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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    11 BBC volunteers

  • 10The Joy of Giving: that’s Holly Day Fair’s theme this year. The fair is the largest holiday gift and craft show in Eastern North Carolina.

    With over 150 vendors, there will be an extensive selection of unique handcrafted and manufactured products for the 22,000 visitors expected to attend.

    The shoppers will shop a selection that boasts the best in holiday decorations, handmade crafts, stylish jewelry and clothes, children's toys, specialty food items and much more.
    Proceeds from the Holly Day Fair benefit the Junior League of Fayetteville and its programs targeting homelessness and food insecurities. These funds have a substantial and lasting impact on the community.

    Katie Crawford, a local artist, has participated in the Holly Day Fair for a little over a half-decade.

    "It's always one of my better shows for the year. I have done it enough years in a row now that I have people that come to see me every year," Crawford said. "It's great to have a well-known and established show to keep the tradition going."

    Crawford sells several pieces of her artwork at the fair, including her watercolor paintings, felted sculptures, notecards, and giclee prints.

    She will also be selling her book, “What the Map Left Out” for the first time this year.

    "It's a fun show," Crawford explained. "You have a mix of local and out-of-state dealers and food vendors. It's not a traditional "art show" either, so there are a lot of different products for people who are not necessarily into art."

    Holly Day Fair kicks off on Nov. 4 with Super Shopper hours from 9 a.m. to noon. The Holly Day Fair will also be offering its Sip & Shop event for the third year. Sip & Shop will be held during super-shopper hours but provides an exclusive shopping experience.

    Sip & Shop guests will be treated to a continental breakfast with mimosas and receive a special commemorative gift. The Sip & Shop tickets are $30 and are limited. Strollers and any rolling carts are strictly prohibited during Super Shopper hours.

    Regular hours of the event are Nov. 4, noon – 8 p.m., Nov. 5, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Nov. 6, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Nov. 7, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at CapeFearTix.com, and in person at the Crown Complex Box Office, Leisure Travel Services on Fort Bragg, The Pilgrim Gifts in Fayetteville, Junior League of Fayetteville office, Jernigan's in Dunn, Jernigan's in Lumberton and Fabulous Finds Boutique in Fayetteville.

  • 09More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease – a leading cause of death in the United States.

    In North Carolina alone, there are more than 180,000 people living with the disease and 358,000 caregivers.

    The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

    The Alzheimer’s Association hosts 17 walks across North Carolina including Fayetteville.

    “We invite the community to join us in taking steps for Alzheimer’s disease. More than ever, we need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia,” said Lisa Roberts, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter. “With the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association provides care and support to families while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.”

    Dementia is not a single disease; it’s an umbrella term that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Disorders grouped under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes.

    These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings and relationships.

    Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.
    Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.

    Jay Reinstein was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2018 at age 57. At the time, Reinstein was working as the assistant city manager in Fayetteville.

    He started noticing that he was having a hard time remembering things – writing notes as reminders, taking more time to do tasks than in the past. He struggled to recall names of colleagues he had worked with for decades. Reinstein sensed something was wrong and reached out to a friend, who was a neurologist at Duke University. After additional testing it was confirmed that he had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
    Reinstein is looking forward to the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s with his team, the Jaywalkers. This is the fourth year he has been a part of the fundraiser. So far, he has raised $91,000.

    “I hope to make it to $100,000,” Reinstein said. “I have 3 teams: PWC sponsors a team; Fayetteville sponsors a team; City of Durham has a team.”

    “Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is not a death sentence,” Reinstein said. “It is very challenging but make sure you don’t isolate. Science says exercise, being social and healthy diet are all important. Join a support group. It has been a saving grace for me.”

    On walk day, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony — a mission-focused experience that signifies our solidaity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent people’s connection to Alzheimer’s — their personal reasons to end the disease.

    “The Alzheimer’s Association is moving forward — and we’re offering options for supporters to join us at our local event or Walk From Home in their own neighborhoods.” said Roberts. “No matter where people walk, their health and safety are our top priorities.”

    The Fayetteville walk has raised over $84,000, achieving the goal amount. All funds raised will help further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes place on Saturday, Oct. 30, 9 – 11 a.m. at Segra Stadium. Check-in opens at 9 a.m. with an Opening Ceremony at 10 a.m. The walk will begin at 10:30 a.m.

    To sign up as a walker, team captain or to learn more about becoming a sponsor of Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Fayetteville, visit act.alz.org/fayettevillenc or call 800-272-3900.

  • 12 Rockin on the river logoRock’n on the River is closing out their 2021 concert season with their last performance of the year.

    On Friday, Oct. 22, Rivermist and Tuesday’s Gone will finish the year with free music and family-friendly fun.

    Rivermist is a local band with great musicianship and always host high-energy shows.

    They have been voted Best of Fayetteville's Best Band for the fifth year in a row.

    The band was recently listed as Up & Coming Magazine’s 2021 Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg area’s Best Local Band.

    Rivermist kicked off the very first Rock’n on the River in October 2018.

    Rivermist was formed in July 2014 in Fayetteville, but is formed of musicians that have been playing in and around the Fayetteville area for more than 40 years.

    They are primarily a variety/party band, playing the best music from the 70s-2000s eras and in all genres.

    They have released original songs that have charted on the Country and Beach Billboard charts.

    Tuesday’s Gone will start their performance at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday's Gone is the ultimate tribute to legendary southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    Based out of Raleigh, the cover band travels all over the country paying tribute to the original 1970's version of Skynyrd.

    Tuesday’s Gone has been together for 20 years.

    “What sets us apart is how diligent we are in being a very authentic 1970s Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band.
    We even use the same instruments,” Ryan King, the lead vocalist of the band said.

    Rock'n on the River is typically held the third Friday of each month. The event runs from April through September. This year, the concert series was held May through October.

    Rock’n on the River will take place at 1122 Person St., behind Deep Creek Grill.

    Parking for the event will begin at 5 p.m. and will cost $5. Beer and food sales will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the concert will start at 6 p.m.

    Concert goers are encouraged to bring their own chairs.

  • 13 Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsIf you are looking for an afternoon or evening of laughter and entertainment, head over to the Gilbert Theater located at 116 Green St. to catch “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - The Musical” before it is too late. The show runs through Oct. 17.

    In the exotic French Riviera, Lawrence Jameson makes his living by smooth talking rich, single women out of their money. He has been in the trade for many years and has gotten his technique down to a tee. But then he bumps into Freddy Benson.

    Freddy takes a humbler, more laid back approach, swindling women with emotional lies about his grandmother’s failing health and his own economic struggles. The two men initially decide to form a double act but their egos soon clash and the French coast isn’t big enough for the two of them.

    To settle their rivalry, they agree on a bet: the first to swindle $50,000 from the latest young heiress in town, Christine Colgate, can stay and the other must leave town. However, is Christine really all she seems? Hilarity and confusion ensue as the two men pull out all the steps to prove they are the best con man in town.

    The Gilbert Theater is unlike any I have visited. It is a small to medium sized room with a small stage of which the actors use every inch. Prior to the event, there is a refreshment station which includes soda, wine, beer and candy, that is run strictly on donations.

    The cast was created through an open audition process. Rehearsals begin three to four weeks before the show starts.

    For “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” the actors in the show made sure we, as an audience, had as much fun as they did performing for us. Chris Walker, who played Lawrence Jameson, was my favorite actor. His voice took command of the room. He was confident and funny and a great singer.

    Freddy Benson, played by Dan Adams, was a hoot. His physicality in the show had the audience laughing. He was a tremendous comedic actor and I looked forward to his scenes.

    The lead female actress is Megan Barnes playing Christine. Not knowing much of the musical before I attended the show, I was wowed by how she manipulated the audience.

    An actress with a small part as Jolene, Maggie Cannon of Fayetteville, was cute and funny. Her bit about Oklahoma made me smile. I am confident I will see her again in the local theaters.

    Linda Flynn, Assistant Artistic Director at the Gilbert Theater, is making her debut as director of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Flynn joined the theater in 2017 as an actor in the show, “Evil Dead the Musical,” and became an employee in February, 2020.

    “I have always had a great passion for theater. In my position I have learned a lot about every aspect of the theater. I get to do every job there is in theater and I enjoy every aspect.”

    Lawrence Carlisle, Artistic Director of the Gilbert Theater, hopes people have fun at the show. “The goal for all shows is for the audience to have fun and come away thinking that was really funny. Let’s do it again.”

    The show runs through Oct. 17 with shows on Fridays at 8, Saturday at 2 and at 8, Sunday at 2.

    Tickets are $18 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 910-678-7186. For more information visit www.Gilberttheater.com or www.facebook.com/gilberttheater.

  • 12 BNB logoAfter being suspended for over a year, Blues-N-Brews is coming back to Fayetteville. The annual fundraiser is bringing over a dozen North Carolina breweries to the city, all in order to raise funds for the Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

    The usual summer event was moved to October this year since Festival Park only recently opened up. Ashley Owen, the Marketing Director for the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, said that as soon as reservations opened up, they grabbed the Oct. 30 date.

    The season won’t be the only thing different this year. Instead of the usual 3-ounce sample glass that is given out, attendees will instead be given full size cans of beer. The change comes amid COVID precautions. Having less hand-to-hand contact with the passing of the glass prompted the change.

    “We are really hoping that by having the cans and having more products at a time, you are spending less time in line and spending more time in the field, looking at the food trucks and listening to music,” Owen said. “It’s a little bit different this year, but it’s still the same Blues-N-Brews festival that people love.”

    The list of 16 breweries includes Dirtbag Ales (Hope Mills), Southern Pines Brewing Company (Southern Pines), the Mash House Brewing Company (Fayetteville), Gaston Brewing Company (Fayetteville), Red Oak Brewery (Whitsett), Foothills Brewing (Winston-Salem), Aviator Brewing Company (Fuquay-Varina) and Gizmo Brew Works (Raleigh).

    The breweries will be organized by location so attendees will be able to start with the mountain breweries and end with the beachside ones. Owen says that by organizing the breweries this way, people will be able to drink their way across North Carolina. There will also be eight food trucks at the festival so people can purchase food with their drinks.

    For those who don’t enjoy craft beers, there will be a special tent where people can get seltzers, ciders and wine.

    Outside of the several breweries and food vendors, a lineup of three returning bands and musicians will be performing at the festival along with one new performer.

    The Guy Unger Band will be playing during the VIP Hour, which is from 4 to 5 p.m. and can only be attended by those who purchase a VIP ticket.

    Next will be Nattalyee Randall, who has history not only with the festival but with the Cape Fear Regional Theatre. She has previously performed in one of their productions, but she has also performed as a backup vocalist at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards with Sam Smith.

    After Randall, Willie Bradley will be returning to the festival for his second performance. Bradley is a trumpet playing, chart-topping jazz artist from Orangeburg, South Carolina, who considers Fayetteville a second home. He used to teach music in several Cumberland County and Fort Bragg schools.

    “During the pandemic, all of my shows started dropping off. I used that time to complete my new CD project,” Bradley said. “From March 2020 up until July 2, I was completing my new project. I had stuff to do.”

    The album, “It’s My Time” was released back in July and two of the songs on the album trended on the Smooth Jazz Billboard. The song, “It’s My Time” peaked at number one.

    Coming back to the festival, Bradley is excited to play not only some covers and his older music, but tracks from his newest album as well.

    “I think people are ready to get out and have a great time and I think that even though we are in the midst of COVID protocols, I think it will still be a huge event just based on the reputation from previous events,” Bradley said. “I think that it will be a great turnout as usual.”

    After Bradley, the 2 Bald Guys Dueling Piano Show will perform. Chris Ketchman and Mark Pleasant are known for giving a high energy, interactive, sing-and-clap-along comedy show at many Fayetteville venues. This local act will be performing for the first time at the festival and will close the night out.

    A CAN Do Attitude ticket can get you four drinks for $30, if purchased before the event. If purchasing at the gate, the ticket price is raised to $40. Non-drinking tickets are $10, and a single drink ticket is $5. There will also be a $5 discount for active duty military, front line workers, healthcare workers and educators.

    The $75 VIP Experience ticket holders will get an extra hour of the festival, 5 drink tickets, shaded seating, exclusive
    merchandise, a catered meal and “Unicorn Beer” from the Mash House.

    The money will go back to the Cape Fear Regional Theatre to help with costs of performances, their theater camps and renovations.

    “It’s not been an easy year to be a theatre,” Owen said. “The more people that will come to Blues-N-Brews, the better off we will be when we reopen our newly renovated theatre.”

    The fully renovated theatre is expected to reopen in December, if there are no further delays with supply chain issues.

    Owen says they are still looking for volunteers to help out with setup, help backstage, pass out beer, check-in guests, deliver ice to brewers and vendors, and help clean up. There are more than 200 positions available to sign up.

    Those who work two or more hours during the event will receive a free t-shirt. Those who work four or more hours will be able to attend the rest of the event for free and receive two tickets to one opening weekend show during the Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s 2021-2022 season.

    To find out more about how to volunteer, go to https://www.cfrt.org/bnb/

    The festival will take place in downtown Fayetteville’s Festival Park on Oct. 30 from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are available by phone at 910-323-4233, at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre Box Office Monday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. or at Anstead’s Tobacco Co.

  • 16 BnB Logo and Socials 2Cape Fear Regional Theatre invites the communty to “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Party: A Live Listening Experience” generously hosted by the Cape Fear Botanical Garden as a one-night-only special event on Friday, Oct. 15.

    Organizers say if you loved the books, the smash Netflix hit, or the new concept musical album by Barlow & Bear, you are sure to love this themed special event.

    Directed by Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke and featuring choreography by Emmy Award winner Tyce Diorio (“So You Think You Can Dance,” CFRT’s “Music City”), this party-meets-performance is sure to delight “Bridgerton” newcomers and devotees alike.

    “This event provides an exciting way for the theatre to celebrate current trends and share an exciting new work with our audiences. The album is a fantastic re-imagining of the ‘Bridgerton’ characters and story. We’ve added our own flair to create this evening of entertainment, including Tyce’s incredible choreography, period costumes and an awesome company of performers. Our Listening Experience will be a hybrid of camp, costumes and choreography, interwoven with narration for those who aren’t as familiar with the original content.

    Performers will be dressed to “Bridgerton” standards, and, while not required, audiences are invited to break out their hats, gloves and party clothes too!”

    Tickets are $25 and include a specialty cocktail. CFRT offers military, first responder, teacher and SNAP discounts.

    After experiencing supply-chain delays for their auditorium renovation, CFRT announced last week that their scheduled production of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” has been postponed to the opening of their 2022-2023 season.

    Subscribers can use their Flex Tickets for “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Party: A Live Listening Experience” among other options. Tickets can be purchased or redeemed at CFRT.org or by calling the box office at

  • 14 115567021 3633294656686224 5142382093780506115 nIt’s been a good year on and off the golf course for Thomas Owen.

    On the course, he played in his first USGA championship when he qualified for the U.S. Mid Amateur in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

    Off the course, Owen and his wife welcomed the birth of their second daughter in July.

    Now, Owen gets ready to defend his title in the Cumberland County Golf Championship on Oct.15-17 at Gates Four Golf & Country Club.

    “It’s been on my short list of goals to make a USGA championship,” Owen said. “I’m tickled to death. But I haven’t played as much golf as I did the last couple of years. We’ve got a newborn baby girl and I didn’t want to stray too far from her.”

    Owen, 33, has been the dominant player in the CCGC for the last five years. Since 2016, he has won twice and finished as the runner-up three times.

    “I’m always excited to play in that,” Owen said. “I have a better understanding of how to play that course successfully. I know what clubs to hit and how to play it. I’m looking forward to it.”

    Owen’s biggest challengers are expected to be two eight-time champions of the event — Billy West and Gary Robinson. They tied for third place last year but were a distant 10 shots behind Owen when the final round was rained out.

    “I think Thomas Owen is the favorite, not trying to put pressure on him,” West said.

    “He’s the defending champion, he qualified for the U.S. Mid Am and he’s among the top 10 amateur players in North or South Carolina.”

    Robinson, who will turn 63 on the first day of the CCGC on Oct. 15, has a remarkable record of longevity in the tournament. He is not only trying to win the event for the ninth time but is seeking to win it in a fifth decade. His first victory came in 1982.

    “The ninth time would be great, it is important,” Robinson said. “But winning it in five decades would be, to me, more important. It means more to me just to be able to compete at this age. I’m happy with that but it still doesn’t mean I don’t want to win.”

    West, who is 47, is impressed by what Robinson has accomplished and the way he still can play golf.

    “One thing I’ve always admired about Gary and the reason I have so much respect for his game is he’s obviously always set the benchmark,” West said. “One of the things I have the most respect for is the longevity of his career.”

    Robinson attributes being able to play at a high level for nearly 40 years to a couple of things.

    “One thing is, I’ve been blessed with good health,” he said. “I try to stay in shape. I did do physical labor most of my life. I did a lot of stretching and it kept me limber. I don’t lift weights but I do use bands and do a lot of stretching to try and stay loose that way.”

    West said Robinson can still hit the ball farther than him despite the difference in their ages.

    “The power he still has in his early 60s is incredible,” West said. “It gives him a competitive advantage in those senior events he plays in and allows him to compete and win when he’s playing people of all ages. He really is nothing short of extraordinary how he’s been able to maintain his game at his age.”

    But Robinson knows his chances of beating West and Owen, only 33, will be more difficult as he gets older.

    “I know Thomas and Billy with the age they are, they obviously still have more chances than I do,” he said. “I would like to win a couple more if possible but we’ll just take them one at a time.”

    West also is building quite a record in the CCGC. He also is trying for a ninth win and trying to win in a fourth decade. His first win came in 1994.

    “It would mean an awful lot,” he said.

    “The one reason I love this tournament so much is it has sort of followed me throughout my life. When I first played in it, I was a 16-year-old kid in high school. Then I was a college student, then a law student and then a young professional. Now, I’m married with two kids. To be able to win through the years, it links to each one of those points in my life and has been very
    special,” he said.

    “To be able to say I won it in four decades would be quite an accomplishment. I guess Gary and I, for the moment, have this competition going and it would be great to win another.”

    Robinson is coming into the tournament in top form. He teamed up with Preston Edmondson of Morrisville to win the N.C. Senior Four-Ball Championship in August in Clemmons.

    In September, Robinson had a top 10 finish in the Carolinas Senior Amateur in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, and a top 20 finish in the North Carolina
    Mid Amateur in Sanford going against players who were mostly younger than him.

    There are other players expected to be in the field who could challenge the Big Three. Jake Barge finished second last year and Matt Hudson won the Cumberland County Match Play Championship in the spring. Chris Holland beat Owen in that event, ending his six-year winning streak.

    This will be the 53rd year of the CCGC, a tournament that has survived losing a major sponsor in 2014 and seeing a drop in participation.

    Bill Bowman, the publisher of Up & Coming Weekly, took over as tournament director and has staged the event at his home course of Gates Four. That is a change from the past when the event rotated to different courses in Cumberland County.

    “We almost lost this tournament altogether,” Bowman said. “There are few tournaments in North Carolina that have been around 53 years, that’s for sure. Keeping this one is extremely important, I think, to the community.”

    The tournament will take a step toward involving other courses next year. Bowman said King’s Grant has agreed to host the first round in 2022. Robinson is a co-owner of King’s Grant.

    “The sentiment of the players is they would like to see it moved around,” he said. “I think Bill Bowman is doing the best he can in keeping up with some of the traditions of the tournament. So, we’ll take the first round and see where it goes.”

    This year’s tournament will have a new wrinkle with the creation of a Junior Division for players 12-14 and 15-18. The field will be limited to 30 players. The entry fee is $145 and they will play Oct. 16-17.

    Entry forms for the CCGC and the junior division are available at cumberlandcountygolfclassic.com and at local golf shops.

    The entry fee for the CCGC is $175 for 54 holes for the Men’s and Senior Divisions and $145 for 36 holes in the Women’s and Super Senior (age 65 and over) Divisions.

    Players in the Adult Division must be 16 or older and live in Cumberland County. The deadline to enter is Oct. 10 at 5 p.m.

    William Schaefer won the Men’s Open Division last year, Michael Lane took the Senior title, Edwin Baez was the Super Senior champ and Clara Brown won the Women’s title.

    For questions, call Gates Four general manager Kevin Lavertu at 910-425-6667 or Bowman at 910-391-3859.

  • 12 IndigoMoonWhiteCir The 6th Annual Indigo Moon Film Festival will be held in-person and virtually Thursday, Oct. 7 through Friday, Oct. 15.

    “The purpose of the Indigo Moon Film Festival is to showcase films from around the world before a diverse audience,” said Pat Wright and Jan Johnson, co-founders of Indigo Moon Film Festival.

    “Film is an underrepresented cultural art in our community and by bringing it here we allow people to see the world through different eyes, enjoy entertainment, and be inspired and informed more than they normally would.”
    Wright added that they are independent films that you would not see in regular movie theaters.

    “Last year the event was 100% virtual due to COVID-19, but this year we found a way to safely social distance so we are having two in-person events at Segra Stadium and the rest of the event will be virtual,” said Wright.

    The event kicks off Thursday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. with a free Family Film Night in downtown’s Segra Stadium.

    “We are screening Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ and we hope that everyone will come out,” said Wright. “We will safely social distance and we are giving away free masks at the door.”

    The opening night film, “Peace by Chocolate,” takes place Friday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. in Segra Stadium. It is the story of a young Syrian refuge and his family who come to Canada to try to start over. The young refuge wants to become a doctor, but his family wants him to stay and help run the chocolate business.

    “It is a really uplifting great film and it falls right in line with our theme this year ‘Diversity and Resilience,’” said Wright. “We will have a live question and answer session with the filmmaker, Jonathan Keijser, of ‘Peace by Chocolate’ after the showing of the film.”

    “He has several short documentaries of this type of film and this is his first feature length film,” said Wright. “He is really excited about coming and helping to promote the film and I think they are getting a distribution deal with one of the big distribution groups too, so we are interested to hear more about that.”

    Saturday, Oct. 9 thruugh Friday, Oct. 15 is the Virtual Film Festival. More than 80 films will be represented and their categories entail Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Student Films, Documentary Short, Narrative Short and

    Some of the films include “Dreams of Emmett Till,” “Adventures in the Time of Covid,” “In Jesus’ Name,” “Love & Coffee,” “Validation,” and more.

    “The films will be available by website and you can purchase an individual ticket or buy a pass to look at all of them,” said Wright. “You can watch them on your computer, digital device and download the app on Roku, Fire TV Stick and Apple TV so you can watch it on your television.”

    She added, “You get to watch it from the best seat in the house — your own, it is definitely safe from COVID-19, and you can watch all of the films you want for an entire week.”

    GroundSwell Pictures is a 501(c)(3) with a mission of engaging and inspiring diverse communities by producing films, showing films, teaching filmmaking and supporting films that make a positive difference. “GroundSwell is the umbrella organization and Indigo Moon is one of the programs of GroundSwell,” said Wright. “We also create films that are of social significance, but right now we are focused on the Film Festival and creating films to make a positive social difference.”

    Even though the film entry deadline has passed, the process of entering a film for the contest is done through a portal called FilmFreeway.

    “The films that we are looking for are Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Student Films, Animation, Narrative Shorts, and Documentary Shorts,” said Wright. “We are going to open a new category next year for strictly North Carolina films.”

    “We have received some awesome grant funding from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, Cumberland Community Foundation, and we have got so many great sponsors and supporters,” said Wright. “It is great because last year we hunkered down, did everything mostly in house, and had a couple of stalwart supporters, but this year we are reaching back out and people are happy to support us.”

    “This event is our way of saying thank you to the community for their support,” said Wright. “We are looking forward to the film festival’s comeback.”

    Ticket cost is $100 for VIP, $15 for a student pass, and $14 for three films or a film block. There is also a pay what you can option. Tickets are $5 for each film but you can pay as little as $3.

    Masks will be required inside Segra Stadium. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase.

    For more information call 910-309-6580 or visit the interactive website at www.indigomoonfilmfestival.com.

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  • 14The weather may forget every few days, but the calendar says it's officially fall.

    There's just something about the season – the trees we thought we recognized begin to show off with remarkable colors as they work in harmony to create unforgettable sunlight scenes. And the weather.

    I truly love fall weather.

    We begin to feel a certain crispness in the air each morning, while the afternoons remind us to bring a little jacket as the sun begins to set a little earlier day by day.

    Fall is a perfect buffer between a humid North Carolina summer and when winter officially sets in to send us on daily trips to the woodpile.

    The fall weather is more than beauty and comfort, though. It's a sign. A signal to us all that the time for gathering as family and friends is just ahead.

    It's a season for gratitude and thoughtfulness, where the coolness of the air outside is perfectly countered by a warmth that seems to grow within us all.

    We started a new fall tradition in my family a few years ago, and I think it's a good exercise in humility. The gratitude pumpkin.

    Maybe you've done this, too (or at least heard about it.)

    The concept is simple: get a pumpkin, place it where it's easily visible to your family and guests, and use a permanent marker or paint (for the really artsy among us) to write down things you're grateful for.
    It doesn't take long to get past the cool stuff and start writing really simple things like health, family or a home, and that's where the gold is. Realizing how immensely blessed we are in our everyday lives.

    Life — even abundant life — isn't about money or cars or possessions. It's about the relationships we build. It's about the joy we get from or bring to others.

    There is an undeniable joy in the laughter of a toddler, or the tender moments with a newborn. There is cause for joy and much to be thankful for all around us. It just takes us pausing long enough to recognize it.

    The gratitude pumpkin at our house was so filled with the thankful thoughts we wrote on it last year you could hardly tell it was ever orange at all. And that's how I want to live.

    I'm ready for the negativity, and the pain and the ugliness we see in this crazy, divided world to give way to a sense of gratitude for what we have.

    There is freedom in that place. There is joy in that place. And there is love in its truest form in the place where gratitude lives.

    So, consider getting a pumpkin and a marker. Or you can just sit down with a spiral notebook and a pen and begin writing.

    Encourage your children, spouse or people you work with to do the same. Record the things that make you smile. Write down the people who bring you joy.

    Count your blessings. One at a time. It's almost certain you will run of paper (or pumpkin) before you're finished.

  • 13The first historic proof of dance came from wall paintings in a 9000-year-old cave in India and was with us before written language. For thousands of years dance has been present in celebrations, entertainment, ceremonies and rituals and has evolved through the centuries in many forms.

    There are historians that believe social dance is one of the essential factors of development in early civilization. Watching a baby or toddler move to the beat is a prime example of how dance could have evolved before written language.

    The benefits of dance can help with weight loss, flexibility, balance, reduce stress and has no age limits young or old. Your style of dance may be swaying to a favorite song while you’re driving, dancing around the house or rocking those moves on a dance floor. Wheelchair dance is popular in over forty nations with styles ranging from ballroom to line dances and is becoming an International Paralympic Committee Championship Sport.

    Another benefit of dance is how it makes us feel. It is a powerful expression that grabs us with inner light, speaks to our creative outlet and makes us happy.

    It is an expression of movement with music that speaks a universal language and for the enthusiast requires no special skill, experience or form.

    We enjoy dance in countless styles and enjoy watching others dance.

    Recently I attended a Mick Jagger concert. The man is a phenomenal entertainer and at seventy-eight commands the stage of someone more than half his age.

    We all take memories from a concert and for me it was the way he moved on stage. Jagger has a choreographer, trainer and his exercise regimen consist of dance, kick boxing, Pilates, yoga and running. He isn’t the only one. Goldie Hawn strives to dance or do some form of exercise every day for a set amount of time or in intervals and is the epitome of someone that dances like no one is watching.

    Age is certainly limitless with ninety-five-year young Dick Van Dyke who exercises his abdominals, legs and more. A quote from Dick Van Dyke is exemplified by his lifestyle. He has no plans to slow down and looks forward to being one-hundred years old.

    “All you old guys out there, listen to me. You can go on for a long time. I’m still dancing and singing.”

    It can be easy to say that celebrities have the benefit of a personal trainer. The common factor is that the love of dance and music is universal without celebrity status or a trainer.

    My mother and aunt were dance instructors, and my family seems to have inherited the dance gene.

    Mother enrolled me in ballet classes at an early age and growing up I loved the old movies with Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and later the more pronounced dancers with gyrating moves such as Hawn, Ann Margaret, Tina Turner and Elvis Pressley. Michael Jackson is an all-time favorite and of course there are the inspiring movies like Dirty Dancing and Flash Dance. I love to dance and when the music starts there is a driving energy in me to hit the dance floor and feel the beat!

    Dance classes are popular for ballroom, Latin, Shag, line dancing or Zumba group fitness classes. Have you ever noticed people just about running to the dance floor for a popular line dance?

    Be the one who enjoys dancing like no one is watching socially, or at home or in a class. Live, love life and reap the benefits.

  • 02America’s chattering classes are yakking up a storm as election year 2022 looms. It will be a big year with a U.S. Senate race in North Carolina as well as the U.S. House, the General Assembly and a host of local offices.

    Queues are already forming — some on the downlow — for the 2024 Presidential race, and to top it all, the redistricting that comes after every U.S. Census will change the political landscape in many of those contests.

    Local analyst, commentator and activist Troy Williams published an op-ed in the Fayetteville Observer earlier this month. Using 2020 census data, Williams points out that Fayetteville’s self-identified white population has declined from 64% in 1960 to 34% in 2020, with 11% of that decline in the last decade, meaning that Fayetteville is now a majority black city.

    He also notes that our community has more black elected officials, including our mayor, a majority of the city council and local judges than in recent memory.

    He asks the question, is “white flight” affecting Fayetteville?

    The U.S. Census does not answer that question.

    No agreed upon definitions of black or white exist — we all identify ourselves.

    And to muddy the waters further, the U.S. Census Bureau has more boxes to check than in earlier censuses including the 1960 one, so we are comparing apples and oranges about who is moving and much less why.
    The reality is that there are probably as many reasons for moving as there are people making that decision.

    Williams rightly observes that the people who are moving, for whatever reasons, are taking their assets and taxable property with them.

    That means that without comparable or more resources moving in, Fayetteville’s tax base is reduced which translates into diminished city services.

    On that point, he challenges local leaders to listen to the people they represent.

    “Do they understand that many middle-class families, black and white, have similar goals: newer houses, better schools for their children and attractive environments?”

    To that list, I would add fair and effective law enforcement, all of which goes to the point that we are more alike in our goals and desires than we are different.

    Williams asserts that with elective and appointive authority comes responsibility, and he is dead right on that. Politics has always been and is now a blood sport, not for the faint of heart.

    In addition, widely discussed political divisions of recent years coupled with ridiculously low salaries have repelled would-be candidates at all levels.

    That said, it is incumbent on Fayetteville residents — and every other community — to recruit, support and elect the most responsible, reliable and honest among us to seek public office, including ourselves. Running for public office is not rocket science and serving is a balancing act between competing interests of different constituencies, frustrating and sometimes difficult, generally with no one “right” decision — just many, many shades of gray. In short, neither is easy and both are necessary.

    Democracy, if it is to prevail and there are real threats against it at the moment, demands people of good will and of all colors participate in the political process as candidates, supporters and voters for contests from the Presidency on down to local offices.

    Failure to do so means we have abdicated our responsibility to participate in self-governance, and we will get the government our abdication deserves.

    Chances are excellent we are not going to like it.

  • 01The Hope Mills political scene is in a state of disarray. Especially with regards to the mayor’s race. It is a near-perfect example of how the threads of selfishness, greed, hypocrisy and personal agendas have become commonplace and interwoven into every aspect of local politics.

    Hope Mills is one of the most desired and habitable communities in Cumberland County. It is recognized as progressive and one of the fastest growing towns in the state. This growth is a product of past decades of competent, responsible and dedicated leadership.

    Yet, regardless of the town's achievements, accomplishments and successes, there are always a few (a very few) disgruntled individuals who insist on placing their personal agendas ahead of the constituents they are supposed to be serving. With the advent of social media, these ill-spirited individuals want to have prominent voices in the future and direction of the Hope Mills community, but without the commitment and responsibility of management that goes along with it.

    Full disclosure, I am passionate about the Hope Mills community. I was a friend and admirer of former seven-term Hope Mills Mayor Edwin Deaver, who passed away in 2016. He was a good friend and a one-of-a-kind character. He graciously loved serving Hope Mills and its citizens. His impact on the town was positive in nature and gentle with a spirited touch of homegrown enthusiasm that can still be felt on Trade Street today. Former Mayor Eddie Dees likewise contributed to the Hope Mills quality of life by keeping the welfare of the residents his highest priority.

    Again, full disclosure, I am a Mayor Jackie Warner supporter. From the start of her tenure, with the help and guidance of a competent board and staff I watched her build and expand on the foundation built by Deaver and Dees. Together, working in cooperation with each other they took Hope Mills to an elevated level of respectability and prestige, both culturally and economically.

    So, one might ask, why all the negativity? And, what can be so bad in a community recognized for being so good? The answer to both is nothing at all.

    What makes it even more interesting and concerning is that the two primary individuals responsible for the negativity are former Hope Mills Commissioner Meg Lawson and current Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers. Both of whom were active in the town's prosperity and growth over several years, working closely with the Mayor, who, by the way, has no voting power or sole jurisdiction over decisions directly affecting the town. Yet these two are leading a cabal of negative criticism against Warner, whose leadership has led the town to statewide recognition and prosperity.

    The next question should be why would they do this? The answer, for personal power and control. Neither Bellflowers or Lawson bring anything to the table that contributes to quality of life in Hope Mills that is not already present; thus, their strategies and platforms all hinge on slander, character assassination and false or misleading information attempting to diminish the accomplishments of Warner. A Herculean task at best.

    This brings me to the most concerning and dangerous aspects of this situation. One of the very first actions Lawson took in her role as a Hope Mills Commissioner was to team up with Bellflowers to cancel a media contract with Up & Coming Weekly. The purpose of the contract was to assist in the creation of a community newspaper for the town of Hope Mills. This partnership with Up & Coming Weekly would have provided the mayor and all Hope Mills governmental departments with a weekly communication with residents, businesses and organizations. A local community newspaper would have been a win-win situation for all concerned. Finally, Hope Mills had devised a plan for a media voice for the sole purpose of informing citizens on town-related news while promoting local businesses and economic development. The Hope Mills commissioners unanimously agreed that the town needed a newspaper and voted likewise. However, Bellflowers, Larson, and their small cabal pursued actions that would stifle free press, free speech and free expression. Not only did they vote to cancel the Up & Coming Weekly contract, but they failed to bring forward any alternative media options or newspaper prospects to fill the void. The newspaper project should have been valued at a quarter of a million dollars yearly. The town’s actual investment? $28,000. It should concern every citizen in Hope Mills that Bellflowers is challenging Warner for the Mayor's seat when he and his like-minded supporters do not support or advocate for local media, transparency in government or free speech. Most recently, Larson submitted a Public Records Request to the town of Hope Mills for all e-mail correspondence between the Up & Coming Weekly newspaper and Mayor Warner and Commissioners Bryan A. Marley, Pat Edwards, and Kenjuana McCray. Why? What are they looking for? Anything that they can use to discredit the mayor and anyone in support of the town creating a community newspaper. After 25 years of publishing, I can assure you they will be vastly disappointed.

    My message to all Hope Mills residents is to beware of anyone in opposition to the free press or government transparency.

    Hope Mills is not located in Russia or China. In America, local communities embrace the U. S. Constitution and our First Amendment rights. Hope Mills residents and voters need to be very cautious and skeptical of people, especially elected officials, who do not support a local free press.

    As a final thought, if you have, or even if you have not, read the most recent Fayetteville Observer article with questions and answers from the two candidates, I suggest you turn to pages nine through ten in this edition of Up and Coming Weekly. Please take a moment to read a unedited, even-keeled comparison of how the two candidates stack up against one another in their own words prior to voting on Nov. 2.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 10 FTCC Library PhotoThe original reason I returned to college at the age of 39 was to finish what I started after completing high school. However, except for finishing and getting a degree, I had no goal—only to finish. But open enrollment to college had its hurdles, and for me, the hurdle was doing well on the assessment test. With no one to turn to, I was somehow led in the direction of the campus library, and had it not been for the librarian who helped me at that point in my life, I would not have begun college and certainly would not have completed college. The librarian I met that day helped me get the resources I needed to do well so I could begin college credit-earning courses.

    That experience drew me even closer to the library environment. I discovered that I wanted to help people succeed with their education as much as I had been helped. Six years later, I changed careers from being a bulldozer operator to becoming a librarian. Now, as the Director of Library Services at Fayetteville Technical Community College, what brings me joy is when a graduating student comes into the library waving their degree and thanking the library staff for their help.

    Helping students succeed is what the library is all about. By continually assessing students’ needs and implementing strategies based on that feedback, we can prepare the 21st century student for the globally competitive workforce.

    The Paul H. Thompson Library recently installed additional study rooms based on student feedback, and the latest innovation is the upcoming Makerspace where students can work individually or meet in groups to collaborate on research projects, class assignments and homework.

    There are now three library locations across Cumberland County that can support FTCC students with library services. Those locations are the Paul H. Thompson Library at the Fayetteville campus; the Spring Lake Campus Branch of the Cumberland County Public Library; and the John L. Throckmorton Library on Fort Bragg. At each location, students have access to print books, e-books, journals, e-journals, multiple electronic databases, films, audio recordings, maps, photos and digital archive materials.

    A wide variety of spaces are available where students can study, conduct research, and read or meet in small and large groups to collaborate on projects. Laptops are also available for checkout for use within the Paul H. Thompson Library reference room and at the Spring Lake Campus branch library.

    All students are welcome to the library to get the help they need to graduate with success. But, they don’t have to come on campus to get the help they need.

    On-campus and distance learners have access to library staff at the Paul H. Thompson Library during business hours by calling 910-678-8247, or emailing library@faytechcc.edu. When the Library is closed, students can contact a librarian by using the online “Ask-a-Librarian ChatNow” button located at https://www.faytechcc.edu/campus-life/library/

  • 01 classroom

    Almost 30 years ago, Cumberland County Schools joined with four other low wealth school systems in a lawsuit arguing that every child in North Carolina is Constitutionally entitled to a sound basic education. The suit asserts our state’s Constitution means all children, not just those living in counties blessed with a solid tax base able to fund public education adequately.

    Equal opportunity was the argument in 1994 when the lawsuit was filed, and it remains the case today.

    In the intervening decades, the original presiding judge has retired, lawyers have come and gone, North Carolina has had six different governors, and the Hoke County student for whom the suit was named has completed high school, both college and law school, and now practices with a Raleigh law firm.It would take more trees than we want to chop down to go through all the permutations — judicial rulings, appeals, reports, commissions and political hot air, that have occurred and all the energy expended since 1994, but here we are heading into 2022, and very little has actually changed.

    Children in wealthier counties — think Wake, Mecklenburg, New Hanover and others — have considerably more and higher quality educational opportunities than children in poorer, largely rural counties. You cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip, and you cannot squeeze tax dollars for education out of businesses and individuals who simply do not have it.

    I have heard it argued that children in poorer counties are even worse off educationally now than they were in 1994, because economic inequity is growing in our nation, not shrinking, and because the General Assembly has since allowed students to opt out of public schools into private institutions, with tuition paid by tax dollars, yours and mine.

    On the long legal trajectory of Leandro, where are we now?

    Last year, the judge now shepherding Leandro through the courts found that despite North Carolina’s clear Constitutional responsibility and various state programs, many students are still not receiving a sound basic education. Earlier this year, the same judge issued an order that the state not may but must, implement the comprehensive education plan agreed to by all parties in 2020. He gave Oct. 18 as the date by which the state is legally obligated to pony up sufficient funding to address educational inequality.

    So, what is the hold up? What is the problem? Why is nothing happening?

    North Carolina has not had an approved budget since 2018. The old budget just keeps rolling over at the same level of spending. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper supports increased funding, but the Republican controlled General Assembly is loath to provide it despite a budget surplus bumping up on $30B — yes, billion.

    There are signs that the Governor and legislative leaders are at least speaking, but as of this writing, no agreement has been reached, so there is yet to be a budget.
    The stage is now set for a legal showdown.Whatever your place on the political spectrum, a generation is a long time to wait for a shot at educational equality. Millions of young students have received less than stellar educations, and they and their communities continue to suffer for it. It is time — past time — for the General Assembly to do its Constitutional duty to provide educational funding for all our children, not just some.

    Mr. Leandro has been waiting so long he grew up.

  • 16 group walkingWith the beautiful days and cooler weather, fall beckons us to be outside and walk. The most popular exercise in the U.S. is walking, and a person can average walking 65,000 miles in a lifetime which is equivalent to walking three times around the earth.

    Walking is a minimal impact, moderate intensity exercise and one that you can do alone or socially. Walking can be beneficial for your health, wellness, put less stress on your joints and can be an opportune time to gather your thoughts and clear your mind.

    A good pair of shoes that are not stiff are essential for the flexibility to roll from heel to toe and a good arch and heel support to avoid injuries. If you do not presently have a suitable shoe for walking seek the advice of a professional for proper shoe fit and sock choice.

    Walking is something that is easy to start for a fitness regimen beginning with five to 10 minutes each time you go out and suitable for most fitness levels.

    The average walking time per mile is fifteen to twenty minutes. The three sequences of warmup, walk and cool down are important for best results. Walking with good form can improve your balance, posture and lessen chance for injuries.

    Warmup — Preparation should begin with a warmup of five minutes or more to elevate your heart rate, body temperature, warm your muscles, increase your range of motion and prepare your joints. It should include shoulder rolls, light marching, ankle rolls, flexing and pointing your feet. If you do not have the time to warm up begin your walk slowly and gradually increase your pace.

    Walking — Walk with your shoulders relaxed and down keeping your head up and looking forward. Your hips should shift slightly from side to side swinging your arms and walk with a stride that is comfortable for you while engaging your core. Take your breaths in through your nose and out through your lips in a consistent manner. Allow yourself time to decrease your pace toward the end of your walk to gradually bring your heart rate and breathing down.

    Cool Down /Stretch — Do not
    skip the stretch! A cool down is
    essential for the body’s time to recover, reduce soreness and should include static stretching of your muscles 20 to 30 seconds for each group. Stretches include standing quadriceps, calves, ham strings, hips, glutes and shoulders.

    Add a challenge to your walk — If you have been walking for a while you might want to consider adding a challenge to your walk without increasing your miles and adding more cardio.

    The perceived rate of exertion is a good indicator of your cardio intensity. Level one is ease of conversation, level two is short sentences and level three is your maximum which consist of few or no words.

    Mix up your walk with variety adding these examples: increased cardio burns more calories, swing your arms with more intensity, shave the time off your walk by increasing your pace, increase and decrease your pace in segments. Make a one-month walking plan with variation on the days you walk and a goal. Once you have reached your goal move on to more distance and/or hills.

    Breathe the crisp fall air, enjoy the foliage, stay hydrated before during and after, listen to great music, put your shoes out as a reminder, layer your clothing for cool days, walk against the traffic, challenge yourself, talk about it on social media and keep a journal of your progress!

  • 03 elk 1Each year the male Elk, called a "bull," will fight another bull to collect a female elk called a "cow" into his herd. When a bully bull threatens a dominant bull, the fight is violent. These fights only have three outcomes: surrender, a tie or a kill. The tie is the most brutal of the battle. The antlers of the two bulls lock together and they cannot get free. Eventually, fatigue leads to collapse, starvation, and finally, death. The other bull may still be alive only to watch his opponent die in his clutches. His end is near and his victory is in vain, but a win is a win.

    That is America these days. During the election, America locked antlers, and America is now fatigued — exasperated by the pressures of inflation, government spending, overregulation, open borders, Afghanistan, increasing taxes.

    At the same time, people are getting paid to stay at home (aka "the Great Resignation”) and COVID restrictions, mandates, bipolar mask rules and rules which make absolutely no sense at all.
    The COVID data shows that the vaccines are working, but the virus is still spreading. The Delta variant has caused new concerns. Hospitals are reporting that most life-threatening cases are in non-vaccinated people.

    Advocates for the vaccine question why people do not want to get the vaccine. On the other hand, many people think it should be their choice. Many people have gotten the vaccine but believe that it is their right to keep their information private and resent the idea of showing a COVID card to go into an event or business.

    On Sept. 9 President Biden announced an Executive Order for mandatory vaccines. He is issuing this order with a needle in one hand, holding a gun to your head in the other while waging war on the Second Amendment. The order lacked details, but behind the scenes, Biden is using the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to draft an "emergency temporary standard."

    According to news reports, officials said the agency would begin enforcing the rules: collecting reports of violations and sending out inspectors who will be empowered to impose $13,650 fines for violations and up to $136,500 for those that are willful or repeated.

    Biden and his administration are working on implementing his new policies to address some form of a vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more employees and in most Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulated workplaces. This means that if you work at less than 100 employees and your business receives Medicare or Medicaid payments, everyone must be vaccinated or lose that revenue. Military, federal executive branch workers and some federal contractors will be required to have the vaccine. He wants military personnel who refuse to get the vaccine to be dishonorably discharged. That is the discharge usually held for those convicted of murder, treason and other serious crimes. So good luck with getting a decent job with that discharge but thanks for fighting and keeping us safe for all these years. Note: The Legislative branch and Federal Courts are exempt.

    Last year millions of health care workers, teachers and first responders were the frontline heroes of the COVID pandemic. With this Executive Order, these same courageous, frontline workers and millions of others are being told to get vaccinated or LOSE YOUR JOB!

    Now, the government uses employers to be "Great Terminators," the enforcers of his vaccine. As with many socialist countries, starvation will be the root motivator to get you to comply. You will not get unemployment, no insurance, no way to pay your rent or mortgage.

    Here is the potential career-ending question. How is it that some of the most intelligent people in our society (doctors and nurses) choose not to get the vaccine after working in this since the beginning? Is it because they know something we do not? Is it because they have had COVID and have antibodies? Is it because they have been around it so long that they believe they have natural immunity? Is it because they think that medical choices should still be a choice?

    Last month on CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke with Dr. Fauci. Dr. Gupta said that a study in Israel showed that natural immunity showed that it was better than the vaccine; Dr. Fauci's response was, "You know, that's a really good point, Sanjay. I don't have a really firm answer for you on that. That's something that we're going to have to discuss regarding the durability of the response … So, I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously, because you very appropriately pointed out, it is an issue, and there could be an argument for saying what you said."

    Dr. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President, and he hasn't studied natural immunity.-Does it seem that my mom knew more about viruses when she sent me down the street to play with a kid who had chickenpox?

    Here are why some people struggle. We have watched Dr. Fauci change his story so many times that if he were in your high school science class, you wouldn't cheat off him because you know he will change his answers.
    Where in the Constitution does it say it is the government's job to keep you safe? If that was the case, they should outlaw cars, cigarettes and the 8,000 other ways a person can die.

    How does this work out? How does a doctor see patients without a staff? Will teachers go to 100 students per class? How do first responders save lives with less people?

    Like the mighty bull elk, the courageous, the cowards and the bullies who are hell-bent on a fight, the government, business and the people are in the process of locking horns with their employees and in the process will kill themselves while winning the battle for the cows, but a win is a win.

  • 02 Pitt IMG 8766Remember when Lou Reed sang, “Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side?” Not so much? Is your memory balky? What did you have for lunch yesterday? Remember in your twenties when you wondered what was the meaning of life? Now you just wonder where you parked your car? Is your Remembrance of Things Past getting more difficult? You have come to the right place. Today’s column will help you restore your memory without the use of Prevagen.

    Mr. Science says think of your memory as a bucket. At the bottom of the bucket are your first memories, childhood pets, childhood traumas, first dates, that sort of thing. As you get older more events pile into your memory bucket squashing the long-term memories down at the bottom of the bucket. The new events float on top of the bucket. Unfortunately, long term memories are not infinitely compressible. Eventually the new memories fill the bucket up to the rim and splash out. The old memories remain at the bottom of the bucket and are easily retrievable. The new short term memories splatter onto the floor and can’t be recalled. That is why you can remember the name of your first-grade teacher but can’t remember what you had for lunch.

    Can your fading memory be saved? Read on, MacDuff, have we got a deal for you. Today we are going to literally take a walk down Memory Lane. We go right to the source of all things memory related. We are going to visit the Greek Goddess of memory herself, the right honorable Mnemosyne. This is another one of those irritating columns that explore the curious world of Greek mythology. If mythology is all Greek to you, stick around. You can dazzle your friends if you find yourself on TV playing "Jeopardy" and Greek mythology is the Daily Double. Once you meet Mnemosyne and pay her proper respect, your memories will become shiny and new as a hot Krispy Kreme donut.

    First, some family history for Mnemosyne. Her friends could never remember how to pronounce her name. They just called her Mimi which is what we shall do in today’s lesson. Mimi was born into Greek God royalty; her Baby Daddy was Uranus the God of the sky and her Momma was Gaia the Goddess of Earth. Mimi turned out to be the Goddess of Memory. Mimi got together with her nephew Zeus on Spring Break. Zeus thinking his aunt Mimi might not cotton to sleeping with her nephew, changed himself into a mortal shepherd. Mimi fell for the handsome shepherd and spent nine nights with Zeus making whoopee. Mimi ended up in the family way as a result of her time with Zeus. She had to drop out of Goddess college to have Zeus’ nine daughters. These kids were the nine Muses. The Muses served as inspiration for creative types ever since then. According to Mr. Google, the Muses were Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (music and lyric poetry), Erato (love poetry), Mepomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (hymns), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy) and Urania (astronomy). Mimi’s kids were arty, not a warrior in the bunch. The moral is that if you get Mimi on your side, you will find inspiration in the arts and possibly win "America’s Got Talent."

    Mimi wasn’t just a vessel for producing children, no Sirree Bob. She also worked outside the home. However, with nine kids she must have had domestic help. Mimi was a lifeguard for a pool in Hades where dead Greeks go. Hades has the river Lethe where dead Greeks would drink to forget their past lives when they got reincarnated. The river that fed Mimi’s pool was named for Mnemosyne which was the river of memory. Drinking from Mimi’s pool had the opposite effect on dead Greeks causing them to remember their past lives thereby preventing them from being reincarnated.

    Mimi’s name is the basis for our current word “mnemonic” which our pal Webster defines as a device such as a pattern of letters or associations that assists in remembering something. If you ask Mimi to put in a good word for you, she can help you remember where you parked your car, what you had for lunch or your anniversary. Unfortunately, not all memories are good ones, so be careful in your requests to Mimi for help. Do you really need to know what you had for lunch yesterday?

    Randy Newman wrote a song called “Potholes” about when he was a kid pitching in a baseball game and walked 14 batters in a row. He started crying and walked off the field going home in humiliation. He did his best to forget this event by turning it into a song. He wrote: “God bless the potholes/ Down on Memory Lane/ God bless the potholes/ Down on Memory Lane/ Hope some real big ones open up/ Take some of the memories that do remain.”

    Have we learned anything today? Nothing we can’t forget tomorrow. Some of those potholes on Memory Lane are our friends. No memories were harmed in the writing of this column.

    Pictured: Reviewing the story of Mnemosyne in Greek mythology can offer explanations on modern memory troubles.

  • 01 vote No on YesOur city is currently being flooded with a disingenuous campaign to change the structure of our City Council. You might have received a mailer asking for your signature in support of changing local elections from district-based to a hybrid model of district and at-large elections.

    To recap, district elections mean that individuals within specific neighborhoods will elect someone to represent them downtown. At-large means that the whole city gets to vote for a candidate.

    Fayetteville does NOT need to change how we elect our local representatives. Let's not fall victim to the arguments presented by the Vote Yes Fayetteville committee.

    Let's talk about those arguments.

    To begin, there is no connection whatsoever between crime in Fayetteville and the way we elect our municipal representatives. There is crime in cities and towns regardless if they have district or at-large elections. This is a scare tactic to make you think that the city is out of control which is not.

    According to the 2020 Fayetteville Police Department's Annual Report, crime in our city has been in a five-year decline. This report was compiled by a Police Department that received an increase in their budget this year.

    Citizens in Fayetteville can contact and share their opinions with ALL members of City Council. Our elected officials constantly discuss issues outside their own district. Changing our elections will not fix the issue of priority focus, it will worsen them.

    Running a political campaign at-large versus a district wide campaign requires BIG MONEY. This means that at-large representatives will focus more on obtaining sufficient finances for an election that happens every two years rather than the needs of our city.

    Besides, who do you want to represent YOU? Someone that lives and understands your community or someone who simply has the money to run and win? The financial interests of at-large candidates will overshadow the interests of marginalized communities.

    There is a criticism about our district maps and how they are gerrymandered and confusing to voters. According to the Census Data and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, our city districts have to be redrawn anyway based on population changes. This issue can be fixed by showing up to the City Council's redistricting meetings and advocating for our communities.

    Changing the structure of our elections is not needed at all. The institution that creates the biggest confusion among voters is the N.C. General Assembly, not how we elect our local leaders.

    The purpose behind this push is to take away the power of communities across our city. It is insulting to utilize the election of our two African-American mayors as a talking point. Marshall Pitts Jr. and Mitch Colvin have a combined leadership of 8 years in a city first settled in 1783.

    Do not sign the petition.

    Vote "NO" to "Vote Yes."

    Jimmy Buxton is the President, Fayetteville Chapter, NCAACP.

  • 22 Casting CrownsIn a recent conversation with songwriter Mark Hall, we laughed over the irate response to their first single to Christian radio back in 2003. The song was, “If We Are The Body” which asks us — the church — if we are collectively here as the hands, the feet, the heart of Jesus, why are we not reaching, touching and going to everyone, everywhere?

    Within weeks of the very first time the song played in Fayetteville on WCLN, we received a call from a missionary home on sabbatical who asked “...who is this band, and what gives them the right to level this sort of judgment?”

    No more an affront to Christians than saying “We need to clean up this city” to a town council, the song was as much a surprise to the band as a first radio single as anyone else. During our phone call, the man who penned the song commented that the record label made the decision, and that they just realized the band would be coming out swinging.

    The band is Casting Crowns, and after nearly 20 years of Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, Grammy nominations, and number one songs, they are bringing their unique sound — now a staple of Christian radio and playlists far and wide — to Fayetteville's Crown Theatre on Oct. 9.

    Lead man Mark Hall and his wife Melanie still serve as youth workers at their home church in south Atlanta, and they only do so many dates per year — always ending up back home for their weekly gatherings on Sunday.

    Casting Crowns began as the student worship band that Hall formed while he was serving at First Baptist Daytona Beach in 1999. Since then, they have moved their home base to Georgia, amassed a string of chart-topping songs and albums, and developed a musical following others merely dream of.

    Singer/songwriter Matthew West joins Casting Crowns for the “Only Jesus Tour." He brings his share of radio hits and accolades to the table.

    West, who came on the scene about the same time as Casting Crowns, has scored numerous top ten singles, and has to make room on the mantle for yet another award. In September he was named American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Christian Songwriter of the Year. For the fourth time.

    Originally scheduled for March 14, 2020, the Fayetteville stop on the tour has been rescheduled several times for reasons circling the pandemic, and is truly a stellar package wrapped in a spirit of humility. Come expecting an evening of stories and songs that have touched a generation of listeners. The “Only Jesus Tour” with Casting Crowns and Matthew West lands in Fayetteville for one night only on Saturday, Oct. 9.

    Pictured above: Christian music group Casting Crowns will be at the Crown Theatre Oct. 9. (Photo courtesy www.castingcrowns.com)

  • 03 vote yes3 copyYou can’t grow and become a great city if you leave entire segments of the community behind.

    I remember those words from our city council’s budget message for the 2012-2013 City Budget.

    Sadly, we have continued to see that the current structure with nine single-member districts has precisely done that over the past twenty years. By only focusing on the needs of nine individual districts, not enough attention is given to the major issues that face our entire city. Some are often more complicated and expensive. And increasingly, the issues that only face a few of our districts, making it even more difficult to gain support from other districts that fight for their own issues.

    Fayetteville’s growth is not keeping pace with the rest of the larger cities in the state. At the same time, this structure leaves entire segments behind, often our poor and powerless.

    The continued shortage in sworn police officers, still over 50 officers or more than 10% of the staff, threatens our citizens. But especially the ones in those neighborhoods that aren’t getting the coverage they deserve. These citizens are more likely to have an encounter with a police officer who is tired and stressed from overtime.

    In a city with 45% black registered voters, why are 81% of the murder victims this year black?

    We have identified over $100 million in stormwater needs to protect us from the next Hurricane Matthew or Florence. Again, this year the city council failed to add to the stormwater fees to help address these significant issues. What parts of our city are likely to be impacted by a flood? It is most often those living in the low-lying lands, often our poorest and most powerless.

    There is no better example of this failure than Shaw Heights. Stuck right between our city, our state university, and the most significant economic engine in southeastern North Carolina, Shaw Heights continues to be an unincorporated area. Shaw Heights residents are deprived of essential city services like sewer and urban police protection.

    If Shaw Heights had a different demographic, it would have been annexed years ago. But it doesn’t, and we should be ashamed to perpetuate a system that continually overlooks the least of us.

    Ironically, some defend a system of nine single members districts as better for the vulnerable and poor in our community. The facts tell a different story.

    Let’s have six city council members directly accountable to those who fear the next flood.

    Let’s have six city council members directly accountable to those who worry about the crime in their neighborhoods.

    We can’t become a better city by continuing to leave people behind.

    Suppose you would like to vote for 6 members of the City Council instead of the current 2.

    In that case, I encourage you to sign the Vote Yes Fayetteville petition and give every citizen the opportunity to vote on this critical issue.

    Editor's Note: Bobby Hurst is a former five-term City Council member and former business owner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 100DollarBillsHC1404 02 source"A President's greatest responsibility is to protect all our people from enemies, foreign and domestic. Here at home the worst enemy we face is economic — the creeping erosion of the American way of life and the American dream that has resulted in today's tragedy of economic stagnation and unemployment." President Ronald Reagan said these words in 1982. However, they ring as true today as ever before.

    As the crisis on our southern border worsens and inflation reaches new highs, last week Washington liberals ignored these problems and continued their reckless spending spree. The House passed legislation which would once again raise the debt ceiling in order to pay for their $3.5 trillion liberal wish list. Keeping our government open is critical. However, I opposed this move to allow more debt. Democrats — who control the House, Senate and White House and who have spent trillions already this year — should not have a blank check to recklessly spend even more of your tax dollars. Their bill will raise taxes on everyone, give the federal government more control over your life from the cradle to the grave, and only make our inflation crisis worse.

    Despite this, their bill did have one good provision — funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. However, Washington Democrats caved to racist, anti-Semitic factions and stripped this funding from the bill. Later that day, we forced a second vote to approve the funding for Israel. Once again, radical, racist Democrats opposed it.

    America should always stand with Israel at every opportunity. Failing to do so is shameful and our allies, as well as our adversaries, are watching.

    As threats increase around the world, I was glad the House was able to come together and pass our nation’s bipartisan annual defense bill last week.

    This year’s National Defense Authorization Act is not perfect. But I was proud to support this bill which included much needed funding for Fort Bragg and our men and women in the military.

    Overall, it provides a 2.7% pay increase for servicemembers and reverses dangerous cuts to our military proposed by President Biden. It also adds resources to secure our border, holds the Biden administration accountable for its withdrawal from Afghanistan, and protects servicemembers’ personal liberties.

    I am especially proud that the bill includes provisions I have worked on throughout the year. For Fort Bragg, $27 million was included for needed construction projects on the base. For military families, my bill to expand and improve education funding was included. I also championed included provisions to increase PFAS testing on bases, combat sexual assault in the military, and modernize the Basic Allowance for Housing.

    There are several provisions in the bill I am concerned about, including red flag laws that threaten the Second Amendment rights of servicemembers. However like last year, I will now work to ensure these provisions are removed as negotiations continue between the House and Senate.

    I will never waiver from my commitment to support our troops, their families, and our veterans. The NDAA is an example that we can still come together and solve problems for our nation. Now we must do the same on issues like growing our economy, supporting our allies like Israel, and ending the crisis on our border. I will stay focused on common sense solutions on behalf of you and your family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 01 Report Card Mock UpOver 200 people representing the best of the best businesses, institutions, and organizations in Fayetteville and Cumberland Country assembled at the Crown Coliseum for our 24th Annual Best of Fayetteville Awards Party. In attendance, showing appreciation and extending congratulations to the honorees, were Shari Fiveash of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, Randy Fiveash, interim President of the Fayetteville Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Jackie Warner, Mayor of Hope Mills. No one representing the City or Cumberland County was there. Personal invitations were not issued, nor were they required.

    Over the years, our elected city and county officials were more than anxious to attend any prestigious local event that showcased the people, businesses, institutions and organizations that define the quality of life in our community. After all, it is a congregation of their constituents. Or is it? Fayetteville is currently struggling with that question, even though everyone is quite aware of the answer.

    And, that is NO!

    With our city divided into nine separate and distinct districts, I'd wager each council member wouldn't find six attendees living or working in their specific section. And, with this being the case, why bother showing up all? Unfortunately, this thought process has become the mindset of most of our current elected officials of the Fayetteville City Council. This situation and mindset must change if Fayetteville as a community is to grow and prosper.

    You can't grow and become a great City if you leave entire segments of the community behind.

    Bobby Hurst, a former five-term City Councilman in District 5, recently reminded us of this dire warning and prediction that resonated nearly a decade ago from the Fayetteville City Council's 2012-2013 budget meeting. Sadly, that prediction has become a sad reality as nine individual districts try to govern over 210,000 residents by focusing only on the needs of their ward while ignoring major issues and situations affecting the entire city.

    It's a matter of record that Fayetteville's growth is not keeping pace with the rest of the cities in the state. There is a reason for that. The City of Fayetteville has an inferior and embarrassing Report Card when it comes to leadership and management:

    We cannot become a better city by continuing to leave people behind. By focusing on each of the nine individual districts, they are collectively ignoring major citywide issues.

    Image above by Dylan Hooker.

    Ultimately, our horrific statistics will continue to worsen unless collective voices are heard regarding the future of our city. Fayetteville residents from all districts will suffer and die due to this poor governance, unabated homicides and neglected infrastructure maintenance like stormwater unless the citizens vote to change the structure of city government by designating four of the nine citywide districts as At Large districts. This would give Fayetteville residents six votes when it comes to elections rather than two. What's not to like about that? A Fayetteville resident gets to vote for five council members and the mayor rather than just voting for the mayor and one district representative. Common sense dictates that it's a shame we even have to make such an argument. However, I just did.

    I encourage you to sign the Vote Yes Fayetteville petition at www.voteyesfayetteville.com and give every citizen (Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, rich or poor) the right to vote on this critical issue. Fayetteville's future depends on it, and you can rely on that.

    In closing, let me say that even though we currently have a terrible report card, it definitely can be improved just like any other academic institution: i.e. Get a better curriculum. Hire better teachers and, if need be, replace the principal. We have plenty of options. The best one yet: 6/4 Vote Yes Fayetteville.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    UCW: Who chooses the songs?

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

    UCS: Can you share the songs being performed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 14 Thats Rufus In this time of political rancor and hate, it is nice to find something that old time politicos agree on regardless of political affiliation, when they answer this question: Who is North Carolina’s most colorful political figure?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 10 Choral ArtsThe recently rebranded Cumberland Choral Arts, formerly known as Cumberland Oratorio Singers, is set to debut its 2019-2020 concert season with “A Night at the Opera” Friday, Oct. 18, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 1601 Raeford Road. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Q. Are townspeople likely to notice anything?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Q. How many personnel will take part?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 16 01 hair stuff


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The number is 910-635-0555.

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

  • 06Cumberland County schools’ Joy Williams, a 23-year veteran educator, has been named the 2022 Principal of the Year. Queesha Tillman, a 16-year educator, was selected assistant principal of the year.

    Williams is principal of Luther "Nick" Jeralds Middle School. She began her career as a classroom teacher at Douglas Byrd Middle School after graduating from Fayetteville State University. She later earned her Master of School Administration from FSU.

    "We strive to find real-world examples that include culturally relevant language for students which allows them to relate to what is being taught," Williams said.

    Tillman is the assistant principal of Loyd Auman Elementary School. She too graduated from FSU and joined the school system as an exceptional children's teacher in 2002.

    There were eight other finalists for principal of the year and six other finalists for assistant princpal of the year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The hay ride stops at dusk for safety reasons.

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

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

    Pumpkins and all food from the concession stand cost extra.

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

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



  • 05Expensive runway repairs at Pope AAF have been completed under budget along with improvements to the airfield electrical system, according to an Army news release. The project was budgeted at $100 million.

    "Since World War II, Pope Army Airfield has served as a critical component of America's national security infrastructure," said Lt. Gen. Michael Kurilla, commander of the 18th Airborne Corps.

    Until a realignment of military facilities a few years ago, Pope was a U.S. Air Force base. The Army said Fort Bragg units temporarily used civilian airports, including Fayetteville Regional Airport, during the repairs.

    The main runway and taxiways were reconstructed with concrete instead of asphalt.

    The airfield had not been "completely resurfaced" in more than 50 years, said Col. Joseph Vanoni, commander of the 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group.

    The first aircraft to touchdown after the airfield reopened was an Air Force C-17 with Fort Bragg Commander, Col. Scott Pence on board.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 04New employees of the Cumberland County School district have received signing bonuses four months into their new jobs. The board of education approved a recruitment and retention plan to pay staff members who were hired June 1, and were still on the job Sept. 30, $1000 bonuses.

    These bonuses were funded through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

    Employees hired after June 1, who continued to be employed on Sept. 30, received $500 bonuses.

    The retention bonus concept gave school officials the opportunity to thank new employees for the challenges they faced because of positive COVID-19 cases while serving the district's 49,700 students.

    The Durham Public School System is giving all full-time employees, including teachers, $1000 bonuses to those who remained with the district during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And keeping them alive as long as possible.

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

  • 03The Biden Administration has released a plan to tackle toxic PFAS pollution. The plan could create a national drinking water standard and designate certain chemicals as hazardous. The project is the result of an analysis conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency Council on PFAS that EPA administrator Michael Regan established in April 2021. As a former North Carolina official, Regan dealt with an unregulated variant of toxic chemicals called GenX that was spread from a Chemours plant east of Fayetteville into local private water wells and the Cape Fear River.

    Senator Kirk deViere said that he applauds the plan, but believes there could be more short-term solutions to help people get access to clean water now.

    The strategies include increasing research, leveraging authorities to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and accelerating the cleanup of PFAS contamination.

    “This is a public health crisis and the time for drastic immediate improvement is now,” deViere said. “I am calling on NCDEQ Secretary Biser, Governor Cooper, as well as Chemours to provide bold and aggressive leadership to ensure clean water and help my constituents and so many others affected by PFAS pollution."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 11 Women of Power BrunchA brunch for women leaders by women leaders. The Women’s Business Center of Fayetteville, part of the Center for Economic Empowerment & Development, will be hosting a networking event at the end of October that will focus on connecting women entrepreneurs with each other. The theme for the first annual Women of Power Brunch is the “State of Women in Business.”

    Caitlin Chastain, the Business Consultant for the Women's Business Center of Fayetteville, says the goal of the event is to create an overall understanding of how women in the county are doing.

    “We want to create a dialogue of what is going on with women in business, what is going on with women in leadership in Fayetteville,” Chastain said. “We really want to start recognizing women entrepreneurs and women in business in our city that often get overlooked.”

    Another one of the goals of this networking brunch is to create mentorships for younger women and for women who are new to the area, including military wives.

    Chastain hopes women will leave with a sense of motivation, inspiration and an understanding and awareness of how they can better themselves. By doing that, these women can then better the community.

    “They can get educated on facts in our community on women in leadership, get inspired by entrepreneurial stories, and can have fun networking,” Chastian said.

    According to the U.S. Census, women-owned businesses make up little more than 41% of all businesses in Cumberland County. In Fayetteville, that number rises to at least 43%.

    This event also launches the partnership between An Affair to Remember and the WBC of Fayetteville to celebrate and acknowledge female leaders making a difference in the local community.

    The owner of An Affair to Remember is Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Jensen and she will be speaking at the bruncheon about her Women of Power Society, a group that hosts a local local fashion show, and her entrepreneurial path to success.

    Jensen will be announcing the theme of her Women of Power Fashion Show for 2022.She will also be accepting nominations for next year's Women of Power class that will walk at the Affair to Remember Fashion Show.

    Lashanda Shaw, a local real estate agent and owner of Lashanda Shaw Realty, will also be speaking at the event. She will be focusing on her doctoral dissertation about the lack of women leaders in Cumberland County.

    Suzy Hrabovsky, the Executive Director of CEED and the 2021 Woman of Power Alum, will also speak.

    Brunch will be provided by Dorothy’s Catering. The event will take place on Monday, Oct. 25 and will be at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person.

    Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-of-power-brunch-tickets-172208800157 until Oct. 24.

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

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

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

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

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

    There are multiple divisions and various prices for entering them.

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

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

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

    All teams must register to compete by Oct. 12.

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

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

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

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

  • 05 ERAPThe Fayetteville City Manager announced at last week’s City Council meeting that the money for the emergency rental assistance program have been used as of Oct. 7. The city did not plan for that money to be fully used until December.

    “I am asking you to recharge that pot of money with an additional two million dollars in what we call an ERAP 2.1,” City Manager Doug Hewitt told the council. “Once that money is in the pipeline, that additional two million dollars. then we'll go back to the federal government and ask for an additional three billion dollars to be able to draw down to recharge that for a total of over 10 or 11 million dollars that we hope to be able to provide to our residents in Cumberland County.”

    However, many people voiced concerns that even though they were awarded money, they have not received it. Hewitt told the council that the average time to distribute money after it has been awarded is around 3 weeks, but they need more staff to help cut down those costs.

    City Council unanimously approved to request a little more than 2 million dollars from the U.S. Department of the Treasury as well as allocate $280,000 to Innovative Emergency Management Inc. to hire more staff to reduce the wait times and issues that people have been having.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Chante OatesA Fayetteville Police Officer was hit and dragged by a car while investigating a hit-and-run, Oct. 12.

    The suspect, Chante Oates, 24, allegedly hit her grandmother and then hit her grandmother's home with her car while driving while intoxicated.

    After crashing into the home, Oates drove to Beuer Street. The officer attempted to stop her, but Oates allegedly hit the officer and ran over her leg.

    The officer was transported to the hospital and is recovering.

    Oates is facing a number of charges including assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, assault on a law enforcement officer inflicting serious injury and driving while impaired. She is currently being held in the Cumberland County jail on a $153,500 bond.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 04 FT Bragg Sharp GO BagSix Army posts, including Fort Bragg, have been selected for a one-year pilot program that creates additional locations for soldiers to report sexual harassment and assault.

    They will have all the resources needed for personal recovery and prosecution.

    The “fusion directorate” is part of the planned redesign of the Army’s Response and Prevention program, known as SHARP.

    A pair of recent independent reports found the Army was failing the soldiers who report these crimes.
    The directorate creates facilities that will include care providers, investigators, and criminal prosecutors, “allowing them to...keep victims better informed at each step of an emotional and complex process,” the Army said.

    The program serves as an additional resource for soldiers that is outside of the chain of command.

    “Soldiers and civilians must feel comfortable raising allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, and quickly receive the care and services they need,” said Lt. Gen. Gary M. Brito, the deputy chief of staff for the Army’s personnel office.

    Congress is poised to pass a measure that paves the way for this change in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

    If the soldier chooses to make an unrestricted report, which does attempt to hold their perpetrator accountable, the chain of command receives all the same information that it would from any other method of reporting.

  • 16 shanatucker creditThe Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater, located in downtown Lumberton, is presenting two upcoming virtual concerts that have been pretaped on its stage while the theater is closed to in-person audiences due to COVID-19 social gathering restrictions.

    These performances were originally scheduled as part of its 2020-21 season and continue the theater’s commitment to programming during the ongoing pandemic and its related audience restrictions for performance centers.

    The first concert will premiere 7 p.m. Oct. 17 and will feature the Raleigh-based musician and singer-songwriter Shana Tucker and her quartet.

    With a deep respect for lyrical storytelling, Tucker delivers a unique voice through her self-described genre of "ChamberSoul.™ Her melodies weave strong hints of jazz, classical, soulful folk, acoustic pop and a touch of R&B into a distinctive rhythmic tapestry.

    The performances are premiering on the theater’s Facebook page at “Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater” and are shared on its website at www.carolinaciviccenter.com.

    The theater’s previous “Spotlight on Local Talent” Performance Series, featuring eight installments also can be viewed on its website. This performance is partially underwritten by a grant from the Robeson County Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council.

    Touted by JazzTimes Magazine as a jazz talent “…whose imprint and vitality has already been quite visible…” Tucker’s style and sound has been described as a blend of Dianne Reeves, Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman, with an efficient complexity that is reminiscent of Bill Withers.

    ChamberSoul™ best describes what the listener should expect when experiencing Shana’s music. “I’m intrinsically drawn to 'real' instruments, with resonance, tone and depth that can sound without amplification. Whenever and however possible, I always try to set a tone of acoustic intimacy with my colleagues on stage, and also with the audience, so that the music, performers and audience feel close and tangible, no matter the size the venue.”

    Tucker has opened for internationally-acclaimed artists including Norah Jones, Lisa Fischer, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Hamiet Bluett, Javon Jackson, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Indigo Girls.

    While the concert is free, a donation link will be available to help support artist fees and production costs. The next concert will feature the all-female bluegrass group Sweet Potato Pie and will premiere Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 26.

    For additional information, please contact the Carolina Civic Center at 910-738-4339 or visit

    Pictured:The first of two virtual concerts from the Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater will feature Shana Tucker and her quartet. The concert will premiere Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. (Photo courtesy Shana Tucker.)

  • 03 Cumberland County SchoolThe Cumberland County Board of Education narrowly voted to approve bonuses for Superintendent Marvin Connely Jr. and his cabinet for the upcoming year.

    Connely will receive a $10,000 bonus. The nine employees on Connely’s cabinet will each receive a $5,000 bonus.

    The Cabinet includes Dr. Mary Black, Ruben Reyes, Joe Desormeaux, Nick Sojka, Clyde Locklear, Lindsay Whitley, Betty Musselwhite, Dr. Stacey Wilson-Norman, and Ron Phipps. 

    The raises and the one-year contract renewals come after the Board did their annual review of the Superintendent and the Cabinet and found they were doing a “satisfactory job.”

    The board approved the raises and the one-year extnded contracts with a five-to-four vote. Board members Alicia Chisolm, Donna Vann, Nathan Warfel, Greg West and Susan Williams voted for the approval while board members Deanna Jones, Charles McKellar, Judy Musgrave and Carrie Sutton voted against it.

  • 14 DSC 5176“Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill,” the musical play that opened Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s long-awaited 2020-2021 season, is far from the blockbuster musical openers of previous seasons. This is a piece of serious theater particularly well suited to its makeshift staging. Performed in a parking lot behind an abandoned building on Hay Street, complete with ambient traffic noise as background, it is easy to imagine that one is seated in the gritty South Philly neighborhood where the play is actually set.

    “Lady Day” is the story of one of the great jazz legend’s last performances just a few months before her untimely death. A victim of her times (or of her own vices, let each member of the audience decide), Billie Holiday has been stripped of the cabaret card that entitled her to play the big clubs and reduced to singing in a small venue in a place she thought she’d sung herself free of.

    Janeta Jackson gives a selfless performance as Holiday. Those who saw her in “Crowns” know the power of Jackson’s voice, which breaks through most notably in numbers such as “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” and “Strange Fruit.” But Jackson is playing Holiday at the end of her career, when alcohol and drugs have taken their toll on her health as well as her voice. Her performance reflects this. Clad in mink and glitter at the outset, Jackson as Holiday disintegrates onstage and the songs follow her down. Brian Whitted as Jimmy Powers, Holiday’s accompanist, brings his piano in at critical moments to prevent a complete breakdown. Much as folks passing the scene of an accident, the audience is drawn along, mesmerized.

    “Lady Day,” written by Lanie Robertson, is called a musical play because there is much dialog in addition to the musical numbers. Holiday’s onstage ramblings give the audience an idea of the trajectory of her life. Some of her reminisces are hilarious but much of the dialogue is raw. Holiday is presumably speaking to a Black audience so theatergoers who are not Black may squirm a bit.

    Given COVID-19 restrictions and the fact that CFRT’s theater is undergoing renovations, Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke and company are to be commended for choosing an opener that is well suited to both our time and place. The cast is small. The lighting is low. The night itself becomes part of the show. Social issues that are still relevant over 60 years after Holiday’s death are served up, if not as entertainment exactly, then certainly as art. And art is always worth supporting. If you want to hear Billie Holiday at her best, buy a CD. If you want to witness a heroic performance of serious theater, book a ticket to one of the performances of “Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill.”

    For information on performance schedules and ticket availability, please visit cfrt.org or call the box office at 910-323-4233.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • .02 market house

    It will likely be next spring before the Fayetteville community learns the future of the historic Market House.

    An ad hoc citizen's committee has begun a project to fulfill a city council directive to recommend repurposing the center city landmark. The group includes young people, people of various racial/ethnic backgrounds, faith leaders, civil rights advocates and service providers.

    A U.S. Department of Justice representative has been appointed to help facilitate receiving feedback on the Market House. The first of two private meetings were held a week ago. A second event will be scheduled for early 2022. The USDOJ and the Fayetteville-Cumberland Human Relations Commission created the group to represent the community.

    The committee has been asked to prioritize at least three potential options for repurposing the Market House.

  • 01 Square Banners CFRT copyAfter closing its doors to audience members back in March, the Cape Fear Regional Theatre spent the last 6 months innovating and leading the way for regional theaters during the pandemic.

    One of the first to create daily online programming for kids, CFRT launched virtual Edutainment classes that offered daily lessons for students in grades K-5. After 9 weeks of online classes, CFRT opened its doors for 15 sessions of summer camps between June and August, following CDC guidelines for in-person camps and ultimately reaching almost 200 campers.

    In September, CFRT announced the receipt of a $225,000 Community Organization Resource grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, Inc. for the 2020-2021 Season.

    "We are so honored to receive this grant from the Arts Council. This funding will allow us to continue producing high quality productions and serving parents and children adapting to this new paradigm. We know how essential art is to healing and processing, and we look forward to another year of creatively engaging with our community,” said Ella Wrenn, CFRT’s managing director.
    CFRT is committed to presenting an annual series of plays, performances, and special events that, in addition to entertaining, will enlighten, inspire, and educate performers and audiences.

    "We are proud of the work we’ve done throughout the last year to continue to provide the award-winning productions and nationally recognized education initiatives, and we could not have this impact without the tireless advocacy and support of the Arts Council,” said Artistic Director Mary Catherine Burke.

    Just last week, CFRT returned to in-person productions with “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” The show is being performed outside, right down the block from CFRT behind Haymount Auto Repair. Extensive safety procedures are in place for these performances. Audiences will be limited to fewer than 50 people in accordance with state COVID-19 guidelines. Seating will be in six-foot distanced pods of two or four. Masks will be required of all audience members, and temperatures will be checked at the entrance. Robust sanitation will take place between performances and the show will be as low contact as possible with digital programs and no paper tickets.

    The rest of the 2020-2021 season will be performed in the spring. Dates for those shows will be announced later in the year.

    The Wizard of Oz
    Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy, and her little dog, too. They’re off to see the Wizard in the magical land of Oz, but in order to make it there, they have to face the Wicked Witch of the West. This iconic musical reminds us that there truly is no place like home. Join us for this beloved family friendly musical that has entertained generations.
    The show is by L. Frank Baum and adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company. It is based upon the classic motion picture. It is rated G for everyone.

    Clue: On Stage
    It’s a dark and stormy night, and the host of a dinner party has turned up dead in his own mansion. Inspired by the board game and film, join Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, and other colorful guests for this hilarious murder mystery. As the guests race to find the killer, audiences will be in stitches to try and figure out who did it, where, and with what.
    Rated PG for parental guidance, this play contains mild and comedic themes of violence. It is based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn, the motion picture and the board game “Clue.”

    Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story
    Before the Beatles, there was Buddy Holly and the Crickets. It’s the 1950’s and a young man from Texas with big glasses and an even bigger dream of catapulting to the top of the Rock and Roll charts. With classic songs like “Peggy Sue,” and “That’ll Be The Day,” along with “La Bamba,” this high octane musical is a celebration of a man whose music and values were ahead of his time.
    The show is rated PG for parental guidance and contains some mild adult themes. It is written by Alan Janes.

    The Color Purple
    Based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, this landmark musical is about a remarkable woman named Celie. All she knows is heartbreak and despair, until her friend Shug helps her realize her own self-worth. Celie uses her flair for fashion to build a better future. With a joyous score featuring jazz, gospel, blues, and African music, it is a story of resilience and a testament to the healing power of love.
    The show is rated M for mature audiences, it contains some language and adult themes.Based upon the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel written by Alice Walker and the motion picture.

  • 15 dif kinds breast cancerMillions of women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, more than 2.3 million women across the globe were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020.

    The BCRF also notes that breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in 140 of 184 countries worldwide.

    Breast cancer statistics can give the impression that each of the millions of women diagnosed with the disease is fighting the same battle, but breast cancer is something of an umbrella term. In fact, there are various types of breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, and metastatic breast cancer. Learning about each type of breast cancer can help women and their families gain a greater understanding of this disease.

    Ductal carcinoma in situ
    DCIS is a non-invasive cancer that is diagnosed when abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. The National Breast Cancer Foundation notes that DCIS is a highly treatable cancer. That’s because it hasn’t spread beyond the milk duct into any surrounding breast tissue. The American Cancer Society notes that roughly 20% of new breast cancer cases are instances of DCIS.

    Invasive ductal carcinoma
    IDC is the most common type of breast cancer. The NBCF reports that between 70 and 80% of all breast cancer diagnoses are instances of IDC. An IDC diagnosis means that cancer began growing in the milk ducts but has since spread into other parts of the breast tissue. This is why IDC is characterized as “invasive.” Though IDC can affect people, including men, of any age, the ACS notes that the majority of IDC cases are in women age 55 and older.

    Inflammatory breast cancer
    The NBCF describes IBC as an “aggressive and fast growing breast cancer.” Breastcancer.org notes that IBC is rare, as data from the ACS indicates that only about 1% of all breast cancers in the United States are inflammatory breast cancers.
    Many breast cancers begin with the formation of a lump, but Breastcancer.org reports that IBC usually begins with reddening and swelling of the breast, and symptoms can worsen considerably within days or even hours. That underscores the importance of seeking prompt treatment should any symptoms present themselves.

    Metastatic breast cancer
    Metastatic breast cancer may be referred to as stage IV breast cancer. When a woman is diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, that means the cancer has spread, or metastasized, into other parts of
    the body.

    The NBCF indicates that metastatic breast cancer usually spreads to the lungs, liver, bones or brain. Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer vary depending on where the cancer has spread. For example,
    if the cancer has spread to the lungs, women may experience a chronic cough or be unable to get a full breath.

    These are not the only types of breast cancer. A more extensive breakdown of the various types of breast cancer can be found at https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types.

  • The veterans-supported nonprofit organization, Whole Vet Building Lives Together, makes its community-event debut in Cumberland County Oct. 24 with the Braggin’ Through the ‘Ville Car, Truck, Jeep and Bike Show at I-95 Muscle from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

    A classic, used and new car retailer located at 4115 Legion Rd. in Hope Mills, I-95 Muscle is a frequent host to car shows, movie nights and community events. Benefiting Whole Vet, the show features multiple vehicle divisions in both judged and nonjudged categories, as well as food trucks, a DJ, drawings and raffles. The event is open to the public for viewing.

    “Life is all about connection that becomes trusted relationships” is the mantra and guiding life principle of Dale Robbins, the founder and CEO of Whole Vet, a 501c3 nonprofit serving veterans, service members and their families. The quote speaks to the doors that have opened to Robbins along his 10-year-journey with volunteer veterans affairs and with the start of this fledgling organization. However, the phrase also provides a glimpse into what matters to this local man — namely, building lasting bonds and putting programs in place to impact the lives of service members, both past and present.

    Whole Vet seeks to provide veterans, transitioning servicemembers from all military branches, National Guard and Reserve members, and their families, with the tools, resources and support to have a fulfilling civilian career and life.

    Robbins, a 19-year-veteran of Cisco Systems with over 25 years total spent in corporate America, never served in the military. His trajectory toward nonprofit work and interest in the nation’s armed forces and veterans began with a deep sense of admiration for those who serve and have served, coupled with years of physical and medical challenges both he and his family faced and eventually overcame. The times of struggle magnified his faith in God and belief that he was being called to do something more with his life. Already a long-term volunteer in his workplace with veteran relations and events, Robbins saw a real need and an open door to step-up and serve this population of selfless individuals more directly. Now engaged in full-time work with Whole Vet, Robbins explained his outlook for the organization.

    “This is a comprehensive vision to create a platform that can serve our military and veteran community,” he said. “Everything from helping them make connections at our events to getting jobs and internships to the mentorship piece that gives them someone that really cares — these are all components of Whole Vet.”

    According to Robbins, Whole Vet encompasses building up the life of the veteran physically, spiritually, mentally, social-emotionally, economically and beyond — the whole person, in other words. The organizational colors, purple and white, are symbolic of representing all branches of service memebers. Purple is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue. Hence the saying, “Purple Up!” a national slogan used to solicit support for military families and kids.

    In addition to purple up, Whole Vet seeks to build up the career and family of Whole Vet clients, a twofold mission, as well as create community between the private sector and military and veteran groups. Robbins established the Military and Veteran Enablement Coalition made up of vested parties to help get this job done. Like seed to soil, the tasks grow as the nonprofit does.

    While operating on Harnett and Wake county lines in North Carolina in Robbins’ home office in Willow Springs, the company founder describes his vision as stretching across the state, country and beyond. Since 2017, the Whole Vet’s Military Career Transition Event, has been held in Raleigh, Cary, Clayton and Wilmington.

    Employer-focused virtual sessions kicked off in 2020 in keeping with the pandemic, with programs serving Fort Bragg, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station and more. These networking, employer-spotlight events help transitioning service members connect with corporate representatives from companies such as Biogen, Pike Corporation, PSA Airlines, NetApp, SAS, Biotest Pharmaceuticals. Educational entities like Campbell University, East Carolina University and North Carolina State University are also at the table.

    Large scale conferences from Whole Vet welcome governmental giants such as the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, NC Troops to Teachers and the State of North Carolina governmental agencies. Veterans-affiliated institutions that, on paper, reads like a Who’s Who list, have made a great showing at these Whole Vet days. Present and accounted for have been NC4ME, Onward2Opportunity, Hire Heroes USA, The Honor Foundation, USO-NC, Marine for Life Network, K9s Serving Vets and Hope for The Warriors, to name a few. Other event offerings include professional development panels, workshops, networking opportunities and inspirational speakers.

    In conjunction with transition events, Whole Vet hosts quarterly Military Corporate Networking campus visits. These tours have been held at host company campuses such as Biogen in RTP, Deutsche Bank in Cary and Caterpillar of Clayton to allow participants to experience the corporate environment while gaining valuable insight on civilian career paths. The tours also help participants make connections and build relationships, a familiar Whole Vet refrain.

    Though standard programming is on hold due to COVID-19, Robbins looks forward to resuming a regular schedule as soon as possible.

    After rolling out the red carpet to military members and veterans with exceptional and well-executed events, Robbins plans next to put mentorship, marriage and youth programs center stage. First up: The Military Mentorship Program.

    Mentors and mentees will be matched to align servicemembers who are exiting the military with a civilian that can share feedback, knowledge and contacts to ease the transition process to a nonmilitary career. Mentors will come from a participating MVEC company.

    The marriage and youth tracks will begin once additional program funding is secured from sources such as grants, donations, sponsorships and fundraising avenues. According to Robbins, retreats and conferences are in the line-up for marriage programming, while collaboration with the General H. Hugh Shelton Leadership Center at North Carolina State University is on tap for youth directives.

    Are you interested in learning more? Options exist to give your time, talents and resources to Whole Vet, as well as participate. Community events like the I-95 Muscle car show are held to bring fun, fellowship and some fundraising to bear.

    To learn more, go to https://www.facebook.wholevetinc. You can also check the T-shirt box by sporting Whole Vet gear available at their online store, https://wholevet.square.site/.

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    Pictured: Nonprofit Whole Vet raises funds through activities such as car shows to support veterans initiatives like mentorship programs, job networking conferences and counseling services.

  • 08 warnign signs domestic abuseDomestic violence is a serious issue that’s more prevalent than people may realize. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States, and researchers suggest the pandemic contributed to increased instances of domestic violence.

    A study from the University of California, Davis released in February 2021 found that 39% of the nearly 400 adults surveyed indicated they had experienced violence in their relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers noted that the increased social isolation during the pandemic created environments in which victims and aggressors, or potential aggressors in a relationship, could not easily separate themselves from each other.

    Victims of domestic violence often feel helpless against their aggressors, and those feelings might have been exacerbated during the pandemic, when people were urged to stay home as much as possible. But domestic violence victims are not alone.

    Anyone can help by learning to recognize the warning signs that someone is being abused, and WebMD notes that such signs include:
    -Excuses for injuries
    -Personality changes, like low self-esteem in someone who had previously been a confident individual
    -Constantly checking in with their partner
    -Never having money on hand
    -Overly worried about pleasing their partner
    -Skipping out on work, school or social outings for no clear reason
    -Wearing clothes that don’t align with the season, such as long sleeve shirts in summer to cover bruises

    Concerned individuals also can learn to spot the warning signs of an abuser. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, abusers come from all groups, cultures, religions and economic backgrounds. In fact, the NCADV notes that one study found that nine out of 10 abusers had no criminal records and were generally law-abiding outside their homes.

    That can make it hard to spot abusers, though the NCADV indicates that such men and women may exhibit certain warning signs, including, but not limited to, the following:
    -Extreme jealousy or possessiveness
    -Unpredictability or a bad temper or verbal abuse
    -Cruelty to animals
    -Extremely controlling behavior
    -Antiquated beliefs about gender roles within relationships
    -Forced sex or disregard of their partner’s unwillingness to have sex
    -Sabotage of birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed upon methods
    -Blaming victims for anything bad that happens
    -Sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school
    -Controls all the finances
    -Abuse of other family members, children or pets
    -Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
    -Control of what their victim wears and how the victim acts
    -Demeaning the victim, either privately or publicly
    -Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others
    -Harassment of the victim at work

    Instances of domestic violence have been on the rise since the onset of the pandemic. Anyone who is a victim or suspects a loved one or acquaintance is a victim of domestic violence is encouraged to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) immediately.

  • 07 wpns testing 1Operational testing of the Army’s newest generation sniper system — the MK-22 Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) — marks the project’s final hurdle before fielding.

    “The modular nature of the PSR allows it to be tailored to meet mission requirements and is appealing to airborne Snipers who are typically armed with long-barreled precision rifles of a single caliber offering,” said Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Love, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, Test Noncommissioned Officer.

    Because of the single-caliber offerings, snipers requiring additional capabilities must deploy with additional weapons. The PSR can be configured for multi-calibers by the sniper in the field and requires no higher level maintenance to reconfigure. It will also extend engagement ranges for both anti-material and anti-personnel target engagements.

    “The increased engagement range will keep snipers safer and increase the options for the local commander employing these combat multipliers,” said Sgt. Austin Stevens, a sniper assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

    “With a folding stock and removable suppression system, the PSR will provide airborne Snipers a more compact load during airborne infiltration operations without reducing their lethality while providing a precision rifle platform more conducive to their combat environment,” said MK-22 Project NCO Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Copley.

    Spc. Michael Liptak, a sniper with Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment immediately identified the attributes of accuracy in regards to the MK-22. “I was surprised at the accuracy and the straightforward approach to testing the PSR,” he said.
    Prior to testing, snipers from across the airborne and special operations community took part in new equipment training which included familiarization with
    the system, maintenance, target engagement, system configuration and zeroing procedures.

    For Spec. Nathanael Keffer, a sniper with 2nd Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, the PSR’s versatility to adapt to multiple mission sets was a marked advantage. “The PSR is a very versatile weapon system that can be tailored to meet multiple mission requirements,” said Keffer.

    Larry Harris, ABNSOTD Deputy Chief of Test said, “The critical task in testing any small arms platform intended for use by airborne forces is ensuring zero retention of the primary optic subsequent to airborne insertion. “This is a critical gauge of the paratrooper’s lethality during airfield seizure and other follow-on operations.”

    To evaluate this performance measure of the PSR, the ABNSOTD test team applied the organization’s mobile weapons boresight collimator to the rifle after jumping to make sure the sniper’s pre-mission zero was not degraded by shock during the jump.

    “This process establishes a baseline for sight reticle locations prior to and post airborne insertion,” said Miles Crawford, Test Technology Branch Chief, ABNSOTD. “Testers can monitor any shift in the weapon sight reticle that may have been induced by shock associated with static line parachutes,” Crawford said.

    The Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate is based at Fort Bragg. It plans, executes and reports on operational tests and field experiments of airborne and special operations forces equipment, procedures, aerial delivery and air transportation systems to provide key operational data for the continued development and fielding of doctrine, systems and equipment to the warfighter.

    The U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at West Fort Hood, Texas, and its mission ensures systems developed are effective in a soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which they train and fight. Test unit soldiers provide feedback by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight.

    Pictured above: A sniper conducts post-drop live-fire test trials of the MK-22 Precision Sniper Rifle at Range 61 on Fort Bragg. (Photo by James Finney)

  • 06 voteEarly Voting in Hope Mills will kick off on Oct. 14 and run through Oct. 30. as residents of the town start voting for their next Mayor and five Town Commissioners. The winners of the election will serve for the next two years.

    The candidates for Mayor are Jessie Bellflowers, a current commissioner and military veteran, and Jackie Warner, the current Mayor. Warner has served as Mayor for the past ten years. Bellflowers has been a town commissioner for the past four years.

    Up & Coming Weekly will conduct a joint Q&A session with the two candidates. That interview will be published in the Oct. 27 edition.

    There are seven people running for Town Commissioner. Only five will be voted in. The candidates are: Sally Bailey, Jerry Legge, Bryan Marley, Kenjuana McCray, Grilley Mitchell, Jim Morris and Joanne Scarola.

    No photo identification is needed to vote unless you are a newly registered voter.

    If you want to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day, you will need to bring an ID with your name and your current address. The document may be a digital image on your cell phone.

    When entering the polling location, you will be asked to state your name and your address.

    Curbside voting will be available at all voting sites for those who cannot enter the polling location due to age or physical disability.

    Voting sites have designated parking indicating curbside voting and will have an alert system that will notify the election officials. An election official will come to the vehicle to obtain the voter’s name and address. Before a ballot is issued, the voter must swear an oath affirming his or her qualification to use curbside voting.

    During early voting, voters can go to the Cumberland County Board of Elections at 227 Fountainhead Lane in Fayetteville to cast their ballots. The poll is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Monday through Friday.

    On Oct. 30, the poll is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    On Election Day, Nov. 2, there will be six polling locations which will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

    For those who live in the Cumberland 1A, 03 and 04 precincts, the polling location is E. Melvin Honeycutt Elementary School.

    For those who live in the Hope Mills 1A precinct, the polling location is at the Hope Mills Recreation Center.

    For those who live in Hope Mills 1A or Hope Mills 1B precincts, the polling location will be the Cotton Fire Department.

    For those who live in the Hope Mills 3, Pearces Mill 2A and Pearces Mill 2B precincts, the polling location will be at the Hope Mills Middle School.

    For those who live in the Hope Mills 4 precinct, the polling location will be at C. Wayne Collier Elementary School.

    For those who live in the Stoney Point 1 or Stoney Point 2 precincts, the polling locations will be at the Lighthouse Baptist Church.

    If you don’t know your precinct, look it up at www.cumberlandcountync.gov/departments/election-group/elections/resources/polling-sites or call the elections office at 910-678-7733.

    The last day to hand deliver an absentee ballot will be Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. at the Board of Elections office. Absentee ballots that will be sent by mail must be postmarked by Nov. 2 and the Board of Elections must receive it no later than Nov. 5.

  • 04 fayetteville police departmentIn August, Fayetteville City Council created a citizen police review committee.

    The mission of the Community Police Advisory Board is to provide advice and recommendations to the Council, City Manager and Police Chief to improve the quality of policing.

    Applications to serve are being taken through Oct. 20.

    The agency is described as a cooperative effort between the community and the police to review and recommend policy changes and enhancements to better meet the needs of the community.

    The idea is to support a training curriculum that allows police and the community to share public records to improve the perception of law and order and enhance trust of the police.

  • 05 05 Horizontal County LogoThe Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc., recently awarded the Cumberland County Department of Public Health a $64,000 grant to support the department’s Improving Health Outcomes through Mobile Clinics and
    Social Determinants of Health program. Over a two-year period, the Health Department will identify patients with high unmet needs by screening all patients for social determinants of health with a focus on patients with food, transportation and housing needs and those experiencing violence.

    Identified patients will meet with a public health social worker on an ongoing basis for case management, care coordination and referral through NCCARE360, the statewide coordinated care network.

    Money from this grant will be used for direct payments to vendors to provide services for Health Department patients’ unmet needs including transportation to appointments, utilities, rent and childcare. This will allow clients to improve health outcomes by meeting basic needs. This support will be provided when clients are in a situation which they are unable to receive financial support from other sources.

    “We look forward to using this grant to assist those citizens of Cumberland County currently in need,” said Dr. Jennifer Green, the Health Department Director. “Our goal is to make Cumberland County a better place to live for each of our friends and neighbors, and this grant will go a long way to make that a reality.”

    Funding will also support communication strategies and small incentives to help improve access to health services by implementing mobile and outreach clinics in underserved areas.

    For more information about the Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc., please visit their website at https://www.cumberlandcf.org/

    Find out more about Cumberland County Department of Health programs by visiting cumberlandcountync.gov/departments/public-health-group/public-health

  • 19 women breast cancer awareness(StatePoint) October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual opportunity to spend your dollars on products and services that benefit breast cancer advocacy, research and patient care services.

    However, experts say that the clutter of pink products on store shelves and online can make savvy shopping a challenge.

    “Determining if a given product sold during October actually benefits a breast cancer charity, is not always easy,” says Sarah Rosales, vice president of Corporate Partnerships at Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization.

    One way to ensure that your purchases are making the impact you think they will is by shopping with Komen’s Annual Live Pink program.

    This year, Komen has partnered with more than 25 companies, and the lineup of products and services available includes everything from specially designed clothing and skin care products, to bagels and bikes.

    By shopping with the brands in the Live Pink portfolio during October, you can help fund research and care services that support people through their breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and beyond.

    Program details are transparent on the Live Pink site. To learn more and to shop, visit www.komen.org/livepink.

    For other purchases you make this National Breast Cancer Awareness Month that make charitable claims, Susan G. Komen recommends asking the following questions:

    What charity is the program supporting? Do promotional materials about the product or service clearly and conspicuously state this information?

    How will the benefitting charity use the donation? You should be made aware where your money is going and what charitable programs your purchase will support. Funds raised to benefit Komen, for example, go to support the organization’s advocacy for breast cancer patients, investments in research and a number of direct patient care services.

    How is the program structured? What percentage or exact amount of the proceeds will go to the charity? Will the company be making a minimum or maximum donation to the charity? Shop only with companies that offer transparency with regards to program details and how donations are structured.

    By shopping savvy this October, you can support the fight against breast cancer and ensure your purchases are making the biggest impact possible.

  • adjusted helmet
    Where has this football season gone?

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

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

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

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

    With new norms of educational learning still being defined, we have a real opportunity to find creative and engaging ways to expose young and diverse thinkers to the vast world of science around them. One of the ways to do this is by connecting science to the things kids are already passionate about — sports, music, dance, art, gaming, or anything else they may be interested in.

    America’s favorite rapping teacher, Dwayne Reed, shares creative ways educators and parents can help kids find a “way-in” to science that will ignite their passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning and make science more approachable:

    1. Extend STEM Beyond the Classroom. Show kids how to apply the scientific method in their day-to-day lives and activities. As individuals, we make observations daily and ask questions — or hypothesize — based on what we observe. Parents and educators can foster an inquisitive mindset by challenging kids to explore the world around them. This creates fun and relatable learning experiences inside and outside the classroom.

    2. Connect Personal Passions to STEM Learning. When students lack confidence in a particular subject, it can feel intimidating. As a result, they can often have a hard time seeing themselves as successful in that subject or can lose interest altogether. We want to encourage our kids and show them they can be anything they want. One of the ways to do this is by connecting what they already love to something they are not as confident in. STEM is a perfect example of this. Show students how science can be applied to their other interests. By helping connect the dots for students, they can turn their passions into something that can benefit the world around them.

    3. Keep A Pulse on New Educational Resources. Stay updated on new resources and information that could positively impact your students by reading blogs, educational articles, and looking for resources on social media. One learning resource to check out is 3M’s Science at Home video series. This online library of DIY science experiments uses common household items to help make STEM learning fun and accessible while showing kids they can connect science to just about anything. Teachers will also note that the step-by-step resources include national science teaching standards for easy lesson planning.

    4. Challenge Kids to Try Something New. Challenge kids to put themselves into roles they may not naturally see themselves in. Provide encouragement and resources to get them to the next level. With a bit of creativity, you can open their eyes to a whole world of opportunities. Make STEM learning feel relatable and fun — even if it’s new for them. It’s all about reframing the way students look at the world and giving them assurance and an opportunity to explore what’s around them.

    The importance of maintaining a stable and engaging learning experience for students remains a priority. And with just a few creative learning techniques and models, educators and parents can ensure their students are connected, actively learning and feeling encouraged both in and out of the classroom.

  • 21 01 Roscoe BlueRoscoe Blue

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

    Terry Sanford•Football•Senior

    21 02 Jacob KnightKnight has a 3.937 weighted grade point average. He is a captain on the Terry Sanford football team.  He is a member of Academically/Intellectually Gifted and National Honor Society and enjoys taking college courses at Fayetteville Tech.  Knight is a active member of Epicenter Church where his father Mark Knight is pastor.
  • 17 cybersecuirty digital lockFighting cyber threats on the firewall frontlines has become increasingly more challenging as a result of heavy workloads due to the shortage of cybersecurity professionals, unfilled job openings, and limited time for workers to learn the latest security technologies.

    Cybercriminals are sophisticated in their attack schemes, which means that security techniques must become more vigorous. Employees’ skillsets must align with the progressive expertise needed by companies as they combat the persistent cyber-attacks faced daily. Without this specialized skillset, cybersecurity teams are ill-equipped to protect companies — the same companies we entrust with our personal and financial information — from being compromised by cybercriminals who have every intention of stealing data for their personal gain.

    Fayetteville Technical Community College and Montreat College have partnered to establish the Carolina Cyber Network to correct the cybersecurity workforce gap in North Carolina. The idea behind the initiative is to revamp the talent pipeline of workers to better align with the needs of employers. CCN created a unique triadic approach in response to this situation by providing support to K-12 educators, collaborating with neighboring colleges and universities, and partnering with businesses.

    As high school students complete an Information Technology track, they can progress through the talent pipeline as they pursue higher education. CCN connects universities and colleges across the state to create a collaborative environment for students to receive specialized training to enhance their technical and essential skills. The initiative will help provide college students with real-world experience through work study, internship, and apprenticeship opportunities. With coveted skills and entry-level experience, students will be well-equipped, work-ready, cybersecurity professionals.

    In addition to FTCC’s involvement with CCN, FTCC’s Small Business Center, the Cyber Defense Education Center, and the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg Chapter ISSA are presenting two free webinars:

    Protect Your Business from Cyber Attack!
    Oct. 6 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Register at www.ncsbc.net/workshop.aspx?ekey=200410069

    Build a Company or Career in Cyber Security! Oct. 12 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Register at www.ncsbc.net/workshop.aspx?ekey=200410070
    The spotlight on cybersecurity awareness during the month of October reminds everyone about the importance of cybersecurity and the demand for individuals to be properly trained to fill in-demand jobs in the field. FTCC’s Cyber Defense Education Center and involvement with the CCN represent a unique training opportunity for individuals wishing to pursue a rewarding career in the field.

    FTCC provides students with expertise through many training options to pursue a great career in cybersecurity. FTCC is working to strengthen the existing workforce and decrease the employment gap. FTCC is also helping cyber-compliant businesses become better staffed and skilled in cybersecurity to handle attacks by malicious hackers.

    Learn more about cybersecurity and other areas of study in the Computer Technology program area at FTCC. Fall 8-week classes begin Oct. 14, and Spring classes begin Jan. 10. Find your way forward at FTCC with a career in the high-demand field of cybersecurity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 15 2021 Walk to End Alzheimers stock photo2The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting Cumberland County and surrounding area residents to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® on Saturday, Oct. 30. The Walk is the world’s largest event dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

    Presented by McKee Homes, the Alzheimer’s Association Eastern North Chapter will be hosting Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Fayetteville at Segra Stadium. Check-in opens at 9 a.m. with an Opening Ceremony at 10 a.m. The Walk route will open at check-in time and remain open throughout the event to allow teams to start walking when they are ready.

    “We invite the community to join us in taking steps for Alzheimer’s disease. More than ever, we need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia,” said Lisa Roberts, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Eastern North Carolina Chapter. “With the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association provides care and support to families while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and

    On Walk day, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony — a mission-focused experience that signifies our solidarity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent people’s connection to Alzheimer’s — their personal reasons to end the disease.

    Added Roberts, “The Alzheimer’s Association is moving forward — and we’re offering options for supporters to join us at our local event or Walk From Home in their own neighborhoods. No matter where people walk, their health and safety are our top priorities.”

    The Fayetteville Walk will implement safety protocols including physical distancing, contactless registration, hand sanitizing stations and more. The Alzheimer’s Association will continue to closely monitor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local guidelines to ensure Walk events adhere to recommendations and are safe for attendees. Per CDC guidelines around crowded outdoor settings, the Association asks that all Walk attendees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear a mask when in an overcrowded area. Masks will be available on-site. Options will also be offered to participate online and in local neighborhoods. Those who prefer to walk from home can still engage in many Walk-day experiences through the Alzheimer’s Association’s website and mobile app.

    More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease — a leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 11 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

    In North Carolina alone, there are more than 180,000 people living with the disease and 358,000 caregivers.

    To sign up as a walker or Team Captain or to learn more about becoming a sponsor of Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Fayetteville, visit act.alz.org/fayettevillenc or call 800-272-3900.

    The Alzheimer’s Association hosts 17 walks across North Carolina including: Alamance County, Asheville, Charlotte, Gaston/Cleveland/Lincoln Counties, Fayetteville, Guilford County, Henderson County, Hickory, Iredell County, Jacksonville, Moore County, Mount Airy, New Bern, Rowan-Cabarrus Counties, Triangle (Raleigh and Durham), Wilmington and Winston-Salem.

    To register and receive the latest updates on any of this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit the website at alz.org/walk.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pictured: Dorian Clark

  • 11 N1506P22010HThe Cumberland County Department of Public Health will host a “Vax Your Pet, Vax Yourself” event Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Health Department located at 1235 Ramsey St.

    Rabies vaccinations will cost $5 per pet. COVID, flu and back-to-school immunizations will be free.

    Organizations will distribute free items and information about programs and services. The Cumberland County Public Library, Positive Parenting Program, the public health education team and tobacco cessation education program will participate. Gift Cards of $100 to various grocery and retail stores will be raffled off every hour.

    North Carolina Law states requires cats and dogs over four months of age to be vaccinated against rabies. Dog and cat owners in Cumberland County who have not vaccinated their pet in accordance with this law are subject to a civil penalty in the amount of $100. Cash is the only accepted method of payment. Please bring exact change to pay the $5 per animal fee. Please do not bring rolled coins.

    North Carolina Law requires students K-12 to receive necessary vaccinations to attend school. The Back-to-School vaccination list can be found at https://immunize.nc.gov/schools/k-12.htm.

    North Carolina requires parents to present the required immunization record for their student within 30 calendar days from the first day of their child’s attendance. After 30 calendar days, students will not be allowed to attend school. This deadline has been extended to Nov. 1.

    Flu shots are free to everyone regardless of insurance status. If insured, a copy of insurance cards will be made, and the insurance company will be billed.

    Children 18 and younger can receive a free flu vaccine through the Vaccines for Children program. Anyone accompanying a minor must show proof of custody.

    The Department of Public Health administers Pfizer and J & J COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccines are free to all regardless of insurance status. Anyone aged 12 and older is eligible to take the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

    CDC now recommends people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings to receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their primary series.

    People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their primary series.

    People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

    People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their primary series. This is based on their individual benefits and risks.

    For now, boosters are only for those that had the Pfizer vaccine. Eligibility criteria for individuals seeking an additional third dose or booster shot can be found on the Department of Public Health website.

    The CCDPH Sexually Transmitted Disease clinic will also be open during this event. Confidential testing for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and other STDs will be available. Testing is free, regardless of insurance status. Walk-ins are welcome.

    For more information about Cumberland County Department of Public Health programs visit www.cumberlandcountync.gov/departments/public-health-group/public-health.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 10 249853 1520696195Bright Light Brewing Company has been a member of the downtown Fayetteville community since November 2016 and opened its doors to the public in April 2017. They call a remodeled-gym-turned-taproom home. Joining forces, BLBC, AOP Orthotics and Prosthetics and Silverback Fitness, all local veteran-owned downtown businesses, are offering the Fayetteville community an avenue to remember 13 fallen U.S. service members.

    The fallen include Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah; Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts; Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California; Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California; Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska; Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California; Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio; Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.

    The 13 service members above were killed outside Hamid Karzai International Airport Aug. 26. They were in Kabul “while supporting non-combatant evacuation operations,” according to a U.S. Department of Defense press release.

    “We decided to do this to honor these soldiers as all three of us are veteran-owned businesses,” said Olivia Caughey, event manager, BLBC.

    “We believe … honoring late soldiers, current soldiers, military mental health and spreading awareness of those who risk their lives for our freedom are incredibly important.”

    Community members will meet at the BLBC taproom at 444 West Russell St. as early as 1 p.m., Oct. 10. BLBC will be offering their American Lager for $4 a pint as opposed to $6 in honor of the event. The 13-block memorial walk will commence at 2 p.m. As the group walks through downtown Fayetteville, they will encounter a flag on each block they pass bearing one of the names of the fallen 13.

    The walk will close with a moment of silence at the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum’s 14th annual Field of Honor installation. The Field of Honor Installation is on display until Nov. 14.
    One of the service members who plan to be in attendance recently returned from Kabul and will attend with their family. This service member was near enough to feel the blast at HKIA, according to AOP Orthotics and Prosthetics co-owner Nick Rahl.

    This event is near to these businesses’ hearts.

    “It’s an honor to do it,” Rahl said.

    BLBC will be hosting two additional events over the next few weeks. Beers and Bouncing is a free fitness event co-sponsored with 9Round Fitness, Oct. 16, from 1 to 2 p.m. and a Halloween event is planned for Oct. 30 at 1 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It has happened before to teams from this area.

    Please make sure your team isn’t one of them this year. Keep calm and play by the rules.
    The record: 47-14
    I was almost perfect for two straight weeks but dropped one game to finish 7-1. The count for the year is 47-14, 78.3 percent.
    South View at Cape Fear- This is a huge Patriot Athletic Conference game for two of the league’s hottest teams.
    Both are peaking at the right time of the season. Home field definitely helps Cape Fear, but that still might not be enough for the Colts.
    I expect this to be a close one that a big play or key turnover could decide.
    South View 21, Cape Fear 20.
    Douglas Byrd at Overhills - I think Overhills has too much offense for the Eagles to get a win in this one.
    Overhills 28, Douglas Byrd 14.
    Pine Forest at E.E. Smith - This is a tough call because both teams have been inconsistent. I’m giving Smith the edge playing at home.
    E.E. Smith 22, Pine Forest 18.
    Hoke County at Jack Britt - Hoke has clearly been the surprise team of the season in the Sandhills Athletic Conference with its return to success. This is a big game for both teams trying to improve their state playoff chances.
    I think Britt will figure a way to win this one.
    Jack Britt 24, Hoke County 18.
    Purnell at Seventy-First - The Falcons get a much-needed win against a Swett team having a difficult season.
    Seventy-First 30, Purnell Swett 12.
    Westover at Terry Sanford - The Bulldogs celebrate homecoming with another victory as they brace for bigger foes down the road.
    Terry Sanford 31, Westover 8.
    Open date: Gray’s Creek.
    Other games: Word of God forfeited to Trinity Christian earlier this week; Faith Christian 30, Fayetteville Christian 14.
  • 09 candle vigilThe ”Remember My Name” candlelight vigil will be held Thursday, Oct. 7, at 5:15 p.m. on the steps of the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse at 117 Dick St., to raise awareness for domestic violence.

    Kelly Taylor will be the keynote speaker. She is a Womack Army Medical Center registered nurse and advocate for victims of domestic violence.

    Others scheduled to speak at the event include Chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners Charles Evans, Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin, District Attorney Billy West, Chief District Court Judge Toni King and Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Col. Scott Pence.

    The U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division Band and Chorus will perform.

    This ceremony will memorialize the victims of domestic violence homicides in North Carolina over the past two years since “Remember My Name” was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19.

    Retired Chief District Court Judge Beth Keever will read the names of the victims.

    Cumberland County Family Court, the CARE Center Family Violence Program, The Phoenix Center, Army Community Services, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville Police Department, Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Hope Mills Police Department have collaborated to hold the event.

    Community resources available for domestic violence victims include:

    • Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office: 910-323-1500; victim assistance 910-677-5454 or ccsonc.org
    • Cumberland County Family Court: 910-475-3015 or www.nccourts.gov/locations/cumberland-county/family-court-administration
    • Cumberland County Clerk of Court Lisa Scales, Safe-Link Domestic Violence Assistance Program: 910-475-3000, Cumberland County Courthouse, Room 340, 3rd floor
    • Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office: 910-475-3010
    • Fayetteville Police Department: 910-433-1529; Victim Assistance 910-433-1849 or fayettevillenc.gov/city-services/police
    • The CARE Center Family Violence Program: Crisis Line 910-677-2532 or office 910-677-2528
    • Army Community Services: 910-396-8262 or myarmybenefits.us.army.mil
    • Legal Aid of North Carolina-Fayetteville Chapter: 910-483-0400 or legalaidnc.org
    • The Phoenix Center Hot Line: 910-485-7273
    • U. S. Army Family Advocacy Program: 910-322-3418 or hotline 910-584-4267
    • Hope Mills Police Department: 910-425-4103; Victim Assistance 910-705-3560
    • Spring Lake Police Department: 910-436-0350

    In the event of inclement weather, the vigil will be held inside the courthouse in Courtroom 4A with Courtroom 4B serving as an overflow room with a television monitor so participants can watch the event live.

    For more information about “Remember My Name,” contact Family Court Case Manager Bobbi Mattocks at 910-475-3225 or Bobbi.L.Mattocks@nccourts.org.

  • 22 01 jessica waltonJessica Walton

    Douglas Byrd•Tennis/basketball• Senior

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

    Michael Jurado

    Douglas Byrd•Soccer•Senior

    Jurado has a 4.24 grade point average. He is captain of the soccer team. He is a member of the Academy of Green Technology and the National Honor Society. He plans to attend North Carolina State University and major in electrical engineering.
    22 02 michael jurado
  • 07 trolleyThe Cool Spring Downtown District and Coldwell Banker Advantage are bringing a new ride to the streets of downtown Fayetteville. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bianca Shoneman, CEO and president of the Cool Spring Downtown District, approached Ralph Huff, founder of H & H Homes and co-owner of Coldwell Banker Advantage, with an idea to bring trolleys to downtown Fayetteville.

    “I told her it was a fabulous idea and that I would be interested in helping,” Huff said.

    Three months ago, once restrictions started to loosen, Shoneman revisited the trolley idea. Two 2004 “Molley Trolleys” have been selected. They have 36-person seating capacities, Cummins diesel engines, wooden benches, internal PA system, Shoneman said. “One of the trolleys is wheel-chair accessible.”

    The Cool Spring Downtown District will be responsible for scheduling, operating and maintaining the trolleys. The trolleys began test runs Sept. 24 to gain input on routes and scheduling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

  • 06 McLITIG datesSweet Tea Shakespeare, a theatre and music company in Fayetteville, continues their raucous take on drunk Shakespeare, the LIT series, this October. “McLIT” is a stripped-down version of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy of murder, guilt and rebellion combined with improv, games and a pub-like atmosphere.

    “McLIT” will visit a variety of venues including Hugger Mugger Brewing in Sanford, and the Church at Paddy’s Irish Pub in Fayetteville. “McLIT” imagines the writer, director and actors of Macbeth know the story they want to tell, but get lost at a frat party on their way to the show. Performances feature live music, drinking games and a lot of heart.

    LIT performances are recommended for adults 18 and up only. “McLIT” performs Oct. 16 and 23 at Paddy’s Irish Pub, and Oct. 22 and Nov. 12 at Hugger Mugger Brewing. All events start at 7:15 p.m.
    Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s 2021-2022 season is possible due to a generous grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. Additional season partners include the Capitol Encore Academy, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex, Paris & Potter Management and Napkins.

    General Admission Advance tickets for McLIT are $20; seniors/military advance tickets are $18; student Advance tickets are $10. All tickets at the door are $25. Tickets can be purchased at sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets/.

    Call the Sweet Tea Shakespeare Box Office at 910-420-4383 or email tickets@sweetteashakespeare.com for more information about upcoming shows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 08 Emerg Services smoke alarm grantIn September, Cumberland County Emergency Services received a $4,989 grant from South River Electric Membership Corporation’s Operation Round Up program. The funds will go towards smoke alarms which will be distributed to residents for free in the county.

    Residents can request a smoke detector for their home by contacting the volunteer fire station in their district. To find the closest one, visit www.cumberlandcountync.gov/emergencyservices/fire-marshal and use the Fire Station Lookup tool, then call the station to schedule a day and time to have a smoke alarm installed.

    “We’re so grateful for this grant which will allow us to get about 350 additional smoke alarms,” said Fire Marshal Kevin Lowther. “Emergency Services is planning to canvass various neighborhoods within the county to ensure residents can have a smoke alarm.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 05 Horizontal County LogoCSX Transportation has awarded Cumberland County Emergency Management a $5,000 Community Service Grant.

    The funds will partially offset the purchase of a damage assessment drone to enhance the county’s ability to evaluate property damage in the wake of disasters. It will also help first responders with search and rescue operations.

    The drone’s features include a thermal imaging camera, high visibility strobe light, and a loudspeaker for communicating instructions to victims or responders.

    “This drone will provide an additional way to support our community as well as our first responders before, during and after disasters,” said Cumberland County Emergency Management Coordinator Garry Crumpler. “Our goal is to find new and innovative ways to respond to emergencies and improve the safety of our citizens.”

  • 20 Daryl SmithlingDaryl Smithling


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

    Kadyn Staab

    Staab has a 3.75 grade point average. His activities include participating in Science Olympiad, National English Honor Society, robotics and Westover Academy of Engineering and being the girls’ soccer manager.
    20 02 KadynPictured from top to bottom: Daryl Smithling, Kadyn Staab
  • 04 07 Cumb CtyThe National Parent Teacher Association recently designated Seventy-First High School and Stoney Point Elementary School as 2020-2022 Schools of Excellence for their "commitment to building an inclusive and welcoming school-community." They join nine other North Carolina schools and 351 schools nationwide to be recognized as schools of excellence.

    The objective of the School of Excellence program is to encourage best practices for improving family engagement, building inclusive school communities and increasing local PTA participation.

    "We congratulate Seventy-First High School and Stoney Point Elementary School, along with their PTAs, for receiving this recognition," said Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., superintendent of Cumberland County Schools.

    For more information about the National PTA School of Excellence program, visit the program's website.

  • With four weeks left in the regular season let’s take a look at the standings in the Patriot Athletic Conference and Sandhills Athletic Conference and consider what’s in store as far as championships are concerned.
    The Patriot title is likely to hinge on the outcome of a huge game on Nov. 1 when Terry Sanford visits South View.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Despite his poor health, he got permission for a day pass from Duke so he could return to Fayetteville a see his twins, Darin and Drake, play soccer shortly before his death.

    “Even until the end, he was not ready to go,’’ said Kelly McLaurin Schmidt, Davin's wife. “He was still fighting. It was just too much.’’

    He died Oct. 3.

    “He’s always coached the boys in everything,’’ Kelly said. “Soccer, basketball, baseball.’’

    When he started his first recreation team in Hope Mills and named it Gators, friends assumed it was because of Schmidt’s love for the University of Florida.

    Kelly said that wasn’t the case. “It’s actually from the time an alligator was found in Hope Mills Lake,’’ she said. “Everybody loved him so much. He never thought he deserved the recognition, but he does.’’

    Pictured: Schmidt, an avid duck hunter posed for a picture with his dog, Jäger, after a successful day of hunting.