06Jane Fonda 1970sJane Fonda said she’s still confronted by Vietnam War veterans over her 1970s anti-war activism and welcomes the encounters. Such moments provide an opportunity to talk, she said, which needs to be done with what Fonda called “an open mind and a soft heart.” 

The actress drew bitter criticism after being photographed sitting on an anti-aircraft gun during a 1972 visit to North Vietnam. She was dubbed “Hanoi Jane.” That same year, she and actor Donald Sutherland took part in an anti-war protest in downtown Fayetteville. At the time, Fort Bragg troops gave Fonda a different nickname: traitor b****. 

Fonda met with TV critics this month to discuss a new HBO documentary on her life and expressed regret for that moment. She said it was thoughtless to perch on the gun and called it “horrible to think about the message her action sent to soldiers and their families.” 

Her late father, the famed actor Henry Fonda, was a World War II veteran. Fonda had served as “Miss Army Recruiter” in 1954. 

At age 80, Fonda looks back at her life in HBO’s “Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” debuting this fall. 

Cold case arrest

Fayetteville Police have cracked a nearly 30-year-old sexual assault cold case with an arrest. Antonio L. McNeil, 55, of Slater Avenue in Fayetteville, was 25 when he allegedly attacked his victim. He has been jailed on charges of second-degree rape, second-degree sex offense and first-degree kidnapping. The case dates to November of 1989. Detectives investigated the case then, but it went unsolved. 

The case was recently reopened when the sexual assault evidence kit was tested for DNA. Police Sgt. Shawn Strepay said McNeil was already being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center on unrelated charges when arrested on the new allegations. He is being held on a $400,000 secured bond. 

Strepay said 25 rape cases have been cleared with arrests over the last three years by the Fayetteville Police Department’s Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit. People with information concerning a sexual assault more than five years old are asked to contact Police Detective R. DeShields at 910-580-3016.

Save the rain water

The Cumberland Soil and Water Conservation District is offering rain barrels for sale. The barrels provide a storage system used for collecting rain water, which can be used to water plants, lawns and gardens. Fifty-five-gallon pickle barrels are transformed into rain barrels by adding mesh screen netting to the open tops and installing spigots to the bottoms. Rain barrels can be placed out in the open, under the drip line of a roof or under a gutter’s downspout. A typical one-inch rainfall can fill the rain barrel placed beneath a downspout. 

Rain barrels are selling for $40 at the Cumberland Soil and Water Conservation District office at 301 East Mountain Dr. The office is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Proceeds from rain barrel sales support youth educational programs in Cumberland County.

40th annual International Folk Festival

Grab a dance partner and get ready for an unforgettable evening during the 40th annual International Folk Festival in downtown Fayetteville. The Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra of Brooklyn, New York, is the Saturday evening headliner. The 11-piece band will take the Festival Park stage at 6:15 p.m. on Sept. 29. 

The performance is part of an extensive entertainment lineup during the festival weekend of Sept. 28 through 30, featuring horn arrangements, pulsating percussion and sultry vocals. According to their promotional materials, “WSO has taken the typical Salsa form and infused it with a completely modern identity.” 

Symphony leader’s contract renewed

The board of directors of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra has announced renewal of its contract with President and CEO Christine Kastner. 

“Chris Kastner is a great leader, and her history with the FSO is proof positive of that,” said board chairman Joe Vonnegut. 

Kastner was hired as CEO in November 2011. Under her leadership, the FSO increased the number of concerts performed. The symphony also added a free concert in Festival Park, partnering with the city of Fayetteville for an Independence Day celebration. 

The FSO has also made significant progress in its endowment under her leadership, Vonnegut added. 

Photo: Jane Fonda

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