses are my strong suit if that makes sense,’’ he said.

    That and his raw talent for the sport. “It just comes naturally,’’ Major-Williams said.

  • 17 01 AmberAmber LeComte is finishing her first year coaching girls cross country at Terry Sanford High School, and she’s already given herself a higher bar to clear next season.

    LeComte, who had no previous experience coaching the sport when she took over at her alma mater this season, guided the Bulldogs to victory in the Patriot Athletic Conference cross country meet and saw sophomore Rainger Pratt take home the individual championship.

    A softball player during her days at Terry Sanford, LeComte said the biggest challenge she faced taking over cross country was learning how to train the team to succeed in competitive running.

    She reached out to other coaches for advice and also got input from the runners on her team, including Pratt.

    Pratt, a sophomore who has been running cross country since the age of seven, said the team was a little bit concerned about LeComte’s lack of coaching experience but felt she was open to working with them.
    “We kind of taught her ways that made us better runners,’’ Pratt said. “We definitely worked together and meshed more as we got closer.’’

    Although Terry Sanford did well in the regular season, winning all three in-season conference meets while also competing in a variety of invitationals, LeComte still wasn’t feeling terribly confident when it came time for the conference meet.

    “I did not feel like the favorite,’’ she said. “South View has a very large team, a lot of people. The more people you have running in these meets, the more likely you are to get points based on performance.’’
    17 02 updated terry sanfordTerry Sanford only had six runners competing in the conference meet.

    “We needed at least four or five of our girls to finish in the top 20 to get the points,’’ LeComte said.

    Pratt won with a time of 20:21.90 to edge second-place Iris Terwilliger of Cape Fear.

    Emma Morgan placed 10th for the Bulldogs with a time of 22:20.60. The Bulldogs then swept the final three spots in the top 20 with Brinlee Risenmay, Marissa Morris and Kaitlyn Wayne crossing the finish line in order at 18th, 19th and 20th.

    The Bulldogs actually tied Pine Forest in team points with 65 each, but the Bulldogs got the championship when their sixth runner, Jasmin Singh, edged the next Pine Forest runner by less than seven seconds to clinch the victory.
    LeComte knew Pratt was going to take the individual title when she saw the look on her face as the came around the track on the South View football field near the end of the race.

    “I knew she was going to blow them out of the water,’’ LeComte said.

    Pratt ran the South View course a lot during her freshman season with the Bulldogs and felt comfortable with it.

    “There’s a woods part and some short downhills,’’ Pratt said. “I used that and the curves to my advantage.’’

    Pratt qualified for the state meet last year and feels she’s got a good chance again this season. To get to the state meet, she had to place high enough in the regionals, which were held prior to the publication of this article on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Northwood High School near Pittsboro.

    The state meet is on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Ivey M. Redmon Park in Kernersville.

    “I usually run really well at regionals,’’ Pratt said. “As a team, I think we can do really well."

    Picture 1: Amber LeComte

    Picture 2: from L-R, Brinlee Risenmay, Emma Morgan, Evan Mason (head boys coach), Rainger Pratt, Kaitlyn Wayne, Jasmin Singh

  • 14 moonshineMoonshine has come to my rescue.

    I am always trying to find ways to make North Carolina No. 1 in something important.

    Thanks to University of North Carolina at Asheville Professor Daniel Pierce, we have a substantial claim to be No. 1. In his new book, “Tar Heel Lightnin’: How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World,” he asserts that our state is tops in moonshine. He writes, “Indeed, if North Carolina has ever held the distinction of being number one nationally in anything, it is in moonshine production.”

    Then, in about 275 pages, showing the long and rich history of the making, sale and consumption of illegal liquor, he shows why and how North Carolina developed its No. 1 connection with what we call moonshine, also known by other names, such as corn liquor, white lighting, blockade, home brew and a host of other terms.

    “From the earliest colonial times, farmers, using techniques their families had learned in the British Isles, distilled their corn and fruit into whisky and brandy.”

    Until Civil War times, no government restrictions prevented them from making alcoholic beverages to trade or sell. In 1862, the national government passed an excise tax on liquor. After the Civil War, most farmers and other small producers ignored the tax, continued their production and made themselves petty criminals. Federal tax collectors tried to catch these moonshiners and put them out of business and into jail.

    The high cost of tax-paid liquor made the production of untaxed moonshine more profitable and more prevalent in every part of North Carolina.

    The prohibition movement was growing. In 1909, the state implemented statewide prohibition. Then in 1920, national prohibition went into effect.

    Pierce says, “Prohibition only increased the market for moonshine in the state and kept the state in the forefront of illegal liquor production nationally through the 1960s.”

    As legal liquor became more available, this shine on moonshine dimmed.

    Pierce’s great storytelling gifts make his thorough study of moonshine a fun read.

    For instance, he gathers short articles on legendary personalities into a hypothetical “North Carolina Moonshine Hall of Fame (and Shame).”

    My favorite of Pierce’s Hall of Famers is Percy Flowers. He was born in 1903 and grew up in Johnston County on a farm near the community of Archer Lodge. He left home at 16 to get away from an abusive father. He learned the liquor making craft from an African American expert and parlayed that expertise into a multi-million dollar enterprise. He was an organizer, hiring others to make the moonshine while he managed the distribution.

    I first heard of Flowers from Lynwood Parker, owner of the White Swan Bar-B-Que near Smithfield. Flowers once owned the building where White Swan is today. Ever since, I have been eager to learn more about Flowers. Pierce has obliged.

    Flowers entered the business about the time the 18th Amendment’s national prohibition began in 1920. He told people he made more money during those prohibition years than any other period of his life.

    Pierce writes, “He was successful not only in making a fortune, producing and selling illegal liquor but also, especially given his high profile, in evading law enforcement.”

    Flowers is joined in the Hall by famous figures such as Junior Johnson, the legendary race car driver who learned his trade driving moonshine in cars fast enough to evade the revenuers. Others include Rhoda Lowry, the widow of Lumbee hero Henry Berry Lowry and modern media figures, Popcorn Sutton and Jim Tom Hedrick, who had brands of “legal moonshine” named after them.

    There is more, so much more. So if you are looking for a Christmas present for a hard-to-give friend or family member, “Tar Heel Lightnin’” could be a good option.

  • 16 Cape FearWatching South View win a conference title in boys cross country had become routine for Cape Fear’s Matthew Hanes. In his 16th year at Cape Fear High School, his 14th coaching boys cross country, Hanes was all too familiar with the Tigers’ 21-year dominance of the sport locally.

    But from the earliest days of summer practice this year, Hanes told his team that this season would mark the best window of opportunity the Colts ever had of taking the trophy away from South View.

    “At the end of last season, we were as close as we ever were to taking them down,’’ he said. “I said the opportunity is here for the taking if you want it bad enough.’’

    Apparently, the Colts did, as they finally ended the South View victory streak and captured the Patriot Athletic Conference cross country meet on South View’s own course last month.

    Building a successful cross country program at Cape Fear has been anything but easy for Hanes. His first season he had a total of nine runners, boys and girls, competing. “It’s hard to get children to run that many miles when it’s 100 degrees outside,’’ he said. “You have to tell them the truth.’’

    When the Colts won every regular-season duel with South View this season, it gave Hanes confidence. But he still had doubts as South View sought to make it 22 straight titles while running on its homes course.

    Hanes counted on a strong showing by his top runner, Jonathan Piland, and he got it as the veteran placed second with a time of 17:04.40.

    The key piece of the championship puzzle for Cape Fear was newcomer Julius Ferguson. He placed third while Juan Alvarado ran fifth to give Cape Fear its third runner in the top five.

    Other Colts in the top 20 were Collin Gaddy 10th, Alden Bostic 13th and Colton Danks 20th.

    Piland said the South View course offered extra challenges in the meet.

    “With the rain, it made quite a muddy experience,’’ Piland said. “Otherwise it was an excellent course. They’ve always done a good job of designing it and keeping it well maintained.’’

    Cape Fear’s team strategy of sticking together and staying ahead of the South View pack worked. “Our top seven runners made all-conference,’’ Piland said. “I would say that was a pretty big accomplishment.’’
    The Colts are optimistic about qualifying for the Nov. 9 state meet at Ivey M. Redmon Park in Kernersville.

    “We have so many that are committed runners,’’ Piland said. “We’ve won invitational meets and meets that in previous years we never figured to place in. I think we have a great shot at states this year.’’

    From L-R: Tariq Hussein, Collin Gaddy, Alden Bostic, Jonathan Piland, Caleb Knudsen, Colton Danks, Seth Thomas, Mr. Brian Edkins.
    Front: Coach Matthew Hanes, Julius Ferguson, Juan Alvarado. Missing from the picture is Noah Lucas.

  • 10 feaste18Oye! Oye! Methodist University’s Renaissance-themed Yuletide Feaste is returning this Christmas season Dec. 6 and 7 for its ninth year of spreading holiday merriment and mirth to the Fayetteville area.

    Not an ordinary dinner theater, the Methodist University Chorale takes patrons on a trip back in time to the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England, as members of the choir, bedecked in their fifteenth-century finery, celebrate the joy of the season as members of the Queen’s court. The show features a variety of traditional and period carols, sung by the University Choir, as well as special holiday pieces presented by MU’s elite Chamber Singers. The show culminates in a moving rendition of “Silent Night” sung by candlelight, as guests are invited to reflect upon the deeper meaning of the season. The show is full of warmth and heart, as it offers not only lighthearted entertainment for guests, but invites everyone, performers and patrons alike, to experience the comfort and joy of the Christmas spirit.

    As the name suggests, Yuletide Feaste offers its patrons top-notch entertainment, but it also provides guests with a sumptuous spread inspired by the holiday feasts held by the royal courts of 15th-century Europe. The four-course meal includes dishes such as butternut squash soup, stuffed chicken with smoked Gouda, wild rice pilaf and much more. There are also vegetarian options available for those who prefer to forego meat. Finally, the meal concludes with a spectacular dessert — figgy pudding, doused in brandy and then set aflame, as the dish has traditionally been served for hundreds of years.

    The Yuletide Feaste was the brainchild of Dr. Michael Martin, the director of University Choirs at MU. Inspired by similar holiday shows put on at Kent State University, where he was a student, Martin brought the idea to the MU Chorale and organized Fayetteville’s first Feaste in 2011. As MU Chorale members will tell you, Feaste is as much a delight for the students to put on as it is for patrons to watch. This year, the president of the MU Chorale, Mrs. Jordan Dues, will portray Queen Elizabeth I. Dues, a senior, shared her sentiments: “Feaste has not only become a tradition for the Chorale, but also for the community. It’s a night filled with good food, good company and good entertainment. I’ve enjoyed being a part of the Chorale for these past four years and cannot imagine how I will feel next year when I can no longer be a part of this great family.”

    Dues said that she will, however, continue to participate in the event after she graduates, albeit from the other side of the curtain. “I will come back as often as I can to watch the Queen’s court and the companionship that is exhibited.”

    Yuletide Feaste will be held at Haymount United Methodist Church on Fort Bragg Road Dec. 6 and 7. Tickets are $45 each and benefit the MU Chorale, helping them travel to perform in various locations throughout the country and around the world. Tickets must be reserved by Nov. 25 and can be purchased online at https://www.methodist.edu/music/yuletide-feaste/ or by mailing a physical copy of the registration form with a check or credit card number to Linda Volman Lane at the MU music department.
     
  • 11-19-14-tour-of-homes.gifDon’t you just love the sights and sounds of Christmas: lights, Christmas trees, presents, mistletoe and The Temptations singing “Silent Night” on the radio? Adding to the magic of the season, The Woman’s Club of Fayetteville presents its Christmas Tour of Homes on Sunday, Dec. 7 from 1-6 p.m.

    “This is our largest fundraiser of the year for the Woman’s Club, and the funds are used to preserve the three historic homes of Heritage Square,” said Betty Muncy, organizer of the Christmas Tour of Homes. “Martha Duell and I started this Christmas home tour in 2002, and it continues to be a huge success with the support of these homeowners.”

    The historic homes of Heritage Square are the Sandford House, the Oval Ballroom and the Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House. They are owned by the Woman’s Club of Fayetteville.

    “Contributions from the Colonial Dames and friends have helped maintain the buildings of Heritage Square,” said Muncy. “We are fortunate to have the support of the community as we try to preserve these historic homes of Heritage Square for the future generation.”

    Members of the community generously contribute year after year, opening their homes to the community and sharing a bit of holiday cheer with those who take the tour. It is a chance to appreciate the generosity and decorating skills of the hosts and help a worthy cause. While the addresses may vary from year to year, one thing that remains constant is the sense of hospitality of the hosts. Take a peek inside some of Fayetteville’s most festive homes and spend a Sunday afternoon settling in to the Christmas spirit.

    The tour will showcase six homes at the following addresses:

    • Dr. Daniel & Ashley Culliton, 517 Oak Ridge Avenue

    • Jack & Judy Dawar, 714 Murry Hill Road

    • Patsy Politowicz, 1825 Myrtle Hill Lane

    • Alvin Smith & Dennis Williams, 306 McAllister Street

    • Brian & Rhonda Kent, 300 Forest Creek Drive, (across the street from MacPherson Presbyterian Church on Cliffdale Road)

    • Fayetteville Regional Chamber, 1019 Hay Street.

    “The Woman’s Club is grateful for the families that showcase their homes each year for us,” said Muncy. “Our club works as a team and this is a great way for us to get to know each other better.”

    Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at The Pilgrim in Westwood Shopping Center, from Woman’s Club members and at the homes on the day of the tour. Donations are needed and accepted throughout the year to maintain the historic homes in Heritage Square. For more information, call 485-1555 or 483-6009.

    Photo: Fayetteville residents will open their doors for The Christmas Tour of Homes sponsored by The Woman’s Club of Fayetteville. The annual event helps maintain three historic homes in Heritage Square, including The Sandford House pictured above.

  • nov18-a-christmas-carol-w-borderfinal.jpgDon’t panic. Christmas is still a few weeks away, but the signs of the season have started to emerge. One of the most prominent is the performance of the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, at the Gilbert Theater.

    “[A Christmas Carol] is Charles Dickens most popular novel,” said Lynn Pryer, director.

    Dickens wrote 37 books, but this was his most well known. He wrote it in October of 1843, during a time when he was having fi nancial trouble. Although he was already famous at the time, his most recent books weren’t doing well. According to Pryer, Dickens got the idea for this story, and he wrote it in just six weeks. His usual publisher wouldn’t publish it, so Dickens had to publish it privately, and it was a huge success from that very fi rst Christmas.

    “We have taken this play, this novel, and adapted it ourselves, but this is just a long, long line of adaptations,” said Pryer.

    Even though the book came out in December 1843, the fi rst play came out in February 1844, it was that appealing.

    “This play lends itself beautifully to theatrical format, and there have been just so many movies and adaptations,” said Pryer.

    “He went on to write a Christmas book every year, a total of fi ve, but this was his most enduring one. I think this is because it’s a story at Christmas time, a story of redemption which is a recurrence in our lives, and it’s very appealing to people…we like to see people change for the better,” explained Pryer.

    Pryer, the founder of this award-winning theater, said that his goal is to make the audience “feel extremely taken care of, warmly and thoughtfully taken care of” as they watch this Christmas classic in one of the theater’s 99 seats. He also noted, “There’s not a bad seat in the house.” Performances of A Christmas Carol will start appropriately as Fayetteville celebrates a Dickens Holiday on Nov. 27 and will run through Dec. 13.

    Throughout the day during the Dickens Holiday, you will fi nd the cast roaming the streets bringing their characters to life. As you pass through downtown and enjoy the sites and the sounds of the season, don’t be surprised to encounter Ebeneezer Scrooge, or perhaps the Ghost of Marley. Participation by Gilbert’s actors brings a touch of realism to the day, as well as adds excitment for the production.

    Performances are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 2 p.m., and 8 p.m., as well as Sundays at 2 p.m. There will be no performance on December 10, and on Dec. 5, the 8 p.m. show is already sold out. Tickets are $10, and can be paid in cash or checks only. Reservations are highly recommended.

    To reserve seats you can e-mail the theater at gilberttheater@ aol.com or call 910-678-7186. Large group discounts are available, and groups over 10 are asked to prepay reservation tickets. Gilbert Theater is above Fascinate-U museum at 116 Green Street.

  • When you think of theater, you don’t automatically think about Fayetteville State University. But that’s where you make a mistake.

    FSU has a growing theater department that is committed to bringing a wide variety of plays to the community each year. Its most recent offering, Fences, will be on stage Nov. 18-20.

    Directed by Dr. Harmon Watson, chair of the Performing and Fine Arts Department, Fences, written in 1983 is authored by African-11-10-10-fences.gifAmerican playwright August Wilson. Set in the 1950s, it is the sixth play in Wilson’s 10-part Pittsburgh Cycle. Like all of the Pittsburgh plays, Fences explores the evolving African-American experience and examines race relations, among other themes.

    The production won a Tony Award for Best Play, Best Actor in a Play for James Earl Jones, Best Direction of a Play, as well as the Drama Desk Award, Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Actor in a Play (Jones) and Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play (Mary Alice). This year the Broadway revival of the production won Tony Awards for Best Revival Play, Best Actor in a Play for Denzel Washington and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for Viola Davis.

    The play begins on payday, with Troy Maxson and Jim Bono drinking and talking. Troy has made a formal complaint to his bosses that only white men are permitted to drive the garbage trucks for the waste disposal company at which both men work. The two men finish their discussion of work, and Bono asks Troy about a woman, Alberta, he suspects Troy of seeing. Troy denies that he would risk losing his wife, Rose, but Bono does not give up so easily and reminds Troy that he has been seen at Alberta’s house when he said he was elsewhere.

    The conversation is interrupted when Troy’s son Lyons who arrives to ask his father for money. Troy gives his son a hard time, but eventually gives him the $10 requested. Eventually, it is revealed that Troy has been having an affair with Alberta, whom the audience never sees throughout the play. Alberta gets pregnant and dies giving birth to Raynell, the daughter conceived from their affair. Troy’s wife Rose accepts the duty of being Raynell’s mother when Alberta dies in childbirth. Troy and Rose have another son, Cory, who against his father’s wishes, plays football and temporarily leaves his job during the football season. This infuriates Troy, who eventually kicks Cory out of the Maxson home. During the fi nal act of the play, Troy dies. His daughter Raynell is seen as a happy 7-year-old; his son Cory comes home from war, and initially refuses to go to his father’s funeral due to long-standing resentment. However, Rose convinces him to pay his respects to his father — the man who, though hard-headed and often poor at demonstrating affection, loved his son.

    The curtain raises at the Butler Theater at 7:30 p.m.

    For more information, call 672-1006 or visit the FSU Theatre website www.uncfsu.edu/theatre/fsu_drama_guild.htm. For reservations contact FSU’s Ticket Manager, Antoinette Fairley, at 672-1724.

  •     There is nothing more priceless than the look on a child’s face on Christmas morning; however, some children wake up on this much anticipated day only to receive nothing.  Methodist University and Samaritan’s Purse are making a concerted effort to make sure that every child around the globe receives a shoe box filled with goodies in order to have a wonderful Christmas.
        {mosimage}“We have had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of this event for several years,” said Michael Safley, vice president for university relations and campus ministry. “We are the regional collection site for Operation Christmas Child.”
        National Collection week is Monday, Nov. 17 through Monday, Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Gift-filled shoe boxes can be dropped off in front of Reeves Auditorium on the campus of Methodist University. Tractor trailers will be on site to receive the shoe boxes. The boxes will be transported to the distribution site in Charlotte to be shipped all over the world. 
        The directions for packing the shoe box are fairly straightforward. First you have to decide whether the gift will be for a boy or a girl. The label can be downloaded and printed by visiting the Web site www.samaritanspurse.com. Next, select the age group of the child which includes: 2-4-years-old, 5-9-years-old or 10-14-years-old. The box should be filled with gifts that will bring joy to the child of that particular age group. Some gift ideas are school supplies, toy cars, hygiene items, dolls, stuffed animals, hard candy, lollipops, yo-yo’s, T-shirts, socks, coloring books, educational toys, crayons and other items. Do not pack toy guns, knives, chocolate, food, liquids, lotions, perishable or breakable items. Donate $7 to help cover shipping overseas and other project costs. Place a rubber band around the shoe box before dropping it off to the collection site at Methodist University.  {mosimage}
        Since 1993, more than 61 million shoe boxes have been packed with gifts for children and shipped around the globe. Last year 7.6 million shoe boxes were collected and more than 100,000 volunteers helped inspect and prepare boxes for shipment. Samaritan’s Purse is an international Christian relief and evangelism organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, poverty, disease and natural disaster. 
    “We expect to collect thousands of shoe boxes this year,” said Safley. “It feels good knowing that children will have something to open for the Christmas holidays.”
        For more information call 630-7043 or visit www.samaritanspurse.com.  

  •     Dear EarthTalk: I understand that Toyota is planning to sell a plug-in Prius that will greatly improve the car’s already impressive fuel efficiency.  Will I be able to convert my older (2006) Prius to make it a plug-in hybrid vehicle?         
    — Albert D. Rich, Kamuela, HI


        Toyota is readying a limited run of a plug-in Prius, which can average 100 miles-per-gallon, for use in government and commercial fleets starting in 2009. Toyota will monitor how these cars, which will have high-efficiency lithium ion batteries that haven’t been fully tested yet, will hold up under everyday use.
        Essentially, a plug-in version of the Prius reverses the roles of the two motors under the hood. The regular Prius relies more on its gas engine, switching to (or combining) use of the electric motor in slow traffic, to maintain cruising speed, and when idling or backing up. The car doesn’t need to plug in because its battery stays charged by the gas motor and by the motion of the wheels and brakes. The plug-in will primarily use its electric motor, allowing commuters to go to and from work every day fully on the electric charge, saving the gas engine for longer trips that exceed the distance the car can go on electricity alone.
        {mosimage}Toyota has made no announcement yet as to when consumers will be able to buy a plug-in; that depends largely on the results of the field test of the fleet version. But owners of a current or past model don’t need to wait. Those with automotive mechanical skills can convert their Priuses to plug-ins themselves.
        “The conversion is an easy DIY [do-it-yourself] project that you can do for about $4,000, if you choose to use sealed lead acid batteries,” says Houston-based Jim Philippi, who converted his Prius last year, using instructions he downloaded for free from the Electric Auto Association’s PriusPlus.org Web site. Philippi recommends that DIYers consult Google’s RechargeIT.org as well for useful background information.
        For those less inclined to a DIY, several companies now sell readymade kits (some also have kits for converting Ford Escape Hybrid SUVs). Ontario-based Hymotion sells plug-in kits for Prius model years 2004-2008 for around $10,000 via contracted distributors/installers in San Francisco, Seattle and elsewhere. Other providers include Plug-In Conversions Corp., Plug-In Supply, EDrive Systems, Energy Control Systems Engineering Inc. and OEMtek. All typically work with select garages that specialize.
        One potential worry about conversions is whether or not Toyota will honor the warranty that came with the original vehicle. The California Cars Initiative (CCI), which has converted several hybrids to plug-ins for research and demonstration purposes (sorry, they’re not for sale), says the carmaker needs to clarify the matter, since hybrid cars typically have four or five separate warranties. There is legal precedent, CCI says, that modifications cannot completely void warranties — only the part(s) affected by a retrofit.
        If you’re looking to convert, keep in mind that such a move is not about cost-savings, as it will take some time for fuel savings to justify the upfront cost of even a DIY. Most people interested in such a conversion are doing it for the sake of the environment, not their pocketbooks.
        CONTACTS: PriusPlus,www.priusplus.org; Plug-In Conversions Corp.,www.pluginconversions.com; Plug-In Supply, www.pluginsupply.com; EDrive Systems, www.edrivesystems.com; Energy Control Systems Engineering, www.energycs.com; OEMtek,  www.oemtek.com; CCI, www.calcars.org.
        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.
  • uac110911001.jpg The Heart of Christmas Show has grown quite a bit since its inception in 1999. Anyone who spends more than a minute with Laura Stevens, the director, can tell you that she is passionate about this show in the same way that mothers are passionate about their newborn babies. She looks forward to the performances with the magical anticipation of a 6-year-old waiting for Santa to come down the chimney.

    This year’s performances are on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. and Sunday Nov. 27 at 3 p.m., and Stevens is giddy with excitement about it.

    “There are just so many wonderful elements to the show,” said Stevens. “Every year I look forward to fi nding new ways to make it even better.”

    That’s a tall order since there are so many people in the community who tell Stevens about their favorite segments and plead with her to keep them in the line-up. Still, she’s always searching for the next skit, the next number, the next dance that will take the show to a higher level of glamorous excellence — because for her it is about more than putting on a great performance.

    “The show is absolutely about giving the audience something to remember and putting them in the Christmas spirit,” said Stevens. “But it is also about all the hard work and dedication that the performers put into it. These kids and their families eat, sleep and breathe this show for several months each year and seeing the smiles on their faces and the joy in their eyes when the audience applauds at the end of each number is incredible. They work so hard to be able to deliver an amazing performance for the audience.”

    The performers, who are all between the ages of 6 and 19, work hard to deliver perfect performances, and Stevens works just as hard to make sure that each and every segment touches the audience in some way, whether it means laughing out loud, bringing them to tears or evoking reverent silence.11-09-11-voh-1.jpg

    Voices of the Heart, an all-girl, teen Christian vocal group is a huge part of the performance every year. This year Katelyn Godbold, Hannah Godbold, Mandi Hawley, Rachel Crenshaw and Hannah Pritchard bring the group to new heights.

    “Each year Voices of the Heart is amazing,” said Stevens. “This year’s group is just phenomenal. It is like having five Mariah Careys up on the stage when they perform. Part of what makes this show so incredible is that the performers are all children and young adults. The fact that they deliver such a high-quality performance every year really says something about their talent and dedication.”

    The show starts off each year with a fun and light-hearted look at Christmas through the eyes of children. It explores the joy and sense of anticipation that makes the Christmas season such a magical time for the young-at-heart.

    The second half of the show is more about the Christmas story and the birth of Jesus. It’s a testament to the talented performers that the audience is left in awe-struck silence following the manger scene.

    11-09-11-voh-2.jpgThe performers are clearly dedicated to the show, and it has paid off as year after year people come form further and further away just to see The Heart of Christmas Show.

    “We’ve had people tell us that they’ve come from Florida to see the show and that they look forward to the trip up here to experience it every year. Other people have said that our show is as good as anything they’ve seen in Branson, Mo.” said Stevens. “Last year I met a lady who told me that this is the show that puts her in the Christmas spirit. She leaves the show and goes right home to bake Christmas cookies.”

    And it all started as a way to bring something more to the community. From the very fi rst performance, Stevens has made sure that all proceeds from the ticket sales are put right back into the community. Generous sponsors cover the costs of production each year, providing an opportunity to help Fayetteville’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens, its children. So far, more than $300,000 dollars has been donated to Friends of Children, The Child Advocacy Program, the Autism Society and Falcon’s Children’s Home.

    Stevens is quick to thank the long list of sponsors who make it all possible. “The support we have from the local business community is amazing, but as much as we appreciate the support they give us, what means the most is when I see our sponsors bringing their friends and families to the show every year.”11-09-11-voh-3.jpg

    Tickets are available now and can be purchased at Hawley’s Bicycle World, The Crown Center box office, by calling 978-1118 and at ticketmaster outlets. Adults and Children tickets are $12.00 in advance, $18.00 at the door. Group rates $10.00 per ticket are available for groups of 15 or more.

    Photo top right: The talented teens in Voices of the Heart are one of the reasons the show is so successful each year. The girls are joined by other performers and dancers to make the show a hit.

  • Many folks ask me about the correct spelling of the holiday. Confusion comes because the holiday’s name is in Hebrew, which uses an entirely different alphabet that includes sounds not found in English. The first letter has a guttural sound like the German achtung, so some people use CH while others opt for the closest sound in English, the letter H, to avoid people mistakenly thinking it has the English CH sound.

    Additionally, depending on where you’re from, some Jews pronounce the final vowel as AH while others say OH. Also, when transcribing the name into English some do it based solely on sound while others try to parallel Hebrew spelling. In Hebrew, it ends with the equivalent of a silent H (like in Sarah), so some spell it in English ending with an H and some without. This all results in many legitimate renderings of the name into English.

    Chanukah (my preference) means dedication or rededication and refers to the rededication of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem following its purification upon recapture from the Syrian army 2186 years ago. It celebrates the miracle of the successful revolt of a rag-tag force of faithful Jews, hiding in caves and frequently using guerilla tactics against their powerful overlords, who had prohibited the practice of Judaism and introduced pagan sacrifice into the holy Temple.

    Because the Jews celebrated the rededication of the Temple by belatedly observing the eight-day biblical festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), Chanukah was established as an annual eight day celebration of this miraculous preservation of Judaism. A legend, told hundreds of years after these events, relates that reluctant to delay the rededication of the Temple for the eight days necessary to acquire the special olive oil required for the sanctuary’s Menorah (a seven-branched, continually burning candelabrum), they lit the only pure oil they had found – a single day’s worth. Miraculously the Menorah burned for eight days until new oil arrived.

    The main observance of Chanukah is the home lighting of an eight-branched Menorah each evening to publicize the ancient miracle of Judaism’s survival. A single light is kindled on the first night, adding one more each night, until eight are burning at the end.

    Honoring the legend of the oil it is customary to eat fried foods during Chanukah, such as potato pancakes and jelly donuts. Chanukah gift-giving mostly originated in America so Jewish kids wouldn’t feel jealous of their classmates’ Christmas gifts. There is no requirement to give any, much less, eight gifts.

    Chanukah shifts on our calendar because for religious purposes Jews follow a lunar calendar (although the periodic addition of leap months keeps the Jewish holidays aligned to the same season).
    Finally, Chanukah is considered a minor Jewish holiday, because it does not originate in the Hebrew Bible, but in the later books of First and Second Maccabees. That makes it comparatively less significant than the biblical festivals like Passover. It receives oversized attention in America because of its proximity to Christmas.

    Editor's Note: Chanukah runs this year from the evening of Sunday, Nov. 28 through the evening of Monday, Dec. 6.

  • PotatoesWhat can you say about a 17-pound potato named Doug? That he was beautiful? That Doug loved Mozart and Bach? That he would make a lot of vodka? Who knows if a Big Potato loves music? To find out the truth, Mr. Science went all the way to New Zealand to investigate the strange case of the world’s largest potato. An excellent article in The Guardian by Eva Corlett brought Doug to the attention of the world.

    Once upon a time, Colin & Donna Brown lived a quiet life in Hamilton, New Zealand puttering their days away in their garden. The greatest problem they faced was keeping Peter Rabbit away from their carrots in the manner of Mr. McGregor. Unbeknownst to them, Colin was about to make a discovery that would bring them to the attention of the world. Colin was weeding his garden when his hoe hit something large and solid underground. Colin had struck Doug. Ms. Corlett’s article reports Colin said: “Donna this must be one of those white sweet potatoes that we grew because some of them grow massive out here.” After giving the object the old taste test, Collin realized he had unearthed a giant white potato.

    What do you do with a giant potato? You give him a name that suits his personality. Thus, Doug the Giant Potato was christened. Colin said: “We put a hat on him. We put him on Facebook, taking him for a walk, giving him some sunshine. It’s all a bit of fun. It’s amazing what entertains people. It’s fair to say our veggie garden can get a bit feral. There are some parts of the garden you need to pack a lunch and advise your next of kin before heading to.”

    Colin reports they had not planted potatoes for two or three years deepening the mystery of Doug’s origin. Could Doug have been seeded by aliens like the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Was Doug part of an interstellar plot to take over the Earth one French Fry at the time? The potato soup thickens. Might Doug be the vanguard of an army of giant intelligent tubers bent on seeking revenge against humanity for the transmogrification of millions of their Earthly relatives into potato chips, hash browns, mashed potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, boiled potatoes, potato casserole, baked gnocchi, tater tots, Shepherd’s pie, or potatoes au gratin?

    Ponder the facts about potato consumption and beware. If there are intelligent Space Alien Potatoes across the universe it’s easy to see why they would consider the Earth to be the archenemy of potatoes. Mr. Google reports that the average person eats about 110 pounds of potatoes a year. The National Potato Council reports that in 2020 about 42.7 billion pounds of potatoes were produced and eaten each year. That is no small potatoes. If Intelligent Space Potatoes are able to get those potatoes to unite and throw off their chains, no human is safe. We are all doomed to fall to an attack of Killer Potatoes.

    But there is hope. The Guinness Book of World Records reports that the largest Pre-Doug potato was found in England in 2011 weighing about 10 pounds. Doug is clearly the King of Potatoes. Fortunately, Doug at this point seems content to amuse New Zealanders and not take over the world. Humanity’s best bet to stave off Killer Potatoes is appeasement by recognizing their accomplishments to show we can be their friends. Consider some of the great potatoes of history: Mr. Potato Head reigned supreme as a toy in the 1950s. The most famous dog in beer ad history was the late great Spuds MacKenzie. Every August 19th is National Potato Day. Great days in Potato History include 2000 BC when the Incas first planted potatoes as a crop. In 1536 the Spanish Conquistadores invaded Peru and took back the first potatoes to Europe. Thomas Jefferson first served French fried potatoes in the White House in 1802. In 1885 Van Gogh painted his famous picture The Potato Eaters immortalizing the role that potatoes play in nutrition. In 1995 NASA launched potatoes into orbit making them the first veggies grown in space. The list goes on and on.

    The greatest episode of the Andy Griffith show combines Aunt Bea’s pickles, kindness, and potatoes. Clara has won the best pickles at the county fair for eleven years. It’s a big deal for Clara. Barney and Andy make a fuss over Aunt Bea’s pickles even though her pickles are terrible. The guys switch out her pickles for store-bought dills not knowing Aunt Bea has decided to enter them in the county fair. At first, they think it would be funny for Aunt Bea to win with store-bought pickles. Then Clara talks about how much winning the best pickles means to her since her husband passed away. Andy and Barney then have to eat all store-bought pickles so Aunt Bea will enter her own terrible pickles and lose to Clara. Clara wins the contest. Andy closes by saying: “What’s small potatoes to some folks can be mighty important to others.”

    But if flattering potatoes doesn’t work, Doug and Donna have saved the Earth. They wrapped Doug in plastic to preserve him and plan on making him into vodka.

  • 13The holiday season is always an odd time for me. I love to give gifts, but I don't really care to add to the collection of unwanted gifts. In my home, we often talk about trusting God to meet our needs. That doesn't mean we stand on the shore and watch for our ship to come in. We work hard to make sure we've done all we can to provide for our family and others, but still, we trust God.

    Sometimes I'll pray and ask for specific things — you know, a particular amount of money, favorable diagnosis of a car problem — and I suspect you do too. Nothing wrong with that, but there's truly more to having your needs met than having stuff go your way. It may be as simple as being content with where you are and what you have.

    My wife and I must be on the same wavelength concerning contentment. We have a little chalkboard in our kitchen where we'll write a recipe or date night idea, but recently I walked into the kitchen and saw these words: “What if God has already provided?” That stopped me. And the thought has haunted me for weeks. What if, in my quest for more and better, I've overlooked what I already have? It's caused me to take stock of my time, talents and resources. It's even changed the way I pray, and how I look at pretty much everything.

    Discontentment runs rampant in our culture, and today I want to offer you three choices you can make in your life that can lead you to genuine, biblical, lasting contentment.

    First, seek contentment as a lifestyle. Choose it. Acknowledge that you would not be happier if you had more. You wouldn’t be — you’d likely be more miserable. God’s Word contains clear warnings for us: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25.)

    Second, learn to say, “I have enough.” Let those words reign in your home. Push back from the table and say, “I’ve had enough.” When money comes your way — a surprise bonus from work, an inheritance from your great uncle, even finding $50 in your coat pocket — resist the cravings for more.

    Lastly, settle it. Here’s a challenge — choose a lifestyle; don’t let your income dictate your lifestyle. Choose a comfortable level of living that meets your needs, and don't compromise that with more spending when more income arrives. If you don’t choose a lifestyle, this culture will choose one for you, and by default, it will be the lifestyle of living beyond your means. Be counter-cultural. Be radical.

    Be others oriented. Let enough be enough. Learn from the examples of those around you (both the contented and the covetous.) You'll save yourself some heartache and know the joy of a truly contented attitude.

    More does not equal happier. I promise. And remember this from Philippians 4:19 — “My God will supply every need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

  • 12When I made the decision to become a group fitness instructor the style of teaching that most caught my attention was barre. When we hear the word barre visuals may come to mind of floating ballet dancers in tutus and pirouettes. My husbands’ male friends had another connotation of the word bar. When he told them I was taking a class to teach barre they asked him if we were going to open a nightclub! You do not have to be a ballet dancer or have previous dance experience to take a barre class, barre is not about dance it is about movement. It is low to moderate exercise that infuses ballet, yoga and strength training for a wide variety of fitness levels. The exercises can increase flexibility, strengthen the core, improve posture and balance. You can take barre classes at private studios specifically for that purpose or fitness centers and gyms. The styles and concepts may vary but the bottom line is that they are designed towards a full-body minimal impact endurance workout.

    Barre targets specific muscle groups with movements at a slower pace. You might hear the words “feel the burn” or “shake” which means that you have worked the muscles to the peak that you feel your muscles shake and know that you have worked a muscle group to its entirety.

    A typical barre class will include a warmup, the body of the class and a cool down.

    After the warmup participants may move to the barre for exercises that target muscle groups such as hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps and calves.

    An exercise example would be a set of pliés that include static holds, pulses and engage the calves with a compound
    movement.

    A set of exercises could include a set on one side and a repeat on the other side or facing the barre. A benefit in taking a class is a facility will have barres installed. The aid of a barre helps with stability, form and is a terrific addition for more complex moves and stretching. When a barre is not available facilities might use the aid of a chair for support. Classes may also include floor work on the mat with exercises for abdominals and core. The incorporation of light weights, stretch bands, Bender Balls and gliding discs are tools that can be used to further work the muscle groups. The end of class includes a cooldown and stretching. Mobility is a huge reason to take a barre class, especially for the hip flexors that tend to get tight from sitting. It improves postural alignment, flexibility and functional fitness for everyday life. It can improve the way we bend, reach for something on the shelf, turn to look at something or squat to pick up an object.

    By attending regularly, you will be able to see and feel improvements with your strength and flexibility. If you are interested in attending a class meet the instructor before beginning the class to familiarize yourself with the format and address any concerns that you may have with class participation.

    Begin with fewer repetitions or modifications and rest when needed. You will see participants with flexibility and strength levels of all ages in class. The benefits of barre are obvious in the participants that have consistently attended. Wear activewear such as leggings, t-shirt, flexible shoes, barre socks or bare feet.

    Bring your mat, water bottle and a hand towel to wipe that brow because you will sweat! Attend a class, have fun and live, love, life at the barre!

  • 02It has been two years since the virus we now know as COVID-19 began as a stealth incubation in Wuhan, China before exploding onto the world stage. It has since taken 5.1 million lives, almost 800,000 of them in the United States and nearly 19,000 of those in North Carolina. None of us remain untouched by the pandemic, whether we have lost someone near and dear or whether we feel merely inconvenienced by COVID-19 restrictions.

    The second year of holiday celebrations affected by the virus is now upon us. Experts and regular folks alike are realizing COVID-19 will be with us for the long haul and thinking about how we are going to live with it. The Dicksons, all thoroughly vaccinated and feeling fortunate to be so, will gather for Thanksgiving with a handful of family and friends in a way we did not last year. We will take precautions — knowing that everyone except a 2-year-old is vaccinated, and we will stay outdoors as much as we can, both cooking and eating. While we and millions of other Americans are indeed choosing to gather, we are also thinking about how to go about our lives knowing that COVID-19 is not the raging pandemic it once was but it remains a very real threat. We are going to learn to live with COVID risk. We will learn to accept it the same way we accept the risk of riding in vehicles of all sorts, participating in sports and engaging in other once-routine activities. So, what will that look like in our daily lives?

    People in Asian counties have long worn face masks in public, because of both various illnesses and air pollution. Many medical experts expect Americans to do so for the foreseeable future in public places such as grocery stores, cabs, buses, planes and in gatherings of people we do not know.

    People will likely continue working remotely at least some of the time and communicating electronically, in part because of health concerns and because we have discovered its convenience.
    We are now able to ponder our lives ahead because while the United States remains less vaccinated than other developed nations, about 65% of us have had at least one shot and 60% have had more than one. That means that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is going down, especially in more vaccinated communities.

    In addition, COVID-19 treatments are becoming more effective, meaning that this virus may eventually be just another illness and not one that takes over our lives.

    Increasingly, experts are saying COVID-19 could become like seasonal flu, an illness no one wants and can be successfully vaccinated against.

    All of which is to say that we are not going to wake up one morning to headlines screaming, “COVID-19 eradicated forever,” that is a dream not likely to come true.

    The poet T.S. Eliot wrote that the world would end “not with a bang, but with a whimper.”

    Johns Hopkins University epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo has the same thoughts about COVID-19. As Nuzzo told the Washington Post recently, “It doesn’t end. We just stop caring. Or we care a lot less... I think for most people, it just fades into the background of their lives.”

    I look forward to that day, even if it means I mask up from time to time.

  • 01Elected officials and staff of Fayetteville and Cumberland County could learn a great deal about cooperation and teamwork from our present Cumberland County delegation. Congratulations are due to our Cumberland County Legislative Delegation Chairman, Rep. Billy Richardson, Sen. Kirk deViere, Sen. Ben Clark, Rep. John Szoka, Rep. Diane Wheatley, and Rep. Marvin Lucas for the passing of North Carolina's first budget since 2018. For months they worked together diligently for one primary purpose, to do the right things to better the quality of life for the residents of Cumberland County. Serving the citizens of Fayetteville and the other eight municipalities was, and should always be, the highest of all priorities. Today, we are fortunate to have dedicated local leadership representing us in Raleigh, and they have done just that. As a result, last week, Gov. Roy Cooper signed off on a state budget and infrastructure bill that has been long over overdue. Anytime you can bring home over $402 million to your community, one must give credit where credit is due. It was only through hard work, compromise and cooperation that they accomplished this. The projects and programs funded by the new budget will impact the Cumberland County community for decades. The teamwork demonstrated by our bipartisan leadership resulted in the passage of a budget that will significantly impact Carolinians from the mountains to the coast. It targets the state's infrastructure needs in health care, K-12 education, broadband water restoration, community colleges, universities, medical research and much more. The tax policy portion of the budget is pro-growth, lowering the personal income tax and lowering the corporate income tax rates.

    In addition, military pensions for North Carolina Veterans will no longer be taxed thanks to Rep. John Szoka, the primary sponsor of HB 83 and signed on to by Rep. Diane Wheatley. According to Szoka, this will make North Carolina more attractive to military retirees from all over the country. Specifically, it will aid in attracting and retaining retirees here in Cumberland County. Another budget highlight and a huge win for our local community was the allocation of $59.6 million for the North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center. Another example of fantastic teamwork, cooperation and perseverance by project Chairman Mac Healy, Mary Lynn Bryan, and members of the Center's board of directors who pursued an endeavor that is good and beneficial for the entire community. This state-run venue will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors and guests and millions of dollars into our community annually. What's not to like about that?

    This bipartisan leadership is the kind of leadership that needs to be replicated locally in Fayetteville and Cumberland County. We have an election coming up soon after the first of the year. We should be looking for and voting for candidates who want to cooperate to better the circumstances of the city and county citizens. We need honest and trustworthy leaders who understand the detriment that municipal and community silos have on the progress of a growing community. Sure, we are moving forward in our development but not at the pace we should be because the cooperation and teamwork amongst our city, county and influential community organizations are only evident in fruitless sound bites. We now have a herculean opportunity to negotiate the $402 million earmarked for Cumberland County into a formidable "can do" community. Our Raleigh delegation has set the near-perfect example of what is accomplishable through teamwork and cooperation. We must encourage and demand that our local city and county leaders do the same. We need action, not empty words. We need to keep those traits in mind when we vote for our future leaders.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • uac110310001.gif For more than 100 years the Falcon Children’s Home has been taking in children, caring for them and providing not only for their physical needs, but for their emotional, spiritual and mental health, too. That is no small task in any day and age. Not only is the emotional task daunting, the nuts and bolts of feeding and clothing their charges can be overwhelming, too.

    Hence the Harvest Train, a 61-year-old tradition that has allowed the surrounding community to bless the Falcon Children’s Home by filling in the gaps and meeting the needs of the children who reside there.

    This year, the Harvest Train takes place on Nov. 23 and you are invited to attend, participate or contribute in whatever way suits you.

    “It originally started back in the 1940s. They (the Falcon Children’s Home) were having a diffi cult time meeting their budget and having enough food and clothes to last throughout the year,” said Joey Leggett, Falcon Children’s Home CEO. “So the women’s ministry groups from some of the churches here in North Carolina said ‘Let’s start something called the Santa Claus Train’ — that is what it was called to start with.”

    The churches came together to collect things and raise money throughout the year. They would meet up in Dunn, which is eight miles from Falcon, and then would make a caravan and drive down I-95 to the Falcon exit. The children from the home would line the street and the folks in the parade would throw them candy and then everyone went to the auditorium where the children would do a program as a way of saying thanks.

    “I don’t think the home would have made it back then if it had not been for the Santa Claus Train,” said Leggett. “I feel certain they would have had to close their doors.”

    Back then, there was not state funding to lean on, and the proceeds from the parade made up about three quarters of the annual budget, according to Leggett.

    Today, it still makes up a little more than a quarter of the budget. Although the home currently receives funding for some of the children that reside there, they never turn a youngster away and there are several in their care who do not have state or federal fi nancial support and whose families are unable to help cover the cost of car-ing for them.

    The parade doesn’t start in Dunn anymore, but at the Culbreth Memorial Church in Falcon. Folks bring their donations, be it school supplies, canned goods, cleaning supplies, paper products, toiletries or diapers and infant-care items for the babies of the resident teen mothers and walk to the children’s home (and yes, they still throw candy to the kids as the come in).

    “Last year the parade was about a mile long,” said Leggett. “We’ve added a lot more to it this year, too. Pope Air Force11-03-10-ward-children.gif Base will have a lot of their Airmen and equipment in the parade. It still winds up at the auditorium and then the children still do a program as a way of saying thank you to everybody.”

    Leggett estimates that 90 percent of the residents at Falcon Children’s Home come from Cumberland County, and while they do get a lot of support from organizations like the Fayetteville Area Hospitality Association, there are still many needs that have to be met, and unfortunately, the funds to do that are not always readily available. That is why the Harvest Train is so important to the Falcon Children’s Home.

    “We are definitely grateful for all of the support that we get from the commu-nity,” said Leggett. “We touch so many lives here. There is no greater feeling than knowing that you have touched a child’s life and been able to help them turn them-selves around and be successful.”

    Supporting the Harvest Train is just one easy way to help the Falcon Children’s Home in their mission to change the lives of the future citizens, and hopefully leaders, of our community.

    To find out how you can help, visit www.falconchildrenshome.com or call the home at 980-1065

  • 01Holy Smoke! The last few weeks have kept us crazy busy regarding news and events explicitly focused on our local government and city officials. First was the Island Flava incident, Oct. 13, where one man was shot and killed and another injured. A local news blog has alleged the Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins and Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin were at that location socializing and celebrating Fayetteville State University’s Homecoming that evening. The blog further accuses Hawkins of misuse of police resources and abuse of power. On Tuesday, Nov. 9, former Councilwoman Tisha Waddell resigned abruptly from her District 3 seat, alleging corruption on the part of Colvin, and accusing the mayor and city council members of self-serving misconduct, mismanagement and conflicts of interest. Then last week, at a special meeting to appoint citizens to city committees and commissions, Councilmembers Johnny Dawkins and Yvonne Kinston engaged in a shouting brouhaha that resulted in an impromptu recess and cooling-off period. These are indications that a day of reckoning is approaching for our city, which has allowed the lives and livelihoods of over 200,000 citizens to be entrusted to incompetent and unqualified leadership.

    No doubt we can do better. Much better. Out of the ten members that make up our council very few have adequate business, government or political experience. Four are ordained ministers and all of them are being led by a mayor with a dubious and criminal past. One might ask, what possibly could go wrong? The answer, everything. After years of turning a blind eye to inept governance, contradictions in policy, corruption and conflicts of interest, it is coming to light that Fayetteville’s City Hall is being ravished by scandals and scallywags. As a local news source, we haven't written or commented much about these issues because, in many cases, accusations of criminal misconduct are difficult to substantiate without ample resources. However, what has always proven likely in this community is that where there is smoke, there is fire. Here at Up & Coming Weekly, we tend to believe in what we see and not what we hear. We did not comment on the Island Flava incident because we could not, and have not, substantiated or been able to contact someone who would come forward to substantiate the allegations. We concluded it is likely the story is an embellishment of the facts and is intended to target Hawkins, who is highly unpopular within the Fayetteville Police Department. Because it came from a source inside the FPD, the story was afforded credibility, and this fueled the attention it garnered. We immediately requested a comment or clarification directly from the Police Chief and City Hall concerning the incident and were told that a statement from the chief’s office would be forthcoming. It never came. Now, we're told City Attorney Karen McDonald is slow-walking an official request to have the incident investigated. One must ask, why the delay?

    I admire Waddell's moxie in articulating all the unsavory allegations in her recent resignation letter. Anyone on the inside who cares about the welfare of the Fayetteville community knows there is substance to every one of her accusations. Many citizens not privy to the local government's goings-on do not have access to all of the information. After all, Fayetteville and Cumberland County lack adequate local news media coverage. This allows for little or no public oversight regarding what is taking place in our local government. And, like Waddell made clear in her letter, the only body capable of monitoring the conduct of the Fayetteville City Council is the City Council themselves. Yes. The fox is guarding the henhouse. No doubt this has made everyone's tempers short, and their nerves are on edge. This could be why Councilmembers Johnny Dawkins and Yvonne Kinston squared off at an Appointments Committee meeting.

    Bad behavior has been rewarded for way too long: now it's time to pay the piper. We know there is currently an official complaint filed against Hawkins in the Superior Court. We have also recorded past corrupt, improper and questionable conduct by city staff and City Council members. (i.e. Ted Voorhees/Tyron Williams.) Now, Waddell has laid out at least a dozen accusations of mismanagement and misconduct directly at the feet of the City Council and all of Fayetteville. It is a bold and courageous move by a local official who refused to "go along to get along." It will be interesting to see how city officials react or if they react at all.

    I would be remiss if I did not again point out that all of these issues stem from a lack of media or news journalism to provide oversight to ask hard questions. These events and actions evolved without transparency, following the same corrupt plan the Town of Spring Lake followed for over a decade before being taken over by the state for misuse and mismanagement of over $1.8 million of taxpayer's money. We cannot let that happen in our city.

    A special thanks to Waddell, regardless of what her motives were. The Fayetteville City Council has now been confronted with serious allegations. The warning signs of corruption are obvious. Let's see how they handle it. Yes. It's time to peel back the onion, take action and hold people accountable.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 16Members of the Fayetteville Church gave up a Saturday morning recently to beautify the N.C. Veterans Park and the grounds of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum for Veteran’s Day.

    More than 150 volunteers, armed with shovels, pitchforks, buckets and wheelbarrows, jumped in feet first to make their community better.

    “We were chatting about ways to serve our community,“ explained Ted Campagna, event organizer and a minister at the Fayetteville Church.

    “With Veteran’s Day coming up, we thought it would be very appropriate for us to help out and show our love and support for all the veterans in the Fayetteville area.”

    And that’s when a little divine intervention took over.

    “I have a friend who works for the Cumberland County Parks and Recreation and I went to talk to him about helping in some way,” said Campagna, an army veteran. “I had actually gone to the Veterans Park to pray about what type of projects we should do before meeting with him. Once we got together, he said, ‘I have just the project for you,’ and it was at the Veterans Park. So, I think God ordained it and we followed His lead.”

    A tractor-trailer load of mulch was in need of being spread throughout the park. The motivated volunteers went to work hauling and spreading the mulch wherever they were directed to place it.

    “We were basically beautifying the area,” said Campagna. “We have Veteran’s Day just coming up and they had a tractor-trailer load of mulch they needed spread. They were short on staff, and we said no problem. We got you. It was a pleasure to work together.”

    The theme of the day for the volunteers was to serve their community.

    “We were out here trying to be like Jesus and serve our fellow man,” said Frank Bailey, a member of the Fayetteville Church. “It felt great coming out on a beautiful morning with other men and women who want to make a difference in the community and try to make it better.”

    Bailey, who was out in the park with his wife and three teenage kids, felt it was important to set a great example.

    “Bringing your family out shows the next generation it’s something you should do,” explained Bailey. “Jesus was the ultimate servant and he called us not just to follow him but to imitate Him. That means living a life of service and making a difference. We live in an area with so many veterans and people who have sacrificed so much for our country. We need to always honor them.”

    “As a veteran myself,” said Campagna. “It always went a long way when people said, ‘Thank you for your service’ and showed their gratitude. That’s one thing we need in our world is gratitude and that’s what we were trying to do. To God be the glory, we were happy to serve."

    For more information about the Fayetteville Church, go to www.thefayettevillechurch.org.

  • 15Water is essential for the earth and all living creatures to flourish. It does not take long to feel the effects of not having water. Our bodies consist of about 60% water and survival without it can range from two days to a week. The way we respond to lack of hydration can vary with age, medical conditions, medications, activity levels and heat.

    If you wait until you are thirsty to drink, chances are you are already slightly dehydrated. Think about how long a plant takes to replenish from the lack of water and we are not any different. Water is magic to our bodies and regulates our body temperature, lubricates and cushions joints, aids in the elimination of waste and lubricates the spinal cord. It also nourishes our skin, hair, nails and aids in weight loss with a boost to our metabolism and an appetite suppressant. Our blood is more than 90% water and carries oxygen to our body parts which help to maintain our blood pressure.

    The sensation of thirst diminishes as we age and with that comes the lack of nourishment for our bodies to function properly. A diminish in water intake for older adults can result in the kidneys being less effective at concentrating urine which leads to excess water loss. Medications can also be a factor in dehydration. Substantial dehydration can also cause confusion and damage to our organs.

    Let's face it water is not a habit for most because of the lack of flavor but I think that bottled water and flavors for enhancement have increased awareness. This is evident with the amount of people you see carrying a water bottle. The amount of water intake for adults can depend on a variety of factors including present health, climate and activity level. The suggested guideline for water intake is about fifteen cups for men and eleven cups for women. 70% of adults report no daily consumption, 36% say one to three cups, 35% say four to seven cups and 22% say eight cups.

    Water sources do not primarily come in the form of H20. Vegetables and fruit can add to that daily intake nourishment. Fruit that is high in water content ranging up to 90% are watermelon, strawberries, peaches, Asian pears, blackberries, papayas, pineapple and oranges. Vegetables that carry a high-water content are cucumbers, celery, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, cauliflower, turnips, tomatoes and bell peppers. Coffee and tea can cause a mild diuretic effect but not to an extreme and your body still absorbs a substantial portion of the liquid. Juice, sports drinks and broth also count as your daily hydration, and you can lower the sugar content by diluting with water.

    Drinking water can evolve into a habit and is viable for everyone regardless of age. Ways to improve water intake are drinking before and with a meal, during exercise, smaller quantities more often, add lemon or orange for flavor and keep your bottle visible.

    Drinking water is like giving your insides a shower.

    Stay hydrated my friends and grab a bottle or glass of H20.

  • You think you have trouble? What if you had a herd of hungry-hungry-hippos in your backyard? What if they came to dinner and refused to leave? Consider if you will, the strange case of Pablo Escobar’s legacy of Columbian hippos.

    On a recent fact finding trip to our nation’s Capital, I read an article in the Washington Post by Jonathan Edwards about Columbia’s hippo hostage situation. Allow me to elaborate.

    Once upon a time, in the country of Columbia, there was an international drug dealer named Pablo Escobar. He was a very successful drug dealer. He sold lots of drugs, ran a huge cartel and caused the deaths of lots of people. He was not the sort of fellow who you would want to move in next door to you.

    Pablo made a lot of what used to be called ill-gotten gains from his criminal enterprises. He made many monies. More than he could spend. Poor Pablo, what could he do? He had all this money burning a hole in his Swiss bank accounts and money bins. So much money, so little time to spend it all.

    Then one day in the 1980s Pablo had a moment of clarity. Eureka! He would build a zoo. Zoos need two things to work — animals and money. He had the money, now all he had to do was buy the animals. Pablo set to work and bought lots of critters including four hippos.

    Like the Carolina Tar Heels’ marching band which is the Pride of the ACC, Pablo’s zoo was the pride of the drug cartels. For quite a while Pablo’s zoo was the talk of the town. But like George Harrison once sang, "All Things Must Pass".

    Pablo came to an unfortunate end, one day in 1993, when the Columbian Army caused him to have a sudden case of lead poisoning from which he expired. Like little Jackie Paper in "Puff the Magic Dragon," Pablo would come no more to feed and admire his hippos.

    It was bigly sad.

    The Columbian Army was not in the business of zoo keeping. They sold off most of the animals except for the hippos. They left hippos alone hoping they would have the good sense to die. It did not turn out that way.
    Hippos are made of sterner stuff. Taking a cue from Mr. Spock, Pablo’s hippos have lived long and prospered. Unlike "Puff the Magic Dragon," the hippos did not sadly slip back into their cave. Rather, it turned out hippos really like Columbia.

    It reminded them of being back home in Africa. Hippos have no natural enemies in Columbia.

    The weather and jungles are perfect, a virtual hippo heaven. The hippos were happier than the proverbial pig in poop.

    The hippos got frisky and multiplied. Where there were once four hippos there are now between 80 and 120 hippos. Columbian hippo experts predict unless something is done by 2039 there will be over 14 hundred free range hippos.

    This presents a real problem. While hippos in the abstract are cute, 14 hundred hippos are not. They eat stuff. They trample crops. Their poop causes algae blooms that can kill fish. They drive out native animals and plants. In short, they are an invasive species, like Uncle Harold who came to dinner and now refuses to leave.

    What to do? The Columbian government realized that killing the hippos is a public relations nightmare. Hippos have become a tourist attraction bringing in money. The local citizens have become hippo positive. They love them some hippos. When several hippos went on a rampage, the government shot them including a crowd favorite hippo named Pepe. When a picture of a hunter standing over the late great Pepe came out, the locals protested so angrily future hunts were called off.

    If executing hippos is off the table, what options remain? Jeff Bezos has refused to take hippos into outer space on the Blue Origin because no hippo has $250,000 for a ticket.

    Taking a herd of hippos to the Mexican/American border to seek asylum would be almost impossible because there aren’t enough cowboys with hippo driving experience. Can you imagine the damage a stampede of hippos would cause? The mind boggles.

    In order to avoid a hippo border crisis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture donated a hippo contraceptive called GonaCon which effectively kills the mood for amorous hippos by suppressing their boy and girl urges. Hippos on GonaCon would rather eat than make whoopee.

    Gentle reader, though you may have troubles, be glad your issues do not include hippos.

  • 100DollarBillsHC1404 02 sourceI have a question for all the folks who oppose taxing billionaires and hundred-millionaires. I am addressing especially those who serve in our U.S. Congress, both the House and Senate.

    What on earth are you thinking?

    Ordinary Americans pay our taxes, mostly through payroll deductions, because we believe in doing our part, or — more cynically, we don’t want to get in trouble with the IRS. Whatever our reasons, we do pay, however begrudgingly. Not so for the wealthiest Americans, whose assets come not from salaries, much less wages, but from resources they hold.

    They have the financial wherewithal to hire the best of the best consultants — tax attorneys, accountants and others to protect those assets from taxation when they are eventually sold or passed down to heirs. These professional services allow the tiny percentage of American billionaires to shield their wealth while the rest of us are dutifully transferring healthy chunks to Uncle Sam. We are not talking the well-to-do folks across town or even those considered “rich.”

    We are talking Warren Buffett (investments), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Michael Bloomberg (financial services) and Elon Musk (Tesla). Musk is now poised to be the first person on earth whose net worth is nearly $300 billion (larger than the gross domestic product of Pakistan), Bezos at $200 billion (zillions of Amazon packages), Buffett at $100 billion and Bloomberg at a relatively modest (compared to those guys), $59 billion.
    Just try to process the reality that these people pay little or no taxes and do not want to either. Musk even had a little hissy fit last week over the very idea that as a billionaire he might be taxed at all. Tweeted an annoyed Musk, “Eventually they run out of other people’s money, and then they come for you.”

    Forgive me, but I am having trouble relating to that. It is hard to know exactly how many American billionaires there are, but a quick search says just over six hundred, and that number fluctuates depending on how many of we salaried folks buy Teslas, order from Amazon and so on. Forbes magazine reported earlier this year that we have 5 billionaires in North Carolina, but nary a one in Cumberland County.

    Stunningly, no billionaires live in West Virginia, according to Forbes, but that state’s two U.S. Senators, including the contrarian Joe Manchin, both oppose taxing billionaires. Like most every other issue in our grumpy, divided and partisanly poisoned Congress, this one is split mainly but not entirely along party lines. It would seem to me that making those with the most participate in our nation’s coffers just like the rest of us is a reasonable and equitable position. If Mary who drives a school bus and Joe who does plumbing have taxes withheld, why should Elon, Jeff and Warren escape just because their wealth comes from different sources? We Americans have been in a bad mood for various reasons for about a decade, and one of the main reasons is our growing economic inequality. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer as the famed American working middle class fades away in between.

    Maybe our billionaires will avoid the proposed billionaire tax this time around, but at some point, there will be a day of reckoning about the growing gulf between the haves and the have-nots. That reckoning should come sooner rather than later, because it is not going to get any easier or prettier over time.

  • 01President Ronald Reagan wisely said, “We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.”

    Today, our national debt is an unfathomable $29 trillion, and President Reagan’s warning has never been more true.

    It’s no secret that President Joe Biden and Washington Democrats are addicted to spending your hard-earned money. Their so-called “Reconciliation Plan” is a prime example. This massive entitlement and climate change bill, a radical proposal written by Bernie Sanders, will transform our society into something we don’t recognize and will cripple our economy.

    Washington Democrats have been working to finalize their bill behind closed doors — hiding details of the massive plan from you, the American people. Yet this is not the first time they have tried this trick.

    In 2010, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously said Democrats had to pass Obamacare into law for you to find out what was in it. Fast forward to 2021 and here we go again.

    While their plan has changed throughout the last month, one thing is clear: it is a massive expansion of government control over your life from the cradle to the grave.

    To pay for it, their proposals have included $2.1 trillion in new tax hikes. The plan would punish families by raising taxes on 75% of the middle class. It raises the business tax rate to among the highest in the developed world, well above communist China’s. We all know these businesses will be forced to pass those costs along to you and it means less job opportunities.

    In fact, this tax increase will force lower and middle-income taxpayers to shoulder 66.3% of the huge corporate tax increases. It also raises taxes on 1.4 million small businesses which employ 12.5 million American workers. While they have discussed numerous tax gimmicks to target billionaires, in reality their plan would give tax breaks to the wealthy, providing families earning $800,000 with $118,000 in tax credits.

    While their elite friends get tax breaks, Democrats plan to further punish you by raising the costs to fill your car or heat your home.

    Home energy bills are already expected to increase by 54% this winter! A new natural gas tax included in their bill would increase your heating bills by an additional $242 per year. Another new tax on energy producers could cost up to 90,000 Americans their jobs.

    As if all of this wasn’t enough, President Biden’s proposal will use taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. It would grant amnesty to more than 8 million illegal immigrants.

    $80 billion is spent to hire 85,000 new IRS agents to monitor your bank account if you spend just $28 a day.

    What’s worse – President Biden has tied this massive entitlement bill to infrastructure legislation. There is massive bipartisan support for investing in our roads, bridges, ports and broadband.

    Yet just 10% of their $1.5 trillion ‘infrastructure’ bill is devoted to infrastructure while the rest is devoted to propping up radical Green New Deal climate provisions.

    Rest assured, I oppose both bills because they are the wrong solutions and the wrong time. Just last week we learned that economic growth in the last quarter slowed to a dismal 2% - the worst since our economy began to reopen after the pandemic.

    Gas prices in North Carolina jumped 14 cents per gallon, tied for the largest spike in the nation.

    Supply chain issues and inflation are clearly taking a toll on families and our economy.

    I cannot support trillions in new spending and taxes that will only make Biden’s economic, energy and inflation crises worse.

    We need to get government out of the way, get Americans back to work, encourage energy production here in the U.S., and cut government spending and taxes.

    While many in Washington argue how much to tax you and how large to grow government, I will always stand up for you and your family.

  • 01Publisher's Note: There many who are running for local offices in the upcoming year. Their voices need to be heard. Those individuals wishing to reach out and be heard by the community have an open invitation to be heard in the Up & Coming Weekly. Simply reach out and send us an email to let us know you have something to say.

    When I came to Fayetteville in 2008 as a wounded soldier assigned to the Wounded Warrior Project on Fort Bragg, I remember receiving several briefings that strongly advised us to refrain from visiting certain areas of the city and certain businesses due to their shady business practices.
    I can remember receiving briefings from my commander during in-processing that warned me about the level of crime around the city. However, I do not remember ever getting a briefing that warned me about the level of corruption that could be found in Fayetteville City Hall, but man did I quickly learn as I got more and more involved in the Fayetteville community, just how much corruption there was. Everything from politicians creating so-called non-political taxpayer-funded organizations, to politicians attempting to cut side-deals with wealthy developers, to city leaders in cahoots with destructive criminal elements dedicated to destroying the very city that they swore an oath to protect and defend.

    Fayetteville is no stranger to corruption and scandal within its ranks, as we have all either lived through or heard stories about "Fayette-Nam." But it seems this city has seen a more blatant element since Mitch Colvin took office as Mayor in 2017. All of us remember the dishonorable city councilman from District 2, Tyrone Williams, and everything that took place with him in 2018 when the "Prince Charles Gate" scandal rocked the city. Who knew that he would be the precursor of things to come during Colvin's term in office? Who knew that three years later, the mayor and top city officials, including City Manager Doug Hewett and Police Chief Gina Hawkins, would allow rioters, looters, Marxists and anarchists to destroy and pillage our beloved city unhindered, while ordering our sworn Fayetteville police officers to "stand down" while criminals ravaged our city.

    Since 2017, the city of Fayetteville has been under the leadership of Colvin and our police department under the supervision and leadership (if you can call it that) of Hawkins, who came to Fayetteville by way of Atlanta, Georgia, in the same year. Since then, our police department has suffered tremendously under her leadership, and the citizens of Fayetteville have paid the price. We have a police department that is low on morale and high on egos, and I say enough is enough!
    We have a mayor who feels that he is not answerable to the citizens of Fayetteville and who only seems to be concerned about his next business investment and how he can use his position to further enhance his economic fortune.

    The city of Fayetteville and the Fayetteville Police Department have come a very long way from the '80s, and I refuse to allow our city to become another corrupt municipality like the town of Spring Lake. Fayetteville has witnessed a tremendous increase in violent crime over the past two years, and just this year alone, our city has been rocked by more than 40 homicides, and we are currently on track to double last year’s homicide rate, and unfortunately, we have even recently made the nation's top 100 list of the most dangerous cities, and there seems to be no end in sight.

    As the holidays rapidly approach, we have more than 6000 families facing eviction in our community, due to a flawed, fractured and failing Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Fayetteville has recently been branded "America's Can-Do City" but, I have coined her "America's Can-Do Better City." The people of Fayetteville deserve and demand better from their leadership, which I intend to give them. Better. How do we "do better?" We start by removing the toxic leadership in the city. We un-handcuff our law enforcement professionals and allow them to do the jobs they swore an oath to do, and we empower and equip them to enforce the laws they swore to enforce. We identify the toxic rank-and-file within our law enforcement community and remove them immediately. We remove the unproductive and self-serving people within our city government and replace them with genuinely dedicated people who will dedicate themselves to the betterment of Fayetteville.

    Fayetteville is a city that houses talent and potential, she is a city that inspires innovation and she is a city that embraces diversity. As the next Mayor of Fayetteville, I intend to build on the foundation and "Lead Fayetteville Forward," but that requires us to move forward together and lead with honesty, transparency, integrity, vision and foresight. I am J Antoine Miner. I am running for Mayor of Fayetteville. I am that leader.

  • Christmas is a special time of year filled to the brim with traditions. One of the most popular and beautiful traditions around America is the hanging of Christmas lights. People often cruise around town in the evenings to compare and observe the various festive displays. This year Lu Mil Vineyard is offering a different option for lights — its annual Festival of Lights.

    Located in Dublin, N.C., Lu Mil Vineyard is a 58-acre vineyard that was opened by the Taylor family in 2005. The vineyard was born out of innovation and has always been a site used to test new equipment and ideas. The vineyard produces muscadine wine, a grape native to North Carolina, but the gift shop and tasting facility is incredibly multifaceted and completely family friendly. The shop also offers jellies, jams, alcohol-free wines, juices, ciders, sauces, syrup and even grape seed extract pills.

    11-21-12-lu-mil.gifDuring the Festival of Lights there is even a country buffet. “The Country Buffet is also offered every night that the show runs at $10 (plus tax) per person. It includes several meats, vegetables, salads, breads, desserts, tea and coffee. It is first-come, first-served with no reservations taken, but a lot of times, last year, we would suggest to groups to be there to eat at 5 or 5:30 p.m. and they could all eat together that way and then do the light show after the meal. The later in the evening — and the season — the busier it gets,” said Denise Taylor Bridges, owner of Lu Mil Vineyards.

    The Festival of Lights is far more than just a collection of lights in the middle of a field. Bridges says “…the Festival of Lights is a drive-through light show with hundreds of thousands of lights synchronized to music to create a Christmas production for the entire family. Our vineyard is a beautiful place year round but it seems almost magical the way it is transformed into a winter wonderland with lights, music, the aroma of delicious food and our hot muscadine cider. For the kids, there is the candy store, Santa, muscadine slushies, animated figurines, the nativity scene and Kiddie Land, which offers great photo opportunities.”

    This is the sixth year of the light festival, and it has grown every year. “We opened the vineyard in December 2005 and decorated a few trees and just hung a wreath or two that year and added a few lights the next year. We found that people would come by the vineyard just to ride through and see how pretty everything was decorated for this wonderful time of the year,” said Bridges. “So the next year we added lights to some of the buildings, the grain bins, the bridge, added a few animated items, etc. and we have continued to add venues, cabins and other features at Lu Mil over the last few years and now they are part of the Festival of Lights. It grows every year … more lights, different scenery and music every year. Our newest addition is the candy shop. It is located next door to the General Store (where the Country Buffet will be served).”

    The show opens on Saturday, Nov. 24, and runs every Thursday through Sunday through Dec. 9 and nightly beginning Dec. 13 thru Dec. 23. The light show runs from 6 to 10 p.m. and the Country Buffet is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Admission is $10 per car (1-4 persons), $20 per van (5-11 persons) and $40 per bus (12 passengers or more). The vineyard also rents out a double-decker bus for $5/person with a minimum of 20 people in order to reserve it. Lu Mil Vineyard is located at 438 Suggs-Taylor Rd. Elizabethtown just off Hwy 87 in Dublin. For more information, visit www.lumilvineyard.com or call 866-5891.

  • Holiday LightsThe holidays are upon us and the Cape Fear Botanical Garden will be bringing in crowds with Holiday Lights in the Garden. This is the eleventh year that the event has been held.

    “We started preparing in July … staff members have been working out in the Garden one to two days a week to prepare for BOO-tanical and Holiday Lights,” said Meghan Woolbright, marketing coordinator, Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

    Holiday Lights in the Garden include more than one million lights displayed throughout the botanical gardens. More than simply walking through the lights, there are activities for everyone. Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s glowing light maze is constructed with cool white lights.

    “Our team hit the ground running with the light maze construction and it was a huge hit for BOO-tanical [event] this year and we're sure it will be for Holiday Lights as well. It'll be like your own winter wonderland,” Woolbright said.

    Santa will also be on the scene ready to hear requests from children. Joining Santa, the Grinch will also be found among the lights.

    Visitors may purchase photos with Santa, but selfies with the Grinch are free.

    Visitors are invited to enjoy dinner and snacks from local food trucks to include Howell N' Dawgs, Hollywood Java, Household 6 Catering, and Gloria's.

    Visitors can also warm themselves with hot cocoa and s’mores.

    Entertainment will be scheduled on select evenings and free crafts for children will be provided.

    There will be live entertainment including the Fayetteville Technical Community College Jazz-Orchestra Ensemble, Highland Brass Players from Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, Fayetteville Jazz Orchestra, Gilbert Theater GLEE, Berean Baptist Choir, and Champion Davis Saint – Amand.

    If visitors have last-minute Christmas shopping they can check items off their list in the Garden Gift Shop, which will be open each evening.

    Parking will be free but it is limited. On Dec. 17 and 18, Holiday Lights visitors can park downtown and ride the Can-Do Coldwell Banker Trolley to the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens; tickets to ride will be $5 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.

    The trolley will be picking up and dropping off between Cool Springs Downtown District office and Cape Fear Botanical Garden every 20 minutes.

    A Member Preview Night is scheduled for Dec. 2, which will be free to all Cape Fear Botanical Garden members and they can welcome one guest at normal admission price. Members can pay for guest tickets at the Garden Gift Shop.

    For more information or to purchase tickets visit https://www.capefearbg.org/event/holiday-lights-in-the-garden-2/

  • 10In the tradition of Charles Dickens’ classic short story, “A Christmas Carol”, the annual A Dickens Holiday is a Victorian-era holiday shopping and entertainment celebration held in historic Downtown Fayetteville. A Dickens Holiday is intended to encourage the community to shop and support local businesses during the holiday shopping season.

    This is the twenty-second year that the Arts Council of Fayetteville, through support from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, and the North Carolina Arts Council has planned the event. Vendors line both sides of Hay Street selling a diverse range of goods from hand-knit scarves to metal sculptures, local honey to flavored popcorn — the artisans offer unique products. Shoppers can grab one-of-a-kind gifts to put under the tree.

    Vickie Toledo used to be a patron, now she is a vendor, The Crafty Rooster. She has been a patron for 16 years and a vendor for four years.

    “I love the theme and the people who dress up. It makes it so much more fun than a holiday craft fair,” said Toledo. “It's a craft fair in the era of Dickens, with all the characters from A Christmas Carol, carriage rides and cider, a beautiful candle-lit march down Hay Street and more. It’s a blast.”

    A Dickens Holiday is considered the kickoff event for the holiday season bringing together the best that Fayetteville has to offer. Each year, thousands of onlookers join in the Hay Street festivities.
    Following guidance from the Cumberland County Health Department and in light of COVID-19, the Arts Council’s Board of Trustees has taken a cautious approach to this year’s celebration by encouraging social distancing and offering a lower density of crafters, artists and vendors for the event. Also due to COVID-19, the Dickens candlelight procession to the Market House and firework display will not take place this year.

    There will be street performances by Michael Daughtry, David Nikkel, Coventry Carolers, Highland Brass Ensemble and others. In addition, there will be festive holiday performances by the English Country Line Dancers, a solo violinist, Gilbert Glee, a magician, Highland Brass Ensemble, a stilt walker, Oakwood Waits Double Ensemble, Anthony Sutton and Friends, Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Alpha Omega Dance Academy’s ballet excerpts of "The Nutcracker."

    Characters from “A Christmas Carol” including Father Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge, the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Future, Jacob Marley, London Bobbies and the Cratchit family with Tiny Tim will be ambling around downtown, mingling with the spectators. This is Eric Hoisington’s fourth year participating in A Dickens Holiday by playing the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.
    “I am a huge fan of Charles Dickens and have read all of his novels, so it’s amazing to see Fayetteville town’s people once again exposed to the quaintness of Victorian times and the drama inherent in 'A Christmas Carol' while played out by various town-thespians,” said Hoisington. “I walk up and down Hay Street in a bad mood, trying to terrorize the crowd with the depravity that is Ebenezer Scrooge.”

    There are memories to be made at the event including Victorian horse-drawn carriage rides on Hay Street, and Dickens photo cut-outs and a holiday selfie station. The event is free and dog-friendly, though owners should check if animals are allowed inside establishments. A Dickens Holiday event will be held on Nov. 26, from 1 – 8 p.m.

  • 09Light Up the City: A Holiday Decoration Celebration is coming to the Cool Springs Downtown District. The event is free for all who wish to attend or participate and encourages shop owners to decorate their windows for the holidays.

    The idea is to bring residents downtown to view the lights and decorations. The decorations turn downtown Fayetteville into a decoratively lit winter wonderland. It is ideal for taking photos and making memories.

    Last year, 35 businesses, restaurants and downtown museums took part in the event.

    It is a great way to fill downtown Fayetteville with holiday spirit. Some locations are decked out with Christmas trees, others strung up lights and lots of places put up garland.

    People can take a self-guided tour downtown. A map will be available on the Light Up the City: A Holiday Decoration Celebration Facebook event page (facebook.com/events/262093505957203) highlighting the establishments that are taking part in the event.

    Maps of businesses taking part in the Light Up the City will also be available at 222 Hay St. beginning Dec. 1. The event will take place from Dec. 1 – 31.

    Letters to Santa will also return with this event and there will be a giant five-foot red mailbox in which children can send their Christmas lists and Santa letters to the North Pole. The “Direct to the North Pole" mailbox will be located outside of the Cool Spring Downtown District's office at 222 Hay Street.

    Just next door downtown visitors will also find the Holiday Alley, a photographic urban holiday oasis designed to spark joy and filled with holiday lights and decorations.
    Families can visit and take photos in the alley.

    “Last year, we saw hundreds of families come, enjoy the holiday decorations and take photos of their children at the photo stations,” said Lauren Falls, director of marketing and events for the Cool Spring Downtown District.

    This is the third year Light Up the City: A Holiday Decoration Celebration will be held and it is the second year patrons can mail a letter to Santa and visit the
    Holiday Alley.

    Businesses are invited to sign up for the event by visiting this link, forms.gle/2YDiUgAZYu7PTfRq5. They must have decorations up by Dec. 1. They may decorate their storefront or inside their business to qualify and share the event link on their social media pages.

    Pedestrians checking out the many lights can vote for the Viewer’s Choice Award, the best display in participating businesses.

    The window voted best dressed wins $250.

    “Last year, we had around 500 people vote for the Light Up the City Viewer's Choice Award poll and the winner for last year was the United Way of Cumberland County,” said Falls.

    In addition to the businesses that have decorated, there will be a 14-foot tree decked out in holiday finery. The community tree will be located at 301 Hay St., in front of the Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County building and will likely be a prime spot for visitors to take photos.

  • 16Thanksgiving is a day when we reflect on all we are thankful for, often that is our family and friends.

    It can be hard to spend the holidays far from family and friends.

    Fayetteville has a large military population, which means that there are a lot of folks far from home, and they often can’t make it back home for the holiday.

    “We always have a great military crowd in our taproom, and we are a veteran-owned company,” said Olivia Caughey, event manager at Bright Light Brewing Company. “We encourage those serving that do not have Thanksgiving plans to come on down!”

    BLBC is hosting Hoppy Thanksgiving for the fifth year. They are a startup nano-brewery in downtown Fayetteville located at 444 West Russell St., Suite 102. Hoppy Thanksgiving is free and open to all ages.

    The event starts at 1:30 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Nov. 25. There will be live music from 7 – 9 p.m. Dogs are welcome.

    What would Thanksgiving be without turkey?

    BLBC will be cooking up three turkeys for the event. Side dishes and goodies will be prepared and donated by staff.

    If you want to share your favorite food, they encourage patrons to bring it to the taproom. But don’t feel as though you must. You do not need to bring anything to celebrate Thanksgiving with BLBC.

    “The company expects to see some of their mug club members which is a group of 75 individuals we have invited to be a part of a group where they have a permanent mug at our taproom and special events,” Caughey said. “Also at Hoppy Thanksgiving, in addition to the mug club members, staff family and friends, and hopefully those who don't have Thanksgiving plans will come.”

    BLBC knows how to put the “hop” in Hoppy Thanksgiving.

    “We will, as always, have 15 taps, canned ciders and wines, as well as three new beers,” Caughey said. “We're bringing back our pineapple pale ale, a caramel macchiato beer and a special holiday pilsner.”

    There is no reason why you should be alone this holiday. BLBC invites those without a place to go to join them on Thanksgiving to enjoy good company, a holiday meal and a beer.

  • 12Fayetteville's unique connection to the military and veterans is never more evident than during Heroes Homecoming. Encompassing a week of events focused on service members, veterans and families, Heroes Homecoming has been a staple in America's Hometown since 2011. This year is no exception. The event kicks off with the annual Fayetteville Veterans Day Parade, see page 15 for the full story.

    Once families have celebrated the heroes on Hay Street, there are several additional activities to enjoy throughout the area.

    For a few of these additional events folks can head out to Dirtbag Ales Brewing and Taproom.

    Dirtbag Ales is hosting a Kickball Tournament and registrations is $25, all of which will go to Mission 22.

    Mission 22 is a national community seeking to support services members, both active and veteran and their families, in dealing with mental health issues, raising awareness and helping to remember and honor service members and veterans.

    It is a cause close to our hearts, explained Shannon Loper, operations manager, Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom. The brewery will also serve their Heroes Homecoming Pilsner.

    Dirtbag will donate a dollar of every pint of Heroes Homecoming Pilsner sold to Mission 22.

    In addition to the Kickball Tournament, patrons can purchase tickets to the Hope Mills annual Chili Cook-Off. The event has been running for approximately a decade but is celebrating its third year at Dirtbag Ales.

    Previously held in October, the event is now in November due to indecisive North Carolina weather.

    "Depending on how fickle the weather can be, nobody wants to eat a bowl of chili when it's 80 degrees outside," president of the Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce, Casey Ferris explained.The cook-off is one of the chamber's biggest fundraisers, and this year they will be donating a portion of their proceed to the Veteran's Farm of North Carolina.

    VFNC's mission is to educate service members and veterans of all ages and eras on all aspects of agriculture.

    "VFCN allows veterans to become heroes in life for a second time by helping them transition into becoming the farmers for tomorrow," according to the VFCN website.

    Participation in the cook-off will cost contestants $25 and an 8-quart crockpot of chili.

    This year the chamber is encouraging festive and fun competition.

    "We want to make it a fun event," Ferris said.

    Chili consumers can purchase a chili flight, which will provide them with a selection of chili-filled shot glasses and a ticket to vote on their favorite.

    Taste-testers can buy tickets for $10 online or at the venue on the day of the event.

    Ferris said quite a few fun participants have already jumped in to compete. Competitors include, but are not limited to, the Hope Mills Fire Department, which will be serving up their "5 Alarm" chili, Fayetteville Technical Community College's Culinary Arts, Napkins and 910Comedy, who will likely be heckling and roasting their competition.

    There are cash prizes for first, second and third place, and any additional chili left after votes are counted and tallied at 2 p.m. will be sold for $5 a bowl.

    These events honor, celebrate, remember and give back to the military and veteran community and programs that support them.

    "We like the opportunity to give back and support our veterans," Ferris said. To participate in the Kickball Tournament, contact Dirtbag Ales at 910-426-2537.

    To sign up to compete in ($25) or eat at ($10) the Hope Mills Chili Cook-Off visit hopemillschamber.com/chili-cookoff-2021.

    Additional information and competition rules and regulations are available on the Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce website.

  • When President Barack Obama urged Americans to go out into their communities and help their11-16-11-h&h-stand-down.jpgneighbors, Bishop Larry Wright heeded the call. The result is the 2nd Annual Homeless & Hunger Stand Down on Friday, Nov. 18 at V.F.W. Post 6018 at 116 Chance St. from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The H & H Stand Down is the largest one-day community event to focus on feeding the hungry in Fayetteville. In 2010, 1,300 residents were served. Event organizers hope to feed more than 1,500 this year.

    Wright, the president of the Fayetteville-Cumberland Ministerial Council and the chair for the 2011 H & H Stand Down Committee, worked with Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina, Heal the Land Outreach Ministries, Walmart, 107.7 FM, The Salvation Army and the United Way of Cumberland County to make the event a reality. Wright modeled the H & H Stand Down after Feed Fayetteville, a local organization that feeds the homeless and hungry. He then added local organizations to bring information and resources to people working to rebuld their lives.

    The meal is just part of the bigger purpose that Wright hopes to bring to homeless residents.

    “We not only want to feed people, but to give them information and build an ongoing relationship with them. They are in need, they’re homeless, they’re struggling. We want to help them build a better quality of life,” he said.

    Participants will go through a round robin of organization booths providing information on prescription assistance, medical and dental assistance, housing, identification services, job placement, educational opportunities and VA assistance. After completing the round robin, residents are invited to the free lunch.

    Community members are needed to fill a variety of volunteer positions including serving on the lunch line, distributing clothing and coats, helping with parking, security and event set-up and take down. There is also a food drive on to replenish the shelves of Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina. If you can’t volunteer on the day of the event, you can still help by donating blankets, rain coats, umbrellas, sleeping bags, gloves and hygiene items to Second Harvest Food Bank at 406 Deep Creek Rd. Donations will be distributed to residents at the H & H Stand Down.

    Wright hopes the Fayetteville business community will get behind the H & H Stand Down. Corporate sponsorships are available. Continuing community support will help the event grow throughout the years. He intends to expand the event to fill the Crown Coliseum one day. Wright took President Obama’s call to action to heart.

    “We are one another’s neighbors and we’re here to inspire and serve. We are an All-American city. Working together, we can always achieve more,” he said.

    For more information on the 2011 Homeless & Hunger Stand Down, please contact Bishop Larry Wright at 910-568-4276 or Crystal Moore-McNair, Community Impact Director for United Way of Cumberland County at 910-366-4725.

  • 13BCPE Christmastime is near, and to help bring in the spirit, Cape Fear Regional Theatre presents the play “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” The play has been a tradition of CFRT, bringing cheer to many, for 28 years. The show opens Dec. 6 and runs through the 22nd. It involves three casts of local children and plenty of hijinks, too.

    According to the play director, Brian Adam Kline, the show is based on six “misfits” who help depict an unconventional version of the Christmas story. The transformation the children undergo in the process is both heartwarming and hilarious.

    “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” was originally written as a book by Barbara Robinson in 1971. It focuses on the Herdman family, which includes six rebellious, obnoxious and hard-headed children ranging from 8-13 years old. They are known for their deviant and bullying behavior.

    In the play, Grace Bradley is tasked with directing the church Christmas pageant. The Herdman children shock their peers by volunteering for the play. Accommodating the Herdman family proves to be more than Bradley, or the other children in the pageant, bargained for.

    Imogene Herdman portrays Mary, and her brother Ralph is Joseph. It astonishes and dismays the others when they learn that the two leads have never heard of the Christmas story. The community members’ preconceived assumptions about the Herdman children exemplify our own prejudices and bias toward others.

    The play sheds some light on faulty human thinking, like how people will often judge others based on their appearance, cultural background and more. In so doing this, we fail to look deeper into the heart of the individual and what motivates them. One important message the play depicts is to keep hope in humanity.

    The play also serves as a reminder that redemption can be found in the most unexpected places and that often, the underdog has something positive to contribute to society. Although the Herdman children are rambunctious, deviant pranksters from a poverty-stricken home, they begin to learn comradeship and how to contribute to their community.

    Kline has worked diligently on developing the performance according to what the local community enjoys, and it goes without saying that the entire show from beginning to end creates a sense of harmony and brings about an element of cheer.

    Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for children under 18. The play is family-friendly, Christmas themed and appropriate for all ages. There are performances Dec. 6-9, Dec. 13-16 and Dec. 19-22. Military Appreciation Nights are Dec. 6-7 at the 7 p.m. performances. For tickets and information, call the box office at 910-323-4233 or visit www.cfrt.org.

  • 09Behold “Behold: A Folk Christmas Cantata” is Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s artistic contribution to Fayetteville’s Christmas season. “Behold” takes the familiar Christmas story and sets it to what STS describes as “glorious, mostly new music that quickly feels familiar.” It’s a Christmas concert that tells the nativity story from beginning to end through music, and it takes place Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-15, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

    This is STS’ fourth year performing “Behold.” The performance is 100 percent music and features three acoustic guitars (played by one player), an electric guitar, mandolin and banjo (played by another person), a bass guitar, an accordion, a piano, two violins, one cello and a percussionist — and plenty of singers, too. And while it is a Christmas concert, don’t expect to hear songs like “Jingle Bells” or “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

    “We try to tell the real story of the nativity,” said Marie Lowe, STS associate director, and for this production, singer and cellist. “One of the songs begins, ‘It was not a silent night...’ and it goes on to remind us about how scared Mary and Joseph must have been. They were people, just like us. So, there are somber and reflective moments, but the overall mood is joyful — it’s Christmas, and we’re together, and we’re glad and grateful.”

    Jacob French is Master of Note at Sweet Tea Shakespeare (think “resident music director”) as well as an assistant artistic director and board member for the company. For this production, he’s the music director and plays the guitar and sings as well. He’s excited that “Behold” is becoming a holiday staple for so many. “We want to be one of the things that folks around town think about and look forward to when Christmas rolls around,” he said.

    “The piece is mainly based upon a show called ‘Behold the Lamb of God’ by Andrew Peterson. Our artistic director, Jeremy Fiebig, knew of the show and music from his days prior to Sweet Tea Shakespeare. Once the company reached a place where we could do it justice, we thought it would be a natural fit. We supplement the original show with a few other songs that we think fit the message and feel as well.”

    French added, “I think ‘Behold’ is a niche that isn’t (or wasn’t) filled until now in town. The story of the virgin birth is one of the biggest stories every told, and (it) is cram-packed full of love — Mary, Joseph, Jesus, God himself — love coming out your ears. The music does a great job of telling the story, and when we play it, I can feel the love in the room. … There are funny moments, serious ones, contemplative ones, ones that could make you cry, and ones that will make you clap along and dance. If I had to choose one word to describe the feeling, I think I’d choose ‘reflective.’”

    In addition to the concert, STS will have traditional front-of-house activities accompanying the show. There will be beverages (adult and non) for purchase, merchandise for sale, preconcert entertainment and, French promises, “a warm holiday spirit.” 

    The show starts at 7 p.m. each night. Tickets are free but require a reservation. To purchase tickets, or to learn more, call 910-420-4383, visit www.sweetteashakespeare.com or search the group’s Facebook page.

  • uac112112001.gif We’ve come a long way, baby! If you have been in Fayetteville for just a few years, you may not appreciate the changes and improvements that have happened in the downtown area over the past decade or so. Having never seen the rough and tumble version of Hay Street, it would be hard to imagine the area as anything other than the quaint and charming city center it is today. As good as things are now, there is still a lot of work to be done and the city is at a pivotal point in this development process that started in the mid 1990s — and that is a good thing.

    This process started when local landscape architect Robert Martin introduced a plan in 1996 that laid out ideas for improvement in the downtown area. The plan was called A Complete Fayetteville Once and For All.

    Then in 2002, the Fayetteville Renaissance Plan was introduced. It focuses on 3,000 acres that cover an area from the Cape Fear River to the Martin Luther King Freeway as well as Fayetteville State University. While many of us were busy going about our daily lives the past decade or so, the Fayetteville Renaissance Plan was being carried out around us, to the tune of $99,623,803, the majority of which was provided by private business ($58, 443,055). The result was 386 building projects including Festival Park, Linear Park, Freedom Park, thee 300 Block of Hay Street development, the Franklin Street Parking Deck and the Hope VI development. Now, the community has some choices to make about what needs to happen next.

    “We’ve exhausted some of the projects that were in the original plans,” said Jami McLaughlin, downtown development manager. “So much has happened that we really had no choice but to relook at things.”

    Since this is a plan that will effect everyone in Cumberland County, it only makes sense to put some thought into it. Where do we go from here? Well, that is up to you — the community. Studio Cascade, a consulting firm chosen by a committee made up of representatives from the Arts Council, the Downtown Alliance and city staff, has a few ideas to get the conversation started. The end result will be shaped by input from the community and interested parties.

    There are three visions that Studio Cascade has put forth for the community to consider for the next phase of development:

    Destination Downtown would develop the 3,000 acres with the intent of making it a place to visit, shop, eat and be entertained. The focus would be on business development and cultural destinations. Downtown would become an event-driven location with surrounding areas including commercial services and easy parking. The river district would offer scenic and recreational opportunities. In this plan FSU would still be a focal point with policies geared toward developing and capitalizing on the insititution’s creative potential. FSU would be considered the area’s “alma mater” and students would be sought as downtown residents and potential employees — even after graduation.

    Hometown Downtown envisions the area as a place with several living options intermingled with businesses and entertainment venues. Downtown would be its own neighborhood. Russell and Person Streets would have market-rate housing, grocery and commercial businesses. There would be a mixed-use neighborhood near the river connected to downtown via the walkable portions of Russell and Person Streets.

    Diversity Downtown sees an area embracing the many cultures and talents of the community. Downtown would be the core of the area with commercial and housing options along Russell and Person Streets extending to the river. This plan includes a loft-style mixed-use neighborhood, a focus on the neighborhood center near the old Orange Street School and a focus on making a walkable corridor along Russell Street and the Spivey School/Hope VI area. FSU would be incorporated into downtown through curricula and special programs designed to blend different parts of the city and celebrate diversity.

    Of course, the end result will likely be a combination of the three plans. If ever there was a time to contribute to the conversation, to educate yourself about where the city is headed, to make a difference in the shaping of your community, it is now. The planners, the developers,11-21-12-cover-story.gif the leaders in the community are all waiting to hear from the people of Cumberland County about what the city will look like 10 years from now.

    “We hope not only business owners and developers will participate, but customers, too,” said McLaughlin. “All of Cumberland County needs to have a say in this. This is their home town.”

    There are several ways to participate in the conversation and be heard. The first is to attend Storefront Studio at 100 Hay St. (in the Self Help building). From Dec. 4-6, the space will be filled with information, posters, maps and accomplishments thus far in The Fayetteville Renaissance Plan. Consultants from Studio Cascade, the firm that has laid out the potential plans for the future of downtown and the 3,000-acre development area, will be on hand to provide information, but more importantly, to gather information, insight and direction from people who stop by. There will be workshops, interactive events and resources that encourage each visitor to share ideas.

    “We are looking to generate creativity and input,” said Cascade Studio Consultant Bill Grimes. “We want people to come and talk to us. We want to include businesses, local citizens, the military community, investors, educators — you name it. This is an open conversation. We are looking to squeeze as much out of the community and ourselves as we can in these few days.”

    Storefront Studio runs from Dec. 4-6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day and with interactive workshops from 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 5-6.

    McLaughlin and Grimes both hope for a good turn out at Storefront Studio, as it offers a chance to ask questions and give and receive feedback. If that is out of the question, check out www.facebook.com/downtownfayetteville and participate in the survey to provide input. The survey is also available online at www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com through Dec. 6.

    For more information, contact Jami Sheppard McLaughlin, IOM Downtown Development Manager at 910-433-1599.

    Photo: The Fayetteville Renaissance Plan covers a 3,000-acre area that is being considered for further development over the next decade. 

  • 01coverUAC112818001 Not many local events can claim a legacy that spans 40-plus years. The North Carolina State Ballet’s presentation of “The Nutcracker” is one such treasured tradition. “The Nutcracker” invites audience members to immerse themselves in Christmas spirit with the beauty of classical ballet performed to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s iconic score. Performance dates are Dec. 8 and 9 at the Crown Complex Theatre.

    This production proudly calls

    Fayetteville its home thanks to Charlotte Blume. In the 1960s, the NC State Ballet was based in Raleigh, and Blume was its prima donna. When the director stepped down, Blume took over — and took the company with her to her home in Fayetteville, where she owned the Charlotte Blume School of Dance. Her studio, nestled in downtown Fayetteville, became home for the NC State Ballet.

    Blume oversaw production on “The Nutcracker” every year from 1975 until she passed away two and- a half-years ago.

    Dina Lewis, NC State Ballet board member and vice president of the company for the past three years, attended Terry Sanford High School with Blume and shared a close friendship with her. Lewis said Blume’s passion was to bring the arts to Fayetteville and to give everyone the opportunity to see a classical ballet.

    “Ms. Blume’s last words were to keep (“The Nutcracker”) produced and to keep, every year, something fresh,” Lewis said. “And every year since her passing, we have had something fresh going on, whether a set change or costume change. The only thing that’s remained untouched is her core choreography.”

    “The Nutcracker” ballet, which first debuted in 1892, is a dreamy, wonder-filled story that has both evergreen appeal and plenty of room for the yearly innovation Blume encouraged. Originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, the ballet is based on E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” which was written in 1816. The ballet follows a young girl, Clara, whose Uncle Drosselmeyer — a magician — on Christmas Eve gifts her a nutcracker carved as a toy soldier. That night, Clara’s dreams transport her to a world where she meets enchanted characters like the Nutcracker Prince, the evil Mouse King, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Mother Ginger. She also, as goes dream logic, visits Spain, Russia and China.

    This year, Lewis said, it’s the Mother Ginger scene that boasts that “something fresh” Blume wanted — an all-new costume made by one of the dance moms, Rhonda Drewery. “We also added probably an additional 12 cast members to (that scene) this year,” Lewis said. “We’re really excited about that. I kind of think it’s going to steal the show.”

    Fifty-seven dancers ages 7-18 comprise this year’s cast. They’ve been rehearsing for almost five months. “The majority of them have been (dancing) with us since they were babies,” Lewis said. “They’re all our homegrown students.”

    Lewis said she’s impressed by the level of work ethic and multifaceted talent she sees in the dancers, specifically naming Marissa Morris, Evelyn Hairr and Ella Lewis as shining examples.

    “These are people who are varsity cheerleaders, participate in Student Government Association, cross country. … They’re in Honor Society. They’re in Key Club. It’s amazing that they still come to the studio on time, and they stay late and get the job done.”

    Hairr shares the role of Grown Clara with Hannah Reeder; Novalee English and Haebin Drewery play Little Clara. Jacqueline Sullivan and Isabella Rogers share the role of Fritz, Clara’s younger brother. Ella Lewis and Morris both portray the Snow Queen and Jewel, and Lewis also portrays Sugar Plum along with guest artist Deprecia Simpson.

    Adam Chavis and Sheila Mitchell served as primary choreographers.

    Morris, Hairr and Ella Lewis are also three of several advanced Charlotte Blume School of Dance students who were selected to dance minor roles with the Moscow Ballet’s Fayetteville stop on its traveling tour for “Great Russian Nutcracker.”

    “So, this whole time, they’ve not only rehearsed for our production of ‘The Nutcracker,’ but they’re also rehearsing for Moscow’s production, which is totally different choreography,” Lewis said. “These are professional Russian ballerinas and ballet masters. It’s a very big honor and opportunity.” That performance takes place at the Crown Theatre Dec. 10. Learn more about it at www.crowncomplexnc.com.

    In the midst of striving for excellence for their own performance, Lewis said, a family atmosphere remains important and emphasized. Dancers focus on how they can help others get better rather than how they can outdo each other. It helps that the dancers’ parents have a strong presence in the production, whether that’s in a behind-the-scenes role like costuming or whether that’s onstage. “The Mouse King this year is a teenager, and her dad is in the party scene,” Lewis said.

    “It’s this wholesome tradition. … It takes you to a place where you remember your childhood. It’s a story of this little girl who has this beautiful fantasy dream and it all comes to life. I think that’s what growing up is all about. You have these dreams and hopes, and you should always shoot for it all. If you don’t try, you’re going to miss out. I think the story of Clara really brings that all into focus.”

    See “The Nutcracker” Dec. 8 and 9 at the Crown Complex Theatre at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults; $10 for children 12 and under; and are free for children under 5. Call 910-484-3466 to purchase tickets. Learn more about the Charlotte Blume School of Dance at www.charlotteblumeschoolofdance.com.

  • Slide on down to the Crown Theater Nov. 10, as it presents blues and rock legend Joe Bonamassa on stage. He is hailed worldwide as one of the greatest guitar players of his generation and has almost single-handedly redefined the blues-rock genre and brought it into the mainstream. The show is a one-night-only event in support of his brand new, first-ever entirely acoustic concert that was originally recorded at the Vienna Opera House in conjunction with a global ensemble put together by longtime creative partner Kevin Shirley. The 2CD/2DVD/Blu-ray, An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House, is available on Bonamassa’s label J&R Adventures.11-06-13-joe-bonamassa.gif

    Born and raised in New Hartford, New York, Bonamassa was the child of guitar store owners and began playing the instrument himself at age 4. He opened for B.B. King by the time he was 12 years old. Along his path to a successful blues career, he played for legendary acts such as Eric Clapton, Greg Allman, Buddy Guy, Eric Johnson and Europe before releasing his solo album A New Day Yesterday in 2000 at age 23. With all of his experience learning from these greats and becoming a stand-out artist on his own merit, Bonamassa has become another guitar legend. Truly a master of the instrument, he has transcended the blues into this generation. His slick style and precise execution of performance makes him one of the hottest tickets in blues today. Now he brings his talent and guitar to Fayetteville!

    After coming under new management by Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum, the coliseum promises to bring bigger acts to revitalize the entertainment scene of Fayetteville and surrounding areas. Global Spectrum is a subsidiary of Comcast Spectrum that specializes in large-market entertainment venues. Translation: they are going to bring big artists to Fayetteville. Opened in 1997, the Crown Center has been a destination for entertainment in the Fayetteville area. Home to both Fayetteville FireAntz ice hockey and the Cape Fear Heroes indoor football teams, this 8,500 seat arena is the perfect destination for fun and exhilarating live activities.

    Within the past year alone, the Crown Center has boasted national entertainment acts ranging from sports to music and comedy. Artists have included: Montgomery Gentry, Lavell Crawford, Mike Epps and the Professional Bull Riders. Events like these are selected for the citizens. The Crown looks forward to entertaining those who live and work in our city and neighborhoods and enjoys giving back to those who serve our country via big-name artists and entertainers.

    Building from what they have learned in the past, the Crown and Global Spectrum will continue to plan events to attract bigger and bigger artists. Always keeping in mind the wide variety of people who live and work in the Fayetteville area, a goal of the Crown Center is to book events and performances that will complement the city’s entertainment choice. Come out and enjoy the amazing sounds of Joe Bonamassa. For more information and to book tickets Joe Bonamassa, call the Crown box office at 910.438.4100.

    Photo: lues and rock legend Joe Bonamassa is set to perform at the Crown on Nov. 10.

  • 112812lattice.jpgEach year staff at the Museum of the Cape Fear looks forward to the holidays. It’s a time to show an entirely different side of the Victorian lifestyle that is regularly showcased at the Cape Fear Historical Complex.

    From Nov. 20 to Jan. 6, the Poe House is bedecked in garland and decorations befi tting the stately home. The public is invited to tour the property to learn more about what Christmas was like in Fayetteville in the early 1900s. On Dec. 2, the Museum of the Cape Fear celebrates the season with a Victorian Holiday Jubilee.

    The Edgar Allen Poe House, named for the original owner — a brickyard owner, not the famous author, is the perfect place to showcase and celebrate the holidays — Victorian style. There were no infl atable Santa’s on the front lawn or colored lights in the windows. To many, the thought of these modern adornments at the Poe House seems somehow demeaning. No, this home was dressed in ribbons and live evergreens and berries. The Victorian Holiday Jubilee showcases not just the decorations, but the traditions of the day as well.

    “The decorations are up and ready to be seen,” said Leisa Greathouse, curator of education. “We have a special theme we do in the dining room every few years. It is a lattice filled with ribbons that hangs from the ceiling. It was a decorating idea that came out of Ladies Home Journalof the time period. Much like we look at the HGTV, Ladies Home Journaldid the same thing of the time period. It would have decorating ideas and tips.”

    It’s an impressive structure that requires more than a dozen people to assemble it.

    Enjoy some time with the family listening to The Coventry Carolers; scheduled to perform on the front porch at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. The house, which will be festively decorated, will be open in between the concerts.

    “This is the first year the group has performed here. We are looking forward to having them.”

    Enjoy the tradition of holiday baking as Christmas goodies are made using the 1902 Glenwood Stove. “We use firewood in the stove. It takes real skill to cook on it,” said Greathouse. “You have to control the fi re enough to heat the oven on 350 degrees.”

    If holiday baking is not stressful enough, the volunteer who does the cooking uses a period cookbook.

    “We are fortunate that she loves it. She loves cooking and trying different recipes. They usually don’t have measurements, but will say something like ‘put in butter the size of a small egg,’” said Greathouse. “We use a cook book called What to Cook and How to Cook Itfrom 1912. It is a book that actually belonged to the Poes. We know they had this in their possession and probably cooked from it.”

    While enjoying the festivities, spend some time together in Santa’s workshop. Attendees are invited to make a paper elf hat for free or for a small fee make a wooden toy — while supplies last. The a wooden toy glider ($1), tug boat, race car, train or tractor ($3 each) will make a great momento.

    “I love the crowd we get —I am always impressed with the attendance and I love watching people enjoy the decorations,” said Greathouse. “Looking at the children’s faces is reminiscent of Christmas morning.”

    The Poe House is open for tours Tuesday-Friday during the week at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.; Saturdays on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays on the hour from 1-4 p.m. Tours of the house are free. Call 486-1330 for more information.

  • 13Dumas NutcrackerClara. Drosselmeyer. Nutcracker Prince. Snow Queen. Mouse King. These characters from the beloved Christmas ballet “The Nutcracker” often bring to mind images of wonder, imagination and the enchanting beauty of classical ballet. One thing that may not come to mind, though, is inclusion and diversity. The Dance Theatre of Fayetteville, founded by Ann Clark Crummie in the 1950s, provides a unique take on “The Nutcracker” in that it creates a space where every young dancer in this community can perform in the iconic story. Factors that don’t matter one bit include income level, race, disability and a physical appearance that may not match the stereotypical ballerina. See TDTF’s production at Methodist University’s Huff Concert Hall Nov. 30, Dec. 1 or Dec. 2. 

    When Crummie founded TDTF, she made sure it would be homegrown through and through. She encouraged parents of dancers attending any studio in Cumberland County to join the board. The goal was to connect and support young, local dancers. In the ’70s, Crummie homed in on a passion project that embodied her mission with “The Nutcracker.” Though she passed away last May, her legacy and this production continue to grow. 

    TDTF’s “The Nutcracker” is not just open to all Cumberland County dancers – it’s solely comprised of them. “Every role in our (show) is performed by locally raised dancers that attend our local dance studios,” said Assistant Art Director Tara Herringdine. 

       Art Director Leslie Dumas said sometimes they get dancers who barely know anything about classical ballet, but nobody gets turned away. “They might have a very minute part, but they’re still in it,” she said. Some of those dancers stick with it every year and eventually perform major roles as they improve. 

       Herringdine, who owns Cumberland Dance Academy in Hope Mills, trained under Crummie from the time she was 5 and first danced in TDTF’s “Nutcracker” at age 6. She supported Dumas in creating most of this year’s choreography, along with Becca Fazekas, Thomas McGill and Beth Heisel. Some of Crummie’s original choreography is featured in the show as well. 

       A unique element in their take is the inclusion of dynamic acrobatics. Dumas’ studio, Leslie’s Dance Academy, is located in CountrySide Gymnastics. Consequently, many of her students are also gymnasts who have qualified for and won national competitions. “We have a great Russian sequence this year,” Dumas said. “Everyone is doing flips.” 

       Dumas added that this year also features 12 beautiful new character costumes. TDTF pays for all the costumes, a significant effort as expensive costume fees are a common deterrent to dancers participating in recitals. The TDTF board raises the funds necessary for “The Nutcracker” by holding two fundraisers each year. 

       This year features about 85 dancers ages 7 to 18 and a few college students who are returning to dance in their favorite show. Primary roles include Kiley Brunson as Clara, Riley Brantley as the Prince and Ti’era Basehart as Drosselmeyer. 

       Showtimes for “The Nutcracker” at Huff Concert Hall are Friday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $10 in advance or $15 at the door for adults, $5 for those 18 and under and free for children 4 and under. 

       Visit www.dancetheatreoffayetteville.com or call 910-850-6363 to purchase tickets. 

  • uac112013001.gif If anything, Fayetteville is a city that respects tradition; and the holiday season is packed with unique local traditions that make November and December a blur of fun-filled activities. One of the biggest traditions that makes Thanksgiving Day weekend extra special is A Dickens Holiday. Every year, more than 10,000 people come to downtown Fayetteville to experience the charm that comes with the Victorian era Christmas celebration. The event takes place the day after Thanksgiving and is hosted by the Arts Council Fayetteville/Cumberland County and the Downtown Alliance.

    “People look forward to A Dickens Holiday and all that it offers each year,” said Marketing Director at Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County Mary Kinney. “That is why we make sure that Father Christmas is available for photographs each year and why the Downtown Alliance offers carriage rides each year. There are so many elements that the community looks forward to and we don’t want to stray too far from what people have come to love about this tradition.”

    Come as you are, or dig through the closet and come in character. So many people enjoy the event that many choose to come in costume. “It’s easy to find things in our closets to put together a Victorian era look that can be a lot of fun,” said Kinney.

    Find out more about fun, easy ways to dress for the occasion at www.theartscouncil.com/A Dickens Holiday/How to Dress_2011_LS.pdf

    “We want people to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves no matter what they are wearing,” said Kinney.

    The shops, restaurants and galleries are open for business and there will be vendors as well. Items like top hats, scarves, Christmas wreaths and decorations are typically available for sale. Actors portraying characters from A Christmas Carol will roam the streets acting out portions of this traditional Christmas tale.

    “This event is definitely for the community, but in many ways it is the community,” said Kinney. “Even the actors who portray characters from A Christmas Carol on the street are members of the community. In fact, the actor who plays Scrooge has been doing this for several years.”

    A Dickens Holiday starts at 1 p.m. The streets are filled with actors dressed in Victorian era garb.11-20-13-coverstory.gifThere are carolers, characters from A Christmas Carol, vendors, carriage rides and more. Sip hot cider and stroll the streets of downtown Fayetteville enjoying the shops, restaurants and galleries.

    Don’t miss the gingerbread contest at SkyView on Hay, which is located at 121 Hay St. “We are excited to host local high school culinary students again this year,” said Kinney. “Although gingerbread is a traditional medium, the theme for this competition is structures from the original colonies, which should be interesting.”

    The competition starts at 1 p.m. and the public is invited to stop by and vote for their favorite gingerbread structure.

    Carson Phipps is the Coordinator in the Career and Technical Education Department at the Cumberland County Schools system and he gets to help the students plan and execute this sweet operation.

    “We’ve got seven schools competing in the Gingerbread Competition. This year, one team is going to do a house that is different than the rest,” said Phipps. “They are actually doing an H&H designed home. We have never done this before, but H&H is a sponsor so one of their homes will be featured in the contest.”

    The rest of the contestants will be making houses that look like the capitol buildings of the original 13 American colonies. “We thought this would work because the colonies were founded around the time that Charles Dickens was alive,” said Phipps. “By doing the colonial buildings we could tie in to the time period but make the competition uniquely American. We had about 3,000 people come through last year and they all seemed to enjoy it.”

    The official judging takes place at 7 p.m., but the People’s Choice Award will not be announced until 8:30 p.m. The winners get $500 for their school.

    The second floor of the Market House will feature a display sponsored by the Fayetteville Area Transportation & Local History Museum called This Victorian Life. The exhibit takes a look at how Victorians celebrated Christmas and includes items like coins, ceramic plates and other commemorative pieces from Queen Victoria’s reign.

    11-20-13-coverstory2.gifThe Arts Council exhibit, Winter: An Invitational, features the works of professional photographers and shares their unique perspectives on winter. “This show is not just about classic winter photographs,” said Kinney. “It includes pictures that offer fresh and different interpretations of what winter means to the different artists — like a man bundled up for the cold, but he is sitting in a beach chair looking at the ocean.”

    While the festivities are sure to put even the staunchest of scrooges into the Christmas spirit, the real magic happens after the sun goes down. Late in the afternoon, stop by local merchants or the Arts Council and pick up a candle for the procession from the Arts Council to the Market House. People start to gather at the Arts Council around 5 or 5:30 p.m. For many, this is the highlight of the day, as the crowd moves slowly to the market house. Once at the Market House, the crowd is treated to a fireworks display. “Some people think that this is the end of A Dickens Holiday, but far from it,” said Kinney. “The carriage rides run well into the evening, Father Christmas is still available for pictures until 8:30 p.m. and most of the local businesses remain open until 9 p.m.”

    Find out more about A Dickens Holidayat www.theartscouncil.com.

    Photos: Father Christmas visits A Dickens Holiday each year and is available for pictures.Story and cover photo credit: Wick Smith

  • 12Holiday Extra8074 X3Put Givens Performing Arts Center’s “Holiday Extravaganza” on your holiday bucket list this year. It promises to be a musical smorgasbord with something to delight every palate. Classical and jazz, choral and a cappella, woodwinds and brass – and even tubas. Webster’s defines “extravaganza” as a spectacular, dramatic and elaborate production, and that’s exactly what the music department at UNC Pembroke promises to deliver. The UNC Pembroke “Holiday Extravaganza” at GPAC takes place Friday, Nov. 30, beginning at 8 p.m. 

    Conceived 10 years ago by Dr. Timothy Altman, UNCP professor of music and director of bands and trumpets, the annual event draws talented participants from throughout the university’s department of music. Both students and faculty participate. 

    According to Altman, music department faculty members create each annual extravaganza program around the talents and strengths of the students. 

    The production is an interactive event. In addition to utilizing the full concert stage, various pieces are performed from spots strategically placed throughout the audience. This contributes to the pacing; it directs audience attention elsewhere while the main stage is being re-set and keeps the production moving forward. 

    “The show is 99 percent music,” Altman said. “It’s full of musical variety and fast-paced.” 

       On tap to perform in the extravaganza are the vocal jazz ensemble, directed by Nathan Thomas; the UNCP Global Rhythm Ensemble, directed by Dr. Joseph Van Hassel; the jazz combo, directed by Dr. Aaron Vandermeer; the trumpet ensemble, directed by Altman; the flute choir, directed by Sarah Busman; the saxophone choir, directed by Marty Spitzer; the Pembroke Singers, directed by Dr. Jose Rivera; the UNCP string orchestra, directed by Michael Sparks; the wind ensemble, directed by Altman; and the university chorale, directed by Dr. Jaeyoon Kim. 

       Among the highlights of this year’s extravaganza will be Duke Ellington’s jazz arrangement of “The Nutcracker Suite.” Also debuting this year will be a completely original piece for the saxophone choir. 

       While “Carol of the Bells” is standard holiday fare, this year’s rendition will be somewhat of a departure from tradition. The finale promises to be spectacular, with more than 100 members of the wind ensemble and the university chorale onstage. Words to the “Hallelujah Chorus” are printed in the program, and the audience is invited to participate. With more than 1,000 voices raised in song, this is a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit. 

       Tuba Christmas, a nationwide event open to the community, will perform in front of the lobby beginning at 7:30 p.m. 

       Tickets may be purchased from the GPAC box office by phone prior to the concert and can be held at the will-call window. The number is 910-521-6409. Tickets may also be purchased from the box office in person, which is located at 1 University Dr. in Pembroke, at the center of the front entrance to the GPAC lobby. Box office hours are from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and one hour before the performance. 

       General admission tickets are $12, children’s tickets are $5, and UNCP student admission is $2. 

  • “No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused” —Charles Dickens.

    11-20-13-christmas-carol.gifDon’t miss this annual opportunity to experience the joy and warmth of community spirit. Kick off the holiday season at Fayetteville’s candlelit Dickens celebration and then catch A Christmas Carol, which opens at the Gilbert, Nov. 29.

    Local thespian and arts lover, Joyce Lipe recalled, ”My husband Chuck and I took part in the Fayetteville Arts Council A Dicken’s Holiday each year, dressing in costumes of that period as we strolled along Hay Street getting caught up in the beauty of candle light and Christmas decorations. A Christmas Carol, which I narrated for six consecutive seasons became a part of the Gilbert season in its early years. It is still a central part of each Gilbert season. Thus, the dream continues and takes shape and the inspiration of early founders and participants continues to shine.”

    This year’s production is an adaptation by director Christopher Schario, who has been Executive/Artistic Director of The Public Theatre, Lewiston, Maine since 1993. His adaptation of A Christmas Carol, published by Dramatists Play Service in 1996, has enjoyed successful productions at professional and amateur theatres. One interesting element of this adaptation is the on stage use of a foley, a person who creates or alters sounds, using such tools as a thunder sheet, wind machine, gongs, etc. “In the fall of 1993 I was looking for a version of A Christmas Carol for my theatre company. Most adaptations of the story required such huge casts, lavish sets and special effects, that we couldn’t afford to produce them. I always felt that the charm of the story was in its simplicity, so I locked myself in our theatre with six actors and a fiddler, and we invented this version, that simply and directly tells the story of the redemption of a human soul. Dickens’ story teaches us that when we peel aside the suffocating veil of materialism, we can see the true wealth life offers through the appreciation and love of your fellow man,” Schario explained.

    Some may say, “Bah, Humbug!” However, many wish that the joy and generosity of the season would continue to shine throughout the year eliminating the need for annual stories about the search for a new home for “The Bicycle Man” or pleas for help for other charitable organizations such as The American Red Cross, which had its annual fundraiser, The Red & White Gala, recently. Dickens’ Marley said it best, “Business! Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business.”The play follows the ever-powerful story of Scrooge, a lonely miser, who, through the help of spirits and visions from his past, present and future, finds a second chance to become a loving, generous human being. “And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!” And so, as Tiny Tim observed, “God bless Us, Every One!”

    A Christmas Carol runs Nov. 29 through Dec. 15, Friday – Sunday. Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Don’t miss this traditional holiday production. Rediscover the magic of this timeless tale, when seven actors and a fiddler bring Charles Dickens’ classic story to life in a way you’ve never imagined and will never forget. Tickets are $15/$13 for students, seniors and military. For further information contact the box office at 678-7186 or email the Gilbert Theater at boxoffice@gilberttheater.com.

    Photo: Gilbert Theater’s A Christmas Carol is a holiday favorite and a local tradition. The show runs Nov. 29 - Dec. 15.

  •  11gilbert Gilbert Theater’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” opening this weekend, centers on the themes of family and gratitude. Of all the Christmas classics, Gilbert chose to perform “It’s a Wonderful Life” this year because of its sobering values. 

      Gilbert Theater Artistic Director Matthew Overturf, who has played a part in the production for four years, said, “It has become a staple in the Fayetteville community. It still speaks here in 2018 about the ‘everyman’ and what in our life we can appreciate and what in our life makes us good people. We all need to see … that we truly have a lot to be grateful for, and our lives impact a lot of other people.” 

      According to Miles Snow, who will portray George Bailey, the show’s most critical theme is “the importance of family – being appreciative of what you already have. This is a guy who at the beginning of the show is in a suicidal state; he has to take a moment to reflect and (realize) ‘I have a wife and kids I love and a job in a town where people respect me, and that’s a lot – that’s more than enough.’” Snow looks forward to presenting the paradigm shift in Bailey’s life. 

      Director Ja’Maul Johnson welcomes the challenge of portraying a beloved classic in a new way. “I have been a part of this production since we started doing it at the Gilbert,” he said. “There will be a couple of twists and turns to reinvent it … but keep it the same story.” 

      Snow hopes to reimagine the show while still respecting its original narrative. He commented, “People bring their own expectations to it, and that’s already a part of the show in a sense, and you want to honor the piece.” 

      Staci Graybill, who will act as Mary Bailey, commented on the challenge of playing Mrs. Bailey for a second time: “A real challenge for me is going to be playing all the different ages that they go through.” 

      Snow, who has played Mr. Bailey several times, said, “I just want to see if we can collectively take it along, take it further.” 

      Johnson, in agreement, is excited to see the growth within the individual cast members this year. “Each year, someone brings something new – I want to see what this collection will bring to it,” he said. 

      Graybill said, “It’s so easy to get lost in all the hardships in life, but if you stop and look around and see all the loving people in your life, I think that’s a good reminder.” 

      Johnson added that he desires to take that message “throughout the year, not just in Christmastime.” 

      “It’s a Wonderful Life” runs Nov. 23-Dec. 16, with student matinees on the Nov. 27 and Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. at the Gilbert Theater, 116 Green St. To purchase tickets, visit www.gilberttheater.com or call 910-678- 7186 for more information. 

  • 10Holidays Jazz music changed American culture in the 1920s and ’30s, combining African and European influences. Originating in the bayous in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, jazz rocked the nation, reshaping the culture and leaving a lasting impression that has endured generations. From Louis Armstrong to Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and more, jazz changed America. It made us better. Dec. 1, celebrate the holidays – and the magic of jazz – at Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra’s “Home for the Holidays,” featuring renowned New York jazz vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli. 

    Harkening back to USO shows, this concert combines the warmth of the holidays with the swinging, toe-tapping magic of jazz. Paying tribute to legends like Fitzgerald, Ellington and Stan Kenton, it’s a surefire way to set your heart right for the holidays. 

    “Our music director, Stefan Sanders, found Gabrielle by reaching out to some friends he had in New York,” said FSO President and CEO Christine Kastner. “We looked at her materials and thought she was a perfect fit. We are doing lots of Ella Fitzgerald, and Gabrielle does a great job and will be a great fit. She is really fun.” 

    An award-winning vocalist and songwriter, Stravelli’s musical reach is wide. Exploring artists that include Willie Nelson, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder and John Fogerty, she’s put her own stamp on a variety of work. 

    In 2018 Stravelli served as a U.S. State Department “Jazz Ambassador,” touring Southeast Asia. She headlined the WBGO Jazz on the Mountain Festival and released “Dream Ago,” her third album. The album received rave reviews from sources including DownBeat Magazine, the HuffPost, Scott Yanow of LA Jazz Scene and Tony Frankel of LA’s Stage and Cinema. 

    In addition, she and her trio toured Italy and Norway – and in the U.S.: New Jersey; Lancaster, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; Detroit, Michigan; Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland in Ohio; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles and San Francisco in California; Las Vegas, Nevada; and the greater Washington D.C. area. 2014- 2017 were equally busy. 

    After FSO’s “Home for the Holidays,” guests will likely get to meet Stravelli in person. “Typically, when we have a guest artist, we will get them to come out to the lobby to meet people,” said Kastner. 

    Stravelli is not the only guest sharing the spotlight with the orchestra. “The older children’s choirs from Fayetteville Academy will perform again this year,” Kastner said. “About 25 students will be performing.” 

    The concert will include many holiday favorites. Come early to hear the Music Nerd speak about the music and composers featured in the show in addition to other fun facts. For example, in 1948, Leroy Anderson composed “Sleigh Ride.” In 1949, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops recorded it. Today, it holds the title of most widely recorded and performed piece of Christmas music, according to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. 

    The pre-concert talk with the Music Nerd begins at 6:45 p.m. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Visit the FSO website, www.fayettevillesymphony.org, for tickets and information. 

  • 02PerformingartsAs a child, when I took more food than I could eat my mother would say, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” Well, the same may be said of Fayetteville and Cumberland County’s appetite for initiating future economic development projects. 

    Currently, public opinion is positive and cautiously optimistic about the economic development projects taking place in our city. Residents are excited and supportive of our new Houston Astros Advanced Class A minor league baseball team, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, and the forthcoming new $37.8 million stadium. This structure, along with the $17 million renovation of the historic Prince Charles Hotel into apartments plus a parking deck, hotel and office complex, is the nucleus of a much-needed healthy economic boom for the revival of Fayetteville’s downtown community. Add to that the prospects of a statewide Civil War and Reconstruction History Center, and this becomes a masterful undertaking. 

    Is it needed? Yes. 

    Will it succeed? Well that depends on how our elected leadership manages our resources. And from that point of view comes plenty of healthy skepticism. After all, the sports complex center, skate board park and east side senior citizen facility, all of which were included and approved in the $35 million parks and rec bond package, are still in the planning stages. 

    Before the first Woodpecker home game or the first lease on a Prince Charles apartment is signed, our elected are spending tens of thousands of dollars with consultants on feasibility and location studies of a potential performing arts center in downtown Fayetteville. 

    The need for a performing arts center has been talked about and even debated for more than a decade. There was a need then, and there is still a need. With new construction taking place and the number of future projects yet to be completed, even ardent supporters of a performing arts center feel it may be prudent to slow down the development frenzy to make sure we don’t overextend our resources. We need to be able to support and adequately pay for these cultural amenities without adding an undue burden on local taxpayers – a reasonable request. No doubt the need is upon us with the deteriorating conditions of the Crown Theatre. However, the question remains – will the demographics of Cumberland County support such a facility? With a potential price tag of $50 million-plus, there are still plenty of other questions that need to be addressed. 

    What shows will it attract? And at what price? 

    Recently, tickets at Durham Performing Arts Center for the touring company of “Hamilton” sold at Broadway prices. Given a choice, why would big-show promoters choose Fayetteville over larger markets like Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro and Winston-Salem? 

    What effect would it have on other local cultural institutions like Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Charlotte Blume’s annual “Nutcracker” ballet, Community Concerts and the “Heart of Christmas Show?” 

    And, the most critical question of all: How do we pay for it? 

    Sure, the consultants say once built the facility will pay for itself. Historically, there are many who will dispute that claim. Besides, when it comes to taking advice and direction from any consultant, always pay close attention to who is paying them. It is a good indication of the outcome. 

    A Fayetteville Performing Arts Center is a good, feasible and honorable idea. However, residents must first see and experience the positive effects of the economic impact promised as a result of the current downtown development and investments. Success here will add excitement, enthusiasm, confidence and support to a Fayetteville performing arts center proposal and any future projects that will enhance the quality of life in our community. 

    Let’s develop Fayetteville on a solid foundation of proven successes and not on speculation. 

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly. 

  • 16David Phelps 1 The holiday season will come alive with the unmistakable sound of multi-Dove and Grammy Awardwinning recording artist David Phelps when he visits Fayetteville’s Village Baptist Church on Saturday, Dec. 1. WCLN-FM is proud to present this exciting Christmas concert event – one of just 15 stops on Phelps’ December “It Must Be Christmas 20th Anniversary Tour.” This special musical evening begins at 7 p.m.

    Once a childhood musical prodigy from Tomball, Texas, Phelps earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Baylor University. Since then, he has become a nationally celebrated vocalist.

    Perhaps best known as the powerful tenor for the multiple Grammy and Dove Award-winning Gaither Vocal Band, Phelps is constantly building on a career that has already been groundbreaking. Emerging as a leading voice in contemporary Christian music, Phelps has been winning the hearts of audiences all over the world for more than two decades.

    He has performed at numerous prestigious venues across the globe, including the White House, New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. His electrifying voice has moved audiences from all walks of life, crossing generational and stylistic barriers.

    Phelps has visited Fayetteville before as a soloist and as part of the Gaither Vocal Band, and he now returns for what promises to be an unforgettable evening of celebration.

    Many of the songs that will be featured during the evening at Village Baptist are included on Phelps’ album “It Must Be Christmas,” which was released this fall. In addition to songs from this new Christmas album, the evening will also include exciting renditions of classics like “Angels We Have Heard On High,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain” and “Sleigh Bells,” along with Phelps’ new classics like “Fall On Your Knees,” “Christmas Rush” and “Anthem of the Lord.”

    Phelps performs each classic like it has never been performed before, leaving each listener saying, “It must be Christmas!”

    Village Baptist Church is located at 906 S McPherson Church Rd. WCLN – 105.7 FM is treating listeners to Christmas songs from Phelps along with exclusive contests during November.

    VIP, artist circle and general admission tickets are on sale now. There are discounts for groups of four or more. Complete ticket and tour information is available by visiting ticketbud.com or davidphelps.com.

    Photo: David Phelps

  • 01coverUAC111418001 For the past 20 years, the Heart of Christmas Show has warmed hearts and spread joy, embracing everything good and fun about the holidays. The show takes place the weekend after Thanksgiving, and without fail, it puts the community in the Christmas spirit, celebrating everything about the season – from ugly Christmas sweaters to peace on Earth and baby Jesus. Saturday, Nov. 24, and Sunday, Nov. 25, head to the Crown for one of the community’s most heartfelt and inspired productions.

    Keeping things fresh from year to year while maintaining all the audience favorites falls squarely on the shoulders of the show’s founder, Laura Stevens. Last year, she changed about half of the show. This year, she’s done some more tweaking. “I went about this year’s lineup by thinking by about what got us here,” she said. “I have brought back a few (numbers) from the past.

    “I have listened to our sponsors, performers, parents and audiences and tried to get all the favorites in the show and still add some new elements.”

    The format remains the same, though. The first half of the show is lively and lighthearted – think snowmen, gingerbread, Christmas trees and more. The second half embraces the true meaning of Christmas with traditional songs like “Silent Night,” “O’ Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Mary Did You Know?”

    Among the new elements are what Stevens called a very funny ugly sweater Christmas song that she predicts will be a crowd favorite. She also added a 1950s medley. “That style is a lot of fun,” she said. “In the second half, in the manger scene, I am going for what I think might be one of the most beautiful manger scene moments you have ever seen – including angels. It is a big moment with a ton of meaning.

    “If you’ve never seen HOC, you owe it to yourself to see what the chatter is about. There is something for everyone; there’s funny things and beautiful things. It is an awesome way to celebrate everything there is about Christmas.”

    Adding to the impressive nature of this endeavor are the 30-plus performers, all between the ages of 5 and 18. That can lead people to believe it is a kids’ show, but Stevens has proven that’s not the case time and again with Broadway-type performances that leave audiences raving.

    Stevens said, “The No. 1 comment I get is, ‘Wow, I cannot believe what I just saw.’ The next is, ‘It’s hard to believe that is all young people!’ And the third is ‘Shows at Myrtle Beach aren’t this good. We also bring in dancers from Elite Dance Center. Michelle Hurd, Callie Leechford and Victoria Armstrong have partnered with me for 15 years and bring an element of beauty to the show. They bring in a team of eight dancers every year, and they are amazing.”

    Another change to the current production is areach back to the show’s early years. “I am going to bring back the theme song to the Heart of Christmas Show,’’ Stevens said, “to show all the outreach and what we have been able to do, as a tribute to the people who have been in it and to the good work of the outcome of the show.”

    Stevens came up with the idea for HOC when Voices of the Heart, a local, all-girl Christian music group, won a high-profile national competition in Alabama. VOH still makes up a big part of the HOC Show. “I didn’t want it to go to their heads,” said Stevens. “They were on TV and were getting a lot of attention. I wanted their focus to be the correct one. We decided to put on a show and give all the money away. That first year we gave away $8,000. Now, we give away about $35,000 and raise about $25,000 for the schools – after a while that adds up to be a lot of money.”

    HOC has given more than $750,000 to date, and it all stays in the community. Organizations that benefit include the Autism Society, Child Advocacy Center, Friends of Children, Make A Wish Foundation, AGAPE and Falcon Children’s Home.

    With more than 300 sponsors footing the bill for production costs, Stevens said the money from each ticket sale goes right back out the door. “Our sponsors set money aside every year – in spite of things like hurricanes. And we have done what we said we would do,” Stevens said.

    “The show is run by parents and volunteers. The parents are nurses, doctors, judges, teachers and more who work backstage and make that show happen. They believe in the common good of it. When we give the funds away, it is a good feeling to know we can do something to touch someone else’s life. This is not just a Christmas show, it a show with heart and a purpose and a mission to do good things for other children.”

    General performances are Saturday, Nov. 24, at 1 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 25, at 3 p.m. Purchase tickets at The Crown Center Box Office, Hailey’s Bicycle World or www.heartofchristmasshow.com/ticket-reservations.

    There are also several school shows. Call 910-978-1118 to learn more about the school performances.

  • 12Seabrook Individual Flyer Selwyn Birchwood and Big Ron Hunter 12X4.75FINAL Fayetteville State University’s Seabrook Performance Series presents “An Evening of Blues,” featuring Selwyn Birchwood with Big Ron Hunter. The show is set for Sunday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. at J. W. Seabrook Auditorium on the campus of FSU.

    “The performance series was created to bring more interaction between the university and the community,” said Steve Mack, executive director of the Seabrook Performance Series. “We felt that doing these concerts would bring more people out and get some people over to campus that have never been to campus.”

    Mack added the series organizers wanted to bring in a level of entertainment that they felt people could appreciate. The goal is that instead of driving to other cities to see a lot of these same artists, by bringing big names and great talent to Fayetteville, people would be able to enjoy high-quality entertainment close to home – and potentially bring people from out of town to come to the concerts.

    Mack knew from the outset that variety would be key. With that in mind, the performance series offers a wide range of entertainment. “We’ve got jazz, blues, dance, magic, illusion  and we are trying to cater to all different tastes,” said Mack. “Everything may not be suitable to everyone, but there might be something in there that somebody really likes.”

    This performance combines two unique takes on a classic genre. “Selwyn is an award-winning contemporary blues artist, and Big Ron Hunter is a traditional, well-known, established blues artist,” said Aaron Singleton, marketing consultant for the Seabrook Performance Series. “We just think the two will complement each other and attract different people into the art of blues as an audience.”

    Selwyn Birchwood is an American blues guitarist who plays the electric guitar and the electric lap steel guitar. His album “Don’t Call No Ambulance” received the Blues Music Award and Living Blues Critic’s Award for Best Debut Album of 2014. He also won the 2015 Blues Blast Rising Star Award.

    Big Ron Hunter is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and is a big North Carolina favorite. He is a member of the Music Maker Relief Foundation. He has graced stages in France, the Lincoln Center, jazz festivals and more.

    “We have a great slate of shows, and people should be on the lookout and come out and participate,” said Singleton. “It is a great bargain for the price and great entertainment at an awesome cost.”

    Tickets cost $20 to $75. For more information or sponsorship opportunities, or to purchase tickets, call 910-672-1724 or visit http://bit.ly/2yLWMrv.

  • 09FSO If the richness and ornate detail of the 17th and 18th centuries speak to you, if Bach and Vivaldi make your heart flutter and sooth your soul, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra’s performance of “The Royal Court of Brandenburg” demands your presence for an exquisite evening of beloved masterpieces by Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi. Thursday, Nov. 15, the symphony will fill St. John’s Episcopal Church with the regal works of the masters.

    The concert by FSO musicians will feature some of the Baroque era’s most well-loved pieces. In 1721, Bach presented the royal court with six Brandenburg Concertos. “We have performed other movements of Brandenburg,” said FSO President and CEO Christine Kastner. “It has been about three years (since that performance). There are six pieces. We did (Concertos)2 and 5 last time, and the churchwas full. We will do (Concertos) 3 and 4 this time.”

    In “Concerto No. 4,” the concertino consists of a violin and two flutes, which are accompanied by a string quintet and harpsichord.

    “Concerto No. 3” has nine solo strings – three violins, three violas and three celli – with bass and harpsichord accompaniment.

    Bach’s concertos are still cherished around the world today. “It is interesting,” said Kastner. “We always get a few military people who come. And they say they were stationed in Germany and saw it there and wanted to see it here, too.”

    Also included in the concert will be portions from Bach’s “Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor” as well as the bright and lively “Concerto for Two Trumpets” by Antonio Vivaldi.

    Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Two Trumpets” features solos with orchestral accompaniment, unlike Bach’s pieces, which showcase the ensembles as a whole. Vivaldi’s piece shares the same three-movement construction as the Brandenburg examples, though. According to the program notes, “The slow inner movement is given short shrift in favor of the flashy outer movements, which provide ample opportunities for the trumpet soloists to showcase their skills.”

    Kastner pointed out that the concerts at St. John’s are special. “Because it is smaller, there will be a lot of interaction,” she said. “St. John’s only seats about 300 people, so you have a much better view of musicians. It is a much more intimate environment.”

    Another unique aspect of this concert is that FSO’s music director, Stefan Sanders, will be there. Kastner noted that in the past, the concerts at St. John’s were usually run by the musicians performing. “Stefan will be speaking about the music as well,” Kastner said.

    The symphony’s mission to educate, entertain and inspire demands outreach to the community as well as affordability. Tickets for this event cost between $10 and $27. “Tickets to our events don’t cost more than $30,” said Kastner.

    The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org or call910-433-4690 for tickets and information. The website also provides a link to the program notes under the Season Concerts tab.

  • 01coverUAC110718001 With a career that spans more than 45 years, five-time Grammy- winner Michael McDonald is prolific. The appeal of the Missouri-born musician’s distinctive vocal style and honest delivery has proven to be ageless, both in terms of longevity and the collaborators he draws – from Aretha.Franklin to Grizzly Bear. Tuesday, Nov. 27, Community Concerts kicks of its 83rd season by bringing McDonald on his “Season of Peace, Holiday & Hits” tour to the Crown Theatre. This feel-good concert features McDonald’s rendition of beloved Christmas classics, new Christmas songs and hits from McDonald’s career.

    McDonald started his professional journey by singing lead and backing vocals for Steely Dan’s touring band in the early- to mid-1970s. In 1975, he joined The Doobie Brothers, changing the iconic American rockers’ flavor with his interest in soul. He served as singer, keyboardist and songwriter on the Top 40 singles “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “It Keeps You Runnin’,” “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes.”

    In 1982, after The Doobie Brothers’ initial dissolution, McDonald released his first solo studio album, “If That’s What It Takes.” This album featured one of his best-known hits, “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near).” He went on to release seven more solo albums between 1985-2008, and he delighted fans across the world by releasing another, “Wide Open,” last year.

    In the midst of all of this, McDonald collaborated on writing and/or singing with various artists and groups. A small sample of these collaborators includes Carly Simon, Toto, Kenny Loggins, Ray Charles, Van Halen, James Ingram, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Vince Gill, Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin.

    More recently, McDonald recorded a B-side of indie rocker group Grizzly Bear’s hit “While You Wait for the Others” and sang on Thundercat’s single “Show You the Way.”

    With “Season of Peace, Holiday & Hits,” fans will enjoy standout songs from McDonald’s illustrious career and get into the holiday spirit with beautiful renditions of songs like “White Christmas/ Winter Wonderland” (feat. Jonny Lang), “Oh Holy Night,” “Christmas on the Bayou” and “Children Go Where I Send Thee” (feat. Twinkie Clark).

    “You’re in for one of the best holiday and hits shows ever,” said Michael Fleishman, attractions director for Community Concerts. “And more stars are on the way!”

    Community Concerts, the entity responsible for bringing McDonald to Fayetteville, is the city’s oldest arts organization. The volunteer-run nonprofit was founded in 1935 with the mission of enriching Fayetteville one concert at a time.

    Each season, Community Concerts brings an array of world-class entertainment to Fayetteville at an affordable price. Community Concerts also created the Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame to recognize those who have brought musical distinction to this community, and it awards college music scholarships to promising local high school students. Finally, it organizes local music showcases to build community and support artists’ exposure, and it provides free concerts to local groups such as the Vision Resource Center, Fayetteville Urban Ministry and The Sunshine Center.

    Community Concerts’ 83rd season, which Mc- Donald opens with his performance at the Crown, is themed “Rock and More!”

    “Last year, we had a season that was more heavy on the Broadway-esque shows,” Fleishman said. “This season, we wanted to go back to really heavy on a music and concert emphasis. This season, maybe more than every other, is hit after hit. You will know just about every song on the stage this season.

    “This is a singalong, have fun season.” Following McDonald is Three Dog Night on Feb. 22; Choir of Man on Feb. 27; The O’Jays on March 15; and America on April 4.

    “All of these shows have A+ fan reviews,” Fleishman said. He noted that there is one show this season that does carry the Broadway feel – Choir of Man on Feb. 27.

    “We were selected among a few other markets to be part of the inaugural North American tour for this show, and it’s become a worldwide singing and dancing sensation,” he said. The set is a working bar that gets danced and jumped all over, and audience members are even invited to participate, he added. “Don’t let the name fool you; it has nothing to do with a choir.”

    To purchase tickets to see McDonald Nov. 27, or to learn more about Community Concerts and the rest of its season, visit.                     community-concerts.com, go to the Crown Box Office, or call Fleishman at 910-323-1991.

  • 11-05-14-community-concerts-1.gifTo follow up the recent Scotty McCreery show, Community Concerts will bring another nationally known show to the area with the Broadway Touring show, Sister Act. On stage at the Crown Theatre on Nov. 14, the performance of Sister Act is based on the 1992 film of the same name starring Whoopi Goldberg as a lounge singer sent to a convent as part of the witness protection program. The original stage show of Sister Actdebuted on Broadway in 2011 after a successful run on London’s West End.

    Making her national tour debut, actress Kerissa Arrington was quick to express her love for the overall story of Sister Act.

    “The musical is very similar to the movie and it tells such an amazing story…the crowds always enjoy it so much. In the end, it is a story about God and what He can do to change someone’s life around,” she explained.

    Arrington performs in the central role of Delores Van Cartier that was made famous on the big screen by Goldberg. Arrington describes the central character Delores as a “wannabe diva, aspiring singer... who influences all the nuns to find their voice and in doing so finds her own.” Arrington said her time in the role has been, “One of the biggest learning experiences of my life; it is one of the biggest roles that I have ever played… It has been the most amazing experience.”

    Arrington was very passionate in her plea to get the community to come and see this show.11-05-14-community-concerts-2.gif

    “You are going to be able to get everything in one: acting, singing and dancing. It is all live and live theatre is the best experience of talent that you can get. Sister Act is a fun-loving, family oriented, all ages show. You can’t go wrong with Sister Act.

    Also a part of the touring cast of Sister Act is actor Patrick Clanton. Like Arrington, Clanton is also making his national tour debut with the show. Prior to joining the tour, Clanton, a native of Garner, N.C., graduated from Elon University. He expressed a nervous excitement at the prospect of performing in front of a hometown audience.

    “I am excited to come back home and for all of my friends and family to see the show… To know that there are people out there who are rooting for you, to cheer you on and support you is a wonderful feeling that you don’t get too often,” he said. “To be honest, I might shed a tear or two with that added emotion.”

    11-05-14-community-concerts-3.gifAccording to Clanton, the show will be very similar to the one that garnered great reviews in New York,

    “The tour is very faithful to what was on Broadway; you are getting the Broadway experience in Fayetteville… Every audience has reacted with such joy,” he said. “I have never been in a show where the audience just leapt to their feet as soon as the show was done and I have never heard an audience cheer and laugh as much and as often as they do in this show.”

    The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.com and the Crown Complex Box office. For more information, please go to www.community-concerts.com.

    Photo: top left, Sister Act on stage at the Crown Theatre Nov. 14; middle right, Clanton; bottom left, Arrington.

  • 11-19-14-nutcracker.gifBallet traces its roots to the Italian Renaissance as a combination of the lavish dance, décor, costumes, song, music and poetry that the royalty of Italy and France treasured. Since its inception, the popularity of this dance form has grown and solidified the style as an art form all its own. One of the most magical stories told by ballet is The Nutcracker. This Christmas Classic is on stage at the Crown Coliseum featuring the North Carolina State Ballet on Dec 7, 13 and 14.

    The North Carolina State Ballet was created in 1977, and is focused on not only preserving classical ballet choreography but also bringing it to the public. Attending a performance by the ballet is also an amazing opportunity for education. Professional instructors are available to teach students professional grade classic ballet. The commitment to education and preservation is evident in the incredible performances of each dancer and the company as a whole. It has presented many ballets over the years, but a seasonal tradition is their performance of The Nutcracker.11-19-14-nutcracker-2.gif

    One of the people integral to the success of the North Carolina State Ballet performance of The Nutcracker is Charlotte Blume. Blume, who owns her own school of dance located at 1312 Morganton Rd., instructs students in classical ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and children’s dance. The school has been instructing students 3 years and older for more than 40 years in classes and after school programs in Cumberland County Schools. However, classical ballet is the main focus of the school.

    The Nutcracker originally debuted in Moscow for the 1892 Christmas and made its way to the western world in the 1930s. It had a rocky start at its inception, but now it is a Christmas tradition for many families. Adapted from a fairytale written by E.T.A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, the ballet tells the story of a young German girl named Clara. On Christmas Eve, the children in Clara’s family are given amazing lifelike dolls. Clara awakens in the middle of the night and is attacked by giant mice. She is defended by the Nutcracker, who transforms into a prince and takes her to the Kingdom of Sweets.

    They journey through the magical land and at the end of the amazing night Clara drifts to sleep and awakens in her bed. This magical adventure is entertaining for adults and children alike. The incredible dancing, festive costumes and magical lands deliver an incredible show every single performance. It has been entrancing Christmas audiences for years.

    The Nutcracker is on stage Dec. 7, 13 and 14 at 3 p.m. in the Crown Theatre. The theatre is located at 1960 Coliseum Dr. General admission is $19; $15 for military with I.D.; and children’s tickets are $6. Tickets are available at the Crown Box Office, which can be reached at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or at the Fort Bragg Travel and Leisure Center.

    Photos: Top right, The North Carolina Ballet brings a holiday classic to life at the Crown Theatre with
    The Nutcracker.  Bottom left: Annually, students from Charlotte Blume’s Dance Company join the N.C. Ballet for this amazing performance. 

  • 11_26_14-candlelight-loft-tours.gifDowntown Fayetteville is an exciting hub of activity and fun for the community. Every year, for one night only, the people who live in the lofts downtown decorate and open their homes to anyone in the community who would like to have glimpse into loft living. The event keeps getting bigger and better every year.

    “We have eight lofts committed, and that may go up to 10,” said Ingrid Stelly the vice president of the Downtown Alliance.
    Loft living isn’t very common in Fayetteville. It is a unique form of living in the heart of the city in the spaces above restaurants and storefronts. In many cases, the spaces are quite charming and bigger than one might expect. The loft tours offer a glimpse into the downtown lifestyle. For those who have never experienced the annual Candle Light Loft Tour, Stelly says, “People should expect a look into the urban living in downtown Fayetteville.

    They will see the beautifully decorated lofts and the loft form. It is a great way to enjoy December and an adventure for Christmas. The lofts are decorated for Christmas and you can enjoy the sweet sounds of carolers as they stroll the streets. This is an exciting kick-off for the Christmas season.”

    Travelling between the participating lofts is a great experience as well. Though downtown is beautiful in the brisk evening air, walking is not the only option. “BMW is bringing its electric car, which will take people to and from the different streets for free. We will also have carriage rides to take people to and from the lofts,” said Stelly.

    Organizing the Candlelight Loft Tour is a big undertaking, but one that the event organizers enjoy. It is run and organized entirely by volunteers from  beginning to end. Stelly, in particular, is extremely excited for the annual tour. “I’m most excited for seeing the apartments. There was not a lot of urban living downtown before. Seeing the decorated lofts and interacting with the loft owners and getting to hear their experiences are great,” she said. And she is not the only one in the community who loves the tour.

    “This has become an annual event and we get inquiries into the loft tours as early as October. Folks look forward to it,” she continued.
    The Candle Light Loft Tour is an opportunity to experience a unique lifestyle in the beautiful and historic downtown. The homes are gorgeously and meticulously decorated for the holiday. It is simply an annual tradition that shouldn’t be missed. For those who do attend, Stelly suggests, “To get the most out of the experience, you should try to see the most lofts. And the way to do that is to show up on time because it is only three hours. So get your tickets early and come on time.”

    Tickets are available at the Downtown Alliance office, The Pilgrim and So Chic Bebe. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 the night of the tour. Proceeds support the Downtown Alliance. Tickets are on sale now. The tour takes place on Dec. 14 and start at 6 p.m. For more information visit the following site www.faydta.org/candlelight-loft-tour or call
    222-3382.   

  • 112515_coverstory.png

    Fayetteville is not the same place it was in 1935. But some things do not change, one of which is a love of music. In 1935, a group of music lovers came together to form Community Concerts. Over the years, the organiztion, like the city, has evolved.

    First started as a Columbia Artists franchise that canvassed the nation in the early 20th century has grown into a local entertainment powerhouse that delivers top-notch productions to the community. Every season. Without fail. Today, just a handful of Community Concerts programs remain throughout the country, one of which if here inFayetteville.  Celebrating 80 years of bringing great music to the community, Community Concerts is launching its biggest season. Daryl Hall and John Oates open the 2015/2016  line-up on Dec. 5. Peter Cetera, Boyz II Men and Jay Leno follow with shows in January, March and April, respectively.

    Michael Fleishman, long-time board member and current Community Concerts attractions director, joined the team more than 20 years ago and was a part of the organization when it made a conscious decision to veer away from the status quo. 

    “Community Concerts used to be a lot of chamber music and choral groups,” he said. “We decided to turn to the pop music genre for our productions and then did our very best to wow our audiences every single year. We concentrated on bringing the best entertainment we could afford to Fayetteville. Once we did that, once we made taking care of our audiences our priority, things just sort of took care of themselves.”  

    This year, the Community Concerts organization focused on bringing fewer shows but bigger names to Fayetteville, booking a $100,000 season. 

    “Last year was our biggest season. This year is our most expensive,” said Fleishman.

    Daryl Hall and John Oates are the top-selling duo in music history. Their music has not only entertained fans for decades, it laid the ground work for the next generation of musicians. Their acolytes include big names like Rob Thomas, John Mayer, Brandon Flowers of the Killers, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie and MTV’s newest hipsters Gym Class Heroes.  Hall and Oates have graced the cover of Spin Magazine, had tours named in their honor (the Gym class Heroes “Daryl Hall for President Tour 2007”). Last year, the duo received the coveted nod and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    With more sales than any other performing duo, Hall and Oates continue to deliver performances that keep crowds on their feet. 

    “This is going to be a great concert,” said Fleishman. “They’ve got so many hits.”

    Chart toppers for the pair include: six number one singles, including “Rich Girl”, “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), “Maneater” and “Out of Touch” from their six consecutive multiplatinum albums. Plus five Top 10 singles, “Sara Smile,” “One on One,” “You Make My Dreams,” “Say It Isn’t So” and “Method of Modern Love.”

    In addition to touring, Hall currently stars in a web series called “Live from Daryl’s House.” It airs every Thursday at 11 p.m. EST on the Palladia Channel or at www.livefromdarlyshouse.com. The show has had a plethora of guest artists including Joe Walsh, Booker T and the MGs, The Blind Boys of Alabama,  Train, Cee Lo Green, Smokey Robinson, The Doors’ Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek, Toots Hibbert,  K.T. Tunstall, Todd Rundgren, Keb Mo, Dave Stewart, Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump along with newcomers such as Nick Waterhouse, Chiddy Bang, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Matt Nathanson, Parachute, Plain White T’s,  soul diva Sharon Jones, Diane Birch, L.A. neo-R&B party band Fitz & the Tantrums and hot new alternative band Neon Trees. Adding a restaurant and music club to the mix, Hall opened Daryl’s House on Oct. 31 in Pawling, New York. The eatery/club serves as the backdrop for the show.

    The two have no problems staying busy. In March, look for a new concert video release — the first in seven years. Daryl Hall and John Oates: Live in Dublin. It was filmed  on July 15, 2014 at the Olympia Theatre in their first ever Dublin performance.

    Oates released a solo project called Good Road to Follow in March of 2014.  

    In January Peter Cetera will electrify the audience at the Crown. 

    “He was Chicago’s lead singer for a long time,” said Fleishman. “He has since gone on to have a successful  solo career. There is probably not one of his songs that you won’t recognize.”

    Cetera performed with Chicago from 1968 through 1986. He was the lead singer, he wrote songs, he played the bass. Hits from that era include “If You Leave Me Now,” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” “Baby What a Big Surprise,” “You’re the Inspiration,” “Stay the Night,” “Love Me Tomorrow,” “Happy Man,” “Feeling Stronger Every Day” and “Along Comes a Woman.”

    Striking out on his own, Cetera recorded 10 albums and was nominated for an Academy Award for “The Glory of Love” from the hit movie The Karate Kid II.  He went on the top the charts with “The Next Time I Fall” with Amy Grant; “Feels Like Heaven” with Chaka Kahn; “After All” with Cher from the motion picture Chances Are; “No Explanation” from Pretty Womanand “Restless Heart.”

    Four-time Grammy Award winners Boyz II Men have been changing the R&B landscape for more than 20 years. Accolades include nine American Music Awards, nine Soul Train Awards, three BillboardAwards, and a 2011 MOBO Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. 

    With classics that appeal to all generations, Boyz II Men produced hits that include “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” “One Sweet Day” and  “Motownphilly.”

    “Boyz II Men continues to deliver high-energy shows that audiences love,” said Fleishman. “They are known for great harmonies and relatable songs.” 

    The band is set to release a new album in September called Collide. Two of the tracks, “Better Half” and “Diamond Eyes” are featured on a special episode of ABC’s hit show,
    The Bachelorette

    The group’s charity, Boyz II Men House “lends support to individuals and organizations that focus on improving quality of life and helping to unlock human potential, while contributing to the health and vitality of those less fortunate.”

    Funny man Jay Leno kept America laughing for decades. Talk show host, author and stand-up comedian, Leno closes out the 2015/2016 season of Community Concerts.

    Leno’s comic career spans 40 years. He performed for the armed forces during conflicts in Bosnia and Afghanistan and serves as master of xeremonies for several charity events each year. This big-hearted entertainer is sure to have the audience in stitches. 

    For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.community-concerts.com.

     

  • 11_12_14-cover.gif We are quickly approaching the most magical time of the year: Christmas!

    While the majority of us wait until Thanksgiving to start decking the halls and trimming our trees, many are already moving full speed ahead. Fayetteville musician Laura Stevens is one of them.

    Stevens, the mastermind behind The Heart of Christmas Show, prepares for Christmas all year long. It’s her mission. Stevens, along with her talented ensemble, kicks-off the Christmas season in Fayetteville. It’s not just entertainment, it’s their passion.
    In its 17th year, The Heart of Christmas Show brings a Broadway-style musical to the community each Christmas replete with great costumes, big dance numbers and even bigger singing numbers. The show, which is on stage for the public just one weekend, impacts the community all year long in big and small ways that most people will never realize.

    The cast of the show is comprised of 36 talented young people between the ages of 5 and 18. And while their talent brings humor and spirit to the season, their passion for the community brings something much more important. The show was born from a need in the community to give talented young people an outlet to grow their talent. The Heart of Christmas Show provides a whistles and bells, full production, professional environment for child performers to develop and gives them a memorable experience. It also give the audience memorable experiences as well. The audience is enthralled by the show’s level of professionalism, talent and entertainment value.
    Stevens, the founder and director of the show, noted that the best compliment she gets from audience members is that they forget they are watching young people perform until a “5-year-old comes out, steals your heart and gets a standing ovation because he was so good.”  

    That doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work. The cast starts rehearsals about three to four months out. But Stevens’ work starts immediately after the curtain closes on the last performance. It is a tremendous effort with a lot of moving pieces. She first has to assess what worked and didn’t work in the production. Then she has to look for ways to make it fresh and to up the entertainment value. For an artist like Stevens, that is the fun part. But she also has to tackle the business end of the show.

    When the show was first conceived, it was meant to be a one-time experience. But its success within the community was overwhelming, causing Stevens to explore the idea of making it an annual event, which has morphed into a Fayetteville tradition that is one of the biggest annual events at the Crown and in the community. To make the show work, Stevens needs talent, but she also needs commitment from the community, which comes from ticket sales, but more importantly from the support of local businesses. Without the sponsorship of the show by local businesses, many of whom have been with Stevens since the first show, The Heart of Christmas Show would not be possible.  

    “Thesponsor support has been a lifeline to continue the show and to improve the show,” she said. “We pay for all the expenses of the show with the sponsor support so that we can give all the ticket money back to the community through the charities we pick each year.”

    And that’s what is truly at the heart of The Heart Of Christmas Show. The first show was designed specifically to help children in need in Cumberland County. Each year, The Heart of Christmas Show has kept its promise to give away 100 percent of the ticket sales from the weekend shows to local children’s agencies that work to help sick and abused children.

    Additionally, the show is performed for school children throughout the community, with proceeds going back into the schools. Throughout its run, The Heart of Christmas Show has raised more than $170,000 for local schools. With the weekend shows and the school shows, it has raised more than $575,000 to help children in our community.

    With that kind of giving power, Stevens and her cast of talented performers have lived up to their motto, “Children helping children.”

    “We have and will continue to help the children of this community because we believe it is a privilege to help others,” explained Stevens. “It teaches our performers to look outward instead of inward. ”

    Stevens said the philosophy she instills in her cast is simple. “Want to know the secret to happiness in life? Helping others. We were created to do that. Ephesians 2:10 says, ‘For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to do.’”

    “We can make a difference. One life at a time; one community at a time,” she concluded. And the cast has shown that for 16 years, making the community better one show at a time.

    The Heart of Christmas Show is on stage at the Crown Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 29 at 1 and 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit the website at www.heartofchristmasshow.com

     




  • 05 SPP on CCC stage 1The Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater, located in downtown Lumberton, continues to present virtual concerts that have been pre-taped on its stage while the theater is closed to in-person audiences due to COVID-19 social gathering restrictions.

    The next concert is by the all-female bluegrass group Sweet Potato Pie and premieres Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. The concert can be viewed on the theater’s Facebook page.

    It is conducted in partnership with the Robeson County Arts Council as part of its annual Bluegrass on the Blackwater series. This performance was filmed on the stage at the Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater.

    These performances were originally scheduled as part of its 2020-21 season, and continue the theater’s commitment to programming during the ongoing pandemic and its related audience restrictions for performance centers.

    These virtual performances are premiering on the theater’s Facebook page at “Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater” and subsequently are shared on its web site at www.carolinaciviccenter.com.

    The theater’s previous “Spotlight on Local Talent” Performance Series (eight installments) also can be viewed on its web site. This performance is partially underwritten by a grant from the Robeson County Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council.

    Sweet Potato Pie has been entertaining audiences for nearly two decades with their classy blend of Americana, bluegrass, country and gospel music mixed together in a style they call “sweetgrass.”

    Radio and TV are well acquainted with their “angelic” vocals from appearances on PBS, the Food Network and worldwide radio broadcasts. Hailed as the “Lennon Sisters of Bluegrass,” their show revolves around their beautiful three-part harmonies, hard driving instrumentals and down home humor. With classic songs from Patsy Cline, Bill Monroe, The Judds and many more along with their chart topping original songs, the audience is in for a sensational night of family entertainment.

    The group includes co-founding and last original member Sonya Stead, guitar; Crystal Richardson, banjo; Sandy Whitley, bass; Katie Springer, fiddle; Tori Jones, fiddle; and Madeleine Baucom, guitar. All of the women are from North Carolina.

    For more information of the group visit www.sweet-potato-pie.com/

    While the concert is free, a donation link will be available to help support artist fees and production costs.

    To view the concert visit www.facebook.com/Carolina-Civic-Center-Historic-Theater-166667200079609

    Pictured: Sweet Potato Pie will perform on stage at the Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater on Nov. 26. The show is part of an on-going series of virtual concerts from the 2020-21 season adapted in response to COVID-19 restrictions.

  • 11-10-10-yulemart081.gifIt seems today that there is a gadget to do virtually everything for you, that all presents come with bells, whistles or … a touch screen, and homemade and handcrafted gifts are a thing of the past. In light of this, the 2010 Yule Mart seems like a piece of much needed nostalgia to a time when everything wasn’t manufactured and mass produced. Yule Mart is a showcase of local, regional, and out-of-state crafters and artists and their creations, sponsored by the Fort Bragg Officers Spouses Club. More than 70 booths will be featured, offering a wide variety of items, such as quilts, holiday decorations, jewelry, paintings, furniture, Americana crafts, and much more. They will be selling their handmade crafts and products this November 19, 20 and 21 in the Ritz Epps Gym, Fort Bragg.

    “We have lots of new vendors this year, as well as some old favorites” said Yule Mart chairperson Tracy Curran. “My Sister and I is a new vendor this year. The Promise is back and they are always a big hit. The Buy n Bragg will be there again, which is our (Fort Bragg Area Spouses Club) boutique here on post — they sell Fort Bragg related items.”

    Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be taking a break from their busy schedules and stopping by, with Mrs. Claus’s Bake Shop and Santa’s Workshop both in the Ritz Epps Physical Fitness Center. Donate or buy tasty treats or bring the kiddies to shop for low priced gifts for their family and friends.

    “There is a new feature this year at Santa’s Secret Workshop,” said Curran. “This year we have an EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) shopping experience, and we are very excited about that. That will be on Sunday Nov. 21 from 10-11 a.m. We are very excited about that. It will be a little less chaotic than our other shopping times.”

    Mrs. Claus’s Bake Shop will be fi lled with cookies, brownies, muffi ns and breads, as well as fresh fruit and sugar free items for sale.

    Of course all of the proceeds go right back into the community on and around Fort Bragg.

    “We had about 3,000 shoppers last year and this year we are shooting for at least 4,000,” said Curran. “All of this goes back to our community through welfare grants to community organizations that support the military as well as on scholarships and continuing education scholarships for spouses of military members. Last year a lot of local schools both on and off post benefi tted from general welfare fund grants including the Fort Bragg animal shelter, the Armed Services YMCA, Operation Homefront N.C. and the Fisher House.”

    One of my earliest memories of Christmas is sitting with my uncles, aunts and cousins at the dining room table covered with beads, string and pipe cleaners making our own ornaments. Eventually they got so popular that we began to sell them to friends and family members, as well as in our church. We enjoyed the money, but nothing could ever put a price on the bond that we created together and the delight in making something with our own hands that gave such joy to others. This year I urge everyone to step away from the gadgets and electronics, and give something made with care, and support our neighboring artists and talent.

    “The mall and other retailers are standard — everybody can fi nd what you fi nd at the mall, but these are all unique hand crafted items,” said Curran. “I think the uniqueness would be the reason to come and shop at Yule Mart. The stuff you will fi nd at Yule Mart you are not going to fi nd at the mall or any other retail outlet.”

    PICTURED: Shoppers enjoy regional crafters and artisans at Yule Mart.

  • 01 01 Coventry Carolers Perform at the Jubilee 2018 4The season of gratitude and giving is upon us. It is dark by dinner, there is a chill in the air (some days), and downtown shops are announcing their events for holiday shoppers. We’ve all had to adjust to a “new normal” in 2020 — we accepted a scaled-down version of a ‘Dickens Holiday,’ and didn’t make too much of a fuss about the cancelled Rotary Christmas Parade. 

    There is still one vestige of “life before COVID” that we can take advantage of in Fayetteville. We can celebrate the Christmas season with Victorian flair at the annual Holiday Jubilee at the 1897 Poe House on Dec. 6 from 1-4 p.m.

    The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex invites the public to attend this holiday event featuring a concert by Fayetteville’s own Coventry Carolers.

    The Coventry Carolers perform seasonal Victorian Christmas songs in realistic period costumes. The members have more than 150 years combined choral experience in the U.S. and abroad.

    The Coventry Carolers will perform at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. The Christmas concert takes place on the front porch of the Poe House and each set lasts approximately 30 minutes. Visitors are asked to bring their own chair, wear a mask and social distance. Seating will not be provided. Admission to the concert is free.

    The 1897 Poe House will be open for the Holiday Jubilee from 1-4 p.m. and decorated for a Victorian Christmas providing a beautiful backdrop for this festive event. Visitors may view the first floor only, which includes the parlor, sitting room and dining room, for a small donation of $2 per adult and $1 per child ages 5-12. For the Jubilee, occupancy will be limited to 15 people in the house at one time, masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be enforced.

    The 1897 Poe House, part of the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex, reopened for guided tours in November with tours offered at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. On these days, visitors must check in at the Museum of the Cape Fear lobby to sign up for the tour. Tours are limited, masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be enforced.

    The 1897 Poe House will be decorated for Christmas from Nov. 28 through Jan. 9, 2021. Although the Poe House and Museum of the Cape Fear will be closed for Thanksgiving Nov. 26-27, they will reopen on Nov. 28.

    This project is supported by the Arts Council and contributions from businesses and individuals, and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources.

    Matching funds are being provided by the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex Foundation, Inc.

    The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex, located on the corner of Bradford and Arsenal avenues is currently open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum operates under the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, within the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Admission to the museum is free.

    For more information about the museum, the Poe House or the Holiday Jubilee visit https://museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov/

  • 02 thank you letters on flagThe All American Patriot Association will host its first Patriotic and Veterans Day Celebration on Nov. 14 from noon until 11 p.m. at Bryan Honda on Raeford Road in Fayetteville

    “We will open with a flag raising ceremony, pledge of allegiance, national anthem, jumpers jumping in,” said Franco Webb, CEO and president of AAPA. The event is all about fun for veterans, their families and the community.

    “The main purpose of the event is to bring everybody together, to have a good time, it’s about being Americans, about being patriotic, and celebrating our veterans,” Webb said.

    The celebration will feature different speakers discussing patriotic themes, a class teaching children and adults how to raise and lower a flag, and properly fold the flag. Members of local Veterans of Foreign Wars posts will be teaching the proper disposal of a flag.

    The family friendly event will have children's activities, a bounce house and food trucks on site. There will be live performances by bands such as Harley & Big Country, 80's Unleashed, Sabor A Rumba, Ronnie Hymes. The headliner will be RIVERMIST.

    “It's going to be an awesome night to come out, dance and have a good time,” Webb said.

    Attendees will have the opportunity to win prizes throughout the day. Speakers will be randomly selecting people and asking them patriotic questions, and the winners will win a prize, he said.

    Raffle tickets will be available for purchase, and there will be gift baskets set up on tables. Some of the things being raffled include gift cards from Best Buy and a custom ‘Big Dog’ motorcycle.

    “Items that will be up for a silent auction will include an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol with a certificate of authenticity, scholarships for kids to attend a summer horse camp in Texas, and a metal fireplace,” Webb said.

    We have had a lot of positive responses, with people and sponsors, Webb said. Some sponsors of the event include Bryan Honda, Piedmont Natural Gas, Kraken Skulls, Phoenix Global Support, Webb Security and more.

    Webb said that he began organizing the event as a way to celebrate patriotism in the community. “It’s an event that is needed and it comes at a time when everyone’s been holed up and it’s a good reason to get everyone together,” Webb said.

    For more details about the Patriots Day and Veterans Day Celebration, visit https://fb.me/e/gWJHnb3yD

  •     Dear EarthTalk: I saw a cover line on a magazine that said, “The next world war will be over water.” Tell me we’re not really running out of water! 
                                        — Nell Fox, Seattle, Wash.


        Today fully one-sixth of the world’s human population lacks access to clean drinking water, and more than 2 million people — mostly kids — die each year from water-borne diseases. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), an independent organization that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States, predicts that by 2025, one-third of all humans will face severe and chronic water shortages.
        Needless to say, water is of primary importance to our survival, and protecting access to and the quality of fresh water supplies will likely become more and more of a challenge in the coming years. According to the nonprofit World Water Council, the 20th century saw a tripling of the world’s population while freshwater use grew by a factor of six. With world population expected to increase as much as 50 percent over the next half century, analysts are indeed worried that increasing demand for water, coupled with industrialization and urbanization, will have serious consequences both for human health and the environment. Access to freshwater is also likely to cause conflicts between governments as well as within national borders around the world.
        {mosimage}According to USAID, the world’s “water crisis” is not so much an issue of scarcity as it is of poor management and inequitable distribution. The hardest hit regions have been countries in the Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide demand for water is presently doubling every 21 years.
        Water-related problems are not the sole purview of the developing world though. We here in North America have polluted and diverted our fresh water supplies far beyond nature’s capacity to restore the flows, notably in the West where sprawling, thirsty metropolises have grown up in deserts where the only way water can be provided is to siphon it from other regions.
        So how do we fix the world’s water woes? The key lies in using water more efficiently — especially in agriculture and industry, which together account for over 90 percent of the world’s total freshwater use. But changing the practices of millions of farmers and businesses around the world is a Herculean task.
        Irena Salina, director of the award-winning documentary film, FLOW, about the world’s dwindling water supplies, thinks it can be done if world leaders, international banks, the United Nations and other governmental organizations establish cooperative agreements for the use of bodies of water, including groundwater, and economic mechanisms to make sure those who need access to water can get it.
        As for the developed world — where we use 10 times the water as do developing countries — Salina remains pessimistic. “If our own leaders were serious about solving problems, we would not allow corporations to discharge pollutants into our water sources,” she says. “Instead of spending billions on technologies that clean up pollution, we would be using resources to prevent water pollution in the first place.
        CONTACTS: Ocean Conservancy, www.oceanconservancy.org; Natural History Magazine, www.naturalhistorymag.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.
  • 17 01 garden boxThe Master Gardeners Virtual Gardening Symposium promises fresh ideas from gardening experts, a bounty of information and some fun for viewers. The event is packed with presentations, raffles and friendly faces.

    The Nov. 7 event, scheduled 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., is sponsored by the Cumberland County Master Gardener Volunteer Association.

    The event features guest speakers Joe Lamp’l, creator, executive producer and host of the Emmy-award-winning national PBS series “Growing a Greener World;” Kerry Ann Mendez, an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant whose international gardening webinars are enjoyed by thousands; and Jason Weathington, NC State/Cumberland County Extension urban horticulture agent and landscape architect.

    Lamp'l will share behind-the-scenes tips from 9 seasons of his show. Mendez will present "The Right Size Flower Garden." Weathington will present “The Outdoor Room.”

    “The focus of my talk will give people the confidence to go out and create an amazing space, which I think everyone desires to have but very few know how to create,” said Weathington. “It’s important to go back to basic landscape elements and how you can use them to our advantage. Most of us need to learn some of the basics.

    The event is a fundraiser to support local horticulture efforts and scholarships for Fayetteville Technical Community College horticulture students.

    “We give two scholarships at $1,500,” said Cumberland County Master Gardener Symposium Chairperson Judy Dewar.

    “We also offer grants to teachers who offer horticulture classes. And we strive to find ways to educate our county residents.”

    Dewar added that this event is for every level of gardener.

    “There is something from the most adept gardener to the one who has never planted a seed.”

    To register, visit www.eventbrite.com/ and search “Cumberland County” and select the event.

    Participants can also click the link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cumberland-county-master-gardener-rescheduled-gardening-symposium-2020-tickets-120442509789?aff=ebdssbeac&fbclid=IwAR2DyFB-H_1yshgyTpP7WL22TdzJd63dJaOpA2HTMmBSyD0S1pLiqOCpjiU

    17 02 hydrangeas

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Pictured: The Master Gardener Virtual Gardening Symposium offers presentations from experts, raffles and fresh ideas. The symposium is scheduled 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 7.

     

  •     Fayetteville Urban Ministry (FUM) kicked off its annual Holiday Honor Card event on Friday, Nov. 14, at the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.
        “There is hope in the Cards,” said event chair P.R. Moss, a Fayetteville attorney. “A purchase of a Holiday Honor Card — for just $5 — will help Fayetteville Urban Ministry fill the needs of those less fortunate in our community, by providing food and clothing, teaching adults to read, making emergency home repairs and mentoring our troubled youth. This year, it is especially crucial to help Urban Ministry help our community.”
        Twenty years ago artist William Mangum’s introduction to the plight of homelessness came about at a Hardees restaurant when he was asked for money. Something about the man’s demeanor touched Mangum. Today as the Honor Card program celebrates its 20th anniversary Mangum feels assured this was indeed a divine meeting. “The Honor Card has inspired some amazing paintings that share a subtle message about the need to support those that have stumbled along life’s journey,” said Mangum.
        The Honor cards are $5 each, and can be purchased at Fayetteville Urban Ministry, The Fayetteville Observer, Always Flowers by Crenshaw (Westwood), The New Deli (Valleygate Dr.), Edward McKay Bookstore, Northwood Temple Thrift Store and Kindred Hearts(Franklin St.). They are also available at www.fayurbmin.org
         For more information, contact Fayetteville Urban Ministry at 910-483-5944.

    LEAF COLLECTION CONTINUES
        The City Solid Waste Department is once again at your disposal with the annual loose-leaf pickup season. Round 1 hangtag schedules have been distributed. Round 1 pickup runs through Dec. 18. Round 2 of loose leaf season comes later.
        The hangtags were placed on household trash cart-handles for citizens to view easily and take inside for reference. A recommended place to keep the hangtag is on your refrigerator.{mosimage}
        Leaf season allows for unbagged leaves and pine straw to be picked up curbside. Citizens should follow these instructions when bagging up their leaves and pine straw:
        •Rake your leaves and pine straw curbside by day prior to your pickup date. Place your leaves and pine straw on the top of the curb away from storm drains and out of the road. Bad weather may cause delays
        •Leaves and pine straw only - no tree limbs.
         You do not have to wait for loose-leaf season to have your leaves and pine straw collected. If you put your leaves out in sturdy bags or containers on your regular yarddebris day, they will be picked up weekly.     This also helps keep leaves out of the storm drains.
        During loose-leaf season, citizens can pick up trash bags at any recreation center or fire station. Citizens can purchase a brown roll-out cart for $56.45. The City can deliver it to your house for $11.25 or you can pick it up at the Solid Waste Department at 455 Grove Street.
        Citizens can read the guidelines and view the leaf season schedule by their zip code on www.cityoffayetteville.org/leafseason. Another hangtag is available by clicking on Hangtag Brochure. For more information, call 433-1FAY.

  • 16 lake rim parkFayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation offers a variety of locations around town to enjoy the outdoors. Lake Rim Park on Tar Kiln Drive offers an assortment of amenities including picnic areas, horseshoe pits, walking trails, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, athletic fields, natural areas and children’s playgrounds.

    In addition to park facilities, a number of tours and activities are offered in November and December.

    Tar Kiln Tour — Nov. 10, 2 to 4 p.m., free, ages 10+
    Participants can take a behind-the-scenes look at a historical treasure located at Lake Rim Park. Join a park ranger to view the remnants of the Weed’s Lightwood Plant, a century-old turpentine factory. Learn about the importance of the naval stores industry in North Carolina and find out why we are known as “The Tar Heel State.” Call to register, space is limited.

    Kayak Tours — Nov. 14, 9:30 to 11 a.m., $15, $5 w/own boat, adults and ages 10+
    Lake tours are perfect for those trying kayaking for the first time and seasoned paddlers looking to relax on the water. All the equipment and basic instruction for beginners will be provided. We recommend beginners participate in a lake tour before going on a kayak trip. Tours are dependent on the weather. Call to register, space is limited. Participants under 16 must be accompanied by a participating adult.

    Color Hunt — Nov. 18, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., free, all ages
    Conduct experiments to observe a rainbow of colors, discover why colors change in the fall and then search the park for an array of colors on a scavenger hunt. Call to register, space is limited.

    Archery Clinic — Dec. 5, noon to 3 p.m., $5, Ages 8+
    This class is designed to introduce the sport of archery to beginners. Participants will use compound bows as they learn the basics of archery to include safety, proper stance and follow through. Adults are welcome too. Registration begins Nov. 23, space is limited.

    All facilities are open to the public on a first come, first serve basis unless they are reserved. Contact the park office at 910-433-1018 to reserve facilities or register for events. Office hours are Mon. — Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Visit https://www.fcpr.us/parks-trails/parks/lake-rim-park for more information.

  • 13 01 big image chess makingThe Fayetteville Technical Community College Foundation presents their Foundation Weekend events Nov. 4-8.

    “The purpose of the event is to raise money for student scholarships and aid, programs and services at Fayetteville Technical Community College,” said Sandy Ammons, executive director of FTCC Foundation. “The foundation is the fundraising arm of the college and in the past we have raised over $50,000 so we are hoping this year despite the circumstances to sur
    pass that.”

    The Foundation Weekend consists of one event with three different parts: the FTCC Foundation Golf Tournament, the Bluegrass & BBQ at Home dinner and the Online Silent Auction.

    The Golf Tournament will be held at Gates Four Golf and Country Club Nov. 6.

    “The golf tournament goes back at least 20 years and has evolved throughout the years,” said Ammons. “It was scheduled for April and May of this year and because of COVID-19 we had to postpone it.”
    Ammons added that they had to look at it with a different spin on how they could continue with the golf tournament under the new circumstances. The Golf Tournament is currently full and sold out.

    The Online Silent Auction will take place Nov. 4- 8.

    “In the past the silent auction was part of the dinner and you would come to the dinner and there would be an auction in the same room,” said Ammons. “We’ve had the Bluegrass theme for several years which is fun and we had live entertainment, a Western theme and people would come dressed in Western attire and it was an in-person event.”

    Ammons added that this year the silent auction is online and it is open to everyone to bid on the auction items. There is no fee or ticket to purchase.

    “We have really tried to tap into wonderful local businesses and artists who give back to the community who are helping us pull off this event with a new twist,” she said.

    The public can view items up for auction by visiting the Online Silent Auction site at https://www.charityauctionstoday.com/auctions/ftccfoundation-15436.

    “We have got some wonderful auction items that are made by FTCC faculty such as cakes from our Culinary Department, a beautiful hand-milled chess set, exotic plants, tons of gift certificates to local businesses, artwork, original paintings, photography prints, fine jewelry from Hinkamp Jewelers, a BBQ package, a pet package, a garden package and much more,” said Ammons.

    “You can do your Christmas shopping through our auction because we have something for everybody and we add packages daily as we receive them.”

    The Bluegrass & BBQ at Home dinner will take place on Nov. 7.

    “We are going to have a fantastic dinner catered by Southern Coals and it will be chicken, BBQ, macaroni and cheese, broccoli salad and banana pudding,” said Ammons.

    “It will be complete with flowers from the Downtown Market, wine glasses from FTCC, and the meal will be delivered to your home hot and ready to serve or you can pick it up at Southern Coals.”

    Ammons added it will come with beverages from Bright Light Brewing Company or red wine from Healy Wholesale.

    “This event would normally have live entertainment so we are going to have a private live concert at 7 p.m. by the Guy Unger Band streamed to the homes of the guests who buy tickets,” said Ammons. “They will get the link to view the live concert during the dinner.”

    The Fayetteville Technical Community College Foundation has been in existence since 1985 and it is the foundation arm of the college.

    “A big part of what we do is scholarships so we work with donors to bring in money for scholarships for students as well as work to match the students to the right scholarship,” said Ammons.

    “We really try to do everything we can to keep our students on track and in school to graduate and to start their careers.”

    The foundation also manages the Alumni Network. “We work with our students as they are getting ready to graduate and we make sure they stay connected to the college, help with networking and work with them so they can stay with their program after they leave college,” said Ammons. “We work with alumni, retired faculty and staff and current faculty and staff so we are kind of the link between the community and the college.”

    For more information or to purchase tickets visit https://www.faytechcc.edu/foundation-events/ or call 910-678-8441.

    Pictured: (Above) A hand-milled chess set made by FTCC faculty Kevin Henry and students will be available during the Foundation Online Silent Auction event. (Below) The pieces are made from brass and aluminum.

    13 02 big image chess pieces

  • 19Clint Narramore The World Series is coming to the Fayetteville SwampDogs J.P. Riddle Stadium.

    It’s not the fall classic of Major League Baseball fame, but there will be a trophy and prizes as the SwampDogs host the inaguaral 2018 Kickball World Series starting at 9 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 15.

    Clint Narramore, the new assistant general manager and playby-play voice for the SwampDogs, said the tournament is part of a promotion on the part of the SwampDogs to offer family fun opportunities the whole year round, not just during baseball season.

    An entry fee of $25 will get your team entered into the tournament, with an entry deadline of this Saturday, Dec. 1, two weeks prior to the tournament.

    The rules on how people can put their team together are flexible, Narramore said. He is looking for a minimum of nine players per team with a maximum of 12. Standard kickball rules will apply, and the field will be laid out on the infield at Riddle Stadium.

    The format will be single-elimination, bracketstyle play. Each game will last five innings with a 50-minute time limit. The tournament will conclude at 5 p.m.

    Teams can be composed of players of mixed ages, Narramore said, meaning they can include both children and adults. 

    “We want the kids to be able to participate, too, and we want to make sure we can include everyone in the family,’’ he said.

    In addition to presenting a trophy to the winning team, the prizes will include gif cards from various local businesses.

    To enter or to find out more information about the tournament, call 910-426-5900 or come by the SwampDogs office prior to the entry deadline.

    Information is also available on the Facebook page, Fayetteville SwampDogs 2018 Kickball World Series.

    Photo:  Clint Narramore

  • 12 02 DSC 0958The Airborne & Special Operations Museum is again open to the public and offers two exhibits. The 13th Annual Field of Honor exhibit went up Oct. 3 and will be up for display until Nov 30., and the GWOT Memorial Flag exhibit opened Oct 13., and will run until Dec. 6.

    The Field of Honor exhibit, in partnership with Cool Springs Downtown District, showcases 500 flags on display at the ASOM field, said Abbie Cashel, donor relations and event coordinator for ASOM Foundation.

    “Each flag comes with a story, each dedicated to someone whether it be a service member, a veteran and this year we actually opened it up to personal heroes, people that made a positive experience during COVID-19 or just in general,” she said. The tag on each flag identifies who the flag represents and honoree  information.

    “We are really excited that we sold out this year, all 500 flags, that was incredible, all the great community support,” Cashel said.

    The flags sold out for $35 each which will may motivate the museum to have more slots available next year.

    “A lot of people come from all over to view their loved ones’ flags, it acts as a memorial for people and they also use it to honor their loved ones and their service and that's what makes it really special in the community,” she said. “It’s just a really peaceful, respectful place to view a hero.”

    The Global War on Terror Memorial Flag is 28 feet wide and 6 feet tall and designed by Veterans Athletes United. The design symbolizes the shape of a flag when draped on a fallen service member’s casket.
    About 7,000 dog tags form the flag, belonging to those killed in the War on Terror. The 50 gold stars on the flag represent all Gold Star families across the nation. Displayed in front of the flag is a battlefield cross sculpted from mahogany wood by female veteran artist Alicia Dietz.

    The tags are in alphabetical order ranging from Sept. 11, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2019, the tags are in chronological order of the date the service member was killed in action.

    “It’s a really cool piece that we have had up before and a lot of people came, it’s just another exhibit that allows people to honor and remember their loved ones,” Cashel said.

    The GWOT exhibit is free to the public but the museum welcomes a $5 donation.

    The museum is preparing for its next feature, the Ghost Army Exhibit :The Combat Con Artists of World War II , which will open to the public Dec. 15 and be on display until April 25, 2021.

    The exhibit will highlight the story of the 23rd Headquarters Special Group, the first mobile, multimedia, tactical deception unit in U.S. Army history.

    The top secret, unique “Ghost Army” was composed of 82 officers and 1,023 men and was activated Jan. 20, 1944, under the command of Colonel Harry L. Reeder.

    The group was successfully capable of simulating two whole divisions, approximately 30,000 men by using visual, sonic and radio deception to fool German forces during the final year of World War II.

    For more information on the exhibit visit https://www.asomf.org/event/ghost-army-the-combat-con-artists-of-world-war-ii/

    The museum is open Tuesday to Friday, from 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The ASOM is using a reservation system that helps keep capacity level in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines, but people can walk in and sign in at the front desk,
    Cashel said.

    ASOM first opened its doors in 2000, and celebrates its 20th year anniversary this year, although many of the planned events were postponed due to COVID-19 and will hopefully be rescheduled for next year, she said.

    “It's really a place for people to come and learn about Airborne and Special Operations and their history,” Cashel said. “Entry is free, so pretty much everyone in the community does have a chance to come and look and learn and engage with the history of past soldiers that paved the way for modern day soldiers.”

    Visit https://www.asomf.org for more information about the museum.

    Pictured: (Above) The 13th Annual Field of Honor will be on display until Nov. 30. (Below) The GWOT Memorial Flag is made of about 7,000 dog tags identifying those killed in service  (Photos by Dylan Hooker)

    12 01 DSC 0024

  • 18John Mills FEMA  Residents of the Hope Mills area who suffered longterm damage as a result of both Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Matthew have been granted additional time to get assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    Following a request from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, FEMA extended the deadline to apply for assistance in Cumberland County to Thursday, Dec. 13.

    “The deadline is usually 60 days,’’ said John Mills, a representative with FEMA in Washington, D.C. “That’s just the initial registration. People can stay in touch to get assistance after the deadline.’’

    Mills said those who qualify for basic FEMA assistance include anyone who suffered serious hurricane damage from either storm to their primary residence and those who have damage or other needs not specifically covered by insurance.

    “FEMA by law cannot duplicate insurance payments,’’ Mills said.

    Mills was in the Fayetteville and Fort Bragg area just before the storms arrived. He noted there was a lot of flooding locally.

    According to the most recent statistics provided by FEMA, $869 million in disaster aid has been paid to the state of North Carolina.

    Cumberland County is one of 34 North Carolina counties designated to receive financial relief from the federal government.

    The county has received $13.8 million in state and federal funds, with $4.2 million going to 1,700 homeowners and renters.

    There have been 180 flood insurance claims filed with $3.3 million in claims paid.

    As of Nov. 13, more than $6.3 million in U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans have been approved for 280 homeowners and 20 businesses.

    FEMA has a disaster recovery center open six days a week in the Social Services Building at 1225 Ramsey St. in Fayetteville. Mills said the center will remain open based on community need. So far it has had 3,000 visits, and will likely remain open until around the time the deadline for registering on Dec. 13 approaches.

    Mills said those in need of financial help can contact both FEMA and the Small Business Administration at the center.

    “In a big disaster like this, the (Small Business Administration) makes disaster loans to homeowners and renters, not just businesses,’’ Mills said.  “The FEMA money is grants and flood insurance payments. SBA does loans, FEMA doesn’t.’’

    FEMA provides you with a grant for temporary rental assistance if your primary residence was made uninhabitable by the hurricane. Homeowners may also be able to get money from FEMA for basic home repairs or to help survivors replace personal property that was destroyed.

    In some cases, FEMA coordinates with charitable, nonprofit and faith-based organizations that are working with people in the affected areas.

    “In some cases, people will receive money from FEMA,’’ Mills said. “Some people may receive money and assistance from a charitable organization.

    “You’ve seen a lot of what’s been going on, neighbors helping each other out, church groups doing good work. This is an excellent opportunity for young people that want to volunteer with local organizations to give of their time to help folks who are still struggling.’’

    To reach FEMA directly, Mills said the best number to call is 800-621-3362. There is also information on the internet at DisasterAssistance.gov.

    Photo:John Mills, FEMA representative

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113. Until the Parks and Recreation building has been repaired following damage from Hurricane Florence, some meetings may be moved to Luther Meeting Room at Town Hall at regular dates and times. Those meetings are noted with an asterisk below.

    Festival Committee Monday, Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m., Town Hall reception area.

    Board of Commissioners Monday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m., Town Hall.

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

    Activities

    For more information on these activities, contact Meghan Hawkins at 910-426-4109.

    Christmas at the Lake Friday, Nov. 30, 6-7:30, p.m. An old-fashioned Christmas in the mill village returns with singing of Christmas carols, lighting of the Christmas tree, burning of the Yule log and hot chocolate and cookies for everyone.

    Hope Mills Christmas Parade Saturday, Dec. 1, 3 p.m. Enjoy bands, floats, hot cars and a visitor from the North Pole.

    Breakfast with Santa Saturday, Dec. 15, 8:30 a.m., at Hope Mills Fire Station. Jolly Old Saint Nick will be on hand to enjoy a breakfast catered by Grandson’s. Tickets are limited. Children 3 years old and under are free but must have a ticket to attend.

    Promote yourself

    Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

     

  • 17Mark Pezzella To look at Mark Pezzella, you’d think he was in excellent health, but that’s not unusual for many veterans of the military, he said.

    “Don’t be misled or confused by the fact somebody looks normal,’’ he said. “It doesn’t mean they’re not disabled. There’s a lot of disability you can’t see.’’

    It took Pezzella some time to realize he had an assortment of physical and emotional ailments related to his service as a military policeman in the U.S. Army. It took longer still for him to get the benefits that were available to him from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Now he’s speaking out on behalf of other veterans who need the same benefits he’s been getting.

    Pezzella, who runs his own event production company, recently drew attention to the problem some veterans have getting the benefits they are owed when he spoke during a luncheon meeting for veterans hosted by the Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce.

    After serving as a military policeman that included a stint in Operation Desert Storm, Pezzella left the Army on Oct. 27, 1991.

    He spent the first 20 years out of the Army thinking he was just getting old and dealing with the normal problems of aging, never realizing that his various ailments were related to his military service and that there was help available to him he hadn’t pursued.

    “When I found out this stuff was related to my military career, I said, ‘Wow, I’ve been paying for this stuff all this time,’” he said. “Nobody said anything to me. I didn’t have anybody championing the thought process of actually filing with the VA.’’

    Pezzella was a classic case of a veteran with no visible signs of his various disabilities. Both his knees were practically bone on bone, with no cartilage left in either of them. He also had arthritis in both knees.

    The arches of both of his feet had been torn out twice. He had stomach issues as a result of the food he ate while serving in Desert Storm. And there were also lingering mental issues left from the kinds of things people see while in a war zone.

    It took time working with the VA, but Pezzella was eventually classified as 140 percent disabled. He only got that status within the last two years.

    “A lot of soldiers think they have to hire an attorney to get the VA to give them what’s rightfully theirs,’’ Pezzella said.

    Pezzella didn’t do it that way. He found an organization based in Durham called Veterans Pavilion. The organization can be researched online at veteranspavilion.com.

    “They do all the paperwork, all the organizational stuff for the soldier for free,’’ Pezzella said. “They even put the stamp on the envelope.’’

    Pezzella said the paperwork alone involved in getting military benefits can be daunting, especially for someone who may be suffering from mental issues related to their years in service.

    “For them to expect someone with a mental disability to understand the paperwork is silly,’’ Pezzella said. “The paperwork is so complex and legalized, it’s hard for anyone to understand.’’

    That’s why Pezzella is happy to tell his story and encourage those in the same position he was in. “I’m happy to explain the process I took, which was very successful, very cost effective to get me where I am now,’’ he said.

    “The bottom line is people don’t know they can get help. I want them to know they can and it doesn’t cost any money. I can point them in the right direction.’’ 

    While Pezzella encourages veterans in need to reach out to Veterans Pavilion for assistance, he is also willing to talk with veterans on a limited basis to share his experience getting benefits. If you would like to contact Pezzella, his number is 910- 322-4200.

    Photo: Mark Pezzella

  • 16Tonzie Collins Meg Larson and Mike Mitchell In late September of 2013, the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners voted to remove Commissioner Tonzie Collins from his elected position by way of an amotion hearing. It was a politically charged decision, and detractors were quick to point out the exorbitant expense ($33,000) and poor timing. Collins was already a registered candidate and the election was five weeks away. If the board didn’t vote him out of office, they’d have wasted a great deal of tax-payers’ money, and if he won re-election, the process and the expense were wasted.

    If we’d had a recall ordinance in place prior to the amotion hearing, it could have been used to remove Collins with far less expense.

    Immediately following the election, the people of Hope Mills waited patiently for the board to address the gap in accountability. But instead of addressing the issue, they ignored it, as if elected officials misbehaving were an anomaly.

    Today, we find ourselves in a similar situation. Commissioners on this board have taken advantage of that gap in several ways.

    Malfeasance is intentional conduct that is wrongful or unlawful, especially by officials or public employees. Misfeasance is conduct that is lawful but inappropriate. Nonfeasance is failure to act where there was a duty to act.

    Here is a timeline of events involving the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners from the past year.

    June 2018

    1. Commissioner Meg Larson shared outdated water surveys with board members, which swayed their decision in the question of whether to sell land to Lone Survivor Foundation.

    2. Larson contacted staff at PWC to clarify the outdated surveys, without permission from the board.

    3. Larson received an email from PWC staff informing her the surveys were irrelevant — and she withheld it from the public.

    July 2018

    1. Commissioners Mike Mitchell and Larson pressured Rachel Cotter of McAdams Group to include the surveys in the $87,000 comprehensive parks and recreation survey commissioned by the town.

    2. Larson and Mitchell wouldn’t let Rachel Cotter attend the Special Meeting scheduled to discuss a Public Hearing about Lone Survivor Foundation. They then canceled the Public Hearing because they had no information from Rachel Cotter regarding the parks and recreation survey.

    August 2018

    1. Most of the commissioners refused to attend ethics training provided by Cumberland County and the North Carolina League of Municipalities.

    2. Mitchell used social media to announce that McAdams Group told the board they needed to purchase more land for parks and recreation development. McAdams Group briefed the board in October there was enough land for a further 10 years of development and an additional 65 acres.

    3. Legge accused citizens supporting Lone Survivor Foundation of illegally protesting to disrupt a town-sponsored event.

    4. Mitchell sent an email to town staff indicating he felt it was inappropriate for the staff members to support a candidate. N.C.G.S. 160A-169 clearly states employees cannot be restricted from attending political meetings or advocating for candidates. Days later, Mitchell announced he had attended the very meeting he discouraged the staff from attending.

    5. Commissioners Mitchell, Larson and Jerry Legge refused to let Mayor Jackie Warner attend a ceremony in Seattle, Washington, to receive the National Rehabilitation Project of the Year Award from the Annual Association of State Dams Safety Officials. Warner offered to pay for her expenses, and the Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce lobbied the board to reconsider. The board members did not.

    6. Larson and Mitchell began investigating Warner and her involvement with Lone Survivor Foundation’s offer to purchase municipal land. They submitted a public records request for more than 450 emails to prove she colluded to bring the offer to Hope Mills.

    The board never sanctioned an official investigation of Warner. It’s a violation of the laws governing closed sessions for the board to vote in closed session or to discuss other board members. And they’ve never voted on investigating Warner in open session.

    In fact, until the Nov. 5 meeting, it was never even discussed in open session. At that meeting, Warner admonished the commissioners for harassing staff at the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation with dozens of public records requests and insisted they cease and desist. She also accused them of using the town attorney to further their investigation by having him contact FCEDC with requests for emails, receipts and credit card statements. She also announced the most recent request from either a commissioner or the town attorney was Oct. 31.

    Finally, though the board has a fiduciary responsibility to citizens, it has cancelled four meetings since August. The latest meeting was cancelled to accommodate Legge’s vacation. The schedule of meetings is set each November, so Legge had a full year to reschedule this trip. However, during the meeting at which board members voted to cancel, he bragged that he hadn’t missed a vacation in more than 20 years.

    Because there is no form of oversight or consequence for the board’s bad behavior, it’s escalated. And we have every reason to believe 2019 will be a continuation of the same bad behavior we’ve seen in 2018.

    The people of Hope Mills are left with one lingering question: If the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners can’t govern themselves, how can we expect them to govern our town?

    Photo: L to R: Tonzie Collins, Meg Larson and Mike Mitchell. Photo by Elizabeth Blevins.

  •  Christmas on the Lake  It’s hard to celebrate Christmas at the Lake when you’re missing the lake. 

       That’s been the problem for several years in Hope Mills as the community struggled with losing its centerpiece lake following two failures of the Hope Mills Dam. 

       But now that the dam is back and the lake has been restored after years of absence, Christmas at the Lake will return in all its glory this month. 

       The event is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 30, from 6-7:30 p.m. 

       Cathy Johnson of the Hope Mills Appearance Committee described the evening that has been planned as “an old-fashioned Christmas in the mill village.’’ 

       Everyone is hoping for good weather because if it’s raining, Johnson said, there are no plans to move the event indoors anywhere and it will have to be canceled. 

       This year’s resumption of Christmas at the Lake will include familiar features from past years. Most of the activities will take place in the open area of the lake park between the gazebo and the opposite end of the park near the rebuilt dam. 

       Special events will include the lighting of the Christmas tree and the burning of the traditional Yule log. 

       Johnson said the plan also includes the singing of Christmas carols by groups from a variety of local churches. 

       Free hot chocolate and cookies will be provided for all in attendance, Johnson said. 

       Phyllis Hales, longtime Hope Mills resident, said Christmas at the Lake offers special memories for older residents of the area and she’s glad to see it return. 

       “It’s something for everybody,’’ she said, “kind of the opening of the Christmas season.’’ 

  • Meetings 

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113. Until the Parks and Recreation building has been repaired following damage from Hurricane Florence, some meetings may be moved to Luther Meeting Room at Town Hall at regular dates and times. Those meetings are noted with an asterisk below. 

    Board of Commissionersand Mayor’s Youth Leadership CouncilMonday, Nov. 19: POSTPONED. 

    Parks and Recreation Advisory CommitteeMonday, Nov. 26, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building.* 

    Appearance Commission, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building.* 

    Festival CommitteeMonday, Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m., Town Hall reception area. 

    Board of CommissionersMonday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m., Town Hall. 

     

    Activities 

    • ThanksgivingThursday-Friday, Nov. 22-23: Town offices closed. 

    Christmas at the LakeFriday, Nov. 30, 6-7:30, p.m. 

    Hope Mills Christmas ParadeSaturday, Dec. 1, 3 p.m. 

     

    Promote yourself 

    Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com. 

  • Hope Mills commissionersAfter ending their arrangement to have Hope Mills Board of Commissioners meetings aired by the city of Fayetteville’s television channel, the commissioners have returned to the air on the Fayetteville- Cumberland County Educational TV channel. 

    Sally Shutt, assistant county manager for Cumberland County, first mentioned the idea to Hope Mills town manager Melissa Adams a few months ago. 

    Hope Mills had ended its arrangement with the city of Fayetteville after the board of commissioners discontinued a trial agreement with Fayetteville to broadcast the meetings. Had the arrangement continued, Hope Mills was going to have to pay to have its meetings broadcast. 

    Shutt said Cumberland County has a partnership with Fayetteville Technical Community College, which operates the FCETV channel, Channel 5 on Spectrum Cable TV. 

       The FCETV channel airs the meetings of the Cumberland County commissioners. Shutt said she reached out to Brent Michaels of FTCC and asked if they would be willing to air the Hope Mills commissioners meetings as well. She said Michaels agreed. 

       “They (Hope Mills) are filming their own meetings and putting them on their YouTube channel,’’ Shutt said. 

       Shutt said any local municipality that films its own meetings is welcome to pursue having them aired on the FCETV channel. 

       Hope Mills will record its meetings on a digital file and upload the file for broadcast on the FCETV channel. 

       At a recent meeting, the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to have board meetings air on the FCETV channel at 9 p.m. on Friday evenings. 

       To check the complete schedule of programs being aired on FCETV, visit the channel’s website at FCETV.org. 

       Most of the current programming is education-related, along with some government and county news broadcasts. 

  • Surge 5Vance McAllister, who has been overseeing the opening of the new Surge Trampoline Park in Hope Mills, said the 2-year-old company’s mission can be summed up in three words. 

    Fun, friends and family. 

    “It’s a family-style environment,’’ said McAllister of the Louisiana-based business. “That’s what brought Drew Brees on to be a partner of Surge. It’s a great atmosphere for kids of all ages.’’ 

    Brees, the standout quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, appears in a promotional video for the newest Surge facility that recently opened in Hope Mills in the former Bi-Lo Supermarket building. The video can be seen on the Surge Trampoline Park Hope Mills Facebook page. 

    With a growing family of three boys and one girl, Brees has an obvious interest in activities for the family, and McAllister said that’s exactly what Surge has to offer. 

    “He’s all about keeping them active and competitive, not getting caught up in the world of Fortnite,’’ McAllister said of Brees and his family. 

    In growing the business to seven facilities nationwide, with another four scheduled to open in the coming months, McAllister said the company looks mainly for existing buildings that can be converted into Surge franchises, if the demographics show there are enough families in the area to support it. 

       “We go in and rehab the building, change it over to the Surge look and logo,’’ he said. “The two things we are always looking for are high ceilings to put one in and obviously parking.’’ 

       While trampolines were the initial focus of the Surge parks, McAllister said they have been transitioning toward a 50-50 mix between trampoline and climbing features like rock walls. 

       The Hope Mills park includes many of these attractions. “We try to keep them engaged and not just a straight bounce, turn, roll, flip and tumble type thing,’’ McAllister said. 

       One of the attractions at the new park is called High Nine, where you try to jump high enough to hit a sensor as you compete with others. 

       Another popular feature is called Wipeout, where a long beam rotates in a circle and you have to jump over it as it passes. 

       Other activities include pits of soft foam, climbing walls and a giant Rubik’s Cube. 

       With so many physical activities, McAllister said safety is among Surge’s utmost concerns. 

       While on the mats, everyone must wear trampoline socks that have grips on the bottom. They can bring their own or purchase a pair there for $3. 

       For all climbing activities, customers must wear a safety harness and fall restraint. 

       All of the rules of the park are clearly posted at various locations within the facility. 

       Surge isn’t just for individual customers. There are party and banquet options available. 

       There are 12 party tables, along with a separate private banquet room for any type of corporate event, birthday or other celebrations. 

       And the park isn’t just for kids. Some adult groups have already scheduled exercise classes at Surge. 

       With its emphasis on activities for families, Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner said Surge fits right in with the family-oriented, small-town atmosphere Hope Mills is trying to promote. 

       “I believe it’s going to be a destination spot because you don’t have to go all the way into town,’’ she said, referring to people having to drive from surrounding areas to Fayetteville. 

       “We’re a family place to live, and this just adds to it, all the way around a good addition for Hope Mills,’’ Warner said.

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113. Until the Parks and Recreation building has been repaired following damage from Hurricane Florence, some meetings may be moved to Luther Meeting Room at Town Hall at regular dates and times. Those meetings are noted with an asterisk below.

    Board of Commissioners and Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council Monday, Nov. 19: POSTPONED.

    Lake Advisory Committee Tuesday, Nov. 20, 6 p.m., at Parks and Recreation Building.*

    Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Monday, Nov. 26, 6 p.m., at Parks and Recreation Building.*

    Appearance Commission, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 6:30 p.m. at Parks and Recreation Building.*

    Activities

    Hope Mills United Methodist Church Christmas Bazaar Saturday, Nov. 17, 8 a.m.-noon.

    Community Thanksgiving service, Sunday, Nov. 18, at Highland Baptist Church, 6 p.m.

    Thanksgiving Thursday- Friday, Nov. 22-23: Town offices closed.

    Promote yourself

    Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.