•  The Next Three Days (Rated PG-13)  4 stars

    The Next Three Days (122 minutes) is actually a remake of a French movie, which totally makes sense after seeing it. Director Paul Haggis manages to capture something not quite American, although most of the famed French subtly is missing. The plot, as presented, is fairly direct.

    12-22-10-movie-review.gifLara Brennan (Elizabeth Banks) looks good as a blonde. In the opening scenes she manages to project a general irritation common to the privileged pampered higher-ups when they are faced with completely inferior examples of whatever it is they think they are. It turns out that her general irritation is focused on her sister-in-law Erit (Moran Atias) for having opinions that she does not agree with. Her defensiveness apparently stems from a fight with her own female higher-up earlier that day, and the argument currently ruining a pleasant meal involves the opinion that women should not work for women, but that any other combination is OK.

    Not to sell out my feminist roots, but I have heard endless horror stories about psychofemme bosses crapping on their employees AND I have experiences that involve subordinate women smiling to my face to distract me from the knife they are sliding into my spine. But let’s keep our perspectives … a bad boss is a bad boss, and that has nothing to do with gender. A lousy employee is a lousy employee, whether they’re working for a man or a woman. And since sucking at your job seems to occur regardless of how many X chromosomes you carry, Erit can be safely ignored. The fact that Lara needs to argue with someone who she doesn’t like, respect, or need to see more than occasionally says more about her own self-righteousness than it does about anything else. It also serves as a pretty character-establishing opening scene, since she goes from nearly punching her sister-in-law to a little after dinner make-out time in her husband’s ridiculously tiny front seat.

    Anyway, the next day Lara and her husband John (Russell Crowe) are enjoying a leisurely upper-middle-class breakfast. They are doing that thing where parents take a picture at the same time every day so they can digitalize the image and have 10 years of growth distilled into one minute of footage that illustrates how your kids looked before, and after, they started to hate you.

    It turns out they didn’t need nearly that much footage. Luke (Ty Simpkins) is seconds away from severe maladjustment and the loss of a happy childhood, since once the police break in and arrest mommy for murder they might as well buy the kid a stripper pole so he can start practicing for when he hits18.

    Thankfully, we do not have to sit through a big complicated trial scene. All the evidence points towards Lara’s guilt until even her lawyer (Daniel Stern) isn’t willing to pursue appeals. Lara takes the news hard, which sets John off on a Quixotic journey to learn how to make a bump key, break into and out of a Pittsburgh jail, create a scrapbook/ escape plan on his office wall, liquidate his assets, get fake identification, destroy a meth lab, and ruin his child’s chances for a life that even slightly approaches normal. Also, Liam Neeson shows up! Wouldn’t it suck if it turned out Lara was guilty all along?

  • 12-05-12-disney.gifHis classic black circle ears are instantly recognizable all over the globe. He is Mickey Mouse and he is the face of one of the most successful companies on the globe — Disney. Since it’s inception in the 1920s, Disney has steadily expanded into many different markets. Movies, music, television, theme parks and all manner of merchandise can all be found under the Disney umbrella. One of the most popular products Disney offers, however, is its ice-skating shows. Since 1981, the Walt Disney Company has connected with audiences all across the world through the magical antics of Disney characters on ice.

    This year Disney will present Rockin’ Ever After at the Crown, Dec. 12-16. The performance features many of the newer Disney characters such as Sebastian and the Daughters of Triton from The Little Mermaid, the rowdy pub thugs from Tangled and the spunky and enchanted servants from Beauty and the Beast competing to be the next big superstars. The performance is comical and makes the unique characters even more lovable, but it all culminates with the appearance of the Disney Princesses.

    This year Disney on Ice has added some of the newer princesses along with a few of the classic royal characters. Look for Ariel, Rapunzel, Belle and — in her Disney on Ice premier — Merida from Brave.

    When speaking about the newest Disney Princess’ arrival on the ice, producer Nicole Feld said, “The most exciting part of bringing a fearless and independent character like Merida to the ice for the first time is knowing that she has a powerful and inspiring message to deliver about finding the courage to determine one’s own fate. We think her story translates well to the ice and will really resonate with today’s audience.”

    The beauty of Disney on Ice is that as Mickey and Minnie travel to see these wonderful characters, each story is highlighted so that the audience can experience each character’s triumph. There is something for everyone here because so many stories are shown on the ice, and the energetic music and choreography keeps everything engaging and exciting.

    One of the performer’s in Rocking Ever After is North Carolina native Lauren McHenry. McHenry has been skating since the age of 7, and her dedication and skill has won her many different awards including representing the United States at the 2009 Prague Cup International Competition.

    “It is an incredible show! We are featuring Ariel, Rapunzel and Belle and their stories are all tied together with a talent show theme, based off reality show life on T.V. Mickey and Minnie are the hosts for the show. They are searching for the greatest talent in the land, and I am an ensemble skater so I am in all the numbers. I am also Arista, one of the daughters of Triton,” McHenry said.

    Disney on Iceis always family friendly and full of fun. There will be something there for everyone and it is not just for children, McHenry expresses this feeling by saying, “Everyone who has a chance should come and see it! There really is something for people of all ages. There is fantastic skating and cool special effects, great music that has been revamped and is more contemporary. Everyone should come and see it!”

    Disney on Ice Rocking Ever After will be at the Crown Coliseum from Dec. 12 - 16. Performances are at 7 p.m. Tickets are available through the Crown Coliseum at www.atthecrown.com.

  • The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Cumberland Oratorio Singers will join in song to bring Handel’s Messiah to Galatia Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, Sunday, Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. It is the 6th Annual Messiah Sing, where everyone is welcome to bring their Messiah scores, sit in the audience and join in song together with the choir. Admission is free. 


    “We really encourage people to bring their scores, stand up and sit down with the choir where it’s appropriate, and
    sing along,” said Michael Martin,
    director of choral activities and music education at Methodist University and this year’s conductor.


    “Handel’s Messiah is kind of unique and non-unique at the same time in that — it’s a community sing, which is done all over the world,” said Martin. “Everybody knows the “Hallelujah” chorus, and we only do the first part because it follows the birth, life and death of Jesus, which is an appropriate part to do at Christmas time.    


    “I think it’s kind of right that the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Cumberland Oratorio Singers do this together, because they’ve been playing together for quite some time,” said Martin. “It’s good for the community to know that their arts organizations are working together and it makes for a big house.” 


    The partnership between the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Cumberland Oratorio Singers is actually broad and goes beyond the Messiah.“We do this, and then we do a large work in the Spring together,” said Martin. “We’re always trying to find opportunities in which the partnership will benefit both groups. They get a chance to pull some of our audience, we pull some of their audiences, and when we get together, we have both of our audiences sitting in the same place.”    


    Martin was appointed Artistic Director and Conductor of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers in 2008 and has been alternating with Fouad Fakhouri, another conductor in the music department at Methodist University, for the past five years. Due to the way the graduation calendar worked out last year for Martin, Fakhouri ended up conducting Messiah for the past two years in a row. Martin is excited to have the opportunity to conduct this year. 


    “The reason we do this is because we’ve always considered the Messiah Singto be a gift back to the community,” said Martin. “We don’t want money to be the reason people don’t come and experience this. 


    “We just want people to come,” Martin continued. “We want it to be a gift for the community, and we’ve always called it that.” 


    For more information, please contact: Julia Atkins, orchestra personnel and marketing manager for the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, at P.O. Box 53234, Fayetteville, NC 28305 or jatkins@fayettevillesymphony.org. 


    The Galatia Presbyterian Church is located at 8800 Galatia Church Rd., Fayetteville, NC 28304.     

  • uac010114001.gif When you think of Bill Cosby, you probably get a smile on your face, The Cos, as he is affectionately referred to by his friends, is known for his colorful sweaters, quick humor, quirky dancing and to some — Jello pudding. Mostly, he is known for his comedy, which has kept people laughing for more than five decades. On Thursday Jan. 17, he will bring his style and humor to the Crown Theatre for a night of comedy and storytelling.

    Born William H. Cosby Jr., on July 12, 1937, he is a native of Philadelphia, Pa. While known for his educational and thought-provoking television shows, Cosby quit school following his sophomore year to join the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy, he completed high school via correspondence courses. Upon completion of his military service, he was awarded an athletic scholarship to Temple University. At Temple, he worked as a bartender to help pay his expenses. He was known for his quick wit, and following the suggestion of his customers, he tried stand-up comedy and was discovered by Carl Reiner.

    In ensuing years, he tackled a variety of mediums to share his quick wit, including stand-up comedy, television, cinema, books and albums. It was through the making of his comedy albums in the early ‘60s that he earned national acclaim. His award-winning albums introduced the country to his voice, but it was his role in I Spy that made him a household name and earned him three Emmy Awards.

    During this same time, Cosby continued pursuing his education, earning a doctorate in education, which helped form the social commentary that was at the heart of much of his work. In th01-01-14-bill-cosby.gife early ‘70s, he was one of the founding creators of The Electric Company, an educational children’s program that operated under the auspices of PBS. Kids raised in the ‘70s will remember the show, which used sketch comedy to develop grammar and reading skills. Cosby was joined on the show by Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno.

    Perhaps Cosby’s greatest claim to fame occurred during this time, when he introduced the world to many of his high school friends: Weird Harold, Dumb Donald, Mushmouth and, of course, Fat Albert. The highly successful Filmation cartoon was a staple of Saturday morning television from 1972 to 1984. Through Fat Albert, Cosby taught a generation about tolerance, how to say no to bullies and acceptance of those who are a little different from you.

    When Fat Albert wrapped in 1984, Cosby tackled his next big thing, which was the creation of the iconic The Cosby Show, which told the story of Heathcliff Huxtable, his wife Clair, and their children. The Cosby Show was an instant success, which stayed at the top of the ratings throughout its run. It spun off A Different World, which was to be a showcase for Lisa Bonet. Set on the campus of an historical African-American university, the show concentrated on education and young people. The show reflected the social consciousness that imbues Cosby’s art.

    Over the years he has appeared in many films, but has not gained the acclaim on the big screen that he did on television. A respected author, Cosby is at his best on the stage, which is where Fayetteville residents will have a chance to watch him shine during his Far From Finishedtour. Tickets range in price from $40 to $70 and are available via Ticketmaster and at the Crown Box Office. The show begins at 8 p.m. For ticket information, visit www.atthecrown.com.

    Photo: Funny man Bill Cosby is set to perform at the Crown on Jan. 17

  • uac120314001.gif First they brought us Scott McCreery for a night of country music. Their second show saw the touring phenom Sister Acttake the stage. Now for a third show, Community Concerts is bringing in another superstar performer — Trace Adkins.

    Adkins is a country music superstar in the purest sense of the word. Since his debut single, “There’s a Girl in Texas,” reached the top of the charts 18 years ago, Adkins has become one of the most successful country music artists of this era. He has released more than 10 albums and sold more than 7 million records. He has won CMT Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards and been nominated for four different Grammy Awards.

    Adkins has even found success onscreen appearing in several movies such as the 2011 hit The Lincoln Lawyer. His most recent onscreen success came in 2013 when Adkins won the 6th Celebrity Apprentice competition on television raising more than $1.5 million for the American Red Cross in the process.

    On Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. at the Crown Theater, Adkins will debut his latest artistic endeavor to local audiences when his Christmas tour comes to town for the night. The Christmas Show tour kicked off on Nov. 12, and will run through nearly 20 cities before wrapping up on Dec. 21. The show in Fayetteville is the one and only show Adkins will perform in North Carolina during this tour.

    As the name of the tour implies, the show will feature a night of Christmas music performed with the trademark baritone voice that has made Adkins famous. The music performed is a mix of classic Christmas songs and music from Adkin’s 2013 Christmas album: The King’s Gift.

    The album that the upcoming show is based on is a departure from the style of music that has made Adkins famous. The music is deeply rooted in the old Celtic style of music. Adkins describes the music as, “the most beautiful thing that I have ever been a part of.” He elaborated on his motivations for taking on this ambitious musical endeavor

    .“I love this type of music and I always have. I don’t know what it is about that music, but it touches me in a primal place,” he said. “This was the first opportunity I ever had to actually perform that type of music. I get an incredible amount of gratification from it.”

    Considering the level of success that Adkins has been able to garner over his career, it was a bit curious that he chose to have The Christmas Show performed before such intimate audiences when he could easily fill substantially larger venues. Adkins explained his reasoning.

    “This is a theatre show. It is kind of like a one-man play, which is one of the reasons why I am a nervous wreck every night before I go out there,” he said. “It is not what I normally do, I usually just go out there and put my foot in the floor and do a 75 or 90 minute concert. This is different, it has narration — an actual script. This is such a different animal. It really lends itself to theatres.”

    As Adkins describes the show itself, his passion for the music becomes evident,.

    “Musically, this is the most beautiful project that I have ever been a part of. There is a 12-piece ensemble behind me, everything that you need for the Celtic feel. We wanted it to have that very traditional feel. If you had heard these old Christmas carols performed a hundred years ago, they probably would have sounded like this, as far as the instrumentation goes,” he explained. “That is really what we were shooting for.”

    He goes on to say, “I really enjoy doing this show. It makes me nervous and anxious about it every night, but I do enjoy doing it. Standing in front of that 12-piece ensemble every night to do this music is a thrill to me.”

    Adkins even hinted that this tour could become an annual occurrence in saying, “As long as I can sing these songs to level that I am happy with, I can see myself doing this tour for as long as I can do it.”

    Considering the population of Fayetteville and it’s military and blue collar roots, Adkins is very optimistic about how crowds will react to the show.12-3-14-trace-adkins.gif

    “They will love it! This is just old-school Christmas songs. The people of Fayetteville are the types of people that will have no problem calling it a Christmas show. It is not a holiday show, it’s a Christmas show.”

    Adkins is just as clear about what he would like for audiences to take away from the show itself.

    The King’s Gift, the title of the album, comes from the song ‘The Little Drummer Boy.’ He goes to see the newborn king and he has no expensive gifts to give but he does have his talent; which is to play the drum. That is what he gives, and that is my message to people. The best gifts we have to give to each other don’t have price tags on them. They are the gifts of time, talents and love... If this show doesn’t light the fire of your holiday spirit, then your wood is wet,” he said.

    After The Christmas Show, Community Concerts will be back at it after the turn of the year when they bring Dancing Pros Live to Fayetteville on Feb. 11, The Australian Bee Gees on March 25 and motown legend Smokey Robinson to close out the season on April 16. Tickets for the Adkins show, and the remainder of the Community Concerts season, are available now through Community Concerts’ website, Ticketmaster, and the Crown Complex Box Office.

  • 120215_cover.png

    Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Trees, lights, candles, music, stockings, gifts and sweet treats adorn households everywhere in anticipation of the holidays. 

    Christmas continues to be an all-time favorite and the Woman’s Club of Fayetteville loves it, too, which is why the group hosts its annual Christmas Tour of Homes. This year, it falls on Sunday, Dec. 6 from 1 – 6 p.m.  

    “This is something we have had for the last 15 years and it is our big fundraiser of the year,” said Elaine Kennebeck, president of the Woman’s Club. “We have to keep the historical buildings of Heritage Square maintained and preserved.” 

    Kennebeck added that every year they have better attendance because people look forward to the home tours and they are the only ones doing something this large.    

    The addresses of the seven homes on the tour are:  

    • The Sandford House (circa 1797) and the Oval Ballroom (circa 1818) located at 225
    Dick Street

     • Joshua and Adam Gray-Heim at 118 Hillside Ave.

     • Lynn Pryor and Bob Dees at 647 Brandts Lane

    • Tim Edwards and Bill Jordan at 114 Hale Street

     • Stephanie and Mamo Meaza at 3004 Rathburn Court

     • Carol Ann and Lockett Tally at 2222 Bayview Drive
    • Private Haymount Residence at 1414 Raeford Road

    “The homes this year are fabulous and probably the nicest homes that we have ever had,” said Kennebeck. “It has gone from years ago asking people to show their homes and hoping they would follow through and now we already have four houses waiting for next year’s home tour.” 

    Kennebeck added that people are calling the club wanting their home on the Christmas tour. The event has been very successful the last couple of years. She would like to raise $10,000 this year. 

    The Woman’s Club of Fayetteville was organized in 1946. The organization is responsible for Fayetteville’s first public rest rooms, teachers’ first retirement plans and many other projects. 

    “Our only mission is to preserve and maintain the historical homes of Heritage Square,” said Kennebeck. “We recently had a silent auction to help bring in funds.” 

    The homes of Heritage Square are the Sandford House, the Oval Ballroom and the Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House. The Sandford House is the largest house and was rented in 1941 by the Woman’s Club from its owners. It was used as living quarters for single working women in the city. It was also used as a space for women’s organizations to meet. Soldiers would spend time at the Sandford House fellowshipping with the women and their friends. The house has an assembly room which is used as a meeting place for the Woman’s Club. 

    “Many families have lived in the Sandford House and it has so much history,” said Kennebeck. “It used to be the Second Bank of the United States and a boarding house for young ladies coming into town to work at the court house or doctor’s offices.”  

    The Oval Ballroom was donated to the Woman’s Club by Mrs. M. B. McLean and the main purpose of the building has become a photo-op for brides. It is furnished by pieces donated by the Colonial Dames. The unique structure is an elongated octagon on the outside and a perfect oval on the inside. It is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. 

    “The Oval Ballroom used to be the dining room on the Halliday House,” said Kennebeck. “It was renovated about 12 years ago by the Colonial Dames.” 

    The Woman’s Club owns the building but the Colonial Dames are responsible for the renovations and upkeep of the house. 

    The Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House, an example of Georgian architecture, was built in 1804 and is believed to have been built by ship builders from the north who came down south in the winter to build homes. The house has a beautiful circular staircase that winds to the second story. 

    “Nothing had been done to this house for years and years,” said Kennebeck. “When I became president, I took this on as a project for the club to raise enough funds to renovate that house.” 

    Kennebeck added that they have basically rebuilt the entire outside of the house, which now boasts a new roof, new siding, painting and new front and back porches. The Woman’s Club would eventually like to lease the house to a law firm or a restaurant so they will have a monthly income from that property.         

    The club’s main goal is to renovate the exterior of the Sandford House because it needs a lot of work. 

    “We don’t get any money from the state or local government at all,” said Kennebeck. “We have a couple of small grants we get each year and the rest is dues and donations.” 

    Tickets for the Christmas homes tour are $15 and can be purchased at The Pilgrim in Westwood Shopping Center, the Woman’s Club at Heritage Square, Bell’s Seed Store, City Center Gallery and Books, High Cotton Consignment, J. Co. Salon & Blo’ Dry Bar and the featured homes on the tour.  

     “We look forward to a huge turn out for our tour of homes this holiday season because this year is going to be absolutely fabulous,” said Kennebeck. 

    For more information about the tour or other upcoming events, visit www.womansclubfay.org or call 705-7338. 

  • 120915-cover.png

    For many, the holiday season just isn’t complete without a performance of Peter Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker ballet. There is still time. The North Carolina State Ballet, under the direction of Fayetteville’s own Charlotte Blume, will perform this holiday classic at the Crown Dec. 12 and 13.

    The cast consists of 60 dancers as well as guest artists. This marks the 39th consecutive year that the North Carolina State Ballet has performed The Nutcracker in Fayetteville. The performers start preparing for this production in late summer. The standards set by the Charlotte Blume School of Dance are rigorous and that reflects in the performance. While things stay busy at the studio year-round, this is an especially busy time of year and one that the dancers look forward to with great anticipation. “There is always an exciting cast for The Nutcracker. We have four guest artists this year as well as a sterling local cast that have been doing this for several years,” said Blume. “That makes it an especially exciting program.”

    The classic story remains unchanged, however, two new backdrops will grace the stage, bringing an updated look to this favorite. Local artist Cindy Slappey and her former student Caroline Geiger designed the backdrop for Act II. Featuring the Land of Sweets and the Castle of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the backdrop brings a fresh perspective to the performance. Jennifer O’Kelly of O’Kelly Designs created the Act I backdrop. A graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, O’Kelly’s backdrops have been featured in the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Public Broadcasting Service’s “Great Performances” and the Toronto International Ballet. 

    The Nutcracker is set in the 1800s. A young girl named Clara receives an enchanted Nutcracker from Herr Drosslemeyer, her godfather. As she drifts off to sleep snuggling the nutcracker, Clara’s adventures are just beginning. She faces the Mouse King and his army. The brave nutcracker conquers the Mouse King in a duel. 

    Now, transformed into a prince, the nutcracker and Clara meet the Snow King and Queen. Amid the falling snow and dancing snowflakes, Clara and the nutcracker prince are off to their next adventure.

    Act II takes them to the Crystal Palace, which is filled with dancing insects and butterflies. Here, the Sugar Plum Fairy listens to their adventures and hosts a festival for her guests. The Sugar Plum Fairy joins in a waltz with her court of flowers. Clara and the prince are delighted and impressed. As the event winds down, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Uncle Drosselmeyer grant Clara a Christmas wish and transform her into a beautiful woman so she can dance in the arms of the prince. Then Clara awakes. It is Christmas morning and the nutcracker is nestled safe in her arms.

    Guest artists perform the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. On Dec. 6, Alicia Fabry took the role of Sugar Plum Fairy. Fabry grew up in France and studied at the English National Ballet School in London. This is Fabry’s sixth season dancing with the North Carolina State Ballet. Marcelo Martinez was her Cavalier. Martinez hails from Paraguay and is returning for his second season with the North Carolina State Ballet. Previously, he trained at companhia Jovem do Teatro Mumicipal do Rio de Janerio and the Washington Ballet.

    Fabry returns as the Sugar Plum Fairy for the Dec. 12 and 13 performances and Adam Shiffer plays Cavalier. Shiffer is from Budapest, Hungary and graduated from the Hungarian Dance Academy. He has toured and performed in Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy and France. This is his second appearance with the North Carolina State Ballet.

    Daniel Moore performs Drosselmeyer. “Little Clara” is alternated by Emily Rogers and Katherine Sullivan. “Clara Grown Up” is danced by Tiffany Alexander with Daniel Rivera as the “Nutcracker Prince”. The “Pas de Duex” highlights Act I and takes “Clara” and the “Prince” to the “Land of Snow” and then to the “Land of Sweets.”

    The role of the “Snow Queen” is alternated by Deprecia Simpson and Sarah Middleton. The “Jewel” in “Waltz of the Flowers” is danced by April Glasper or Deprecia Simpson. The Arabian Dancer in “Coffee” is danced by Andrea Flores. 

    When Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky debuted this work at the Mayinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892, it was not well received. Even though he was commissioned by Marius Petipa, a well-known and much-loved choreographer, to compose a score adapted to E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” the critics and the audience were not impressed. Despite their work together on the classic ballet Sleeping Beauty, Czar Alexander III seemed to be the only fan of The Nutcracker.

    Other artists saw the potential though, and in 1944, The Nutcracker opened at the San Francisco Ballet. Later, choreographer George Balanchine tweaked a few of the characters for the 1954 production when it premiered at the New York City Ballet. It was a smashing hit and claimed its place in America’s heart as a holiday tradition.

    The Nutcracker is on stage at the Crown Theatre Dec. 12-13. Performances begin at 3 p.m. All performances are directed by Charlotte Blume. General admission is $20; military rates are $18 and children’s tickets cost $7. Tickets are available at the Crown Complex Box Office, Capefeartix.com and by calling 888.257.6208. Find out more at http://crowncomplexnc.com.

  •     {mosimage}The great, puncuation challenged poet ee cummings once wrote, “For every mile the feet go, the heart goes nine.”
        For Roberta Humphries, who is sponsoring the third annual Ryan’s Reindeer 5K Run — a race that she started in memory of her 18-year-old son, Ryan, who died of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma — her heart has crossed the finish line a thousand times.
        “Ryan was very athletic,” said Roberta, “so I thought that this race would be a good way to remember him.”
        But let Ryan tell you in his own words. Three days before Ryan passed away at Duke University Hospital, he wrote these words from his hospital bed: “The cold sores are coming, I get feverish every couple of hours, and other than that my body is in sort of this slow down where I don’t feel like doing much of anything active. So do a favor for me, and whatever you’re doing today, just go out and RUN, somewhere, anywhere, just RUN because you can. Those are the things I miss, the things I have been raped of.  So protect them and nurture them while you are able. Don’t wait until you are 80 and the grains of sand are almost gone to begin to live. Make sure you use life as a means to live, not just as a means of postponing death. Don’t be afraid to live because sooner or later, the one chance you have is gone.”
        The race, which will be held Dec. 20 at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Fayetteville, honors Ryan by lining up legions of runners — more than 350 competed last year — and raising money to fight the disease that left him unable to run: Last year, more than $14,000 was raised to help fund the Ryan P. Kishbaugh Memorial Foundation, Duke Pediatric Bone Marrow Unit, and Friends of the Cancer Center at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.
        “I can’t say the race has given me closure,” said Humphries, “but it does give me some satisfaction knowing that this is something that Ryan would have definitely wanted.”
        The run will start and finish at the Medical Arts Building Parking Lot Entrance on Hay Street; the Medical Arts Building is located at 101 Robeson St. Prizes will be awarded to the top overall male and female finisher and the top three male and female finishers in the following age divisions: 13-19, 20-29, 30-39,40-49, 50-59 and 60-plus. Prizes will also be presented to the top three family finishers and the best costumed runners. A trophy will be presented to the group with the most number of participants. All under 13 participants receive a finisher’s award. Prizes will be awarded to the top three pet finishers and their owners. Packet pick-up and registration will be 5-8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 19 at the Clarion-Prince Charles Hotel, Azalea Room No. 1.
        “The run continues to grow every year,” said Humphries, who started the race with the aid of her husband, Paul Humphries. “The runners come from across the state and all of them have told me that it’s a great race.”
        Registration fee is $25 for individuals, which includes a T-shirt and reindeer ears, and $75 per family, which includes four T-shirts and four reindeer ears. Registration will be available on the day of race beginning at 7:30 a.m. On-line registration is available at www.active.com or www.runbecauseyoucan.com.
        Ryan’s book, Run Because You Can, My Personal Race with Cancer, has been published and is available for order at the Web sit www.runbecauseyoucan.com.
        “I know this is exactly what Ryan would have wanted,” said Humphries. “It’s a great cause in memory of a great kid.”
  • runway.jpg

    It may not be fashion week in New York, but the catwalk is heating up in Fayetteville as An Affair to Remember, owned by Kathy Jensen, brings its annual Runway Extravaganza to the Crown. 

    The local dress shop strives to provide the community with beautiful and unique dress options for life’s most exciting and important events. But more than just beautiful dresses, Jensen and company want to help make beautiful memories.  

    “We want to give mothers and daughters who come here the opportunity to shop together. Some people even give certificates to their daughters, granddaughters and nieces when they don’t know what to get them,” Jensen said. 

    Perhaps one of the most memorable and exciting ways to experience the dresses that An Affair to Remember will offer this year is at its annual Runway Extravaganza at the Crown on Jan. 7 and 8.

    It is much more than a fashion show. It is a perfect opportunity for a girl’s night out. In addition to beautiful dresses, the show will have vendors, music and food. Collections from national designers are presented by local women. 

    Jensen explained, “We bring the latest prom fashions and formal wear for 2016 to the show. We will have local girls, our customers, as models. Miss North Carolina will model as well. Attendees can take a turn on the red carpet and have pictures taken. There are tables for a girls’ night out. Vendors will sell everything from clothing to jewelry to makeup and food. We will raffle three prom dresses. VIP seating in the front row is available and general admission is $10. This is really a first class fashion show,” she said.

    The Runway Extravaganza offers formal wear options for women and girls of all ages. “We offer clothes for girls from the ages of 6 to about 65 during the show. We will have a lot of traditional trendy prom dresses and some more sophisticated dresses as well, all of which are available in the store,” Jensen said, “This is a great night out, not just about prom. It’s for girls all around. Even younger girls will have a ball.” 

    Jensen also said that there are layaway options available for people looking to get a head start on their favorite dress. 

    This year the show will also feature formal wear for boys. “Last year we had boy’s clothing added at the last minute and it worked out really well,” Jensen explained. 

    The Runway Extravaganza will feature prom and formal wear from designers like Jovani, Sherri Hill and many more.  Jonathan Kayne from Project Runway will be on hand to present his newest designs. 

    The Runway Extravaganza is Jan. 7 and 8 at the Crown Expo Center located at 1960 Coliseum Dr. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. VIP seating is available. For more information, call 910-486-5323 or visit www.aatrnc.com. 

  • 06 FCC ArtsCouncil TAG 4CThe Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County announced the expansion of the Artists In Schools initiative with the assistance of a grant from the North Carolina Glaxo SmithKline Foundation.

    The Arts Council received $25,000 through the Ribbon of Hope Grant Program to expand access to AIS for Title One schools in Cumberland County.AIS is a program explicitly developed to prepare students for the challenges they face in the next decade by including an interactive arts education experience.

    Artists in Schools goes beyond painting, singing and dancing. AIS provides schools with highly trained professional artists who work with teachers and students in core subject matter areas through the arts.

    Artists In Schools has operated in partnership with Cumberland County Schools for over two decades. Since 2005, AIS serves approximately 20,000 students in grades K to 12 each year in Cumberland County and over 300,000 in total.

    “The Ribbon of Hope directly aligns with our goal for the AIS Program: expansion of a successful arts and culture initiative to meet the needs of our youth in Cumberland County,” said Bob C. Pinson, interim president and CEO of the Arts Council.

  • 01 05 FAITHFUL JOURNEY by artist Richard WilsonRichard Wilson is a prolific artist who can create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that will stand out in any art show, contest or crowd. Up & Coming Weekly recently sat down with the authentic artist to discuss making history, his favorite work of art and the moment his passion for drawing began.

    How did it feel being the first African-American artist to have a portrait displayed in a North Carolina courthouse?
    I was commissioned by The Phoenix Historical Society in Tarboro, North Carolina, to do the portrait of George Henry White, the last former slave to serve in Congress. I was grateful to do it and we also had an art show to coordinate with the unveiling of the portrait of my work. After the unveiling, Mr. Knight [of the Historical Society] was interviewed by the television station and indicated that not only did they make history that night with the portrait, but the artist made history as well by being the first African-American artist to have a portrait hung in any courthouse in North Carolina. I was shocked when I heard that. I was a young budding artist at the time and I was just trying to get my name out there and thought this was a great opportunity for people to get to know who I am. It got my name out there and the show that we did right after that, I had a few of my pieces sell before the show had started. That was an honor for me.

    Please share your story of how you began drawing.
    I started drawing at the age of 8 and I remember watching my dad because he was an artist. My dad used to paint the signs in the town that we lived in and I would help him paint those signs. One thing that was really vivid in my memory was I remember sitting at the dinner table and my dad was drawing me and my brothers while we were sitting at the table. It was so realistic and I thought it was so amazing. It sparked something in me and I started doing it myself and have never stopped.

    Do you have a favorite work of art and can you tell us why?
    That is a hard question because all of the girls in my paintings are my daughters and all of the boys are my nephews. One of them is a piece called “Between Us.” It is a little girl and boy standing by a tree. This piece is the one that actually put me on the map. I was determined to get my work shown to the world so I took vacation leave to send this piece to New York. There was an international art competition in New York called the Pastel Society of America and I entered the contest. The president of the society called to congratulate and tell me that I won one of the top awards which is the National Arts Club Award. I was floored when I heard this. I won $1,000 and a certificate.

    Tell our readers how your Facebook Live Art Shows came about.
    I started this because what I normally do is travel all over the country doing the top arts festivals in several different states. I travel as far as Colorado, Florida and New York. Right when COVID-19 hit, all of my shows started canceling. I had to figure out a way to reach my clients so I decided to do this Facebook Live Art Show and sell my prints. That is how that came about. It has been going very well. When I first started I didn’t think about the fact that I had to do a lot of shipping because when I go to the shows I take the artwork in the van and sell it right there on the spot. Now I am getting a lot of orders so I have to package stuff up. I am doing a lot of shipping and I’m not complaining about it, but it is just another thing added to my workload. Once I get back on the road I will continue to do this because it has allowed me to reach people that I was not reaching at my shows. Social media is one of the things that I was lacking in because I was traveling all the time and just selling my work from place to place. I was trying to do a little bit of social media to try to reach people, but now I am able to reach a lot more people online than I did before.
    I’ve gained some new collectors since I’ve started doing the live show. I still have a website and a lot of people that I’ve seen at shows, I still have them on my mailing list. I have 15,000 people on my mailing list that I generated from doing shows over the years. I’m networking with more people now than I did before.

    Tell us about the inspiration behind the piece “Faithful Journey.”
    It is based off of my life. It is about me stepping out on faith to become a full-time artist. I was actually teaching an art class at Pitt Community College. My goal has always been to do my art full time. In 2014, I told my wife that I had to give myself a chance to do this because you only live once and I have to step out and go for it. So I added more shows to my schedule to compensate my teaching salary and the very first show I did after I quit my job, I made more money that weekend than I did teaching for a whole year. That opened my eyes and that is what “Faithful Journey” is all about because the little boy that was looking back was the voice that was speaking to me right before I told my boss that I was going to leave my job to do my art full time. The little girl pulling the little boy along was that voice that started telling me that we were going to be alright, let’s go! I never looked back and I have been full time ever since. It has been the best decision I have ever made.

    Wilson’s art is being featured in Cool Spring Downtown District’s Art Alley until Dec. 31. Located at 222 Hay St. in downtown Fayetteville, the Art Alley is free and open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information on Wilson and his art visit www.richardwilsonart.com/

    Above photo: "Faithful Journey"

    Below clockwise: "Going Up Yonda," "Between Us," "Stretching Ballerina," "Bessie Coleman"

    All photos courtesy of Richard Wilson

    01 01 GOING UP YONDA by artist Richard Wilson  01 02 Between Us  01 04 BESSIE COLEMAN by artist Richard Wilson  01 03 STRETCHING BALLERINA web



  • 01 01 Cartier 000012 069541 891069 7977After months of staying home due to COVID-19, I felt comfortable visiting a gallery. My first stop was to see the exhibit Artists Who Teach 2020 at Ellington White Contemporary Gallery. I was not disappointed and upon leaving the exhibit I felt a sense of joy seeing works created by art educators from around the country.

    Curator Dwight Smith extended the exhibit until Dec. 19 so more people could visit the gallery and see 36 original works in a variety of media from artists working in higher education and public schools. The gallery and online exhibit are the result of artists from 26 states participating in the national competition by sending 156 images to be part of the selection process.

    Leaving the gallery, I realized my approach to writing an art editorial for Up & Coming Weekly would not be the same as before 2020. Too much has happened this year which has impacted our daily lives and community. A paradigm shift has taken place in Fayetteville, the American culture and around the globe. Then there is the obvious, why would people venture out to see Artists Who Teach 2020 when viewing works of art has become more online accessible than ever before?

    We can stay at home and visit museums and galleries around the world from our living room. Technology and live streaming have defined “our today” in many positive ways; but unfortunately, it has also become a consuming mass distraction — the 2020 Zeitgeist of seeing reproductions online lacks the experiential or contemplation.

    The concept of zeitgeist traditionally refers to the overall spirit of an age (politically, economically and culturally) and cannot be known until it is over. So why does it feel like the 2020 Zeitgeist is not only upon us, but “all over us?” I could go with the contemporary version of zeitgeist, though not pragmatic, and refer to what is tasteful in today’s culture … I do not think that is even possible.

    The information highway is not new, but 2020 online, virtual accessibility and mass communication has fast-forwarded us into sensory overload. This includes, but is not limited to, the lingering COVID pandemic and the resounding influences of the internet: live streaming, hashtags to esports, social distancing to online education, podcasts, Zoom, video-based communities, what is factual, what is real, the video is becoming the main medium for critical cultural moments, and lots and lots and lots of tweets. According to internetlivestats.com, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter every second with 145 million daily active users on Twitter, an average of which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year.

    If you do go to “internetlivestats” you will see a page of flickering, perpetually increasing numbers. Numbers across the screen flick as they are constantly totaling upwards to reveal what happens in a day, by seconds, to compute the increased usage of the following: internet users of the world, number of emails sent, number of websites, google searches, blogs and tweets, videos seen on YouTube, photos uploaded from Instagram, Tumblr posts, actives users on Google, Facebook, Pinterest and Skype, number of websites hacked, number of computers, smartphones and tablets sold, internet traffic, electricity used today on the internet and CO2 emissions from the internet. It is easy to see, hands down, how this website image affirms and IS the definitive 2020 Zeitgeist!

    If you are still reading after the last two paragraphs, a slight sensation might be taking place — too much information! Sensory overload is a part of 2020. Sensory input is most often pleasing; but when we have sensory overload, when one or more of our bodily senses’ experience over stimulation — it can be very unpleasant.

    The main purpose of the internet is to provide global access to data and communications. Sensory overload of information occurs when we do not practice the purpose of information: to resolve uncertainty. Full circle to the beginning of the article: technology and live streaming not only define “our today” in positive ways; but it also has the potential to become a consuming mass distraction - lacking the experiential or contemplation. Bottom line, the explosive growth of information has become sensory overload, unpleasant and even inhibits thinking.

    A starting point to reestablish the best of the remnants of 2019 and back to the notion of thinking, feeling and the real is possible at Ellington White Contemporary Gallery. Curator Smith noted: “Due to the success of last year’s competition, this is the second year we conducted and presented the results of a national competition among art educators. The art educators are from higher education and the public schools’ systems across the nation. The exhibit is a very diverse group of paintings, drawings, prints, mixed media works, and three-dimensional works and showcases the arts as an essential part of a complete education. It does not matter if happens in the home, school, or community. Students of all ages, from kindergarten to college, and creative program all benefit from artistic learning, innovative thinking, and the creative imagination.”

    Smith, also an Associate Professor of Art at Fayetteville State University, and Vilas Tonape, artist, and chair of the Visual Arts Department at Methodist University, both juried the competition from the 156 entries. Tonape selected the six award winners. Ellington White Contemporary Gallery is not only hosting the gallery exhibit but also created an online exhibit. Both exhibits will remain on the gallery online website for one year.

    Online exhibits have been extremely important in 2020 to galleries and museums, but it does not replace the real. Works of art in galleries and museum are more relevant than ever before. Comparing two of the works in Artists Who Teach 2020 is my way of exemplifying the differences and why supporting local galleries is important now and, in the future, when the COVID restrictions are finally lifted.

    While writing this article, I contacted Beverly Henderson, the student intern at Ellington White Gallery, and asked her one simple question: how do you like the exhibit? Her last remarks were: “… a lot of diversity in the works. It was different seeing the work online and when the original works arrived. After we hung the exhibit and I had time to look, I could see more details and felt an emotion from the real work which I did not feel when seeing the online version.”

    Henderson is correct, as soon as you enter the gallery visitors will immediately see very diverse approaches to image or object making; but they will also, unknowingly, sense materiality. Then it takes real time in a real space to examine and compare how each artist creates the content of their work with style, composition and use of materials.

    The materiality of the painting titled “Three Brushes” by Larry Hamilton, from Wichita Falls, Texas, is a masterful oil painting. The beautifully painted small still life captures the essence of a moment in time. Viewers can get close to the oil painting on panel and see a manipulated surface, transitions of light, saturated color, half tones and atmosphere. The physical richness of surface is subtle as it catches the light created of paint and paint medium.

    In comparison, the style of Danielle Cartier, from Camden, New Jersey, is a mixed media work titled “Ever Knew” and is the opposite of Hamilton’s painting. Instead of a traditional still life, the artist has created a multilayered abstract and referential surface using acrylic paint, spray paint and mixed media. Her style is to juxtapose unlike images in the same work to evoke new meaning for the viewer.

    Hamilton’s painting evokes an aesthetic sense of presence, calm, beauty and structure. Cartier’s work is ethereal, moving parts create a whole, we sense process and the act of looking. Whereas Hamilton’s’ pictorial space is about volumetric form, light and the effects of color; Cartier’s work is about decoding messages and signs.

    In both works there is a time element. In “Three Brushes” we sense the artist is sharing a long period of contemplative looking. The exact opposite, Cartier’s “Ever Knew” are the many references and signs we overlook and do not see during the day.

    One could say the attributes of each work is conveyed online. But it is not impossible. The online versions are pictures of a picture (the painting or mixed media). The absence of material results in passive looking. Seeing the actual constructed work is a visceral activity, an active experience which includes the physical presence of the object themselves.

    Even though “Three Brushes” is enjoyed for the illusion of space that is created on a flat surface, it is still first and foremost, an actual object in space that has literal texture, density and weight. Even though most viewers do not think about the qualities inherent in the object, those inherent characteristics are integral to the overall authenticity of the work and are not present in the online version or the reproductions in this article.

    One could say those same aesthetics are communicated online. My answer would be there is a resemblance, but it is not the same. We do not see or experience the physical depth of a painting medium or the tactile edges of mixed media work in an online version. We do not see the differences in the actual surface of the color from spray paint, the chalky quality of pigment blown onto the surface compared to the color of suspended pigment in an oil medium as leaves a tube of paint.

    As an analogy, you do not need to know the science of a sunset to enjoy it. But the sunset would not exist without the science. And experiencing a real sunset is better than a reproduction. That premise relates back to the authenticity of the sunset which exists in time and space. So, it is with a work of art.

    No matter how close technology can bring us to examine a microscopic, detailed surface of a painting – images in this article and online are reproductions. This idea was explored as far back as the late 1930s by Walter Benjamin in his book titled “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” The early 20th century was the beginning of mass communication, mass culture and mass commodification. Within that context, Benjamin emphasizes the value of an authentic work of art is the result of its “aura.” It is the “aura” we enjoy and that includes the object’s presence in time and space. It is the same with a sunset, the validity of seeing the real over a reproduction is its physicality, its “aura.”

    In closing, I would like to share a personal story which summarizes everything. After seeing the paintings by Vincent Van Gogh in books and online for over 20 years, I had the opportunity to see a body of his work at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Upon seeing the real work, I immediately realized, after so many years, I had never really seen a painting by Van Gogh. What I had experienced before going to the exhibit, were not remotely comparable to seeing the real painting.

    So here we are, on the precipice of an increasingly changing technological future. And since, according to Benjamin, “our sensory perspective is not completely biological or natural, it is also historical,” what does the future look like for us? How will the internet influence what we value? What choices will we make to prioritize what we do with our time, and how will we choose to deal with increasing mass media and internet overstimulation?

    Perhaps it will not be gloomy, but it will have the opposite affect. We will take action to deal with internet sensory overstimulation of information by doing more of the activities we know helps: critical thinking and reflection, take a walk during our lunch break at work, visit parks or take long walks during the weekend, go to the theater, a musical performance or to a gallery.

    The exhibit Artists Who Teach 2020 is a good place to start and if you take the time to look at each work you will leave the gallery with a sense of pleasure unlike seeing artwork online. Please note the exhibit will not be up for long, until Dec. 19. The gallery is not open Monday-Thursday, but only open on Friday and Saturday between 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Like all businesses everyone is required to wear a mask when they enter the gallery. The exhibit was possible by a grant from the Fayetteville and Cumberland County Arts Council. For information mail ewp-arts@hotmail.com or go to their website: https://www.ellington-white.com/

     Pictured above: "Ever Knew" by Danielle Cartier from Camden, New Jersey.

    01 02 Hamilton 000025 086543 568785 7977

    01 03 Kuehl 000031 086704 736915 7977











    Top left: "Three Brushes" by Larry Hamilton from Wichita Falls, Texas

    Top right: "Made in USA" by Dan Kuehl from Roanoke, Virginia

    Bottom left: "Breath" by Paul Adams from Lindon, Utah

    Bottom right: "Life Series" by Jennifer Salzman from Creswell, Oregon

    01 01 Adams Breath wet collodion tintype2000

    01 04 Salzman 000051 079017 496313 7977

  • 09 01 CCA dressed upCumberland Choral Arts is continuing its efforts of making music by adapting to a virtual format during the pandemic. Instead of performing for live audiences this year as they have since 1991, they are using YouTube and Facebook to reach people and present their music.

    “In order to operate in the times of COVID, you kind of have to throw dynamite underneath the concept of what a performance organization is and just reconstruct how you see things,” Dr. Michael Martin, artistic director for Cumberland Choral Arts, said. “We moved away from the standard concert method, and we’re going to do these concerts virtually, it's not an easy format to adapt to.”

    They are in the process of recording different choral pieces and are enlisting community members to join them for a virtual presentation of the “Hallelujah Chorus" from “Messiah.” The English-language oratorio was written in 1741 by German-born composer George Frideric Handel. Originally written for Easter, “Messiah” has become a Christmas holiday favorite. The CCA performance of the piece is usually delivered to full audiences, many joining in for the “Hallelujah Chorus" — the most widely known section of the composition.

    Martin said Cumberland Choral Arts is inviting community members who know the music to submit a video. There is online learning material available to use as a guide, as voices will be synchronized better later.

    The Campbellton Youth Chorus will be participating in the “Hallelujah Chorus" as well, said Donna Jo Mangus, artistic director of the Campbellton Youth Chorus, affiliate of the Cumberland Choral Arts.

    All the videos will be compiled by the director and assistant director, mixing video and audio and synchronizing all the pieces to make the finished product, Mangus said.

    Martin said he had been working on new technology since last year that allowed them to do a series of projects virtually. Some of the challenges with going virtual have been getting the synchronization right and getting the rights to upload those things on the internet, he said.

    “That’s kind of what we’ve been doing, trying to navigate technology and stay relevant in the eyes of people who would want to come and watch us sing,” Martin said.

    The organization has two concerts planned for the next year, a women composer concert in March celebrating Women’s History Month and suffrage, as well as a “Tour of the World” themed concert in May displaying music from different cultures.

    Martin said he might blend the two but teaching them in a virtual format will be a challenge and may affect how the timeline will work out.

    “We are going to have a series of things uploaded to our social media that people can watch on their time,” he said. Martin plans to have next year’s scheduled finalized over the holiday season.

    The Campbellton Youth Choir hosts four concerts a year with children aged 9-14. It is open to all, regardless of their schooling situation.

    Mangus said they will be posting their songs virtually to the Cumberland Choral Arts handle at www.youtube.com/channel/UCcxVHG97aIEIGP_645K11DQ

    Going virtual has given young singers a chance to learn how to collaborate with other interested singers in the area, she said.

    The youth choir is an opportunity for young singers to perform in a group and make music together for the shared experience, to have appreciation for the song and lyrics, and the beautiful melodies, wider range of dynamics, there's nothing like it when you're a singer, Mangus said.

    “I think the artistic community sees relevance for any kind of ensemble that’s part of our community especially now that COVID has hit, it brings us together and it's so important and music just answers that equation,” Martin said.

    Mangus and Martin both encourage anyone with a singing talent to participate virtually, to strengthen the community of singers.

    “As we become technologically advanced and have every reason in the world to stay away from one another but that's not the human condition and I feel so strongly about this,” Martin said. “Even before COVID, we could find so many things that were just disposable means of entertainment that you could just come do and leave, but there's nothing of longevity, but here we are and all those means of entertainment are closed down or regulated but here we are, still singing and making music together.”

    For more information on submitting a video for the “Hallalujah Chorus," the Cumberland Choral Arts and Campbellton Youth Choir, visit https://cumberlandchoralarts.org.

    Pictured above: Dr. Michael Martin (left ) is the Artistic Director for Cumberland Choral Arts. Martin and the CCA are working to offer virtual performances that audiences can view online.
    (Photo courtesy Cumberland Choral Arts)

    Pictured below: Cumberland Choral Arts is encouraging members of the communty to submit videos of themselves singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah," to be inlcuded in the virtual performance. (Photo courtesy Cumberland Choral Arts)

    09 02 Cumberland Choral Handel

  • In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays it’s easy to yearn for simpler times when the gifts and decorations were more12-22-10-poe-house.gif homemade and handmade than commercial. While the celebrations of the early 1900s in North Carolina were elaborate, they were less manufactured than what is common today. Through Jan. 9, the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex is showcasing winter themed decorations of silver and white, Victorian-style, at the Poe House.

    Just like in times past when families worked hard to make their home a special place for the holidays, the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex has decked not just the halls, but every room in this Victorian era home for the holidays.

    Based on articles and decorating ideas from early 1900s’ issues of Ladies’ Home Journal, the Christmas tree in the Poe House is adorned in garlands of silver paper chains, lace hearts, silver pinecones, icicles and other decorations.

    A hundred years ago in southern North Carolina, families used what was available to them to decorate their homes. They did this by bringing in a lot of the local foliage that they could find out doors. Things like pine branches, holly, magnolia, ivy, mistletoe and nandina were used to make wreaths, swags and other festive decorations. The Poe House follows suit and has wreaths on the windows and pine swags on the porch railings — and that is just the beginning.

    Inside, look for holly and poinsettias along with red ribbons and magnolia blossoms as part of the home’s decor for the Christmas season.

    “This is something that so many people just love coming to the house and seeing,” said Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex 1897 Poe House Education Coordinator, Heidi Bleazey. “The Christmas decorations really add to the grandeur of the house. This really is the best time of year to come and visit the Poe house, if you’ve never been before.”

    It’s taken about a decade, but the staff has the decorating process down to a science. “During the early years, there was a lot of grueling research,” said Bleazey. “And then we had to translate that into what we could reasonably find and do to replicate the decorations of that era.”

    Now it takes about five hours for four or five staffers to put the home together, and every year, even though it is tough work, the results are just stunning.

    The historical complex is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

    For more information, call (910) 486-1330 or visit www.museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov. Tours are offered on the hour Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

    Photo: Visitors enjoy Christmas decorations at the Poe House.

  • uac122111001.jpg If you have been looking to take a short day-cation, and you don’t want to break the bank, The Givens Performing Arts Center (GPAC) at the University of North Carolina in Pembroke, is an enjoyable and inexpensive getaway. Aside from the Givens Performing Arts Center reputation as one of the Southeast’s most prominent destinations for arts, culture and entertainment, the theatre also features many performances from Broadway, On Stage for the Youth, Distinguished Speakers and other special events and activities. “I go to a conference in New York every year and find out what shows are new, what shows are hot, what shows will fi t in our theatre, and that’s how we decide what to show to our audiences,” says David Thaggard, assistant director and booking manager of the GPAC.

    The Givens Performing Arts Center starts the New Year out right with the Broadway musical In the Heights, a 2008 Tony award winner for Best Musical, Best Orchestration, Best Choreography and Best Score. The musical tells a story of the vibrant community of Manhattan’s Washington Heights and its residents’ struggles, hopes, dreams and family traditions.

    In the Heights shows at the GPAC on Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. and ticket prices range from $15 to $45; $12 for a child or student; and $5 for UNCP students.

    If you prefer the symphony orchestra over Broadway, you’re in luck! The Tchaikovsky St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra performs at the Givens Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. These Russian composers’ repertoire range from the baroque era (Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Schnitke, Banshikov, Desyatnikov and Kancheli) through the classics of the 20th century.

    Tickets for the Symphony Orchestra cost $15 to $30; $12 for a child or student; and $5 for UNCP students.

    Aside from Broadway and the Symphony Orchestra, The Givens Performing Arts Center also welcomes the Winnipeg Ballet’s production of Moulin Rouge. On Tuesday, March 20, the prestigious ballerinas will take the stage and impress the audience with elegant choreography as they tell a12-21-11-cover1.jpgpassionate story of desire and despair during the turn of the century in Paris. While Broadway continues to be one of GPAC’s most popular events, “the ballets have done really well,” says Thaggard. “We’ve even been getting some dance classes in the audience from Fayetteville, like Seventy-First High School off of Raeford Road.”

    Admission to the ballet ranges from $15 to $30; $12 for children and students and $5 for UNCP students.

    Experience a new style of dance on April 24, with the production of Ballroom with a Twist. This show introduces a different genre of dance that is best described as traditional ballroom dancing infused with hip hop. Ballroom with a Twist features talented dancers from hit television series like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance? and from the hit film, High School Musical.

    The dancers hit the stage at 8 p.m. Admission costs $15 to $30 for adults; $12 for children and students and $5 for UNCP students. If you’re an avid Eagles fan and you’re in the mood to sit back, relax, and listen to some of their classic tunes, the Givens Performing Arts Center has the perfect show for you. Check into the Hotel California show on April 27 at 8 p.m. This tribute to the Eagles features the hits of the Grammy Award Winning musicians and will leave you wanting more.

    Admission to the Hotel California ranges from $15 to $30; $12 for children and students and $5 for UNCP students.

    12-21-11-cover-2.jpgIf you are in search for an educational program for your youth, the GPAC shows the children’s classic, Jack in the Beanstalk, on April 26 at 10 a.m. Tickets for this play are $7 for students; $8 for teachers and $10 for adults. The recommended ages for this performance are ages 4 and up.

    Another kid-friendly event coming up at the Givens Performing Arts Center is the Sing A-Long: A Sound of Music, which features the wide-screen showing of the classic Julie Andrews film complete with subtitles. In addition to the performance, look for a fancy dress competition where those in costume can come on stage and practice their vocals along with the subtitles.

    This event is on Feb. 4, and begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25, $15, or $12 for students and children and $5 for UNCP students.

    Also coming in February, is distinguished guest speaker and author, Frank Warren. On Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m., Warren discusses his popular blog, PostSecret Project and his New York Times Best Seller book, PostSecret: Confessions of Life, Death and God. Not only will the audience get to see the internet’s fourth most infl uential person live, but this once in a life time event is also free of cost.

    The Givens Performing Arts Center attracts audiences from all over North Carolina explains Thaggard. “We draw our audience base from a 100 mile radius; Lumberton, Southern Pines, Fayetteville, and sometimes as far as Wilmington, Charlotte and South Carolina.” 

    He continues, “The Spring of 2012 is going to have a variety of shows that everyone can enjoy, from ballet, to symphony orchestra — and we’re right in the heart of your backyard, so we hope that everyone will come out and see them!”

  • You can always find a great party in Fayetteville, especially during the holi-days. This New Year’s Eve, there is plenty to see and do around town.

    If you are looking for something on a grander scale, the Dogwood Festival is hosting the annual Party in the Parkat Festival Park.12-28-11-celebrate-new-year.jpgThe event features live entertainment, a chili/chowder cook-off, activities, games and food and beverage vendors. Families are welcome and the kids are sure to enjoy the early count-down at 8:30 p.m. Another countdown fol-lows at midnight and a live feed from Times Square is visible on-stage throughout the evening. Find out more at www.faydogwoodfestival.com/new-years-eve.

    The Crown Center offers entertainment at its New Year’s Eve Party with a Purpose featuring guest per-former R&B artist Kenny Lattimore. The concert starts at 9 p.m. in the Crown Arena. Visit www.atthecrown.com for ticket pricing and more information.

    Before heading out to enjoy the entertainment, check out some of the local restaurants and enjoy a hearty meal. Here are a few suggestions for local restaurants providing fine-dining experiences. Circa 1800 is accepting reservations for a New Year’s Eve meal. Hilltop House, The Mash House and Pierro’s are all great pre-party dinner options as well.

    Lido’s has a New Year’s Eve Masquerade ball planned for party guests, along with a champagne toast at midnight. $10 advance tickets are available. Call 222-8237 to make a reservation.

    Huske Hardware House anticipates a great time with a champagne toast, balloon drop and countdown with Times Square to ring in the new year. For $8 get a fast pass and you’ll have access to Huske and Wet Willies the entire eve-ning. Vist Huske Hardware on Facebook to get more details.

    Hellas, Hope Mills’ newest night club, offers VIP packages and pre-sell tickets to its New Year’s Eve Bash. Party-goers can look forward to a performance by Strong Hold at 10 p.m. in the Sports Bar and a festive celebration to welcome 2012. Find out more at www.clubhellas.com.

    It’z Entertainment City’s New Years Eve party costs $15 and includes party favors, a champagne toast at midnight and entrance to the night club. Visit It’z on Facebook to keep up with all the happenings.New on Fayetteville’s nightclub scene, Club Barcelona has an indoor ball drop planned along with a show of indoor fireworks. Admission is $20. The doors open at 9 p.m.

    The Fayetteville FireAntz take on the Huntsville Havoc this New Year’s Eve at the Crown. The puck drops at 4 p.m. Enjoy a rousing hockey game before heading out to celebrate. Visit www.fireant-zhockey.com for more information.Celebrate the New Year family-style at Fort Bragg’s Dragon Lanes on New Year’s Eve. From 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. enjoy extreme bowling, hors d’oeuvres and party favors. It costs $15 for early-bird tickets and $25 at the door. Lanes will be shared. No refunds after Dec. 27. Call 907-BOWL for more information.

    Pope Lanes offers a family New Year’s Eve Party from 4-8 p.m. includ-ing unlimited bowling, shoe rental, non-alcoholic champagne, party favors and food. Early-bird tickets are $10 and regular tickets are $15. Lanes will be shared, no refunds after Dec. 27. Open to the public. Call 394-2891 for more information.

    After the parties have ended, head to the Crown on New Year’s Day for a Black-Eyed Pea Dinner, which starts at 11 a.m. and lasts until 2 p.m. There are sure to be plenty of friendly faces along with the great food. Visit www.atthecrown.com for more information.

  • Bundle up in your coats, scarves and gloves and get ready for a night of glitter and glam. Fayetteville/Cumberland Parks and Recreation is happy to announce the 3rd Annual Christmas in the Park Event.

    Just as in years past, everyone in town will be talking about the beautiful displays, the food, the shows and much more, when this event is over. The lights, the camaraderie, the chill in the air all come together to create a memory-making event. The Parks and Recreation staff wants everyone in Fayetteville and the surrounding areas to come out for a night and enjoy the light show along with lots of other special Christmas events. It will be a delightful way to spend the evening during this magical time of year.

    This event will be held Dec. 7-22. The fun starts at 6 p.m. and lasts until 9 p.m. each evening at12-05-12-christmas-in-the-park.gifArnette Park.

    “Admission into the park is $2 per person and it allows you to walk around and view the lights as you walk along the path,” said Erica J. Brady, special events coordinator, Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation. Enjoy a leisurely stroll on the ½ mile paved walking trail while taking in the sights and sounds of the Christmas season. Along with the light show, there will be live performances on stage throughout the evening. The shows will display many of the talents and activities that are offered by our local recreation centers and Cumberland County Schools.

    Also, make sure to visit with Santa, as he will be there every night adding joy, cheer and laughter making it a festive time for everyone. For $5 attendees can even have a picture taken with the big guy. It is an opportunity to make great memories and start new traditions — or carry on old ones. There will be food vendors, arts and crafts, a fire pit and a train ride. For just $1, take the train ride to get a view of the sights that lay beyond the walking trail. The ride will be fi lled with even more Christmas scenery and good cheer.

    “The main focus of the event is out in the center of the walking trail. There displayed in the center will be a 30-foot decorated tree, surrounded by smaller trees and lights that will dance to the music,” said Brady. Whether young or old, this year’s Christmas in the Park will be fun for everyone in the family and offers plenty of opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit.

    Animals, other than service animals, are not permitted in the park. No personal cameras are permitted in the park. This is a cash only event; no credit/debit cards will be accepted. For additional information, call 910-433-1574. For inclement weather, call 910-306-7325.

  • 12 01 hope mills lakeProperty owners around Hope Mills Lake need to prepare for the chance to do any needed work on their docks and piers as town staff will be lowering the level of the lake starting Jan. 6.
    Last year’s lowering of the lake had to be delayed to coincide with planned work on the bulkhead on the public side of the lake.

    Don Sisko, head of the Hope Mills public works department, said the decision to wait was made to avoid having to lower lake levels twice.

    Reducing the level of the lake makes it easier for the property owners to get to their docks and piers during the two weeks the town plans to leave the water at a reduced level.
    But the water level isn’t just being decreased for the benefit of the property owners.

    Sisko said the town’s Lake Advisory Committee suggested dropping the lake levels in January to help stunt the growth of algae on rocks and other locations near the shoreline.

    “When we lower it in January, it exposes the marine algae that grows on the rocks near the edge,’’ Sisko said. “It gives it the opportunity to dry up, and the cold weather will kill it as well.’’
    Timing the process for January also has another benefit as it’s done when the lake sees limited recreational use.

    12 02 dam Sisko estimates that if there is no rain, once the process of lowering the lake levels begins on Monday, Jan. 6, it will take about two or three days to get the water down to the desired level.
    The goal is to drop the level about two or three feet, Sisko said. “My goal is not to lower it anymore than a foot a day,’’ he said.

    The process has to be regularly-monitored, Sisko said, because lowering the lake level is not an exact science.

    To be as accurate as possible, Sisko has developed charts dealing with amounts of precipitation, past lake levels and other factors.

    There’s one factor that Sisko said can’t be accurately measured. “It’s just like any other maritime project,’’ he said. “We all have to be mindful of the weather. That is one thing we can’t control.’’
    While the property owners can work on their piers and docks, Sisko said town staff will take advantage of the lowered lake levels to do some routine checks on the status of the dam.

    He said the town does regular maintenance on the dam and spillway structure year-round.

    But the lowered lake level makes it easier to check out special drains called tide flex drains.

    “They drain around the structure so we don’t have ponding water anywhere around the spillway or subterranean water around the spillway,’’ Sisko said.

    The lowered lake level lets town staff access the drains easier so they can be cleaned to maintain maximum operating efficiency.

    While he’s not concerned there are any specific issues being hidden by the normal lake level, Sisko said town staff will use the opportunity to make a routine check around the lake to see if anything is out or order and requires attention.
    “I don’t anticipate any problems,’’ Sisko said. “It’s just going to be an opportunity to see more of the dam structure.’’

    Sisko and his staff don’t use a boat to check things out. They walk downstream in the creek and along the dam surfaces as well.

    As far as the issues the lakefront owners have with their property in the water, Sisko said it is their responsibility to handle all those repairs as they see fit. He said property owners are welcome to reach out to the town manager if they see something they feel needs the attention of town staff.

    “We’ll take care of what we need to take care of,’’ Sisko said.

    If everything goes according to plan and there are no major disruptions from the weather, Sisko estimates the lake level will begin to be returned to normal around Monday, Jan. 20.
    If any property owners have questions about the lowering of the lake, they can contact Sisko’s office at 910-429-3384 during normal business hours Monday through Friday.

  • Anyone who has been in the south on New Year’s Day knows that just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west there will be pork, collard greens and black-eyed peas on the table come the first of the year. Serving anything else is just inviting bad luck. Combine this traditional meal with a huge helping of southern hospitality and you’ve got a Fayetteville tradition — the New Year’s Day Black-eyed Pea Dinner — which takes place the first of every year at the Crown from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    In the 1970s and ‘80s, then Sheriff Ottis F. Jones and local attorney, Willis Brown, hosted the meal. When Jones died in 1987 the black-eyed pea dinner came to an end as well. Fast forward to the early ‘90s when Register of Deeds Lee Warren took offi ce. Warren, his dad and his buddy Owen Spears were talking about how they could give back to the community. His dad tossed out the idea of bringing back the black-eyed pea dinner. The next dinner was hosted on New Year’s Day of 1993 and the rest is history.12-26-12-black-eyed-peas.gif

    Sure it’s a long day, but with the help of many friends, partners and volunteers it’s something that Warren looks forward to every year. “It is a time to start the year off right. It’s a terrific opportunity to share with others and one of those things we enjoy doing,” said Warren. “It takes probably 60-70 volunteers. There are a lot of the people that come out and assist us.

    “It is really a team effort, with many partners and volunteers involved,” he continued. “Many of them have been doing it for years and they look forward to it as much as we all do. It is a good southern tradition that we love to carry on. My family and I and Ed Grannis our long time district attorney and Billie West the new district attorney put the event on.”

    It is not unusual for more than 3,000 people to show up depending on what day of the week the New Year falls on.

    “With New Year’s being on Tuesday we’ll have a big crowd,” said Warren. “If it was on a Friday or a Monday a lot of people get that day tied in to a weekend and go out of town. When it falls on Sunday people come after church. When it is midweek not many people are out of town. I’m fairly certain there will be at least 3,000 there.”

    The meal is signifi cant in more ways than one. Not only is it a great chance for fellowship, greeting the new year and breaking bread with friends old and new, superstition has it that this is the meal that will determine how 2013 unfolds. Everything on the plate represents something for the new year.

    The pork promises progress. Pigs push forward when they forage for food, unlike other foraging animals.

    Black-eyed peas were once used as food for livestock. During the Civil War when Sherman’s troops plundered the south they destroyed all the crops except the humble black-eyed pea. That’s what got the Confederates through the winter that year. Because they are small and somewhat round, the legumes have also come to represent coins.

    Served with collard greens (or cabbage in some areas), which represents paper money and cornbread, which represents gold, it is defi nitely a good idea to clean your plate so your wallet will be full in 2013.

    The event is free and open to the public.

    Photo: A typical southern New Year’s Day dinner is filled with symbolism.

  • 12 01 jackie warnerHere are the top ten Hope Mills stories of the year as chosen by a panel of voters:

    1. Historic election

    In a historic night for the town of Hope Mills, the town turned its elected leadership to not one but two women.

    Mayor Jackie Warner, after a bitter campaign fight with sitting Mayor Pro Tem Mike Mitchell, was returned to office for a fifth term, winning easily with 55.5%  of the vote.

    The history was made by Dr. Kenjuana McCray, an instructor at Fayetteville Technical Community College. McCray, as far as anyone can remember, became the first African-American female elected to the board, leading all candidates for town office this year with 792 votes.

    As a result of leading the ticket, she was installed as the town’s Mayor Pro Tem.
    12 02 kenjuana mccray
    2. Youth sports teams enjoy strong seasons

    It was a banner year for spring sports teams from Hope Mills. In a town that already has a rich youth sports tradition, the summer of 2019 made it even richer.

    Four teams from the town won state titles and advanced to World Series competition in different divisions of the Dixie Youth program.

    Taking state honors were the Dixie 14U boys of Richard Martinez, the 10U Dixie Softball girls of Doren Kolasa, the 8U Dixie Boys of Jesse Cox and the 12U Dixie Ponytails softball of Steve Welsh.

    The Cumberland Post 32 Bombers of Stan Bagley won the Lady Legion state softball title.

    3. Hope Mills Fire Department Honored

    The Hope Mills Fire Department won an award that went far beyond a plaque to put in a trophy case.

    The North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshall awarded the fire department a No. 2 rating.

    The rating, which took effect in August, is a plus for the town’s citizens and businesses as it means insurance premiums charged to them should be less because of the town’s high level of protection from fire.

    4. Mayor Warner, son Teddy exonerated

    The town’s Board of Commissioners lodged a charge of collusion against Mayor Jackie Warner and her son, Teddy Warner, when the latter made a presentation to the board in his role working for the Fayetteville Cumberland Economic Development Commission.

    A board-authorized investigation, which wound up costing the town $26,000, was conducted by attorney James P. Cauley, an acknowledged expert in municipal law.

    Exonerating both the five-term mayor and her son, Cauley boiled the divide between the mayor and commissioners down to two factors. “It is attributable to a combination of rookie mistakes and changing governance policies,’’ he said.

    12 03 Hope Mills Dam5. Hope Mills Dam wins more honors.

    The restored Hope Mills dam won its second major award this past July.

    The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure presented the town with the Envision Bronze Award.

    The award is presented to projects like the dam on the basis of their resilience and sustainability.

    Since the dam has been restored it has been through two hurricanes, and the only significant damage sustained was to an eel ladder that allows  the animals to migrate around the dam structure.
    The dam’s first national award was in 2018.

    6. Arts Council created

    The new Hope Mills Creative Arts Council was established. One of its first acts was to partner with the Sweet Tea Shakespeare company and bring a live production of "Timon of Athens" to Carleen’s of Hope Mills.
    The production resulted in record ticket sales for a Sweet Tea production.

    7. Hope Mills leads in military recruitment

    According to Defense Department rankings for 2018, Hope Mills leads the nation in military recruitment.

    From a population of 2,322 candidates age 17-24, Hope Mills had 374 who enlisted last year.

    8. ALMS HOUSE has successful summer program

    The ALMS HOUSE of Hope Mills continued its string of successful outreaches to the community, mounting an important summer bag lunch program that provided an average of 20 bag lunches per week to children and some adults in need. Support through food and money donations from the community were essential.

    9. Heritage Park plan still on hold

    Work on the proposed Heritage Park development remains on hold. The land remains undeveloped as the Board of Commissioners focused more attention on the home of coyotes, Golfview Greenway, while both Heritage Park and the former Episcopal Church and its severely distressed parish hall remain untouched.

    10. Golden Knights come to Hope Mills

    The United States Army’s famed Golden Knights precision parachute jumping team made an appearance in Hope Mills, jumping in to help with the town’s observance of Heroes Homecoming.


    Picture 1: Mayor Jackie Warner

    Picture 2: Kenjuana McCray

    Picture 3: The Hope Mills dam won a second award in July. 

  • 13 01 jackie warnerA new era of government for the town of Hope Mills was unveiled on Thursday, Dec. 5, during a special organizational meeting of the newly-elected Board of Commissioners.

    The meeting was generally harmonious, with no bitter debate, and the commissioners acted swiftly to reverse actions of the previous board and restore powers that had been taken away from five-term mayor Jackie Warner.

    Before voting on restoring Warner’s powers, the board heard a brief presentation from town manager Melissa Adams concerning board policies and dos and don’ts for how the board and manager work together.
    There were multiple situations where the previous board overstepped its authority and engaged in activities reserved for the town manager.

    Adams shared with the board, not in lecturing fashion but as information for everyone involved, what the normal relationship with the town manager and the commissioners is.

    Among the key points were:

    1. Commissioners should not contact town staff. Questions should be sent to Adams, who will address the proper staff member.

    13 02 kenjuana mccray2. Board members should not assign tasks to town staff. That is Adams’ responsibility.

    3. If there are problems between board members or between the board and town staff they should be discussed in an open, diplomatic manner.

    4. Board members should never contact the town’s vendors. Those questions should be directed to Adams to handle.

    When it came time to discuss restoring some of the mayor’s powers, returning commissioner Jessie Bellflowers launched into a lengthy discussion of a booklet written by Trey Allen of the University of North Carolina School of Government dealing with powers assigned to the mayor by town boards or councils.

    Bellflowers noted that Allen’s book suggested the mayor not have the power to make motions or nominate people to serve on town committees.

    13 03 Bryan MarleyBut town attorney Dan Hartzog informed the board that Allen’s book was only a suggestion, not mandatory, adding that there was nothing in the official statutes that prohibited a town’s governing board from allowing the mayor to nominate or make motions at meetings.

    The only legal restrictions on the mayor of Hope Mills are limiting his or her right to vote only in situations where there is a tie.

    Since the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners includes five voting members, ties normally can only occur when at least one member is absent.

    Bellflowers further sought to limit Warner’s powers by requiring the board to not vote on any issue involving the sale or lease of town property unless all five commissioners were present for the meeting.

    The board voted 4-1, with Bellflowers the lone dissenting vote, to repeal that requirement.

    Warner did not lobby the board during the meeting for the return of her powers. She noted, however, that historically the Hope Mills mayor has enjoyed broader powers than the previous board allowed her to exercise.
    “I truly do believe I was elected by the people and their expectation oftentimes is I have to take ownership of things,’’ Warner said.

    As a specific example of the benefit of allowing the mayor the power to appoint people to committees, she cited the work of former Mayor Al Brafford, who was a central figure in putting together the committee that eventually helped Hope Mills get a branch of the Cumberland County library constructed in the town.

    “That committee went to the county commissioners and raised money,’’ Warner said. “They had a lot of support and that’s how we got the library.’’

    Board of Commissioners newly-elected members Bryan Marley and Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Kenjuana McCray agreed the mayor needs broader powers than allowed by the previous board. “She needs to be the ambassador for the town,’’ Marley said. “She’s advertising for the town. That’s her job, in my opinion.’’

    McCray concurred, saying as a citizen she wouldn’t want the mayor to lack power to help run the town effectively and efficiently.

    “Those are things she’s been doing and other mayors had been doing prior to last year,’’ McCray said. “She needed to be able to continue to have those powers to continue to run the town the way it needs to be run.’’
    In a Facebook post, one former commissioner questioned the new board moving so quickly to restore Warner’s powers before undergoing training from the Institute of Government next month.

    As the only person elected who has never served on the board, McCray disputed that theory.

    “I have a doctorate degree,’’ she said. “I know how to read and research information. I know how to make informed decisions based off what I read.’’
  • 15 almshouse signAfter a successful effort feeding the underprivileged of Hope Mills at Thanksgiving, the ALMS HOUSE in Hope Mills is gearing up to do the same thing for its annual Christmas Day dinner at noon on Dec. 25.

    The ALMS HOUSE is located at 5512 West Patterson St. near the historic Trade Street district in downtown Hope Mills, just off the main intersection downtown near Hope Mills Lake and Dam.

    Grilley Mitchell, program coordinator for the ALMS HOUSE love lunches program, recently sent out an email to various supporters of the ALMS HOUSE seeking donations of food to make the annual free giveaway of Christmas meals possible.

    Mitchell noted the Thanksgiving project resulted in the serving of 110 meals with the help of some 20 to 25 servers who volunteered their time to help with the project. Unfortunately between the servers and the many guests, the situation became a little crowded and confusing, Mitchell wrote.

    For the Christmas dinner, the carry-out meals will be made ahead of time and individual meals won’t be served with people standing in line. Anyone planning to donate uncooked items must drop them off at the ALMS HOUSE by Monday,
    Dec. 23. Cooked or prepared items can be donated as late as the day of the dinner by 11 a.m.

    The ALMS HOUSE will also be preparing care packages to give away. A variety of items are put in the care packs. They include the following: nonperishable food items like small cans of tuna, cereal bars, cheese and crackers, chicken salad kits, pull-top pasta, veggie chips, fruit cups, applesauce and fruit. Also included in the kits are personal items like soap, washcloths, disposable razors, deodorant, shaving cream and lotion, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush, mouthwash, small packs of laundry soap, tissues, ChapStick, wipes, sanitizer, band aids, nail clippers, pairs of socks and inspirational Bible verses.

    The care packs are issued on Christmas Day. They are packed two days before distribution so all items for them should be delivered by Dec. 22.

    As for the menu for the Christmas Dinner, following are specific items that are needed to prepare the meal, which consists of five 12-pound or more turkeys, four 10-pound or more hams, two large pans each of dressing/stuffing, 20 pounds of potato salad, two large pans of macaroni and cheese, two large pans of greens or green bean casserole, two large pans of sweet potatoes/yams, 20 cups of gravy, 10 cans of cranberry sauce, 80 dinner rolls, various desserts — including cakes, pies and cookies and assorted drinks, including iced tea and soft drinks.

    “Thanks to everyone for your continued support,’’ Mitchell wrote. “We would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and may the grace of God, his love, peace and blessings be with everyone.’’

    Anyone wishing to donate to the Christmas Day dinner or the care packs can sign up at the Love Lunch table at the ALMS HOUSE. You can also email Mitchell at hopemillslovelunch@gmail.com or call him at 910-476-3719.

  • 14 Heritage Square 1 With parcels of land stretching from the proposed Heritage Park and the current Hope Mills Lake Park downtown, all the way out to the new Golfview Greenway, Hope Mills has potential to develop walking and biking trails for its citizens.
    The town has been granted the money to conduct a study that will help develop those various resources to their fullest potential.

    Hope Mills was recently given a Pedestrian Planning Grant through the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s division of bicycle and pedestrian transportation. Chancer McLaughlin, development and planning administrator for Hope Mills, said the grant provides from $40,000 to $60,000 with a 20% match.

    “It’s basically geared toward encouraging municipalities to develop comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plans,’’ he said.

    The money will allow the town to explore the best ways to develop bicycle and pedestrian plans. So far, the town has successfully pursued grants to fund a number of sidewalk construction projects, including both the downtown area and along Rockfish Road near the town’s municipal complex.

    But this will be the first time the town has gotten grant money to fund a study that will work toward connecting all of the potential bicycle and pedestrian projects together. The list includes the former golf course turned greenway, Hope Mills Municipal Park, Trade Street, the lake park and the proposed Heritage Park.

    “Wherever we can find areas to accommodate bike lanes, sidewalks and trails that will ultimately connect all five areas, that will be the ultimate goal,’’ McLaughlin said.

    With the help of DOT, Hope Mills will hire a consultant to develop the plan for the town. Town staff will assist in the project, and there will be a full round of public meetings to seek input from the citizens of Hope Mills.

    McLaughlin said the town’s Parks and Recreation department, specifically director Lamarco Morrison, will be invovled. “You can see all those key projects are Parks and Recreation projects,’’ McLaughlin said.

    In a perfect world, the plan will try to figure out a way to allow residents to walk or ride safely around the town via a series of paths, trails, sidewalks or bicycle lanes.

    “All of these areas are at the core of the town of Hope Mills,’’ McLaughlin said.

    The tricky part, obviously, will be designing trails/sidewalks that will accommodate both bicycle and pedestrian traffic. “A lot of times, when you have a combination of these, the width of that trail will be paramount as well,’’ McLaughlin said. “Some portions you may have bike trails connected. Some you have some sidewalks. Some my have multi-use trails that will allow for bikes and pedestrians.’’

    McLaughlin stressed that the current grant from NCDOT only pays for the cost of the study that will develop the plan. The town will need to seek additional funding, possibly through the pursuit of future grants, to actually pay for construction of any bicycle or pedestrian sidewalks or trails that are constructed.

    “Once we come up with the plan, we have to find the mechanism to fund the construction,’’ McLaughlin said.

    McLaughlin said whatever plan is developed, it won’t come from a total vacuum, but will follow the general guidelines established in the existing Southwest Cumberland Detailed Land Use Plan that was first released in 2013. “This is another way to achieve those goals,’’ McLaughlin said.

    If anyone has questions about the new grant or the future of bicycle and pedestrian traffic in Hope Mills, McLaughlin can be reached during regular office hours at 910-426-4103.

  •     Each year the staff of the Museum of the Cape Fear researches the decorative styles of the Victorian era to come up with a theme to decorate the Poe House and give the public a peek into Christmas traditions of the Victorian era. 
        “The theme this year is the first decade of the 20th century,” said Heidi Bleazey, Poe House educator. “The process has usually been researching through Ladies Home Journal magazines of the time period of the house.”
    Of course the house is always swagged in greenery from the outside.
        “It looks amazing,” said Bleazey. “We are doing traditional greenery indoors. We are doing a small tabletop tree this year and putting it where many of our regular visitors are used to seeing a full-sized Christmas tree.” 
        According to Bleazey, Christmas trees began in pop culture as tabletop size. While the Germanic cultures were embracing the Christmas tree tradition, it wasn’t until Queen Victoria married Albert and he brought some of those traditions to England that the British started using trees during the holidays. {mosimage}
        “But our museum represents southeastern North Carolina and even though these things were happening in Europe, many North Carolinians, based on their Scotch Irish or Scottish heritage, didn’t adopt those (traditions),” said Bleazey. “So even into the 1870’s Christmas trees were not very common in homes — so you are seeing a lot of variety in terms of styles and sizes and even what was put on the tree.”
        Another cultural tidbit that adds some insight to the mindset of the Victorian lady of the house is the responsibility she bore to represent her husband well by keeping an immaculate home.
        “There was this cult of domesticity or conspicuous consumption — sort of just creating this “wow factor” in your home,” said Bleazey.   
        The dining room would have been the public room that visitors came into and it was Mrs. Poe’s job to impress them when they walked in. The woman was responsible for raising her husband’s social status. Mr. Poe was a public figure in the community, so if somebody was coming over to dinner, his home — even to the point of what was being served and the manners displayed in that dining room — should reflect on him as well as humanly possible.
         “Everything about that house should put Mr. Poe and his family and their status up on a pedestal,” said Bleazey.        So it is with that in mind that the museum staff planned this year’s decorations.
        “Probably the most spectacular thing happening this year is this dramatic dining room ceiling that we are doing,” said Bleazey. “We are going to have 270 yards of 3-inch satin ribbon latticed (woven) across the ceiling. Then at every interval there is a sprig of holly and the ribbons ooze down the walls.”
        The staff found the idea in a 1906 Ladies Home Journal magazine and thought the idea would be perfect for the Poe house. 
        “When people come to a Victorian house there is sort of this expectation,” said Bleazey. “No, I can’t say that Mrs. Poe ever put a lattice ceiling on and I don’t know what size their tree was, typically, so we have turned to what was typical nationally and internationally and try to balance that out with what was happening here.”
        The display opens on Nov. 25 and runs through Jan 11, 2009. The Poe House is located next to the Museum of the Cape Fear on Arsenal Avenue. Tours are conducted hourly during normal operating hours and admission is free. Call 486-1330 for more info.
  • For a second consecutive Christmas, Dawn Seegars is pulling double duty preparing for special Christmas music.

    Seegars, a bi-vocational worship leader at Temple Baptist Church, is again helping to put together the annual Singing Christmas Tree performances at Highland Baptist Church where she sang in the choir with the late Nancy Brady.
    This year’s performances are scheduled Dec. 13-15 at 7 p.m. each evening.

    Brady was the choir director at Highland until she lost a battle with cancer last year. Seegars stepped in to take over Brady’s role, and has agreed to do it again this year while Highland is engaged in the search for a new pastor.

    “They have awesome lay leadership but no music director permanently on staff and now no pastor,’’ Seegars said. Seegars said the congregation reached out to her over the summer to ask if she’d take on the job of directing this year’s Singing Christmas Tree and she agreed.

    “In church music, if you’re not a season ahead, you’re behind,’’ Seegars said. “In summertime you’re picking out Christmas music.’’

    Rehearsals began about the third week in September Seegars said.

    “We always try to do something different every year,’’ she said. “We haven’t repeated music. We want everyone that comes to hear something new, see something new.’’
    The sets may be the same, but the music and dramatic portions of the performance will be updated.

    Seegars said this year’s music selections will represent a variety of styles. “We’ve got some music with a Southern gospel feel, music with a regular gospel feel,’’ she said. “We’ve got some Christmas classics and even a song that includes a children’s choir.’’

    There will also be narrations along with actors portraying the traditional manger scene from the story of the birth of Christ. There will even by a lyrical dance team performing.

    Seegars praised the lay leadership at the church for their commitment to keep the Singing Christmas Tree going even without a full-time minister and music leader presently on staff.

    “When you don’t have a pastor, things are always a little tougher than when you do have somebody in that leadership role,’’ Seegars said. “They are going to continue to do what they are called to do and present the gospel message of Christmas to the community.’’

    Woody Cox, chairman of the church’s Board of Deacons, said those planning to come to the Singing Christmas Tree are invited to bring a donation of canned goods or other nonperishable foods to the church’s food pantry.
    Even without a pastor, Cox said the church’s ministry has been able to continue because of the great people there who are willing to share their time. The church has been doing the Singing Christmas Tree many years before Cox joined the congregation in 1995.

    “We just think it’s a great way to get the community in to hear the presentation of the gospel,’’ he said. “A lot of lost people are more willing to come in and watch the program. Through songs and the message that goes into it they get the gospel presentation of Jesus Christ.“We can touch a lot of lives quicker that way.’’

    For questions about the Singing Christmas Tree, call the church office at 910-425-5305, Monday through Thursday.

  •     At the Fayetteville City Council work session on Monday, Dec. 1, the council tackled aspects of important upcoming construction projects: the site selection for the transit multi-modal facility and the granting of contracts for the next phase in the construction of the N.C. Veterans Park. It was the latter debate that turned into a tempest in a teapot.
        The issue brought before the board was the selection of architectural and engineering firms for the park. The selection process was overseen by city staff, who received bids from 14 different companies. That number was short-listed, and five of the companies went through an extensive interview process with the selection team.  By a unanimous vote, the team recommended the selection of the Urban Resource Group, a division of Kimley-Horne & Associates, Inc., a Raleigh-based firm. The team brought together by URG includes: Carol R. Johnson Associates, Clearscape, Penn., and the engineering firms of McKim & Creed, Fleming & Associates and S&ME, all Fayetteville-based firms. In addition to this team, the team of Vandewalle and Associates, the firm that created the master plan for the park, is to be awarded a contract not to exceed $2 million for all architectural and engineering services for the $15 million project.
        At contention was the inclusion of Vandewalle and Associates in the project. The request made by the city staff was to include Vandewalle in the ongoing phases of construction at a fee not to exceed 20 percent of the proposed $2 million fee.
        Councilman Wesley Meredith was the first to question the inclusion of Vandewalle in the ongoing project. “I want to be clear — Vandewalle will be supervising the entire project?”
        Craig Hampton, the city’s special projects director explained that Vandewalle would be working on master planning documents, overseeing designs, working with the content team and the creation of displays. In short, they would be working as part of the project management team. Hampton said the majority of their work would be concluded during the first year; however, they would still be involved in Phase II of the construction.
        He explained that the majority of the work would be done by the Urban Resource Team, with Vandewalle approving designs and concepts to ensure that they are consistent with the masterplan and theme of the park.
        Councilman D.J. Hare questioned why each segment of the A&E team could not approve its own work and keep it within the guidelines of the master plan. He further pointed out that the company is not in North Carolina and that there should be companies in the state who were capable to do the work Hampton said the key to success was in the programming and schematic and design development of the project. He explained that each of the entities in the Urban Resource Group would be working on different parts of the plan, and it would be up to Vandewalle to ensure that each component complemented the other pieces and stayed true to the master plan for the park.
        It was questioned whether the city had to stick with Vandewalle as the creators of the master plan or whether it could have looked for someone to do it at a reduced rate.
        Hampton explained, on several occasions, to the council that state statutes spell out that architects and engineers are attained through qualification, not through price. He said that Vandewalle had been chosen by the council at the outset of the project and that in order for the park construction to be consistent and true to its approved concepts, themes and ideals, it was the opinion of the staff that Vandewalle should be involved throughout the project.
        Councilwoman Val Applewhite questioned whether it was the industry practice to select a firm because they were involved in the initial development or should it have been bid out again.
        Hampton explained that it was the normal practice to use the originator of the concept to ensure concept and themes were carried through the entire project and were reflected in all of the work. He explained that as the planners of the park, Vandewalle & Associates met with 200 veterans and interviewed them to find out what was important to them, and then incorporated all of the information into the masterplan and then into a concept, which URG will design with the guidance of Vandewalle to ensure that it meets the concepts and themes.
        Councilman Ted Mohn questioned whether Vandewalle’s rates were consistent with industry standards. Hampton said the firm charges $120 per hour for their principal planner; which is much lower than the $200 per hour that is charged by Gantt and Associates, the firm which is in charge of the multi-modal project. “It’s a very favorable amount,” said Hampton.
        Meredith questioned whether Vandewalle was the only company considered at the outset of the project. Hampton said a second firm, Public Places, based out of New York, was also considered; however it was much more expensive.
        Mayor Tony Chavonne said he didn’t believe the council had a real problem with Vandewalle, but rather it was a problem with “transparency,” in that the project was not sent back out to bid and that the council did not know Vandewalle would have an ongoing role in the project.
        When asked about whether or not the project should have been sent back out to bid, City Manager Dale Iman said it was the industry standard to have the master planner involved in all phases of construction.
    Councilman Mohn also noted that this was not the first the council had heard of the groups inclusion. He noted that the board was apprised of it in August.
  • 16 pets supplies plusTony Mello is the manager of the newly opened Pet Supplies Plus in Hope Mills at the intersection of Main Street and Camden Road in the former Eckerd drugstore building.

    But Mello doesn’t really care that people refer to him as the store’s manager. He’d be happier if you just called him neighbor.

    “I’m from Hope Mills and have been here for 17 years,’’ said Mello. “The whole idea behind Pet Supplies Plus is we don’t have customers, we have neighbors. We are that big-box store to go shopping in minus all the hassles.’’
    Mello said the store is a win-win for pet owners of all types in the Hope Mills area.

    “This is somewhere you are going to want to come,’’ he said. “We want to get on a first-name basis with our neighbors — not just our neighbors, but their pets.’’

    Customers will get a feel for the special interest the staff at Pet Supplies Plus has for them whenever they visit the store. “I hire for personality, but I also need pet people,’’ Mello said of his staff. He said one of the first questions he asks any potential employee is do they own pets.“I love to see their faces light up when you ask their pet’s name,’’ he said. “The first thing they show you is the pictures (of their pet) in their cellphone.’’

    Pet Supplies Plus is independently owned but part of a chain of some 400 stores, based in Cleveland, Ohio.

    On the premises, you can purchase live birds, various small animals, reptiles and live fish. Among the more exotic animals the store sells are chameleons, crested geckos and leopard geckos.
    The store doesn’t sell dogs and cats, but arrangements are being made with several local pet adoption agencies to come in on weekends and help people pick out a pet.

    One of the store’s major features is a full, self-service grooming facility.

    Shampoo, towels and a blow dryer are available, and the store staff takes care of cleaning up and sanitizing the area when customers finish using it.

    If need pet food, the store carries everything for dogs, cats, reptiles, guinea pigs and ferrets to name few animals. If a customer has a special need for something not in stock, they’ll work with you to make a special order.
    The store also plans to offer clinics with a traveling veterinary service.Two are already scheduled for next year, one on Jan. 28 and one on Feb. 25. The hours for both are from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

    “You can come in, see a vet and get vaccinations in house,’’ Mello said.

    Regular store hours are from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

  • 15 arts council paintingDue to unforeseen problems, the silent auction portion of the Hope Mills Creative Arts Council’s fundraiser Tuesday has been moved to Marci’s Cakes and Bakes at 5474 Trade Street. The remainder of the event will still be held at The Studio on Trade Street at 5458 Trade Street. 

    What started as a traditional Christmas party at The Studio on Trade Street in Hope Mills has evolved into a fundraiser for the new Hope Mills Creative Arts Council.

    Cherri Stoute has agreed to open the doors of her Trade Street business in Hope Mills to the community as a way of promoting the work of the new arts council and helping to jumpstart its effort to raise money to fund its various projects.
    The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 17, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Stoute’s photography studio at 5458 Trade St.

    “I wanted to do this event to help them raise money so they can continue on their own to have events,’’ Stoute said.

    Normally, Stoute rents out her photography studio space to local photographers. For the party, the studio will be cleared out to create an open space and allow the party-goers plenty of room to mingle and celebrate and to allow visiting artists to share their works.

    Stoute’s studio offers memberships to local photographers and is available for rent by photographers for photo sessions and other events. Stoute herself is both a photographer and a filmmaker.
    Regular hours for her studio are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

    A big part of the fundraiser will be a silent auction where guests can submit bids on art donated for the event.

    Local artist Justin Spears has already donated a painting to be auctioned off, and other artists are invited to submit items for the guests to bid on. An alternative way to support the cause is the photo booth, which will be accepting donations.

    Pictures of some of the items available for auction will be posted in days to come on the Hope Mills Creative Arts Council’s Facebook page, as well as its website, hopemillsarts.com. There will also be carolers and Christmas music.

    Stoute said guests don’t have to stay for the full three hours, and they also don’t have to be present to learn if they’ve submitted a winning bid for any of the items to be auctioned.

    In addition to Stoute’s photography studio, other businesses on Trade Street will be open during the time of the fundraiser for people to visit. “The idea is to come in and see what is going on, then go to the other shops,’’ Stoute said. “It’s an important event for the community.’’

    Snacks and munchies will be available for visitors to the studio that evening. Marci’s Cakes and Bakes nearby will also be open with a variety of treats for sale.

    Elizabeth Blevins, one of the originators of the Hope Mills Creative Arts Council, said all money raised from the silent auction will be used to bring more art into the community and to help local businesses offset the cost of putting art and sculptures into their businesses.

    A likely initial use of the money would be to help local artists pay for supplies to create works of art for public display around the town.

    One of the initial goals is to create a mural in a public space somewhere in town.

    Spears has been approached about being compensated for his materials should he decide to produce a mural somewhere in the town once a location has been determined. “He is a veteran and he’s just started doing charcoal drawings,’’ Blevins said. “He also does oil paintings.’’

    Artists who work in all mediums are welcome to donate works to the fundraiser to include in the silent auction Blevins said.

    Artists are also welcome to come and set up a display of their work at no charge at the party on Dec. 17. “They are welcome to sell or show,’’ Blevins said.

    Blevins said interested artists should contact her as soon as possible at 910-853-4539 or email hopemillscac@gmail.com.

    “This is an opportunity for the arts council to meet the businesses on Trade Street,’’ Blevins said.

    “We just want everyone to come out and have a lovely night on Trade Street in Hope Mills,’’ Stoute said.

  • 09 02 Christmas tree hmA busy schedule of Christmas activities will take place from this weekend through next weekend in Hope Mills. The scheduled events will be held rain or shine. Only in the event of extreme bad weather will anything be canceled.

    Here’s a quick look at the scheduled lineup of activities. For questions about any of the events contact Meghan Freeman at the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department at 910-426-4109.

    Christmas at the Lake

     The celebration begins Friday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. with Christmas at the Lake. This event features the lighting of the Christmas tree at the lake near the gazebo.
    There will be hot chocolate and cookies and free music provided by Kelly West of Cumulus Media.

    Hope Mills Christmas Parade

     One of the highlights of the Christmas season in Hope Mills is the annual Christmas parade, which is scheduled for this Saturday, Dec. 7, and will begin at 3 09 03 Christmas cookies and cocoap.m.
    This will be the first Christmas parade featuring the altered route that was introduced at this year’s Fourth of July Parade. In the past, the parade started at Hope Mills Middle School and wound its way through town to finish on Rockfish Road near the Town Hall complex.

    The route was reversed for the Fourth of July so that bands and other walking units don’t have to negotiate the long hill climb that starts at the railroad trestle and continues up Rockfish Road.

    Last year’s parade attracted some 70 units according to Freeman. This story was written just prior to the deadline for submitting an entry into the parade so there was still time for late additions.

    This year’s parade grand marshals will be the winners of the Miss Cotton Pageant.

    Other entries are expected to include local high school bands, businesses, churches, athletic groups, classic cars and of course Santa.

    Festival of Lights

    09 04 Santa Hope MillsRight after the Christmas parade, enjoy the Festival of Lights at the Town Hall complex on Rockfish Road. Activities will begin at 5 p.m.

    The highlight of the Festival of Lights is the lighting of the Christmas tree by Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner.

    In addition to the tree lighting, there will be free hot chocolate and cookies for everyone. Kelly West of Cumulus Media will provide the music.

    There will be a giant snow globe spectators can get inside and take pictures. There will also be two train rides and Santa Claus will be on hand.

    The event will wrap up around 7 p.m.

    Breakfast with Santa

     For a second straight year, the town will host Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the main Hope Mills Fire Station at 5788 Rockfish Road.

    The event was moved to the fire station last year because of damage sustained to the parks and recreation building from Hurricane Florence. The event was 09 Jackie paradesuch a success last year the fire department wanted to continue being involved with it, so it was kept at that location this year.

    This is the only town Christmas event requiring tickets.

    The cost is $10 per person. Children under the age of three are admitted free. There is a limit on the number of tickets. Only 250 are sold and it’s first come, first served. Tickets can only be purchased in person at the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department near the Town Hall complex on Rockfish Road.

    The breakfast is scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. Music will be  provided by Kelly West of Cumulus Media. The breakfast menu includes pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon and juice and will be catered by Grandsons Buffet.
  • 13 01 trent tursichWith practice opportunities improving and the number of swimmers continuing to increase, Cumberland County Schools are looking for a banner year this swimming season.
    Here’s a brief look at some of the better teams and swimmers expected to compete this year.

     With only two swimmers graduated on the girls' side and a big class of freshman arriving for the boys, coach Amey Shook feels the outlook for her Cape Fear squad is bright.
    “We have a tone of optimism at the abilities they are going to be bringing to the table,’’ she said.

    Among the biggest reasons for Shook’s optimism is the return of her daughter, Amelia, to the roster.

    Coach Shook describes Amelia as a jack of all trades who can swim almost any event.

    For the last two seasons Amelia competed in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke at the conference and regional levels.

    13 02 Brandon As a team, Cape Fear qualified for state in the 400 relay. Amelia just missed making the state meet in the 200 and 100.

    “I think the best is yet to come,’’ Coach Shook said. “Amelia has been putting in her work, working on speed and conditioning.’’

    She’s also been rehabbing from yet another knee injury, this one suffered in soccer, that sidelined her following her surgery in June.
    She was able to resume swimming in September but doesn’t feel that’s going to hold her back during the season.

    She thinks her best events this year will be the 100 backstroke and the 100 fly. She’s aiming for a finish of eighth or better in both at the regional so she can make the state meet.
    “I’ve gone to states two years in a row on a relay team,’’ she said. “I want to make it individually.’’

    Pine Forest

    13 03 Allison CurlMore than two-thirds of coach Trent Turisch’s teams are freshmen and sophomores who have never swum before. “My biggest goal is to get something out of their season,’’ he said, “whether it’s to learn a new stroke or making sure they are able to better themselves.’’

    The Trojans have benefited from the addition of dome-covered outdoor recreation pools, especially the one at College Lakes Recreation Center near Pine Forest.

    Turisch only needs a few minutes to load up an activity bus and take his team over there after school to practice.

    The bright spot for Turisch’s team this year is the return of possibly the best male swimmer in the county, Brandon Chhoeung. Turisch said Chhoeung is fully committed to swimming. He leaves practice with the Pine Forest team to go and practice with his club swimming team.

    Chhoeung credits the coaches he’s worked with who’ve helped him develop the work ethic that drives him.

    13 04 jared kaiserHe prefers the distance events because they show how much grit a competitor has. He said the 200 and 500 freestyle races are among his favorites.

    “This year, I’ve been working mostly on my flip turns and my kicking,’’ he said. “I just want to get some fast times and see our team win the conference.’’

    Terry Sanford

    Bulldog coach Jared Kaiser only lost a handful of swimmers to graduation last year.

    His biggest concern coming into the season is that efforts to get a public indoor swimming facility in Fayetteville appear to be stalled.

    “There’s not really any place our kids can go to do year-round swimming,’’ he said. He said the domed outdoor pools are a welcome addition but are not much more than a Band-Aid for the problem. “It’s at least provided a little flexibility where teams can have more people at practice because there are more lanes,’’ he said.

    13 05 Amey ShookKaiser’s top returning swimmer is Allison Curl, who specializes in the 500 freestyle along with the 100 and 200. “She can keep going and going,’’ he said of her endurance.
    Curl swims for a club team so she’s in the water as much as five and six days per week.

    She likes the distance events because at only 5-foot-3, the sprint races are more difficult for her.

    “In a longer race it doesn’t matter because there is so much distance I can make up,’’ she said.

    She relies on technique and endurance to carry her to wins. She thinks the 500 freestyle is her best shot to go to state because of her endurance and the fact fewer swimmers like to try it.
    She’s confident about the team’s chances as well.

    “The boys’ team is very strong and the girls are exceptionally strong,’’ she said.








    13 06 Amelia Shook

  • 13 01 bazzleHere are the top ten Fayetteville and Cumberland County high school stories as selected by a panel of voters:

    1. Tyler Bazzle scores for South View.

    Tyler Bazzle, a student at South View High School, suffers from a form of cerebral palsy that causes him to be nonverbal and require a walker to get around.

    He’s beloved by both students and faculty, and he is a fan of the South View football team and its star player, Matthew Pemberton.

    South View athletic director Chad Barbour went to head coach Rodney Brewington with the idea of letting Bazzle suit up for a game, then running a play, giving Bazzle the ball and letting him score a touchdown.
    The event was held at South View’s homecoming game with E.E. Smith, with the full support of the folks from Smith and the officiating crew.

    Just prior to the kickoff, the ball was given to Bazzle, and best friends Kevin Brewington and Pemberton helped him into the endzone.

    13 02 holiday hypeAfter the game, Pemberton gave Bazzle his game cleats.

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

    2. Wilson excels at wrestling

    Dallas Wilson is following in the footsteps of his dad, Cape Fear High School wrestling coach Heath Wilson. His dad is a former state champ and Dallas has already surpassed his efforts.
    Dallas won his second consecutive state 3-A wrestling title last year. Also winning from Cape Fear was Jared Barbour.

    This year, Dallas is seeking to become only the second wrestler in Cumberland County history with three state titles.

    The other is Richard “Pnut” Tolston of Jack Britt High School, who won three straight for Jack Britt High School from 2013-15.

    3. Cumberland County athletic signings

    Cumberland County Schools had a banner year for its athletes signing letters binding them to compete in athletes for colleges.

    According to Cumberland County Student Activities Director Vernon Aldridge, 126 county athletes committed to play for a variety of colleges.

    4. Special Olympics honors Gray’s Creek High School

    Gray’s Creek High School was one of only two high schools in the state recognized by Special Olympics North Carolina for helping to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities.
    Gray’s Creek became an early leader in the Unified Sports program, which partners able-bodied athletes with special needs athletes so the latter can compete in sports including wrestling, track and bowling.

    5. Terry Sanford’s Herz drafted by Chicago Cubs

    After a brilliant high school career, Terry Sanford pitcher D.J. Herz was chosen by the Chicago Cubs in the 2019 Major League Draft.

    Herz was selected in the eighth round by the Cubs. In his final season at Terry Sanford he was 8-1 with a Cumberland County Schools best 0.50 earned run average. He pitched 56.1 innings and led the county with 106 strikeouts.
    Herz played for one of the Cubs’ two Arizona rookie league teams last year.

    The lefthander appeared in six games, finishing with an 0-1 record and no saves in 10.1 innings pitched. He had eight walks and eight strikeouts.

    6. Terry Sanford football stadium demolished

    After years of debate about its future, the oldest and biggest high school football stadium in Fayetteville was torn to the ground.

     That forced this year’s Terry Sanford football and soccer teams to play all of their games away at Reid Ross Classical High School’s John Daskal Stadium.
    The football team played one game at Fayetteville State’s Nick Jeralds Stadium.

    The new stadium won’t be used until the first football game of the 2020 season, which is scheduled on Thursday, Aug. 20, against Lumberton.

    7. Jason Norton leads Pine Forest while battling cancer

    If there was ever a profile in courage, it has to be former Pine Forest athletic director Jason Norton. First diagnosed with cancer in 2016, Norton continued to make a regular commute from his native Hamlet to work as athletic director at Pine Forest.

    He continued to fight to regain his health and remain at Pine Forest until the strain finally forced him to step down as Trojan athletic director, taking temporary leave in September.

    8. Cape Fear ends South View cross country streak

    The Cape Fear boys’ cross country team  ended one of the longest winning streaks in Cumberland County history this season when they halted South View’s run of 21 straight conference cross country championships.
    Jonathan Piland sparked the Colts by placing second in the championship race with a time of 17:04.20.

    Julius Ferguson was third overall for the Colts while Juan Alvarado took fifth, giving Cape Fear three runners in the top five.

    Placing in the top 20 for Cape Fear were Collin Gaddy 10th, Alden Bostic 13th and Colton Danks 20th.

    The Colts went on to place fourth in the regional meet and qualified for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state championship meet.

    9. Fayetteville Academy wins state basketball title

    Bill Boyette is no stranger to championship basketball. After a long record of earning titles in public schools, Boyette added a private school championship to his resume.

    Boyette’s Fayetteville Academy boys won the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 2-A championship, defeating Wayne Country Day 64-45 in the title game.

    Fayetteville Academy finished 27-3.

    According to rankings posted at MaxPreps.com, the Eagles were No. 6 in the state among all schools, public and private, and No. 1 in their classification in the NCISAA.

    10. TIE

    Multi-sport standout and football broadcaster Don Koonce dies.

    Don Koonce was one of the greatest multi-sport athletes in Cumberland County history.

    After a successful stint in the minor leagues, he returned to his native county and became involved with the Mid-South Sports broadcasting team as a color commentator.

    Eventually, he branched out on his own, founding DK Sports, Inc., which led to the creation of multiple broadcast teams covering everything from football to basketball to softball.
    Koonce passed away shortly before the 2019 football season started.

    His loss left a void in local high school sports coverage that will be almost impossible to fill.

    Terry Sanford’s Dorian Clark sets school rushing record

    There have been some great running backs at Terry Sanford, names like Nub Smith, Roger Gann, Dwight Richardson and Louis Craft just to list a few.
    But among all of them, Dorian Clark now stands as the all-time leading rusher.

    The senior running back finished his stellar career with the Bulldogs with 5,945 career yards and 67 touchdowns.

    For the season he had 2,346 yards and 33 scores. The former was tops among Cumberland County running backs.


    Picture 1: Tyler Bazzle celebrates his touchdown.

    Picture 2: L-R, Dallas Wilson and Jared Barbour of Cape Fear pose with their championship brackets on the floor of the Greensboro Coliseum after winning NCHSAA state 3-A wrestling titles.


  • 18 01 taitum jamesTaitum James

    Seventy-First • Volleyball • Senior

    James has a grade point average of 3.6. In addition to volleyball, she’s involved with photography. She also officiates volleyball and is
    a youth leader in her church.


    18 02 kaitlyn bradleyKaitlyn Bradley

    Seventy-First • Cheerleader • Junior

    Bradley has a grade point average of 4.25. She is active in the National Honor Society and is the secretary of the junior class.





     Once upon a time while I was waiting to pay a bill, I heard a 92-year-old man say something pretty profound. Quote he, “If we live, we’re gonna get old.” This point, while obvious, merits further consideration. I was reminded of his observation on reading that Mick Jagger is about to become a great-grandfather. Yep, the Street Fighting Man’s granddaughter is going have a baby. Jagger’s new status has implications for the rest of us. If Jagger is going to be a great-grandfather, perhaps time is passing by more quickly than we think. Undoubtably, time will ultimately take us with it.


    Armed with the knowledge that life is fleeting, what should we do about it? I personally suggest deep denial, but that is just me. However, despite the alleged war on Christmas promoted by Fox, you may have noticed that it is Christmas time again. Christmas brings all kinds of events, some deeply theological and some highly commercial. It’s Ying & Yang time. I shall leave the theology to those more knowledgeable about such things. I shall remain in the shallow end of the Christmas pool to ponder the wonders of Yule Tide commercialism.


    Christmas comes but once a year, but it starts in August and lasts until January. It means Christmas movies, TV specials and buying stuff. Let us count the pretty ways of commercialism. The Christmas season begins in earnest with the Pamplona Running of the Bulls style traditional trampling of the customers on Black Friday at the Big-Box Stores. This year Black Friday has moved up to trampling customers on Thanksgiving. How festive!


    My favorite holiday movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, which theoretically stars Chevy Chase. The real star is Cousin Eddie. Cousin Eddie is the reason I watch this movie. We all have Cousin Eddies in our lives and Randy Quaid is the Cousin Eddiest of them all. Cousin Eddie shows up at the Griswold’s house in his worn out RV and settles in for the duration. Have you ever had relatives show up at your house and outstay the three-day fish rule? Yep. I knew you had. The great thing about Cousin Eddie is that he doesn’t actually show up at your house. He’s on the TV and you can change the channel. Try changing the channel at your own dinner table when Uncle Howard starts his political rant about the wonders of nuclear power with Aunt Donna who is a dues paying member of the Sierra Club. Ah, Christmas cheer.


        It is not really Christmas until I hear the Barking Dogs canine chorus howl “Jingle Bells.” How can we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas commercialism without the musical accompaniment of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer?” As for me, Grandpa, and the trial lawyers we believe. If Grandma really got run over by a reindeer driven by Saint Nick we are talking serious money damages. Grandpa’s mailbox is going to be jammed with letters from lawyers wanting to bring a wrongful-death action for Grandpa against the jolly old elf who carelessly, reckless and with wanton malice ran over Grandma while she was in a position of helpless peril due to her consumption of egg nog. It’s an ill sleigh accident that doesn’t bring a contingent fee.


       I admit to slightly misting up when Charlie Brown decorates his scraggly Christmas tree at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas. The tree magically becomes beautiful as the Peanuts gang sings “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” lifting their heads skyward looking like coyotes howling at the moon. It is a beautiful moment. I always look forward to it.


       We get 24 hours of the Christmas Story wherein Ralphie dreams of owning a real carbine action 200 shot range model Red Rider BB rifle with a compass in the stock with which he may very well shoot his eye out. As Ralphie’s mom says “It’s always fun until someone shoots their eye out.” Isn’t Christmas about getting new stuff so as to ward off the misery of the lurking wolf of bitter January winds just around the corner? As John Lennon once wrote, “Happiness is a warm gun.” Ralphie puts up with wearing a pink bunny suit and gets his Red Rider BB gun. This teaches us all the value of persistence in getting what you want at Christmas.


       As John Lennon wrote, “So this is Christmas/And what have you done?/Another year over/And a new one just begun. “ Merry Christmas but don’t shoot your eye out.



  • 17 chop deaverWhen Terry Sanford freshman Christian “Chop” Deaver got an English assignment to write a poem about a topic he was passionate about, he didn’t have to think about his subject.

    It was going to be football, as he tried to put into the words the message he’d been hearing all year long from head coach Bruce McClelland. His resulting work impressed both his English teacher, Ryann McKay, and McClelland.
    “His passion for it really came out in the poem,’’ McKay said. “You could tell that he liked football and is proud to be on the team in his other writings.

    “But the way he truly sees it as a brotherhood and a gift from God, all that kind of stuff, really came through in the poem itself.’’

    McClelland was also impressed. “In all my years of coaching, I’ve never had a kid, especially a first-year kid, get exactly what I’m trying to say,’’ McClelland said. “Everything he said in the poem was like I was talking to him.’’
    Deaver, who got his nickname "Chop" when he was around five because people told him he was thick like a porkchop, doesn’t consider himself a poet at heart.

    “I care about my team and family,’’ Deaver said. “Coach Mac has stressed brotherhood a lot this season. I took that and went with it.’’

    More Than A Game by Chop Deaver

    It is more than a game
    We come out here and we play this great game that God has blessed us with
    But I don’t think we really understand how lucky we are
    It is more than a game
    We have an opportunity to do something great that others don’t have
    There are many other teams out there sitting on their butts at home
    But we don’t seem to notice them
    You know why?
    Because no one notices people who don’t win
    We are winners
    It’s more than a game
    Everyone is dreaming in their sleep about wanting to be a bulldog
    Being a bulldog is something special
    We have some of the best talent in the county, no, we have some of the best talent in the state
    And we take it for granted
    Terry Sanford has been blessed with a tradition of winning
    It’s more than a game
    People have worked their tail off in the past to allow us to be great
    All these coaches come out here and leave their families at home to help you
    Because we love you like you are our own kid
    It is more than a game
    This is a brotherhood that not many people are allowed to say they are a part of
    It should mean something to you
    I’m going to give you my all
    And all I want in return is yours
    Because if not
    We are going to join the couch club
    And be dreaming of other teams in our sleep
    It is more than a game
    I can’t stress how much I want this for you guys
    Play for someone this Friday
    Play for these seniors who have grinder for four years
    Play for your parents who sacrifice a lot for you
    Play for your brothers sitting next to you
    Cause we are all one big family
    And this is football
    It is more than a game
  • 01-01-14-sweet-tea-1.gifJeremy Fiebig has a strong history in theatre. He is the Assistant Professor of Theatre at Fayetteville State University and Managing Director at the Gilbert Theater. He is also the founder of Sweet Tea Shakespeare. Sweet Tea Shakespeare is a two-year-old theatre group that until now has performed outdoors during the summer at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden. This January the troupe will perform Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; Or What You Will.

    This growth in Sweet Tea Shakespeare is exciting, but it does not come without challenges. “This is our first winter production after two years of performing exclusively at Cape Fear Botanical Garden,” said Fiebig. “This is our first indoor performance and the first that is not in the summer. It is a challenge because we think differently between the indoors and outdoors. “

    This show is about the twins Viola and Sebastian and their misadventures trying to reunite after a shipwreck separates them. “The show refers to the 12 nights of the Christmas season, the end of the Christmas season. That’s why we scheduled the play for the end of January, when people are beginning new things,” said Fiebig.

    For this performance Sweet Tea Shakespeare will be doing different things, too. There will be two performances at each indoor venue — the Cape Fear Botanical Garden and the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. There will be some differences but Sweet Tea Shakespeare will continue to provide a laid back atmosphere. There is music, fellowship and a play. People are welcome to come early. There will be carols, music, actors talking with people and holiday treats. “It will have the same picnic/ family reunion feel. It will be like a winter gathering over at a friend’s house on a cold night. It feels laid back.” Fiebig says.01-01-14-sweet-tea-2.gif

    Despite being a Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night is still incredibly relevant. Fiebig explained, “The common misconception about Shakespeare is that the way he wrote was old fashioned and old English. Actually, he was inventing some of the language that we use today. This speaks to the connection that many people have to Christmas. It is a bittersweet take on what it means to hang out with friends on a holiday. There is death, comedy and issues of mistaken identity, love and fun. The streak of death and the dark tone really rounds it out. It really speaks to those whose holidays aren’t always happy.”

    Sweet Tea Shakespeare will perform Twelfth Night; Or What You Will at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden Jan. 10 -12. The shows begin at 7 p.m. at 536 N. Eastern Blvd. Performances at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church will be held Jan. 17-19. Shows begin at 7 p.m. at 1601 Raeford Rd. Tickets for garden members are $10, non-member tickets cost $12, student tickets cost $7.50, children tickets (5-12 years old) cost $5, children under 5 are free, and FSU students will be charged $5. To purchase tickets online or for more information visit: www.sweetteashakespeare.com. To purchase tickets by phone from the FSU box office call 910-672-1724.

    Photo: It takes hours of preparation and rehearsals to bring a production to the stage.

  • 16 01 jimmy peadenThe annual Cumberland County Holiday Classic basketball, now in its second year under a major format change, begins a three-day run Thursday, Dec. 19 at five different sites. This year’s tournament is sponsored by the Southeastern Sports Officials Association.

    The boys are divided into the Len Maness and Ike Walker Sr. brackets while the girls will play in the Gene Arrington and Tom Jackson brackets.

    The Maness bracket is at Westover, Walker bracket at Jack Britt, Arrington bracket at South View and Jackson bracket at Gray’s Creek.

    The championship games in all four brackets will be played Saturday, Dec. 21, at Fayetteville State’s Capel Arena. Here’s a brief look at each bracket.

    Len Maness

    16 02 george stackhouseWestover coach George Stackhouse is cautiously optimistic about his team’s chances of winning the Len Maness bracket of this year’s tournament.

    The Wolverines have been sparked by a trio of solid scorers so far, led by D’Marco Dunn, Traymond Willis-Shaw and Darius Jewell.

    As of this writing, Dunn leads Cumberland County Schools scorers with 21.4 points per game.

    Willis-Shaw is averaging 14.2 points and Jewell 13.4.

    “We’ve got to concentrate on doing the small things,’’ Stackhouse said. “Our defense has got to improve. I do like the pieces we have.’’
    Ike Walker Sr.

    16 03 Dee HardyPine Forest coach Jimmy Peaden enters the tournament with a young group of players he feels are buying into playing defense and learning more about offense as the season progresses.
    “We’ve got a fun, young group,’’ he said. “I look forward to coaching them and watching them grow.’’

    Team leaders so far for the Trojans have been Marquis Eskew and Tristin Harkins. Eskew averages 12.5 points per game and Harkins 11.0.

    “I can always look to Marquis to know when a certain play needs to happen, when a certain call needs to be made,’’ Peaden said.

    Pine Forest’s top scorer is Isaiah Washington with 16.8 points per game. Peaden said his team is still working on buying into the halfcourt offense.

    “We can get out and run with anybody,’’ he said. “If we can execute like we’re supposed to, we’ll be a problem.’’

    Gene Arrington

    16 04 nattlie mcarthurAfter a deep run in last year’s state 3-A playoffs, E.E. Smith coach Dee Hardy has been pleased to see her young team quickly regroup from key graduation losses.

    Leading the way so far for the young Bullettes is freshman Miya Giles-Jones with an average of 11.8 points per game.

    “Out of our first six games I know she’s had four double-doubles,’’ Hardy said. “That’s big for a freshman coming in.’’

    Another freshman, Keshiana Murphy, is averaging 9.6 points. Ke’Onna Bryant, the team’s top scorer at 12.0 points per game, has also contributed.

    “We are still young,’’ Hardy said. “We have to fine tune a lot of things.’’

    Tom Jackson

    Jack Britt coach Nattlie McArthur said her young team is learning the system and playing well together so far.

    Terry Sanford transfer Nyla Cooper leads the Britt scoring with 13.3 points per game. Amber Nealy it at 11.5 and Kaya Goldsby at 10.3.

    She expects the tournament to be tough but thinks her team is ready for the challenge.

    “It’s just a matter of making sure we make the right decisions in our transition, continuing to talk on the floor, being vocal and having fun while they are out there,’’ McArthur said.


    Holiday Classic brackets

    Len Maness Bracket
    Thursday, Dec. 19
    at Westover
    4 p.m. - Wilmington Laney vs. E.E. Smith
    5:30 p.m. - Westover at Middle Creek
    7 p.m. - Fayetteville Christian vs. Cape Fear
    8:30 p.m. - Seventy-First vs. Douglas Byrd
    Friday, Dec. 20
    Consolation bracket
    at Westover
    4 p.m. - Loser 1 vs. Loser 2
    5:30 p.m. - Loser 3 vs. Loser 4.
    Championship bracket
    7 p.m. - Winner 1 vs. Winner 2
    8:30 p.m. - Winner 3 vs. Winner 4.
    Saturday, Dec. 21
    at Westover
    Consolation bracket
    10:30 a.m. - Loser 5 vs. Loser 6
    12 p.m. - Winner 5 vs. Winner 6
    Championship bracket
    at Westover
    1:30 p.m. - Loser 7 vs. Loser 8 (third place)
    at Capel Arena
    8 p.m. - Winner 7 vs. Winner 8 (championship)
    Ike Walker Sr. Bracket
    Thursday, Dec. 19
    at Jack Britt
    4 p.m. - Wilmington Hoggard vs. Gray’s Creek
    5:30 p.m. - Southern Lee vs. South View
    7 p.m. - Terry Sanford vs. Corinth Holders
    8:30 p.m. - Jack Britt vs. Pine Forest
    Friday, Dec. 20
    Consolation bracket
    4 p.m. - Loser 1 vs. Loser 2
    5:30 p.m. - Loser 3 vs. Loser 4
    Championship bracket
    7 p.m. - Winner 1 vs. Winner 2
    8:30 p.m. - Winner 3 vs. Winner 4
    Saturday, Dec. 21
    at Jack Britt
    Consolation bracket
    10:30 a.m. - Loser 5 vs. Loser 6
    12 p.m. - Winner 5 vs. Winner 6
    Championship bracket
    1:30 p.m. - Loser 7 vs. Loser 8 (third place)
    at Capel Arena
    4 p.m. - Winner 7 vs Winner 8
    Gene Arrington Bracket
    Thursday, Dec. 19
    at South View
    4 p.m. - Scotland vs. South View
    5:30 p.m. - Wilmington Hoggard vs. Douglas Byrd
    7 p.m. - E.E. Smith vs. Corinth Holders
    8:30 p.m. - Seventy-First vs. Westover
    Friday, Dec. 20
    Consolation bracket
    4 p.m. - Loser 1 vs. Loser 2
    5:30 p.m. - Loser 3 vs. Loser 4
    Championship bracket
    7 p.m. - Winner 1 vs. Winner 2
    8:30 p.m. - Winner 3 vs. Winner 4
    Saturday, Dec. 21
    Consolation bracket
    10:30 a.m. - Loser 5 vs. Loser 6
    12 p.m. - Winner 5 vs. Winner 6
    Championship bracket
    1:30 p.m. - Loser 7 vs. Loser 8 (third place)
    at Capel Arena
    2 p.m. - Winner 7 vs. Winner 8 (championship)
    Tom Jackson Bracket
    Thursday, Dec. 19
    at Gray’s Creek
    4 p.m. - Gray’s Creek vs. East Bladen
    5:30 - Cape Fear vs. Union Pines
    7 p.m. - Terry Sanford vs. Garner Magnet
    8:30 p.m. - Pine Forest vs. Jack Britt
    Friday, Dec. 20
    Consolation bracket
    4 p.m. - Loser 1 vs. Loser 2
    5:30 p.m. - Loser 3 vs. Loser 4
    Championship bracket
    7 p.m. - Winner 1 vs. Winner 2
    8:30 p.m. - Winner 3 vs. Winner 4
    Saturday, Dec. 21
    Consolation bracket
    10:30 a.m. - Loser 5 vs. Loser 6
    12 p.m. - Winner 5 vs. Winner 6
    Championship bracket
    1:30 p.m. - Loser 7 vs. Loser 8 (third place)
    at Capel Arena
    6 p.m. - Winner 7 vs. Winner 8 (championship)
  • 20 Micheal WarrenIntense competitor and exceedingly generous.

    Those were the most frequent words used to describe former Pine Forest High School and Elon University football star Micheal Warren, who recently passed away at the age of 37.

    Pastor Alex Dorman of the Lillington Pentecostal Worship Center delivered Warren’s funeral message. Dorman knew Warren a little over 10 years and said he was as generous a person as he’d ever met.

    Dorman recalled a time when his son’s dog was run over and killed. Just days later, a new dog of the same breed, complete with American Kennel Club paperwork, showed up at the Dorman home. 

    “Mike did it,’’ Dorman said. “He wouldn’t ever own up to it, but he did it, just like the Bible would say, ‘heartily and unto the Lord.’’’

    Warren first became a star at Pine Forest, playing for a trio of men who would all be head football coaches. His head coach was Dean Saffos and his position coaches were future Pine Forest head coach Bill Sochovka and future Jack Britt and Scotland coach Richard Bailey.

    “He did everything we asked him to do and he did it with 100 percent, with great intensity,’’ Saffos said.

    Saffos said Warren turned down multiple college football scholarships to walk on at N.C. State. Things didn’t work out with the Wolfpack so he transferred to Elon, where he became an all-conference player. He had a brief career with a couple of NFL teams, then eventually relocated to Texas where he operated a ranch that specialized in rehabilitating bulls injured in rodeo competitions.

    Sochovka was one of Warren’s position coaches at Pine Forest. “He just had no fear of anybody playing against him,’’ Sochovka said. “He was hard-working and never knew when to quit. He just loved the game.’’

    Bailey was first impressed with Warren when he, Sochovka and Saffos were watching him play on the kickoff team for the Pine Forest junior varsity.

    “Every time on the kickoff he ran down and made the tackle,’’ Bailey said. “I said that kid right there is going to be a linebacker. He has a nose for the ball. He would run through people to make the tackle.’’

    During his time at Pine Forest, Warren grew an inch taller and gained about 40 pounds Bailey said. “He worked hard in the weight room,’’ Bailey said.

    Warren had a close connection with his teammates that was visible at his funeral as many of his defensive cohorts form 1999 traveled to attend the service.

    “That group in 1999 had a special bond,’’ Bailey said. “That defense was the best I ever coached. He was a big part of that.’

  • 21 01 carlosCarlos Villarreal

    Pine Forest • Soccer • Senior

    Villarreal is a member of the varsity soccer team and has a 4.2 weighted grade point average. In his free time Villarreal enjoys participating in travel soccer and volunteering at the Cumberland County Animal Shelter.


    Elizabeth Johnson

    Pine Forest• Bowling• Senior

    Johnson is a member of the Trojan bowling team. She has a 4.2 weighted grade point average. Her other interests include competing in SkillsUSA events and working on computers as part of the Academy of Information Technology.

    21 02 elizabeth johnson

  • 19 01 rodney brewingtonHere is the Patriot Athletic All-Conference football team as chosen by the league’s head coaches:

    Coach of the year

    Rodney Brewington, South View

    Athlete of the year

    Matthew Pemberton, South View

    Offensive player of the year

    Dorian Clark, Terry Sanford

    19 02 jackson deaverDefensive player of the year

    Jackson Deaver, Terry Sanford

    First team
    Offensive line

    Caleb Krings, Cape Fear
    Terry McLaughlin, Gray’s Creek
    Ethan Denzer, South View
    Dejon Gilliam, Overhills
    Darrius Johnson, E.E. Smith

    Wide receivers

    Yates Johnson, Terry Sanford
    Kevin Brewington, South View
    Nasir McDaniel, Overhills
    Jailen Hobbs, Overhills
    Bryan Davis, E.E. Smith

    19 03 Matthew PembertonRunning backs

    Keyshown Lindsey, Westover
    Jerry Garcia, Gray’s Creek

    Jacob Knight, Terry Sanford

    Tight end

    Ezemdi Udoh, Terry Sanford


    19 04 dorian clarkMason Smith, Cape Fear


    Mason Smith, Cape Fear

    Defensive line

    Markell Samuels, E.E. Smith
    Joel Evans, South View
    Elijah Morris, Terry Sanford
    Kendall Evans, Gray’s Creek


    Justin McLintock, Gray’s Creek
    Mark Burks, Cape Fear
    Donta Autry, South View
    DeShaun Rivera, South View

    Defensive backs

    Tyquan Hayes, Terry Sanford
    Dujuan Lockhart, South View
    Timel Smith, South View
    Randy Franklin, E.E. Smith

    Second team
    Offensive line

    Nahala Moore, Westover
    Arden Billington, Douglas Byrd
    Garrett Crockett, Gray’s Creek
    Christian Deaver, Terry Sanford
    Taeveon Dove, South View

    Wide receivers

    Devon Marshall, Westover
    Israel Reuben, Terry Sanford
    Jemel McLean, Pine Forest
    Daniel Dawson, E.E. Smith

    Running backs

    D.J. Jones, Pine Forest
    Cayden McKethan, Cape Fear


    Chris Perkins, Overhills

    Tight end

    Josh George, South View

    Defensive line

    Remmington Workman, Westover
    Zion Cameron, Douglas Byrd
    Jarvis Higgins, Terry Sanford
    Xavier Johnson, Pine Forest
    Nic Minnicapelli, Cape Fear


    Jarvis Dudley, E.E. Smith
    Bernard Flerlage, Pine Forest
    Isaiah Locklear, Douglas Byrd
    Jerry Smith, Overhills

    Defensive backs

    Xjavian McMillian, Westover
    Dalton Patrick, Gray’s Creek
    Chad McDonald, Terry Sanford
    Jaysen Smalls, Overhills

    Honorable mention
    Offensive line

    Douglas Byrd - Zyon McEachin.
    Cape Fear - Mike Wesolowski, Chason Bryant
    South View - Michael Herbert
    Pine Forest - John Sullivan, Seth Smith, Blake Marshburn
    Terry Sanford - Hayden Honeycutt
    E.E. Smith - Anthony Morris

    Running backs

    South View - Tyrese Harris
    Terry Sanford - Jre Jackson
    Pine Forest - Jaden Jones
    E.E. Smith - Dashawn McCullough

    Tight end

    Cape Fear - Nic Minicapelli

    Defensive line

    Cape Fear - Darrick Whitted
    Gray’s Creek - Jalen Johnson
    South View - Michael Herbert, Mahlik Gonzalez
    Pine Forest - Chris Green


    Gray’s Creek - Josiah Arreguin
    Cape Fear - Micah Nelson
    South View - Marzea Saunders, Christian Ray
    Terry Sanford - Sequan Smith

    Defensive backs
    Douglas Byrd - Glendell Herring
    Cape Fear - James Sealy, Lamon Lockamy
    Terry Sanford - Maurice Jones
    South View - Ahmir Ashley
    E.E. Smith - Trevon Hinton
  • 18 01 Chris LucasHere is the Patriot Athletic All-Conference tennis team as chosen by the league’s head coaches:

    Coach of the year
    Chris Lucas, Cape Fear

    Player of the year

    Kelcie Farmer, Pine Forest

    First team

    Terry Sanford - Katy Beasley, Lauren McDonough, Mary Anna Stiles
    Cape Fear - Brooke Bieniek, Paige Cameron
    Pine Forest - Kelcie Farmer

    18 02 kelcie farmerDoubles

    Cape Fear - Paige Cameron, Kensey Thurmond
    Pine Forest - Kelcie Farmer, Bella Fish
    Terry Sanford - Lauren McDonough, Carolina Beasley

    Second team

    Gray’s Creek - Courtney Cygan, Morgan Valentin-Gordon, Kaylee Ledford
    Pine Forest - Torah Delaney, Bella Fish
    Cape Fear - Kensey Thurmond
    18 03 Paige CameronTerry Sanford - Katy Beasley, Mary Anna Stiles
    Cape Fear - Dajia Rucker, Brooke Bieniek
    Gray’s Creek - Morgan Valentin-Gordon, Kaylee Ledford
    18 04 brooke bienik
  • 15 Carols review imageTaking us back in time, and yet reminding us very much of our current turbulent ones, “The Carols,” written by Jennifer Childs, transports its audience into a feel-good, nostalgic and wholesome family drama of Christmas and life.

    “The Carols” directed by Robyne Parrish will run at the Gilbert Theater until Dec. 20, bringing a genuine good time filled with many laughs, great songs, a tear in your eye possibly, but also a reminder to enjoy the

    In the war and poverty-stricken setting of a 1940’s Veterans of Foreign War post where gloominess lingers, three sisters — Sylvia, Rose and Lily — shine bright with their optimistic natures.

    Sylvia (played by Molly Hamelin) is determined to make a change in the world and is obsessed with Eleanor Roosevelt. Rose (played by Megan Martinez), dreams of marrying a general and Lily (played by Eden S. Kinsey) holds down the homestead with her charm.

    The first half of the production focuses on the chaotic, hilarious challenges of putting on “A Christmas Carol.” This includes convincing the fascinating Miss Betty (played by Karen Morgan Williams), who runs the VFW, to have the production and find the right cast. Then enters Melvin Shaatz (played by Evan Bridenstine), the Jewish comedian who brings everyone a very Yiddish “Christmas Carol.”

    The themes in the show touch on loss of those at war, the state of poverty in the present, and how everyone is looking forward to the future while enduring the present.

    The actors put on a charming musical with wonderful jokes.

    The second act brings an usual yet entertaining version of “A Christmas Carol” with Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and future with hilarious modifications. It brings a smile to everyone’s face.

    The Yiddish punchlines, the 40’s slang, the “bah humbugs” is just what the audience needs — a two-hour escape from the times of COVID-19.

    The talented actors do a great job in reminding everyone, while looking forward so much and focusing on the misfortunes of the past, that we should not forget to live in and enjoy the present, no matter how hard
    things get.

    For those who just need to get away for some light-hearted singing and comedy, "The Carols" is a must watch with its reminder to hold on to right now and cherish it.

    The final weekend of the show is Dec. 18-20. For more information on the play and schedule, visit https://www.gilberttheater.com/season27/thecarols.php

  • 11 01 jonathan pilandJonathan Piland

    Cape Fear • Indoor/outdoor track • Senior

    Piland has a grade point average of 4.62. He is a member of the Natural Science Academy, the county youth orchestra, all-county orchestra, East Regional orchestra and the N.C. Honors orchestra. He works in the freshman mentoring program as a lead mentor. He’s active with the Lebanon Baptist Church praise team and the Snyder Baptist Church Singing Christmas Tree.


    Walker Brittain

    Cape Fear• Soccer• Senior

    11 02 walker brittainBrittain has a grade point average of 4.46. He is active in speech and debate, the Environmental Club, Harvard Model Congress, Common Ground Initiative, Student Government Association, the BETA Club and journalism. He’s also a freshman mentor and has served as a page for the North Carolina governor as well as in the North Carolina state house.

  • Every year my son and I bundle up, fill our thermoses with hot chocolate and head down to the Christmas12-08-10-parade.gif parade that runs through the center of our city. It is as much a part of our holiday tradition as tree trimming or getting together with family. Just the sight of the large colorful floats, marching bands and of course, Santa Claus, lets you know that the holiday season is upon us.

    However, this will be our first year attending a parade in Fayetteville, and we are excited to see what is in store for us. The grand marshall of this year’s parade is Boomerang Cartoon Networks Scooby Doo, who is appearing courtesy of Channel 14 Carolina News. Scooby won’t be joined by the rest of his gang, but he will be joined by 10 Cumberland County bands, homemade and commercial floats and more than 90 entries. Oganizers believe this year’s parade is sure to be stellar.

    For more than 20 years the parade has been put together by the members of the Fayetteville Rotary Club, a group of men that was formed to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards and help promote goodwill and peace in the world. In 1999, once they discovered there was to be no Christmas procession that year, they decided to band together with two other local Rotary Clubs to take on this excellent community service project. The members organized every detail of the parade themselves, proving that they live by their motto, “Service before self.” With the first year’s parade planner called away, Johnson Chestnut and Matthew Smith stepped up agreeing to cochair, and have been in charge ever since.

    Smith says this year’s parade is “A parade for the children of Cumberland County to not only observe and enjoy, but also participate in. We have invited one child from each of the Cumberland County schools to ride in one of the Rotary floats in the Christmas parade. It gives them an opportunity that they may never have again in a lifetime.”

    Many local businesses are pitching in and lending their support to make this parade a spectacular one as well, including Taco Bell, Long John Silvers and Time Warner Cable.

    “This will be the 11th year that we have put this parade on, and we have been both overwhelmed and touched by the response from our sponsors,” said Smith.

    The procession will begin at 11 a.m and will start at Person Street, go to the Market House, then Hay Street and end at the Amtrak Station. If by chance you cannot make it downtown to see the parade in person, don’t fret, it will be televised on Channel 14 (although it will be time delayed and won’t be aired until 6 p.m. Saturday) and will be available On Demand the following week.

    Come out and and catch the holiday spirit at this year’s 2010 Rotary Parade — and don’t forget your hot chocolate!

    Don't miss the Christmas Parade on Dec. 11.

  • 13 01 Paratrooper Santa 2The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to change holiday plans this year, canceling traditional events such as shows, light displays and parades. Although modifications were needed, not even a pandemic could keep soldiers and families on Fort Bragg from continuing some holiday traditions this year.

    The 20-foot Fraser fir Christmas tree is lit up on the Main Post Parade Field for families to view and enjoy, something the installation Morale, Welfare and Recreation department is proud to display.

    “MWR is really big about the soldiers and their families so this tree symbolizes a big part of that and enjoying the spirit of holidays in general and bringing back kind of the family atmosphere to the garrison to celebrate,” said Keegan McDonald, event coordinator for Fort Bragg Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

    Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the tree lighting was a virtual event this year, but people can still come to the Main Post Parade Field where the tree will be all holiday season, to look at it and take pictures, he said.

    Fort Bragg’s Trees for Troops event is set to take place at the Smith Lake Recreation Center on Dec. 11 from 8 a.m. to noon.

    The event will give out free Christmas trees — one per family to activity duty personnel in the rank of E-6 and below with a valid DOD ID card and a voucher. Vouchers were handed out at the Leisure Travel Services office.

    Trees will be passed out to non-voucher holders after 10 a.m. based on availability. For more information, soldiers can contact the BOSS office at 910-643-4569 or

    The heart of what the garrison does is take care of soldiers and their families, said James Day, DFMWR’s Outdoor Recreation branch manager.

    “Every year, we host the Trees for Troops event in which Christmas trees are donated to our soldiers,” Day said. “This year 300 trees will be provided to soldiers and families to enjoy during the holiday season. Our single soldiers with the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program will distribute them at the Smith Lake Recreation Area.”

    Some of the other upcoming holiday events at Fort Bragg are the Holiday Concert, All American Presents from Paratroopers and a free meal give-away for paratroopers and their families, said Lt. Col. Mike Burns, Public Affairs Officer for the 82nd Airborne Division.

    The 82nd Band and Chorus Holiday Drive-In Concert will be held on Pike Field Dec. 17, with bands playing a variety of Christmas music. The event is free.

    “Each year we do a holiday concert for our families, this year due to COVID it will be a drive-up event,” Burns said. “We are doing things a little bit different, we are moving to Pike Field … and families will be able to enjoy the concert from the comfort of their own car or a small area around their car, to help prevent the spread of COVID.”

    Pike Field is a large and open area on post that can accommodate vehicles for the concert, Burns said. The concert will be an hour long show and a great opportunity for families to come together and enjoy
    some music.

    “I would say this concert is important to the soldiers here in the Division, it's been a really tough year, a lot of soldiers are deployed, and their families are still here,” Burns said. “It’s important for people to get together and celebrate the holidays and it’s a great time, really fun, and a high quality professional level concert.”

    The members of the 82nd Airborne Association will host a meal give-away for paratroopers and families on Dec. 11, at the All-American Chapel. For more information on times visit www.facebook.com/287901225386/posts/10164689157945387/

    The association is made up of veterans of the 82nd Airborne Division and their families. They come together every year and provide meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas for service members, Burns said.

    All American Presents from Paratroopers is an annual toy drive that gives paratroopers an opportunity to give back to Fort Bragg’s local communities, Burns said.

    “Every year, paratroopers come out and donate a toy for an opportunity to jump from a helicopter and earn foreign jump wings,” he said. “The only requirement is they donate a toy.”

    Events like these are what makes the season special and lets the families know they are a part of the airborne legacy,
    Burns said.

    (Pictured above) The Presents from Paratroopers toy drive is an annual event where soldiers donate toys to participate in an airborne jump to earn foreign jump wings. This year's event saw about 1,500 toys donated for local families in need. (Below) Soldiers help prepare food bags to be donated to families in need. (Photos courtesy 82nd Airborne Division PAO)

    13 02 bragg turkey 2

  • 10 01 cape fear picAs far as Cumberland County’s high school wrestling gurus can remember, there’s only been one three-time state individual champion in the sport in county history.

    That honor falls to former Jack Britt star Richard “PNut” Tolston, who finished third in the state when he wrestled for Hoke County in 2012 then won three straight state titles as a Buccaneer from 2013-15.

    This fall, Cape Fear’s Dallas Wilson, son of Colt head coach Heath Wilson who is also a former state champion, will seek to become the second county wrestler with three state championships.

    Heath won his second title last year, competing at 138 pounds. It’s sure he’ll move up in weight classification this season but it likely won’t be until after Christmas before Heath and his father settle on which class Dallas will be competing in for his third state title.

    Heath Wilson said his son has reached a level of high school wrestling where he’s forgotten more about the sport than Heath knew during his competitive days. “My biggest problem is finding somebody to push him to the next level,’’ Heath said of his son.

    10 02 dallas and jaredOne way he’s pushed Dallas to a higher level is by taking him to top national competitions, like the big freestyle tournament held over the summer in Fargo, North Dakota. “In Fargo, I saw a totally different, very aggressive wrestler come out,’’ Heath said. “He came out banging.’’

    Dallas ran into a three-time state champion from Tennessee and rolled to a win.

    “He’s at a new level,’’ Heath said.

    Among the biggest challenges Dallas will face this year is the pressure of expectations, but Heath doesn’t expect that to be a problem. “It’s really nonexistent after all these other places we’ve traveled to,’’ Heath said. “In North Carolina he’s got the confidence that he’s the best wrestler.

    “The biggest pressure he puts on himself is every day in that practice room. He’s the hardest-working kid I’ve got. That’s contagious. I like it to be contagious.’’

    Dallas agreed with his dad that he’s become a more aggressive wrestler, coping better with opponents who stay in his face and won’t back off, working harder to fight the opposition with his hands and find different angles of attack to knock them off balance.

    “You’ve got to be mean,’’ he said. “You’ve got to have that grit. I definitely picked it up this summer. I have no excuse to lose in a state that I’ve won twice.’’

    The rest of the Cape Fear team will be seeking the same grit as it tries to bounce back from a second-place finish to St. Stephens High School in last year’s state 3-A dual team championship wrestling match.

    The top individual returners for the Colts are Dallas and 220-pound Nick Minacapelli, who placed third in the state in his class last season. He’ll be a late arrival this season because of his involvement with football.

    “We are looking for the second-stringers to come on strong this year,’’ Wilson said. “They’ve got to perform. I’m just waiting for that first scrimmage to see what comes out of our kids.’’
    Wrestlers Heath will count on early are Jaleel Parks, Jack Culbreth, Jose Paz and Aiden Barbour, who is the younger brother of graduated state champion Jared Barbour.

  • 12 Village 5The typical hustle and bustle of the holiday season is muted this year. Family plans and holiday outings have crumbled due to the pandemic. Despite it all, The Village Baptist Church invites the people of Cumberland County to experience the joy of Christmas through a social-distancing-friendly drive-thru event Dec. 11-13.

    Chris Ferger, the Pastor of Worship and Arts at The Village, said that the church’s Easter production was cancelled due to COVID-19, so he was looking for opportunities to still celebrate the Christmas holiday.

    “I thought the best way to allow people to see and experience the story of Christmas in a safe, COVID-free environment is to have a drive-thru Christmas,” he explained.
    “I used to do something similar years ago for Easter and I just thought it would be a great idea. So, we put together a team that could pull it off.”

    Organizing a Christmas drive-thru event is no easy feat, but with the help of hundreds of volunteers since April participating in musical recordings, set design, acting, guiding traffic, hospitality, advertising, animal management and more, The Village anticipates an unforgettable experience.

    Keeping in line with the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines and local ordinances and mandates, The Village Choir and orchestra has rehearsed virtually and in venues that allow for social distancing to prepare the recorded music for the event. The music and drama will be available through the Village Baptist Church App or with a CD available as you enter.

    “(Attendees) will be immersed in eight scenes that retell the Christmas story through the eyes of a young shepherd all while listening to music recorded by The Village Choir and Orchestra,” Ferger said.

    Attendees can expect to see live actors and animals, hear Christmas tunes and narration, and experience the anticipation of Christ’s birth with period-accurate clothing and carefully crafted sets. Don’t be shy about taking pictures and videos. The Village would love to see your pictures on social media with the hashtag #ChristmasatTheVillage.

    In a year that has divided so many people both physically and ideologically, The Village uses their love of Jesus to unify the community. “Our community desires the joy and peace that only the true story of Christmas can bring now more than ever,” Ferger said. “People are tired of being cooped up in their homes and are ready to go somewhere that will help them feel the joy of the season. We want people to feel safe as they bring their family.”

    The Christmas Drive Thru at The Village will take place at 906 S. McPherson Church Rd. and will run from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 11-13. The event is free.

    Travelling through all of the scenes will take approximately 20 minutes. Cars, people movers and vans are welcome, but no bicycles, pedestrians or buses will be permitted for the safety of the actors.

    For more information about The Village visit https://thevillagebc.church/

  • 13 Santa checking listBreak out those stockings, Christmas trees, and red or green masks — it’s time to enjoy a fun, festive and socially distanced holiday season with a visit to meet Santa. That’s right, Santa Claus is planning his trip down from the North Pole to see his friends in Fayetteville, though it will look a little different from years past.

    Santa and his elves have already set up in the Food Court of Cross Creek Mall and will be there through Christmas Eve. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, visits will be no-contact, with families sitting six feet away to ensure proper social distancing. But don’t worry about those Christmas lists. Santa Claus can’t wait to hear what’s on your list and will still be available to talk with little elves-in-training.

    Santa will be available for photos during the following days and times:
    Monday — Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    Christmas Eve hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    All guests must schedule their visit with Santa using the online reservation platform at https://whereissanta.com/northcarolina/crosscreekmall. You’ll select a date and time, as well as purchase your photo package. Walk-ups will be allowed during the first and last hour of the day, time permitting. All visitors must wear masks before, during and after photos.

    Visitors are reminded that some of the usual holiday events are canceled for this year, including pet photos.

  • 10 lake rim parkFayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation offers a variety of locations to enjoy the great outdoors. There are a number of activities schedueld for the month of December.

    Archery Clinic — Dec. 5, noon to 3 p.m., $5, Ages 8+
    This class is designed to introduce the sport of archery to beginners. Participants will use compound bows as they learn the basics of archery to include safety, proper stance and follow through. Adults are welcome too. Registration is ongoing, but space is limited.

    Mazarick Park Kayak Tour —Dec. 5, 10 to 11:30 a.m., $15, Adults and ages 10+
    Explore the cypress filled waters of Glenville Lake at Mazarick Park from a kayak. All the equipment and basic instruction for beginners will be provided. This program is offered with special permission from PWC, no private boats are allowed on the lake. Registration is ongoing, but space is limited. Participants under 16 must be accompanied by a participating adult.

    Clay Play — Dec. 11; 3 to 4 p.m., Free, all ages welcome
    Mold it, shape it, create something useful, or just get your hands dirty. Join us for clay play at the park to see what you can fashion out of this moldable, malleable substance. Call to register, space is limited.

    Meteor Shower Viewing — Dec. 13; 8 to 10 p.m., Free, all ages welcome
    Learn about asteroids, meteorites and comets then head outside to view the Geminids, one of the most impressive meteor showers of the year. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and dress for the weather. This program occurs after park operating hours, please arrive promptly at 8 p.m. so staff can let you in the gate. Call to register, space is limited.

    Christmas Scavenger Hunt — Dec. 22, 2 to 4 p.m., Free, all ages welcome
    Drop by the park office anytime between 2 and 4 p.m. to pick up a map and loaner compass that will guide you to the lost Christmas presents. Once you have completed the course, return to the office to claim your prize. Call to register beginning Dec. 7.

    Year’s End Walk —Dec. 31, 2 to 3 p.m., Free, all ages welcome
    Bid farewell to 2020 on this interpretive walk around Lake Rim Park. Get a jump start on two great New Year’s resolutions: to spend more time in nature and to continue learning about the world around you. Call to register beginning Dec. 14, space is limited.

    All facilities are open to the public on a first come, first serve basis unless they are reserved.

    Contact the park office ar 910-433-1018 to reserve facilities or register for activities. Office hours are Mon. — Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Visit www.fcpr.us/parks for more information.

  • 01 02 in the park 2

    Note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some featured activities may change or be canceled. Please check to ensure the event will be held as scheduled.

    Thanksgiving has come and gone, and now the holiday season is officially here. Christmas trees, holiday lights and decorations abound around every corner. But what is there to do? Lots, if one knows where to look. So, grab the keys, get in the car and see the sights.

    Ready to see some lights? Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation is proud to announce a COVID-19-safe Christmas in the Park event this season. The holiday lights extravaganza is coming to Arnette Park, 2165 Wilmington Highway Dec. 6-10, 13-17 and 20-22, 6-9 p.m. nightly excluding Fridays and Saturdays. Participants are asked to remain in their vehicles to drive-thru the park to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas. Admission is free for the event. Visit www.fcpr.us.

    Each year, the Cape Fear Botanical Garden features Holiday Lights in the Garden, a self-paced holiday lights garden tour through a beautiful garden setting. The lights are featured on weekends Dec. 3-23 from 6-9 p.m. nightly. The whole garden will be lit with lights and transformed into a winter wonderland, featuring Santa Claus, s’mores, entertainment and more. Additionally, CFBG keeps a full calendar of daytime offerings for kids so parents can bring their children for outdoor activities and education. Be sure to check out the new children's garden and learn about plants and animals while spending a day together in nature. Find out more details at www.capefearbg.org.

    Another traditional drive-thru favorite is the Lu-Mil Winery Festival of Lights at 438 Suggs-Taylor Rd. in Elizabethtown, just south of Fayetteville. For $10 per person, you can see miles of beautiful lights amid outdoor scenery. The event will be 6-10 p.m. nightly Dec. 17-23 and Dec. 26-28. For more information visit https://lumilvineyard.com

    For onstage holiday entertainment, the Gilbert Theater presents "The Carols," a witty musical telling the Carol sisters' story as they struggle to get the town's annual performance of "A Christmas Carol" off the ground. The men are off fighting in the war, but the show must go on! Performances are Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 4-6 and 18-20. Go to https://gilberttheater.com/ to get the scoop.

    The Cape Fear Regional Theatre's famous "Best Christmas Pageant Ever” will not be produced this year, but be sure to check out the theater’s new winter camp for ages 8-14, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Go to https://www.cfrt.org/ for more information.

    The Rotary Club Annual Christmas Parade scheduled for Dec.12 has been canceled. Not to dampen the holiday season, the Rotary Clubs of Fayetteville are organizing another thrilling event to replace the parade. The members have decided to take Santa on a tour throughout select neighborhoods because, “if the kids can’t see Santa in the parade, why not take Santa to them?” This will hopefully soften the disappointment from the canceled parade.

    Following a melted snowman cocoa from The Coffee Cup downtown, make your way to the 1897 Poe House for a historical take on the holidays. The 1897 Poe House will be decorated for Christmas through Jan. 9, 2021. Learn more at www.capefear.ncdcr.gov.

    For out-of-town fun, enjoy holiday events a short sleigh ride away over in Lee or Moore counties. The Temple Theater in Sanford is performing the holiday classic, "A Christmas Carol" Dec. 3-20. The ghostly visits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come transform the curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge from greedy and selfish to sympathetic and caring. The classic tale weaves a story showing viewers the importance of kindness and generosity in the true spirit of Christmas. See www.templeshows.com. Lace-up those running shoes, grab some antlers and get ready for Moore County's 14th Annual Reindeer Fun Run Dec. 1-14 this year a virtual event. Register and complete your race at any time during this period. Go to https://reindeerfunrun.com/ for a few pedestrian-friendly course suggestions.

    No matter the day, Fayetteville and the surrounding area have many holiday activities for families and singles. Now is the time to start planning the festivities.

    This article also appears in the December issue of Womens View magazine.

    01 01 Photo 2

    01 03 Lu Mil lights









    Pictured:(Left) Christmas light displays are being modified to comply with COVID-19 restrictions for mask wearing and social distancing. Visitors will remain in their vehicles as they drive through the Christmas in the Park light display at Arnette Park. (Right) There are light displays in Fayetteville and in surrounding areas like this one at Lu-Mil Winery in Elizabethtown.

  • 12-3-14-cumberland-oratorio.gifThe members of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers are passionate about chorale music. They are passionate about the community, too. Each year the organization performs several concerts, many of them in partnership with other organizations. While Director of Choral Activities and Music Education at Methodist University Dr. Michael Martin does an outstanding job of bringing a variety of chorale productions to the community, the one that does not change from year to year is the December performance of the “Hallelujah Chorus.” This year, the performance is set for Dec. 13 at St. Ann Catholic Church.

    “We are performing the first section of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ for the concert. Specifically, it is called ‘Part the First,’ which deals primarily with the birth of Christ,” said Martin. “This is why this first part is so popular during the holiday season, although some places do the entire ‘Messiah’ work. The chorus of ‘Hallelujah’ is actually borrowed from ‘Part the Second,’ yet we include it as it is a traditional part of the Christmas holiday season.”

    Not only is this annual performance of “Messiah” a gift to the community, it is one of the many ways that the members of The Cumberland Oratorio Singers reach out to fellow singers and musicians, and people in the area who appreciate music.

    “What I most enjoy about this performance is the community aspect of it all,” said Martin. “We hire a professional orchestra and we hire professional soloists. However, our chorus is made up of ‘volunteer’ professionals, if you will, that come from every corner of our community. This event also invites people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to sing this piece, and maybe haven’t since college, to perform it with us. These types of presentations of ‘Messiah’ are quite popular during the holidays, so it is not unique to Fayetteville. The best part of this event is about building our sense of community; it always will be.”

    If people would like to participate, they are welcome to attend the last Monday rehearsals with the orchestra on Dec. 1 at Highland Presbyterian Church and Dec. 8 at St. Ann Church. All rehearsals are from 7-9 p.m. Participants need to supply their own music. If making the practice is not an option, people are still welcome to perform. On the night of the concert, anyone wishing to perform needs to tell the greeters that they would like to sing along and they will be directed to areas where they can stand and sit without disrupting the experience of those who have come just to listen. There is no special dress for the concert.

    One of the ways that The Cumberland Oratorio Singers keeps performances fresh is by featuring different soloists. This year, Jeffrey Jones, who is on the faculty of Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina, is the bass soloist. Anne Rogers, music director at St. Patrick’s Church, will sing the soprano solo. Brenda Vandervort (mezzo soprano) and Melvin Ezzel (tenor) have performed with the group before and continue to be an asset to the organization.

    Unlike many other pieces, during “Messiah”, the audience stands for the chorus. “I think audiences always wonder why people stand for the chorus of ‘Hallelujah.’ Theories abound, the most common being that King George II, attending the London premiere of ‘Messiah’ in March of 1743, was so moved by the ‘Hallelujah’ that he stood up,” said Martin. “If the king stands, everybody stands. The only problem is that there is no evidence that he was even at the concert; newspapers and eyewitnesses do not report any royal presence. People are welcome to survey the myriad of research out there as to all the speculation. However, I think it is a great tradition and, if anything, draws the whole audience and participants in at the end of a long performance.”

    The performance is set for 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.singwithcos.org.

    Photo: One of the sounds of the season in Cumberland County is the annual presentation of Handel’s “Messiah” by the Cumberland Oratorio Singers. As in years past, community members are in-vited to join the group on Dec. 13 and sing along. 

  • 12-17-14-bcpe.gif“The Herdman’s were the worst kids in the whole history of the world...”

    After 23 years of presenting The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, the Cape Fear Regional Theatre continues to touch audiences with the spirit of the Christmas season.

    Year after year, hundreds of children vie for their chance to grace the stage as Beth, Glady’s, Charlie, Imogene and even the tiniest baby angel or shepherd, wearing his father’s bathrobe. And each year, proud parents and theatre goers sit in the audi ence shedding tears, not just for delight of their own children, but for the touching moment when Imogene Herdman and her clan begin to fully understand the meaning of Christmas.

    The story of the Herdman family is not a new one. In fact, the idea of a poor family without manners who bullies other children and infiltrates the church Christmas pageant simply for cookies and candy, is all too common in this day in time.

    No one in the church, including the minister, wants to give the Herdmans a chance to be a part of the annual Christmas pageant. Reluctantly, Grace Bradley, first time director of the pageant, assigns the lead roles of Mary, Joseph, the Wisemen and the Angel of the Lord to the Herdman clan. Mischief soon befalls. The children never get through one full rehearsal of the pageant due to the Herdman’s questions about the Bible, “What are the wadded up clothes?”

    “They just put Jesus in a feed box! Where was the child welfare?” and the group’s cigar-smoking shenanigans that leads to a small fire at the church.

    When all is said and done, the spirit of Christmas overcomes the family as well as church members and pageant participants as they watch a very touching transformation.

    As an audience member in Saturday’s matinee performance, I too, shed tears as I watched the story unfold. BCPE has become a “foot in the door” to theatre for many local children. Some we have even watched grow up in aother productions at the CFRT, after they’ve gotten their first taste of the stage through BCPE. It’s always a pleasure to watch children deliver their first lines on our local stage and others shine from their adorable portrayals of these characters.

    One shining star in this performance was Gladys Herdman, played by Savannah Reese Toman. When performed well, the character of Gladys should steal the show with her rants of “Shazam!” and impersonation of the “Mighty Marvo” comic book character. Savannah was no exception. She delivered each of her lines with precision and meaning. She was animated and adorable and even at such a young age, she seemed to really understand everything she said.

    My only disappointment with BCPE? The CFRT continues to videotape the part of Mrs. Armstrong. This character, written in the script as an onstage character, used to be performed LIVE by some of the great local female comedians of Fayetteville — the late Ann Tosco who played the original Mrs. Armstrong and the great Bo Thorp. Tosco was originally wheeled around the stage in a hospital bed which helped build the intimacy of the play and kept the humorous character live. While Thorp still plays the character on screen, I believe the CFRT misses some great laughs from Armstrong (Thorp) by placing her on video, which the audience is lead to perceive as “Facetime” via an iphone. In a world where everything seems to be changing so fast and technology is everywhere, can’t we just keep some things traditional? It would be nice, in this writer’s opinion, to forego the cellphones and video on stage and take the audience back to a time where everything was a little slower and a little more intimate.

    Even with that said, I would be remiss if I did not tell you, if you are looking for a chance to spend an hour of quality time with your family, take them to see The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. There is no doubt if you see it once, you will make it a part of your family’s Christmas traditions.

  •     “Father God I am clay in your hands, help to stay that with through all of life’s demands because they chip and they nag and they pull at me and every little thing I make up my mind to be …. And I pray that I’m an artist that rises above the road that is wide and full of self-love.”
        Those are the words that kick-off Toby Mac’s “Lose My Soul,” one of the singles from his latest offering Portable Sounds. The singer/songwriter, who has been called “one of the 50 most influential evangelical leaders in America,” will headline Winter Jam 2009, one of the biggest Contemporary Christian tours to hit the roads. The 10-week tour brings together some of Christian music’s biggest names for a “house party” that is more about touching the soul than raising the roof.
        {mosimage}In addition to great music, the tour brings evangelist Tony Nolan to the stage to share the word of God in an environment designed to open hearts and change lives. Nolan, the son of a homeless, mentally-ill prostitute, was put in foster care where he suffered unspeakable abuse at the hands of his own foster parents. For the first three years of his life, he was repeatedly sexually abused, brutally beaten and thrown down flights of stairs for sport and burned with cigarettes when he refused to perform perverted sexual acts. At age 3, Tony was adopted by a poor and dysfunctional family for only $200. His adopted father beat and verbally abused Tony regularly. In drunken rages he would often look at Tony in disgust and demand, “Is this all my $200 got me?! I wish I’d never bought you.”
        By the age of 13, he was hooked on drugs and looking for a way out. While contemplating suicide, Nolan was given the word of God, and it not only touched his life, it changed it. Since then, he has seen his role as “helping people get it about God’s great love and salvation.” One way he does that is participating in events like Winter Jam.
    Since its inception, Winter Jam has consistently led Pollstar’s rankings in attendance. This past year was no different. In 2008, the tour averaged 9,172 in nightly attendance, which gave it a ranking of fourth in Pollstar’s first quarter ticket sales, topping Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, the Police and the Foo Fighters. More important to the event organizers than the numbers is the people whose lives are changed — and that goes beyond ticket sales, but unless people are there, organizers understand they can’t hear the “life changing” gospel of Jesus.
        When you look at the sheer number and fame of the bands on the lineup, you would think the tickets would be through the roof. But that isn’t the case. Winter Jam has, from the beginning, had a “no tickets” policy that allows concert attendees to pay a flat $10 fee at the door for admission. That’s a lot of  bang for your buck.
    Winter Jam comes to the Crown Coliseum on Saturday, Jan. 10. The show starts at 6 p.m.
        This year’s lineup includes punk pop group Hawk Nelson, Brandon Heath (the GMA New Artist of the Year,) Francesca Battistelli and Stephanie Smith. At select dates, The Afters, Family Force 5 and BarlowGirl will also be on stage. That kind of lineup makes the wait at the box office well worth the price.
        TobyMac says it is his passion that keeps his music relevant. “Passion for my art drives me so long as I feel the Most High breathing new songs through me,” he said. “Over the years, I have noticed some consistency in what I appeal to God for, like ‘Help me remember what this is all about … God, I don’t want to be that jaded man. I don’t want to be that hardened artist. I want to remain soft in your hands, so that you can shape me into a vessel that you can breathe through’ … I expected great, amazing things while recording this record. I’m not talking about sales or first week numbers or critics. I’m talking about people’s lives being touched.”

        Contact Janice Burton at editor@upandcomingweekly.com
  • SKYLINE (Rated PG-13) 3 Stars

    Todd and Amy hated it. Shane loved it. You know what? I found Skyline (92 minutes) utterly delightful. It was12-08-10-skyline.gif easily the best B-movie I’ve seen since The Mist (the first movie I ever reviewed, for those of you keeping a file). Ok, the film had its flaws. The acting was ludicrous. The characters were next to unlikable. The dialogue was sexist, outdated, and uninteresting. The “aliens” resembled rubber leftovers from a bad Godzilla costume. Nevertheless, for a cheaply made independent science fiction movie it was absolute perfection!

    Jarrod (Eric Balfour, AKA toe sucker from Six Feet Under) and Elaine (Scottie Thompson) are awakened under mysterious circumstances. This teaser leads into a flashback that provides some backstory on the couple. The first important thing we find out is that Jarrod is a real square-jawed hero type. He is a polite and well-bred young artist, sensitive to the needs of others and aware of the myriad obligations that friendship entails. Other than that he is kind of an immature jerk, but take the bad with the good. Elaine is a bit of a cardboard cutout, but she is super pretty and reminds me of Milla Jovovich, so she can stay.

    The couple has flown into Los Angeles to celebrate best friend Terry’s (Donald Faison, AKA Murray from Clueless) birthday. They enjoy the party despite some awkward moments between Terry’s girlfriend Candice (Brittany Daniel, AKA Jessica Wakefield from Sweet Valley High) and Terry’s “confidential secretary” (Crystal Reed).

    Finally, we get back to the scene that started it all, and we find out that an invasive light is compelling people to do stupid things while creating a totally gnarly black vine tattoo thing on whatever part of their bodies it touches. The men-folk head out to investigate (naturally), where they get to scream and run and bear witness to all the messed up alien stuff that the FX boys could put together on short notice.

    Eventually they smarten up and retreat to their penthouse sanctuary. Of course, they immediately retreat to an inner room, fill up the bathtub and sinks with water, and ration supplies while developing a brilliant plan to evade and escape. HAHAHA. That so didn’t happen, because the characters are way dumber than the average bear! The twits decide to leave the relative safety of the condo and drive to the nearby marina, which works out as well as you imagine, considering the brain trust behind the plan.

    On their way back into sanctuary they hook up with random concierge Oliver (David Zayas AKA Batista from Dexter). Oliver tries to bring the machismo, but his clearly superior skills are sucked into the massive black hole of idiocy created by two incompetents trying to out-stupid each other. That’s when the smoking, drinking, and fighting starts. Enter the Air Force! Surely they will save the day!

    Nope. It’s just not that kind of movie. Instead of the Air Force saving the day, they up the ante by causing even more destruction, which is as awesome as it sounds. It is clear that the body count is going to mount up since there are way too many characters for the audience to develop a real emotional connection. In short order, alien pods, tankers, floaters, and matrix-style technosquids start sucking up delicious brains and coating captured humans with some righteous oily black slime.

    So, overall I was laughing hysterically through most of the movie. There are a ton of plot holes, the narrative timeline is all screwed up, and the movie is filled with B-list “actors” elevated to relevancy by the presence of one David Zayas, who has some pretty good work under his belt. In other words, you need to see this immediately.

  • uac121510001.gif Those living in small apartments or the big city could use some gadget-friendly help asthey go about their day.

    Smarter Sound: Have a quieter commute or just tune out the neighbors with PhiatonNoise Cancelling Earphones PS 20 NC. The in-ear headset has noise blockingtechnology that maximizes the quality of music from their MP3 players whileminimizing outside interference. The lightweight earphones use one AAA battery andcome with inline volume control and a choice of silicone earbuds. (www.phiaton.com)

    Stay Connected: A recent National Health Interview Survey showed that nearly twothirdsof adults who shared an apartment or house with unrelated roommates reportedhaving only mobile phones, making that group the most likely to be completelywireless and struggling withdroppedor missed calls.To help with cell phone signal issues, the roommatefriendly zBoost-METRO Cell Phone Signal Booster, fromWi-Ex, works with multiple users and multiple carrierssimultaneously. Its antenna mounts to a window and comeswith everything they need to cover 1,500 square feet.

    Gadget Grands Keep the grandparents up to speed with easy-to-use technologythat keeps them connected to the family.

    Picture This: Upgrade their family photo collection with a Bluetooth Enabled DigitalPicture Frame from Portable USA.It has a 10.4-inch LCD display with 640 x 480 resolution. You can upload new pictures from your phone. In addition to showing pictures, it will play video, music and text. It has a USB connector and 2 memory card slots in addition to 256MB of internalmemory, and comes with two wood frames.(www.amazon.com)

    Get Face Time: If their computer doesn’t have a built-in video camera, the compactMicrosoft LifeCam VX-500 is ideal. It has a 1.3 megapixel sensor that shoots VGAvideo and captures twice as much light as other devices, for a much clearer picture. Ithas a flexible base that lets them adjust the angle, and a built-in mic. It’s optimized forWindows Live Messenger, but also works with Skype, AIM and Yahoo Messenger. Itcomes in three fun colors. (www.store.microsoft.com)

    On-the-Go JoesTravel junkies and vacationing families need gadgets that will stand up to the rigors ofbeing on the road.

    Extreme Video: Whether it’s on a bicycle’s handlebars or strapped to a surfboard,the ATC9K All-TerrainVideo Camera fromOregon Scientificcan take a hit. It’sa durable, shockresistantunit thatcaptures 5-megapixelstills as well as 1080pHD video. It alsohas a G-Sensor thattracks measurementsfor speed, hang time,angle of movement and other motion stats, and a laser pointer that lets them linethe camera up with whatever they want to shoot. (www2.oregonscientific.com)

    Waterproof Reading: Keep their Kindle dry with the M-Edge GuardianWaterproof Case. It will float on the water’s surface for hands-free reading. Itscustom-molded interior and mounting pads give cushioned support, and it also hasflexible sealed cutouts so they can access the controls. As an extra security measure,there’s a ring at the bottom of the case so it can be strapped to a lanyard or belt.(www.medgestore.com)

    iWorkers The number of people working from their homes seems to grow every day. Get youriWorker set up right with these gadgets.

    Consistent Coverage: Cell phones are essential communication tools for teleworkers,and when they don’t get signal, it makes work even more work. The zBoost-SOHODual Band Cell Phone Signal Booster supports multiple phones simultaneously andgives them the coverage they need to work through the whole house (up to 3,500 sqft; including aircards, EDGE and 3G Technology). (www.wi-ex.com)

    Charge It: Keep all the essential office gadgets charged up with Energizer’sInductive Charging Station. With two large inductive charging zones that don’trequire locking the device into a parti cular position, your iWorker can just settheir phone (and two other devices) down and it will get charged up. It has a USBport to allow users to charge additional devices such as cameras or GPS units.(www.target.com)

    Custom Caffeine: No office would be complete without a coffeemaker. TheAeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker from Aerobie lets anyone brew Americanstyle or Espresso style coffees for use in lattes or cappuccinos. It has a totalimmersionsystem that mixes water and grounds at a moderate temper ature, thengentle air pressure pushes the mix into a micro-filter, resulting in a smooth, richbrew in just 30 seconds. Visit www.aerobie.com to find a retailer near you.


  •     At the outset of 2008, much of the nation’s attention was focused on two things: the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the presidential elections. As the election got closer, the war receded to the background and the economy and gas prices took center stage. In the opening minutes of 2009, politics and the economy will still be the most important issues to many in the nation — Cumberland County is no exception.
        As 2008 got underway, both the county and the City of Fayetteville were focused on water — clean drinking water. Residents in western Fayetteville were faced with contaminated wells, as were citizens in the western portion of the city. Both governments began researching efforts to get water to the citizens in the affected areas. In Fayetteville, PWC expanded water services to residents in their areas, and just a week before the end of 2008, the county worked out a plan to provide water to county residents via an agreement with neighboring counties.
       {mosimage}In January 2008, the Crown Coliseum celebrated its 10th anniversary with a sold-out concert featuring Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire. The concert was the first of several sold-out shows at the coliseum throughout 2008. For much of the year, local resident Paul Beard was at the helm of the Crown; as 2008 drew to a close, Beard, along with marketing director Wind Lawson and Fair Manager Hubert Bullard, came under fire, with Beard and Lawson resigning their positions. Bullard was informed his contract would not be renewed. Going into 2009, the county is looking at a national search to find new management for the facility.
        The state of the less fortunate in our community was discussed throughout much of the beginning of 2008. A new panhandling ordinance passed by the City of Fayetteville in January 2008, drew approval from some segments of the community, but disapproval from homeless advocates. Those who work with the homeless on a daily basis argued that the panhandling ban would have adverse affects on the homeless in the community. At the same time, they took the opportunity to bring the real problems of homelessness in the city to the forefront, asking the city to put as much of a focus on homelessness as it did on panhandling.
        Parking also became an issue, as city consultants brought a comprehensive parking plan to downtown. The plan focused on the cost of parking — not just to the city — but also to those who use parking downtown. As 2009 winds down, not much as has been achieved in this arena, but it’s an area the city will have to tackle sooner rather than later.
        2008 saw the approval of a new landmark in downtown — the N.C. State Veterans Park. In February, the city unveiled plans for the $15 million park. It caused a great deal of excitement in the community, as well as controversy. Part of the park’s plan called for commercial development in Rowan Street Park. Local residents appeared en masse to fight that aspect of the development. Their voice was heard, and with the exception of the Rowan Park development, the Veterans Park proposal moved forward, gaining funding through the N.C. Legislature. The city has received the first half of the funding for the park, and has begun work on plans.
        With veterans gaining much-deserved recognition, a controversy at the VA Medical Center also gained headlines. At the center of the controversy was a debate over the placement of religious paraphernalia in the chapel. A VA administrator from Virginia ordered the removal of the religious accouterments from the chapel, which resulted in the resignation from the center of its chaplain.
        In April, the city took a critical look at the city’s transportation needs. The transit task force tackled the issue of improving the city’s transit system, which could only be described as substandard. With the work of the task force and the hiring of a new management staff, the transit system made strides over 2008. New buses were put into service, routes were shortened and changed, and money — a lot of money — was added to the transit system budget. That, according to city leaders, was only a drop in the bucket of what is really needed to improve the system.     “We are only trying to get to the state average,” said Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne.
        The city also took a hard look at its appearance, with Fayetteville Beauty, a volunteer project headed by City Council Bobby Hurst, making the city’s appearance important.
        Honoring the men and women of the community was also important in 2008 — from the Field of Honor to an AUSA Welcome Home Concert to the Army’s Army Fayetteville embraced its relationship to the military and showed its support to the men and women in uniform.
        As the summer got in full swing, Fayetteville, like the rest of the nation, was held captive by the rising gas prices. With gas near $4 a gallon, many in the community stayed home and took advantage of the many community events sponsored by nonprofits in the community. At the center of many of these events was Festival Park. As the year wound down, Festival Park was still central to community discussion –— but those discussion revolved around the proposed construction of the new Fayetteville Museum of Art. With the year winding down, the Museum Task Force, appointed by the city, took a break for the holidays. When it reconvenes in 2009, the task force will again tackle the finances of the museum as it relates to the sustainability of the facility.
        In the political arena, it was a year of firsts: the first African-American president was elected; the first female North Carolina governor prepares to step into office; and in Cumberland County, a female — Jeannette Council — took over as chairman of the county commissioners.

    Contact Janice Burton at editor@upandcomingweekly.com






  • uac120711001.jpg For the past 20 years, Christmas in Fayetteville has meant a staging of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by the Cape Fear Regional Theatre. So, it seems a little unusual that the theatre’s new artistic director, Tom Quaintance, would choose to direct this tried and true show as his first venture on the stage after taking the reigns from Fayetteville’s First Lady of Theatre, Bo Thorp

    .But there is a method to Quaintance’s madness. What others may see as a baptism by fi re, Quaintance sees as an opportunity to understand the heart and soul of the community — it’s families.

    With that in mind, Quaintance jumped feet fi rst into what may actually be one of the most diffi cult shows produced by the theatre annually. Forget about the musicals with their demand for a range of vocals and dancing. Forget about the gripping dramas. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever presents a challenge that is unique. Quaintance had the dubious honor of watching the auditions of almost 300 of the county’s children, and then culling that number to about 180, and then, directing, not one, not two, but three separate casts in this year’s production of the county’s most beloved Christmas performance.

    This is not a task for the weak of heart. Quaintance saw it not so much as a challenge, but as an opportunity.

    “There are a couple of reasons why I wanted to direct this show,” explained Quaintance during a recent interview. “First, I felt my principal job coming in was getting to know the community, because that’s what this theatre is about — community.

    “As one of the flagship arts organizations in the community, the Cape Fear Regional Theatre is all about the people in the community, so I think the biggest challenge coming into this job is getting to know the people and personally taking the pulse of the community for our organization. I can’t effectively serve in this position unless I know the community,” he continued.

    So, Quaintance saw the chance to work with 180 plus children as a good way to start.

    “I felt like this would give me the opportunity to get to know the families — one of the primary reasons I am here is because this is such a family-centered community,” said Quaintance, whose first child was born late this summer.12-07-11-cover-story.jpg

    As an educator for more than 13 years, Quaintance also saw the opportunity to work with children tremendously exciting.

    During the weeks of rehearsal leading up to the opening of the show this week, Quaintance has learned a few things about our community.

    “The children have confirmed what I expected coming in,” he said. “This community is hard working, enthusiastic and appreciative of a high standard and good work. All of these kids want to do good work. In doing this show, they feel like they are a part of something that matters. Everybody from the smallest Baby Angel to the Herdmans has worked very hard.”

    Quaintance’s second reason for choosing to direct the show is a love of the story.

    “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is the story of why we do theatre It’s a about transformation,” he said.

    In recent years, directors have taken the show to an edgier side. Quaintance elected to get back to basics — “let’s tell the story” has become his mantra.

    “This is the first time I have directed this show, so the first thing I did was read the book” he said. “It’s a sweet story, but it is sharp, too. It’s not a sappy story, it’s really a great story about how outsiders are treated and how these ‘supposed good people’ treat those who are different It makes you question the labels, and is a surprisingly sophisticated show, while at the same time being tremendously fun with a beautiful message.”

    Quaintance has made sure the actors in the play understand the message. Rehearsals have been part discussion and part acting.

    “Are the Herdmans really just bad?” Quaintance asked the cast one Friday afternoon.

    They quickly answered with a resounding “Yes.”

    “Really?” asked Quaintance. “Listen to the way these good girls talk to and about the Herdmans when adults are present. How do you think they talk to them when they aren’t around?”

    Wheels started turning in the heads of the cast, and as the discussion developed, the light went on. The kids started questioning who the real bullies were.

    12-07-11-cover-story-2.jpg “I think the story is not just about the Herdmans transforming. It’s about the community’s transformation, not only in how they treat people, but also in how they view Christmas. The pageant has become something done by rote, with no meaning. The Herdmans come in with this completely unjaded view of the pageant. They want to know what it means. They want to get it right. They feel something. And in wanting to get it right and understand the miracle of Christmas, everybody goes on this journey.”

    The Best Christmas Pageant Ever opens on Thursday, Dec. 8 and runs through Dec. 18. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children. For tickets and show times, visit the CFRT website at www.cfrt.org.

    Photo: (Middle right) The story is not just about the Herdmans transforming. It’s about the community’s transformation, not only in how they treat people, but also in how they view Christmas.  (Bottom left); Quaintance has made sure the actors in the play understand the message. Rehearsals have been part discussion and part acting. 

  • They’ve only been there a matter of weeks, but Enrique Castaneda and Juan Macias Jr. are excited to have the doors of Via 216 open and to serve the customers who have been enjoying a meal and/or drink with them. 12-30-bar-and-grill-2-men.jpg

    Located in the former home of the Broadstreet Cafe at 216 Tallywood Shopping Center, Via 216 boasts a full bar complete with 27 different beers on tap, a pool room, a dance floor and several televisions with more on the way. What the owners want you to remember though is the great food and friendly atmosphere — and the good time that you had at their bar and grill.

    Castaneda and Macias Jr. are both veterans of the restaurant business.

    “My dad owns MiCasita. I’ve been working for him for years and I wanted to branch out and startsomething new,” said Macias.

    “I am trying to have my own thing here. “I worked for my dad for the longest time and then Enrique came in and opened up a new world for me. He showed me that it is not just serving people and giving them drinks and food and taking their money — it is actually enjoying what you do and giving a different aspect of what you put into the work. There is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than people would expect.”

    A friend of the Macias family since 1995, Casteneda was one of the owners of the Trio Cafe before he moved to Atlanta to expand his culinary reperatoire.

    “We've talked for years about doing something,” said Castaneda.

    “It was a little hard for me to move back here but we also have some friends here who said ‘Come on Enrique we can really do something here in Fayettevile...now we have this. It is not too fancy, but we have a good presentation and good food at a good price.”

    The menu boasts not just standard pub fare, but also a few unique items and many of the old time favorites have been given a new spin in what Castaneda calls New American Fare.

    “We are bringing to Fayetteville new American Food. What it is, is the regular stuff that you grew up with but stronger flavor,” said Castenada.

    “Maybe you can see that we have ribs but we have the chipotle barbecue sauce. We added the peppers and bring the Latin flavor to it.”

    If you aren’t up for a late night, Macias pointed out that they are open for lunch and have a “Fast Via Lunch” menu that includes kid friendly options too. He also pointed out that everything is made fresh daily — from scratch.

    “It is a nice, big place people can enjoy,” said Macias.

    “We are putting alot of effort into making sure everything looks good and that this place has something special.”

    For more information stop by or give them a call at 486-7832.

  • At a time during the holiday season when many look forward to some quiet time and even some time off, Christine Kastner fi nds herself in the very thick of it in her new position, which started right after Thanksgiving. After an extensive national search and selection process, The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (FSO) has named Kastner as its new president and CEO to “direct” the business aspect of North Carolina’s oldest continually funded orchestra.

    “Right here at the beginning, I jumped right into two concerts,” said Kastner, referring to the performance of Handel’s “Messiah” with the Cumberland Oratorio Singers at First Presbyterian Church on Dec. 4 and the orchestra’s festive Holiday Extravaganza on Dec. 10. “There’s no slow time to get up to speed as far as what needs to be done for the concerts!

    ”Kastner, who has lived in Fayetteville for 13 years, most recently served for three years as the executive director of Cape Fear Studios and views the move into her newly created position with the FSO as a “fairly smooth transition in some respects.”

    “I’m using a lot of the same granting agencies, and I’m already familiar with the Fayetteville and the Cumberland County community,” Kastner said.

    Maestro Fouad Fakhouri, music director and conductor of the FSO, notes the importance of Kastner’s connections to the area.

    “I think she’s very, very capable, I’m very, very optimistic for our future, and I am very much looking forward to working with her,” said Fakhouri. “She understands community and has a proven record. It’s a win-win to have her come work with us.”

    “I think the symphony in Fayetteville — and all symphonies really — are having to reach out and explore new audiences and become more accessible for people. It [the classical music culture] can be somewhat intimidating for a lot of the population, so we want people to realize that it doesn’t need to be intimidating. One of the projects we have for spring is actually to invite, through a grant of the N.C. Arts Council, the 21- to 40-year-old set to some dress rehearsals so that they’ll start to feel comfortable and be able to actually interact with the musicians and with Maestro Fakhouri.

    “We’re exploring several new ventures with the school system and with young people because that’s our future audience. All third graders in Cumberland County get to come hear the symphony perform Peter and the Wolf,” she said. “There’s been curriculum developed in the school that the music teachers do with the children before they come.”

    Kastner steps into her new position in challenging economic times but remains optimistic about the symphony’s continued success and growth through coordinated efforts with other arts organizations

    .“Well, there are challenges for all arts organizations right now,” said Kastner. “Funding is reduced at the state and federal level, granting agencies are tapped to a greater extent and have a hard time meeting the needs, so there are defi nitely funding challenges, and we’re not alone in that. But we hope by partnering with other organizations we can overcome some of those funding challenges by combining our audiences and our supporters and tapping some new grant sources.”

    Kastner sees a bright future for the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra as it continues to ensure its12-21-11-symphony.jpg artistic excellence while broadening its audiences and reaching young people though diverse performance venues and educational programs.

    “I’m very excited, and I think there is a lot of potential for growth for our symphony. They have reached a point where Maestro Fakhouri has elevated the artistic programming, and now we need to bring the operations in line with the artistic programming to allow for even more expansion.”

    For more information on the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and its upcoming performances, visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org, call (910) 433-4690 or email info@fayettevillesymphony.org.

    Photo: Chris Kastner

  • 01coverUAC122618001 Scene: the early 1980s at Cross Creek Mall. In a music store, a recent Army-spouse transplant and theater actress, Deborah Martin Mintz, spies a cassette tape of one of her favorite Broadway musicals, “Cats.” It is the only copy in the store. As she reaches for the tape, she encounters another hand reaching for the tape at the exact same time.

    The other hand belongs to a longtime Cumberland County Schools elementary educator, Claire Mansfield, who invites her newly discovered friend to dinner.

    That dinner was the beginning of Mintz’s journey into the Cumberland County arts scene.

    Today, though she might not admit it, Mintz holds the unique distinction of having significantly impacted the development of nearly every arts and cultural institution in the county. Early this year, she will retire from a 25-year career working with the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. For 17 of those years, she served as its executive director.

    That dinner in the early ’80s led to Deborah meeting the community of creatives and visionaries in this area who were not then as well-known or easy to find as they are today. At that time, there were only two major theaters in town: Fort Bragg Playhouse and Fayetteville Little Theatre, which would later be renamed Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

    Through the dinner, Mintz connected with Bo Thorp, FLT’s founding artistic director. Soon, Mintz was volunteering backstage for FLT’s production of “Annie,” and soon after that, she was hired as FLT’s box office manager in addition to acting both there and at FBPH. One of her first roles was as Lenny in “Crimes of the Heart,” directed by Thorp.

    Four years later, Mintz was at a crossroads. “Both my parents had died, and I’d gotten a divorce,” she said. “My mother died when I was 29, and my dad died right after.” On top of that, she’d already begun the process of moving to Fort Meade, Maryland, with her now-former husband.

    Thorp reached out to Mintz and encouraged her to move back to Fayetteville and work for FLT, which had at that point been re-christened Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

    “I remember thinking, if ever there was a woman in transition, here it is,” Mintz said. She accepted Thorp’s offer, coming on as CFRT’s developing and marketing director and later moving up to associate director.

    Eventually, she needed to slow down from the breakneck pace of working both onstage and behind the scenes in theater.

    That’s when she accepted a job offer from the Arts Council, joining the staff in 1993 as associate director. The Arts Council had been founded 20 years prior to Mintz’s arrival by visionaries from organizations like FLT, Junior League of Fayetteville and Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra.

    “Before I came to the Arts Council, I did not fully understand it,” Mintz said, noting that the function of an arts council in each county is unique. “Basically, our Arts Council receives funding wherever it can and then utilizes those funds to grow the community through the arts.

    “Sometimes, people think of an arts council as being here to support the arts. Actually, it’s here to support the community through the arts — which means you’re supporting the arts.”

    Mintz dove into her new role. She enjoyed using her theater chops to lead creative programing and planning. When the executive director left in 2000, Mintz accepted the position of interim executive director with the intention of returning to her previous position once a replacement was found. Then, six months later, disaster struck.

    That disaster led to Mintz and other key players making state history in advocacy for the arts — but first, the backstory.

    Less than a year into Mintz’s role as interim executive director, laws changed, and funds coming to local governments from the state were slated to disappear. That meant cultural organizations would not receive their fourth quarter funding, and arts funding would be zeroed out soon after. CFRT and FSO were just two of a multitude of cultural organizations that would suffer greatly diminished funding since the Arts Council would no longer be able to provide them with grants.

    At this time, Mintz accepted the position of executive director and rolled up her sleeves. Over the next month, she was joined by advocates, including leaders from City Council, the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners and the state legislature, to nfind a solution. And they did.

    Late in 2001, thanks to their efforts, a law passed in the North Carolina General Assembly that allowed 1.5 percent of the county’s Occupancy Tax, which is tourism-related, to be allocated for financial support of the arts. The reasoning was that the organizations the Arts Council supports play a primary role in drawing both tourists and residents to visit and stay in this community.

    Mintz said former North Carolina Sen. Tony Rand, former Fayetteville mayor/former Rep. Bill Hurley and Rep. Marvin Lucas were key in the legislature, and that two leading volunteers from the community were Eric Lindstrom and Carole Goforth.

    Thanks to the passing of this law, Cumberland County became the first county in the state to create at least one stabilized source of income supporting the arts — which allowed its cultural entities to thrive in ways never before possible.

    During her 17 years as executive director, Mintz also led the development of some of this community’s best-loved events, including 4th Fridays, A Dickens Holiday and the International Folk Festival. In September, the Arts Council celebrated the 40th IFF, which it began producing right before Mintz came on as executive director.

    Following her retirement announcement, Mintz has been showered with accolades from all corners of the community. At the Arts Council’s annual holiday party Dec. 4, Rand presented her with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian award in the state. County Commissioner Larry Lancaster honored her with a public proclamation, calling her “a true pillar of the community, a champion of the arts and a dear friend to many.”

    Also at the holiday party, the Arts Council staff presented Mintz with a painting of Cayley, Mintz’s beloved dog that she adopted from a shelter, commissioned by local watercolorist Kathy Flood. Wilmington artist Paul Hill has also been commissioned to create a piece of public art that will go up near the Arts Council building to honor Mintz. The project is being spearheaded by Lindstrom and Jean Schaefer Moore, who are both past presidents of the Arts Council Board of Trustees.

    At the Fayetteville City Council meeting Dec. 10, Mayor Mitch Colvin presented Mintz with the City Key and Coin, in honor of her “devoted interest and unwavering commitment to the city of Fayetteville.”

    Ending Mintz’s career on a truly prestigious note, in November — without applying for it — the Arts Council received Ovation’s Stand for the Arts award, which is given to only 12 organizations in the United States each year. A representative from Ovation, America’s only arts TV network, traveled from Los Angeles, California, to present the award to the Arts Council at its 45th Anniversary gala Nov. 8. It came with a $10,000 grant. The award is given to recipients based on their level of community outreach and engagement; ability to create inclusive access to artistic programming; and innovative approach to arts education and skills development.

    Craig Hampton, who served as the city’s special projects director for 29 years, worked with Mintz often during his career. “She always made sure everyone was heard and considered,” he said. “She knows how to guide what comes out of a discussion with an understanding of both the art and the practical side.”

    Mary Kate Burke, who moved here in 2017 to become CFRT’s third artistic director in its 55-year history, said, “Coming from New York just over a year ago, I was very excited to move to Fayetteville because I was so aware that the business leaders in the community knew how important the arts were to quality of life here. And I think a lot of that is the unceasing work that Deborah and the Arts Council at large have done.”

    A national search is underway to fill Mintz’s position, which she will vacate early this year. Mintz said that person will need “tenacity, passion and yet an understanding that your tenacity and passion will never do it by itself. It is the love and passion of the community.”

    She added that in her retirement, she looks forward to volunteer work she’s never before had time to do, and that she will “continue to support this community that supported me.

    “When I was that woman in transition and came here, this community embraced me. As Bo Thorp said, ‘This community is about yes. If you want to come here and you want to make a difference, you are a champion.’”

  • 10 Joy “We got married on a Saturday, drove to Atlanta to spend the night and came to Fayetteville the next day.” Mississippi native Joy Cogswell’s wedding story is relatable for many military spouses living in Cumberland County. And, like many others who planned to only pass through, Joy and her husband, Bob, ended up putting down roots in Fayetteville and building a life here.

    This month, Joy retired from 45 years of playing piano in multiple capacities for Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, including every Sunday morning’s traditional 11 a.m. service. She loved what she did; in those 45 years, she only took four Sundays off.

    Joy and Bob arrived in Fayetteville Sept. 20, 1970, with plans to stay here for Bob’s four years of Air Force service. But then, they found Snyder Memorial — a place to worship that felt like home. “It’s hard to find (the spirit they carry) in a lot of other places,” she said. “That is what drew us to stay here, was Snyder.”

    Joy, who studied music education and piano at Florida State University, was recruited for her musical talents soon after joining Snyder. In December of 1970, now-retired Minister of Education Wayne Ham asked Joy to teach first-grade choir.

    “It’s kind of neat because children who were in that choir are now grown, one of them being Wayne’s son, Bruce,” Joy said. “He was 6 years old at the time, and now he’s in his early 50s.”

    Teaching first-grade choir was the start of a career in which Joy touched many more lives and saw many more young musicians grow up.

    When then-Snyder Music Director Bob Haynes formed a youth choir in 1971, Joy served as its accompanist — and later its director for 12 years. She took her position as official church pianist when the church purchased its first grand piano in January of 1974.

    In 1984, she began leading a young-musicians’ preparatory program at Methodist University, which was at that time Methodist College. Under her leadership, the program grew to 400 students strong.

    Joy also pioneered the offering of Kindermusik, an internationally respected children’s music education program, in Fayetteville. In 1990, when Kindermusik introduced new curriculum for toddlers, Joy trained and got certified to teach it. Soon, at the Arts Council and at Methodist University, she was offering the first-ever Kindermusik classes in town. She still teaches Kindermusik classes — free of charge — to residents of the Fayetteville Metropolitan Housing Authority. FMHA is a nonprofit that helps low-income community members secure safe, affordable housing.

    One of Joy’s most significant positions, which she will continue to hold after stepping down as pianist, is as director of The Snyder Music Academy. Larry Dickens succeeded Haynes as Snyder’s music director in 1999 with dreams of starting a music academy. Of course, he looked to Joy for help, and of course, she said yes. She came on as director of The Snyder Music Academy in 2002, leaving her job at Methodist in 2003 to focus fully on the new program — a program that grew from zero to 400 students in its first year.

    Today, The Snyder Music Academy offers lessons in most instruments, singing and music therapy to children and adults throughout the region.

    Joy also added Kindermusik to the mix at Snyder. Her program there has been designated a Maestro Top Program for the past 20 years — which means she is recognized as being in the top 5 percent of Kindermusik educators internationally.

    Over the years, Joy also helped create and run the Dogwood Festival sanctioned event Festival of Keyboards; accompanied Snyder’s Adult Choir and Men’s Ensemble; and served as Snyder’s Children’s Choir coordinator and Young Musicians Choir director.

    Shortly before playing her last Sunday morning service, Joy reflected on what playing piano means to her. “I believe God gave me a gift to be able to share his love through my hands,” she said. “That’s always been my goal: to have people not look at me, but to … hear what God is trying to say to them through the music.

    “I can’t say enough about the three ministers of music I served under at Snyder.” Richard Suggs, who arrived five years ago, was the third minister of music Joy served under. “Each was different, but they were all wonderful,” she said.

    She called her church family of nearly 50 years one of the most loving congregations she has ever known.

    She also said her career would not have been possible without her husband. “He has been so supportive; he even joined the choir and the orchestra so he could see me. He has been my biggest supporter our whole marriage,” she said. "I love him dearly.”

    Of settling down in Fayetteville, Joy said, “Of course, that was God’s plan for us. That was not what we had planned to do at all. And we’ve been very happy that we did.”

    And it seems big plans for Joy’s life are not finished. Pepper Choplin, a well-known composer of choral and sacred music, recently asked Joy to play piano for a one-day concert he’ll be conducting at Carnegie Hall this May. The concert is called “Immortal Invisible: The Music of Pepper Choplin And Mary McDonald.”

    “I am honored; I think it’s God’s way of showing me that he’s got opportunities out there for me still,” Joy said.

    Photo: Joy Cogswell

  • 09Prayer for Mother Emanuel The exhibition “Leo Twiggs in Fayetteville” recently opened at the Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery on Gillespie Street. An educator and a painter, self-discovery and anonymity are integral parts of artmaking for Twiggs. Visitors to the exhibit will readily see the power of art to inspire, delight and enlighten. This is a tall order when visiting an exhibition, but if time is taken to examine and spend time with the works and understand the background of Leo Twiggs, then visitors may experience a personal self-discovery. The exhibit runs through January 19, 2019.

    Known as a pioneer in batik as a modern art form, Twiggs explores themes of race, African- American culture, politics, family relationships and personal history. Raised in South Carolina, the artist’s work reflects growing up in the 1960s to the present. The Confederate flag and other personal symbols show up in his work to expose truths about. growing up in the South.

    Other symbols used by the artist include railroad crossings, shadowy figures, hats and patterned print dresses from his aunts and mother — all symbols of his experiences. You don’t have to be African-American to enjoy and understand his work; his images touch all races and all regions as they remind us of an ever-present past and cast hope for the future. For example, in reference to the images of the railroad crossings, Twiggs said, “We all have something to cross over.”

    Visitors to the gallery will see two famous works from the “Requiem for Mother Emanuel” series. The whole series consists of nine paintings for the nine parishioners who lost their lives by the racially-motivated. murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. A horrifying event, the slayings were a national reminder of the ever-increasing number of mass murders of innocents in this country.

    So how does an artist living in South Carolina visually interpret an event that inflicted so much pain on a group, a city, a state and the nation? Twiggs said, “The series of paintings are a testimony to the nine who were slain, but the works also represent the one shining moment people came together — not because of the color of their skin but because of the human-ness in their heart.” Go to www.youtubecom/watchv=LHF6zqCWhyk to view an interview with the artist about his “Requiem for Mother Emanuel” series.

    People in the community should be aware of the significance of Leo Twiggs, a renowned artist with a national reputation, and take the time to visit the Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery to see a beautifully transcendent and spiritual exhibit. The North Carolina Arts Council understood his significance: the gallery was given a grant to bring an exhibit by the artist to Fayetteville. The gallery was one of two other local agencies that received financial support. The others were the Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County and Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

    Twiggs previously had a career in teaching at South Carolina State University, where he started the art department and was instrumental in opening and running the I. P. Stanback Museum. During an early part of his career, he began using the batik process — a traditional African method for decorating fabric using dye and wax.

    Similar to encaustic painting, the use of wax in a work creates a different color effect than oil or acrylic painting. The color in batik is bright in places but can be obscured by wax. What the viewer experiences in. the work is a layered message obscured by wax, looming shapes, shifting colors and anonymity.

    In batik painting, color “creeps” or bleeds into the fabric. Preventing color from staining the fabric, Twiggs uses wax to create lines that echo the properties of a resist. The resist lines are in direct contrast to the bleeding of colors across the surface of his work. One cannot help but respond to the tactility and somewhat “eeriness” of material, color, wax and Twiggs’ subject matter.

    By the 1970s, Twiggs’ national attention resulted in several solo exhibitions in the Northeast, including New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem. He has been involved in many group exhibitions that included significant artists like Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence.

    In 2002 and 2008, Twiggs was selected to design an ornament for the White House Christmas tree. From 2004-2006, a retrospective of his works traveled among prominent museums in the South. He was the first person to receive, as an individual, South Carolina’s highest art award, the Elizabeth O’Neil Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts.

    This year, the Gibbes Museum of Art announced Leo Twiggs in this year’s Society 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art Winner. He was selected from more than 247 artists across the South and is the first artist from South Carolina to earn the award.

    After visiting the exhibition, people might be interested in purchasing the 316-page book about Twiggs titled “Messages from Home: The Art of Leo Twiggs,” which won the Next Generation Finalist Indie Book Award. Claflin University Press publishes the book, and signed copies may still be available.

    I would be remiss if I did not express my appreciation and acknowledge the Ellington- White Contemporary Gallery for bringing the exhibition “Leo Twiggs in Fayetteville” for our community and the region to enjoy. Although the artist’s presentations at Fayetteville State University’s Rosenthal Gallery and the Pate Room at the Cumberland County Library have passed, the exhibit will remain at the gallery until Jan. 19, 2019.

    Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery is located on 113 Gillespie St in downtown Fayetteville. The gallery is free. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Group tours with a presentation can be arranged at no charge. For more information, call the gallery at 910-483-1388 or visit www.ellington-white.com.

  • 08norman brown Just in time for the holidays, Seabrook Performance Series presents Norman Brown’s “Joyous Holiday Concert” at Seabrook Auditorium on the campus of Fayetteville State University. It’sset for Thursday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m.

    The concert also features Marion Meadows and Bobby Caldwell. “For the cost of this concert, people are getting a huge bargain, and what a gift for the end of the year to celebrate the holiday season with such great artists that have hit records in their own right,” said Aaron Singleton, marketing consultant for the Seabrook Performance Series. “The thing about Bobby Caldwell is that he has in his own respect a number of hits, but he has written hit songs for a number of other artists as well.”

    He added, “Norman Brown has sold nearly 2 million albums during his career. He has played for just about everybody who’s anybody in smooth jazz and jazz.”

    Singleton noted that Marion Meadows is up and coming.

    Norman Brown is a Grammy Award-winning contemporary jazz guitarist who picked up his first guitar at the age of 8. He has shared the stage with jazz superstars that include Boney James, Dave Koz and Gerald Albright.

    Bobby Caldwell is a singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter best known for his hit smash, “What You Won’t Do for Love,” that reached the top 10 on the Billboard magazine R & B and Adult Contemporary charts. He started playing the piano and guitar when he was 12 years old.

    Marion Meadows is a saxophonist, composer and contemporary jazz recording artist. He has released a total of 14 albums. He began playing the clarinet and studying classical music at the age of 9. He started playing tenor sax in high school and migrated to soprano sax.

    The Seabrook Performance Series consists of nine concerts, which started in September and will run through March. In January, the series will host the largest collection of African-American magicians and comedians in the world; in February Nick Colionne will perform; and March features saxophonist Najee.

    “Please come out and join us because you are in for a real treat at this outstanding holiday concert,” said Singleton. “It is going to be an exciting show because each of these artists bring such big energy.”

    Tickets to “Joyous Holiday Concert” cost $20- $75. For more information, call 910-672-1724.

  • uac120810001.gif Sometimes it is hard to know how to thank a veteran — someone who has served on your behalf, and quite possibly faced and endured things that some would prefer not to acknowledge or even consider. What about the fallen and their families? How can we honor them and the sacrifi ces that they have made?

    So maybe this isn’t the easiest of topics to be reading during the holiday season. It’s relevant though. At noon, on Dec. 11, the Dogwood Chapter of Gold Star Mothers along with the local HOG chapter, the 82nd Airborne Foundation, the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, Rolling Thunder and Patriot Guard Riders are gathering to take part in the Wreaths Across America Campaign at Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery in Spring Lake.

    Wreaths Across America started in 1992 when Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreath sponsored the Arlington Wreath Project by donating 5,000 Christmas wreaths to Arlington Cemetery. Since then, the project has grown as thousands of requests poured in from around the country from people wanting to emulate the project.

    The second Saturday in December, at noon each year, Wreaths Across America places a wreath on the graves of veterans in cemeteries large and small across the nation. This year there are more than 400 ceremonies that will take place simulataneously with approximately 500 wreaths to be placed locally.

    “What we are trying to do here is to show these families that the sacrifi ces that they and their loved ones made have not been forgotten,” said Steve Adam, Cape Fear HOG spokesman. “It is a way to honor those who gave the last full measure of devotion and to show that we are grateful for their sacrifice.”

    There will be a short ceremony, with Brig. Gen. Edward M. Reeder Jr., Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Forces Command, speaking.

    Seven wreaths, representing each of the armed services and the veterans who have served in them will be placed at the12-08-10-wreaths-across2.gif base of the fl ag. Gold Star mothers and perhaps a few Gold Star wives will be among the fi rst to lay wreaths on the graves.

    Musical tributes will be a part of the ceremony as well with a bugler playing “Taps” and a rendition of “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.

    “It’s a very sobering and moving experience. Have you ever heard “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes?” said Adam. “It’ll bring the toughest of men to tears.”

    While the time for fundraising and accepting wreath donations has past for this particular event, the public is welcomed and encouraged to attend. There are plenty of wreaths to be placed and this is also an opportunity to show respect and gratitude to the fallen, Adam said.

    “This is not a fundraiser,” said Adam. “People need to know that there is no money being made here. This is a group of grateful citizens, honoring our fallen soldiers.”

    To find out more or to make a contribution to Wreaths Across America, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

    For questions about the Sandhills State Veteran’s Cemetery, call 207-483-2039 or e-mail lorietex@aol.com.

  • 07Messiah  Without Charles Jennens, a wealthy British music and literary patron of the 18th century, nobody would be singing the “Messiah” at all. Thankfully, Jennens existed — and on Saturday, Dec. 15, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers will perform “Messiah Sing” at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.

    In 1741, Jennens — who had collaborated with George Frideric Handel on a few prior pieces — sent Handel the libretto (text) of what became Handel’s “Messiah.” Pulling passages from the King James Bible and the Anglican Church’s Book of Common Prayer, Jennens arranged them in such a manner as to depict the chronological annunciation, birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Once Jennens sent Handel the words, Handel composed the music (including the famous “Hallelujah” chorus) in less than a month. Familiar with the biblical allusions in the text, Handel also divided the oratorio into three distinct parts. Part I depicts the annunciation and the birth of Jesus Christ. Part II covers Christ’s death and resurrection. Part III depicts Christ’s ascension and subsequent glorification.

    Although born in Germany, Handel moved to London in 1712. He had made his mark as a composer of lavish Italian operas. However, in the mid-18th century, opera began fading out of style in England in favor of English language oratorios. Webster defines an oratorio as “a long dramatic musical composition, usually on a religious theme, sung to orchestral accompaniment. It is presented without stage, action, scenery or costumes.” According to one of his biographers, in order to maintain relevance and solvency, Handel began composing the more popular oratorios.

    “Messiah” debuted in Dublin in 1742 as a charity event. This original presentation was sung by a choir of 16 men, 16 boys and two women soloists. The orchestra consisted of strings, two trumpets and timpani. Over subsequent centuries, the size of both the choir and orchestra grew exponentially into lavish musical productions culminating in a production with 2,000 voices and a 500-piece orchestra. Handel’s original score underwent multiple revisions to accommodate these ever-evolving productions. Even Mozart scored a revision.

    The recent trend has been to scale back the oratorio in size to Handel’s original score and to keep the choir and orchestra more suited to the smaller venues in which Handel would have performed — like Friendship Missionary Baptist Church where COS will perform “Messiah Sings!” Under the direction of Jason Britt, the COS will present Part I of the “Messiah,” which tells the Christmas Story. Caroline Vaughan will sing the soprano solos, Linda Vandervort will solo at alto, Melvin Ezzell is featured as the tenor soloist, and Jeffery Jones will solo at bass.

    According to Britt, the COS present “Messiah Sings!” each year as the group’s gift to the community in which they have been growing and performing for more than 25 years. In addition to the oratorio, the event will feature the Cross Creek Chorale and the newly formed Campbellton Youth Chorus singing traditional holiday music. The concert starts at 5 p.m. and is free and open to the general public. Season tickets are available for $45. For tickets and information, visit www.singwithcos.org.

  • 12-29-10-new-years-mayhem.gifAs 2010 winds down, Fayetteville residents have a lot to celebrate. For many it’s the return of soldiers from deployments and for others it’s the promise of the new year and a new beginning. Whatever the case, if you want to celebrate in style look no further. This is Fayetteville’s guide to New Year’s Eve mayhem and madness. Check out one or more of these great events, but as always, if you drink remember to bring along a driver!


    Fayetteville’s official party — New Year’s Eve Party in the Park — is a family-focused event that has not just one, but two sets of fireworks. Bring in the New Year with live performances by everyone’s favorite party band — Hot Sauce.

    This event will also have a children’s area hosted by The Partnership For Children, that includes craft activities and an early New Year countdown at 8:30 p.m., with a fireworks show for the little ones who can’t make it until midnight. This area proves to be fun for all ages!

    Beer, champagne, party favors and food will be available for purchase.

    At the stroke of midnight, a dogwood blossom will drop under the spectacle of another fireworks show.

    Bring your chairs and blankets and enjoy this free event, and remember, no coolers, pets (except service animals) or weapons of any kind are allowed in Festival Park.

    If the Party in the Park sounds like your idea of fun, check out the New Year’s Eve special at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux. The package includes overnight accommodations with a late check out at 1 p.m.; hourly shuttles to and from the Party in the Park; and a New Year’s Day Brunch in the Cafe Bordeaux from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The total cost per room/couple is $109 plus tax, and you can add dinner for two at Wiley’s for a package price of $159. For more information or to reserve your room, call 323-0111.

    While you are downtown, you might want to stop in at one of the city’s favorite destinations for nightlife — Huske Hardware House. If you come early, you might want to take advantage of the special New Year’s Eve dinner special. Couples can enjoy a Huske Salad, a 10 oz. New York Strip, a side of their choice, a dessert of their choice and either a glass of house wine or champagne all for $49.99 per couple.

    As the evening progresses, the lights will go down and the party will crank up as Huske brings on dancing to the sounds of your favorite DJ, drink specials, party favors, balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight. Those attending the party will be charged a $20 cover charge at the door.

    Just down the street at Pierro’s, you can ring in the New Year in the newly constructed Sky Lounge. Enjoy a DJ-hosted event, champagne toast and party favors as you await the magic hour of midnight. Book ahead by calling 678-8885, and get tickets for just $10 per person. You can also come early and cash in on the dinner special for two, which includes two appetizers, salads, entrees and drinks.

    At Circa 1800, there will be three dinner seatings: 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Reservations are required and a special menu is available. At midnight, there will be a champagne toast. The Circa celebration is a more relaxed event and is not designed for the party-hardy crowd. For more information or to make reservations, call 568-4725.

    Lido’s is hosting its first New Year’s Bash with drink specials, countdown on the big screen and a champagne toast at midnight. Get to Lido’s early for dinner and avoid the lines and cover charges at the door. They are throwing another big party on New Year’s Day. Call 222-8237 for reservations.

    Crown Coliseum

    Another family-friendly event on New Year’s Eve will take place at the Crown Coliseum as the Fayetteville FireAntz take on the Huntsville Havoc. The FireAntz know Fayetteville likes to party, so the New Year’s Eve game will start at 6 p.m. in order to allow you to get wound up with a high energy, action-packed hockey game before you head out to other events. Visit www.fireantzhockey.com for details.

    Just up the street from the coliseum, the Doghouse is having a New Year’s Eve bash featuring Universal recording artist and local musical favorite, The Fifth. The action lasts from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. There will be party favors and free champagne. Breakfast will be served at midnight. Call 323-2400 for more information.

    Around Town

    Scrub Oaks on Ramsey Street is planning a laid back, festive celebration to bring in the New Year. The menu consists of a trio of specials selected from votes that customers have submitted in the weeks leading up to the holiday. Check out the website www.scruboaks.com. The eight big-screen TVs will follow the countdown with Ryan Seacrest in New York. Folks are welcome to make reservations, but there is no formal seating plan for the evening, and don’t forget the midnight champagne toast.

    The Doubletree Inn on Cedar Creek Road is hosting a three ballroom entertainment extravaganza. Look for R&B and Hip Hop in one ballroom with Gilbert Vaez as the DJ. The second ballroom will feature a live band and plenty of jazz music with Buddy McCloud and the Two Reel Band and guest artist Reggie Codrington. The third ballroom will be more of a social mixer atmosphere with a tribute to Fat Daddy’s Bar and Grill. Entertainment will include karaoke, speed dating and other mixer activities. Pay one price and enjoy all three parties.

    Tickets are $40 per single, $75 per couple and include heavy hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast and party favors. Stay the night for $109 dollars and get not only a room but breakfast for two. Tickets are available at Twice as Nice Boutique on Bragg Boulevard, Rogers Law Firm on Bow Street or by calling 578-2959.

    Regulars at Legends Pub know that there is always a good time to be had at 4624 Bragg Boulevard, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. Come on over and ring in 2011 with your favorite bikers. Call 867-2364 for more information.

    Fort Bragg

    Competitive bowlers check out the New Year’s Eve Tournament at Airborne Lanes. From 8 p.m. - 2 a.m., for just $25 for adults and $15 for kids you’ll get an all inclusive bowling experience. There will be a Cosmic 9 pin tournament, a champagne toast at midnight and prizes and give-aways throughout the evening.

    Just down Yadkin Road, The Big Apple is pulling out all the stops for its New Year’s Eve Silver, Gold and Black party. The event starts at 9 p.m., and patrons are asked to dress to impress. The evening features drink specials, dancing and prizes, a balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight and the crowning of Fayetteville’s King and Queen of the New Year! The party starts at 9 p.m. Call 868-5559 for more information.

  • 12-05-12-rotary-parade.gifThe 13th Annual Christmas Parade will be stepping off at 10:45 a.m. on Dec. 8, come rain, snow or shine. The parade is sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Fayetteville, West Fayetteville and the Lafayette Chapter. According to Matthew Smith Jr., parade co-chair, the event has grown from 55 entrants in 2000 to 110 entrants in 2012 and this year’s event promises to be one of the best.

    The parade assembles at the Cumberland County Courthouse parking lot and will proceed down Person Street and turn onto Hay Street. It will pass the reviewing stand located in front of the Cumberland County Arts Council continuing up Hay Street and concluding at the train station. The parade route is approximately three-quarters of a mile and will not be crossing any train tracks. It is scheduled to be two hours in duration and will be broadcast live by Time Warner Cable News 14 and available on-demand two days later.

    “Over the past 13 years we have had several unique and interesting entrants. Of note, two come to mind. Two years ago there was a full complement of Star Wars characters and some of the costumes cost more than $1,000. The children screamed their appreciation. The Cumberland County Parks and Recreation Department had a float with spinning Christmas trees, water fountains and a cabin with smoke curling from the chimney. We are always curious as to what they will come up with next,” said Smith.

    There will be 10 high school bands represented and each year the Rotary Club invites the local elementary schools to select one student to ride on each of the floats. This invitation provides the child with ‘a-once-in-a-lifetime experience’ and a memory they will talk about for years. A parade could not be successful without volunteers and each year. Rotarack, the college-age Rotary auxiliary from Methodist University, has been essential in providing logistical support. Other volunteers come from a cross section of the city’s residents.“

    The parade has had its humorous moments. Several years ago a pick-up truck made it onto the parade route and drove in the opposite direction for the duration of the parade. There was also a man who snuck on to the parade route with a pony wearing poorly attached antlers. Neither were registered to participate. And of course, marching behind horses can be daunting so we had to insist that every entrant who used horses came equipped with a person armed with shovel and bag walking directly behind,” Smith said. “This has been a labor of love over the past 13 years and we are thankful for the continued support of the Cumberland County residents, businesses and volunteers. We look forward to another memorable event this year and after all, everybody loves a parade,” he added.

    For more information, visit the Christmas Parade website at www.rotarychristmasparade.com.

  • Staying Focused

    Life can sometimes get a little crazy. How blessed we are to have so many re-sources available to help us focus on what is most important.12-19-12-buzz.gif

    One of those re-ources is Christian music. In ‘The Buzz’ we often highlight the latest Christian-music releases or what is happening lately with the artists who bring us this music we love. The primary ingredient of a truly great song is how its message can take us from where we are, emotionally or spiritually, to where we need to be. So this week it seems appropriate to let the lyrics from a new Christmas song help us to focus on the most wonderful aspect of this most wonderful time of the year.

    For King & Country

    “Baby Boy”
    If you told me all about your sorrows
    I’d tell you about a cure
    If you told me you can’t fight the battle
    Theres a baby boy who won the war
    The war was won by a baby boy


    Before there was that silent night
    No Savior and no Jesus Christ
    The world cried out so desperately
    And a baby boy was the reply
    Yes Heaven’s reply was a baby boy

    See, the King is coming down
    And He’s here without a crown
    The baby boy without a bed
    Giving life back to the dead
    Hear the angels shout it out
    As the people come and bow
    Unexpected majesty
    Hallejuiah what a King

    Maybe all we need to get our life back in order can be found in a baby boy. Wishing you and those you love the very best Christmas!

  • Rise of the Guardians(Rated PG) 3 Stars12-26-12-guardian.gif

    Apparently, Rise of the Guardians (97 minutes) was a series of children’s books. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of both movies and books, and I must say this is the first time I’m hearing of this. I now feel a deep and abiding shame and I must go forth to Barnes and Noble and read all three William Joyce originals. Although, the movie does take place about 200 years after the original stories covered in the books.

    The film starts out with some freaking gorgeous visu-als. The palette is a nice combination of blues, greys, and whites with accents of gold, red, and peacock. So give the guy that picked out the color combos an Oscar. The writers need a spanking though. Would it have killed somebody to point out the lack of powerful female characters in the film? Make no mistake, Guardians is boy’s town.

    This is especially irritating since there are so many places in the narrative which, with just a little bit of tweaking, a strong female character could easily fit. Have they never heard of Mother Nature? Did the Easter Bunny need to be a boy? What about a clever little gender reversal in which Santa Claus laments the patriarchal twisting of her story? Then there’s the fact that the one major fe-male character is more than a little bit ditzy and dressed in brightly colored feathers. Way to reinforce gender stereotyping, movie!

    We open with the birth of Jack Frost (Chris Pine). The Man in the Moon brought him to life to serve as the spirit of winter, but didn’t give him any other information. Fast forward to just before Easter Sunday, roughly present day, where Jack has been invisible for 300 years or so since people don’t believe in him. What people do believe in is Santa Claus with a Russian accent and no wife (Alec Baldwin), the Tooth Fairy (stupid Isla Fisher), and the Australian Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman, still doing penance for appearing in the Wolverine movie) and Sandman (Heather Romagano in a non-speaking non-acting role).

    These latter four meet up at the North Pole where yetis are making toys and elves are “helping.” They find out that a crisis is imminent and The Man in the Moon has chosen a new hero to join them in guarding the children of the world. Naturally, that’s Jack Frost. But he’s a loner, baby, a rebel. He doesn’t play well with others and they don’t take him seriously. I wonder if the rest of the film will be about how Jack Frost is hiding is own feelings of inadequacy behind flippant remarks and then he makes a mistake — due in part to his insecurity — and gets rejected by the real champions but then redeems himself in some final lone wolf act of heroism? Whoops. I just gave away the plot of every PG kids movie ever. My bad.

    Anyhoo, enter the villain. The Bogeyman AKA Pitch Black (Jude Law) flipped through Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather and was inspired by the tooth fairy subplot contained therein. He is tired of being ignored in favor of friendlier fantasy figures and hatches a plot to destroy the belief that makes them real while leaving him invisible.

    Overall this was a fine family film. I mean, have a talk with your children about sexual politics and the patri-archal ideology communicated through-out the narrative, but other than that not bad. If you stick around during the credits there are some extra scenes.Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.

  • 10 MacbethWebSweet Tea Shakespeare is adding a new flavor to its productions this year. It’s bringing “Macbeth” to the Cumberland County community. While Director K.P. Powell has never directed “Macbeth,” he has performed in “Macbeth” four times and in over 150 shows. He’s also directed “Two Aside” at Saint Louis University, some music videos at the American Shakespeare Center and some short films. The show opens Jan. 2 and runs through Jan. 26.

    Powell feels his prior experience gives him intimate knowledge of this particular play. He will be working with a small cast, including students from around the region during the student matinees, and is looking forward to working closely with the audience to create a profound personal experience.

    “The story of Macbeth creates an opportunity for the audience to follow closely with the two hugely recognizable characters,” said Powell. “They can enjoy watching the other actors switch between characters constantly and not be confused. I really hope to advocate for the audience. I’m trying to direct it as though I have no idea what happens, that way the story shines rather than my particular tastes or ideas.”

    The main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, are played by Wade Newhouse and Chelsea Sugar. The audience can expect to be pulled into the spirit of the show. There will be people sitting on stage with the actors, where the actors talk to them — not at them. Plus, there is live music. “Shakespeare feels like a conversation, not a literary lesson,” Powell said.

    If you’re on the fence about whether or not Macbeth is something you’d enjoy, Powell wants you to know that no matter what you’ve been told, Shakespeare really is for everyone. In his words, “If you can understand Yoda when he’s speaks, you can understand Shakespeare. If you can understand the “Big Bang Theory” when you know nothing about particle physics, you can understand Shakespeare.”

    Opening date is Jan. 2, 2020. The production runs through the Jan. 26 at Vizcaya Villa. There are some select performances at William Peace University in Raleigh and Methodist University as well. The cost is $25 dollars at the door, but advance tickets are $10 for students, $15 for senior/military and $17.50 for adults and can be purchased here: www.sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets.

  • 09 NCParks42008 Angela Shimel MOJE 2019 01 01After a month of reaching for Christmas cookies, saucy meatballs and high-calorie cocktails at holiday parties, come January, tennis shoes and water bottle in hand may be a welcome change. First Day Hikes at North Carolina State Parks, held annually every Jan. 1 for the last 40 plus years, are the perfect occasion for this change of pace and pursuit.

    The North Carolina State Park system continues the tradition of family adventure, exercise and reconnection with nature in 2020 with guided hikes at more than 40 sites. All state parks will be open on the holiday, with rangers leading educational hikes ranging from short strolls to extended excursions.

    In North Carolina, this popular tradition began at Eno River State Park in Durham. Today, some 400 state parks across the country and also close to home in the Cape Fear region are in on the action. 

    Carver’s Creek State Park. Visitors can choose from one of three hikes: a three-mile history hike at the Long Valley Access in Spring Lake where Long Valley Farm, the vacation home of the late James Stillman Rockefeller is the highlight; a one-mile children’s hike or the 3.5-mile nature hike at the Sandhills Access located at 995 McCloskey Road in Fayetteville.

    Raven Rock State Park. This Harnett County park features a two-hour, two-and-a-half-mile hike, where a descent down 100-plus steps to the flagship Raven Rock is optional.

    Weymouth Woods State Park. This site in neighboring Moore County offers visitors the choice of three different one- to two-mile hikes scheduled at varying intervals throughout New Year’s Day.

    Singletary Lake State Park. This park in bordering Bladen County has a unique 4 p.m. Carolina Bay Sunset Hike on an easy one-mile loop. Carry your camera on the hike to capture a spectacular sunset.

    Jones Lake State Park. Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to join a park ranger for a one-mile hike on the Cedar Loop Trail. Discussion on the hike will include the history of Jones Lake State Park and flora and fauna of the area.

    According to the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation Public Information Officer Katie Hall, “Hiking in a state park is a great start to the new year by disconnecting and redirecting — taking a break from screen time that overloads us at work and school and redirecting our attention to the natural world around us, good people and fresh air.”

    Plus, visitors participating in the North Carolina State Parks 100-mile Challenge to walk, hike, paddle, cycle or otherwise explore 100 miles in the state parks can add First Day Hikes to their total mileage. New to the Challenge? Consider adding the Challenge to your resolution list.

    First Day Hikes is a promotion of America’s State Parks and the National Association of State Park Directors. You can put your best foot forward in 2020 with a state-park sponsored First Day Hike.

    Each park has its unique offerings. See https://www.ncparks.gov/first-day-hikes for full details.
  • 08 N1812P36012CThe Umoja Group, Inc. of Fayetteville presents its annual Kwanzaa celebration Sunday, Dec. 29 from 3-6 p.m. at Smith Recreation Center located at Seabrook Park.

    Kwanzaa is a secular event that celebrates culture, family and community.

    The activities include a drum call, welcome song, tribute to elders, a libation to honor ancestors, drummers, dancers, singers, a parade of African queens and kings, a feast, a  children’s candlelight ceremony and traditional dance performances. The candle lighting ceremony features the seven principles of Kwanzaa, which are values to live by daily.

     They include unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. There will be a presentation of the annual Umoja Group scholarship at the event, as well.
    The Umoja Group is a nonprofit organization and donations are appreciated and tax deductible. Bring your favorite food dish to share and dress in ethnic wear.

    Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 when Maulana Karenga introduced the celebration. Karenga modeled the event after traditional African harvest festivals and named it based on the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits.” Although Kwanzaa takes place during Christmas and Hanukkah seasons, it is not a religious holiday.

    The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 910-485-8035 or email umojagroupfay@gmail.com.

  • 07 Black eyed peas 16167751712The annual Black-eyed Pea Dinner is a decades-old Fayetteville tradition, drawing hundreds of attendees each year. For many, it would not feel like the start of the new year without this event. Register of Deeds Lee Warren hosts it. It is on New Year’s Day from 11 a.m.-2 p.m at the Charlie Rose Agri-Expo Center in the auditorium.

    This event started in the 70s. It was led by Sheriff Otis Jones and local attorney Willis Brown. After Jones died in the late 80s, the event stopped happening. Then when Warren was elected to be the County Commissioner in 1992, he and his friend Owen Spears, who was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives, worked hard to make sure the New Year’s Dinner took place again.

    Then the district attorney, Grannis partnered with Warren to host the event. Grannis died, but the Grannis family continue to work with Warren on the dinner. Billy West, who is now the district attorney, also helps with the event. West has been working with the event for around 20 years.

    “Years ago, there used to be events like this from time to time,” said Warren. “There aren’t many events like this that are open to the public. I’m not sure if there are many events left like this anymore.” 
    The menu consists of black-eyed peas, collard greens, barbecue, candied yams, dinner rolls, tea and coffee.

    “When you are preparing an event that you don’t send invitations to, you run an ad in the newspaper, and you invite in essence anybody who reads the paper with this,” said Warren. “Everybody is invited. So, we never know exactly how many people are coming. There could be several thousand people coming. We start several months ahead in preparing for the dinner, ordering food and  lining up all the help, everything it takes to put on an event like that.”

    Warren continued, “We prepare so that we don’t run out of food. We prepare a little extra because every year, whatever we have leftover, we donate to the My Rover Reis Home to help the people that they house there.”

    For entertainment, Larry Chasten, a gospel singer, performs. When asked about his favorite part of the event, Lee Warren said it is “seeing people that come every year, renewing old friendships and making new ones. That is the best part about it. It is  just a good time to renew old friendships and to say hello.”

    Another priority for the day of the dinner is making sure everybody has a good time and gets fed. “I don’t think we have ever completely run out of food any year that we have done it, so our goal is to not do that,” Warren said.

  • 12 01 Truman and runRyan’s Reindeer Run is a longstanding tradition in Fayetteville. It celebrates the life of Ryan Patrick Kishbaugh, who died in 2003 from complications of a bone marrow transplant after a 15-month battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The run celebrates Ryan and his passion for life and his love of sports while bringing people together to share a unique and uplifting experience. Ryan’s mom, Roberta Humphries, started the run in Ryan’s honor. This year, it takes place Saturday, Dec. 21 at Cape Fear River Trail’s Jordan Soccer Complex. The 14th Annual Ryan’s Reindeer 5K Fun Run/Walk is family-friendly and is open to walkers and runners. Bring your favorite people and log a few steps together celebrating life and good health.

    Long-time participants will notice a few changes this year, but many of the traditions that make this run so unique are still a part of the event. There are two new organizations involved in hosting the event, although Ryan’s mom is still very much a part of the run.

    The Fayetteville Running Club and Fayetteville Area Tri Warriors have come together to host the event. “FRC is a registered nonprofit, and we use our love for running to give back to our community,” said David Wilkes, FRC president. “We do that through proceeds from our Annual Firecracker 4 Miler race on July 4. We have 15 different meetups a week to choose from, and you do not have to be a ‘professional’ to run with us. We have great socials and expert guest speakers at our monthly meetings.”

    Shelly Los is the vice president of The Fayetteville Area Tri Warriors. The Fayetteville Area Tri Warriors is a group of triathletes dedicated to the sports of swimming, biking and running. “Our 12 02 runathletes range from the beginner to the Ironman, teenager to senior citizen,” said Los. “We encourage people of all fitness levels and interests to branch out and push their limits. Our meetings and club events include swim, bike maintenance, transition and running clinics as well as group workouts with social get-togethers afterwards. Each year, our club organizes the Little Warriors Triathlon, a local triathlon for children ages 6-14. … We love to meet new people and welcome them to our community.”

    Wilkes sees this run as a good fit for FRC because, “First, this race supports the Child Advocacy Center. We are all about supporting local nonprofits. Our members put in thousands of volunteer hours supporting many local events … and second, this race has been a longstanding tradition because of the cause and because it is one of the most fun runs in town. … We want everyone to know that even though Roberta Humphries is allowing us to present this run, this is still Ryan’s Reindeer Run, and it is still Roberta’s event.”

    Los agreed, adding that it is a good fit for the Fayetteville Area Tri Warriors, too, saying, “The Tri Warriors have developed profound respect for Roberta Humphries and her team at the Child Advocacy Center, so we view this fun run as one more opportunity to serve our community. For me, Ryan’s Reindeer Run has become a Fayetteville Christmas tradition right alongside setting out milk and cookies for Santa Claus. Families with children of all ages come out to enjoy the costumes, camaraderie and Christmas spirit — all the while supporting a wonderful local charity. Plus, it allows you to bank some calories for holiday feasting!”

    12 03 people at runWhat’s new

    There are a few changes this year, starting with the route and making it an untimed run. This year’s route unfolds on the scenic Cape Fear River trail. “This is the first year that FRC and Fayetteville Tri Warriors have presented this run, and it is our intention to help Roberta to continue having this run for many more years,” said Wilkes. “Next year, we look forward to moving this route back to its original route and making it a timed race again. This year, we just want to keep the fun in this 14th annual fun run.”

    Registration is 50% off this year, at $15, although next year the event organizers intend to return the registration price to full cost. Registration for the first 250 participants includes an exclusive Ryan’s Reindeer Run bomber hat, as well. Regular long-sleeved shirts are also available.

    This year’s proceeds will go to The Child Advocacy Center in memory of Ryan Kishbaugh.

    What’s staying the same

    12 04 ryan runOne favorite aspect of the race for many long-time participants is the costumes. It brings a sense of lightheartedness to an already lively and entertaining morning. “We are definitely encouraging everyone to bring on the costumes,” Wilkes said. “This year, our main goal was to keep this race fun. We very much appreciate the support we have gotten from the regular sponsors, volunteers and the running community. … Our clubs know how to put on a fun and well-organized event, and this year you will … have a great time.”

    Santa will be there. Come and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. There will be door prizes, too.

    Work groups and teams are welcome.

    Wilkes and Los are excited to be a part of the event. “I will leave with the words of Ryan Kishbaugh,” said Wilkes. “’So do a favor for me and whatever you’re doing today, just go out and RUN, somewhere, anywhere, just RUN because you can – RPK.’ — written three days after receiving his bone marrow transplant.”


    Register at https://runsignup.com/Race/NC/Fayetteville/RyansReindeerFunRun5K online. Online registration closes Dec. 20. On-Site registration will be available Friday, Dec. 20 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Fairfield Inn and Suites, 4249 Ramsey Street. Call 910-223-7867 for more details. Same-day registration takes place Saturday, Dec. 21, from 7-7:45 a.m. at Cape Fear River Trail - Jordan Soccer Complex, 445 Treetop Drive.

    The race starts at 8 a.m. Visit http://www.ryansreindeerrun.com/ to find out more.

  • 11 N1609P39007CSince 1993, The CARE Clinic has been serving the residents of Cumberland County and the surrounding areas. Providing free quality health care to low-income adults is the mission of the clinic. To run the clinic with the excellence they desire to provide to their patients, the clinic and staff rely on generous donors, grants and fundraising events. One such fundraising event is an annual event known as an Evening of CARE Dinner. It’s as much a social tradition as it is a fundraiser, bringing together participants from all walks of life for an evening of fun to support an important institution. The next Evening of CARE takes place Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. Tickets and slots to host sell out fast.

    Those who offer to host an Evening of CARE Dinner, provide a memorable evening for their guests where the meal is either provided by the clinic, prepared by the host or prepared by and/or served at a restaurant of their choice. The hosts can be creative by providing hors d’oeuvres and beverages and have a small group of a few people, or they can host a much larger group. It depends on how many people the host decides to accommodate. There can also be co-hosted dinners to allow more people to join in. Or, if you’re new to town or you’d like to provide a home to those who are new to town, that’s an option as well.

    If the host decides to have the meal provided by the clinic, there are two types of dinner menus to choose from, either chicken or lasagna. No matter what the hosts choose to do, the entire evening is about raising funds for the CARE Clinic. If you’re unable to host but would like to be a sponsor, that’s an option as well.

    One of the perks of hosting, is the freedom to get creative with the tone of the event. If a fire pit suits you and your guests — do it. Want to hire a magician to entertain your guest? Perfect. Want to bring in a local musician to set a lively mood? Yes, please. Hosts are encouraged to customize the experience as they see fit.

    If you’re interested in having a fun and adventurous evening while raising money for an organization that is vital to our community, visit www.thecareclinic.org to find the Host Response Form. For more information, contact Angie at development@thecareclinic.org or call 910-485-0555. Once you’ve reached out to be a part of the Evening of CARE Dinner, a packet will be sent, which will assist you in organizing your evening. The cost to host or co-host an event is $50, and a ticket to attend is $75.

  • 10 01 Holiday Lights Thomas KeeverAh, the holidays. Music. Performances. Shopping. And lights. The cheerful, glowing, twinkling lights. If you haven’t been yet, bring your favorite people and head to Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s  9th annual “Holiday Lights in the Garden” Dec. 19 – 23 from 5:30-9 p.m. It celebrates this special time of year and showcases the splendor and magic of the winter season in one of the area’s most sublime settings.

    “Holiday Lights is a walking tour of Cape Fear Botanical Garden at nighttime,” said Lia Hasapis, marketing coordinator of Cape Fear Botanical Garden. “We light up the garden with lights, other gigantic lights, twinkling lights and it showcases beauty in the winter.”

    Hasapis added that this year, they decided to bring the focus of the experience back to what they are —  which is a Botanical Garden. There are natured themed displays throughout the garden to enhance the light displays.

    While lights are a big part of the event, there is so much more that makes it a special place to visit this time of year. “The event will feature caroling hayrides, live performances each night, pictures with Santa, s’mores and much more,” said Hasapis. “The live performances will take place each night, and it will feature community members from churches, schools and up-and-coming artists from Fayetteville,” said Hasapis. “There will be a holiday market that will have vendors that will sell holiday crafted items. … We have consignment items in our garden gift shop 10 02 Holiday Lights FB bonfirefrom holiday crafts and necessities that everybody will need this holiday season.”

    Hasapis added there will be several food trucks, s’mores, apple cider and hot chocolate available for purchase. “The hay riders will ride through a special path that is only for the hay riders that is through the garden and it is roped off,” said Hasapis. “They will see different kinds of lights, other parts of the garden. And at the end of the hayride, there is an animated story that has gigantic lights that form characters from the story as well.

    “The event is going to be a lot of fun, and you just need to come and glow with us this holiday season,” said Hasapis.

    Admission cost is $12 for nonmembers and members will get preferred pricing every other night at $8. A family picture with Santa is $10. For more information call 910-486-0221.

  • 09 01 Poe House in Christmas Splendor 1One landmark that offers a glimpse into Fayetteville’s past year-round is the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex’s 1897 Poe House. In December, the house is decked out in holiday decor of yesteryear for the “Poe House in Christmas Splendor.”

    In the deed for the home, the house belonged to Josephine Montague Poe, who then married Edgar Allan Poe, not to be mistaken with the famous American author. E.A. Poe was a prominent and affluent businessman in Fayetteville. He owned a brickmaking facility. He also served as a county commissioner in 1904 and on the Board of Aldermen in 1921. The couple had eight children together.

     “What people see when they visit the Poe House is what life was like for an upper class family at the turn of the 20th century,” said Megan Maxwell, the curator for the exhibit. With respect for historical accuracy and through careful recreations, Maxwell said that the home offers a glimpse into the past. 

    The seasonal decor isn’t necessarily what would have been found in a home on a day-to-day basis during the holidays, but more of what you might expect to find in a home decorated for a Christmas party.

    09 02 Poe House in Christmas Splendor 2 From evergreen garlands to beautiful red bows to trees covered in festive ornaments, the house looks like something out of a Thomas Kinkaide painting. “We use a lot of greenery — a lot of pine, magnolia and holly, “ Maxwell said. “We have two Christmas trees. The tree in the parlor is the formal tree.”

    Follow the staircase to the second floor and find the second tree, a scrap tree, so referred to because the ornaments are handmade from scraps, like magazine clippings, for instance.

    Aside from the lovely Christmas decorations, visitors can see vintage items for every day living throughout the home, from toys to clothes to kitchen appliances.

    “We encourage visitors to take pictures and post them on Instagram or Facebook,” said Maxwell. The parlor, in particular, is a beautiful place to take pictures, but they are welcomed throughout the home. Visitors are also encouraged to tag the museum on social media.

    The Christmas decorations will be up through Jan. 5, and the house will be closed for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day.

    The tours of the Poe House run Tuesday through Friday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; Saturdays on the hour from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; and on Sundays from 1-4 p.m. The tours are free, but the Museum accepts donations. Visitors can also tour the Museum at their leisure, as well as Arsenal Park, from  10 a.m-5 p.m. on Tuesday-Friday or on Sunday from 1-5 p.m.

  • 11 01 CM0A1192It’s been 50 years since the North Carolina State Ballet graced the stage to  perform “The Nutcracker.” Under the direction of Charlotte Blume, the production flourished. Blume died in 2015, but her passion project continues to pull in crowds — both for auditions and at the box office. This year’s public performances are set for Dec. 14 and 15, in addition to the shows performed exclusively for school students.

    Dina Lewis has been at the helm since Blume’s death, and she’s worked hard to ensure Blume’s memory lives on and that her contributions to the community and to her students are acknowledged. “About midway through a rehearsal, I asked how many people had studied under Charlotte Blume. It was 10,” Lewis said. “There are 10 of her students remaining that had her — and three are seniors. She is still such a legend in the studio, though. The younger girls are like, ‘You knew her?’ And the older girls will tell them about her. She is definitely still there.”

    “She is still a big part of the production — this year more than ever,” Lewis said. “When people walk into the show, they will see pictures of her flanking the doors. When Charlotte was alive, she was an artist in every sense of the word. She would draw the posters and have them printed.  She would draw out the T-shirt designs; they were all hers. …  A few weeks ago, when I was going through a stack of papers, it was labeled “art.” It was all her old T-shirt designs. We brought the tradition back this year as a surprise to the girls using a couple of Ms. Blume’s original designs. We found her signature, and it will be on the back of the shirts this year.”

    While Blume was known for her passion for her dancers, she was also known for demanding excellence and commitment from her students.  “She had a way of pulling the excellence out of the children,” said Lewis. “She knew what they were capable of, and she would push them to be their best and do their best. She would say that no one is ever perfect in dance. There is always something to work on.”

    While there have been many surprises and lots of hard work in carrying on Blume’s commitment to ‘The Nutcracker,’ Lewis said there have been some moving and 11 02 CM0A1205wonderful surprises, too. In addition to the stack of hand-drawn  original T-shirt artwork, Lewis has come across hand-drawn posters that Blume designed for previous “Nutcracker” productions. And there was also the original paperwork that The Charlotte Blume School of Dance signed with the N.C. State Ballet when Blume’s students first performed the ballet. “I found her original paperwork from the ballet company,” said Lewis. “All these years we have had the numbers wrong. All this time, we didn’t know how long this has been going. When I found it, I called her son to confirm it. I also reached out to the Crown, and we are the longest performing production at the Crown Theatre — it is us!”

    This year, the audience can expect some fun changes. “We have done a lot of new things,” Lewis said. “There are new backdrops, and almost the entire first act — except one group — is all brand new costumes. I wanted to put the statement out there how proud were are of the anniversary and producing the show for this many years.”

    There are some big changes in the Russian scene in the second act as well. “The Russian tutus were created for us by  Phillip Martin-Nelsen, principal dancer of the all-male pointe group “Les Ballets Trockadero de Monet Carlo” of New York,” Lewis said. “We were very honored when he agreed to create and make them for us. …  He does a lot of their costumes. We FaceTimed him and he had a sketch back to us in just a few minutes.”

    This year, Ella Lewis is Sugar Plum, dancing with Adam Chavis. Nick Fokine is ballet royalty — his great-grandparents Michael and Vera Fokine choreographed ‘Giselle.’ He helped at some of our rehearsals. He also performs with Carolina ballet. He helped us a lot. We are excited to put that on stage.”

    Lewis mentioned some other fun changes, too. “We just don’t have ballerinas on stage for the Russian stint. There will be some gymnastics on stage, too. I think the audience will love it. And for Snow … we have a Snow King and a Snow Queen. That is also new this year.”

    It takes 11 months to produce “The Nutcracker.” The planning starts shortly after the holidays. Rehearsals start in April and, except for two weeks in July, run right up to the performances. It’s hard work. It’s a lot of dedication. It’s exhausting, but so worth it, Lewis said. It brings something special to the community and the performers are passionate about it. “This year we have a cast of 86. … As people came in, we saw the line for auditions was wrapped all the way around the fire station. It is really cool. I thought wow, if Charlotte could have been here to see this.”

    North Carolina State Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will be at the Crown Dec. 14 and 15 with performances at 3 p.m. Tickets cost between $10 and $25. Children 5 and under are free. Visit http://www.crowncomplexnc.com for tickets and information.
  • 10 Christmas light show‘Tis the season to be jolly, and there is an abundance of local merry festivities to usher in the holidays. From viewing spectacular light displays to laughing at comedic Christmas performances, the variety of entertainment provides something for everyone. Here are some gems you won’t want to miss.

    Purchase a delicious treat and catch “Santaland Diaries,” put on by the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, at The Sweet Palette, located at 101 Person St. Watch as Santa’s helper, Crumpet, gets caught up in the craziness of the holiday buzz at Macy’s and deals with all of the shoppers and their children that come through the doors. The CFRT: After Dark production promises to bring on the laughs with “whacked out, wicked wit.” The show is for ages 18 and up, so leave the kids at home lest you end up on the naughty list. The show will run through Dec. 21. General admission tickets are $20 and for season ticket holders, the tickets are $15. Call 910-323-4233 or visit http://www.cfrt.org/project/the-santaland-diaries/ to buy tickets.

    Enjoy an evening stroll at Arnette Park’s “Christmas in the Park,” a beautiful attraction of light displays. With thousands of beautiful lights decorating the park, the Christmas Express train, a fire pit to roast marshmallows at and the opportunity to enjoy your favorite, classic Christmas movies on the outdoor screen with a cup of hot cocoa, this event is a favorite among locals. You can even visit jolly St. Nick and get a picture for $5. “Christmas in the Park” is open from 6-9 p.m. through Dec. 22. Admission is $10 per family vehicle, $30 per commercial vehicle and $75 per motor coach or bus. For more information, call 910-443-1547. For inclement weather, call 910-306-7325.

    “An 82nd Airborne Jingle: All the Way!” is right around the corner at the Crown Theatre. Featuring the 82nd Airborne Division Concert Band, the All American Chorus and Riser Burn, the 82nd Airborne Division’s rock band, the event’s holiday program is free. A military family night will be held Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. The public concert will be held Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit http://www.crowncomplexnc.com/events/detail/an-82nd-airborne-jingle-all-the-way to learn more.

    Experience the magic of Christmas at Lu Mil Vineyard at the drive-through Festival of Lights. Some of the features of the attraction include free pictures with St. Nick, a gift shop, a free wine tasting and their Christmas Village. A country buffet is also available for $12 from 5-9 p.m. You can view the brilliant lights through Dec. 23 from 6-10 p.m. The event costs $10 per person, and ages 5 and under are free. For more information, visit http://lumilvineyard.com/festival-of-lights.html or call 910-866-5819.
  • 10 couple relaxingChristmas is an odd time for me. I love to give gifts, but I don't really care to “add to the collection” of unwanted gifts. In my home, we often talk about trusting God to meet our needs. That doesn't mean we stand on the shore and watch for our ship to come in. We work hard to make sure we've done all we can to provide for our family and others, but still we trust God. Sometimes I'll pray and ask for specific things — you know, a particular amount of money, favorable diagnosis of a car problem — and I suspect you do too. Nothing wrong with that, but there's truly more to having your needs met than having stuff go your way. It may be as simple as being content with where you are and what you have.

    My wife and I must be on the same wavelength concerning contentment. We have a little chalkboard in our kitchen where we'll write a recipe or date night idea, but recently I walked into the kitchen and saw these words: “What if God has already provided?”

    That stopped me. And the thought has haunted me for weeks. What if, in my quest for more and better, I've overlooked what I
    already have?

    It's caused me to take stock of my time, talents and resources. It's even changed the way I pray and how I look at pretty much

    Discontentment runs rampant in our culture, and today I want to offer you three choices you can make in your life that can lead you to genuine, biblical, lasting contentment.

    1. Seek contentment as a lifestyle. Choose it. Acknowledge that you would not be happier if you had more. You wouldn’t be — you’d likely be more miserable. God’s Word contains clear warnings for us: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25)

    2. Learn to say, “I have enough.” Let those words reign in your home. Push back from the table and say, “I’ve had enough.” When money comes your way — a surprise bonus from work, an inheritance from your great-uncle, even finding $50 in your coat pocket — resist the cravings for more.

    3. Settle it. Here’s a challenge — choose a lifestyle; don’t let your income dictate your lifestyle. Choose a comfortable level of living that meets your needs, and don't compromise that with more spending when more income arrives. If you don’t choose a lifestyle, this culture will choose one for you, and by default it will be the lifestyle of living beyond your means. Be counter-cultural. Be radical. Be others-oriented.

    Let enough be enough. Learn from the examples of those around you (both the contented and the covetous). You'll save yourself some heartache and know the joy of a truly contented attitude. More does not equal happier. I promise.

    And remember this from Philippians 4:19 – “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (New Living Translation)


  • 09 SANTALooking for a fun and festive event to go to this holiday season? Look no further than the Rotary Christmas parade. The parade will take place Dec. 14 from 9 a.m. to noon in the Cool Spring Downtown District.

    This will be the 20th year for the parade. The event will be filled with dancers, music and so much more. What started out as a simple event founded by the Fayetteville Rotary Club has now become an annual parade that many people enjoy each year.

    ShaDonna “Mo” McPhaul is an announcer for the parade and the public relations coordinator for the Liberty Point Rotary Club. She said, “My favorite part about the Rotary Christmas parade is seeing the smiles on the children’s faces, the dance teams and the high school bands.

    “The parade is important to the community because it brings us together to enjoy the holiday spirit. This year our theme is ‘Youth Leadership,’ and we are taking the opportunity to highlight our youth and encourage them to lead us into the future.”

    In 1999, a member of The Fayetteville Rotary Club learned that there was no established Christmas parade in Fayetteville. So, the Fayetteville rotary Club decided to collaborate with the other two Rotary clubs in Fayetteville to start one and ensure that there would, in fact be a Christmas parade. This was done as a service project for the city of Fayetteville.

     The first Christmas parade had around 50 entries. Now, the parade gets around 110-120 units. Rotary is the sole sponsor of the event. Some companies that have worked with The Fayetteville Rotary Club in the past on the parade are Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell.

    Planning the parade is a yearlong event. The first thing that happens occurs the day of the previous parade. On parade day, the floats for the following year are ordered.

    Matthew Smith is a chairman on the parade committee and one of the members of The Fayetteville Rotary Club that helped start the parade. The preparation of the parade, he said, “In May, we start meeting and deciding on what we are going to do for the coming year. We meet on and off at least once a month.

    “In the May to July period, the grand marshal is confirmed. In September to October, the list of elementary schools their principals and contact information are verified so that proper contact can be made for the child to represent their school in the parade. November to December, contact is made with Parks and Recreation, the Cumberland County manager for use of the main and auxiliary parking lots, city manager for use of the parking lot behind City Hall and NCDOT for the blocking of a portion of Russell Street, and a vendor for the porta potties.”

    The route of the parade begins at the main parking lot behind the Court house and ends at the auxiliary lot across from Person Street. Visit https://www.rotarychristmasparade.com/ for more information about the parade.
  • 03 Szoka committee picEarlier this year when peaceful protests turned violent I recognized that there were questions affecting North Carolina that I didn’t know the answers to. Those deeply disturbing events that tore apart communities made it clear that our state needed answers.

    Are chokeholds applied by law enforcement officers legal or illegal in North Carolina? Is there a duty for law enforcement officers to intervene when observing potential official misconduct? And the list went on.

    I went to Speaker Moore and suggested he convene a House Select Committee to investigate these and other issues. He agreed and the House Select Committee on Community Relations, Law Enforcement and Justice was formed and I was appointed a Chairman.

    This committee was unique in that it not only had legislative members but also reached into the community to ask non-legislators to be voting members of the committee.

    Committee members ranged on both sides of the political spectrum and included governmental and special interest groups as well.

    We began committee work in early September with the goal of creating a forum where lawmakers could listen to diverse voices across the state, seek understanding, and work toward making meaningful recommendations for transformative change.

    During the committee process members heard from various stakeholders across North Carolina, solicited recommendations from committee members and the public, explored potential changes and eventually adopted the committee’s final recommendations.

    I am proud to announce that on Dec. 14 the committee ended its work and in a historic, bi-partisan vote unanimously adopted the recommendations.

    It was an honor to lead this committee and I am thankful for the hard work of the members that allowed us to recommend targeted, meaningful reforms in such a short time.

    The final committee report includes thirteen recommendations for action-oriented policy solutions that reflect broad community and stakeholder agreement. Those recommendations are:
    • Creating additional statewide law enforcement training requirements that include requiring crisis intervention training and implicit bias training; as well as providing additional resources to officers and agencies to complete the new requirement training.
    • Requiring mandatory reporting requirements for law enforcement agencies for disciplinary actions, resignations, terminations and de-certifications.
    • Creating whistle-blower protections for officers that report misconduct.
    • Providing law enforcement with additional resources when encountering mental health issues in the field.
    • Providing law enforcement with additional resources to receive mental health treatment.
    • Reclassification of some lower level criminal offenses.
    • Directing the Administrative Office of the Courts to examine whether each judicial district would benefit from the availability of specialty courts such as drug treatment or Veterans Courts.
    • Banning the use of chokeholds.
    • Requiring psychological evaluations for all public safety officers.
    • Requiring law enforcement to report use of force incidents.
    • Mandating the duty to intervene and the duty to report officer misconduct.
    • Creating and funding a pilot program for high school student law enforcement career exploration.
    • Creating a system to allow individuals to receive additional notification of court dates, to avoid additional Failure to Appear charges.

    These committee recommendations will provide guidance for potential legislative action by future sessions of the North Carolina General Assembly. A full committee report can be found on the committee website at www.ncleg.gov/Committees/CommitteeInfo/HouseSelect/200

    This committee report is just the beginning; I look forward to working during the upcoming session with fellow legislators to advance these policy recommendations into meaningful legislation.

  • 08 david beale rU4kvQKjG2o unsplashCumberland Choral Arts — the name is new, but the organization is familiar. For 28 years the community has known them as Cumberland Oratorio Singers. December marks the end of a massive rebranding effort inspired by a subtle shift as the choir members realized they were performing a wide range of music and not just the traditional oratorios. Cumberland Choral Arts debuts its 2019 rendition of Handel’s “Messiah Singalong” Dec. 14 at First Presbyterian Church. Accompanied by the Campbellton Youth Choir, the free performance is open to the public. Because this is a singalong, the guests are invited to join the choir.

    Messiah was composed by George Friderick Handel in 1741 over the course of just a few weeks and debuted in Dublin, Ireland, in 1742. The initial public reception was modest, but 277 years later it’s one of the most frequently performed and best-known choral works. The original performance included the entire life of the Messiah, from the birth of Jesus to the passion of the Christ. It’s been modified and shortened for Christmas performances, and for this performance, the choir will also perform traditional Christmas carols, merging secular songs with the sacred.

    CCA was founded in 1991 by Allen Porter of Methodist University. Nearly three decades later, the nonprofit is thriving under the leadership of Jason Britt.

    The group’s website notes, “Inspired by the joy of singing and hearing choral music, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers strive to be a premier symphonic chorus through the outstanding performance of choral masterworks. With a commitment to excellence and education for over 25 years, we work collaboratively with all singers to foster a vibrant, diverse, and interactive choral community, educate our singers and audiences, and extend our reach to the youth of Cumberland County and the Sandhills region.”

    Handel’s Messiah, performed by Cumberland Choral Arts and special guests —the Campbellton Youth Choir, takes place Dec. 14, from 5-7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church at 102 Ann Street in Fayetteville.
    Season ticket holders will have reserved seats.

    For more information visit www.cumberlandchoralarts.org or call 910-215-7046
  • 02 Roni PaulWell, it’s a medical miracle, and I couldn’t think of a grander Christmas gift to all Americans. Regardless of your political affiliation or sentiments, President Trump and his administration made good on the promise to produce a COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year. Operation Warp Speed made good on that promise when the first shipments of over 2 million doses of Pfizer vaccine were produced and shipped in only nine months. An impressive feat considering the normal R&D development process usually takes 5 to 8 years. Millions of doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to be shipped soon.

    Without incident, thousands of front-line medical workers have already received the first of two vaccinations needed to fend off this deadly disease. The second vaccination will follow in about two weeks.

    The vaccine arrived in Fayetteville the morning of Dec. 15 to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and to Womack Army Medical Center on Fort Bragg. Both hospitals began vaccinating front line health care workers at 1 p.m.

    As of this writing, it is predicted that over 20 million vaccinations will be administered across the country by the end of January. This is excellent news and a feat that could only have been accomplished in America. This is a proud moment for our nation and should be celebrated. Not politicized.

    There is more good news on the horizon. The CDC announced last week that approval was given for an over-the-counter COVID-19 screening test that will allow individuals to check for the disease by evaluating their symptoms. The results are ready in 20 minutes. The cost? $30.

    Getting vaccinated is only one stage in getting this epidemic under control. We still need to use common sense: wash our hands, practice social distancing, etc.

    More importantly, we need to make sure we keep our attitudes right by maintaining a positive outlook and focusing on the well-being of our mental health. After all, this is the holiday season, and emotions will be running high mixed with a little anxiety from being separated from friends and family. Usually, this is a joyful time when family and friends get together to celebrate the birth of Christ, congregate to eat, drink and be merry while sharing family traditions. Perhaps, not so much this year as everyone becomes COVID cautious and rightfully so. Almost everyone I come in contact with has either had COVID, know someone with COVID, or know someone who has passed away from the disease. Social responsibility here takes on a whole new meaning. In other words, when it comes to protecting your friends and family from the spread of the COVID-19 disease, consideration of those around you should be your first and foremost consideration.

    We care about our readers and the businesses and organizations in our community. Yes, this is a crazy time, and 2020 will be a year for the record books. However, we will get through this. The development of America’s new COVID-19 vaccine has again proven the truth in the adage by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I believe this, and so should you. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    Pictured above: Spc. Adam G. Millett, a combat medic assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, administers the first COVID-19 vaccine on Fort Bragg to Womack Army Medical Center emergency room nurse Roni Paul on Dec. 15. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mary Katzenberger, 18th Airborne Corps)

  • 08 02 Pine Christmas Garland at the 1897 Poe HouseThe nights are getting longer, and the air is turning colder as the winter season settles upon Fayetteville. The festive season is the air and many families want to go to memorable events with their children. As the holidays approach, Fayetteville organizations are preparing many events to celebrate the Christmas season, including the ever-popular Annual Holiday Jubilee at the 1897 Poe House. The 1897 Poe House will host this event for everyone Dec. 8 from 1-5 p.m. This event is free of charge — so everyone in the family can come.

    The Poe House will be covered in beautiful traditional Christmas decorations of the Victorian era. The event will include a multitude of Christmas-related things to do that will entertain everyone in the family.

    Megan Maxwell, the Poe House coordinator, is in her eighth year of being in charge of this event.  She noted that “It’s geared for all ages. We have a caroling concert on the front porch. The adults really love (it), the kids (do) as well. We have Santa for the younger kids to visit. It’s really for all ages.”

    Two groups will perform the carols — the Coventry Carolers and Cross Creek Chordsmen. The Coventry Carolers are an acapella group. They will sing more traditional Christmas songs. Maxwell said, “They perform pretty much every year we have the event. The people really enjoy them. They kind of do the Victorian-era Christmas carols.” They will perform at Holiday Jubilee at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m., showing off their vocal talents.

    They will be followed by Cross Creek Chordsmen. Maxwell described the Chordsmen as, “Our local barbershop chorus,” adding that “they do some modern tunes, too.” The Cross Creek Chordsmen will perform at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. 

    Maxwell said that both acts, “Will make for a very festive event.”

    After listening to the lovely voices of the performers, tour the magnificent Poe House. You can tour the house with interpreters in each room to tell you about the history of the house and help guide you into that festive spirit of an era long passed. The kitchen will be open and using its wood-burning 1902 stove to serve free cookies and cider for attendees. “It’s a great opportunity to view the house,” Maxwell 08 Cross Creek Chordsmen perform at the Poe Housesaid about the Holiday Jubilee. “The house is beautiful year-round, but with the Christmas decorations up, it just makes it all the more spectacular.”
    Also, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the house, so that the family can get a picture of Santa and have their little children tell Santa what they want for Christmas. “We don’t charge for pictures,” said Maxwell. “Parents are allowed to come and take their own pictures on their phone. It’s a free opportunity to get your Santa pictures.” 

    The Holiday Jubilee has had a professional Santa for four years now, so it will provide a great photo opportunity for the kids — or for the entire family. Maxwell noted that it is a great way to end a visit to the Holiday Jubilee.

    Holiday Jubilee will Dec. 8 from 1-5 p.m. The entire event is completely free and includes musical groups, cookies, cider and pictures with Santa. Enjoy the beautiful 1897 Poe House in all of its Christmas glory, while creating some lifelong family memories or traditions.

    If attending the Holiday Jubilee is out of the question, there is still time to see the Poe House in its holiday glory. The house will be decorated with all of its Christmas gear by Nov. 19. Megan Maxwell said, “The Christmas decorations go up the week of Thanksgiving. So, people can come and view the Christmas decorations during our regular Poe House tours, starting Nov. 19, and they are up all the way through Jan. 5.”

    For more information, visit the website at https://museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov/ or call 910-500-4240.
  • 05 vaccine 2Despite the current spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths, there is good news on the not-so-distant horizon. Three effective vaccines are in the pipeline. Some North Carolinians — those battling coronavirus on the frontlines as well as those put at greatest risk by infection — will being vaccinated in the coming weeks.

    When vaccines become more widely available, will you be among those who get the shots? A large share of the general public won’t say yes, at least not yet.

    According to a late-November survey by the Pew Research Center, 29% of Americans said they would “definitely” get vaccinated if the vaccine were immediately available. Another 31% said they “probably” would. That’s a majority, yes. But with 39% saying they would definitely or probably reject it, there are grounds to wonder whether enough people will get vaccinated to establish the herd immunity required to get us past the pandemic stage.

    These are countrywide findings, admittedly. But North Carolinians appear to be, if anything, even more skeptical than the average American. In an October study by Elon University’s survey team, only 37% of registered voters in our state said they would accept a COVID-19 vaccine, with 36% saying they wouldn’t accept it and the rest unsure.

    I think it is possible these poll respondent aren’t being entirely honest — or, to put it another way, that they aren’t accurately predicting how they will feel when the opportunity for vaccination actually arrives.

    Some Democratic-leaning North Carolinians who are suspicious of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed project to speed the approval and distribution of vaccines may be more willing to get their shots when a different president is in the White House. And some Republicans who tended to downplay their risk of contracting COVID-19 during election season may alter their perceptions of the risk for the same reason, because the political climate has changed.

    Moreover, as December turns into January, and winter into spring, those worried that vaccine development was unsafely rushed during 2020 may get more comfortable with the final product. Millions will already vaccinated by then, likely with few or no side-effects. That will be reassuring.

    Still, if we want some semblance of normalcy to return to our economy, our communities, our households, and our personal freedoms, we cannot afford merely to assume that vaccination rates will be high. To the extent some of our fellow citizens maintain a deep suspicion of medical providers and drug manufacturers, or continue to see the vaccination issue through partisan lenses, our leaders need a well-planned, sustained campaign to respond to their concerns.

    That’s why three former presidents — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — have volunteered to get their shots in front of television cameras. That’s why Hollywood and Madison Avenue are getting involved. We need different messages for different audiences, addressing the different sources of public skepticism.

    That skepticism isn’t limited to a single group. For example, the Pew survey revealed that 69% of Democratic-leaning voters said they would definitely or probably get vaccinated, vs. 50% of Republican-leaning voters. That’s a partisan gap, to be sure. But that still leaves lots of Democrats in the “no” camp.

    Indeed, Pew also found that African-Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, are far less likely to say they’ll get vaccinated (42%) than are whites (61%), Hispanics (63%), and Asians (83%).

    Widespread vaccination will be necessary to put this public-health crisis behind us. It’s the main way we’ll save the businesses, jobs, and community institutions threatened by the virus itself and by the cumbersome regulations governments have enacted to combat it while vaccines were being developed.

    Even so, I believe neither that we should use force to get everyone their shots nor that such a recourse will be necessary. While the vaccination rate must be high, it need not be 100%. Some individuals have real health conditions or adverse immune-system responses that merit special consideration.

    But for most other objections, I think persuasion will be a proper and effective response. Let’s begin.

  • 07 SANTA 11 2018 DEC 16The holiday season is in full swing, offering options galore when it comes time to celebrate. Cool Spring Downtown District offers a twist on a downtown favorite — an up-close-and-personal carriage ride with everyone’s favorite jolly elf. The organization will host its  holiday-themed horse-drawn Carriage Rides with Santa” Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22, from 1-8 p.m.

    “What is really exciting, especially for the kids, is the Santa carriage rides, and, typically during those three weekends, we will have up to 1,000 kids and families riding with Santa Claus,” said Hank Parfitt, programming committee member of the Cool Spring Downtown District. “The carriage is decorated for whatever holiday it is and the driver for the carriage ride is Santa.”   
    Parfitt added that the owners of the horses and carriage go all out decorating for the holidays. “This may be the only city in North Carolina where Santa is actually driving the carriage,” said Parfitt. “These rides are tons of fun, and we have people of all ages do it because this is the perfect holiday activity.”

    Parfitt added this is a family activity, but singles and couples can join in the fun, too, by enjoying a carriage ride after watching the Christmas parade.

    “We do have the early bird special for the carriage ride with Santa for $5,” said Parfitt.

    “To obtain the early bird special, you have to ride between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.”     

    The rides are provided by S & S Carriage Rides. “They are very enthusiastic, very professional and always concerned about client safety,” said Parfitt. “Each kid will receive a candy cane as a gift, and after the ride, you can take a picture with Santa and the horse with your camera phone. 

    “December is just a magical time downtown with all the lights and stores,” said Parfitt. “It is a great experience to come downtown, have a meal at one of the nice restaurants, do a little shopping and go for a carriage ride with Santa.” 
    Tickets are $10 for adults and children over 10 and $5 for children under 10. There are no advanced reservations. Ticket sales start at 12:30 p.m. on the day of the rides at 222 Hay Street across from the Cameo Theater. Adults can ride for $5 during the early bird special from 1 p.m.- 2 p.m.   

    For more information, weather updates, or to purchase tickets, call 910-223-1089. 
  • 04 Pitt IMG 4739Are you stressed out enough, Bunkie? Would you like some more tension in your life? Time to add a new layer of anxiety to your weary load. What are the perfect Christmas presents to magically cancel your loved ones’ 2020 stress? As a service to both my readers, here are some gift ideas that will turn 2020 into purple haze of happiness morphing this year into a triumph of comfort and joy.

    Being a person of the oblivious male persuasion, I frequently encounter troubles finding the perfect gift for my wife, Lani. Other clueless husbands may have similar Christmas issues. Husbands, I feel your pain. I know you would rather watch a basketball game than go shopping, but that is not to be. You must buy the perfect gift. No pressure. Find something for her that will erase all of your shortcomings of the past year.

    The first place to start looking for gift ideas is on the inside back cover of old Superman and Donald Duck comic books. There are more gift ideas there than a 19th Century Mormon would need for all his wives. I began collecting comic books back in the 1950s when they were only a dime. I had zillions of them. I ordered treasures from the back of the book: ant farms, toy soldiers and an Invisible Space Helmet. Really good stuff. A bit of background information about those ads to get us started. The Father of Comic Books ads was a dude named Harold von Braunhut. Harold was an inventor and better salesman than even Don Draper of “Madmen.” According to Mr. Google, Harold came up with 195 patents including the amazing Sea Monkeys, Invisible Goldfish, and X-Ray Specs which allegedly allowed adolescent boys to see under the clothing of ladies of the female race. (Author’s note: the X-Ray Specs did not work).

    Enough history, you say: “What hath Harold wrought?” The ads on the back of the comic books were a wonderland of great gags, hilarious and disgusting products and phony teeth. Consider what you can buy from the inside cover: a 7-foot-long Polaris nuclear submarine which fires rockets and torpedoes for only $6.98. Learn to be a ventriloquist for only a quarter. See Behind Glasses with secret mirrors that let you see what was happening behind your back. Onion Gum that “looks like real gum but tastes like ONIONS!” (emphasis in original). A Joy Buzzer you wear like a ring “when you shake hands, it almost raises the victim off his feet with a shocking sensation.” (I had one of those) Trick black soap that “looks ordinary but the victim washes his face and gets blacker and blacker” for only 25 cents. A Secret Spy scope with “a wide field magnifier concealed in a pen sized pocket scope that lets you peek to your heart’s content. So handy for sporting events, counter-spying, and Girl Watching.” Only $2.98.

    But wait! There are more items for your consideration: police handcuffs for $4.98. Fake bullet hole decals that are “strikingly effective on cars or windows. Looks like you’ve been shot at.” 49 cents. Fake vomit, providing loads of laughs. A squirrel monkey for only $13.50. A Geiger Counter for $24.95 — “This is no toy! It is a scientific instrument — yet a child can use it to find great wealth!” A tool that can remove ugly blackheads in seconds for only $1.00.

    Need a gift for a 97-pound weakling? Give the gift from Charles Atlas who can make you a new man in only 15 minutes a day through his patented Dynamic Tension method. Remember the beach bully who yelled “Hey Skinny… Yer ribs are showing” at Joe the 97-pound weakling? His girlfriend tells him not to let the bully hit him. Unfortunately, the bully clobbers him, telling Joe: “Shut up, you Bag of Bones!” Embarrassed, Joe orders Charles Atlas’ system and works out. On Joe’s return to the beach, he socks the bully saying: “Here’s a love tap from the Bag of Bones.” Girlfriend dutifully impressed, takes Joe’s arm and says “Oh Joe, you are a real He-Man after all.” Two other girls on the beach say “What a man, and he used to be so skinny!” Turn your 97-pound weakling friend into a real He-Man.

    Unfortunately, not all ads could be verified as truthful. The World of Hijinks page from Unsupervised Corp accompanying this column may have some fake items. Pet cigarettes featuring a cat smoking might be an exaggeration. A Door Mat Mine that explodes will make your friends fly. Pit Vipers “delivered direct to your favorite victim. What a hoot!” Eye Daggers with “spring loaded carbon steel knives shoot from your eyes.” Uranium Gum Looks like regular gum. But it will make their teeth glow in the dark.” A life-sized model guillotine for $3. A barrel of live monkeys —“Oh boy, that’s right, real monkeys! Don’t ask where we got ‘em. We have to move them fast. They already ate all our exploding sandwiches.” The famous Exploding Sandwich “Sit back and watch the fun. Your victim will go on a diet.”

    Everyone on your Christmas list will be more than delighted to receive any of these fine items as a Yuletide treat. Sorry, no refunds. All sales are final. Merry Christmas!

  • 03 CowsFeedingHC1706 sourceFood plays a major role in our lives, especially during what we call “the holidays.”

    We kick off the season with Thanksgiving turkey and all the “fixins,” whatever that means, at individual celebrations. Right now, we are in what I think of as the goodie phase of the holidays. Neighbors share divine treats — toffee, salted nuts, homemade holiday cookies with icing, even fruitcakes, and we love them all. Many of us have big Christmas dinners, maybe not the proverbial English goose and “figgie” pudding, but our own versions of feasting nonetheless. We top off the season with New Year’s bubbly and greens and black-eyed peas for good luck.

    We also have huge problems with the systems that produce our food. Food production in the United States and in other parts of the world has become so industrialized that is endangering us and our environment. Food production of both crops and livestock is so mechanized that it bears little resemblance to the crops our forebears grew or the animals they tended.

    What does industrial food production actually mean?

    Since the mid-20th century, crops of all sorts have been increasingly grown with the use of machinery, irrigation and especially the widespread use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. This growth takes place on huge fields of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of acres and often lacks crop diversity or crop rotation. This system is efficient and has been profitable for the large corporations which use it, but at a high cost to our environment. Agriculture accounts for as much as 90% of fresh water use in some parts of the nation, and farming the same crops in the same way year after year depletes the soil. In addition, it leaves behind chemicals and elements and, in truth, no one really knows the long-term impacts on our earth or on us. There are lakes and other bodies of water in our nation where swimming and other recreational activities are no longer allowed, dead zones where no plant or animal life exists because of agricultural chemicals.

    Ditto for livestock — cattle, poultry, seafood — production, which is so industrialized that some animals’ feet never touch the earth. They go from “house” to “house” as they grow in size until the day they meet their maker and their body parts begin journeys to our neighborhood supermarkets, a practice known as confined animal feeding operations, or CAFO. These packed-in animals grow up on antibiotics, hormones and vitamins, whose effects on us or our environment are not always clear. Eastern North Carolina, including Cumberland and surrounding counties, have ongoing experience with this sort of livestock production and its consequences. No matter what we call them, “lagoons” of animal waste dotting the North Carolina landscape cannot be a state asset.

    Industrial food production is efficient but unsustainable, with preserved food traveling sometimes cross-country and internationally before human beings consume it. We cannot continue this way without severe and long-lasting environmental damage and negative effects on the human beings in proximity to such operations. We do not really know the effects on those who consume these products, both plant and animal. Quantity may not be more important than quality.

    To be sure, there is growing concern about industrialized food production, and increasing numbers of Americans are turning to more sustainably produced food, grown in more traditional and more humane conditions. Such food, however, is unavailable in some communities and when it is available, it is likely to be more expensive than industrially produced food.

    Among the many challenges facing our nation and the world in coming decades is developing more sustainable and more humane food production and making it both available and affordable. Earl Butz, America’s Secretary of Agriculture in the 1970s, famously said to farmers “get big or get out,” and that has largely happened. It is time now to pay attention to a quote attributed to various 19th century Europeans, “we are what we eat.”

    All I can say is that this American is trying to eat cleaner and closer to home this holiday season, goodies and all.

  • 02 UCWLOGO 25 yearsNo doubt about it, the flow of relevant, truthful and honest news is being attacked on many fronts.

    The business of media has experienced profound changes, and we find ourselves continually dealing with the way we gather the news, receive the news, and actually how we fund the news. Local media is under assault nationwide with chains absorbing community newspapers, and often decimating them.

    The Fayetteville community lacks a strong, daily source of local news. We have a mediocre talk radio station, no local TV station, and a daily left-of-center daily newspaper that is a shadow of its former self. It's a sad situation for a community of 300,000-plus residents. No doubt, Fayetteville is on the verge of becoming North Carolina's next "news media desert." We cannot let this happen.

    Here in Fayetteville, we have difficulty staying informed of important issues that go before the Fayetteville City Council, County Commissioners and the CC school board. Without dedicated news reporters no one is covering these meetings, asking pertinent questions and presenting the facts for analyses and discussion by the community.

    Up & Coming Weekly, like other weekly newspapers across the country, has always been the local community's heart and conscience. We celebrate the community and promote people, businesses, organizations, music, the arts and culture. We showcase our community's uniqueness and provide a platform for views – both popular and unpopular. We reflect the values of our residents, businesses and organizations. When the occasion calls for it, we challenge decisions and actions made by community leaders. This is necessary to ensure transparency. Our citizens deserve no less than our best effort on these tasks.

    Local community newspapers are different than dailies, many of which carry the same regional and national stories shared from content sources. The publishers of a daily in Raleigh simply are not interested in reporting on local details here that do not profoundly affect their city. That task is often left to local area community newspapers, like Up & Coming Weekly, and we’ve been doing that for 25 years.

    You can get headlines anywhere. But, as more and more people rely on social media to keep up with their community, they realize they are missing the essence of what defines their community. This is why a community newspaper is so important. Locally, our citizens need a voice, and they need to know what is going on and taking place in the community. They need to know what their leaders are doing and what decisions are being made. Unlike the state, regional, national and international news, there is no substitute for locally-produced news and views. However, local coverage depends solely on local newsgathering. Local news is all about the community and what is happening in and about your neighborhoods.

    At Up & Coming Weekly, we are committed to continuing to serve as a local news source. We endeavor to keep you informed of what is happening in our community and highlight people and organizations doing great things. We aim to hold our leaders accountable to you. We know Fayetteville and Cumberland County residents value Up & Coming Weekly and our efforts to provide news and information. We welcome your ideas and feedback. We hear you, and rest assured, our newspaper will be expanding to meet the demands of the community.

    Thank you for a great 25 years. We look forward to continuing to serve as your community newspaper.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 15 picking recordsReflecting in the calm glow of a tree dressed up for the holidays, I close my eyes to see a kid who fell in love. I couldn't have foretold how long this affair would go on when we first met. And honestly, I can't recall how it started. Was it on the living room floor while mom played the piano, or one of the countless times I stood chin in hands with elbows propped up on the kitchen counter listening to that old radio? All I can really remember is when I first realized it was love.

    Sitting cross-legged behind my childhood home making pictures in the dirt with a tiny twig, I began to sing. There was a hum and a gentle rhythm coming from the dryer vent which sounded like music to that kid. So I sang. Harmonizing with the drone, stringing words into stories and stories into songs.

    Fast forward several decades to the introduction of a fresh Christmas-themed playlist on WCLN the day following Thanksgiving. After weeks of sampling, organizing and planning, a well-curated selection of songs new and old began its 4-week life on the air.

    It was as exciting to launch those songs as it was to receive a copy of the original release of the album, “Let It Be” from the Beatles, long before anyone called it a classic. Reflecting on this lifelong relationship, I'm increasingly aware that my love affair isn't with a certain style or genre, it's not with music from this decade or another, it's music. I love music. I thrill to share the latest discovery as much as I do a long-forgotten treasure with others.

    There was a time in America – and perhaps it still exists to a certain extent – that mass exposure to music was limited to what a few dozen people thought was cool. Or at least what was marketable. Artists and record label execs would collaborate to get songs recorded and begin lobbying radio notables to get the songs distributed and broadcast over the air across the country, leading to record sales and concert tours. It was the only way. But today, with myriad digital options for recording and distribution alike, music lovers and music makers have a very open relationship. It simplifies the process a great deal and makes music more available than ever. Intriguing until those crafting melodies from the depths of their souls realized how much passive listening there is without a thought of who the artist is.

    And that's where I reenter the picture. Introducing radio listeners to artists, their songs, their stories and more. I even use the latest digital tools to highlight special events (look for the WCLN Christmas 2020 playlist on Spotify).
    It's about the music. Sharing the music, more specifically. Music that moves, motivates, calms or excites its listeners to a new or better place. That's what this relationship has become.

    Pictured: Sharing music, whether it be the latest hit or a classic, is a thrill for the author, who also helped craft WCLN's Christmas-themed playlist on the air now.

  • A community unto itself, Haymount offers charm and variety to visitors and residents alike. Unlike many12-19-12-haymount-story.gifbig-box stores and services, there is a story behind the establishments here — a history behind the buildings and organizations and a friendly smile and warm welcome from behind the counter, desk or pew. Those who live and work in Haymount will tell you it is a special place with a small town feel, it feels like, well, it feels like home.

    So much so that professionals looking to build relationships with their clients chose Haymount specifically because of the closeness of the community.

    In 1996 Dr. Robert Twaddell purchased Downing Chiropractic and Chiropractic Advantage. The practice was established in 1928 and was one of the first chiropractic offices in the state. Twaddell sought out the Haymount district because of its reputation as a nice community and its close proximity to his house of worship, Highland Presbyterian Church. The practice offers unique approaches to manage back pain including acupuncture and laser. Find out more about this practice at www.ahealthyback.com.

    Established in 1953, Fayetteville Children’s Clinic is the oldest pediatric clinic in town. Generations of local children prospered under the care of the late Drs. Kelly, Shaw, Powell and Breeden. Now it is Dr. William H. Kelly, Dr. Niveen Y. Iskander and Dr. Horace R. Long who are serious about providing top-notch care to their patients. Being in a small neighborhood close to the old Highsmith Rainey Hospital was appealing when the practice located there almost 60 years ago and still is to this day. Visit www.faychildrensclinic.com to learn more about this practice.

    In an emergency it is good to know that there is a place to go with your best interests at heart. Haymount Urgent Care was established in 2008. The proprietors chose Haymount because they wanted to provide comprehensive services that support a healthy community in the Haymount area. Haymount Urgent Care provides immediate unscheduled and after-hours medical care and urgent care services. They also provide affordable care and discount programs for those without health insurance. Find out more about Haymount Urgent Care at www.haymounturgetncare.com.

    At the top of the hill, Stewart Compounding Pharmacy stands ready to fill and compound all kinds of prescriptions. Complete with a clean room for making sterile products in varying dosage levels, Stewart Compounding Pharmacy is the only place in town, not just Haymount, to provide these services. This establishment has its origin in the MacKethan’s Family Pharmacy, which was established in 1908. The Stewart family purchased MacKethan’s Family Pharmacy in 1991 and are proud to continue the tradition of providing a full-service family pharmacy concentrating on the art of customized medication. Learn more about them at stewartcompounding.com.

    Physical health is just one component in a well-rounded life. There are several churches in Haymount that serve the many families in the area.

    Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, also known as the Hellenic Center, was built in 1955. The only Greek Orthodox Church in Fayetteville, and home to a lively and generous congregation, Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church provides more than a place to worship to the community. Each year the congregation hosts a Spaghetti dinner and a Greek Festival as part of its outreach to the people of Fayetteville.

    Snyder Memorial Baptist Church also has its thumb on the pulse of the community. Worship services and Sunday school classes are full on any given Sunday, but perhaps just as important, outreach efforts are well received, too. Snyder Memorial Baptist Church has a strong music program and offers classes in various instruments and voice. The church also has a childcare center and several ministry programs geared towards meeting the needs of the community. Learn more about Snyder Memorial Baptist Church at www.snydermbc.com.

    New to Haymount, but not to Fayetteville, European Gifts & Collectibles opened at 1228 Fort Bragg Rd., in October of 2011. The business moved from the Westwood shopping center after 32 years. The history and unique boutique atmosphere make Haymount a perfect fit for this shop. When Sonja Axler came to Fayetteville from Germany, she started this business to bring a taste of Europe to her new home. Although Axler passed away in 2010, her dream lives on and shoppers need to look no further than European Gifts & Collectibles for crystal and one-of-a-kind items.

    For one-of-a-kind clothes, shoes and accessories, check out Fabulous Finds at 1212 Fort Bragg Rd. Owner Samantha Thompson is known for bringing high fashion to Fayetteville. She routinely travels to New York City and Atlanta to make the latest trends available locally. There is no need to leave town to find stylish attire. When Thompson opened her shop in 2006, she knew that Haymount was the place to be. Her clientele live nearby and the ambience and history of the area make it feel like home. Find out more about Fabulous Finds Boutique and the great selection and service provided there at www.fabfindboutique.com.

    Jennifer R. Cooney, attorney at law, loves the charm of the area as well and opened her law firm there. A Fayetteville native and resident of Haymount from an early age, she knows how to serve the community of her childhood. Specializing in real-estate transactions, guardianship proceedings and estate planning and administration, Cooney is a local resource for helping residents with life’s details. Find out more at www.thecooneylawfirm.com.

    Haymount BP stands at 100 Broadfoot Ave. and has been serving the area since the 1940s when it was known as Haymount Gulf. Owner Bobby Wiggs, Jr., grew up working at the station. In an age of instant gratification and self-serve establishments, Haymount BP offers both full service and self-serve gas as well as auto repair services, state inspections, oil changes and tune ups and more. Stop by or give them a call at 910.484.62451.

    Whether Haymount is new to you or as familiar as grandma’s homemade cookies, it is worth the trip to stop by and pay a visit.

    Photo: Haymount is a favorite destination for many in Fayetteville, and for good reason.

  • 05 V2 cartoon ballot donkey elephantIn D.G. Martin's Nov. 18 article “Waking up as a Republican” we once again see that the far left “Intelligentsia” is one of the primary sources of both the animus and the divisiveness that is so prevalent in our country today.

    It is obvious that Martin's arrogance has led him to base his judgments on either the latest slogans being shouted in the street or a willful involvement in misrepresenting those who do not agree with the socialist approach to our problems.

    The founders of this country had the attention span and classic training to think deep thoughts and make great plans; something sadly missing today. They knew that government was a cruel and dangerous task master. They wanted to guard against its over reach and the resulting tyrant of a ruling class. Take a look around you and determine for yourself, have we maintained the wisdom they passed on to us?

    One of the founding principles is the freedom to strive to be all you can be, devoid of any interference by government. It is a system that rewards preparation, hard work, calculated risk taking, grasping opportunities that present themselves and a positive attitude toward yourself and life in general.

    It also has an element of competition and as any sports coach will tell you, competition makes the team better.

    This is why we were the greatest economic engine in the world. The move to replace this element of our national personality and replace it with an overdeveloped sense of “everybody-gets-a-trophy fairness” is why we have shipped our productivity offshore to the lowest bidder so that we can have more cheap stuff. It is why China is in the process of replacing us as the premier superpower.

    Lots of people of all ethnicities and economic circumstances are waking up to the fact that the “Nanny State” does not guarantee success in life. It doesn't even guarantee “fairness.”

    What it does guarantee is that you will be held at the point that you remain dependent on the government. If we reject this tyranny by the ruling class and adhere to the rule of law then we will have true fairness. At this point if you are white, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American or whatever – WHO CARES! Show me what you’ve got. What do you bring to the game?

    Is this all there is to it? Of course not, but it is the foundation. Will we not need any regulations, oversight or negative consequences for gaming the system? Of course we will, but every law, regulation or consequence should increase freedom not reduce it. Are there those who we have a moral obligation to help. Definitively yes and that is another discussion.

    So how about it. Do you have the guts to compete? Are you curious about what you can accomplish if no one is standing in your way? Can you try, fail and try again until you succeed? Do you believe that the people who wrote our founding documents were smart, visionary individuals? If your answers are yes, then maybe you should wake up and realize you are a Republican.

  • 04 NC flagiconWhile modern conservatism in America brings together a number of discrete groups, interests and priorities, one of its unifying themes is maximizing freedom — by which conservatives mean maximizing the right of individuals, families and private associations to make their own decisions rather than having them overruled by government coercion.

    Applying this principle can be challenging. To limit is not to extinguish, for example. The vast majority of conservatives accept that government can and should intervene in private affairs when required to protect the rights to life, liberty and property.

    Because those violations aren’t always easy to detect, or to adjudicate in court, conservatives accept that regulation may be needed (in the case of combatting air pollution or communicable disease, for example).

    Moreover, applying the freedom principle is complicated by differing definitions of terms. Some say it clearly includes the right of women to terminate pregnancies. Others argue that both the mother and the unborn child have rights that merit government protection.

    Complexities aside, maximizing freedom is a core conservative goal. Over the past 10 years of largely conservative governance in North Carolina, we have made significant progress toward that goal.

    For starters, when government collects only the tax revenue required to fund core services and otherwise keeps its hands out of our pockets, that leaves us freer both to take care of our families and to support the enterprises and causes that best reflect our values.

    Thanks to fiscal restraint and a series of tax reforms, North Carolina now ranks 10th in the nation in tax climate, according to the Tax Foundation, up from 34th as recently as 2014.

    Another legislative priority since 2010 has been lightening North Carolina’s regulatory burden. Lawmakers have repealed or rewritten many regulations. They have also changed the system itself, requiring state agencies to review old rules on a
    regular basis.

    Combining both fiscal and regulatory measures, the Frasier Institute’s Economic Freedom of North America index now ranks North Carolina 11th in the nation, up from 19th in 2010.

    Even in areas where government must by constitutional design or practical considerations play a significant role, such as education, conservatives generally argue that those who receive public services should be allowed to choose the provider that best meets their needs.

    We dislike monopolies here for precisely the same reasons we dislike monopolies in other sectors.

    Since 2010, North Carolina has promoted choice and competition in education by removing a statewide cap on charter schools and giving students with special needs or modest incomes direct aid to attend the schools of their choice.

    On the Cato Institute’s index of educational freedom, North Carolina ranks 6th in the nation, up from 21st as recently as 2012.

    Moreover, an increasing share of North Carolinians are making use of alternative arrangements. Our state ranks 9th in the nation in the share of K-12 students enrolled in an option other than district-run public schools.

    Of course, not all indicators show such gains in freedom. North Carolina still licenses too many occupations, keeping workers from boosting their incomes and entrepreneurs from starting new businesses.

    We have not made enough progress in breaking up health-care monopolies. And there are too many governmental rules still on the books that do not deliver real-world benefits greater than their all-too-real costs.

    Nevertheless, I think North Carolina conservatives should be pleased with the overall trajectory.

    Our state is a much-freer place than it was a decade ago.

    Of course, I recognize that other North Carolinians may be looking at these same indicators and cringing.

    They think our taxes ought to be higher, and more elaborately designed to favor some sectors or behaviors over others.

    They think state government (and many local governments) are underfinanced.

    They think a lot more tax money would make education and other services a lot better.

    And many reject the very definition of freedom I’m using here, the absence of government restraint.

    By all means, let’s continue having that conversation. Fortunately, we are all free to do so.