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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    11 BBC volunteers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 16 JH 09125After a six-month hiatus due to COVID-19, the Gilbert Theater is back in action with “Barefoot in the Park,” a Neil Simon classic. “Barefoot in the Park” runs through Oct. 18 with limited seating and social distancing in effect due to COVID-19 guidelines for public gatherings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 01 01 20161001 164327Five years ago, the inaugural Indigo Moon Film Festival weekend was nearly washed out by Hurricane Matthew. Festivalgoers braved strong winds, heavy rains, power outages and the beginning of historic flooding in downtown Fayetteville to take part in a sold-out opening night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Q. Are townspeople likely to notice anything?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Q. How many personnel will take part?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 16 01 hair stuff


    Due to the threat of severe weather Saturday from Tropical Storm Nestor, the Fall Family Festival at Harmony at Hope Mills has been postponed to a later date.

    Harmony at Hope Mills, an assisted living facility, is still somewhat new to the Hope Mills community. It’s located at 7051 Rockfish Road, a short distance from Jack Britt High School.

    To help introduce itself and to give back to the town it hopes to serve, Harmony is holding a Fall Family Festival on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

    “We want to say thank you and bring the community together as well, as with our families that are currently residents,’’ said Taneshia Morris, the move-in coordinator at Harmony.

    Harmony is partnering with the group that sponsors the annual Cut My City event to offer a variety of activities and services to anyone who would like to take part, especially members of the senior citizens community.

    One of the big features of the festival will be free haircuts and some makeovers.

    Hair dressers and professional makeup artists will be on-hand to help with the makeovers.

    Morris said Harmony has reached out to local churches to ask them to nominate deserving members as candidates for the makeovers.

    Around 2 p.m., Harmony will hold a seniors fashion show for anyone ages 60 and up. Morris said the fashion show will be complete with a catwalk for the participants.

    16 02 harmonyThere will also be senior games, carnival style, with prizes for the participants.

    Other events will include a photo booth, an antique car show, a cornhole competition and a variety of food trucks.

    Anyone who would like to find out additional information about the event or RSVP for the makeovers or the fashion show is asked to call by Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the latest.

    The number is 910-635-0555.

    “We just want people to know we are here,’’ Morris said.

  • 15 01 goatsThe popular Gallberry Corn Maze is back for a sixth season of weekend fun for families, with a special added attraction this year.

    “We are doing pig racing,’’ said Jeanette McLean, spokesperson for the corn maze.

    They try to get in at least two pig races during Friday’s hours for the corn maze and as many as three or four during their longer hours on Saturday.

    This year’s hours are 5-10 p.m. on Friday, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The last tickets are sold each day one hour before closing.

    The pigs have their own track at the corn maze, the Gallberry Nas-Hawg Speedway.

    The four competing critters are named Earnhawg Jr., Danica Porkchop, Stinkerbelle (a Southern pig, of course) and Spongehawg Spampants.

    The pigs are Gloucestershire old spots and were originally bred as orchard pigs. “They are actually leaner, longer pigs and aren’t messy,’’ McLean said. “They don’t root as much as a farm pig does.’’

    Each pig is assigned a number and a color prior to the race and children that come to the corn maze are encouraged to cheer for the 15 02 Corn Maze signpig of their choice to win.

    In addition to the racing pigs, Galberry continues with many of its traditional attractions that have made the corn maze a fall hit.

    There is the jumping pillow along with a wide assortment of farm animals. They include Hee Haw the Donkey, baby goats and baby peacocks, Tom Tom the Turkey and rabbits.

    Other attractions include a giant corn shack with 6,000 pounds of corn, various slides, a climbing wall, cornhole games, tic tac toe played with Styrofoam pumpkins, a barrel train and a hayride.

    Of course, the main attractions are the two mazes, a one-acre children’s maze and the five-acre main maze. McLean estimates it takes about 45 minutes to walk through both mazes.

    Flashlights are required in the maze after dark. They are available for sale at the concession stand but McLean said most customers use the light on their cellphones.

    Tickets are $11 for everyone ages 3-65. Children under three are free. Cumberland County school teachers, seniors 66 and over and military can get a $1 discount with proper identification.

    The hay ride stops at dusk for safety reasons.

    All sales are cash only and there is an ATM at the main ticket gate.

    The only thing a ticket doesn’t include is the popular air cannons which are three shots for $1.

    Pumpkins and all food from the concession stand cost extra.

    Concession items include water, soft drinks, juice boxes, funnel cakes, fried Oreos, honey buns, corn dogs, hot dogs, nachos with chili and cheese and fried corn on the cob. There are also S’Mores kits available. Fire pits are also provided.

    The Gallberry Corn Maze, located on 5991 Braxton Rd., is open through Nov. 3. For more information, visit the Facebook page, Gallberry Corn Maze, the website, gallberrycornmaze.com, or call McLean at 910-309-7582.



  • 14 01 TRUNK R TREAT 1Trunk R Treat announcement: Due to the threat of inclement weather, the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department will host this year's Trunk R Treat event inside the Hope Mills Recreation Center from 6-8 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 31. Doors will open promptly at 6 p.m. 

    The Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department continues its safe alternative to door-to-door trick or treating on Halloween with the annual Trunk R Treat event at Hope Mills Municipal Park on Rockfish Road.
    This year’s Trunk R Treat is scheduled Oct. 31 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

    Family fun will again be the focus according to Meghan Freeman of the parks and recreation staff. Free music will be provided by Cumulus Media and there will be a costume contest. All costumes are asked to be family appropriate with no drugs, alcohol or profanity.

    Freeman said the Trunk R Treat will be a free-flowing event with no single-file line for people to stand in as they go from trunk to trunk to collect candy. Families are asked to make sure each child has a bag to collect candy in.

    For individuals, businesses or organizations that want to have a vehicle at the event handing out candy, they must preregister by Monday, Oct. 21.

    The form they have to fill out includes information like business, organization or individual name, mailing address, a contact name, phone number and email address, along with make and model of the vehicle and the type of vehicle.
    They also need to specify how many parking spaces the vehicle will require.

    Anyone giving anything away from a vehicle is reminded that no homemade treats are permitted. All food items given away must be prepackaged and sealed when they are handed out.

    Those taking part in the candy giveaway also should not hold any prize giveaways or games that would cause people to have to stop and stay at an individual vehicle, slowing down movement of the participants past the various vehicles.

    14 02 Halloween Vehicles registered to take part in Trunk R Treat need to arrive as early as 4:30 p.m. and no later than 5:30 p.m.

    Gates won’t open to the public until 6 p.m. sharp, Freeman said.

    “There’s no reason for them to come super, super early,’’ she said.

    Parking will be available behind the recreation center, at Rockfish Elementary School across the street and at the nearby public library. The cars giving away treats will be set up in the lot closest to the outdoor basketball court Freeman said.

    For questions or concerns about Trunk R Treat, call Freeman at 910-426-4109 or email her at mhawkins@townofhopemills.com


    Picture 1: Mayor Jackie Warner dressed in costume with her car at a previous Trunk R Treat.

    Picture 2: Trunk R Treat, hosted by The Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department is a safe alternative to door-to-door trick or treating.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 17 CreedPictures and videos of 7-year-old Creed Kolasa don’t show anything unusual except a youngster with an effervescent smile who quickly charms his way into the hearts of anyone he comes in contact with.

    “He is so funny,’’ said his mother, Jessica Kolasa. “He comes up with the most off-the-wall comments. And he has no filter. He loves people and his smile just melts you.’’

    He is a huge fan of dinosaurs, with Tyrannosaurus Rex his clear favorite. His mom isn’t sure why, but she thinks possibly it’s because of the dinosaur’s ferocious roar.

    With his cherubic face and small stature, Creed doesn’t look like a formidable adversary, but he, his family and all the available tools of modern medicine are fighting back with everything they have against a potentially fatal disease that has beset him since birth.

    Creed is among an estimated 200,000 people worldwide suffering from a rare disorder called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Creed’s body is unable to produce a protein called dystrophin that helps with normal muscle function.

    He was born four weeks premature and suffered issues with breathing and jaundice. At one time, it was thought he would need a liver transplant.

    Creed’s father, Doren Kolasa, was transferred to Fort Bragg not long after his Creed’s birth. Although the family lives in Eastover, Doren is a successful coach in the Hope Mills Dixie Youth program.

    He led his Hope Mills Angels 10U team to the Dixie Youth state title last summer and a berth in the Dixie Youth World Series in Alexandria, Louisiana.

    Creed plays youth sports in Hope Mills, currently competing in the 8U fall baseball league.

    Jessica eventually took the infant Creed to the emergency room at the University of North Carolina after being unable to find a doctor in Fayetteville who would treat a patient as young as Creed.

    It was at UNC Hospitals that a resident who had studied Duchenne made the diagnosis when Creed was six months old.

    She said the family was told at the time there were no treatments for someone as young as Creed. So Jessica Kolasa began her own quest to find a doctor somewhere who would give Creed the weapons he needed to fight Duchenne.
    “I started reading what kind of therapies have helped slow the progression of the disease and the natural history of it,’’ she said.

    Eventually, they turned to Duke University and found Dr. Edward Smith. Smith is an associate professor of pediatrics at Duke in the division of neurology.

    “I’m the doctor here who sees all the kids with suspected or known muscle and nerve diseases,’’ Smith said. “We follow about 140 Duchenne patients now, kids and adults.’’

    Duchenne is unique to boys, Smith said, and in most cases you don’t see outward signs of the disease until two or three years of age. He said they look essentially normal by the age of three or four and then signs appear like not being able to keep up with children their age or having difficulty standing or going up and down stairs.

    Over time, things get worse. They lose the ability to walk by age 10 or 12, then eventually lose arm function. Since the heart is a muscle, it is also affected over time. By the time the patient reaches the age of 30, they are in a wheelchair and can barely move.

    Standard care of Duchenne includes administering steroids, which basically help the patient to walk a little longer. The Kolasas went to Duke to try an experimental therapy that it offers.

    Creed was originally taking a drug called Vamorolone, a newly synthesized steroid molecule. It basically does the same thing the other steroids do, with hopefully fewer side effects.

    Currently, he’s switched to another drug that helps his body with a process called Exon skipping. In layman’s terms, this drug is sort of a molecular patch. The faulty gene in Creed’s body is tricked into producing the dystrophin protein that helps his muscles do their job.

    Smith said it’s not the normal level of dystrophin that the body produces, but any dystrophin that can be created will slow the advance of the disease and help Creed to live as normally as possible for a longer time.

    Research is ongoing into even better ways to get the body to produce the needed dystrophin Smith said. Advanced gene therapy is looking at a way to deliver a micro dystrophin gene through a virus that would carry the gene to the muscles and turn on dystrophin production. “There are currently three trials going on in the United States with three different companies,’’ Smith said. “It looks promising.’’

    Life goes on at a hectic pace for Creed and family. He has regular occupational and physical therapy sessions, along with speech therapy, to help him battle what the lack of dystrophin does to his muscles.

    He makes weekly visits to Duke for an infusion of the Exon, skipping medication he’s currently using. He’s had 115 visits to date. In each one, he undergoes an hour-long infusion of the drug, then has to wait an additional hour to be observed for a reaction.

    Not surprisingly, he’s no stranger to all the folks at Duke. “He is on a first-name basis with half the hospital,’’ Smith said.

    That is likely one of the reasons Creed was front and center at the recent Duke Children’s Gala, an annual benefit held to raise money for Duke Children’s.

    Blue Devil basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and his family were honored for their support of Duke Children’s. Creed was called to the stage to share his story, and to receive an autographed basketball from Krzyzewski.

    I just loved Creed being able to go up on stage and tell his story, lighten up the room,’’ Jessica said, “being able to bring awareness to Duchenne and raise some money for the hospital.’’

    But while the moment in the spotlight was special, Jessica and her family face the reality of daily challenges seeking the best care for Creed while raising a family of three other children ages ranging in age from 12 to three.

    “It’s a tough balance,’’ she said. “There have been a lot of tears shed by my other kids when they wanted to do something and know they can’t because I can’t pick them up at that time.

    “It really pulls on my heart because I’ve had to see them mature faster, but the love they have for him (Creed) overshadows all of that.’’

    Meanwhile, Jessica says she and her family pray daily for a miracle that will deliver Creed from the grip of Duchenne and allow him to lead a normal life.

    “We also have learned life isn’t about things, it’s about memories,’’ she said. “We try to soak in everything we can, possibly soak in with him and all four kids.

    “That’s what life’s about. Making memories.’’

    And keeping them alive as long as possible.

    Pictured:Creed Kolasa gets autographed basketball from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
    Photo credit: Les Todd for Duke Children’s

  • 16 AlmsHouseThere’s a calendar day to celebrate just about everyone and everything it seems — even the homeless. But Kenjuana McCray and the people from the Community Awareness Alliance plan to do more with World Homeless Day than recognize the homeless. Their goal is to provide them with tangible help.

    The ALMS HOUSE in Hope Mills will host a feeding and food drive on Friday, Oct. 11, which is actually the day after the official observance of World Homeless Day on Oct. 10.

    The Community Awareness Alliance is a Cumberland County organization that helps promote concern for the homeless locally, according to McCray, who was asked to help bring an event for the homeless to Hope Mills.

    “This is the first time World Homeless Day has ever been recognized countywide in Cumberland County,’’ McCray said. “It is something done all over the United States.’’

    She chose Oct. 11, the day after World Homeless Day, for the observance in Hope Mills because it worked better for the schedules of those she wanted to involve in the event.

    “It was supposed to be something where it’s not just a Fayetteville thing,’’ she said. “They wanted all the municipalities represented, to do something to bring awareness to the homeless.’’

    McCray said she also involved Grilley Mitchell of the Hope Mills Festival Committee in the planning for the World Homeless Day observance.

    The Hope Mills observance of World Homeless Day will take place at the ALMS HOUSE on Ellison Street. The event has been in the planning since last November, McCray said. The ALMS HOUSE was chosen as the site because it is already involved in helping to feed the homeless in the Hope Mills community.

    McCray said representatives of the culinary department from Fayetteville Technical Community College, where she works, will be on hand to provide a free meal of hot soup and bread for any homeless and low income families who would like to eat.

    The free meal is also available to anyone who comes to the event to donate nonperishable food items or toiletries to give to those in need.

    The food items and toiletries will be shared between the ALMS HOUSE and the FTCC Food Pantry.

    As far as toiletries are concerned items like soap, toothpaste and deodorant are always welcome. “Those are sometimes forgotten items,’’ McCray said. “They are things low income and homeless people could really use and need.’’
    The time for the free soup is listed from noon until 1 p.m. but McCray said they will most likely continue to serve those who attend until the supply runs out.

    In addition to the food and donations, there will be information available to those attending regarding services for the homeless and low income families.

    Lindsey Wofford will represent an organization called Seth’s Wish, which supports low-income and homeless people in the county. “They do clothing drives, food drives and all kinds of things,’’ McCray said of Seth’s Wish.

    McCray said Wofford would share information about the various services provided by Seth’s Wish.

    Also present will be Christine Sheets of the Hope Mills office of the State Employees Credit Union.

    Sheets will have an informational table set up to share services that the SECU offers for low income families like low-cost life insurance and nominally-priced income tax preparation.

    “I know a homeless person is not necessarily looking for that, but a low-income family might use some of the advantages the SECU provides,’’ McCray said. “It’s not only feeding the homeless and people that are low-income. It’s showing them other resources that are in the community and that can assist them.’’

    The Students for Social Justice at FTCC will be on hand to help with the collection of the items people bring to donate.

    For any questions about the event, contact McCray at kenjuanamccray09@gmail.com or contact her during office hours at FTCC, 910-494-1352.

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

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

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

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

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

    There are multiple divisions and various prices for entering them.

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

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

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

    All teams must register to compete by Oct. 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • adjusted helmet
    Where has this football season gone?

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

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

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

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

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

    Terry Sanford•Football•Senior

    21 02 Jacob KnightKnight has a 3.937 weighted grade point average. He is a captain on the Terry Sanford football team.  He is a member of Academically/Intellectually Gifted and National Honor Society and enjoys taking college courses at Fayetteville Tech.  Knight is a active member of Epicenter Church where his father Mark Knight is pastor.
  • 13 THE CROSSINGTwo of North Carolina’s most beloved authors, Ron Rash and Charles Frazier, come from our mountain region. Two of our most promising younger writers, Jason Mott and De’Shawn Winslow, are African Americans from eastern North Carolina.

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

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

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

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

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

    He builds V’s story around an unusual fact. While living in Richmond as first lady of the Confederacy, she took in a young mulatto boy she called Jimmie. She raised him alongside her children. At the end of the Civil War, Union troops took the six-year-old Jimmie away from V, and she never learned what happened to him.

    Ron Rash is famous for his poetry, short stories and novels. He is perhaps best known for the best selling novel “Serena,” although some of his fans and critics say that his latest, “The Risen” set in the mountains near Sylva, is his best.
    Early in “The Risen,” in the present time, the local newspaper reports the discovery of the body of Jane Mosely, who had disappeared in the summer of 1969. The central character, Eugene Matney, and his brother had become involved with Jane with drugs and sex. When Jane’s body is found, the boys, now grown men, become possible murder suspects.

    Almost all the characters in Elizabeth City native De’Shawn Charles Winslow’s debut novel, “In West Mills,” are African American, but the book’s themes are universal.

    West Mills is a fictional small town in eastern North Carolina, somewhere near Elizabeth City, where the author grew up.

    That main character, Azalea Centre, or Knot, as she is called by everyone, has moved to West Mills to take a teaching job. Knot loves 19th century English literature. She also loves cheap moonshine and bedding a variety of men.

    Two unintended pregnancies result in Knot’s having two daughters. They are adopted confidentially by local couples who name them Frances and Eunice. The girls, not knowing about their common origin, come to despise each other and fight for the attention of the same man.

    On this situation, Winslow builds a series of confrontations and complications that challenge the comfortable order of the community.

    I hope Bookwatch will produce a new season soon. In the meantime repeat episodes from the current season will air and give us another chance to experience these four important North Carolina authors.

  • 20 BazzleSouth View athletic director Chad Barbour said Tyler Bazzle is the kind of student who brightens your day whenever you see him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 14 Tell me a storyDid the late great writer, Pat Conroy’s late-in-life marriage to fellow writer Cassandra King make him a better writer?

    Just in case you don’t remember, Conroy, who died in 2016, was the best-selling author of “The Great Santini," “The Lords of Discipline,”  “The Prince of Tides," and “Beach Music." 

    All of these were dark compelling stories filled with angry characters and sad family conflicts.

    Conroy had what every writer or aspiring writer longs for, being a great storyteller and having a gift for writing moving prose.

    His storytelling gifts were intertwined with a life that was filled with turmoil and with unhappy and abusive family situations. Most memorable was his relationship with his father, Marine Corps Col. Don Conroy, who became the iconic and central figure in “The Great Santini.” 

    Conroy said that his dysfunctional family and abusive father were gifts that fueled his moving fiction.

    All that began to change in February 1995 when Conroy met Cassandra King at a party during a literary conference in Birmingham, Alabama. Their friendship began around a buffet table and conversations about food. But when the conversation turned to King’s book, Conroy told her to have the publisher send him a copy. “If I like it,” he said, “I’ll give you a blurb. If not. I’ll pretend it got lost in the mail.”

    King, now Cassandra King Conroy, tells the rest of the story in “Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy,” to be released October 29.

    I will hold most of the details for a later column, but will share some of the story as it relates to the question in this column’s opening paragraph.

    After a long and mostly long-distance friendship, one that only gradually turned to romance, Conroy and Cassandra wed in 1998 and settled down in Conroy’s house at Fripp Island, near Beaufort, South Carolina.

    Conroy’s close friends worried about the gossip Cassandra would hear about his former wives and girlfriends. But when they learned that Cassandra’s first marriage had been to a minister, she joked, “From a holy man to Pat Conroy. Talk about a leap of faith.”

    Cassandra’s writing benefited from Conroy’s encouragement. Talking with author and Conroy friend, Anne Rivers Siddons, Cassandra said she was writing a book about a group of her women friends, “real-life friends I’ve had for years.”
    Siddons was alarmed and asked if Conroy had “urged you to do that.”

    When Cassandra nodded, yes, Siddons cautioned, “Tread carefully. You know what that very thing has cost Pat. Beneath his tough shell he suffers more about the stuff he’s written than he’ll ever let anyone see."

    In 2013, Conroy appeared with me on North Carolina Bookwatch to discuss his non-fiction book, “The Death of Santini," a memoir that centered on the death of his father. He was calm and relaxed as he talked about his writing routine.
    In the early part of the day, he and Cassandra would each spend several hours writing alone, then lunch together, and have afternoons to relax. He radiated happiness. See this interview at https://video.unctv.org/video/nc-bookwatch-pat-conroy-death-santini/

    And his writing did change. He published only one more long book of fiction after his marriage, “South of Broad," which got a mixed critical reaction. In his New York Times’ review Roy Hoffman, while acknowledging that “Conroy remains a magician of the page,” wrote that his traditional themes “have simply been done better — by the author himself.”

    On the other hand, his non-fiction books such as “My Losing Season,” and “Death of Santini,” although they show some of Conroy’s fiery spirit, the tone is moderated and sustains an authoritative command of his narrative. These books are two of my all-time favorites.

    So did marriage make Conroy a better writer?  Certainly it made him a happier one.  And, I think it made him a better one, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pictured: Dorian Clark

  • 15 jazzThere’s just nothing quite as distinctive as jazz music. It reaches into the depths of your core and seems to radiate throughout your being. It’s smooth, harmonious and full of dynamic rhythm. It is perfect for relaxing after a long day, hanging out with friends and even to help set the mood for a romantic evening. It expands into multiple cultures, ages and generations. The Cape Fear Jazz Society knows the impact and the reach jazz has, which is why it has invited performer, Jazzmeia Horn, to provide an evening of culture and entertainment on Nov. 3, 2019 at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Kenan Auditorium. 

     According to Primus Robinson, who represents the Cape Fear Jazz Society, the collaboration between the Society and the UNCW provides an opportunity to bring in nationally renowned talent, such as Horn, to a larger audience within this larger facility and contributes to the arts culture of the community.

    This is the first collaboration between the society and UNCW, and the staff with both organizations chose Grammy-nominated, award-winning talent of Horn to share her unique, jaw-dropping vocal talent to foster and promote jazz, a mission of the CFJS.

    The day after the concert, Horn will also teach a free “Artist Master Class,” offering students and fans an opportunity to learn from her about how the art of jazz captures her essence and how they can find that within themselves.

     The CFJS presents jazz in different locations, from small to large, with its tenth season currently in progress at The Cameron Art Museum. They havehad continued success to date with a sold-out crowd for its eight-month run.

    CFJS just wrapped up its five-month outdoor series at the Bellamy Mansion Museum, making it their most successful while also celebrating their 10-year anniversary.

    The CFJS is a nonprofit organization and has a mission to educate others on the appreciation of jazz, which is why it will continue to present jazz artists.

    In the words of Robinson, “My favorite thing is experiencing togetherness. People enjoy exploring and delighting in innovative art. Jazz is creative, intellectual, accessible and unifying. Music is the healing force of the universe, Cape Fear Jazz Society has the great gift of music and art, which is the goal of the CFJS. We've been getting it right for 21 years.”

    Tickets for the Jazzmeia Horn Concert begin at $20, and the event is appropriate for all ages and demographics.

    Jazz lovers can look forward to seeing Jazzmeia Horn perform on Nov. 3 at the UNCW Kenan auditorium.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 08 Heroes vs villainsThere will be a battle of massive proportion when the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra performs Heroes vs. Villains at Methodist University in Fayetteville Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Up  & Coming Weekly spoke with Deborah Teasley, FSO interim president/CEO.

    UCW: Is this the first time the FSO has performed something like this?

    FSO: The symphony does a variety of genres of music from many eras each season. Each season we try to offer something that appeals to everyone, whether they are looking for classical music from the baroque period (or) contemporary styles. This includes a concert of contemporary music that is readily recognized by a large number of people. Last year, it was a concert of John Williams’ music. I think everyone recognizes his movie themes. This year, we decided to have some fun with a Heroes versus Villains theme.

    UCW: Who chooses the songs?

    FSO: The primary responsibility for music selection is that of the music director Stefan Sanders but he takes suggestions and ideas from a number of sources. The season selections and concert themes are done by a committee led by Stefan Sanders.

    UCS: Can you share the songs being performed?

    FSO: The songs being performed at the Heroes versus Villains concert Oct. 18 at Methodist University are songs from Pirates of the Caribbean, “Themes from 007” (James Bond) “Wonder Woman,” “Armed Forces Salute,” “Godzilla Eats Las Vegas,” “Zarathustra,” “Star Trek through the Ages,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Spider Man,” “Mulan,” “Incredits” from the Incredibles, “William Tell Overture” and a tribute to John Williams.

    UCW: What is the best way to describe what the audience can expect from coming to this performance?

    FSO: The audience can first expect excellent music. The FSO is comprised of professional musicians. Then they can expect a good time.  There will be characters in costume, a preconcert discussion of the music by “the music nerd,” and a musical battle between the heroes and the villains. You have to be there to find out who wins.

    UCW: Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know about the FSO and the Heroes vs. Villains performance?

    FSO: Attendees are free to dress as their favorite character if they wish.  This concert is the same weekend as the Fayetteville Comic Con, so we are hoping that some of the people attending Comic Con will come to the concert in their costumes.

    Get your tickets today for your opportunity to experience the battle of these phenomenal heroes and vicious villains firsthand. Tickets range from $10-$26 and can be purchased in advance at the FSO website: http://www.fayettevillesymphony.org/2019-2020-season-concerts/

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It has happened before to teams from this area.

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

    The answer today is clear: It is Rufus Edmisten, Democratic nominee for governor in 1984, attorney general, secretary of state and author of a recent book, “That’s Rufus: A Memoir of Tar Heel Politics, Watergate and Public Life.”

    Edmisten begins his book not with his birth and growing up on a farm just outside the mountain town of Boone but with his favorite story. In 1973, he served the president of the United States with a subpoena on behalf of the Senate Watergate Committee, which was led by another North Carolinian, Sen. Sam Ervin. Serving the president with this demand for the records ultimately led to President Nixon’s resignation. Edmisten’s position as Ervin’s right-hand man made him a nationally known personality that he leveraged into political stardom.

    Edmisten makes the story a good one. He describes the frantic rush to prepare the subpoena document, including a heated discussion about using correction fluid to cover a mistake and a ride to the Executive Office Building where the president’s lawyers respectfully accepted the subpoena. Then the cheeky Rufus reached in his pocket, pulled out his copy of the Constitution and gave it to the president’s lawyers in a pointed message that they should study it.

    This incident and Edmisten’s work with Sen. Ervin were the launch pad for his political career.

    Edmisten’s prelaunch story is set in the North Carolina mountains on a farm near Boone, where he grew up tending cows and pigs and working fields of cabbages and tobacco. He made extra money plowing garden plots for his neighbors and used a tractor to visit his kinfolks around the mountains.

    After success in athletics, Future Farmers of America, student politics and academics in high school, and almost winning a Morehead Scholarship, he landed at UNC-Chapel Hill. From there, he made his way to Washington, D.C., teaching at a Catholic high school, attending law school at George Washington and securing a low-level job on Sen. Ervin’s staff. Edmisten soon became one of the senator’s full-time trusted assistants in the Watergate-Nixon impeachment matter.

    The “That’s Rufus” chapter on Watergate is good background for those following the current battle between Congress and another president.

    He returned to North Carolina in 1974 and mounted a successful campaign for attorney general. His triumph over a host of prominent Democrats gave notice he would run for governor someday.

    That day came in 1984 when Gov. Jim Hunt ran for the U.S. Senate and a host of Democrats lined up to run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Edmisten won in a brutal primary runoff against Eddie Knox and then lost the general election to Jim Martin.

    Some believe he lost because he made disparaging remarks about barbecue. His version of that incident is, by itself, worth the price of the book. But Edmisten says it was Ronald Reagan’s “sticky coattails” that “swept both me and Jim Hunt away from our dreams. We were not alone, either. The sweep was broad and far reaching.”

    Edmisten felt crestfallen and abandoned. “The ache in the bottom of my stomach was so great nothing appealed to me except finding some dark place to crawl away and hide,” he writes. “I swear I saw people cross the street so they wouldn’t have to talk to me.”

    “That’s Rufus” describes how Edmisten came back from that defeat, won election as secretary of state, lost that position in disgrace, came back as a successful lawyer and lobbyist and learned lessons that will be important for every citizen.

    In a future column I will share some of that wisdom.

  • 22 01 jessica waltonJessica Walton

    Douglas Byrd•Tennis/basketball• Senior

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

    Michael Jurado

    Douglas Byrd•Soccer•Senior

    Jurado has a 4.24 grade point average. He is captain of the soccer team. He is a member of the Academy of Green Technology and the National Honor Society. He plans to attend North Carolina State University and major in electrical engineering.
    22 02 michael jurado
  • 10 Choral ArtsThe recently rebranded Cumberland Choral Arts, formerly known as Cumberland Oratorio Singers, is set to debut its 2019-2020 concert season with “A Night at the Opera” Friday, Oct. 18, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 1601 Raeford Road. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

     “A Night at the Opera,” featuring opera choruses both familiar and obscure, will be the latest of CCA’s more diversified musical programming. Among the more familiar pieces will be a “Porgy and Bess” medley performed by guest soloist, Dr. Denise Payton of Fayetteville State University. Selections from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and the chorus popularly known as the “Can-Can” from Offenbach’s operetta will also be among the featured performances of the evening. Less familiar choruses scheduled to be performed are “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from the Verdi opera “Nabucco” and “Chorus of the Servants” from “Don Pasquale” by Donizetti.

     Since CCA Director, Jason Britt, took a leave of absence during this season’s first quarter due to health reasons, Ryan Pagels, director of music at St. John’s Episcopal Church, is filling in as interim artistic director. “I am very humbled to be conducting this concert, especially one programmed with such special music,” said Pagels. “It is no secret that some of the most iconic and memorable melodies in opera come from the choruses. This program is very much a celebration of the art form, and full of melodies that will stick with you as you leave the concert. I am especially excited to feature Dr. Denise Payton from FSU as a guest soloist, as well as some of the members of the CCA.”

     In addition to the CCA choir, there will be performances by the Cross Creek Chorale and the Campbellton Youth Chorus. A pianist will provide the only instrumental accompaniment of the evening.

     Sponsors for “A Night at the Opera” include Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, Cumberland Community Foundation, Cumulus Media, Up & Coming Weekly and many others who will be listed in the program.

     “I cannot speak highly enough of this ensemble’s dedication to creating beautiful, moving music, said Pagels. “They are a delightful group of people, and you will not be disappointed.”

     Tickets for this concert may be purchased at the door for $15. Also available for purchase at the door will be $45 season tickets, which will cover the four regular-season concerts. Visit www.facebook.com/CumberlandChoralArts for additional information. 

     In addition to the CCA choir, there will be performances by the Cross Creek Chorale and the Campbellton Youth Chorus.

  • 21 01 toni blackwelllEditor's note: The Cape Fear girls won their third consecutive N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A East Regional title on Tuesday and Toni Blackwell took her second consecutive individual title. Blackwell shot a 76 at Reedy Creek Golf Course in Four Oaks. The Colt team shot a 269 to beat second-place Topsail High school by nine strokes. Cape Fear’s other scores that counted were a 91 by Gabby Bynum and a 102 by Lexi Perez. After a season dominating play in the Patriot Athletic Conference, the Cape Fear girls golf team is ready to make another run at state golf honors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The knotCan the struggles chronicled by four North Carolina authors help the rest of us deal with our own everyday challenges?

    A wife whose beloved husband is crippled by a botched medical procedure? An African American judge breaking through centuries of institutional racism? A grossly overweight man’s daily struggle to lead a normal life? A teenaged girl tossed suddenly into a part of her family she had not known before?

    These stories will be featured on UNC-TV’s "North Carolina Bookwatch" during October.

    In  “Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap,” Charlotte’s award-winning author Judy Goldman tells how a newspaper ad and a doctor promised a simple procedure to give relief for her long-suffering husband’s back pain. Instead, it led to paralysis and a new set of pains, which changed the lives of her husband and Goldman. She tells the poignant story of how they and their marriage survived this challenge.

    November 1971 Gov. Robert Scott appointed High Point lawyer Sammie Chess Jr. as a superior court judge. Such appointments are always special but this one was historic. Judge Chess was the first African American superior court judge ever to serve in North Carolina. His story of how he came from a cotton field tenant shack to the judgeship, through poverty and racism, is one every North Carolinian should remember. That story is well-told by Joe Webster, a lawyer, judge and Chess’s admiring friend, in “The Making and Measure of a Judge.”

    When Judge Chess was asked how he was able to get beyond the Jim Crow situations of his youth and early law practice, he said,  “You treat people the way you want to be treated, not the way you are treated. I didn’t let them set my standards. If a Klan member can bring you to his level, then you are not well rooted.”

    Tommy Tomlinson is a terrific writer with a big fan club from his more than 1,700 columns in The Charlotte Observer and compelling stories as a freelance writer for Esquire, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Forbes and Garden & Gun.

    He also had a terrific problem that he summarized as follows: “The government definition of obesity is a body mass index of 30 or more. My BMI is 60.7. My shirts are size XXXXXXL, which the big-and-tall stores shorten to 6X. I’m 6-foot-1, or 73 inches tall. My waist is 60 inches around. I’m nearly a sphere.”

    In “The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America,” Tomlinson speaks to all of us who have trouble resisting Krispy Kreme doughnuts, bowls of ice cream, M&M's, hot dogs, cinnamon biscuits and Chips Ahoy cookies, all the while being worried about getting or staying fat.

    In her 14th novel for young adult/teen readers, “The Rest of the Story,” Sarah Dessen introduces us to Emma, whose father is taking his new wife on a long honeymoon trip to Europe. Emma’s mother is dead, but somehow Emma winds up with her mom’s family in a working-class section of a resort called North Lake, where her mom grew up. Her dad’s family had vacationed in a wealthier section.

    Emma’s struggles to find a place in her mother’s family, along with the usual adjustments required of a teenaged woman make for an inspiring story. There is a strong sense of place in North Lake, which Dessen says was inspired by her family’s vacation trips to a popular North Carolina vacation spot, White Lake, in Bladen County.

    All four books have inspired this North Carolinian to put his life’s challenges in perspective.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 20 Daryl SmithlingDaryl Smithling


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

    Kadyn Staab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    He died Oct. 3.

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

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

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

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

    Now that we’re seven weeks into the high school football season with five left in the regular season, here is how things stack up according to the statewide MaxPreps.com football rankings.
    We’ll start with the rankings for all classes, public and private, in North Carolina.
    The top Fayetteville school is Jack Britt, which comes in at No. 24. Next is Trinity Christian at No. 44.
    South View is No. 57 with Terry Sanford No. 63. Seventy-First is No. 81, Cape Fear No. 85. 
    Gray’s Creek is No. 156, E.E. Smith No. 161 and Pine Forest No. 196.
    Completing the list are Westover at No. 248 and Douglas Byrd at 284.
    Fayetteville Christian, which plays eight-man football, is ranked only in North Carolina, and is No. 7 among the 8-man teams.
    Moving to the specific rankings for classifications, among 4-A schools, Jack Britt is No. 15, South View No. 24, Seventy-First No. 31 and Pine Forest No. 63.
    Among the 3-A schools, Terry Sanford is No. 23, Cape Fear No. 31, Gray’s Creek No. 54, E.E. Smith No. 56, Westover No. 83 and Douglas Byrd No. 94.
    In the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Class II 11-man rankings, Trinity Christian is No. 1 in the state.
    While I respect the work of those who try to forecast who’s going to be in or out of the playoffs, there are too many directions things could go at this point for me to try and make that projection.
    We’ll have the answer for sure when the state playoff brackets are announced the second Saturday in November.
    The record: 40-14
    I was 5-2 for the week, putting the season total to 40-14, 74.1 percent.
    Douglas Byrd at Cape Fear - Cape Fear finally has a winning streak going and is looking to make it three in a row this week. 
    Cape Fear 28, Douglas Byrd 7.
    Westover at E.E. Smith - The Golden Bulls continue their rebound from a rough start to the season.
    E.E. Smith 21, Westover 14. 
    Gray’s Creek at Terry Sanford - This is a dangerous game for the Bulldogs, who control their own fate in the Patriot Athletic Conference but have played inconsistently in recent games. Gray’s Creek has also had its share of problems, but the Bears are a potent offensive team and the Bulldogs need to take them seriously.
    Terry Sanford 28, Gray’s Creek 14. 
    Richmond Senior at Jack Britt - I’d love to keep drinking the Kool-Aid with the Buccaneers this week, but Richmond looks like one of the best teams in the state this season.
    Richmond Senior 32, Jack Britt 18.
    South View at Pine Forest - Despite a rugged start, Pine Forest still can control its fate in the Patriot Athletic Conference. But in order to maintain that control, a win against South View is a must this week. I’m not sure the Trojans can make that happen. 
    South View 29, Pine Forest 12.
    Lumberton at Seventy-First - I think the Falcons will snap their surprising three-game slide this week.
    Seventy-First 35, Lumberton 8.
    Other games: Trinity Christian 30, North Raleigh Christian 8; St. David’s 30, Fayetteville Christian 12.
  • 21 01 SierraSierra Gosselin

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

    Jay Benefield

    South ViewCross country•Sophomore

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


    Pictured from top to bottom: Sierra Gosselin, Jay Benefield




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Most of the 7.9 million participants in high school sports are on the fields and courts every day to have fun and compete as a team with their classmates, and the 300,000-plus officials assist in that process. Now, if parents would let the players play and the officials officiate.
  • 21 01 Ben LovetteBen Lovette
    Gray's Creek• Football, swimming, golf• Senior
    Lovette has a weighted grade point average of 4.31. He was a junior marshal and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is on the Gray's Creek Student Athlete Advisory Committee and helps with Buddy Football. He is a member of Future Farmers of America and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
    Hannah Sterling
    Gray's Creek• Volleyball, swimming• Senior
    Sterling has a weighted grade point average of 4.32. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the Future Farmers of America and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She also took part in her church's Vacation Bible School. 
    Pictured from top to bottom: Ben Lovette, Hannah Sterling
    21 02 Hannah Sterling
  • FootballDuring the month of October, the National Federation of State High School Associations observes National High School Activities Month.
    Each week highlights a separate aspect of high school activities.
    The current week is devoted to sportsmanship, fan appreciation and public address announcers.
    The week of Oct. 6-12 focuses on the performing arts. Oct. 13-19 is for coaches, sponsors, advisors and officials.
    The month wraps up Oct. 20-26 with community service and youth awareness week.
    Karissa Niehoff, executive director of the National Federation, best summed up the important role high school activities play across the country.
    “High school sports and activity programs provide one of the best bargains in our community and nation and will continue to do so as long as our nation supports them as an integral part of the education of our young people,’’ she said.
    “Not only do these programs teach the more than 12 million young people who participate in them valuable life skills lessons, such as ethics, integrity and healthy lifestyles, they also provide the best entertainment value in our nation.’’
    The record: 35-12
    Last week was shaping up as a disaster after a 1-2 start on Friday and Saturday. Some close calls in Monday’s postponed games were threatening to push my record for the week under .500.
    But most of the close calls went my way and I wound up with a 6-3 record which ran the total for the season to 35-12, 74.5 percent.
    Cape Fear at Gray’s Creek - I think Cape Fear has shaken off the slow start it got off to and appears poised to get into the thick of the Patriot Athletic Conference race. 
    Meanwhile, Gray’s Creek is having problems coming off the stunning upset at the hands of an E.E. Smith team that hadn’t won in its last 17 outings.
    I definitely like Cape Fear in this one.
    Cape Fear 28, Gray’s Creek 14.
    E.E. Smith at Douglas Byrd - Everyone had been saying if E.E. Smith can correct a few mistakes they can get a win. That’s exactly what happened last week in knocking off Gray’s Creek.
    I think the Golden Bulls will have a shot at two in a row against a Byrd team likely to be brooding over a tough loss to Pine Forest. 
    E.E. Smith 22, Douglas Byrd 20.
    Jack Britt at Lumberton - Look for Jack Britt to rebound quickly from its first loss of the season to a strong Scotland team.
    Jack Britt 32, Lumberton 12.
    Pine Forest at Westover- Westover is experiencing some tough times while Pine Forest finally came up for air last week in its win over Byrd. I look for the Trojans to continue heading in the right direction this week. 
    Pine Forest 29, Westover 6.
    Seventy-First at Hoke County - The Falcons are on a rare two-game losing streak, and even though Hoke is vastly improved, I have a hard time seeing Seventy-First losing three in a row. 
    Seventy-First 24, Hoke County 18.
    Terry Sanford at Overhills - The Bulldogs got a wakeup call at Rolesville last week. I look for them to return to Patriot Athletic Conference play this week with a win.
    Terry Sanford 30, Overhills 12.
    Open dates - South View, Fayetteville Christian.
    Other games: Trinity Christian 31, Charlotte Christian 14.
  • Recent articles have documented the rising costs of club sports, with one noting that about 62 percent of “travel ball” parents will go into debt to involve their kids in year-round sports.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The volleyball championships are scheduled Saturday, Nov. 9.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Other notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 14The weather may forget every few days, but the calendar says it's officially fall.

    There's just something about the season – the trees we thought we recognized begin to show off with remarkable colors as they work in harmony to create unforgettable sunlight scenes. And the weather.

    I truly love fall weather.

    We begin to feel a certain crispness in the air each morning, while the afternoons remind us to bring a little jacket as the sun begins to set a little earlier day by day.

    Fall is a perfect buffer between a humid North Carolina summer and when winter officially sets in to send us on daily trips to the woodpile.

    The fall weather is more than beauty and comfort, though. It's a sign. A signal to us all that the time for gathering as family and friends is just ahead.

    It's a season for gratitude and thoughtfulness, where the coolness of the air outside is perfectly countered by a warmth that seems to grow within us all.

    We started a new fall tradition in my family a few years ago, and I think it's a good exercise in humility. The gratitude pumpkin.

    Maybe you've done this, too (or at least heard about it.)

    The concept is simple: get a pumpkin, place it where it's easily visible to your family and guests, and use a permanent marker or paint (for the really artsy among us) to write down things you're grateful for.
    It doesn't take long to get past the cool stuff and start writing really simple things like health, family or a home, and that's where the gold is. Realizing how immensely blessed we are in our everyday lives.

    Life — even abundant life — isn't about money or cars or possessions. It's about the relationships we build. It's about the joy we get from or bring to others.

    There is an undeniable joy in the laughter of a toddler, or the tender moments with a newborn. There is cause for joy and much to be thankful for all around us. It just takes us pausing long enough to recognize it.

    The gratitude pumpkin at our house was so filled with the thankful thoughts we wrote on it last year you could hardly tell it was ever orange at all. And that's how I want to live.

    I'm ready for the negativity, and the pain and the ugliness we see in this crazy, divided world to give way to a sense of gratitude for what we have.

    There is freedom in that place. There is joy in that place. And there is love in its truest form in the place where gratitude lives.

    So, consider getting a pumpkin and a marker. Or you can just sit down with a spiral notebook and a pen and begin writing.

    Encourage your children, spouse or people you work with to do the same. Record the things that make you smile. Write down the people who bring you joy.

    Count your blessings. One at a time. It's almost certain you will run of paper (or pumpkin) before you're finished.

  • 13The first historic proof of dance came from wall paintings in a 9000-year-old cave in India and was with us before written language. For thousands of years dance has been present in celebrations, entertainment, ceremonies and rituals and has evolved through the centuries in many forms.

    There are historians that believe social dance is one of the essential factors of development in early civilization. Watching a baby or toddler move to the beat is a prime example of how dance could have evolved before written language.

    The benefits of dance can help with weight loss, flexibility, balance, reduce stress and has no age limits young or old. Your style of dance may be swaying to a favorite song while you’re driving, dancing around the house or rocking those moves on a dance floor. Wheelchair dance is popular in over forty nations with styles ranging from ballroom to line dances and is becoming an International Paralympic Committee Championship Sport.

    Another benefit of dance is how it makes us feel. It is a powerful expression that grabs us with inner light, speaks to our creative outlet and makes us happy.

    It is an expression of movement with music that speaks a universal language and for the enthusiast requires no special skill, experience or form.

    We enjoy dance in countless styles and enjoy watching others dance.

    Recently I attended a Mick Jagger concert. The man is a phenomenal entertainer and at seventy-eight commands the stage of someone more than half his age.

    We all take memories from a concert and for me it was the way he moved on stage. Jagger has a choreographer, trainer and his exercise regimen consist of dance, kick boxing, Pilates, yoga and running. He isn’t the only one. Goldie Hawn strives to dance or do some form of exercise every day for a set amount of time or in intervals and is the epitome of someone that dances like no one is watching.

    Age is certainly limitless with ninety-five-year young Dick Van Dyke who exercises his abdominals, legs and more. A quote from Dick Van Dyke is exemplified by his lifestyle. He has no plans to slow down and looks forward to being one-hundred years old.

    “All you old guys out there, listen to me. You can go on for a long time. I’m still dancing and singing.”

    It can be easy to say that celebrities have the benefit of a personal trainer. The common factor is that the love of dance and music is universal without celebrity status or a trainer.

    My mother and aunt were dance instructors, and my family seems to have inherited the dance gene.

    Mother enrolled me in ballet classes at an early age and growing up I loved the old movies with Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and later the more pronounced dancers with gyrating moves such as Hawn, Ann Margaret, Tina Turner and Elvis Pressley. Michael Jackson is an all-time favorite and of course there are the inspiring movies like Dirty Dancing and Flash Dance. I love to dance and when the music starts there is a driving energy in me to hit the dance floor and feel the beat!

    Dance classes are popular for ballroom, Latin, Shag, line dancing or Zumba group fitness classes. Have you ever noticed people just about running to the dance floor for a popular line dance?

    Be the one who enjoys dancing like no one is watching socially, or at home or in a class. Live, love life and reap the benefits.

  • 02America’s chattering classes are yakking up a storm as election year 2022 looms. It will be a big year with a U.S. Senate race in North Carolina as well as the U.S. House, the General Assembly and a host of local offices.

    Queues are already forming — some on the downlow — for the 2024 Presidential race, and to top it all, the redistricting that comes after every U.S. Census will change the political landscape in many of those contests.

    Local analyst, commentator and activist Troy Williams published an op-ed in the Fayetteville Observer earlier this month. Using 2020 census data, Williams points out that Fayetteville’s self-identified white population has declined from 64% in 1960 to 34% in 2020, with 11% of that decline in the last decade, meaning that Fayetteville is now a majority black city.

    He also notes that our community has more black elected officials, including our mayor, a majority of the city council and local judges than in recent memory.

    He asks the question, is “white flight” affecting Fayetteville?

    The U.S. Census does not answer that question.

    No agreed upon definitions of black or white exist — we all identify ourselves.

    And to muddy the waters further, the U.S. Census Bureau has more boxes to check than in earlier censuses including the 1960 one, so we are comparing apples and oranges about who is moving and much less why.
    The reality is that there are probably as many reasons for moving as there are people making that decision.

    Williams rightly observes that the people who are moving, for whatever reasons, are taking their assets and taxable property with them.

    That means that without comparable or more resources moving in, Fayetteville’s tax base is reduced which translates into diminished city services.

    On that point, he challenges local leaders to listen to the people they represent.

    “Do they understand that many middle-class families, black and white, have similar goals: newer houses, better schools for their children and attractive environments?”

    To that list, I would add fair and effective law enforcement, all of which goes to the point that we are more alike in our goals and desires than we are different.

    Williams asserts that with elective and appointive authority comes responsibility, and he is dead right on that. Politics has always been and is now a blood sport, not for the faint of heart.

    In addition, widely discussed political divisions of recent years coupled with ridiculously low salaries have repelled would-be candidates at all levels.

    That said, it is incumbent on Fayetteville residents — and every other community — to recruit, support and elect the most responsible, reliable and honest among us to seek public office, including ourselves. Running for public office is not rocket science and serving is a balancing act between competing interests of different constituencies, frustrating and sometimes difficult, generally with no one “right” decision — just many, many shades of gray. In short, neither is easy and both are necessary.

    Democracy, if it is to prevail and there are real threats against it at the moment, demands people of good will and of all colors participate in the political process as candidates, supporters and voters for contests from the Presidency on down to local offices.

    Failure to do so means we have abdicated our responsibility to participate in self-governance, and we will get the government our abdication deserves.

    Chances are excellent we are not going to like it.

  • 01The Hope Mills political scene is in a state of disarray. Especially with regards to the mayor’s race. It is a near-perfect example of how the threads of selfishness, greed, hypocrisy and personal agendas have become commonplace and interwoven into every aspect of local politics.

    Hope Mills is one of the most desired and habitable communities in Cumberland County. It is recognized as progressive and one of the fastest growing towns in the state. This growth is a product of past decades of competent, responsible and dedicated leadership.

    Yet, regardless of the town's achievements, accomplishments and successes, there are always a few (a very few) disgruntled individuals who insist on placing their personal agendas ahead of the constituents they are supposed to be serving. With the advent of social media, these ill-spirited individuals want to have prominent voices in the future and direction of the Hope Mills community, but without the commitment and responsibility of management that goes along with it.

    Full disclosure, I am passionate about the Hope Mills community. I was a friend and admirer of former seven-term Hope Mills Mayor Edwin Deaver, who passed away in 2016. He was a good friend and a one-of-a-kind character. He graciously loved serving Hope Mills and its citizens. His impact on the town was positive in nature and gentle with a spirited touch of homegrown enthusiasm that can still be felt on Trade Street today. Former Mayor Eddie Dees likewise contributed to the Hope Mills quality of life by keeping the welfare of the residents his highest priority.

    Again, full disclosure, I am a Mayor Jackie Warner supporter. From the start of her tenure, with the help and guidance of a competent board and staff I watched her build and expand on the foundation built by Deaver and Dees. Together, working in cooperation with each other they took Hope Mills to an elevated level of respectability and prestige, both culturally and economically.

    So, one might ask, why all the negativity? And, what can be so bad in a community recognized for being so good? The answer to both is nothing at all.

    What makes it even more interesting and concerning is that the two primary individuals responsible for the negativity are former Hope Mills Commissioner Meg Lawson and current Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers. Both of whom were active in the town's prosperity and growth over several years, working closely with the Mayor, who, by the way, has no voting power or sole jurisdiction over decisions directly affecting the town. Yet these two are leading a cabal of negative criticism against Warner, whose leadership has led the town to statewide recognition and prosperity.

    The next question should be why would they do this? The answer, for personal power and control. Neither Bellflowers or Lawson bring anything to the table that contributes to quality of life in Hope Mills that is not already present; thus, their strategies and platforms all hinge on slander, character assassination and false or misleading information attempting to diminish the accomplishments of Warner. A Herculean task at best.

    This brings me to the most concerning and dangerous aspects of this situation. One of the very first actions Lawson took in her role as a Hope Mills Commissioner was to team up with Bellflowers to cancel a media contract with Up & Coming Weekly. The purpose of the contract was to assist in the creation of a community newspaper for the town of Hope Mills. This partnership with Up & Coming Weekly would have provided the mayor and all Hope Mills governmental departments with a weekly communication with residents, businesses and organizations. A local community newspaper would have been a win-win situation for all concerned. Finally, Hope Mills had devised a plan for a media voice for the sole purpose of informing citizens on town-related news while promoting local businesses and economic development. The Hope Mills commissioners unanimously agreed that the town needed a newspaper and voted likewise. However, Bellflowers, Larson, and their small cabal pursued actions that would stifle free press, free speech and free expression. Not only did they vote to cancel the Up & Coming Weekly contract, but they failed to bring forward any alternative media options or newspaper prospects to fill the void. The newspaper project should have been valued at a quarter of a million dollars yearly. The town’s actual investment? $28,000. It should concern every citizen in Hope Mills that Bellflowers is challenging Warner for the Mayor's seat when he and his like-minded supporters do not support or advocate for local media, transparency in government or free speech. Most recently, Larson submitted a Public Records Request to the town of Hope Mills for all e-mail correspondence between the Up & Coming Weekly newspaper and Mayor Warner and Commissioners Bryan A. Marley, Pat Edwards, and Kenjuana McCray. Why? What are they looking for? Anything that they can use to discredit the mayor and anyone in support of the town creating a community newspaper. After 25 years of publishing, I can assure you they will be vastly disappointed.

    My message to all Hope Mills residents is to beware of anyone in opposition to the free press or government transparency.

    Hope Mills is not located in Russia or China. In America, local communities embrace the U. S. Constitution and our First Amendment rights. Hope Mills residents and voters need to be very cautious and skeptical of people, especially elected officials, who do not support a local free press.

    As a final thought, if you have, or even if you have not, read the most recent Fayetteville Observer article with questions and answers from the two candidates, I suggest you turn to pages nine through ten in this edition of Up and Coming Weekly. Please take a moment to read a unedited, even-keeled comparison of how the two candidates stack up against one another in their own words prior to voting on Nov. 2.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 10 FTCC Library PhotoThe original reason I returned to college at the age of 39 was to finish what I started after completing high school. However, except for finishing and getting a degree, I had no goal—only to finish. But open enrollment to college had its hurdles, and for me, the hurdle was doing well on the assessment test. With no one to turn to, I was somehow led in the direction of the campus library, and had it not been for the librarian who helped me at that point in my life, I would not have begun college and certainly would not have completed college. The librarian I met that day helped me get the resources I needed to do well so I could begin college credit-earning courses.

    That experience drew me even closer to the library environment. I discovered that I wanted to help people succeed with their education as much as I had been helped. Six years later, I changed careers from being a bulldozer operator to becoming a librarian. Now, as the Director of Library Services at Fayetteville Technical Community College, what brings me joy is when a graduating student comes into the library waving their degree and thanking the library staff for their help.

    Helping students succeed is what the library is all about. By continually assessing students’ needs and implementing strategies based on that feedback, we can prepare the 21st century student for the globally competitive workforce.

    The Paul H. Thompson Library recently installed additional study rooms based on student feedback, and the latest innovation is the upcoming Makerspace where students can work individually or meet in groups to collaborate on research projects, class assignments and homework.

    There are now three library locations across Cumberland County that can support FTCC students with library services. Those locations are the Paul H. Thompson Library at the Fayetteville campus; the Spring Lake Campus Branch of the Cumberland County Public Library; and the John L. Throckmorton Library on Fort Bragg. At each location, students have access to print books, e-books, journals, e-journals, multiple electronic databases, films, audio recordings, maps, photos and digital archive materials.

    A wide variety of spaces are available where students can study, conduct research, and read or meet in small and large groups to collaborate on projects. Laptops are also available for checkout for use within the Paul H. Thompson Library reference room and at the Spring Lake Campus branch library.

    All students are welcome to the library to get the help they need to graduate with success. But, they don’t have to come on campus to get the help they need.

    On-campus and distance learners have access to library staff at the Paul H. Thompson Library during business hours by calling 910-678-8247, or emailing library@faytechcc.edu. When the Library is closed, students can contact a librarian by using the online “Ask-a-Librarian ChatNow” button located at https://www.faytechcc.edu/campus-life/library/

  • 01 classroom

    Almost 30 years ago, Cumberland County Schools joined with four other low wealth school systems in a lawsuit arguing that every child in North Carolina is Constitutionally entitled to a sound basic education. The suit asserts our state’s Constitution means all children, not just those living in counties blessed with a solid tax base able to fund public education adequately.

    Equal opportunity was the argument in 1994 when the lawsuit was filed, and it remains the case today.

    In the intervening decades, the original presiding judge has retired, lawyers have come and gone, North Carolina has had six different governors, and the Hoke County student for whom the suit was named has completed high school, both college and law school, and now practices with a Raleigh law firm.It would take more trees than we want to chop down to go through all the permutations — judicial rulings, appeals, reports, commissions and political hot air, that have occurred and all the energy expended since 1994, but here we are heading into 2022, and very little has actually changed.

    Children in wealthier counties — think Wake, Mecklenburg, New Hanover and others — have considerably more and higher quality educational opportunities than children in poorer, largely rural counties. You cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip, and you cannot squeeze tax dollars for education out of businesses and individuals who simply do not have it.

    I have heard it argued that children in poorer counties are even worse off educationally now than they were in 1994, because economic inequity is growing in our nation, not shrinking, and because the General Assembly has since allowed students to opt out of public schools into private institutions, with tuition paid by tax dollars, yours and mine.

    On the long legal trajectory of Leandro, where are we now?

    Last year, the judge now shepherding Leandro through the courts found that despite North Carolina’s clear Constitutional responsibility and various state programs, many students are still not receiving a sound basic education. Earlier this year, the same judge issued an order that the state not may but must, implement the comprehensive education plan agreed to by all parties in 2020. He gave Oct. 18 as the date by which the state is legally obligated to pony up sufficient funding to address educational inequality.

    So, what is the hold up? What is the problem? Why is nothing happening?

    North Carolina has not had an approved budget since 2018. The old budget just keeps rolling over at the same level of spending. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper supports increased funding, but the Republican controlled General Assembly is loath to provide it despite a budget surplus bumping up on $30B — yes, billion.

    There are signs that the Governor and legislative leaders are at least speaking, but as of this writing, no agreement has been reached, so there is yet to be a budget.
    The stage is now set for a legal showdown.Whatever your place on the political spectrum, a generation is a long time to wait for a shot at educational equality. Millions of young students have received less than stellar educations, and they and their communities continue to suffer for it. It is time — past time — for the General Assembly to do its Constitutional duty to provide educational funding for all our children, not just some.

    Mr. Leandro has been waiting so long he grew up.

  • 16 group walkingWith the beautiful days and cooler weather, fall beckons us to be outside and walk. The most popular exercise in the U.S. is walking, and a person can average walking 65,000 miles in a lifetime which is equivalent to walking three times around the earth.

    Walking is a minimal impact, moderate intensity exercise and one that you can do alone or socially. Walking can be beneficial for your health, wellness, put less stress on your joints and can be an opportune time to gather your thoughts and clear your mind.

    A good pair of shoes that are not stiff are essential for the flexibility to roll from heel to toe and a good arch and heel support to avoid injuries. If you do not presently have a suitable shoe for walking seek the advice of a professional for proper shoe fit and sock choice.

    Walking is something that is easy to start for a fitness regimen beginning with five to 10 minutes each time you go out and suitable for most fitness levels.

    The average walking time per mile is fifteen to twenty minutes. The three sequences of warmup, walk and cool down are important for best results. Walking with good form can improve your balance, posture and lessen chance for injuries.

    Warmup — Preparation should begin with a warmup of five minutes or more to elevate your heart rate, body temperature, warm your muscles, increase your range of motion and prepare your joints. It should include shoulder rolls, light marching, ankle rolls, flexing and pointing your feet. If you do not have the time to warm up begin your walk slowly and gradually increase your pace.

    Walking — Walk with your shoulders relaxed and down keeping your head up and looking forward. Your hips should shift slightly from side to side swinging your arms and walk with a stride that is comfortable for you while engaging your core. Take your breaths in through your nose and out through your lips in a consistent manner. Allow yourself time to decrease your pace toward the end of your walk to gradually bring your heart rate and breathing down.

    Cool Down /Stretch — Do not
    skip the stretch! A cool down is
    essential for the body’s time to recover, reduce soreness and should include static stretching of your muscles 20 to 30 seconds for each group. Stretches include standing quadriceps, calves, ham strings, hips, glutes and shoulders.

    Add a challenge to your walk — If you have been walking for a while you might want to consider adding a challenge to your walk without increasing your miles and adding more cardio.

    The perceived rate of exertion is a good indicator of your cardio intensity. Level one is ease of conversation, level two is short sentences and level three is your maximum which consist of few or no words.

    Mix up your walk with variety adding these examples: increased cardio burns more calories, swing your arms with more intensity, shave the time off your walk by increasing your pace, increase and decrease your pace in segments. Make a one-month walking plan with variation on the days you walk and a goal. Once you have reached your goal move on to more distance and/or hills.

    Breathe the crisp fall air, enjoy the foliage, stay hydrated before during and after, listen to great music, put your shoes out as a reminder, layer your clothing for cool days, walk against the traffic, challenge yourself, talk about it on social media and keep a journal of your progress!

  • 10The Joy of Giving: that’s Holly Day Fair’s theme this year. The fair is the largest holiday gift and craft show in Eastern North Carolina.

    With over 150 vendors, there will be an extensive selection of unique handcrafted and manufactured products for the 22,000 visitors expected to attend.

    The shoppers will shop a selection that boasts the best in holiday decorations, handmade crafts, stylish jewelry and clothes, children's toys, specialty food items and much more.
    Proceeds from the Holly Day Fair benefit the Junior League of Fayetteville and its programs targeting homelessness and food insecurities. These funds have a substantial and lasting impact on the community.

    Katie Crawford, a local artist, has participated in the Holly Day Fair for a little over a half-decade.

    "It's always one of my better shows for the year. I have done it enough years in a row now that I have people that come to see me every year," Crawford said. "It's great to have a well-known and established show to keep the tradition going."

    Crawford sells several pieces of her artwork at the fair, including her watercolor paintings, felted sculptures, notecards, and giclee prints.

    She will also be selling her book, “What the Map Left Out” for the first time this year.

    "It's a fun show," Crawford explained. "You have a mix of local and out-of-state dealers and food vendors. It's not a traditional "art show" either, so there are a lot of different products for people who are not necessarily into art."

    Holly Day Fair kicks off on Nov. 4 with Super Shopper hours from 9 a.m. to noon. The Holly Day Fair will also be offering its Sip & Shop event for the third year. Sip & Shop will be held during super-shopper hours but provides an exclusive shopping experience.

    Sip & Shop guests will be treated to a continental breakfast with mimosas and receive a special commemorative gift. The Sip & Shop tickets are $30 and are limited. Strollers and any rolling carts are strictly prohibited during Super Shopper hours.

    Regular hours of the event are Nov. 4, noon – 8 p.m., Nov. 5, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Nov. 6, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Nov. 7, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at CapeFearTix.com, and in person at the Crown Complex Box Office, Leisure Travel Services on Fort Bragg, The Pilgrim Gifts in Fayetteville, Junior League of Fayetteville office, Jernigan's in Dunn, Jernigan's in Lumberton and Fabulous Finds Boutique in Fayetteville.

  • 03 elk 1Each year the male Elk, called a "bull," will fight another bull to collect a female elk called a "cow" into his herd. When a bully bull threatens a dominant bull, the fight is violent. These fights only have three outcomes: surrender, a tie or a kill. The tie is the most brutal of the battle. The antlers of the two bulls lock together and they cannot get free. Eventually, fatigue leads to collapse, starvation, and finally, death. The other bull may still be alive only to watch his opponent die in his clutches. His end is near and his victory is in vain, but a win is a win.

    That is America these days. During the election, America locked antlers, and America is now fatigued — exasperated by the pressures of inflation, government spending, overregulation, open borders, Afghanistan, increasing taxes.

    At the same time, people are getting paid to stay at home (aka "the Great Resignation”) and COVID restrictions, mandates, bipolar mask rules and rules which make absolutely no sense at all.
    The COVID data shows that the vaccines are working, but the virus is still spreading. The Delta variant has caused new concerns. Hospitals are reporting that most life-threatening cases are in non-vaccinated people.

    Advocates for the vaccine question why people do not want to get the vaccine. On the other hand, many people think it should be their choice. Many people have gotten the vaccine but believe that it is their right to keep their information private and resent the idea of showing a COVID card to go into an event or business.

    On Sept. 9 President Biden announced an Executive Order for mandatory vaccines. He is issuing this order with a needle in one hand, holding a gun to your head in the other while waging war on the Second Amendment. The order lacked details, but behind the scenes, Biden is using the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to draft an "emergency temporary standard."

    According to news reports, officials said the agency would begin enforcing the rules: collecting reports of violations and sending out inspectors who will be empowered to impose $13,650 fines for violations and up to $136,500 for those that are willful or repeated.

    Biden and his administration are working on implementing his new policies to address some form of a vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more employees and in most Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulated workplaces. This means that if you work at less than 100 employees and your business receives Medicare or Medicaid payments, everyone must be vaccinated or lose that revenue. Military, federal executive branch workers and some federal contractors will be required to have the vaccine. He wants military personnel who refuse to get the vaccine to be dishonorably discharged. That is the discharge usually held for those convicted of murder, treason and other serious crimes. So good luck with getting a decent job with that discharge but thanks for fighting and keeping us safe for all these years. Note: The Legislative branch and Federal Courts are exempt.

    Last year millions of health care workers, teachers and first responders were the frontline heroes of the COVID pandemic. With this Executive Order, these same courageous, frontline workers and millions of others are being told to get vaccinated or LOSE YOUR JOB!

    Now, the government uses employers to be "Great Terminators," the enforcers of his vaccine. As with many socialist countries, starvation will be the root motivator to get you to comply. You will not get unemployment, no insurance, no way to pay your rent or mortgage.

    Here is the potential career-ending question. How is it that some of the most intelligent people in our society (doctors and nurses) choose not to get the vaccine after working in this since the beginning? Is it because they know something we do not? Is it because they have had COVID and have antibodies? Is it because they have been around it so long that they believe they have natural immunity? Is it because they think that medical choices should still be a choice?

    Last month on CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke with Dr. Fauci. Dr. Gupta said that a study in Israel showed that natural immunity showed that it was better than the vaccine; Dr. Fauci's response was, "You know, that's a really good point, Sanjay. I don't have a really firm answer for you on that. That's something that we're going to have to discuss regarding the durability of the response … So, I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously, because you very appropriately pointed out, it is an issue, and there could be an argument for saying what you said."

    Dr. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President, and he hasn't studied natural immunity.-Does it seem that my mom knew more about viruses when she sent me down the street to play with a kid who had chickenpox?

    Here are why some people struggle. We have watched Dr. Fauci change his story so many times that if he were in your high school science class, you wouldn't cheat off him because you know he will change his answers.
    Where in the Constitution does it say it is the government's job to keep you safe? If that was the case, they should outlaw cars, cigarettes and the 8,000 other ways a person can die.

    How does this work out? How does a doctor see patients without a staff? Will teachers go to 100 students per class? How do first responders save lives with less people?

    Like the mighty bull elk, the courageous, the cowards and the bullies who are hell-bent on a fight, the government, business and the people are in the process of locking horns with their employees and in the process will kill themselves while winning the battle for the cows, but a win is a win.

  • uac100511001.jpg Fayetteville Technical Community College opened it’s doors 50 years ago because community leaders at the time realized that it was time to modify the economic out look of the state. They realized it would take a skilled work force to take full advantage of the opportunities the future held for them.

    FTCC President, Dr. Larry Keene is well aware of the great progress the school has made this past half century and he’s looking forward to making the next 50 years just as productive.

    “I am not a hockey player,” said Keene. “But they tell me that when you are playing hockey you skate to where the puck will be — not to where it is — because if you go to where it is right now you will always be late.”

    Like any good hockey player, Keene is positioning FTCC to take the lead in technology, job training and whatever else comes along.

    That includes staying on top of the latest technologies like interactive learning and 3D training opportunities and implementing them within programs that will benefi t students, who then take these skills and talents into the workforce. FTCC currently utilizes these technologies in applications like health care and construction, but the possibilities are endless. Students are able to not only look at an image of a heart on a screen, but they can virtually journey into the heart and learn its functions as they interact with the image. It is a huge leap from what they can learn with just a book and a plastic model.

    One of the things that makes this strategy a success is public/public partnerships and private public/partnerships. In other words, if major manufacturers of products and services fulfi ll a need world-wide FTCC will be there to partner with them, providing education training and working in concert with them to utilize the institution’s effectiveness for their purposes as well. That is the kind of partnership that benefi ts not only industry, but FTCC students and the economy.

    The institution currently partners with several local industries including GoodYear, Time Warner, MJ Soffee, K3, RLM Communications and Clear Path Recycling to provide job training for employees. “The Customized Training Program allows us to reach out to local industries and provide state funded training to their employees,” said Brian Haney, executive director of economic development and emerging technologies.

    Century Link is a perfect example of this system at work. Vice President for Learning Technologies, Bobby Ervin became aware of Century Link’s plans to introduce “Prism” — a new digital technology — in the area. It involves bringing 20 – 25 new jobs to Cumberland County and an additional 75 jobs to eastern North Carolina. He reached out to Century Link and now FTCC is providing training to employees and job applicants. In fact, there will be a Career Fair on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. for those interested in applying for these jobs.

    It would be easy to assume that putting together a training program would be time consuming, especially when it involves high tech objectives, but that is not the case.“

    We live in an area that is rich in talent,” said Haney. “We are able to find people with the right skills and contract with them to meet the needs of our partners, and often it is at a much lower cost than if people were travelling to be trained in another city like Raleigh.10-05-11-ftcc-article.jpg

    ”With one eye on the future, Keene and the other leaders at FTCC have not lost sight of the current needs of FTCC students — and there are many.

    When a student comes to FTCC their objectives are vast and varied. Whether it is retraining for a career switch, preparing for a four-year college, starting a new business, venturing into a new hobby or taking on new skills in hopes of a promotion, FTCC is ready to meet the needs of it’s students.

    When it comes to meeting the needs of both students and industry partners, the staff know how to make it happen.

    “We listen,” said Haney. “Sometimes institutions dictate to their students and partners because they think they know better. We don’t do that. We listen to the needs of the people we are working with and then find ways to meet them.”

    “We are all about jobs,” Ervin added. “We educate and train people, work with corporate partners and do whatever we can to help bring jobs to the community and have people ready to fill them.”

    Find out more about FTCC and their many programs at www.faytechcc.edu or by calling 678-8400.

    Photo: The institution currently partners with several local industries to provide job training for employees.

  • 09More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease – a leading cause of death in the United States.

    In North Carolina alone, there are more than 180,000 people living with the disease and 358,000 caregivers.

    The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

    The Alzheimer’s Association hosts 17 walks across North Carolina including Fayetteville.

    “We invite the community to join us in taking steps for Alzheimer’s disease. More than ever, we need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia,” said Lisa Roberts, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter. “With the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association provides care and support to families while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.”

    Dementia is not a single disease; it’s an umbrella term that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Disorders grouped under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes.

    These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings and relationships.

    Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.
    Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.

    Jay Reinstein was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2018 at age 57. At the time, Reinstein was working as the assistant city manager in Fayetteville.

    He started noticing that he was having a hard time remembering things – writing notes as reminders, taking more time to do tasks than in the past. He struggled to recall names of colleagues he had worked with for decades. Reinstein sensed something was wrong and reached out to a friend, who was a neurologist at Duke University. After additional testing it was confirmed that he had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
    Reinstein is looking forward to the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s with his team, the Jaywalkers. This is the fourth year he has been a part of the fundraiser. So far, he has raised $91,000.

    “I hope to make it to $100,000,” Reinstein said. “I have 3 teams: PWC sponsors a team; Fayetteville sponsors a team; City of Durham has a team.”

    “Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is not a death sentence,” Reinstein said. “It is very challenging but make sure you don’t isolate. Science says exercise, being social and healthy diet are all important. Join a support group. It has been a saving grace for me.”

    On walk day, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony — a mission-focused experience that signifies our solidaity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent people’s connection to Alzheimer’s — their personal reasons to end the disease.

    “The Alzheimer’s Association is moving forward — and we’re offering options for supporters to join us at our local event or Walk From Home in their own neighborhoods.” said Roberts. “No matter where people walk, their health and safety are our top priorities.”

    The Fayetteville walk has raised over $84,000, achieving the goal amount. All funds raised will help further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes place on Saturday, Oct. 30, 9 – 11 a.m. at Segra Stadium. Check-in opens at 9 a.m. with an Opening Ceremony at 10 a.m. The walk will begin at 10:30 a.m.

    To sign up as a walker, team captain or to learn more about becoming a sponsor of Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Fayetteville, visit act.alz.org/fayettevillenc or call 800-272-3900.

  • 02 Pitt IMG 8766Remember when Lou Reed sang, “Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side?” Not so much? Is your memory balky? What did you have for lunch yesterday? Remember in your twenties when you wondered what was the meaning of life? Now you just wonder where you parked your car? Is your Remembrance of Things Past getting more difficult? You have come to the right place. Today’s column will help you restore your memory without the use of Prevagen.

    Mr. Science says think of your memory as a bucket. At the bottom of the bucket are your first memories, childhood pets, childhood traumas, first dates, that sort of thing. As you get older more events pile into your memory bucket squashing the long-term memories down at the bottom of the bucket. The new events float on top of the bucket. Unfortunately, long term memories are not infinitely compressible. Eventually the new memories fill the bucket up to the rim and splash out. The old memories remain at the bottom of the bucket and are easily retrievable. The new short term memories splatter onto the floor and can’t be recalled. That is why you can remember the name of your first-grade teacher but can’t remember what you had for lunch.

    Can your fading memory be saved? Read on, MacDuff, have we got a deal for you. Today we are going to literally take a walk down Memory Lane. We go right to the source of all things memory related. We are going to visit the Greek Goddess of memory herself, the right honorable Mnemosyne. This is another one of those irritating columns that explore the curious world of Greek mythology. If mythology is all Greek to you, stick around. You can dazzle your friends if you find yourself on TV playing "Jeopardy" and Greek mythology is the Daily Double. Once you meet Mnemosyne and pay her proper respect, your memories will become shiny and new as a hot Krispy Kreme donut.

    First, some family history for Mnemosyne. Her friends could never remember how to pronounce her name. They just called her Mimi which is what we shall do in today’s lesson. Mimi was born into Greek God royalty; her Baby Daddy was Uranus the God of the sky and her Momma was Gaia the Goddess of Earth. Mimi turned out to be the Goddess of Memory. Mimi got together with her nephew Zeus on Spring Break. Zeus thinking his aunt Mimi might not cotton to sleeping with her nephew, changed himself into a mortal shepherd. Mimi fell for the handsome shepherd and spent nine nights with Zeus making whoopee. Mimi ended up in the family way as a result of her time with Zeus. She had to drop out of Goddess college to have Zeus’ nine daughters. These kids were the nine Muses. The Muses served as inspiration for creative types ever since then. According to Mr. Google, the Muses were Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (music and lyric poetry), Erato (love poetry), Mepomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (hymns), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy) and Urania (astronomy). Mimi’s kids were arty, not a warrior in the bunch. The moral is that if you get Mimi on your side, you will find inspiration in the arts and possibly win "America’s Got Talent."

    Mimi wasn’t just a vessel for producing children, no Sirree Bob. She also worked outside the home. However, with nine kids she must have had domestic help. Mimi was a lifeguard for a pool in Hades where dead Greeks go. Hades has the river Lethe where dead Greeks would drink to forget their past lives when they got reincarnated. The river that fed Mimi’s pool was named for Mnemosyne which was the river of memory. Drinking from Mimi’s pool had the opposite effect on dead Greeks causing them to remember their past lives thereby preventing them from being reincarnated.

    Mimi’s name is the basis for our current word “mnemonic” which our pal Webster defines as a device such as a pattern of letters or associations that assists in remembering something. If you ask Mimi to put in a good word for you, she can help you remember where you parked your car, what you had for lunch or your anniversary. Unfortunately, not all memories are good ones, so be careful in your requests to Mimi for help. Do you really need to know what you had for lunch yesterday?

    Randy Newman wrote a song called “Potholes” about when he was a kid pitching in a baseball game and walked 14 batters in a row. He started crying and walked off the field going home in humiliation. He did his best to forget this event by turning it into a song. He wrote: “God bless the potholes/ Down on Memory Lane/ God bless the potholes/ Down on Memory Lane/ Hope some real big ones open up/ Take some of the memories that do remain.”

    Have we learned anything today? Nothing we can’t forget tomorrow. Some of those potholes on Memory Lane are our friends. No memories were harmed in the writing of this column.

    Pictured: Reviewing the story of Mnemosyne in Greek mythology can offer explanations on modern memory troubles.

  • Holidays are right around the corner and that means that you need to start on your gift list. A great way to start would be to visit the annual Small Business Expo held by the local North Carolina Center of Economic Empowerment and Development, otherwise known as CEED.

    Every year CEED gives local business owners an opportunity to show off their exclusive and lim10-12-11-small-business-expo.jpgited products and have them available for individuals to purchase. This is a wonderful opportunity to start shopping for the holidays and get your hands on exclusive deals that no one else offers. 

    Visitors to the event will find a wide variety of goodies to give to their favorite someone — or even to keep for themselves. There will be a vendor from Pretty & Pink where one can get their hands on fashion accessories, handbags, clothing and more. D-Unique Jewelry and Accessories will be there along with Hope Thru Horses, which is an equine-assisted psychotherapy program. Diamond Home Essentials and Ways of Wellness will be in attendance as well.

    There are about 80 vendors who will be present during the expo this year including several food vendors. Chef Julius III, who is well known for the Bezzies Home-style Barbeque Sauce, is a local favorite and will be at the event.

    According to Laura Solano, who is a business consultant at CEED, “This is our third year for organizing the Small Business Expo, and it’s our first time holding it at Cross Creek Mall. Our objective is to stimulate our local business growth and bring exposure.”

    Cross Creek Mall, being a centralized location, will bring an increased amount of vendors and attendees this year. CEED has a main goal of finding ways to help individuals and businesses succeed. By going along with the mission of promoting growth, productiveness and well being through peer counseling, education, information and advocacy programs, CEED is anticipating a successful event that is sure to please both the vendors and the event attendees.

    CEED provides a variety of programs to the community, both on an individual and business level. Last year, according to CEED statistics, 2,407 small business owners attended 1,645 workshops and $285,000 was loaned to seven small business owners. Along with classes and workshops, CEED also provides many resources to displaced homemakers. Last year CEED helped 148 people in this category with resources like financial aid counseling, the career makeover workshop, the family law clinic and the computers for the workplace clinic.

    The North Carolina Center for Economic Empowerment and Development is located at 230 Hay St. Find out more about the organization by visiting the website at www.ncceed.org or smallbusinessexpo@ncceed.org.

  • 12 Rockin on the river logoRock’n on the River is closing out their 2021 concert season with their last performance of the year.

    On Friday, Oct. 22, Rivermist and Tuesday’s Gone will finish the year with free music and family-friendly fun.

    Rivermist is a local band with great musicianship and always host high-energy shows.

    They have been voted Best of Fayetteville's Best Band for the fifth year in a row.

    The band was recently listed as Up & Coming Magazine’s 2021 Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg area’s Best Local Band.

    Rivermist kicked off the very first Rock’n on the River in October 2018.

    Rivermist was formed in July 2014 in Fayetteville, but is formed of musicians that have been playing in and around the Fayetteville area for more than 40 years.

    They are primarily a variety/party band, playing the best music from the 70s-2000s eras and in all genres.

    They have released original songs that have charted on the Country and Beach Billboard charts.

    Tuesday’s Gone will start their performance at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday's Gone is the ultimate tribute to legendary southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    Based out of Raleigh, the cover band travels all over the country paying tribute to the original 1970's version of Skynyrd.

    Tuesday’s Gone has been together for 20 years.

    “What sets us apart is how diligent we are in being a very authentic 1970s Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band.
    We even use the same instruments,” Ryan King, the lead vocalist of the band said.

    Rock'n on the River is typically held the third Friday of each month. The event runs from April through September. This year, the concert series was held May through October.

    Rock’n on the River will take place at 1122 Person St., behind Deep Creek Grill.

    Parking for the event will begin at 5 p.m. and will cost $5. Beer and food sales will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the concert will start at 6 p.m.

    Concert goers are encouraged to bring their own chairs.

  • 01 vote No on YesOur city is currently being flooded with a disingenuous campaign to change the structure of our City Council. You might have received a mailer asking for your signature in support of changing local elections from district-based to a hybrid model of district and at-large elections.

    To recap, district elections mean that individuals within specific neighborhoods will elect someone to represent them downtown. At-large means that the whole city gets to vote for a candidate.

    Fayetteville does NOT need to change how we elect our local representatives. Let's not fall victim to the arguments presented by the Vote Yes Fayetteville committee.

    Let's talk about those arguments.

    To begin, there is no connection whatsoever between crime in Fayetteville and the way we elect our municipal representatives. There is crime in cities and towns regardless if they have district or at-large elections. This is a scare tactic to make you think that the city is out of control which is not.

    According to the 2020 Fayetteville Police Department's Annual Report, crime in our city has been in a five-year decline. This report was compiled by a Police Department that received an increase in their budget this year.

    Citizens in Fayetteville can contact and share their opinions with ALL members of City Council. Our elected officials constantly discuss issues outside their own district. Changing our elections will not fix the issue of priority focus, it will worsen them.

    Running a political campaign at-large versus a district wide campaign requires BIG MONEY. This means that at-large representatives will focus more on obtaining sufficient finances for an election that happens every two years rather than the needs of our city.

    Besides, who do you want to represent YOU? Someone that lives and understands your community or someone who simply has the money to run and win? The financial interests of at-large candidates will overshadow the interests of marginalized communities.

    There is a criticism about our district maps and how they are gerrymandered and confusing to voters. According to the Census Data and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, our city districts have to be redrawn anyway based on population changes. This issue can be fixed by showing up to the City Council's redistricting meetings and advocating for our communities.

    Changing the structure of our elections is not needed at all. The institution that creates the biggest confusion among voters is the N.C. General Assembly, not how we elect our local leaders.

    The purpose behind this push is to take away the power of communities across our city. It is insulting to utilize the election of our two African-American mayors as a talking point. Marshall Pitts Jr. and Mitch Colvin have a combined leadership of 8 years in a city first settled in 1783.

    Do not sign the petition.

    Vote "NO" to "Vote Yes."

    Jimmy Buxton is the President, Fayetteville Chapter, NCAACP.

  • 13 Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsIf you are looking for an afternoon or evening of laughter and entertainment, head over to the Gilbert Theater located at 116 Green St. to catch “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - The Musical” before it is too late. The show runs through Oct. 17.

    In the exotic French Riviera, Lawrence Jameson makes his living by smooth talking rich, single women out of their money. He has been in the trade for many years and has gotten his technique down to a tee. But then he bumps into Freddy Benson.

    Freddy takes a humbler, more laid back approach, swindling women with emotional lies about his grandmother’s failing health and his own economic struggles. The two men initially decide to form a double act but their egos soon clash and the French coast isn’t big enough for the two of them.

    To settle their rivalry, they agree on a bet: the first to swindle $50,000 from the latest young heiress in town, Christine Colgate, can stay and the other must leave town. However, is Christine really all she seems? Hilarity and confusion ensue as the two men pull out all the steps to prove they are the best con man in town.

    The Gilbert Theater is unlike any I have visited. It is a small to medium sized room with a small stage of which the actors use every inch. Prior to the event, there is a refreshment station which includes soda, wine, beer and candy, that is run strictly on donations.

    The cast was created through an open audition process. Rehearsals begin three to four weeks before the show starts.

    For “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” the actors in the show made sure we, as an audience, had as much fun as they did performing for us. Chris Walker, who played Lawrence Jameson, was my favorite actor. His voice took command of the room. He was confident and funny and a great singer.

    Freddy Benson, played by Dan Adams, was a hoot. His physicality in the show had the audience laughing. He was a tremendous comedic actor and I looked forward to his scenes.

    The lead female actress is Megan Barnes playing Christine. Not knowing much of the musical before I attended the show, I was wowed by how she manipulated the audience.

    An actress with a small part as Jolene, Maggie Cannon of Fayetteville, was cute and funny. Her bit about Oklahoma made me smile. I am confident I will see her again in the local theaters.

    Linda Flynn, Assistant Artistic Director at the Gilbert Theater, is making her debut as director of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Flynn joined the theater in 2017 as an actor in the show, “Evil Dead the Musical,” and became an employee in February, 2020.

    “I have always had a great passion for theater. In my position I have learned a lot about every aspect of the theater. I get to do every job there is in theater and I enjoy every aspect.”

    Lawrence Carlisle, Artistic Director of the Gilbert Theater, hopes people have fun at the show. “The goal for all shows is for the audience to have fun and come away thinking that was really funny. Let’s do it again.”

    The show runs through Oct. 17 with shows on Fridays at 8, Saturday at 2 and at 8, Sunday at 2.

    Tickets are $18 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 910-678-7186. For more information visit www.Gilberttheater.com or www.facebook.com/gilberttheater.

  • 22 Casting CrownsIn a recent conversation with songwriter Mark Hall, we laughed over the irate response to their first single to Christian radio back in 2003. The song was, “If We Are The Body” which asks us — the church — if we are collectively here as the hands, the feet, the heart of Jesus, why are we not reaching, touching and going to everyone, everywhere?

    Within weeks of the very first time the song played in Fayetteville on WCLN, we received a call from a missionary home on sabbatical who asked “...who is this band, and what gives them the right to level this sort of judgment?”

    No more an affront to Christians than saying “We need to clean up this city” to a town council, the song was as much a surprise to the band as a first radio single as anyone else. During our phone call, the man who penned the song commented that the record label made the decision, and that they just realized the band would be coming out swinging.

    The band is Casting Crowns, and after nearly 20 years of Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, Grammy nominations, and number one songs, they are bringing their unique sound — now a staple of Christian radio and playlists far and wide — to Fayetteville's Crown Theatre on Oct. 9.

    Lead man Mark Hall and his wife Melanie still serve as youth workers at their home church in south Atlanta, and they only do so many dates per year — always ending up back home for their weekly gatherings on Sunday.

    Casting Crowns began as the student worship band that Hall formed while he was serving at First Baptist Daytona Beach in 1999. Since then, they have moved their home base to Georgia, amassed a string of chart-topping songs and albums, and developed a musical following others merely dream of.

    Singer/songwriter Matthew West joins Casting Crowns for the “Only Jesus Tour." He brings his share of radio hits and accolades to the table.

    West, who came on the scene about the same time as Casting Crowns, has scored numerous top ten singles, and has to make room on the mantle for yet another award. In September he was named American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Christian Songwriter of the Year. For the fourth time.

    Originally scheduled for March 14, 2020, the Fayetteville stop on the tour has been rescheduled several times for reasons circling the pandemic, and is truly a stellar package wrapped in a spirit of humility. Come expecting an evening of stories and songs that have touched a generation of listeners. The “Only Jesus Tour” with Casting Crowns and Matthew West lands in Fayetteville for one night only on Saturday, Oct. 9.

    Pictured above: Christian music group Casting Crowns will be at the Crown Theatre Oct. 9. (Photo courtesy www.castingcrowns.com)

  • 12 BNB logoAfter being suspended for over a year, Blues-N-Brews is coming back to Fayetteville. The annual fundraiser is bringing over a dozen North Carolina breweries to the city, all in order to raise funds for the Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

    The usual summer event was moved to October this year since Festival Park only recently opened up. Ashley Owen, the Marketing Director for the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, said that as soon as reservations opened up, they grabbed the Oct. 30 date.

    The season won’t be the only thing different this year. Instead of the usual 3-ounce sample glass that is given out, attendees will instead be given full size cans of beer. The change comes amid COVID precautions. Having less hand-to-hand contact with the passing of the glass prompted the change.

    “We are really hoping that by having the cans and having more products at a time, you are spending less time in line and spending more time in the field, looking at the food trucks and listening to music,” Owen said. “It’s a little bit different this year, but it’s still the same Blues-N-Brews festival that people love.”

    The list of 16 breweries includes Dirtbag Ales (Hope Mills), Southern Pines Brewing Company (Southern Pines), the Mash House Brewing Company (Fayetteville), Gaston Brewing Company (Fayetteville), Red Oak Brewery (Whitsett), Foothills Brewing (Winston-Salem), Aviator Brewing Company (Fuquay-Varina) and Gizmo Brew Works (Raleigh).

    The breweries will be organized by location so attendees will be able to start with the mountain breweries and end with the beachside ones. Owen says that by organizing the breweries this way, people will be able to drink their way across North Carolina. There will also be eight food trucks at the festival so people can purchase food with their drinks.

    For those who don’t enjoy craft beers, there will be a special tent where people can get seltzers, ciders and wine.

    Outside of the several breweries and food vendors, a lineup of three returning bands and musicians will be performing at the festival along with one new performer.

    The Guy Unger Band will be playing during the VIP Hour, which is from 4 to 5 p.m. and can only be attended by those who purchase a VIP ticket.

    Next will be Nattalyee Randall, who has history not only with the festival but with the Cape Fear Regional Theatre. She has previously performed in one of their productions, but she has also performed as a backup vocalist at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards with Sam Smith.

    After Randall, Willie Bradley will be returning to the festival for his second performance. Bradley is a trumpet playing, chart-topping jazz artist from Orangeburg, South Carolina, who considers Fayetteville a second home. He used to teach music in several Cumberland County and Fort Bragg schools.

    “During the pandemic, all of my shows started dropping off. I used that time to complete my new CD project,” Bradley said. “From March 2020 up until July 2, I was completing my new project. I had stuff to do.”

    The album, “It’s My Time” was released back in July and two of the songs on the album trended on the Smooth Jazz Billboard. The song, “It’s My Time” peaked at number one.

    Coming back to the festival, Bradley is excited to play not only some covers and his older music, but tracks from his newest album as well.

    “I think people are ready to get out and have a great time and I think that even though we are in the midst of COVID protocols, I think it will still be a huge event just based on the reputation from previous events,” Bradley said. “I think that it will be a great turnout as usual.”

    After Bradley, the 2 Bald Guys Dueling Piano Show will perform. Chris Ketchman and Mark Pleasant are known for giving a high energy, interactive, sing-and-clap-along comedy show at many Fayetteville venues. This local act will be performing for the first time at the festival and will close the night out.

    A CAN Do Attitude ticket can get you four drinks for $30, if purchased before the event. If purchasing at the gate, the ticket price is raised to $40. Non-drinking tickets are $10, and a single drink ticket is $5. There will also be a $5 discount for active duty military, front line workers, healthcare workers and educators.

    The $75 VIP Experience ticket holders will get an extra hour of the festival, 5 drink tickets, shaded seating, exclusive
    merchandise, a catered meal and “Unicorn Beer” from the Mash House.

    The money will go back to the Cape Fear Regional Theatre to help with costs of performances, their theater camps and renovations.

    “It’s not been an easy year to be a theatre,” Owen said. “The more people that will come to Blues-N-Brews, the better off we will be when we reopen our newly renovated theatre.”

    The fully renovated theatre is expected to reopen in December, if there are no further delays with supply chain issues.

    Owen says they are still looking for volunteers to help out with setup, help backstage, pass out beer, check-in guests, deliver ice to brewers and vendors, and help clean up. There are more than 200 positions available to sign up.

    Those who work two or more hours during the event will receive a free t-shirt. Those who work four or more hours will be able to attend the rest of the event for free and receive two tickets to one opening weekend show during the Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s 2021-2022 season.

    To find out more about how to volunteer, go to https://www.cfrt.org/bnb/

    The festival will take place in downtown Fayetteville’s Festival Park on Oct. 30 from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are available by phone at 910-323-4233, at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre Box Office Monday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. or at Anstead’s Tobacco Co.

  • 03 vote yes3 copyYou can’t grow and become a great city if you leave entire segments of the community behind.

    I remember those words from our city council’s budget message for the 2012-2013 City Budget.

    Sadly, we have continued to see that the current structure with nine single-member districts has precisely done that over the past twenty years. By only focusing on the needs of nine individual districts, not enough attention is given to the major issues that face our entire city. Some are often more complicated and expensive. And increasingly, the issues that only face a few of our districts, making it even more difficult to gain support from other districts that fight for their own issues.

    Fayetteville’s growth is not keeping pace with the rest of the larger cities in the state. At the same time, this structure leaves entire segments behind, often our poor and powerless.

    The continued shortage in sworn police officers, still over 50 officers or more than 10% of the staff, threatens our citizens. But especially the ones in those neighborhoods that aren’t getting the coverage they deserve. These citizens are more likely to have an encounter with a police officer who is tired and stressed from overtime.

    In a city with 45% black registered voters, why are 81% of the murder victims this year black?

    We have identified over $100 million in stormwater needs to protect us from the next Hurricane Matthew or Florence. Again, this year the city council failed to add to the stormwater fees to help address these significant issues. What parts of our city are likely to be impacted by a flood? It is most often those living in the low-lying lands, often our poorest and most powerless.

    There is no better example of this failure than Shaw Heights. Stuck right between our city, our state university, and the most significant economic engine in southeastern North Carolina, Shaw Heights continues to be an unincorporated area. Shaw Heights residents are deprived of essential city services like sewer and urban police protection.

    If Shaw Heights had a different demographic, it would have been annexed years ago. But it doesn’t, and we should be ashamed to perpetuate a system that continually overlooks the least of us.

    Ironically, some defend a system of nine single members districts as better for the vulnerable and poor in our community. The facts tell a different story.

    Let’s have six city council members directly accountable to those who fear the next flood.

    Let’s have six city council members directly accountable to those who worry about the crime in their neighborhoods.

    We can’t become a better city by continuing to leave people behind.

    Suppose you would like to vote for 6 members of the City Council instead of the current 2.

    In that case, I encourage you to sign the Vote Yes Fayetteville petition and give every citizen the opportunity to vote on this critical issue.

    Editor's Note: Bobby Hurst is a former five-term City Council member and former business owner.

  • 16 BnB Logo and Socials 2Cape Fear Regional Theatre invites the communty to “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Party: A Live Listening Experience” generously hosted by the Cape Fear Botanical Garden as a one-night-only special event on Friday, Oct. 15.

    Organizers say if you loved the books, the smash Netflix hit, or the new concept musical album by Barlow & Bear, you are sure to love this themed special event.

    Directed by Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke and featuring choreography by Emmy Award winner Tyce Diorio (“So You Think You Can Dance,” CFRT’s “Music City”), this party-meets-performance is sure to delight “Bridgerton” newcomers and devotees alike.

    “This event provides an exciting way for the theatre to celebrate current trends and share an exciting new work with our audiences. The album is a fantastic re-imagining of the ‘Bridgerton’ characters and story. We’ve added our own flair to create this evening of entertainment, including Tyce’s incredible choreography, period costumes and an awesome company of performers. Our Listening Experience will be a hybrid of camp, costumes and choreography, interwoven with narration for those who aren’t as familiar with the original content.

    Performers will be dressed to “Bridgerton” standards, and, while not required, audiences are invited to break out their hats, gloves and party clothes too!”

    Tickets are $25 and include a specialty cocktail. CFRT offers military, first responder, teacher and SNAP discounts.

    After experiencing supply-chain delays for their auditorium renovation, CFRT announced last week that their scheduled production of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” has been postponed to the opening of their 2022-2023 season.

    Subscribers can use their Flex Tickets for “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Party: A Live Listening Experience” among other options. Tickets can be purchased or redeemed at CFRT.org or by calling the box office at

  • 100DollarBillsHC1404 02 source"A President's greatest responsibility is to protect all our people from enemies, foreign and domestic. Here at home the worst enemy we face is economic — the creeping erosion of the American way of life and the American dream that has resulted in today's tragedy of economic stagnation and unemployment." President Ronald Reagan said these words in 1982. However, they ring as true today as ever before.

    As the crisis on our southern border worsens and inflation reaches new highs, last week Washington liberals ignored these problems and continued their reckless spending spree. The House passed legislation which would once again raise the debt ceiling in order to pay for their $3.5 trillion liberal wish list. Keeping our government open is critical. However, I opposed this move to allow more debt. Democrats — who control the House, Senate and White House and who have spent trillions already this year — should not have a blank check to recklessly spend even more of your tax dollars. Their bill will raise taxes on everyone, give the federal government more control over your life from the cradle to the grave, and only make our inflation crisis worse.

    Despite this, their bill did have one good provision — funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. However, Washington Democrats caved to racist, anti-Semitic factions and stripped this funding from the bill. Later that day, we forced a second vote to approve the funding for Israel. Once again, radical, racist Democrats opposed it.

    America should always stand with Israel at every opportunity. Failing to do so is shameful and our allies, as well as our adversaries, are watching.

    As threats increase around the world, I was glad the House was able to come together and pass our nation’s bipartisan annual defense bill last week.

    This year’s National Defense Authorization Act is not perfect. But I was proud to support this bill which included much needed funding for Fort Bragg and our men and women in the military.

    Overall, it provides a 2.7% pay increase for servicemembers and reverses dangerous cuts to our military proposed by President Biden. It also adds resources to secure our border, holds the Biden administration accountable for its withdrawal from Afghanistan, and protects servicemembers’ personal liberties.

    I am especially proud that the bill includes provisions I have worked on throughout the year. For Fort Bragg, $27 million was included for needed construction projects on the base. For military families, my bill to expand and improve education funding was included. I also championed included provisions to increase PFAS testing on bases, combat sexual assault in the military, and modernize the Basic Allowance for Housing.

    There are several provisions in the bill I am concerned about, including red flag laws that threaten the Second Amendment rights of servicemembers. However like last year, I will now work to ensure these provisions are removed as negotiations continue between the House and Senate.

    I will never waiver from my commitment to support our troops, their families, and our veterans. The NDAA is an example that we can still come together and solve problems for our nation. Now we must do the same on issues like growing our economy, supporting our allies like Israel, and ending the crisis on our border. I will stay focused on common sense solutions on behalf of you and your family.

  • 14 115567021 3633294656686224 5142382093780506115 nIt’s been a good year on and off the golf course for Thomas Owen.

    On the course, he played in his first USGA championship when he qualified for the U.S. Mid Amateur in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

    Off the course, Owen and his wife welcomed the birth of their second daughter in July.

    Now, Owen gets ready to defend his title in the Cumberland County Golf Championship on Oct.15-17 at Gates Four Golf & Country Club.

    “It’s been on my short list of goals to make a USGA championship,” Owen said. “I’m tickled to death. But I haven’t played as much golf as I did the last couple of years. We’ve got a newborn baby girl and I didn’t want to stray too far from her.”

    Owen, 33, has been the dominant player in the CCGC for the last five years. Since 2016, he has won twice and finished as the runner-up three times.

    “I’m always excited to play in that,” Owen said. “I have a better understanding of how to play that course successfully. I know what clubs to hit and how to play it. I’m looking forward to it.”

    Owen’s biggest challengers are expected to be two eight-time champions of the event — Billy West and Gary Robinson. They tied for third place last year but were a distant 10 shots behind Owen when the final round was rained out.

    “I think Thomas Owen is the favorite, not trying to put pressure on him,” West said.

    “He’s the defending champion, he qualified for the U.S. Mid Am and he’s among the top 10 amateur players in North or South Carolina.”

    Robinson, who will turn 63 on the first day of the CCGC on Oct. 15, has a remarkable record of longevity in the tournament. He is not only trying to win the event for the ninth time but is seeking to win it in a fifth decade. His first victory came in 1982.

    “The ninth time would be great, it is important,” Robinson said. “But winning it in five decades would be, to me, more important. It means more to me just to be able to compete at this age. I’m happy with that but it still doesn’t mean I don’t want to win.”

    West, who is 47, is impressed by what Robinson has accomplished and the way he still can play golf.

    “One thing I’ve always admired about Gary and the reason I have so much respect for his game is he’s obviously always set the benchmark,” West said. “One of the things I have the most respect for is the longevity of his career.”

    Robinson attributes being able to play at a high level for nearly 40 years to a couple of things.

    “One thing is, I’ve been blessed with good health,” he said. “I try to stay in shape. I did do physical labor most of my life. I did a lot of stretching and it kept me limber. I don’t lift weights but I do use bands and do a lot of stretching to try and stay loose that way.”

    West said Robinson can still hit the ball farther than him despite the difference in their ages.

    “The power he still has in his early 60s is incredible,” West said. “It gives him a competitive advantage in those senior events he plays in and allows him to compete and win when he’s playing people of all ages. He really is nothing short of extraordinary how he’s been able to maintain his game at his age.”

    But Robinson knows his chances of beating West and Owen, only 33, will be more difficult as he gets older.

    “I know Thomas and Billy with the age they are, they obviously still have more chances than I do,” he said. “I would like to win a couple more if possible but we’ll just take them one at a time.”

    West also is building quite a record in the CCGC. He also is trying for a ninth win and trying to win in a fourth decade. His first win came in 1994.

    “It would mean an awful lot,” he said.

    “The one reason I love this tournament so much is it has sort of followed me throughout my life. When I first played in it, I was a 16-year-old kid in high school. Then I was a college student, then a law student and then a young professional. Now, I’m married with two kids. To be able to win through the years, it links to each one of those points in my life and has been very
    special,” he said.

    “To be able to say I won it in four decades would be quite an accomplishment. I guess Gary and I, for the moment, have this competition going and it would be great to win another.”

    Robinson is coming into the tournament in top form. He teamed up with Preston Edmondson of Morrisville to win the N.C. Senior Four-Ball Championship in August in Clemmons.

    In September, Robinson had a top 10 finish in the Carolinas Senior Amateur in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, and a top 20 finish in the North Carolina
    Mid Amateur in Sanford going against players who were mostly younger than him.

    There are other players expected to be in the field who could challenge the Big Three. Jake Barge finished second last year and Matt Hudson won the Cumberland County Match Play Championship in the spring. Chris Holland beat Owen in that event, ending his six-year winning streak.

    This will be the 53rd year of the CCGC, a tournament that has survived losing a major sponsor in 2014 and seeing a drop in participation.

    Bill Bowman, the publisher of Up & Coming Weekly, took over as tournament director and has staged the event at his home course of Gates Four. That is a change from the past when the event rotated to different courses in Cumberland County.

    “We almost lost this tournament altogether,” Bowman said. “There are few tournaments in North Carolina that have been around 53 years, that’s for sure. Keeping this one is extremely important, I think, to the community.”

    The tournament will take a step toward involving other courses next year. Bowman said King’s Grant has agreed to host the first round in 2022. Robinson is a co-owner of King’s Grant.

    “The sentiment of the players is they would like to see it moved around,” he said. “I think Bill Bowman is doing the best he can in keeping up with some of the traditions of the tournament. So, we’ll take the first round and see where it goes.”

    This year’s tournament will have a new wrinkle with the creation of a Junior Division for players 12-14 and 15-18. The field will be limited to 30 players. The entry fee is $145 and they will play Oct. 16-17.

    Entry forms for the CCGC and the junior division are available at cumberlandcountygolfclassic.com and at local golf shops.

    The entry fee for the CCGC is $175 for 54 holes for the Men’s and Senior Divisions and $145 for 36 holes in the Women’s and Super Senior (age 65 and over) Divisions.

    Players in the Adult Division must be 16 or older and live in Cumberland County. The deadline to enter is Oct. 10 at 5 p.m.

    William Schaefer won the Men’s Open Division last year, Michael Lane took the Senior title, Edwin Baez was the Super Senior champ and Clara Brown won the Women’s title.

    For questions, call Gates Four general manager Kevin Lavertu at 910-425-6667 or Bowman at 910-391-3859.

  • 01 Report Card Mock UpOver 200 people representing the best of the best businesses, institutions, and organizations in Fayetteville and Cumberland Country assembled at the Crown Coliseum for our 24th Annual Best of Fayetteville Awards Party. In attendance, showing appreciation and extending congratulations to the honorees, were Shari Fiveash of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, Randy Fiveash, interim President of the Fayetteville Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Jackie Warner, Mayor of Hope Mills. No one representing the City or Cumberland County was there. Personal invitations were not issued, nor were they required.

    Over the years, our elected city and county officials were more than anxious to attend any prestigious local event that showcased the people, businesses, institutions and organizations that define the quality of life in our community. After all, it is a congregation of their constituents. Or is it? Fayetteville is currently struggling with that question, even though everyone is quite aware of the answer.

    And, that is NO!

    With our city divided into nine separate and distinct districts, I'd wager each council member wouldn't find six attendees living or working in their specific section. And, with this being the case, why bother showing up all? Unfortunately, this thought process has become the mindset of most of our current elected officials of the Fayetteville City Council. This situation and mindset must change if Fayetteville as a community is to grow and prosper.

    You can't grow and become a great City if you leave entire segments of the community behind.

    Bobby Hurst, a former five-term City Councilman in District 5, recently reminded us of this dire warning and prediction that resonated nearly a decade ago from the Fayetteville City Council's 2012-2013 budget meeting. Sadly, that prediction has become a sad reality as nine individual districts try to govern over 210,000 residents by focusing only on the needs of their ward while ignoring major issues and situations affecting the entire city.

    It's a matter of record that Fayetteville's growth is not keeping pace with the rest of the cities in the state. There is a reason for that. The City of Fayetteville has an inferior and embarrassing Report Card when it comes to leadership and management:

    We cannot become a better city by continuing to leave people behind. By focusing on each of the nine individual districts, they are collectively ignoring major citywide issues.

    Image above by Dylan Hooker.

    Ultimately, our horrific statistics will continue to worsen unless collective voices are heard regarding the future of our city. Fayetteville residents from all districts will suffer and die due to this poor governance, unabated homicides and neglected infrastructure maintenance like stormwater unless the citizens vote to change the structure of city government by designating four of the nine citywide districts as At Large districts. This would give Fayetteville residents six votes when it comes to elections rather than two. What's not to like about that? A Fayetteville resident gets to vote for five council members and the mayor rather than just voting for the mayor and one district representative. Common sense dictates that it's a shame we even have to make such an argument. However, I just did.

    I encourage you to sign the Vote Yes Fayetteville petition at www.voteyesfayetteville.com and give every citizen (Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, rich or poor) the right to vote on this critical issue. Fayetteville's future depends on it, and you can rely on that.

    In closing, let me say that even though we currently have a terrible report card, it definitely can be improved just like any other academic institution: i.e. Get a better curriculum. Hire better teachers and, if need be, replace the principal. We have plenty of options. The best one yet: 6/4 Vote Yes Fayetteville.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 12 IndigoMoonWhiteCir The 6th Annual Indigo Moon Film Festival will be held in-person and virtually Thursday, Oct. 7 through Friday, Oct. 15.

    “The purpose of the Indigo Moon Film Festival is to showcase films from around the world before a diverse audience,” said Pat Wright and Jan Johnson, co-founders of Indigo Moon Film Festival.

    “Film is an underrepresented cultural art in our community and by bringing it here we allow people to see the world through different eyes, enjoy entertainment, and be inspired and informed more than they normally would.”
    Wright added that they are independent films that you would not see in regular movie theaters.

    “Last year the event was 100% virtual due to COVID-19, but this year we found a way to safely social distance so we are having two in-person events at Segra Stadium and the rest of the event will be virtual,” said Wright.

    The event kicks off Thursday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. with a free Family Film Night in downtown’s Segra Stadium.

    “We are screening Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ and we hope that everyone will come out,” said Wright. “We will safely social distance and we are giving away free masks at the door.”

    The opening night film, “Peace by Chocolate,” takes place Friday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. in Segra Stadium. It is the story of a young Syrian refuge and his family who come to Canada to try to start over. The young refuge wants to become a doctor, but his family wants him to stay and help run the chocolate business.

    “It is a really uplifting great film and it falls right in line with our theme this year ‘Diversity and Resilience,’” said Wright. “We will have a live question and answer session with the filmmaker, Jonathan Keijser, of ‘Peace by Chocolate’ after the showing of the film.”

    “He has several short documentaries of this type of film and this is his first feature length film,” said Wright. “He is really excited about coming and helping to promote the film and I think they are getting a distribution deal with one of the big distribution groups too, so we are interested to hear more about that.”

    Saturday, Oct. 9 thruugh Friday, Oct. 15 is the Virtual Film Festival. More than 80 films will be represented and their categories entail Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Student Films, Documentary Short, Narrative Short and

    Some of the films include “Dreams of Emmett Till,” “Adventures in the Time of Covid,” “In Jesus’ Name,” “Love & Coffee,” “Validation,” and more.

    “The films will be available by website and you can purchase an individual ticket or buy a pass to look at all of them,” said Wright. “You can watch them on your computer, digital device and download the app on Roku, Fire TV Stick and Apple TV so you can watch it on your television.”

    She added, “You get to watch it from the best seat in the house — your own, it is definitely safe from COVID-19, and you can watch all of the films you want for an entire week.”

    GroundSwell Pictures is a 501(c)(3) with a mission of engaging and inspiring diverse communities by producing films, showing films, teaching filmmaking and supporting films that make a positive difference. “GroundSwell is the umbrella organization and Indigo Moon is one of the programs of GroundSwell,” said Wright. “We also create films that are of social significance, but right now we are focused on the Film Festival and creating films to make a positive social difference.”

    Even though the film entry deadline has passed, the process of entering a film for the contest is done through a portal called FilmFreeway.

    “The films that we are looking for are Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Student Films, Animation, Narrative Shorts, and Documentary Shorts,” said Wright. “We are going to open a new category next year for strictly North Carolina films.”

    “We have received some awesome grant funding from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, Cumberland Community Foundation, and we have got so many great sponsors and supporters,” said Wright. “It is great because last year we hunkered down, did everything mostly in house, and had a couple of stalwart supporters, but this year we are reaching back out and people are happy to support us.”

    “This event is our way of saying thank you to the community for their support,” said Wright. “We are looking forward to the film festival’s comeback.”

    Ticket cost is $100 for VIP, $15 for a student pass, and $14 for three films or a film block. There is also a pay what you can option. Tickets are $5 for each film but you can pay as little as $3.

    Masks will be required inside Segra Stadium. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase.

    For more information call 910-309-6580 or visit the interactive website at www.indigomoonfilmfestival.com.

  • 10-02-13-highland-games.gifThe 5th Annual Scotland County Highland Games is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5 on the grounds of the John Blue Home and Historical Complex in Laurinburg, N.C.

    “This whole upper Cape Fear Region was at one point the largest settlement of Highland Scott in all of North America,” said Bill Caudill, chairman of the Scotland County Highland Games. “There is a lot of Scottish presence and Scottish identity here and has been for the last two centuries.”

    Caudill added that the Highland Games is the cultural festival that celebrates that tradition and heritage within this region. The organization took the lead after the Flora MacDonald Scottish Games were discontinued in Red Springs in 2008.

    “Once they announced that they were discontinuing their event the phones starting ringing in Laurinburg,” said Caudill. “They indicated that we had hotels to stay in, restaurants to eat in and wonderful places in Laurinburg so why didn’t we take the lead by continuing this festival in this region?”

    Caudill added that they decided that they would give it a try and it has been a great success.

    The weekend event has something for everyone such as piping, drumming, children’s activities and games, athletic games and dancing. There are 15 pipe bands competing and they are coming from throughout the southeast.

    “We have one of the world’s top players, Bruce Gandy, who will be one of the guest judges and will do a recital on Friday night,” said Caudill. “The Highland dancers will compete and will do dances such as the Highland Fling or a sword dance.”

    The Whisky Tasting was the hit event of the festival last year.

    “It is like a wine tasting and folks want to taste whisky at one point during the festival,” said Caudill. “We have 8 single-malt whiskies paired with gourmet food.”

    Caudill added that one is being paired with a strawberry dish, another with smoked North Carolina scallops, and with chocolate caramel and sea salt. Each person participating in the event will get to taste eight whiskies and food for $25. Registration is required for this event and limited to 50 people.

    “The event has been a great success since we began particularly during the time in which our similar festivals nationwide have been hit by the economic downturns,” said Caudill. “People love coming here and they love the historical connection to the region that they can find by coming to this area.”

    Caudill said it has been a great opportunity to draw people in from really far and wide as a tourist opportunity. No firearms, pets or outside alcohol will be allowed on the grounds. Patron and sponsor information can be found on the website. For more information visit www.schgnc.org.

  • 10-09-13-walk on the dark.gifFayetteville has a colorful history, but what you may not know is that it is also spooky. In and around downtown Fayetteville, there are many buildings that have historical signi茀cance and more than a few ghosts. One of the most accurate and entertaining ways to learn about Fayetteville’s spooky history is through the Historic Hauntings Hayride.

    Historic Hauntings has been a fun and educational tradition for several years. This year’s ride is a very special one, however.

    “This year is very different. We have written a different script that we have never done before. It is not concentrating on downtown and the Cross Creek Cemetery. We have moved a little up hill and are focusing on Historic Haymount on Hillside Ave. This year it is also more interactive,” explained Carrie King, the executive director of the Dogwood Festival.

    “Before, patrons would just get on and off the hayride and have skits going on around them, but this year patrons can be pulled into the skit. A prime example would be our amputation scene where patrons can be pulled in to participate. This year there is also a lot more walking. This is not an activity intended for people with limited mobility or strollers. There is just no way we could fit a stroller through some of the paths through the neighborhood yards,” continued King.

    The Historic Hauntings Hayride is a unique haunted tour. Of course, there are ghost stories and spooky houses, but there is also the real history of this community. Fayetteville is a community full of a rich and often surprising history.

    “This is a great opportunity for education. We are educating our community on our history in a unique way. It makes history fun. Bruce Daws, our city historian, and his team work so hard to be accurate with the costumes, props and scripts. Its like you are really on the eve of Sherman’s march. That is our theme for this year. It is a fun and educational way to learn history,” said King.

    For anyone that is interested, the night of history and ghosts doesn’t have to end at the conclusion of the hayride. King added, “We are also doing a haunted house this year. We depart from the Lion’s Club at 725 West Rowan St., and when we return there after the ride, patrons can make a $6 donation and go through the Hillside House of Horror. If patrons bring canned goods to benefit the Fayetteville Urban Ministry they will get $1 off.”

    Reservations are required for Historic Hauntings, and tickets cost $17.Tickets are available by calling 323-1934 or by going to www.etix.com/ticket/online/venueSearch.jsp?venue_id=4265. The hayride will depart from 725 W. Rowan St. at the Lion’s Club. It is advised to come early to ensure time for parking as the wagons leave at scheduled times. There will be hayrides on Oct. 17-19 and Oct. 24-26. This is a rain or shine event so bring umbrellas if needed. For more information visit www.faydogwoodfestival.com/historic-hauntings.

    Photo: Relive some of Fayetteville’s spookier moments on at the Historic Hauntings Hay Ride.

  • For more than 20 years the people of Cumberland County have had access to incredible music through the Cumberland Oratorio Singers. The Cumberland Oratorio Singers are a symphonic chorus that was originally inspired by the bicentennial of Mozart’s death. Since their first performance in 1993, the group has grown in both notoriety and membership. The have performed in venues all over the county and have been represented at many different community functions, often as featured guests. The 2013/2014 season opens on Oct. 25.10-16-13-cumberland-oratorio.gif

    The members of this group of vibrant and diverse singers show their love of music by sharing it with the community. They do this not only through their performances, but also through the diversity in the choir itself. “There are lots of church choirs in Fayetteville, but we are the only community choir. We are not the only choral music in Fayetteville, but we want the community to understand music is for everybody and singing is for everybody,” said Michael Martin, the director of choral activities and music education.

    Choral music does a lot more for the community than just provide entertainment. It helps to keep the city active and is part of what makes Fayetteville a great place to live. Through the outreach for potential members as well as the many performances around the community, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers help to keep the arts in Fayetteville vibrant and interesting, as is their goal. “As composer Robert Shaw once said, ‘If it wasn’t for community choirs there would be no choral music,’ and he was right. For a city to be vibrant it must have a strong arts and culture and I am happy to help strengthen the musical aspect of culture,” said Martin.This year the first performance of the season is on Oct. 25. The performance is titled Life Through Poetry and Song and focuses on how art reflects aspects of life and society. Like all of their performances, the night will be filled with beautiful and touching music. “This particular performance is based on some poetry set to music composed by some famous composers,” Martin said.

    Poetry and music are very similar forms of art that both make use of rhythm and language to convey meaning. For this reason combining the two is only natural and many poems have been set to music. The performance will also feature the Cross Creek Chorale, which is a completely new aspect of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers. These 26 singers auditioned and were chosen from 45 members of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers.

    The poetry of this night will be set to the music of composers Britten, Clausen, Effinger, Vaughn-Williams and other composers. It is notable, however, that there is a theme to these composers as well. Martin explained. “We will be hearing music done by American and British composers. We call it across the sea and back again. This is not the overall name, but we do have it set up in the program so that we start with American composers, go to British composers then come back again.” The show will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Highland Presbyterian Church 111 Highland Ave.

    For more information on the Cumberland Oratorio Singers or their upcoming 2013-2014 season visit the website www.singwithcos.org.

    Photo:  he Cumberland Oratorio Singers join with the Cross Creek Chorale to open the 2013/2014 season on Oct. 25 at Highland Presbyterian Church with Life through Poetry and Song.

  • 10-23-13-sos-band.gifSounds of Success, more commonly known as S.O.S., was first conceived in 1977 in Atlanta, Ga., but they are known nationally, and on Friday, Nov. 1, the band will bring its unique sound to the area as it performs at Givens Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

    For a number of years, the band performed under the name Santa Monica. Gaining popularity in their hometown, S.O.S. came onto the national music scene in 1980 when its single “Take Your Time (Do it Right)” sold 2 million copies and went platinum.

    The band takes joy in its performances, but is also proud of their work. Even after 32 years of performing music, each member still strives to make every performance the very best it can be. This can clearly be seen in the comment of Mary Davis, the lead vocalist, when asked about the typical concert.

    “People should expect nothing but the best,” she said. “We are going to take our time and give them the best show they’ve ever seen.”

    Davis’ love of music began very early in life, and based on the funky style of S.O.S, the genres that first inspired her may be surprising.

    “As a kid I always liked music. I mostly listened to country and western because I am from Savannah, Ga., and at the time we didn’t have a black radio station. As a result, we mostly listened to country western and rock,” she explained. “I always liked music and knew I wanted to sing. I used to use old Coke bottles or water bottles as a microphone and I listened to all the music and learned all the lyrics to sing along. I joined the Baptist church, and as a member of the choir, I was able to do solos. I saw the responses of the audience and I knew I had a gift from God.”

    Membership in a popular band that travels all over the country isn’t all fun and games, however. There are a lot of challenges that all of the members face as they travel and perform. Davis says that one of the biggest challenges is just the wear and tear that they experience as they get on and off the airplanes. These challenges have not deterred them.

    Davis explains why they continue to tour, “The most rewarding thing is being able to sing a song that everyone can relate to and bring back a happy memory and bring a smile to peoples face. We enjoy doing what we are doing and enjoy having people relate to our songs and the feed back makes it all worth while. We really appreciate the love and support that our audience has given us over 32 years. We really, really appreciate them.”

    Join the fun as The S.O.S. Band performs at the Givens Performing Arts Center on Friday, Nov. 1. Tickets are $25 for adults or $15 for children and students. For more information and tickets, visit www.uncp.edu/gpac/broadway/index.htm.

    Photo: The S.O.S Band brings great music to the GPAC.

  • 10-10-12-reading-rocks-worm.gifEducation is the key to success, and a passion for reading makes education that much easier. It is for this reason that for nine years the local community has been coming together in order to support local schools in inspiring youngsters to read with the Reading Rocks! Walk-A-Thon. Belinda Cashwell the director of media services for Reading Rocks! says, “Literacy opens the doors for every opportunity. Literacy is the window to the world, and without it a community will not flourish. A nation will not flourish, so we want the very best reading materials available in our school libraries. This year we are trying to make the move to being 25 percent digital so it’s really important that we have the best materials available. We have a program to really bring it full circle with students reading then using commuters to check their comprehension, and involving the whole family in reading. We want this to be a family affair and a community affair. We are passionate about reading and providing the best materials, and we have great parents contributing.”

    Reading Rocks is a local fundraiser put on by Cumberland County Schools that donates the proceeds to buy new books for local schools. In each school, kids collect money and often local businesses donate to help support this investment in the community’s future leaders. This year Cargill Inc. is the largest sponsor. Last year more than $225,000 was raised and 20,000 people participated in the walk-a-thon. Every year the turn out and donations improve as the community rallies around the fundraiser, and this year the “Nifty Ninth,” expectations are even higher. The Cumberland County School System is calling for 25,000 walkers this year, surpassing last year’s attendance by 5,000 supporters.

    “This thing has just grown. Cargill is our largest corporate sponsor, each year donating $10,000 - $15,000. We just got Lafayette Business Machine and many other corporate sponsors both large and small. Our penny war has amazed us; we raise more than $20,000 in just pennies,” Cashwell says.

    At the walk-a-thon groups of students and faculty will represent their schools, and the schools that have raised the most money will lead the walkers. All along the route school bands will play for the entertainment of the walkers. There will also be mascots roaming the crowd helping in the celebration.

    “The walk is 1.3 miles. We intentionally don’t make it too long because many of our walkers are young students. Our youngest walker has been about two weeks old and our oldest around 90. The people at Heritage Place and other local nursing homes bring rocking chairs out and rock for reading rocks. Even thought they can’t walk they rock around the route, “ says Cashwell proving that you don’t need to be able to walk to support the Reading Rocks Walk-A-thon.

    The NCAEOP Secretaries will have breakfast for participants, with cheesy grits, bacon, coffee and hot chocolate, among other things for sale. All the money raised through the sales goes to scholarships for local high school students.

    Reading Rocks! Walk-A-Thon will take place on Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. at Festival Park, which is located at 335 Ray Ave. For more information about the walk-a-thon or about being a sponsor, call 678-2613, the Cumberland County Schools’ Social Media Services.

  • 10-30-13-sweeney-todd.gifLast season’s line-up at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre caused quite a buzz in the region. But that doesn’t compare to the hum that is going through the community as Sweeney Todd comes to the stage this week.

    The show, which tells the story of love, when twisted, can go really, really wrong. Because at its heart, Sweeney Todd is a love story. For those who are only familiar with the Johnny Depp movie, the stage production will be quite the wake-up call.

    “Because of the Johnny Depp movie, there is a perception of the play as being a horror tale,” said Tom Quaintance, the theatre’s artistic director, who is also directing the show. “But that’s because that is the direction the producer of the movie leaned. Much of what is delightful about the play winds up cut out.”

    Quaintance characterizes the play as a dark comedy.

    “There is no question that this is a horror story. Bad things happen. But the scope is so much broader, and as such can appeal to a much wider crowd,” continued Quaintance. “The play is a contrast between this dark character Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett who sees almost everything as bright and funny. She is the light to his dark. There is a lot of heart in this show, even in its darkness.”

    The depth of the show’s content made prep work for the show very important. Months leading up to the casting of the show, local actors were giddy over the possibility of performing in the show. The auditions were intense. The performers seeking a role had to have the total package. That was particularly true of the lead roles of Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett.

    “These two parts are towering roles,” said Quaintance. “You can be a great vocalist and be in the show in the ensemble. But for these roles, you really need to be a vocalist, actor and a lot more. These roles are just that hard.”

    To that end, Quaintance took the auditions to New York City.

    “I’m always interested in getting the best people in the show, no matter where they come from, but for this show, we needed the absolute best all the way across the board. If we couldn’t have found those folks, we could not have done it.”

    Quaintance knows what he is talking about, as he has been working on and with this show since early May through a partnership with Playmakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill. Over the summer, Quaintance worked with a student production of Sweeney Todd at Playmakers, and now, he is using the experience he garnered with that show to make this production even better.

    “Going into rehearsals for this production, my time in Chapel Hill really helped move the process along very fast,” said Quaintance. “Actors, like those we have cast in this show tend to rise to the occasion, but having the past experience has really helped to make this a wonderful process.”

    Quaintance said that while he learned from the summer production, what the CFRT patrons will see is a very different animal.

    “This is not a restaging of that production,” he said. “It is a very different show because there are very different actors. I learned a lot of traps that can get in your way in producing this show, so we are not getting stuck.”

    While Quaintance was doing his homework, the cast was doing theirs. Steve Minow, who recently played the role of the Aviator in The Little Prince has the lead role of Sweeney Todd. Leanne Borghesi, an actor, vocalist and vocal coach, has the role of Mrs. Lovett. They are joined by former Miss North Carolina, Hailey Best, who plays the role of Lucy, Zack Burkhardt playing the role of Tobias Ragg and Ken Griggs playing Judge Turpin.

    Playing Lucy in Sweeney Todd is a lifetime goal for Best.

    “This is really a different role for me,” said Best. “I do a lot of roles as the love interest, like Elle in Legally Blonde, but his show really challenges me. I had to sit down and prepare before I got here. I couldn’t have walked into these rehearsals without knowing the music.”

    The role of Lucy calls for a vocalist who is a “stratospheric soprano.” Best said the songs and music have a lot of context, it’s not always pretty, but it’s deep and complicated.

    “You can’t sing this role and just sound pretty,” she said. “The lyrics are very important. They tell the story without being too obvious.”

    Borghesi likens the score to a feast. “The more you can prepare to get ready for dinner, the more you can eat,” she said.

    While the featured artists carry a lot of the weight in the show, the large ensemble, which is largely comprised of local actors, more than meets them half way.

    “The ensemble has some of the hardest music, but they are incredible. They are killing it,” said Best, who related that she was blown away on the first night of rehearsals with the depth and skill of the local vocalists.

    In conjunction with the play’s opening, the theatre has planned several events.

    On Monday, Oct. 28, patrons are invited to join Quaintance for a look Behind the Curtain. Quaintance and other artists will host a dialogue with patrons about the show. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Headquarters Library at 300 Maiden Lane, and those interested in learning more behind the scenes are invited to “nibble and sip” their way through the conversation. There is no fee for this event and reservations are not required.

    With comedic irony that mirrors the show, the CFRT slated a Halloween Preview Night on Thursday, Oct. 31. Attendees are invited to dress in costume, and to donate... blood that is. Between 5 and 7 p.m., the Cape Fear Valley Mobile Blood Donor bus will be at the theatre. Those interested in participating in the blood drive can schedule their donation at www.savingliveslocally.org or call 910-323-4234, ext. 222 or just show up

    For tickets or more information, visit the CFRT website at www.cfrt.org or call the box office at 323-4233. The box office is open Tuesday-Saturday from 2-6:30 p.m.

  • 16 casting crowns 1

     Grammy Award-winning and multiplatinum selling band Casting Crowns will release its new studio album, “Only Jesus,” Nov. 16. “Nobody (ft. Matthew West)” was the second of six songs that will be released early from the new project before street date.

    Talking about the new album theme and idea behind it, Casting Crowns’ frontman Mark Hall asked, “What does it look like when Jesus is our only answer?

    “The theme that continued to come up while working on these new songs was that ‘I am not the point’ – it is not about me, it is about pointing to him,” Hall said. “God is already at work in our lives, and he has a plan that he places us in so that others can know him. We are here to show the way to God by how we live, how we react to difficult situations, how we handle trials and troubled relationships. Our hope is that through these songs, you can see what it looks like when Jesus is our only source, our only solution and we are pointing to only Jesus.”

    The band released the title track to radio and digital outlets and has already seen it jump into the Top 15 at all AC radio charts in just four weeks. “Only Jesus” has 3.5 million streams across all platforms, and it has been featured on key playlists on Spotify (New Music Friday, New Music Friday Christian, Top Christian), Amazon (Fresh Christian, Playlist Cover, Top 100 Most Played, Christian Hits) and Apple’s The A-List Christian list.

    Casting Crowns kicks off the “Only Jesus” tour in early 2019. The group will conclude 2018 with the “It’s Finally Christmas” tour with guest Hannah Kerr.

    Prolific contemporary Christian band Casting Crowns has achieved sales milestones with more than 11 million albums sold, including one Recording Industry Association of America 2x multi-Platinum album, five RIAA Platinum albums, two RIAA Platinum DVDs, seven RIAA Gold albums, four Gold DVDs, one RIAA Platinum certified single and five RIAA Gold certified digital singles. The band currently holds the position as Billboard’s top-selling act in Christian music since 2007.

    Casting Crowns has also been honored with four American Music Awards out of seven total nominations, a Grammy Award for its 2005 album “Lifesong,” and seven Grammy nominations. In addition, the group has garnered 18 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and two Billboard Music Awards from 11 total Billboard Music Award nominations.

    Casting Crowns’ seven band members all remain active in student ministry in the Atlanta, Georgia, area and tour according to their local church commitments. Serving for 25-plus years in youth ministry, lead singer/songwriter Mark Hall maintains his role as the student pastor at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in Atlanta.

  • 10 arts council Longtime locals are familiar with a pair of tall, friendly red doors at 301 Hay St. in downtown Fayetteville. And new residents can’t help but notice these same doors. Above them reads a simple but stately title: “THE ARTS CENTER.” This month, the organization behind those doors, the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, turns 45.

    Since its founding by local visionaries in 1973, the Arts Council has become an integral driver of Cumberland County’s culture and economy – and not by accident.

    Deborah Mintz, executive director who’s worked at the Arts Council for more than half its existence, is retiring early next year. She’s responsible for the development of many of the nonprofit’s beloved community events, including A Dickens Holiday and the International Folk Festival. These events also draw thousands of outside visitors each year. In September, the IFF celebrated its 40th year and saw about 120,000 people enjoy downtown Fayetteville.

    “I see the cultural arts industry as a dynamic partner with our local and state governments, economic development and educational organizations and institutions,” Mintz said. “Today, the nonprofit cultural arts industry provides close to $60 million annually in direct investment in our community.”

    Behind those red doors, the Arts Council also runs a gallery that showcases art from local and international artists. Its exhibitions highlight and spark discussion of issues that range from the community to global level. The gallery’s latest exhibition, “Touchstone: Images Of Service,” opened last week and invited photographers to submit works that capture heroism, sacrifice and courage.

    The Arts Council also spearheads public art installation initiatives with results that can be seen peppered throughout downtown.

    While most residents are familiar with the Arts Council’s events and gallery, not as many know much about its Artists in Schools program and the grant money it disburses.

    Artists in Schools brings high-caliber arts educatorsto over 80 public and private schools in Cumberland County and Fort Bragg. The program offers matching grants to schools to cover fees for residencies, assemblyperformances and workshops conducted by teaching artists. The Arts Council vets these teaching artists from a pool of local, regional and national talent.

    Last year, said Arts Council Education & Outreach Director Adrienne Trego, Artists in Schools helped students learn about physics through circus acts, create their own silk banners celebrating their school and use drumming to learn about math.

    The Arts Council also grants more than half a million dollars annually to support community organizations and individual artists in this community. These grants include the support of local nonprofit treasures like Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

    Janet Gibson, a Fayetteville native who joined the Arts Council early this year as director of marketing and communications, remembers writing about the Arts Council as a young reporter in November of 1987.

    “That was when the Arts Council moved into the building at 301 Hay St.,” she said. “I remember being here for a reception, and it was beyond celebratory. … It’s been very fulfilling to watch the Arts Council] grow and prosper and become admired by the arts community – not only statewide but nationally – in its reputation for being a leader and a trailblazer.

    “The thing about the arts in our area is they provide jobs and really feed the economy.”

    Mintz said the quality that’s best served her in leading the Arts Council is tenacity – that and “a passionate knowledge that the arts are critical to the growth and success of our citizens and community.” Gibson put it this way: the Arts Council is successful because of “so many visionaries and people who refuse to give up. They know that Fayetteville is this… center of creative expression.”

    Mintz said the thing she’ll miss most in her retirement is working with these passionate people, though she’s not moving. “I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else. I am a Fayettevillian, not by birth, but by choice,” she said. “I will still be right here in my adopted hometown.”

    The Arts Council is conducting a national search for a new executive director who can build on Mintz’s legacy.

    To learn more about the Arts Council and view a full list of upcoming exhibitions at The Arts Center, visit www.theartscouncil.com.

  • 09 Starcatcher Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s production of “Peter and the Starcatcher” is what going to the theater is all about– inclusive entertainment, inspiration and showcasing great talent. It is a funfilled show with laughs for all ages.

    “Peter and the Starcatcher” is the origin story of Peter Pan. It is based on the 2004 book “Peter and the Starcatchers” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, which was adapted for stage by Rick Elice with music by Wayne Barker. The play provides a backstory for Peter Pan, Wendy, the Lost Boys, Tinker Bell and Captain Hook.

    Director Michelle Tattenbaum and the cast deliver a show not to be missed. Like sticky pudding, it’s so good!

    Molly, played by Malena Pennycook, is a young starcatcher in training, whose father is protecting a trunk of magical “star stuff.” After a series of mishaps fueled by greed and deception, Molly and an orphan boy, played by Graham Baker, survive a sinking ship and go on a swashbuckling adventure battling pirates, island natives and a crocodile to protect the trunk.

    Timothy John Smith steals the show with his bravado and flamboyance as the pirate Black Stache. He is prone to malapropism and delivers a number of anachronistic jokes that keep the audience amused. Although his mission is to steal the trunk, what Black Stache really wants is to find a worthy opponent. The villain finds a hero in the orphan boy (to be named Peter).

    Smith does an outstanding job, but as his character says, “No man is an archipelago,” and he shares the stage with a tremendous cast.

    Local actress Becca Vourvoulas plays Mrs. Bumbrake, Molly’s nanny. James Martin is Lord Leonard Aster, Molly’s father. Paul Urriola plays Alf, a sailor aboard The Neverland. The ensemble includes Zane Burkhardt, Michael Carney, Karsten Otto, Justin Toyer, John Salvatore and Ben Schrager.

    A standing ovation goes out to the cast and crew for the fine production, where just about everything stands out as a quality effort – from the stage direction to the set decoration. The ensemble cast merges nationally recognized actors with local talent and is a testament to the leadership and artistic vision that makes CFRT such a gem for the local community.

    CFRT backstage veterans David Rawlins (scenic artist), Kenneth Blinn (production coordinator) and Bryan Hitzigrath (sound designer) are joined by regional and national talents Robin Vest (set designer) and Marika Kent (lighting designer), among others, to do an amazing job of making the words on the page come to life for the audience.

    A special shout-out to the CFRT interns, who make sure all the prop and costume changes go smoothly backstage. They are surely on their toes for this production, making sure the right actor has the right sword, fish or flying cat in hand when he or she re-enters stage right.

    At first glance, the set may seem minimal compared to some productions at CFRT, but it is quite extravagant in its styling and detail. The wooden planks and boxes that make up the foundation of the ships and the island prove versatile and accommodating to the volume of movement during the show. The set beautifully fits a child’s imagination of a fanciful story of pirates, singing mermaids, ships and a fearsome crocodile.

    Also noteworthy are the efficient costumes by Whitney Locher. The quick changes for the ensemble cast members display a sense of creativity and splendor that add to the characters without detracting from the performance itself.

    I could say something about the mermaids and their costumes at this point, but nothing I can write here would do justice to the performance at the beginning of Act 2. That is where the whole show changed for me. I admit, I thought the first 30 minutes or so was a bit wordy and slow. However, the rest of the audience thought otherwise, as indicated by their laughter and applause (as well as my own post-show polling of anyone under four feet tall). The rest of the audience found the heavy dialogue at the beginning of the show to be a quiet buildup to the action that followed. For the entire second act, I was applauding and giggling. It was fast-paced and had a rewarding conclusion for all Peter Pan fans.

    Fans and newcomers to theater will not be disappointed in this show. It is a treat for theater-goers of all ages.

    “Peter and the Starcatcher” runs through Nov 11. Military Appreciation Night will be Nov. 1. A sensory-friendly performance sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield will be Nov. 4. To reserve your tickets or get more information, visit www.cfrt.org or call 910-323-4233.

  • 08COSFor 27 years this season, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers have been performing traditional choral music throughout the Sandhills – and not without getting the community’s attention. The group was inducted into the Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame for 25 years of service under the leadership of Michael Martin, and has recently established a new youth choir, the Campbellton Youth Chorus. To celebrate the group’s achievements, COS will kick off its 27th season with some unexpected sounds. “A Night of Jazz” is set for Friday, Oct. 19, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 7:30 p.m. 

    For “A Night of Jazz,” the Singers will collaborate with the Fayetteville Technical Community College Choir to perform classic jazz hits from the ’30s and ’40s. According to COS Choral Director Jason Britt, “COS alone is great, but when you add more people to it, it can become really great.” 

    Moreover, the collaboration is an attempt to unify Cumberland County and broaden COS’ audience. “By reaching out to the community, with more people, we can do bigger and better things,” said Britt. 

    The COS plan to team up with a jazz combo band and are set to perform pieces such as “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “The Way You Look Tonight” and “I Got Rhythm,” among others. 

    For most of the group’s existence, the COS has performed captivating traditional pieces that its audience has grown to expect and love. The ensemble’s director, however, is excited to introduce new styles into the group’s repertoire. 

      “My emphasis on this season is to try to relate to the people a little better by performing music that might be recognizable to our audience members,” said Britt. “For the last 26 years, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers have had a reputation of preserving traditional choral music, and I realized that not everybody is a fan of that.” 

      While Britt and many of the members of the ensemble, not to mention its audience, cherish the more traditional works, the group is ready to adopt some new sounds. “A Night of Jazz” is the COS’ first step to achieving this goal. 

      Jazz isn’t the only genre to expect from the Singers’ upcoming season. “I included one night of just traditional music (in this season),” Britt said. “I really didn’t want to alienate our base – some members really expect traditional choral works, and we love performing them.” 

      This year’s COS season includes “A Night of Screen and Stage,” which will include popular hits from famous movies; “Messiah Sings!” a Christmas cantata featuring Handel’s beloved “Messiah;” and “A Night with the Masters,” which features traditional choral pieces by artists such as Mozart and Schubert. 

      “We really wanted a variety of things,” Britt summarized. “It’s very refreshing not to do the same thing every time; you have a variety of elements that make things interesting.” 

      Tickets for the Oct. 19 season opener, “A Night of Jazz,” can be purchased for $15 at the door. Students with ID can purchase tickets for $5. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church is located at 1601 Raeford Rd. 

      Season tickets are $45. Learn more at www.singwithcos.org. 

  • 13BachtoberThe Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra is committed to educating, entertaining and inspiring the citizens of the Fayetteville, North Carolina, region as the leading musical resource. Making first-rate music affordable takes some creativity, though. That creativity manifests in forms like the FSO’s Bachtoberfest fundraiser, which is set for Thursday, Oct. 18, from 6-9 p.m. 

    “This event helps support a lot of the things we do,” said FSO CEO and President Christine Kastner. “Our ticket prices are (kept) low. They really only cover 20 percent of the cost of a concert, so we have to fundraise and get grants to cover the rest. 

    “We want to keep ticket prices affordable, so we really can’t go higher... or it limits who can come to the shows. Our tickets for concerts and other events are $30 and below.” 

    Like its concerts, the symphony’s fundraisers are inventive and fun. Bachtoberfest will take place in a local, private biergarten and will include delicious German fare prepared by the symphony’s board members. Think bratwursts and German potato salad. Guests can wash it down with a sudsy brew and sample 10 craft beers. Bright Light Brewing Co., Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom, Southern Pines Brewing Company and Healy Wholesale will provide the evening’s beverages. 

    “There will be some games going on, too – relay races with a full beer stein and some of those kinds of fun games,” said Kastner. 

    FSO musicians will play music throughout the event. “There will be oompah music as well as jazz to keep the evening flowing,” Kastner said. “The location has a fire pit, so you can make your own s’mores, too.” 

    Bachtoberfest is intentionally casual and laid back to make it inviting to people who may have preconceived ideas about the symphony. “People think of the symphony as formal and stuffy, and we are not,” Kastner said. 

    The FSO has another fundraiser planned for November – Friendsgiving Brewery Tour, which will include tastings from Bright Light Brewing Co., Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom, Mash House Brewing Company, World of Beer and Paddy’s Irish Pub. 

    These fundraisers not only help keep ticket costs low, they support outreach initiatives like the Nov. 3 free children’s concert, “Once Upon a Symphony.” The concert is for young and special-needs children. 

    “(The children) can move around as they need to and sit on the floor or the bleachers,” said Kastner. “The whole program is kid-friendly. We will have music from ‘Frozen,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Superman.’ It is a way for families to introduce young kids to the symphony.”

    Tickets for the Oct. 18 Bachtoberfest are $75 per person. Call the symphony office at 910-433-4690 or go to www.fayettevillesymphony.org and click on the Support and Events tab, then Special Events. 

  • 11OthelLIT“Othello” is a Shakespearean tragedy, based on Giovanni Battista Giraldi’s “Un Capitano Moro,” that is estimated to have been written in the year 1603. The story centers around the lives of Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his love, Desdemona, shortly after their elopement. This tale is fraught with duplicity, racism, envy, revenge and love, and it is because of these human elements that “Othello” is still widely regarded as relevant, even today. 

    Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s apt retelling of “Othello,” entitled “OthelLIT,” guides willing patrons through the winding trials of its characters by enveloping the audience in well- timed and hilarious satire, all the while with drink in hand. 

    “OthelLIT” is a part of STS’ traveling LIT series, which features intimate settings in Fayetteville and beyond, audience participation, adlibbing, drinking games, music ranging from Bon Jovi to Lily Allen and so much more. “OthelLIT” is the definition of a mixed bag. Each element of its reimagining – from kazoo trumpets to slow-motion knife fights and everything in between – exhibits an array of authenticity, wrapped generously in candid humor. Filled with pop culture references from a variety of eras, every audience member will be able to enjoy the endearing marriage of humorous contemporary colloquialisms and the eloquent speech of Shakespeare’s time. 

    The experience of audience members is full of surprises. Scene after scene provides complete immersion into a new kind of world. Villainous Iago, played by Nathan Pearce, has theme music (cue “Pink Panther” theme!) as he devilishly monologues. The dazzling Desdemona is denoted by whichever cast or audience member quick-changes into the blonde Renaissance wig and blue peasant dress; six separate people played the same beauty in one night. Usher’s “Yeah!” heralds each of Othello’s entrances. Three cheers for Music Director Jacob French for intuitively engaging the actors and audience while creating the perfect aura for the night through music and sound. 

    “OthelLIT” encourages the audience to participate in themed games and activities meant to enhance the whole experience, so grab a friend – or 10 – and allow yourself to be swept away in the colorful reverie. With Director Marie Lowe at the helm, the fluidity and talent of the actors and the willingness of the audience to go along for the ride, “OthelLIT” is a splendid evening full of fanciful fun for anyone of age in search of a well- earned laugh. As the actors laugh, ponder, gallivant and sing, they continue another strong season for STS. 

    “OthelLIT” will continue showing through Tuesday, Oct. 30, with tickets ranging from $17.50 to $25. Some military, senior or student discounts may apply for certain showings. By its closing night, the show will have traveled to Paddy’s Irish Pub, Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom, the Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County, Hugger Mugger Brewing Company in Sanford and Fainting Goat Brewing Company in Fuquay-Varina. 

    For more information and to order tickets or view showtimes and locations, visit sweetteashakespeare.com or call 910-420-4383. 

  • 13Atticus FinchWhat explains the staying power of Harper Lee’s book “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the film that starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch? 

    For some, it is its poignant story of Jean Louise, or “Scout.” Scout’s love and respect for her father, Atticus, gave her the courage to face the dangers and unfairness of a flawed world. For others, it is Atticus him­self and his example of dignity, kind­ness and courage. 

    But things are much more compli­cated according to a new book, “Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters: What Harper Lee’s Book and the Iconic American Film Mean to Us Today,” by Tom Santopietro. 

    “Mockingbird’s” staying power is evidenced by its inclusion on PBS’ list of 100 novels in contention for selection as America’s best-loved book. The list is a part of PBS’ “Great American Read” broadcast series airing on UNC-TV September through October. 

    That staying power is remark­able, according to Santopietro because in “the nearly 60 years since Mockingbird was originally pub­lished, the world has changed much more than the previous 300 years combined.” 

    Santopietro gives us a biography of the “Mockingbird” phenomenon. He takes us to Harper Lee’s home­town, Monroeville, Alabama, and introduces us to the friends, family and neighbors who were models for the characters of her book. Readers also learn about Harper-Lee’s gentle home life and her town’s oppressive segregated social system. 

    Readers learn how the book was written, how it was sold to a publisher and how it took the country by storm. They also learn how the movie was made, includ­ing the key casting decisions that brought Gregory Peck onboard and how a North Carolina woman from Reidsville, Alice Lee “Boaty” Boatwright, made the key selec­tion of a 9-year-old Birmingham, Alabama, girl who had no acting experience to play Scout. 

    Santopietro describes how “Go Set a Watchman,” a sequel or a pre­quel to “Mockingbird” written in the 1950s, came to be discovered in 2014 and published the following year. That book shocked readers with its very different look at Atticus Finch, the hero of “Mockingbird.” 

    In “Watchman,” Atticus is shown, in the words of Isabel Wilkerson, as a “gentleman bigot.” He is a supporter of the White Citizens Council and a firm opponent of the court-ordered desegregation of public schools and the efforts to open public accommo­dations to African-Americans. 

    Santopietro asserts that the Atticus of “Watchman” resembles “no one as much as Strom Thurmond.” 

    He continues, “Like Thurmond, Atticus here seems to believe that the worst of all possible worlds lies in any involvement on the part of the federal government, an evil topped in his mind only by the participation of the NAACP.” 

    A better model for “Watchman’s” Atticus than the sometimes mean-spirited Thurmond might be I. Beverly Lake, the segregationist can­didate who opposed Terry Sanford in the 1960 North Carolina gover­nor’s race. Lake sincerely believed in segregation, and like Atticus, he was a gentleman. In fact, according to John Drescher in his “Triumph of Good Will: How Terry Sanford Beat a Champion of Segregation and Reshaped The South,” Lake support­ed the liberal Frank Porter Graham in the 1950 race for U.S. Senate and condemned the racist attacks from the campaign of Graham’s opponent. 

    According to Drescher, “Lake’s personal and public generosity was part of his appeal as a candidate and set him apart from other leading Southern segregationists of the 1950s and 60s. He was not a hater.” 

    The racial views of Lake in the 1950s were like those of Harper Lee’s father, A.C., the model for Atticus. According to Santopietro, these men “represented the typical white south­ern male viewpoint in the 1950s.” 

    Can we still honor the contribu­tions and good qualities of those who held to this discredited view­point of their times? 

    If not, “Mockingbird” will slip off the lists of best-loved books.

    Photo: Gregory Peck played Atticus Finch in the film adaptation. 

  • 01coverUAC0100318001Gallery 208 has hosted many solo exhibitions by photographers during the last several years. Each artist brings a theme to their work – capturing the beauty of the landscape, a stopped action moment or an unreal circumstance crafted by the use of Photoshop or Light Room. From purist photogra­phers to those who use photographic software, each artist brings an intent. Tuesday, Oct. 9, from 5:30-7 p.m., Gallery 208 will host a reception for photographer Andrew Johnson. The exhibition, “Night Silence: Photographs by Andrew Johnson,” is a masterful group of photographs by an artist who uses the existing light at night to create an alternate reality. 

    The public is invited to the reception to meet the artist, hear a brief artist talk and preview a body of work that is unique. Johnson’s photographs lure viewers into looking more closely at something familiar, like a building or a set of doors in the urban or rural landscape. We recognize a familiar subject, but it is as if we are seeing something unfamiliar. The beauty of the light in the photographs contrasts with the conceptual – familiar versus unfamiliar – and we are fixed in a moment of discovery. As in all great works of art, the image succeeds in representing what it does not represent. In other words, the artist is able to transcend the limits of a photograph. 

    Johnson is a minimalist. He is not copying what he sees, but he uses photography to transcend a subject – to create an illusion beyond itself. He has crafted a physical presence as well as a story that goes beyond the subject. For me, Johnson distills his experiences in image-making to evoke a new order – one that is distinguished by an illuminating, colored light. 

    As viewers, we each bring our sensibilities to the work. Yet Johnson talks about his work from a differ­ent perspective. He shared the following: “For me, shooting at night is a singular experience. It’s not an aloneness. It’s at night, of course, and no one (is) around. But it’s more than that, it’s as if no one else is on Earth and I am consumed by artificial light and the sounds of nature at night. I feel comfort in the absorption of a night environment.” 

    He continued, “You don’t usually think about it this way, but light at night can actually create crisp images when the light reacts with different surfac­es, creating dramatic effects. I am drawn to these surfaces, the stillness of the night and surreal effects of artificial light to create a mood.” 

    Shane Booth, a professional photographer, is familiar with Johnson’s work, since Johnson was an art student at Fayetteville State University. “Andrew’s works are very complicated,” Booth said. “We, the public, are not used to looking at the world at night and so we don’t pay attention to the ways in which light effects things or places. On the other hand, Andrew is drawn to the light at night. He sees what we do not see. He is drawn to the different temperatures of light rays at night. He captures those temperatures to add a sense of mystery to his content.” 

    Booth continued, “Technically, artificial light has the potential to flatten out objects. In Andrew’s case, the light flattens out a doorway, so it becomes a new way of viewing a doorway. As well, artificial light, particularly at night, can mute colors and turn an or­dinary place into a surreal environment. So, Andrew uses this to add emotion to an inanimate object... like a building; he is giving the building a personality by his use of light. As well, he is creating a forebod­ing sense of place by contrasting a dark atmosphere with artificial light. 

    “Andrews’s photos are void of people, yet he creates a supernatural presence. In looking at the photos, you may feel as if there is always someone behind you, or behind the door in the photo. In some ways, the artist has created a moment when the viewers become vo­yeuristic; we are not supposed to be at that location, at that time of the night. It’s uncanny. At the same time, tension is mixed with beauty and stillness, and we are memorized to stare at the photo.” 

    Photography is a popular medium for untrained artists, especially since cell phone and “selfie” imag­es are easy to produce. In some circles, photography is still underrated when compared to painting or sculpture. But in the hands of an exceptional artist, the photograph becomes the quintessential medium to bring meaning and content to viewers. 

    The above is best said in John Berger’s well-known book, “Ways of Seeing.” The author states, “unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does.” 

    Gallery 208 is excited to introduce this talented lo­cal veteran artist to the community. Johnson served in the U.S. Army for six years before he attended and graduated from Fayetteville State University. After graduation in 2017, he became employed by the city of Fayetteville as its graphic production supervisor. 

    Gallery 208 invites everyone to attend the reception to meet the artist. But, if that’s not possible, “Night Silence” will be on exhibit until late December. 

    Gallery 208, located at 208 Rowan St., is open Mon­day through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call the gallery at 910-484-6200 for more information.

  • uac102313001.gif With Fort Bragg at the heart of the community, the people of Cumberland and the surrounding counties don’t wait for Veterans Day to say thank you to America’s veterans. They do it every day in all kinds of ways. So when Veterans Day comes around, it seems like a little something extra is in order to send the message home.

    For the past two years, along with honoring all of America’s veterans, Heroes Homecoming has shone a spotlight on veterans of specific conflicts and reached out to tens of thousands of veterans to welcome them home, to honor them and to celebrate their accomplishments.

    This year Heroes Homecoming focuses on Korean War veterans. About 5.72 million American soldiers fought in the Korean War, (more than 70,000 of them hailed from North Carolina) yetit is often called the Forgotten War. Friday, Nov. 8 through Monday, Nov. 11, Fayetteville is set to celebrate Veterans Day and honor Korean War vets.

    “With the parade celebrating Korean Vets, we thought we should build on this,” said John Meroski, president/CEO Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The Korean War is the only war with a TV series about it. This year is the 30th anniversary of that show — M*A*S*H — and it is also the 60th anniversary of the Korean War. We were able to get several of the characters from M*A*S*H to come and be a part of the weekend.”

    Loretta Switt (Hot Lips Hoolahan), Jamie Farr (Klinger) and William Christopher (Father Mulcahy) will all be on hand to help the community say thank you to America’s vets.

    On Friday, the public is invited to attend a candlelight vigil at the N.C. Veterans Park. It starts at 6 p.m. and concludes at 8 p.m. at the Arts Council with a special screening of the final episode of M*A*S*H.

    On Saturday, don’t miss a long-standing tradition, the Veterans Day Parade, at 10 a.m. in downtown Fayetteville. George Breece, who cochairs the Veterans Day Parade with Kirk deViere, is excited about this year’s event.

    “We’ve got approval for a fly-over, which is always an exciting part of the parade,” said Breece. “Right now, we have 83 units in the parade. And something we are doing differently this year is that all of the JROTC units, which usually march with their high school bands, came to us and said that they want to march together. So we will have Navy, Air Force and Army JROTC units marching together in the parade.”

    The event is set for broadcast on WRAL, and WUNC-TV, as well. “This is seen in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia,” said Breece. “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to show our community like this and to have this image of Fayetteville out there.”

    City Manager Ted Voorhees will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and Erin Murdoch will sing the National Anthem. In the reviewing stand look for Fort Bragg Commanding General Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson; Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, commander of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command; and Wing Commander of the 441 Airlift Command, Brig. Gen. James Scanlan; as well as other local dignitaries.

    “A few members of Congress have said that they hope to attend, too,” said Breece.

    Along with the military units, service organizations, law enforcement, Veterans Affairs organizations, military heritage organizations and law enforcement will be represented. Perhaps one of the most moving floats is the Fort Bragg Daisy/Brownie Troop 1290.

    “All of the girls in this troop are military children and all of their fathers have served at least once overseas,” said Breece. “The girls are ages 5-8 and they are coming out to say thank you to our veterans. It definitely pulls on the heart strings.”

    The Grand Marshall this year is Korean War Veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Corporal Rodolfo (Rudy) Hernandez. The Honorary Parade Chair is Sgt. Maj. Jacob (Jake) G. Roth Jr., who was a prisoner of war during the Korean War.

    At noon, following the parade, a formal veterans ceremony is planned at the N.C. Veterans Park. Stay and spend the afternoon enjoying family friendly fun and entertainment.

    On Sunday, Korean War vets, along with the visiting celebrities, will tour Fort Bragg. “So many of our soldiers shipped out through Fort Bragg, in fact, Womack is named after a Korean War Vet,” said Meroski. “We hope to give people a chance to remember and share their stories.”

    After the tour, which is for Korean War Vets only, the public is invited to a meet and greet with the members of the cast of M*A*S*H at the N.C. Veterans Park at 3 p.m. The cast will sign autographs, answer questions and pose for photographs. Who knows, maybe it will include a peck on the cheek from Hot Lips Houlihan, too.

    Find out more about Heroes Homecoming III at www.heroeshomecoming.com. To find out more about the Veterans Day Parade call 920-0045 or e-mail VeteransDayParade@gmail.com.

    Photo: Join several characters from the cast of M*A*S*H as they honor Korean War veterans at Heroes Homecoming III.


    This year’s Heroes Homecoming will feature special appearances by three of the cast members from the hit TV series M*A*S*H. Jamie Farr (Corporal Klinger), Loretta Swit (Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan), and William Christopher (Father Mulcahy) will be in town to participate in a number of Heroes Homecoming III events, helping to pay tribute and say thank you to our brave Korean War veterans.

    * Airing on CBS in the 1970s, M*A*S*H was a popular American television series about a team of medical professionals and support staff stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. With eleven seasons and the most watched series finale of all-time, the “dramedy,” showed the effects of war not only on those fighting but those that repaired the ones who were fighting.

    * M*A*S*H stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital

    * The series finale was watched by over 105 million viewers

    * The stories on M*A*S*H were based on real-life tales told by hundreds of actual M*A*S*H surgeons

    * Starting Oct. 21, the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County will be showing the entire M*A*S*H series, from beginning to end. Fans will be able to drop in on the free marathon screenings at anytime while they’re going on throughout the three weeks prior to the start of Heroes Homecoming III. It all leads up to the special screening of the M*A*S*H finale on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. 9 a.m.-5p.m.; Fri. 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; Sat. 12-4 p.m. Call 323-1776 for viewing details.

  • Hope Mills Candidates

    Up & Coming Weekly sent a questionnaire to local candidates. Below are the responses from the Hope Mills candidates, which were not included in the paper edition of the 10/30 Election Guide.


    Bob Gorman



    Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?


    Hope Mills is part of the Cumberland County 2030 plan and also participating in the Southwest Cumberland Detailed Land  Use Plan. We have incorporated ordinances from the Cumberland County Planning to manage development with in the town of Hope Mills.  


    With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?


    Hope Mills is very fortunate to have the very best Police Department working for the citizens. One of my top three priorities if elected is to work with the Board of Commissioners, the Town Manager and staff to upgrade our Public Safety Departments. Both our Fire Department and Police Department have out grown their buildings and also need additional men and equipment. As for the crime rate, Hope Mills Police calls volume is up going along with the increase in population, but from January 2012 to October 2012 vs. January 2013 to October 2013 the Property Crime Statistics actually has dropped 5 percent from 912 to 864 or -48 crimes. The violent crimes are up 9 percent from the previous year 44 to 48 or +4 crimes. The Town Manager and its staff will be working with the Police Chief and his staff to come up with a 5-year plan to increase the sworn Officers from the present number of 39 to 45 in the next five years to accommodate expected population growth. This is some of the plans that will address the issue of crime and volume of service calls. They will then present this to the Board of Commissioners for their approval. 


    Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?


    The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners had its positive and negative issues this last two years. The five Commissioner seats and the Mayor seat will be up for election on November 5, 2013. Whoever is elected will be faced with some difficult decisions for the next two years. I feel like this board needs to be focused on the positives, rather than the negatives and move forward. The past we cannot do anything about, but in the future we can work together as a team to make Hope Mills the very best. We can utilize the League of Municipalities and School of Government to help train board members in their roles and responsibilities as Commissioners.  


    What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?


    The Hope Mills legal team has been working on the litigation of the Hope Mills Dam for the last year and 1/2. The Hope Mills Legal team is having a meeting with the Judge Spainhour and all parties involved on October 24, 2013 to discuss the scheduling. 

    What is your number one priority for the town?


    Hope Mills Lake is one of the biggest priorities for the next two years. The Board of Commissioners will be faced with the on going litigation that if not settled on April 30, 2014 at the Mediated Settlement hearing, the law suit will go to trial on July 28, 2014.


    In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?


    I have been a Hope Mills Commissioner for the past 10 years. I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience and have always been honest and consider integrity to be very important in my personal life as well as conducting Hope Mills business as an elected official. In my regular job I am an account executive for Holland Freight and have been in management for the past 33 years doing everything from dispatch, supervisor, terminal manager and at the present time, I am an account executive. I would like to thank the citizens of Hope Mills for the opportunity to serve you over the last 10 years and I would appreciate your support and vote on November 5, 2013 for the position of Hope Mills Commissioner.


    Jerry Legge



    Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?


    I think that the town should do a study and look hard at doing a moratorium on residential building until the infrastructure catches up. The roads are already a major concern in our area and if we build 100 additional residential structures without road improvements, then that would be about 200 extra cars on what is already crowded roads and inner city streets each day. We should work with the Board of Education to ensure that the schools can handle the growth of 1.7 children per household. I call this planned growth.


    With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?


    Watch programs may be the best tool to help in this area because extra eyes and ears will help our officers. At this time, I don't believe that we have a growing crime problem in Hope Mills because our police department does such a good job.


    After much research, I found that the deal number of sworn police officer for Hope Mills should be two per every 1,000 people and we are at 15,000 plus people which means we need about 30 officers. We have 39 sworn officers, this number also includes our detectives. 


    Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?


    The board should be a team. It is not a place for people with personal agendas. Classes can be conducted to help with the training for the elected. The residents of our town control which candidates are elected to represent them. Obviously we have had our share of issues this term, so at this point, it is up to the residents to find the source of the issues and remove it. Being an elected official should be treated as a privilege, not a right.


    What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?


    The "end game" is the dam being restored and I think that should be done at no cost to the town, state or federal taxpayers. We are in a lawsuit against the contractors to recover our people’s monies right now. Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes and we have to let it work itself out in court.


    What is your number one priority for the town?


    I want to see peace and stability in our town board so that we can concentrate, as a team, on the issues that are important such as restoring Hope Mills Lake back to what it used to be.


    In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?


    I feel that I have good leadership skills as I have served as a commissioner for the people of Hope Mills for 11 years. I am also the retired owner of Better Built Builders Construction Company for over 25 years. I am a former member of the Planning Board, Zoning Board, Finance Committee and The Quality of Life Committee. I also have been a member of the Hope Mills Youth Association Board of Directors for over 25 years and a coach in that program for over 27 years.



    I believe in God and our country, I support our troops and that children are our future. I do not believe in forced annexation and think that our employees’ pay scale should be competitive with the same classified jobs in our geographical area.


    I believe that if you always tell the truth, you never have to worry about remembering what you said.


    I am happily married to Diana Millen Legge. We have three married daughters Tammy, Chrissy and Bobbi Jo and we have eight wonderful grandchildren.


    Jessie Bellflowers



    Greetings! I am Jessie Bellflowers, who is running as a write-in candidate for one of the five positions on the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners. My family and I have lived in the Hope Mills community since 1996. I currently serve as a Business Administration Instructor for Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) since July 2003, after retiring from the United States Army with 26 years of service to our great nation. I hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Webster University and pursuing a doctorate in Organization/Management from Capella University, and a graduate of the Institute for Community Leadership.


    Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?


    Hope Mills is one of the fastest growing communities in our state and will continue to grow over the next several years. However, over past years, commercial and residential growth leads town infrastructure and services growth. One of the enormous challenges will be to address our town’s aging infrastructure where public safety, sanitation, and limited community recreational opportunities are high priorities. These challenges may be separate, but I consider them linked to our community’s sustainable quality of life, commercial/residential growth, and economic development. To meet these challenges, the next town board must approve funding in support of a short/long term infrastructure needs as identified in a workable Capital Improvement Comprehensive Plan. The answer is to stop wasteful spending and fund a Capital Improvement Plan to address our town’s aging infrastructure. We must also use smart innovative and proactive planning approaches toward managing commercial/residential growth.


    With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?


    According to the latest Hope Mills police crime statistical reports, our Hope Mills community does not have a growing crime problem. The credit for low crime problems in our community belongs to an excellent police department, community policing groups, community sports and recreational programs, community civic organizations, and outstanding community church programs. However, our police and fire departments have out-grown their current facilities with our community’s fast-growing population. We must find a workable solution to build satellite police and fire stations in our community over the next several years. 


    Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the Board?


    I believe in a workable, open and transparent government. One that practices fiscal conservatism instead of wasteful spending, listens to and understands citizen issues and concerns, values town employees and one that seeks consensus while always moving our community forward in a position direction. Our community deserves an effective town board, one that can work and communicate together with a “collective vision” for future prosperity and one that demonstrates unselfish representation and pre-eminent leadership. Those in our community who know me know my deep commitment to hard work and open, transparent government. I pledge to listen to citizen issues and concerns, have an open mind on all decisions, and spend a significant amount of time researching community issues facing our community.


    What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?


    The restoration of Hope Mills Lake remains a top priority, as it should be because this community quality of life issue is currently in litigation with a possible trial date next year. A year ago, the engineering and construction firms estimated $8.6 million in dam structure repairs. Dam safety will not allow the failed $13.5 million dam structure to remain in its current state of disrepair indefinitely. Therefore, the town has two options: remove and replace or repair the failed dam structure. I do not believe the failed dam structure can be repaired after sitting for over three years. In addition, I do not believe that the engineering and construction firms were ever going to repair or replace the failed dam structure on their own dime either. However, I remain optimistic that a monetary settlement will be reached before the trial date. Therefore, the town should use these funds to remove and replace the current failed dam structure with a much smaller, efficient and effective dam structure in support of the original lake water level. The “end game” is an acceptable monetary settlement or a court ordered judgment…just that simple!


    What is your number one priority for the town?


    Regardless of how you personally feel about the restoration of Hope Mills Lake, this issue will be a front and center priority for the next town board in their first year. In fact, all parties have until April 30, 2014 to agree to a mediated settlement or the lawsuit goes to trial on July 28, 2014. Like you, I ride by the 3-year-old empty lake with frustration and despair. Another top priority in our community is public safety. Over the years, our police and fire departments have out-grown their current facilities with our community’s fast-growing population. We must find a workable solution to build satellite police and fire stations in our community over the next several years. Another “hot topic” top priority of discussion in our community is massive traffic congestion. Direct action is long overdue to address this important quality of life community issue! We must request a Hope Mills area traffic congestion management study be commissioned by the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO) Transportation Advisory Committee. Just about everyone I meet say, “public safety, massive traffic congestion, and the restoration of Hope Mills Lake are the main priorities in our community.” However, I would like to add community recreational opportunities and economic development to the list of community priorities. These priorities may be separate, but I consider them linked to our community’s sustainable quality of life.


    In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?


    I currently serve as State Junior Vice Commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and have formerly served as State District 8 Commander and Post Commander of Post 10630 in Hope Mills. I have served on the Board of Directors of the Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce, on the Hope Mills Veterans Affairs Commission, and as a Charter Board Member of the Friends of Hope Mills Lake. I am a graduate of the Institute for Community Leadership Course (ICL) and the President’s Leadership Institute (PLI) at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC). I bring to the table many years of positive leadership experience and education, and ask for the opportunity to help lead our community in a positive direction forward as one we are proud to call home.


    My vision is simple: “Continuous improvement of quality of life for our community that will naturally grow and progress in an economically sustainable and healthy environment.” We must focus every day on enriching the lives of our town citizens by creating an exceptional community to work and live in while providing exemplary town services that enables our community to thrive and prosper. There is no question that addressing the many challenges that face our community will require effective leadership, creative thinking, building cooperation and consensus, and a tremendous amount of teamwork.


    We are truly blessed to work and live in a great community…Our Hope Mills Community…one we all call home. In our community, you will find the best schools, churches, police, fire, and sanitation departments, recreational center, senior center, sports and recreational programs, civic organizations, various community events, and businesses. This is who we are as a blessed community and our best days are ahead of us!


    If you have any issues, concerns, or suggestions, please email me at jbellflowers@nc.rr.com and/or call me at (910) 964-8103.


    Tonzie Collins



    Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?


    You cannot stop growth, however you can control the growth by enforcing the town ordinances that the town currently have. 


    With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?


    The board should give the police department the necessary equipment and manpower that they need so they can continue to do the great job that they are doing.


    Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?


    The board should realize that they were elected to represent the people and town employees!!!! Not themselves and a select few.



    What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?


    The existing lawsuit is the end game.Once the lawsuit is completed we will then pursue completing the rebuilding of the dam.


    What is your number one priority for the town?


    To represent the people and employees of this town to the best of my ability by making sound and proper decisions.


    In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?


    I attempt to do research on everything that pertains to the Town of Hope Mills so that I can make  the proper decision of any topic that may that may arise.



    Vinnell Jackson

    Hope Mills Mayor


    Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?


    As a citizen volunteer for the Southwest Cumberland Land Use Plan we identified strategies to assist the board with control/directing growth. Strategies identified were mixed-development, create single-family residential developments and provide incentives for cluster subdivisions. This plan will guide development for the next several years when adopted by the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners.


    With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?

    It is imperative that community policing is enhanced to reduce/eliminate crime. According to our crime analyst 2012 data, aggravated assault and robberies led crime in Hope Mills. There are communities where the mayor created a task force to address the root of crime and created community safety officer volunteers.  In addition, anonymous email addresses to report suspected crime was created for the residents. The final strategy is to ensure that annexations include police resources to cover the newly annexed areas, i.e. commercial, residential or institutional land uses.

    Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?

    The Hope Mills board and the community is interested in visionary leadership. The position of mayor is a non-voting member except to settle tie decisions. That person must lead and see into the future of what may happen and ensure we are proactive instead of reactive. The town should not have to wait on a plan developed by county staff for us to know we must prepare our community for demographic changes that impact housing or the need for veteran housing, or additional elderly housing and infrastructure. We must implement innovative strategies to enhance economic development opportunities that all concretively improve our quality of life.



    What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?


    Based on a recent update by lead attorney Nick Herman we have scheduled hearings forthcoming and will permit the legal process to take its course. However, the town leaders could pursue other options for the dam as it relates to economic opportunities as a source of electric or power generator. Again, the leaders should be proactive as opposed to reactive and waiting on the litigation outcome.


    What is your number one priority for the town?


    The Town of Hope Mills needs visionary leadership. In the decision-making process it means nothing if leadership is not able to implement decisions successfully.  Quinn Mills stated “leadership influences the thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors of others”. He further states leaders see what lies ahead and direct the rest of us; they help us see what we might achieve; and encourage and inspire us. Quinn Mills further states “without leadership a group of human beings quickly degenerates into argument and conflict, because we see things in different ways and lean toward different solutions. It is time to move forward with new ideas and team effort to voice the concerns of the community.


    In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?


    A vote for Vinell Jackson as Mayor of Hope Mills provides a fresh start for the town and visionary leadership. The community is in need of a leader who is objective and open to the ideas of others. As mayor, I bring years of experience in local and state government working in planning with planners, developers, and engineers. In addition, my knowledge of transit, ADA, Title VI and budgeting are assets. This experience has afforded the opportunity to collaborate with representatives from the state, local and federal agencies. A vote for Vinell Jackson for Mayor is a vote for unity and progression.




  • uac100814001.gif October 17 is the date the 79th season of Community Concerts kicks-off at the Crown Theatre. Since 1935, Community Concerts has worked to provide the area with high caliber entertainment.

    Last season the organization brought in Joan Rivers for a night of comedy in what proved to be one of her last performances. Other notable acts that Community Concerts has brought to the area include: Gladys Knight, Kenny Loggins, Earth,Wind and Fire, Martina McBride, The Doobie Brothers, Styxx, Kool and the Gang, LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker and the list goes on.

    The all-volunteer organization also does more than just promote shows. Since 2008, the group has produced The Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame that honors individuals who have contributed to the local musical community. Since 2004, more than 20 young people that have been awarded scholarships to institutions of higher learning to pursue their love of music. The organization also promotes area talent by including local up-and-comers in the show’s lineup whenever possible.

    All of the other work that the organization performs comes directly from the support of the community for their yearly show series. The 79th season will feature six exciting and diverse shows for the residents of Fayetteville/Cumberland County to enjoy.

    To kick-off the season with a local flair, 2011 American Idol winner and North Carolina native, Scotty McCreery will bring his See You Tonight Tour to Fayetteville for a night of country music on Oct. 17. The tour, which began in early 2014, was supposed to have concluded by now, but McCreery said he and his touring companions decided they wanted to keep going.

    “It has been an awesome time. The whole summer was awesome; a lot of fun. Me, the band and crew had a blast. So we decided, might as well not end it and keep the momentum going. We extended the tour and the buzz and response has been pretty awesome with the fans coming out to the shows. It is going to be a fun fall. We are lucky enough to have Danielle Bradbury to join us for some of the dates. It’ll be a blast.”

    This tour is the first tour in which McCreery received top billing. While McCreery is no stranger to performing in front of large audiences both as part of the American Idol Tour and other artists’ tours he was invited to participate in, he said that this tour was a big change.

    “It is definitely different. The fans are coming to see you and not somebody else. That is kind of cool to know while you are on stage. To have that reassurance that the fans are really digging what you are doing. We are having a good time,” he explained.

    McCreery also went on to describe how different the show preparation process is, “You have got to put a little more thought into your shows. It’s an hour and half instead of 20-30min like when you are opening for someone else. You have got to put a good show together to try to take the audience on a journey from beginning to end,” he said. “That’s what we are trying to do. All summer we have had a good time doing that. We are going to change up a few things going into the fall but, mostly, it will be the same show. It’ll be a fun hour and half packed show.”

    The show on the 17th at the Crown Theatre will be the only stop in North Carolina that McCreery makes while on this tour, but that fact seemed to motivate him even more,

    “It is always a little different for me when we get back to North Carolina and play a local show. Something always happens or changes whether I bring on a guest or change up a set or something. It’s always a little more special when you play the hometown shows.” 10-08-14-scotty.gif

    After winning the 2011 American Idol competition, McCreery quickly found himself on the receiving end of the adoration of fans both locally and nationally.

    “It has been pretty wild to see. It is pretty much everywhere nowadays. I haven’t gone out into public without a hat on in, I don’t know how long. That might not bode well for my hair over the next 30 years.”

    He spoke fondly of his experiences with fans recognizing him out in public, “Some folks get annoyed by it; me, not as much. I see it as a pretty cool thing. If they see you and know you, that means they know your music… It’s cool. I have got some of the best fans in the world. I am blessed to have them. I enjoy the fans and hope they dig the music, which is what it is all about.”

    Despite all of the fame that came with experience on American Idol and the success that has come along with having two albums hit number one on the country charts McCreery has somehow managed to stay grounded.

    “That’s the way I was wired by my parents growing up. But it also has a lot to do with the kind of people that you keep around you. My band and crew, on the road, they don’t treat me any different. They keep me level headed. My friends back home, too, I don’t get any special treatment anywhere in life. I get enough of the spotlight when I am on stage; when I get off the stage, I just want to be treated like Scotty.”

    After McCreery’s performance, Community Concerts will have five more shows:

    Sister Act Friday, Nov. 14

    Trace Adkins Wednesday, Dec. 10

    Dancing Pros Live Wednesday , Feb. 11

    The Australian Bee Gees Wednesday, March 24

    Smokey Robinson Thursday, April 16

    More information about each of the shows, tickets and/or season tickets is available via the Community Concerts website at www.community-concerts.com.

    Photo: North Carolina Native Scotty McCreery, the 2011 American Idol, will kick-off the 79th Community Concert Series at the Crown Theatre on Oct. 17.

  • Dr. Michael Martin, director of choral activities and music education at Methodist University and10-22-14-cos.gifartistic director and conductor of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers, takes his work seriously. That’s a win for the community and for local musicians as well. The Cumberland Oratorio Singers’ 2014-2015 season opens on Oct. 24, and it’s a performance that chamber music fans won’t want to miss.

    The performance, titled There Is Sweet Music Here, features two local musicians along with the talented singers of the Cross Creek Chorale.

    “We are featuring two guest artists — Deanne Renshaw on oboe and Brian Adamski on French horn,” said Martin. “Deanne is going to be featured in the title piece of the concert and it is quite beautiful. Adam will be featured in one of our other pieces.”

    J. Michael Hayden, Morton Louridsen and Andre Thomas are just a few of the composers that are showcased in this first performance of the season.

    The second concert of the season is the Hallelujah Chorus, a local holiday tradition. The community is invited to join the Cumberland Oratorio Singers in a performance of “The Messiah.” This performance is on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Ann Catholic Church. Those who don’t care to join in are welcome to come and enjoy the performance as part of the audience.

    On March 21, don’t miss Maurice Duruffle’s “Requiem” and “Quatre Motets.” Popular in the world of chorale music, Duruffle’s pieces represent comfort, hope and faith. The Methodist University Chorale is set to join the Cumberland Oratorio Singers for this concert. It is at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

    During the month of April, the Beth Israel Synagogue hosts The Cumberland Oratorio Singers for Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms.” In 1965, Rev. Walter Hussey of Chichester Cathedral in Sussex, England asked Bernstein to write a piece. It was to be used for the 1965 music festival that included Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals. Bernstein delivered a piece that seemed to mix theatre music with Judaic liturgy.

    The season closes with a performance of Francis Poulenc’s “Gloria” and Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. The Terry Sanford High School Varsity Choir, under the direction of Sean Closz, will join in the performance.

    Such a well thought-out season is not only a joy to the performers. Martin searched for pieces that would challenge the performers as well as delight the audiences.

    “Last spring, I was thinking about chorale music and what people like about it,” said Martin. “We listen to it and sing it because we like the sound of it. For people who like chorale music, hearing a rich choir piece is ear candy. I was drawn to ‘Sweet Music’ because it has choir and oboe. I called Deanne right away and asked her to join us for this performance. I am driven to make sure this idea of a select choir drawn from Cumberland Oratorio Singers succeeds, so I picked some more difficult pieces for the chorale. There are pieces with eight and even 10-part harmony.”

    While There Is Sweet Music Here is sure to entertain the audience and push the chorale to deliver a top-notch performance, Martin admits that there is something in it for him, too.

    “This is all the kind of stuff we like to sing. I wanted to challenge the choir and expand their lexicon. The president of Methodist University always says ‘I have the best job in America.’ Well, when I conduct, I have the best seat in the house; I want music that will wash over me like a nice warm shower — and so I chose the kind of music that I think will do that.”

    The performance is at Highland Presbyterian Church at 7:30 p.m. Find out more about the Cumberland Oratorio Singers at www.singwithcos.org.

  • 10-01-14-cigars-&-guns.gifIt’s no secret that being a soldier or a law enforcement officer is dangerous. But the work is vital to the safety of our nation. Volunteers selflessly step up to handle the business of the American people every day. Tragically, it sometimes means that families are left without their soldier or police officer who have fallen in the line of duty and they carry on.

    Gary Clarke is one of the Founders of North Carolina Tactical Response and Community Care, a nonprofit designed to help bridge the gap for survivors of heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice. On Saturday, Oct. 4, NCTRACC is partnering with The Range Complex for Cigars and Guns, a fundraiser to benefit NCTRACC.

    Clarke and some of his friends came up with the idea for the event.

    “It just seemed like a natural fit,” he said. “When I was a team leader for the Cumberland County SWAT team, we enjoyed our jobs and many of us liked fine hand-rolled cigars. We wanted to bring people together and also benefit a nonprofit and this seemed like a good way to do that.”

    The main attraction is the 3-gun competition.

    “The team at The Range Complex has designed a pretty nice realistic scenario-based course with different shooting positions and different platforms and things like that to provide some interesting challenges to the competitors,” said Clarke. “The main thing to is to give people a chance to watch these professionals from military and law enforcement do what they train for every day. There are some guys that are really good with weaponry and they will compete. It will be entertaining to watch what they do for a living and see them for compete for time and accuracy.”

    There is still time for competitors to enter the event.

    “This is only open to military and law enforcement personnel to compete,” said Clarke. “We are very serious about safety and making sure that no one gets hurt. Law enforcement and military members have a good understanding of range protocol and safety along with the kind of training that will make this a fun event for them. This is going to be a lot of fun to watch, too, because so many of these guys are experts at what they do.”

    While Clarke sees this as a fun event for weapon enthusiasts, it is also a good way for families to come and see their soldier or law enforcement officer in action.

    “A lot of these wives and kids don’t really have a good idea of what goes on at work for their loved one, so this is a chance to meet other family members, too,” he said.

    There will be an air-soft shoot house, face painting, vendors, food and more. And, of course, fine hand-rolled cigars provided by Anstead’s Tobacco Company.

    “Since it is so close to Halloween, we decided to dress up the shoot house for the kids and turn it into a zombie house,” said Clarke. “There will be plenty to see and do here, and the proceeds definitely benefit a good cause.”

    Tickets cost $7, children under 10 get in free. The event starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. Find out more at http://proshop.therangecomplex.com/cigars-and-guns-3-gun-competition.aspx or by calling 910-670-4790.

  • 10-13-10-passport.gifDo you have your passport? That is your National Park Passport. Earlier this spring I visited the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. America is rich with some of the largest and most notable landmarks in the world. The National Park Service man-ages more than 388 national parks, national monuments, and national historic sites.

    At the visitors center, I noticed a book called the National Park Passport. This little passport is a fun way to document your visit. Like a passport stamp from the U.S. Customs, the park service can stamp your National Park Passport book to record and commemorate your travels.

    While planning a trip to Vermont last month, I decided to break up my trip with something new and educa-tional. I stopped at the Shenandoah Skyline National Park Visitors Center and picked up a book and got my stamp. From there I scouted out my route to Vermont and hit as many parks as I could during the trip. Working maps and the GPS gave me hours of fun riding and a sense of purpose. By the end of my 10 day trip I had visited eight parks.

    North Carolina has nine national parks in our great state. These parks include the Blue Ridge Parkway and the National Heritage Area (Asheville), Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Manteo), Cape Lookout National Seashore (Harkers Island), Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site (Flat Rock), Fort Raleigh National Historic Site (Manteo), Guilford Courthouse National Military Park (Greensboro), Moores Creek National Battlefield (Currie), and Wright Brothers National Memorial (Manteo).

    There are fees for visiting some of the parks. Day passes are available and the price varies from park to park. The National Park Service offers a seasonal pass called the America the Beautiful: National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. These passes can be purchased for $80. There are three types of lifetime passes available. A Senior Citizen’s lifetime pass is advised for U.S. citi-zens or permanent residents age 62 or over. Second, a Lifetime Access Pass is available for those with permanent disabilities. To show proof of disabilities you will have to show documentation. Acceptable documentation includes: state-ment by a licensed physician; document issued by a federal agency such as the Veteran’s Administration, Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income; or document issued by a state agency such as a vocational rehabilitation agency. Finally, a Volunteer Pass is free for those who acquire 500 service hours on a cumulative basis.

    Sadly, there is no free admission for our military folks. While doing my exploring I wanted something a little more than my National Park Visitors Guide book. I did a quick search on my iPhone’s app store and found the National Parks Companion app. This app gives great infor-mation at your fingertips. The app gives you the park’s locations by state, helpful information about the park, visitor center addresses and phone numbers. The app even has a place that allows you to check off which park you have visited.

    Whether by car or motorcycle we all have to do some fun exploring. I hope you get a chance to visit North Carolina’s National Parks. For more information about the National Park Service visit www.nps.gov.

    If there is a topic that you would like to discuss you can con-tact me at motorcycle4fun@aol.com. RIDE SAFE!

  •     In these trying and troubled economic times, business owners and administrators must often get in touch with their creative sides to keep their businesses and organizations in the red.
    For those folks looking for novel ways to keep ahead of the global recession, the Fayetteville Technical Community College Center for Business and Industry and the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Chamber of County are a presenting a one-day workshop entitled, “Surviving and Growing Your Business in a Troubled Economy.”
        The free seminar will be held Wednesday, Nov. 12, at the FTCC Center for Business and Industry. Teaching the seminar will be John Peterson, the founder of The Peterson Group — a media and marketing firm established in 1995. Peterson is the former president of a $40 million newspaper company and has worked with more than 200 newspapers and has more than 20 years experience planning and implementing programs for small- to medium-sized businesses and healthcare organizations throughout the country.{mosimage}
        At the seminar, Peterson will will touch upon some of the following speaking points:
        •How smart businesses outperform the market conditions;
        •How to position and market your business in today’s challenging economy;
        •How to create a growth-oriented business strategy;
        •Effectively promoting, marketing and advertising your business;
        •Examining how your business stacks up to others.
        Tamara Bryant, FTCC’s small business coordinator, says it’s a an excellent opportunity to teach businessmen and organizational leaders how to “think outside the box.”
        “With the economy the way it is, people are trying to find ways to maintain and sustain their businesses,” said Bryant. “Marketing is key to helping these businesses keep their customers and gaining additional ones.     This seminar will teach people how to grow their business in these hard times.”
        The event is being sponsored by several local entities, including Up & Coming Weekly, the FTCC Center for Business and Industry, the Fayetteville Technical Community College Center for Business and Industry, the Courtyard Marriot and Campbellton Landing.
        There will be refreshments and door prizes, with each participant receiving a marketing gift reportedly worth “hundreds of dollars.”
        {mosimage}In order to register, contact Bryant at 678-8462, or via e-mail at bryantt@faytechcc.edu. The FTCC Center for Business and Industry is located at 2723 Fort Bragg Road.
  • 16 shanatucker creditThe Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater, located in downtown Lumberton, is presenting two upcoming virtual concerts that have been pretaped on its stage while the theater is closed to in-person audiences due to COVID-19 social gathering restrictions.

    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.

    The first concert will premiere 7 p.m. Oct. 17 and will feature the Raleigh-based musician and singer-songwriter Shana Tucker and her quartet.

    With a deep respect for lyrical storytelling, Tucker delivers a unique voice through her self-described genre of "ChamberSoul.™ Her melodies weave strong hints of jazz, classical, soulful folk, acoustic pop and a touch of R&B into a distinctive rhythmic tapestry.

    The performances are premiering on the theater’s Facebook page at “Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater” and are shared on its website at www.carolinaciviccenter.com.

    The theater’s previous “Spotlight on Local Talent” Performance Series, featuring eight installments also can be viewed on its website. This performance is partially underwritten by a grant from the Robeson County Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council.

    Touted by JazzTimes Magazine as a jazz talent “…whose imprint and vitality has already been quite visible…” Tucker’s style and sound has been described as a blend of Dianne Reeves, Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman, with an efficient complexity that is reminiscent of Bill Withers.

    ChamberSoul™ best describes what the listener should expect when experiencing Shana’s music. “I’m intrinsically drawn to 'real' instruments, with resonance, tone and depth that can sound without amplification. Whenever and however possible, I always try to set a tone of acoustic intimacy with my colleagues on stage, and also with the audience, so that the music, performers and audience feel close and tangible, no matter the size the venue.”

    Tucker has opened for internationally-acclaimed artists including Norah Jones, Lisa Fischer, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Hamiet Bluett, Javon Jackson, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Indigo Girls.

    While the concert is free, a donation link will be available to help support artist fees and production costs. The next concert will feature the all-female bluegrass group Sweet Potato Pie and will premiere Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 26.

    For additional information, please contact the Carolina Civic Center at 910-738-4339 or visit

    Pictured:The first of two virtual concerts from the Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater will feature Shana Tucker and her quartet. The concert will premiere Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. (Photo courtesy Shana Tucker.)

  • 14 DSC 5176“Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill,” the musical play that opened Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s long-awaited 2020-2021 season, is far from the blockbuster musical openers of previous seasons. This is a piece of serious theater particularly well suited to its makeshift staging. Performed in a parking lot behind an abandoned building on Hay Street, complete with ambient traffic noise as background, it is easy to imagine that one is seated in the gritty South Philly neighborhood where the play is actually set.

    “Lady Day” is the story of one of the great jazz legend’s last performances just a few months before her untimely death. A victim of her times (or of her own vices, let each member of the audience decide), Billie Holiday has been stripped of the cabaret card that entitled her to play the big clubs and reduced to singing in a small venue in a place she thought she’d sung herself free of.

    Janeta Jackson gives a selfless performance as Holiday. Those who saw her in “Crowns” know the power of Jackson’s voice, which breaks through most notably in numbers such as “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” and “Strange Fruit.” But Jackson is playing Holiday at the end of her career, when alcohol and drugs have taken their toll on her health as well as her voice. Her performance reflects this. Clad in mink and glitter at the outset, Jackson as Holiday disintegrates onstage and the songs follow her down. Brian Whitted as Jimmy Powers, Holiday’s accompanist, brings his piano in at critical moments to prevent a complete breakdown. Much as folks passing the scene of an accident, the audience is drawn along, mesmerized.

    “Lady Day,” written by Lanie Robertson, is called a musical play because there is much dialog in addition to the musical numbers. Holiday’s onstage ramblings give the audience an idea of the trajectory of her life. Some of her reminisces are hilarious but much of the dialogue is raw. Holiday is presumably speaking to a Black audience so theatergoers who are not Black may squirm a bit.

    Given COVID-19 restrictions and the fact that CFRT’s theater is undergoing renovations, Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke and company are to be commended for choosing an opener that is well suited to both our time and place. The cast is small. The lighting is low. The night itself becomes part of the show. Social issues that are still relevant over 60 years after Holiday’s death are served up, if not as entertainment exactly, then certainly as art. And art is always worth supporting. If you want to hear Billie Holiday at her best, buy a CD. If you want to witness a heroic performance of serious theater, book a ticket to one of the performances of “Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill.”

    For information on performance schedules and ticket availability, please visit cfrt.org or call the box office at 910-323-4233.

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

  • 01 Square Banners CFRT copyAfter closing its doors to audience members back in March, the Cape Fear Regional Theatre spent the last 6 months innovating and leading the way for regional theaters during the pandemic.

    One of the first to create daily online programming for kids, CFRT launched virtual Edutainment classes that offered daily lessons for students in grades K-5. After 9 weeks of online classes, CFRT opened its doors for 15 sessions of summer camps between June and August, following CDC guidelines for in-person camps and ultimately reaching almost 200 campers.

    In September, CFRT announced the receipt of a $225,000 Community Organization Resource grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, Inc. for the 2020-2021 Season.

    "We are so honored to receive this grant from the Arts Council. This funding will allow us to continue producing high quality productions and serving parents and children adapting to this new paradigm. We know how essential art is to healing and processing, and we look forward to another year of creatively engaging with our community,” said Ella Wrenn, CFRT’s managing director.
    CFRT is committed to presenting an annual series of plays, performances, and special events that, in addition to entertaining, will enlighten, inspire, and educate performers and audiences.

    "We are proud of the work we’ve done throughout the last year to continue to provide the award-winning productions and nationally recognized education initiatives, and we could not have this impact without the tireless advocacy and support of the Arts Council,” said Artistic Director Mary Catherine Burke.

    Just last week, CFRT returned to in-person productions with “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” The show is being performed outside, right down the block from CFRT behind Haymount Auto Repair. Extensive safety procedures are in place for these performances. Audiences will be limited to fewer than 50 people in accordance with state COVID-19 guidelines. Seating will be in six-foot distanced pods of two or four. Masks will be required of all audience members, and temperatures will be checked at the entrance. Robust sanitation will take place between performances and the show will be as low contact as possible with digital programs and no paper tickets.

    The rest of the 2020-2021 season will be performed in the spring. Dates for those shows will be announced later in the year.

    The Wizard of Oz
    Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy, and her little dog, too. They’re off to see the Wizard in the magical land of Oz, but in order to make it there, they have to face the Wicked Witch of the West. This iconic musical reminds us that there truly is no place like home. Join us for this beloved family friendly musical that has entertained generations.
    The show is by L. Frank Baum and adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company. It is based upon the classic motion picture. It is rated G for everyone.

    Clue: On Stage
    It’s a dark and stormy night, and the host of a dinner party has turned up dead in his own mansion. Inspired by the board game and film, join Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, and other colorful guests for this hilarious murder mystery. As the guests race to find the killer, audiences will be in stitches to try and figure out who did it, where, and with what.
    Rated PG for parental guidance, this play contains mild and comedic themes of violence. It is based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn, the motion picture and the board game “Clue.”

    Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story
    Before the Beatles, there was Buddy Holly and the Crickets. It’s the 1950’s and a young man from Texas with big glasses and an even bigger dream of catapulting to the top of the Rock and Roll charts. With classic songs like “Peggy Sue,” and “That’ll Be The Day,” along with “La Bamba,” this high octane musical is a celebration of a man whose music and values were ahead of his time.
    The show is rated PG for parental guidance and contains some mild adult themes. It is written by Alan Janes.

    The Color Purple
    Based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, this landmark musical is about a remarkable woman named Celie. All she knows is heartbreak and despair, until her friend Shug helps her realize her own self-worth. Celie uses her flair for fashion to build a better future. With a joyous score featuring jazz, gospel, blues, and African music, it is a story of resilience and a testament to the healing power of love.
    The show is rated M for mature audiences, it contains some language and adult themes.Based upon the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel written by Alice Walker and the motion picture.

  • The veterans-supported nonprofit organization, Whole Vet Building Lives Together, makes its community-event debut in Cumberland County Oct. 24 with the Braggin’ Through the ‘Ville Car, Truck, Jeep and Bike Show at I-95 Muscle from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

    A classic, used and new car retailer located at 4115 Legion Rd. in Hope Mills, I-95 Muscle is a frequent host to car shows, movie nights and community events. Benefiting Whole Vet, the show features multiple vehicle divisions in both judged and nonjudged categories, as well as food trucks, a DJ, drawings and raffles. The event is open to the public for viewing.

    “Life is all about connection that becomes trusted relationships” is the mantra and guiding life principle of Dale Robbins, the founder and CEO of Whole Vet, a 501c3 nonprofit serving veterans, service members and their families. The quote speaks to the doors that have opened to Robbins along his 10-year-journey with volunteer veterans affairs and with the start of this fledgling organization. However, the phrase also provides a glimpse into what matters to this local man — namely, building lasting bonds and putting programs in place to impact the lives of service members, both past and present.

    Whole Vet seeks to provide veterans, transitioning servicemembers from all military branches, National Guard and Reserve members, and their families, with the tools, resources and support to have a fulfilling civilian career and life.

    Robbins, a 19-year-veteran of Cisco Systems with over 25 years total spent in corporate America, never served in the military. His trajectory toward nonprofit work and interest in the nation’s armed forces and veterans began with a deep sense of admiration for those who serve and have served, coupled with years of physical and medical challenges both he and his family faced and eventually overcame. The times of struggle magnified his faith in God and belief that he was being called to do something more with his life. Already a long-term volunteer in his workplace with veteran relations and events, Robbins saw a real need and an open door to step-up and serve this population of selfless individuals more directly. Now engaged in full-time work with Whole Vet, Robbins explained his outlook for the organization.

    “This is a comprehensive vision to create a platform that can serve our military and veteran community,” he said. “Everything from helping them make connections at our events to getting jobs and internships to the mentorship piece that gives them someone that really cares — these are all components of Whole Vet.”

    According to Robbins, Whole Vet encompasses building up the life of the veteran physically, spiritually, mentally, social-emotionally, economically and beyond — the whole person, in other words. The organizational colors, purple and white, are symbolic of representing all branches of service memebers. Purple is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue. Hence the saying, “Purple Up!” a national slogan used to solicit support for military families and kids.

    In addition to purple up, Whole Vet seeks to build up the career and family of Whole Vet clients, a twofold mission, as well as create community between the private sector and military and veteran groups. Robbins established the Military and Veteran Enablement Coalition made up of vested parties to help get this job done. Like seed to soil, the tasks grow as the nonprofit does.

    While operating on Harnett and Wake county lines in North Carolina in Robbins’ home office in Willow Springs, the company founder describes his vision as stretching across the state, country and beyond. Since 2017, the Whole Vet’s Military Career Transition Event, has been held in Raleigh, Cary, Clayton and Wilmington.

    Employer-focused virtual sessions kicked off in 2020 in keeping with the pandemic, with programs serving Fort Bragg, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station and more. These networking, employer-spotlight events help transitioning service members connect with corporate representatives from companies such as Biogen, Pike Corporation, PSA Airlines, NetApp, SAS, Biotest Pharmaceuticals. Educational entities like Campbell University, East Carolina University and North Carolina State University are also at the table.

    Large scale conferences from Whole Vet welcome governmental giants such as the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, NC Troops to Teachers and the State of North Carolina governmental agencies. Veterans-affiliated institutions that, on paper, reads like a Who’s Who list, have made a great showing at these Whole Vet days. Present and accounted for have been NC4ME, Onward2Opportunity, Hire Heroes USA, The Honor Foundation, USO-NC, Marine for Life Network, K9s Serving Vets and Hope for The Warriors, to name a few. Other event offerings include professional development panels, workshops, networking opportunities and inspirational speakers.

    In conjunction with transition events, Whole Vet hosts quarterly Military Corporate Networking campus visits. These tours have been held at host company campuses such as Biogen in RTP, Deutsche Bank in Cary and Caterpillar of Clayton to allow participants to experience the corporate environment while gaining valuable insight on civilian career paths. The tours also help participants make connections and build relationships, a familiar Whole Vet refrain.

    Though standard programming is on hold due to COVID-19, Robbins looks forward to resuming a regular schedule as soon as possible.

    After rolling out the red carpet to military members and veterans with exceptional and well-executed events, Robbins plans next to put mentorship, marriage and youth programs center stage. First up: The Military Mentorship Program.

    Mentors and mentees will be matched to align servicemembers who are exiting the military with a civilian that can share feedback, knowledge and contacts to ease the transition process to a nonmilitary career. Mentors will come from a participating MVEC company.

    The marriage and youth tracks will begin once additional program funding is secured from sources such as grants, donations, sponsorships and fundraising avenues. According to Robbins, retreats and conferences are in the line-up for marriage programming, while collaboration with the General H. Hugh Shelton Leadership Center at North Carolina State University is on tap for youth directives.

    Are you interested in learning more? Options exist to give your time, talents and resources to Whole Vet, as well as participate. Community events like the I-95 Muscle car show are held to bring fun, fellowship and some fundraising to bear.

    To learn more, go to https://www.facebook.wholevetinc. You can also check the T-shirt box by sporting Whole Vet gear available at their online store, https://wholevet.square.site/.

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    Pictured: Nonprofit Whole Vet raises funds through activities such as car shows to support veterans initiatives like mentorship programs, job networking conferences and counseling services.

  • uac101211001.jpg With the first signs of Fall showing up in the Cape Fear Region, it only makes sense that people’s thoughts will turn away from summer and outdoor pursuits to something a little calmer — but not if you’re a fan of hockey. In Fayetteville, colder weather means one thing: It’s time for FireAntz Hockey. This year, the FireAntz are pulling out all of the stops to ensure a great year as they celebrate their 10th anniversary, according to Dean Russell, the team’s assistant general manager.

    Russell said the team is going into the season with a new outlook, a new coach and by-in-large, a new bench. The team has been busy recruiting new players under the watchful eye of the new coach, Sean Gillam.

    “Sean is looking to build a bigger team, a tougher team,” said Russell. “We are truly a developmental league, so players come here to learn and then they move on. We are looking at about six former players returning, but everyone else will be new.”

    Russell said he doesn’t believe that will affect the devotion of fans, who have a strong support for the team. “We have even more opportunities for fans to get out and meet the new players. We are scheduling more meet and greets and more opportunities for the players to be out in the community,” he said. “I think it won’t take long for the fans to warm up to the new team.” 10-12-11-fireantz-story.jpg

    The new coach and the new team are something of a fresh start for the franchise. Last year was the first time the team did not make the playoffs, something Russell hopes will change this year.

    “This is going to be a bigger team, a tougher team,” he said. “We start training camp Sunday (Oct. 9), and I’m sure we are going to see a lot out of the team.”

    Over the years, the FireAntz have worked very hard to become an integral part of the community. They have participated in everything from promoting the Blood Donor Center to reading to children in elementary schools. That sense of community will be even stronger this year, as the team celebrates its anniversary.

    “We have a lot of special nights already scheduled and a lot of other events, including the choosing of an all-decade team by the fans later this year,” continued Russell. “Our first military night is at the end of this month on Oct 29.”

    Military nights are one way the FireAntz reach out to the military community. The team has already made inroads with the new commands and hopes to continue building relationships with the military.

    The first game of the season is scheduled for Oct. 21 at the Crown Coliseum. Russell hopes that fans will come out and show the new players the support that make FireAntz fans legend.

    “We have some players returning who were fan favorites, but we don’t think it will take long for the fans to warm up to the new team,” he said.

    For more information about meet and greets, how to particiapte at on-ice games or to book appearances by the FireAntz, visit www.fireantzhockey.com. Check out upcoming issues of Up & Coming Weekly for more information on the team, special nights and upcoming events.


     Gillam to Lead FireAntz in 10th Anniversary Season10-12-11-sgillam.jpg

    When Kevin MacNaught, president/general manager of the Fayetteville FireAntz, announced he was looking for a new coach to the lead the team in its 10th anniversary season, he was innundated with resumes. As he pored over reams of paper, one resume rose to the top — that of Sean Gillam, an assistant coach of the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees.

    Gillam replaces Tommy Stewart, who was released April 7 after four seasons with the Southern Professional Hockey League team.

    “The cornerstones are that we’re going to be a hard-working, disciplined team that puts forth 100 percent effort every night,” Gillam said.

    MacNaught noted,“I have faith in him to be able to recruit and put a strong team together,” MacNaught said.

    “I have confidence in him that he’s straight-up. He didn’t brag about anything — I had to pry stuff out of him about his assets, so he’s pretty humble that way. He’s a guy I think the team’s going to be able to follow and believe in.”

    Gillam, is a 35-year-old native of Lethbridge, Alberta, and a third-round pick by Detroit in the 1994 NHL entry level draft. A defenseman, Gillam played in 662 games over 10 seasons as a pro minor leaguer. He signed with Rio Grande Valley (McAllen, Texas) in 2003 when the Killer Bees were launched, and the team retired his jersey in 2008.

  • Join in on the fun in Downtown Fayetteville at this month’s 4th Friday celebration on Oct. 28. Take a stroll around the historic district, browse the unique boutiques and satisfy your hunger at one of the many remarkable restaurants. There will be music on every corner and many other fun activities for visitors and resi-dents to enjoy.

    “We have a drum circle, belly dancers, acoustic musicians, jugglers. Different businesses will have refreshments, and the Arts Council has an exhibit,” said Sheri Collins, 4th Friday coordinator at the Downtown Alliance. “Also, this year we started doing different themes. For instance, this month’s theme is the Zombie Walk.

    ”In the spirit of Halloween, Zombies will invade downtown Fayetteville at the Second Annual Zombie Walkon 4th Friday. Join in on the fright fest by slip-ping into your most blood-curdling costume and start lining up at the Festival Park Promenade at 7:30 p.m. The zombies will start invading downtown at 8 p.m. and will begin shuffling down Ray Avenue and making their way toward the Market House on Hay Street. The walk will end on Green Street and the zombies will be greeted by haunting music by the Villains/Misfits and others. “The Zombie Walk ended up being a bigger event than we thought,” said Collins, “There were about 1,000 people who participated last year, and we were only expecting maybe a couple hundred.”

    The Zombie Walk and concert is free and open to the public. It is expected that this year the costumes will be even better than last year and that there will be even more participation.

    Other Halloween related events are the Murder Mystery dinner theatre at the Rainbow Room. This is a fundraiser put on by a group from Fayetteville State University and will benefit homeless and runaway teenagers. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased by calling 322-8266.

    There will also be a showing of The Night of the Living Dead at the Cameo Art House Theatre.

    This month’s feature exhibit at the Art’s Council is Witness: The American Vietnam Experience Told First Hand Through Images and Stories of Local Vietnam Veterans, Native Born Vietnamese and the Texas Tech University’s Vietnam Center and Archive. This exhibit will be open to the public at the Arts Council from 7-9 p.m. during 4th Friday.10-19-11-4th-friday-logo.jpg

    Arts Alive!is another 4th Friday feature that takes place at the Farmer’s Market at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum on Franklin Street. Local artists will set up dis-plays and there will be handmade goods such as clay pottery, paintings and jewelry for sale.

    Cotton Exchange Express will be on site for visitors to ride through the 4th Friday area. “This can be for adults as well, but is mostly something that the kids enjoy,” said Collins. “There’s also the 4th Friday trolley and you can get out anywhere.”

    So come out to this month’s 4th Friday and join in on the haunting and art-centered festivities that Downtown Fayetteville has to offer.

    Photo: Take a stroll around the historic district, browse the unique boutiques and satisfy your hunger at one of the many remarkable restaurants.

  • Screen Shot 2018 10 30 at 3.42.54 PM While Hope Mills residents may still be debating what costumes to wear for Halloween, it’s already time to start entertaining thoughts about the town’s annual Christmas parade.

    This year’s event, scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Dec. 1, has an application process that’s already begun. The deadline for receiving applications from any organization or business interested in being a part of the parade is Nov. 19.

    Forms can be picked up at the recreation department’s temporary headquarters in Hope Mills Town Hall or downloaded at www.townofhopemills.com.

    Applications have to be turned in just under two weeks before the parade is held to allow time to review each one and to set the parade lineup and deal with all the logistics involved, said Kasey Ivey, head of senior programs for the town of Hope Mills.

    Ivey said there have been some minor changes in the rules for this year’s parade.

    Previously, stopping during the parade was prohibited to avoid creating gaps in the parade lineup. A new policy has been added that allows individual units to stop if they feel the need to for an unspecified safety reason.

    Spectators are encouraged to arrive early where possible so they can find parking along the parade route and to get to adequate seating for themselves and everyone in their party.

    Another parade rule still in place is that no one will be allowed to throw candy into the crowd from any float or other unit in the parade.

    Ivey said this is to prevent the possibility of children running into the path of parade units to retrieve candy.

    Businesses or organizations that have candy or material they’d like to distribute during the parade will be allowed to have people on foot handing it out as they pass by the crowd on the street.

    A precaution for floats requires them to have a safety hold or side railings for all riders on the float. Also, Ivey said anyone driving a vehicle that is in the parade or pulling a float must be 18 years of age.

    Even though Election Day will have passed, political campaigning along the parade route is not permitted.

    Everyone is reminded that Santa-themed entries are not permitted because, according to the application form, “the real Santa Claus has agreed to participate.’’

    Lineup for the parade begins at 1 p.m., judging of floats at 2:15 p.m. and roll call at 2:30 p.m.

    Contact Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com or Maxey Dove at 910-426-4108 with specific questions about parade entries. Questions can also be answered via the recreation department’s Facebook page, Hope Mills Parks and Recreation.

    If anyone needs to get answers face-to-face, the parks and recreation offices remain closed due to damage from Hurricane Florence. Ivey said they have relocated to temporary headquarters in Town Hall on Rockfish Road. Visit the front reception desk at Town Hall during normal business hours.

  • 19 Teacher of year As Cumberland County’s newest teacher of the year, Amy Stovall of Gray’s Creek High School hopes to use the platform she’s been given to help spread awareness for arts education and the important role it can play in developing the total student.

    Stovall, who teaches vocal music and choir at Gray’s Creek, was named the county’s teacher of the year at a banquet in mid-October.

    A native of Louisiana, a connection with the military first brought her to Fayetteville.

    After starting her education at Louisiana State and Austin Peay, she earned a bachelor of music education at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and followed it up in 2014 with a master’s in the same field.

    It was during her college years that she first felt a calling to become a teacher.

    She grew up around music; she was the daughter of an Elvis impersonator who made money on the side during his college years with his act.

    Stovall’s grandmother played piano, and Amy remembers taking piano lessons off and on from the time she was 8 years old.

    She began teaching at Lumberton Junior High School, spent three years at Scotland High School and has been at Gray’s Creek for the past 10 years.

    She’s mainly taught vocal music and choir. This year, she’s teaching advanced placement music theory for the first time. She also helps out with the school’s band and theater programs, working with the school’s theater teacher to put on a fullscale musical every spring.

    Stovall admitted she was surprised when she learned she was a candidate for teacher of the year.

    “A lot of the messages of congratulations that came to me were from fellow art educators who said, “We’re just so thrilled not just that you got it but that an arts educator got it,’’ she said.

    She said it’s hard for people who don’t teach in the arts to understand or see that arts teachers have a detailed curriculum just like other academic teachers. “I think there’s a misconception that we sit in our classrooms in a circle and sing cute songs,’’ she said.

    She fears many people see arts-oriented classes like hers as little more than places where the teachers are glorified babysitters.

    She said that’s never been the perception of her peers of her classes at Gray’s Creek.

    “I really feel like my kids get a pretty good education in history, in cultural awareness, mathematics and physics,’’ she said. “We talk about the properties of sound also. We put all those frames of reference into the lesson, into the things that we sing. We’re not just learning notes and rhythm.’’

    In addition to learning, Stovall hopes the young people in her classes are also growing and expanding their minds in areas that will help them in whatever field they might try to pursue.

    “This is going to translate into their adult life, when they’re working with people in the real-world settings,’’ she said. “It’s really important that these kids have their imaginations stirred.

    “Their brains need time to imagine, create and play, otherwise we’re just spitting out kids who can pass tests. What are they going to do with that knowledge? If they aren’t imagining and creating now, when they are young, they are going to become scientists who don’t know how to invent anything.’’

    That’s why Stovall feels an obligation to use the platform and voice she’s been given as teacher of the year, even if it’s just local, to speak out about the importance of music and arts education.

    “We need equity in arts funding,’’ she said. “We need to protect our arts teachers’ jobs. Funding is a hard issue, and the arts are usually the first thing to get cut.’’

    She fears cutting arts positions eliminates an essential piece of education for children. She hopes to use her voice to bring awareness to the importance of arts education, what its needs are and how it benefits students.

    “To me, it’s important that I’m standing here being the voice of my fellow music and arts educators,’’ she said.

    Photo: Amy Stovall (center) stands with husband Tommy (left) and Dr. Marvin Connelly Jr. (right), superintendent of Cumberland County Schools.

  • If you are looking for employment in today’s difficult market, this fair may offer just the ticket — and it’s free! The Cumberland County Department of Social Services (DSS), in partnership with other community agencies and businesses, is holding its Fall into Work Job Fair on Wednesday, Oct.12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Crown Expo Center.

    More than 100 employers are expected to attend the job fair, and employment opportunities span several fields, including business, education, government, food service and hospitality, childcare, customer service, distribution, healthcare and more.

    “It is free,” said Robert Relyea, employment coordinator with the DSS. “Anybody seeking a job is welcome to come to this. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. In the past, we’ve talked to people from all over the Southeast.”

    “Work First started in 1996, and Gov. (Jim) Hunt wanted all 100 counties in North Carolina through the DSS and Work First program to do an event like a job fair,” Relyea said. “So we did ours, and probably had one of the most successful in the state. Fayetteville Tech was our original partner; in fact, we held the fi rst one at Fayetteville Tech because at the time, we didn’t have our facility set up. We probably had about 45-50 vendors (employers), and we might have had around 1,200 people come through it, which was big back in ’96. We had a much better economy. We decided to keep doing it, and we started doing them here at the agency.”

    Over the years, the agency has held more than 20 such events. The original fair took place in March, and after its positive outcome, the DSS offered another fair in the fall, which was also successful. For 10 years, the agency and its partners offered two fairs a year. Their success contributed to the growth and eventual move of the fair to a larger venue at the Crown Expo Center.

    “We used to have them down here at the DSS,” said Relyea, “but we basically outgrew our area. Parking became a bad issue, so DSS decided we better find a bigger location for the event. And we went from having around 70 or so vendors per event and really having them squeezed together to having 100-plus with plenty of room.”

    The job fair now takes place once a year, and the numbers of attendees and partners have increased as well. Fayetteville Tech has remained a partner, joined by the City of Fayetteville Community Development Department, Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. and Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce and business sponsors Fayetteville PWC and Hardee’s restaurants. This year’s turnout is expected to be at least comparable to last year’s.

    “Last year, 4,700 people come through the event,” said Relyea. “This year, we’re hoping to be as helpful, although it would be nice to see fewer people. That might mean the economy is a little bit better off. We’re probably going to see around the same number. Things don’t seem, job wise, a whole lot better than they’ve been in the last year. ”

    And with competition keen for jobs, Relyea offered several valuable points for jobseekers:

    • Bring plenty of résumés and pens, as no resources for making copies exists.

    • Prepare a brief statement about yourself. Employers can spend only a few minutes with each applicant. The more concise you can be with what you have to offer, the better off you’ll be because you’ll give the employer that important information right off the top.

    • Talk to vendors and understand what you need to do next. Understand each vendor’s hiring practice so you will know what to do.

    • Make sure to get a vendor’s name, address and business card. When you leave the job fair, immediately write a thank you note to each vendor for spending time talking with you.

    • Dress well –– neat and presentable. Look representative of the type of jobs you’re going to apply for. If that means a coat and tie, that is what you should wear. Avoid large jewelry; be really conservative in dress and accessories.

    For more information on a great opportunity to meet many potential employers, call (910) 677-2222 or (910) 677-2177 or visit www.ccdssnc.com/Job_Fair.htm.

  • 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.*


    Pumpkin decorating for seniors Tuesday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-noon in the small activity room of Parks and Rec. No fee, but advanced sign-up is required. Only 20 pumpkins are available. Prizes will be awarded for the best three pumpkins.

    Ghostly Gala for seniors Wednesday, Oct. 31, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Parks and Rec community room. Advanced sign-up at the reception desk required. Costumes are preferred. There will be a costume contest and pumpkin decorating contest. Potluck social. Bring main dish, side dish or dessert.

    Trunk R Treat Wednesday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m. at Hope Mills Municipal Park. For details, call 910-426-4109.

    Veterans Day Monday, Nov. 12: Town offices closed.

    Thanksgiving Thursday-Friday, Nov. 22-23: Town offices closed.

  • 18 hope mills A handful of elected Hope Mills government leaders, along with some members of the town staff, recently toured some of the town’s undeveloped property. The purpose was to put eyes on what’s there in order to hopefully solidify plans for what can be done with the land.

    Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Mitchell and commissioners Jerry Legge and Meg Larson were among those who took part in the in-person inspection of the old golf course, the planned Heritage Park and the remnants of Hope Mills Lake No. 2.

    “I think the main reason we did it was so the board would be familiar with the properties,’’ Warner said. She said the walk helped the board members get a visual feel for what may or may not be feasible at the various locations.

    Warner said she previously visited the golf course four years ago when it was about to be returned to the town.

    She noted some or all of the properties had undergone numerous changes over time.

    The golf course in particular has become more overgrown in the wooded areas. Some trails and paths for golf carts have been washed away because of flooding caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

    “There are areas where it gets really soggy due to the fact we had a good bit of flooding,’’ Warner said.

    At Heritage Park, where there are remnants of the old mill, there is a lot more graffiti.

    Warner thinks that of the three locations that were toured, the one that offers the most promise for quickest development is Heritage Park.

    “We have a plan for it,’’ she said. “We had it set up as phase three of the lake park plan.’’ That plan is currently on hold at the request of the Board of Commissioners. Warner feels if the plan was put into motion it would be the easiest to complete and the least expensive of the three.

    As for the golf course property, Warner is optimistic about getting grant funding to move forward. But she’s concerned that it will be far more expensive to advance the kind of projects the community has expressed an interest in seeing developed.

    “I think we’re going to have to have partnerships,’’ she said of development of the golf course property. “I’m much in favor of partnerships with the YMCA or others to fund things that the community wants there.’’

    She doesn’t think a good portion.of Hope Mills Lake No. 2 can be used for many things because of the terrain there.

    This was the area that the Lone Survivor Foundation attempted to purchase for use as a veterans retreat. The LSF was repeatedly rejected by the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners in its quest.

    Warner said even if the land around Hope Mills Lake No. 2 is left in a natural state and opened to the public for recreational use, the town will have to spend some money to make the area more secure.

    Another problem at the site is it’s been used as a place for the town to dump rocks and gravel.

    “If we leave it natural and you have access to it, I think you’ll have to have some form of lighting, some form of monitoring to make sure you don’t have injury or people in there that shouldn’t be in there,’’ Warner said. “There would be a lot of cleanup that would have to be done.’’

  • 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. 

    Senior Citizens Advisory CommitteeWednesday, Oct. 24, 4 p.m., at Hope Mills Parks Senior Center. 

    Veterans Affairs CommissionThursday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m. at Parks and Recreation Building.* 


    Pumpkin decorating for seniorsTuesday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-noon in the small activity room of Parks and Rec. No fee, but advanced sign-up is required. Only 20 pumpkins are available. Prizes will be awarded for the best three pumpkins.  

    Ghostly Gala for seniorsWednesday, Oct. 31, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Parks and Rec community room. Advanced sign-up at the reception desk required. Costumes are preferred. There will be a costume contest and pumpkin decorating contest. Potluck social. Bring main dish, side dish or dessert. 

    Trunk R TreatWednesday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m. at Hope Mills Municipal Park. For details, call 910-426-4109. 

    Promote yourself:Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com. 

  • 16 Zorb ballsThe addition of live music and a beer garden highlight the major changes for this year’s 19th annual observance of Ole Mill Days in Hope Mills. 

    The weekend event, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27, with a street dance kicking things off the day before, is the town’s annual celebration of its heritage as a mill village when textiles were king in North Carolina. 

    Kasey Ivey, who heads up senior programs for the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, doesn’t think of this year’s Ole Mill Days as expanding. “More like a revision, I would say,’’ she said. 

    The party actually starts Oct. 26, with a Friday night street dance on Trade Street featuring a live deejay. 

    There will be food trucks, and some of the Trade Street businesses will be open to customers during the dance. 

    The beer garden and the live music are among the biggest new offerings the following day. 

    The town’s board of commissioners approved the sale and consumption of alcohol at Ole Mill Days, and a local business, Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom, will be the vendor for the beer garden. 

    Ivey made it clear that access to the beer garden will be controlled and people who take part in it won’t be allowed to wander around other Ole Mill Days events with beer in their possession. 

    She said town officials are working on finalizing the map for the various activities, which will be taking place on the two ball fields at Hope Mills Municipal Park. 

    The addition of the beer garden and the live music is causing them to rethink where everything will be located. 

    For the beer garden, she said plans are being made to keep it totally separate from the various child-related activities that are offered on Ole Mill Days. She said the town has portable fencing and a physical barrier will be erected to contain patrons of the beer garden and keep them from milling around freely with the rest of the crowd. 

       Patrons who are of legal drinking age will be provided with a wristband to indicate they’ve been cleared to purchase alcohol. 

       The other new attraction, live music, will be the Cumberland County Line bluegrass band. They are scheduled to perform from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27. 

       Ivey said the band was included in hopes of encouraging people to stay around longer at Ole Mill Days, or to get them to return later in the day and bring other people with them. 

       One of the new attractions for children is Zorb Balls. These are giant inflatable balls that people can actually get inside of and bounce off each other. 

       The rest of Ole Mills Days features traditional favorites. 

       Things get started at 10 a.m. with an assortment of food vendors, craft vendors, some local businesses as well as appearances by various politicians running for office. 

       One event that will be missing from Ole Mill Days is the annual Chamber of Commerce Chili Cookoff, which has been moved to Nov. 10 and will be hosted by Dirtbag Ales. 

       The activities for children will also start at 10 a.m. and, in addition to the Zorb Balls, will include a variety of inflatable attractions like bounce houses. 

       At noon, Mayor Jackie Warner will give the official welcome, followed by the playing of the national anthem and an introduction of various local beauty queens named during the year. All of this will take place on Fields 1 and 2 at Municipal Park on Rockfish Road. 

       From noon until 4 p.m., the antique tractor pull, a staple of Ole Mill Days, will be held. Plans are also in the works to have a petting zoo and pony rides. 

       The extremely popular wing-eating contest sponsored by Zaxby’s is scheduled for 2 p.m. 

       Another popular event of the festival, the annual reunion of millworkers, had to be relocated this year because the recreation center is still closed due to damage from Hurricane Florence. 

       The millworkers will gather in the boardroom at Town Hall from 2-4 p.m. The reunion is coordinated by the Historical Commission of the town and sponsored by the parks and recreation department. 

       The day will close with a showing of the family-friendly movie “Hotel Transylvania” at 6:30 p.m. in the park. 

       Ivey said parking is first-come, first-served and people will need to be patient because there will be fall league ball games taking place on the fields adjacent to Fields 1 and 2 at Municipal Park. 

       If anyone has questions about Ole Mill Days, they can call 910-426-4109 or send messages through the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department Facebook page. If they need to meet someone face-to-face, the recreation department offices are temporarily located in Town Hall. Stop by the front desk there during normal business hours. 

  • 15 Hope Mills damWhile the restored Hope Mills Dam safely protected humans in the community during the recent strikes of tropical weather, the animal kingdom didn’t come out completely unscathed. 

    Don Sisko, interim director of public works for the town of Hope Mills, said the eel ladder at the dam did suffer some damage. 

    The eel ladder was made a part of the Hope Mills dam restoration by order of the Army Corps of Engineers. 

    Eels are not an endangered species, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in 2015 that “for the species’ long-term stability, the agency recommends continuing efforts to maintain healthy habitats, monitor harvest levels and improve river passage for migrating eels.’’ 

    This is especially true around structures like the Hope Mills dam that block the natural migration of the eels from their spawning grounds in the ocean to the inland locations where they live and feed. 

    The eel ladder allows then access to Hope Mills Lake. 

    According to Sisko, tail waters caused by the storm backed up below the dam and damaged wiring to a pump that powers something called the attractor. 

       The attractor creates an artificial waterfall that naturally attracts the eels to the eel ladder. 

       “The downstream pump (the one that was damaged) is the attractor that creates a small water flow,’’ Sisko said. “The biologists have figured out that’s what attracts the eels. That brings them to the ladder, and they carry on and get up into the lake.’’ 

       The pump that feeds the eel ladder keeps water flowing at all times so the eels are in their natural environment. There is a material inside the ladder that allows the eels to get traction so they can migrate and move up it into the lake. 

       Twice a year, from March 15-June 15 and from Sept. 1-Oct. 15, the town does a count on eels that are caught in a basket at the end of the eel ladder. 

       Sisko said the damage to the ladder pump took place sometime during Hurricane Florence, interrupting the eel count that was scheduled to start in September. 

       “Once we remove them from the basket, we count them and release them a little further up the lake so they stand less a chance of getting sucked in by the pump that feeds the eel ladder itself,’’ Sisko said. The last complete eel count was conducted in the spring when 229 eels were recovered and relocated in the lake. 

       Since the next period for counting the eels doesn’t come until mid-March, Sisko said there is no need to rush the process of repairing the damaged pump. 

       Sisko said the problem will be presented to the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners at a future meeting. “It will be part of the FEMA claims and insurance,’’ he said, referring to the cost of repairs. 

       The total cost for the eel ladder when it was first installed was $35,000. 

  • 14 Tierra RipleyWhen Tierra Ripley took freshman English at Gray’s Creek High School, her teacher was Joel Mayo, a poetry enthusiast who has helped organize poetry clubs at the school. 

    “I’ve gotten to see her grow from an amazing freshman student,’’ Mayo said. “Her ability to tell a story is strong, one of the strongest I’ve ever seen.’’ 

    Mayo isn’t the only one who feels that way. Ripley, now a senior at Gray’s Creek, was recently honored by the North Carolina English Teachers Association as the winner of its statewide high school Poet Laureate Awards. 

    The award is named in memory of Kathryn Stripling-Byer, a former North Carolina Poet Laureate who died in 2017. 

    Ripley’s winning entry was a short poem entitled “Seafaring Sailor” that uses nautical imagery to tell a story of unrequited love. 

    Ripley said she’s been interested in poetry ever since her freshman year as Mayo’s student. 

    “It’s a way of self-expression that I can talk about things that I have trouble verbalizing just normally,’’ she said. In addition to writing poetry, Ripley said she likes to write short stories, although she doesn’t do that as much now. 

       “I don’t have a set style or anything,’’ she said of her poetry. “I just write what comes to mind. Sometimes they rhyme, sometimes not.’’ 

       She’s not sure how many poems she’s written over the years but estimates she’s done about a dozen “really good ones.’’ 

       Her entry into the poetry contest came almost by accident. One of her former English teachers had information about the contest posted in her classroom. “It was like the last days of school,’’ she said, near the end of her junior year at Gray’s Creek. 

       The contest required her to submit an original poem that had not been published. It didn’t have to be about a specific subject. 

       She finished the new work in a couple of hours and submitted it in June. 

       She learned she won in early August and was presented the award a couple of weeks ago. 

       “It meant the world to me,’’ she said. “I was so surprised. I entered the contest on a whim. 

       “To get such recognition and to be congratulated for my work was amazing.’’ 

       Ripley said she’s undecided on her college future. She’s just beginning the application process and will likely attend an in-state school. 

       She’d like to continue with poetry, but a lot of that will depend on what opportunities are available to her. 

       “I’d like to involve English in my career,’’ she said. “I’d like to be an author, writer or maybe a journalist, anywhere I can utilize English.’’ 

       Mayo said contests like the one Ripley won are great motivation for students. 

       “I try to provide as many opportunities as possible,’’ Mayo said, “things like our poetry club, the different contests we try to get kids involved in. I think it helps push them so they can have better opportunity to express themselves.’’ 

    Photo: Tierra Ripley 

  •  13pina messina 464953 unsplash 1 The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department is preparing to conduct its annual drop-off of prescription and over-the-counter drugs in Fayetteville and Cumberland County. 

      The event is scheduled Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., and there will be three locations in the Hope Mills area where residents can safely get rid of expired or unneeded medications. 

      The three drop-off points are Hope Mills Fire Department, Pearce’s Mill Fire Department and Stoney Point Fire Department. 

      Lt. Shawna Leake, who heads the community policing section for the county sheriff ’s department, said the drug drop-offs are normally held twice a year, once in the spring in conjunction with National Poison Prevention Week, and again in the fall. The three locations in Hope Mills are among seven countywide where people can drop off medications. 

    Leake said fire departments are a good location for the drop-offs. “Those are places the public is familiar with,’’ she said. She added locations are chosen based on where there has been the best response from the public in previous years. 

      Leake said the public is encouraged to bring any kind of prescription or over-the-counter drug they’d like to safely dispose of – not limited to medications. 

      “Sometimes people bring us diabetic needles,’’ she said. “(Like) when they’ve lost a loved one and don’t know what to do with their medicines and have a lot of different drugs they are taking.’’ 

      Even seemingly harmless items like cough drops that aren’t being used anymore or any medicines that have expired are welcome. 

      The main drugs that need to be turned in are any narcotics, especially opioids, to prevent them from falling into innocent hands or the hands of those who would abuse them. 

      “We have an opioid epidemic we are currently combating,’’ Leake said. “Those are the things we really want people to turn in. We don’t want them to be flushed down the toilet or put in the trash.’’ 

      Any drugs disposed of in that manner have the potential to get into the local water system, Leake said. 

      The only kind of drugs that should not be brought to the drop-off are illegal drugs, she said. If individuals or families have substances like that they need to dispose of, they need to contact law enforcement directly. “We’ll respond to that call in a different fashion,’’ Leake said. “We would rather they not bring them to this event.’’ 

      For specific questions or concerns about the drug drop-off, call Leake at 910-438-4015.

  • 12SidewalkHope Mills residents should consider buying a new pair of walking shoes because they’re going to be getting some more sidewalks. 

    The town of Hope Mills has been awarded a grant from the Fayetteville Metropolitan Planning Organization to build sidewalks from Johnson Street near the Robin’s on Main restaurant down to Trade Street. 

    The sidewalks will be on the opposite side of Main Street from Hope Mills Lake, said Chancer McLaughlin, development and planning administrator for the town. 

    McLaughlin said the grant from FAMPO is for a little under $400,000. It’s what’s known as an 80/20 matching grant, which means the town will add about $80,000 to the project. 

    This newest grant will allow for a continuation of a project already underway that’s constructing sidewalks near the Hope Mills town offices on Rockfish Road. 

    It will extend existing sidewalks in the downtown area and make it possible, once completed, for people to walk via sidewalk all the way from the town hall area to the restored Hope Mills Lake. 

      “It will possibly cut down on traffic and create a safer balance between vehicular and pedestrian traffic,’’ McLaughlin said. “The main goal is to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment, connecting the town of Hope Mills.’’ 

      In addition to the sidewalks, the grant will help pay for some enhancements on Main Street, McLaughlin said. 

      “We are going to do a major crosswalk installation at Johnson and Main because there is no crosswalk now,’’ McLaughlin said. “We are also going to do a raised mid-block crosswalk halfway between Johnson and Trade Street. At the intersection of Trade and Main, we’re going to do a major enhancement, adding more pedestrian signals.’’ 

      Now that the grant has been awarded, McLaughlin said the new sidewalk project for Main Street is in the design phase and there is no timetable yet for when the sidewalk construction will actually begin. 

      “We are moving forward and filling gaps,’’ he said of the various sidewalk projects going on. “We’re applying for another grant in November. 

      “This is not a one-time thing and by no means (is it) the end of the road. It’s the beginning.’’ 

  • 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. 

    Mayor’s Youth Leadership Committee, Monday, Oct. 22, 6 p.m., at Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall. 

    Appearance Commission, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 6:30 p.m., at Parks and Recreation Building.* 

    Senior Citizens Advisory Committee, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 4 p.m., at Hope Mills Parks Senior Center. 

    Veterans Affairs Commission, Thursday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m. at Parks and Recreation Building.* 


    Hope Mills Area Kiwanis Clubat Sammio’s, second Tuesdays at noon and fourth Tuesdays at 6 p.m. For details, call 910-237-1240. 

    Pumpkin decorating for seniorsTuesday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-noon in the small activity room of Parks and Rec. No fee, but advanced sign-up is required. Only 20 pumpkins are available. Prizes will be awarded for the best three pumpkins. 

    Ghostly Gala for seniorsWednesday, Oct. 31, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Parks and Rec community room. Advanced sign-up at the reception desk required. Costumes are preferred. There will be a costume contest and pumpkin decorating contest. Potluck social. Bring main dish, side dish or dessert. 

    Trunk R TreatWednesday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m. at Hope Mills Municipal Park. Anyone planning to bring a vehicle and give out treats at Trunk R Treat must fill out a form and turn it in by Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. Forms available at www.townofhopemills.com under Parks and Recreation. 

  • 11Trunk1The Town of Hope Mills will hold its annual Trunk R Treat celebration on Halloween night this year from 6-8 p.m. on the athletic fields at Hope Mills Municipal Park on Rockfish Road. But the preparation for the event is going to be a little different from past years. 

    Meghan Hawkins, recreation programs supervisor for Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, said there will be a deadline to register to have a vehicle at the event and there is a form individuals and businesses need to fill out to take part. 

    “This is the first year we actually have a registration form,’’ she said. “It gives us the option to track who we’ve got, who’s coming, how much space is needed and also to establish some guidelines and policies regarding the night of the event.’’ 

      Anyone planning to bring a vehicle and give out Halloween treats at the event must fill out a registration form and return it by 5 p.m. on Oct. 22. 

      In addition to gathering information about the person or business taking part in the event, the form includes information about what is and isn’t allowed at each individual display. 

      As in the past, participating vehicles in the Trunk R Treat will be parked on the outfield area of one or both fields at Municipal Park. 

      Hawkins said vehicle check-in for the vendors will begin at 4:30 p.m., and all cars or trucks must be in the field area and parked by 5:30 p.m. Late arrivals will not be allowed to enter. 

      There will be no electricity available on the field, so any displays on cars that need electric power will have to get it from the vehicles themselves or from batteries. Portable generators are not allowed on the field. 

      The actual Trunk R Treat will run from 6-8 p.m. Once vehicles are in place on the field, they will not be allowed to leave the area until the event ends at 8 p.m. 

      Businesses are encouraged to take part and are allowed to give out items to promote themselves. 

      All candy or edible treats given away must be pre-wrapped. No homemade goods of any kind are permitted. 

      Hawkins stressed that the Trunk R Treat is both family-friendly and kid-friendly. There should be no adult-themed displays or costumes. 

      Displays should not be designed to attack or disparage anyone, and no profanity or alcohol are allowed. 

      There are two contests currently planned in conjunction with Trunk R Treat, Hawkins said, one for best decorated trunk and one for most original. 

      Judging of both contests will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the winners will be announced at 7 p.m. 

      Copies of the registra