• The public health of our communities is — and should be — our collective priority during these unprecedented times. As our families, friends and neighbors face the challenges posed by our ever-changing reality, we must also reflect on the role that a healthy natural environment plays in sustaining our lives.

    Reliable, affordable and accessible energy resources are critical now that much of our population is home-bound. Clean, viable water is crucial to maintaining our personal hygiene. Proper waste management procedures sustain sanitary homes and communities. And, our natural world is an important source of joy, providing many people with physical and mental respites as we practice social distancing.

    But right now, our most necessary asset is one that we cannot even see: our air.

    This spring, air quality has been at the forefront of the media more than ever, as researchers have discovered that air pollution is one of many factors in the spread and severity of the novel coronavirus. Conflicting reports about air quality abound. Stunning images reveal crisp, clean skylines in cities that are usually buried in a cloud of smog. Other reports claim that, in some areas, air quality is at its absolute worst. One fact is certain, though: better air means better health.

    Clean air is essential for everyone but especially for those with respiratory issues such as asthma and emphysema. On rare occasions when our air is considered to be unhealthy, each breath becomes more of a concern for all. Now that our society faces a virus that adversely and indiscriminately impacts our respiratory health, our air quality is one natural resource that we simply cannot take for granted.

    We are typically blessed with clean air in the Sandhills. In fact, our area boasts some of the best air quality in the state of  North Carolina. But, we must not become complacent if we want to cultivate that distinction further.

    Several organizations are leading the charge for healthier air. We can attribute our air quality successes to the vigilance of agencies such as the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Sustainable Sandhills, and the Air Quality Stakeholders. Their initiatives to improve and manage the air quality of our region contribute to our public health and the quality of our lives.

    Each resident of the Sandhills is also a key player in the efforts to enhance our air quality. May 4 to May 8 is National Air Quality Awareness Week. You can care for our air by adopting habits that foster healthier air in the Sandhills. Simple steps — such as riding your bicycle instead of driving your car, fueling your vehicle when temperatures are cooler and properly inflating your tires — can have significant impacts. You can also learn about the Air Quality Index. The AQI is a forecast of the air quality in a region, ranging from “good” or “Code Green” to “hazardous” or “Code Maroon.” Most weather reports include the AQI. You can learn more about the Air Quality Index and other issues at airnow.gov or sustainablesandhills.org/airquality.

    Our society will undoubtedly learn many valuable lessons from these uncertain days. By using our resources responsibly and protecting the natural assets that are so vital to our lives, we can protect our residents and build healthier, more vibrant, more resilient communities that can withstand any threat — today, tomorrow and forever.

  • 12librariesAs the heart and soul of the college, the Fayetteville Technical Community College Paul H.Thompson Library and campus libraries are where students of different educational backgrounds reach their goals, working in partnership with experienced librarians.

    Three locations support FTCC students with library services and dedicated library staff to answer questions: 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.

    The libraries offer students access to thousands of print and electronic resources that are timely, relevant and reliable to assist with their educational success. Working together with faculty, librarians conduct library orientation classes to introduce students to library resources and develop search strategies to help them complete assignments using the catalog and electronic databases. Tutorials are available on the library website to provide brief instruction on searching specific databases.

    Students may also take advantage of the book-a-librarian service to receive individualized instruction from librarians by appointment for up to 45 minutes. Librarians are also available for unscheduled book-a-librarian sessions to answer more targeted questions that take a shorter time.

    Interlibrary loans extend a student’s borrowing power to all member colleges of the North Carolina Community College System.

    High school students receiving college credit through the NC Career and College Promise dual-enrollment program have access to all library resources to assist in their transition to college and ease the research challenges required of their college courses.

    At each location, students have access to a wide variety of spaces where they can study, conduct research, read or meet in small and large groups to collaborate on projects. Students have access to computers, printing, copying and faxing at all locations. Scanning capability and additional laptops are available for checkout for use within the Paul H. Thompson Library reference room and at the Spring Lake Campus branch library. At the Paul H. Thompson Library, coffee is available for purchase in the reference room all day.

    The FTCC Archive collection, housed in the Paul H.Thompson Library, consists of photographic materials, college course catalogs, yearbooks, scrapbooks and college ephemera. The scrapbooks are currently available online with DigitalNC by clicking on the FTCC Archive link from the library homepage. Additional materials are expected to be digitized and available electronically. Physical materials in the archive are available for viewing by appointment.

    Library staff are available to assist with reference questions during business hours in person or by calling 910-678-8247, 0080 and by email library@faytechcc.edu. When the library is closed, students can get answers by using the “Ask-a-Librarian Chat Now” button located on the library homepage at www.faytechcc.edu/campus-life/academic-support/library/ 

    Fayetteville Technical Community College libraries locations and hours:

    • Paul H. Thompson Library:

    2201 Hull Rd., Fayetteville, NC

    910-678-0080

    Mon-Thurs 7:45 a.m.- 9 p.m.

    Friday 8 a.m.- 7 p.m.

    Last seven Saturdays each semester: 11a.m.-3p.m.

    • Spring Lake Campus Branch Library:

    101 Laketree Blvd., Spring Lake, NC

    Mon-Wed 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

    Thurs 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

    Friday Closed

    Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

    • John L. Throckmorton Library:

    Randolf St. Bldg. 1-3346, Fort Bragg, NC

    910-396-2665

    Mon-Thurs 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

    Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

    Saturday Noon-4 p.m.

  • 07Tyrone WilliamsLegal wrangling may impede the process by which Fayetteville City Councilman Tyrone Williams is removed from office. Williams’ lawyer and city attorney Karen McDonald disagree on some of the steps city council is taking. As a courtesy, McDonald provided attorney Kris Poppean opportunity to offer feedback on procedures she developed to conduct what’s known as an amotion.

    McDonald agreed to some of his ideas but rejected others. Poppe contends Williams should not have been denied his right to vote on issues he’s accused of being involved in. McDonald insists the excusal protects the validity of the process.City council adopted McDonald’s recommendations following an hourlong discussion at a dinner meeting. Williams did not vote.

    North Carolina state law provides for the removal of public officials, but the process is general. McDonald stressed her rules and procedures are intended to make certain the District 2 councilman receives a fair and impartial hearing. Until now, the city had no written policy on amotion. It’s the only time official efforts have been made to remove a member from office. McDonald told council she followed her interpretation of state law because “we don’t know where the process will take us.”

    The first significant step is Williams being served with a petition for removal. It will culminate in a quasi judicial public hearing. By law, council’s amotion decision must be based only on evidence received during the hearing.

    Williams is a first-term council member elected this past November. He took office the following month and is alleged soon thereafter to have asked Jordan Jones, the project manager of Hay Street development projects, for $15,000 to remedy an issue with the deed to the former Prince Charles Hotel building. Jones’ company is renovating the eight-story building. Jones recorded the meeting with Williams and turned the recording over to the FBI.

    In March, Williams told council he had a financial interest in Prince Charles Holdings, which Jones denied, and asked to be recused from voting on all downtown development projects because of a possible conflict of interest. Later, Williams reversed himself, saying that he had been improperly advised by McDonald to recuse himself from voting. McDonald vehemently denied that, and council voted unanimously to excuse him from voting on anything related to downtown economic developments, including the minor league baseball stadium now under construction.

    The FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including public corruption at all levels of government. Corruption includes bribery, which is offering to do something for someone for the expressed purpose of receiving something in exchange. It also includes extortion by a public official, defined as the oppressive use of his or her position to obtain a fee. This is known as acting under the color of office.

     

    PHOTO: Tyrone Williams

  • by STEPHANIE CRIDER

    Click the Image for UCW's Online Edition!

    Can you smell the scent of funnel cake and popcorn in the air? The fair is in town.

    05_05_cover.jpg
    The Fort Bragg Fair, one of the c ommunity’s most anticipated spring events, is opening its doors, or fairgrounds rather, to the community and inviting everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities.

    The Fort Bragg Fairgrounds, located on Bragg Boulevard is open to the public for this event.


    “It is a great family-oriented event,” said Rhett Stroupe, event coordinator. “It is where families can come and enjoy a carnival atmosphere with games, carnival rides and live entertainment and just relax.”


    Stroupe has been coordinating the Fort Bragg Fair for about seven years now and thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to meet and be involved with so many different people.


    “For me it is about the personal relationships,” said Stroupe. “Each year has is its own little challenges, which keeps it fresh and keeps it interesting; plus we try to keep it fresh for our customers as well.”


    Speaking of keeping it fresh. There will be a few new rides this year, and some changes in the entertainment, too. 


    “Traditionally, we’ve had mainly live bands but we are doing it a little different this year,” said Stroupe.


    “We’ll still have live bands, but we are also doing a dance troop. We are having a magician perform for us and then we are having some Star Wars characters come out. It is going to be pretty awesome.”

    Over the years, attendance at the fair has averaged about 42,000, but Stroupe is hopeful that they can serve even more this year.


    “Because we have a large number of soldiers who have come back, this is an opportunity for them to reacquaint themselves with their families and I am very excited about it,” he said.


    Noting the downturn in the economy, he looked to that as a factor in projecting attendance.


    “A lot of people aren’t traveling away as much, which I look at as an opportunity for us as well.”


    As in previous years there are discounts on certain days. Monday through Thursday is Customer Appreciation Day. Admission is $5 from 5-7 p.m. Mother’s Day is another special discount day for moms only. Moms pay just $5 when accompanied by a paying child 3-17 years old.


    Regular hours are as follows: gates open at 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; and at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission rates vary depending on the day and time.


     After 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, general admission is $10, military/Department of Defense civilians, $8, children ages 3-9, $8, handicapped non-riders $5, senior citizen non riders (age 50 and older) $5. From 5-7 p.m. children 3 and older $5, children under 36” free.


    Friday through Sunday general admission is $14, military/DoD civilians, $12, children ages 3-9, $12, handicapped non-riders, $5, senior citizen (50 and older) non-riders, $5, children under 36” free. There is also free parking throughout the fair.


    For more info call 396-9126/6126 or visit www.fortbraggmwr.com.



  • 11Chalk BanksIn the Fayetteville area, we know the Cape Fear River. But have you everheard of Chalk Banks, a trail that runs along the edge of Lumber River State Park? May 19, this area will host its annual event called the Chalk Banks Challenge and River Festival.

    At 133 miles long, the Lumber River extends from as far north as Scotland County all the way down to the North and South Carolina border before eventually emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. As a blackwater river, which is a kind of river that is slow-moving through swamps and wetlands, the Lumber River is the only one of its kind in North Carolina to be designated as a Natural Wild and Scenic River.

    Here, at this natural haven unbeknownst to most people coming into the Fayetteville or Fort Bragg area, is a set of races that are free and open for the public to participate in or just watch. There are 2-mile canoe and kayak races. There is also a 5K trail run at 9:30 a.m. and a one-mile race at 10:30 a.m. for any school-age students.

    The event’s most eccentric challenge, though, is homemade raft races, which start at roughly 11:45 a.m.

    According to Cory Hughes, director of the Scotland County Tourism Development Authority, the raft race originates from a popular tradition in Scotland County during the 1970s and 1980s when people would raft down the river just for fun.

    Hughes said the purpose for this wacky, fun event nowadays is to perhaps introduce or reinvigorate interest in the Lumber River State Park.

    “We have a beautiful state parkup at Chalk Banks, and people just don’t know about it,” said Hughes. “When I’m walking through the event and hear people go, ‘Wow, I’ve never been out here, this is really great,’ that’s a win.”

    As for the raft race, teams must build their own raft, without using traditional parts for boats. The rafts cannot be motorized. Many different groups have participated in the past, including Boy Scout troops, fire departments and military officers.

    “The raft races are, I don’t want to say comical, but absolutely leisure(ly) and casual,” said Hughes. “It’s not Gilligan’s Navy, but it’s something pretty close to it. Once (participants) do it once, they have such a good time.”

    Hughes described one group of military officers from Fort Bragg who participated in the event for several years. This group, on the first year, made their raft out of an inflatable mattress, plywood and duct tape – and didn’t quite make it all the way down the river. But they came back the next year after “learning their lesson” and ultimately won the race. The following year, the same members of the group were all deployed in Afghanistan but made time to send a message on YouTube to the event, wishing everyone good luck and saying they would be back the next year to defend their title.

    “It’s that kind of attitude that embraces the whole day,” Hughes said. “It’s just a day to come out, have fun, enjoy your friends, meet new people, laugh – maybe laugh so hard you cry.”

    For those not competing in the races, the River Festival component promises to entertain outdoorsy, interested families. There will be inflatables to bask in the river’s slow moving channel and bands playing bluegrass or country music throughout the day. There will also be craft vendors as well as food vendors providing barbecue fare and Italian ice.

    Hughes also mentioned there will be a “Kid Olympics,” featuring several youth games like relay races, hollering contests and grape spitting contests.

    “It’s a country-good-time kind of thing,” said Hughes.

    The event is free and open to the public. It takes place at the Chalk Banks access point in Wagram May 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For directions or more information, contact the Lumber River State Park at 910-628-4564.

  • 14 01 Pineforeststadium Reopening is the key word in sports at all levels right now. Every day, there are new projections for when the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball will resume — and if the National Football League will start on time this fall.

    Along with leaders of youth-level sports and the NCAA, the NFHS and its member state associations are exploring all options for conducting sports this fall. And while we all want answers, the truth is that there are more questions than answers at this point.

    14 02 Jack britt stadiumDr. Anthony Fauci, the leading national medical authority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, recently told ESPN that “the virus will make the decision for us” on whether sports will return this fall. His comments underscore the need for leaders of all levels of sport in the United States to exercise great caution as we re-engage in activities.
    Without a doubt, education will play a larger role in the decision-making process for high school programs than for nonscholastic programs. Despite the significant loss of revenue that could occur at some levels if programs remain closed, health and safety concerns must take priority when it comes to reopening the sport or activity.

    At the high school level, sports and other activity programs will most likely not return until schools reopen. High school sports and performing arts are education-based programs and complete the learning process on a day-to-day basis. As such, academics during the school day and sports and other activities after school are inseparable.
     Could any of those sports and activities return without fans? That option is certainly not one schools favor, but it is a very real possibility. While a few state associations opted for that arrangement to complete state basketball tournaments, that is not a desired ongoing plan for school sports. Besides, this troubling question would have to be addressed: If it is unsafe for fans in the stands, is it safe for the students to participate?

      Students, parents and other fans in the stands cheering for and supporting student-athletes, and applauding from the theatre audience, are among the most wonderful aspects of education-based activities. Before accepting that arrangement, efforts will continue to make attending events a safe experience for everyone.

    While we remain uncertain as to the timetable for the return of high school sports and other activities, we believe that when these programs return — and they will return — that everyone will bring renewed zeal to provide the 12 million participants in these programs the best experience possible.

    One of the challenges to solving the crystal ball of high school sports and activities this fall is the uncertainty of the spread of the virus as states begin to reopen this month. The NFHS will continue to work with its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee on an ongoing basis to provide the most updated information.

    With the non-negotiable tenet of safety for student activity participants, expect every avenue to be pursued so that students can be involved in football, soccer, volleyball, field hockey, speech, debate, music and many other school activities this fall.  
     
  • 11 nancePhysical education teachers do a lot more than roll out the basketballs for their students and make sure everybody is wearing the proper attire for running laps or playing volleyball.

    Especially physical education teachers like Jeff Nance at Gray’s Creek High School. In addition to regular physical education classes, Nance teaches what’s called an adaptive physical education class for students with special needs.

    It was partially because of his work with this group of students that led the North Carolina High School Athletic Association to single Nance out as one of the winners of this year’s Homer Thompson Memorial Award called Eight Who Make A Difference.

    The award is presented annually by the NCHSAA to one person from each of the state’s eight regional districts. The winners were honored as excellent role models to student athletes through a positive and dedicated approach to coaching. Nance was nominated by Gray’s Creek athletic director and NCHSAA Board of Directors member Troy Lindsey.

    The press release from the NCHSAA called Nance a special person who comes around once in a blue moon, describing him as gregarious, passionate, outspoken, humble and larger than life.

    Earl Horan may have offered an even better description of Nance. Horan is a special needs teacher on the faculty at Gray’s Creek. His son, Earl “Early Bird” Horan, was one of Nance’s special needs students during his four years at the school.

    “Jeff has the patience of a saint,’’ Horan said. “He’s got such a good heart.’’

    Every morning during school, the two self-contained special education classes at Gray’s Creek come to the school’s atrium where Nance is on duty. “They’ll ask permission to come over there and give him a quick hug,’’ Horan said. “He goes out of his way to tell them he loves them.’’

    Nance said the adaptive physical education class he teaches is easily his favorite. “It’s for kids who need a little extra help in a controlled setting,’’ he said. “We have to modify some of the games and the techniques we teach them. A lot of the kids are nonverbal.’’ He treats each child as an individual but does it in a class setting.

    “They are just a pleasure to be around,’’ he said of his adaptive students. “They take everything in stride and they’re not judgmental of each other. They’re always happy to do what you ask them to do.’’

    Nance said his exceptional children are blessed with what he calls a double dose of love and compassion. “I don’t think they are tainted by wanting to be in the pecking order,’’ he said. “I don’t think they are worried about being popular. They love life for what it is.’’

    Nance coaches the Gray’s Creek baseball team and has exceptional children involved in his program as managers for the team. “Our players take our managers in as their little brothers or teammates,’’ he said. “Baseball is a kid’s game played by young men and adults, and they (the exceptional children) bring a child’s-like view to the game.’’
    The managers wear baseball helmets in the dugout for safety and help with a variety of duties like sweeping out the dugout, chasing foul balls or keeping up with pitch counts. “They are so happy to be part of it,’’ Nance said. “I hope it rubs off on the players that no matter what your role is, just being part of the team, everybody is equal. You don’t have to be the superstar.’’

    Nance thinks he gets as much from the experience of working with exceptional children as they do. “They bring me back to center,’’ he said. “They
     relax me.’’

    He thanked both his immediate family and the countless coaches he’s worked with since his youth for helping to foster his love for young people.
    “I’m happy to have role models like my mother and brother and former coaches,’’ he said. “It motivates me to try and do better.’’

  • 13 strunkFew people are better qualified to talk about the current state of high school athletics in North Carolina than Rick Strunk. Strunk joined the staff at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association in 1985 and spent 30 years there before stepping down in 2015.

    During his early years with the NCHSAA, Strunk had a conversation with longtime NCHSAA leader Charlie Adams about what events could disrupt high school sports on a statewide scale.

    Adams told Strunk one thing would be a major war that could put restrictions on travel.

    The second thing Adams said was an epidemic.

    Strunk said during his time with the NCHSAA, they did have to deal with a situation like that, but it was nothing on the scale of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

    “There was a measles outbreak,’’ Strunk said, adding that it was confined to one area of the state. “School systems went under quarantine for a limited period of time to try and track down the source of the measles.’’

    Schools in that area developed a workaround, redoing their athletic schedules and playing games against schools that weren’t under quarantine, then once the quarantine was lifted, making up all the postponed games against the schools that were in lockdown.

    He thinks the NCHSAA has done the best job possible trying to make decisions within the framework of the restrictions that have been set down in North Carolina to curb the spread of the pandemic, and he thinks coaches, athletes, parents and fans need to understand that the NCHSAA lacks the freedom to make plans for the future at will.

    “When the governor says something is going to happen on this date, you can’t make your own decision to run counter to that,’’ he said. “Health and safety of the participants is paramount. That is what North Carolina has focused on.’’

    Strunk said he has stayed in contact with members of the NCHSAA staff during the pandemic, and hopes the public appreciates this has been a painful process for them. “They know the value of high school sports and that kids want to play,’’ he said. “I really feel bad for seniors who didn’t have a season in the spring because it was stopped so early.’’

    At the same time, he had nothing but praise for how school systems and coaches are still reaching out to support both students and athletes.
    “Schools have had to pivot quickly,’’ he said. “Without much run-up they had to put classes online.’’

    He said coaches have had to design strength conditioning programs for homebound athletes who don’t have access to gyms or weights.

    In the face of everything, Strunk is trying to be optimistic and hopeful that by this fall, some degree of normalcy will return and coaches and athletes will be back on the field.
    “First is the decision about school,’’ he said. “That will drive a lot of things.’’

    He’s also concerned about if fans will feel safe going to games and if small businesses will be able to provide financial support to local teams after being closed.

    Instead of a light switch, Strunk thinks the return to sports will be more like a dimmer switch. “The safety of the public, the athletes, the coaches, the fans, all of those are the prime directive in this case,’’ he said.

  • 10 biscuitvilleCumberland County’s newest Biscuitville fast-food restaurant is all dressed up and ready for opening day in Hope Mills.

    The only question is exactly when that will be.

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opening date for the restaurant at the intersection of Hope Mills Road and George Owen Road is generically scheduled for summer, but officials at the business’s restaurant support center in Greensboro can’t offer any more specific information on the opening than that.

    Alon Vanterpool is the marketing manager for Biscuitville, which is primarily a North Carolina business with locations largely located in the Triad area of Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point, along with some in Virginia.

    Vanterpool said Biscuitville has expanded into the Triangle area of Raleigh and Durham and is also growing in Fayetteville as the addition of the Hope Mills restaurant indicates.

    Construction of the Hope Mills location was well underway when concerns about the pandemic reaching the United States started to grow.

    Vanterpool said Biscuitville officials quickly realized plans for moving forward with the opening of the restaurant would be heavily influenced by following state guidelines put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Biscuitville does have other restaurants already open in the Fayetteville area that are currently serving drive-through customers only.

    The first step to get the new Hope Mills location up and running will be completing the hiring of a manager for the store along with the staff.

    Vanterpool said Biscuitville typically begins the search for the top staff positions about six months before opening then hires the members of the restaurant crew four to six weeks before opening.

    As of mid-May, the Hope Mills location is still looking for a manager/operator, with plans to hire approximately 40 people to work on the restaurant crew.
    Vanterpool said open positions on the restaurant crew can be found at www.biscuitville.com/careers.

    She isn’t sure what the status of filling any of the crew positions is at this time, but she knows the hiring of crew members was on Biscuitville’s radar before the pandemic struck.

    “As soon as we get the go-ahead, we’ll be going full speed ahead,’’ Vanterpool said.

    Visit the company’s website at www.biscuitville.com for any general questions about Biscuitville or the new Hope Mills location.

  • 11 01 faith francisThe COVID-19 pandemic has ground activity on high school athletic fields to a halt, but there’s still plenty going on off the field. Here are a few items of interest:

    • The Gray’s Creek High School boys cross country team was the only Cumberland County squad to be recognized by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s 2019-20 Scholar Athlete Program.

    The program annually recognizes students and teams for their academic success. To qualify, the combined unweighted grade point average of the team must be 3.1 or higher during the semester when the team is competing.

    11 02 kellymelvinGray’s Creek earned a 3.75 GPA, placing third in the state behind first-place North Davidson at 3.84 and second-place Crest at 3.8.

    The win earned the school a $100 prize.

    • Fayetteville Technical Community College is using the lights at J.P. Riddle Stadium to join in a national program to honor this year’s graduating high school seniors who are missing out on their final year of sports or performing arts because of the pandemic.

    The idea apparently started in Texas, spread to Colorado and then took off nationally, as high schools turned on the lights on their athletic fields at 8:20 p.m., 20:20 in military time, and left them on for 20 minutes and 20 seconds to honor the class of 2020.

    11 03 thurstonSteve Driggers of FTCC said the lights were turned on the last two Fridays this month at Riddle Stadium and will be lit a final time on Friday,
    May 22.

    • Congratulations to Faith Francis of the Westover High School girls’ basketball team. Francis has been selected to the East roster for this summer’s North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star basketball game in Greensboro.

    If restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will allow, the game will be played Monday, July 20, at the Greensboro Coliseum.

    Francis led Westover to a 21-7 record and a second-place finish in the Patriot Athletic Conference behind state 3-A co-champion E.E. Smith.

    A 6-foot-1 wing player, Francis averaged 15.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. She made 23 three-point field goals. She was named the Patriot Athletic Conference girls Player of the Year.

    • Two Cumberland County schools recently hired head coaches. Kelly Melvin is the new volleyball coach at Cape Fear High School while Thurston Robinson will coach the girls basketball team at Terry Sanford.

    According to a press release posted on social media, Melvin is a graduate of Douglas Byrd High School with degrees in physical education from Methodist University and North Carolina A&T.

    She has been a teacher and athletic director at Albritton Middle School for 28 years.

    She worked with the Cape Fear volleyball program since 2016, serving as head junior varsity coach and assistant varsity coach.

    Robinson’s hiring was also announced on social media. He has coached for more than 20 years in the Fayetteville area, coaching both boys’ and girls basketball.

    His teams have won championships at both the state and national level.

    He has also had teams appear in major showcase tournaments around the country.

    • Proponents of adding a shot clock to high school basketball suffered another defeat recently when the National Federation of State High School Associations announced the high school basketball rule changes for the 2020-21 season.

    A proposal for a national rule requiring a shot clock, along with a rule allowing individual states to adopt one if they desired, were not approved.

    In a press release from the National Federation, Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports, said members of the Basketball Rules Committee discussed the pros and cons of adding the shot clock and will continue to study the issue.

    • One rule that was updated involved what happens if no coach is available to be on the bench because the head coach has been removed for unsportsmanlike conduct.

    The new rule says if a coach is removed from the bench and no authorized school personnel are available to take over the team, the game will be declared a forfeit.

    • Another rule was clarified to state that officials don’t have to give a coach a warning before assessing a technical foul. The existing rule gave the impression that a warning was needed before calling a technical.
    • A new rule was added for clock operators, who are now required to sound a warning signal to start a 15-second period to replace an injured or disqualified player. A second warning is given at the end of 15 seconds to alert teams it’s time to prepare for play.
    • A complete list of the rule changes for next season can be found at www.nfhs.org. Go to Activities and Sports at the top of the home page then click on Basketball.
  • 10 01 hpThe fate of this year’s Hope Mills Fourth of July celebration is far from being decided, but town officials are moving ahead with plans to hold some kind of observance of the holiday, even if it may be muted.

    The town’s Board of Commissioners voted earlier this month to move ahead with plans for the annual event. Now, Parks and Recreation Director Lamarco Morrison and his staff are looking at what they can do to make the observance, or some positive alternative version of it, happen.

    North Carolina governor, Roy Cooper, recently announced Phase 1 of the plan to reopen the state to more normal activity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Morrison is hopeful things will get better and not worse as July 4th approaches, but town staff is considering a variety of options to deal with whatever the situation might be at that time.

    The big news, for now, is that there will be a fireworks display, but people might have to view it in a different way.

    10 02 fourth of july“We want to do drive-in fireworks,’’ Morrison explained. “We’ll let people drive in and park at the (old) Hope Mills golf course. People can enjoy the fireworks from
    their car.’’

    As for the annual Fourth of July parade, it may have to be altered drastically if severe social distancing restrictions are still in place when the holiday rolls around.

    Meghan Hawkins, assistant director for special events and programs, has been looking at alternatives to the parade if needed. Morrison said Hawkins has explored the possibility of doing a backward parade for the town.

    Under Hawkins’ plan, the town would purchase Fourth of July decoration kits for people and allow them to register to decorate their homes. The town would provide a map of the decorated homes and allow people to visit the different locations in their cars.

    Morrison is remaining hopeful that, by July, the restrictions will be lifted enough that an idea that extreme won’t be needed.

    The problem is, to plan for a meaningful Fourth of July celebration, the town can’t wait until the last minute, especially if they are going to try to put on a parade, if the circumstances will allow it.

    With the governor announcing that Phase 1 of reopening of the state is underway, that loosens the restraints a little on what can be done, but Morrison thinks the town will need to make some concrete decisions about what can and can’t be done with the parade by the middle of May.

    One thing that likely won’t be seen in the parade, no matter how much better things are in terms of the pandemic, would be marching bands, which would clearly put large groups of people in close proximity with each other.

    Units in the parade could be limited to things like vehicles and animals only.

    As for spectators, Morrison said the town would likely need the assistance of the Hope Mills Police Department to make sure spectators along the parade route observed appropriate social distancing while the parade was in progress.

    That could pose a problem, one that has already reared its head at the Hope Mills Lake Park.

    “We’ve been met with resistance at the lake, with people’s emotions being heightened,’’ Morrison said. “They haven’t been the nicest about being told they can’t gather.’’

    Morrison said crowd control is not normally a major responsibility for the lake attendants who work with Parks and Recreation.

    In addition to the lake park, Morrison said there have been problems with the area around the proposed Heritage Park, where construction hasn’t even started.

    “We had to rope off the future Heritage Park site,’’ he said. “People were parking and gathering down there, essentially breaking the rules by hanging out.’’

    He said things have gotten a little better recently with fewer calls to break up inappropriate gatherings of people.

    As for planning ahead for the Fourth of July, Morrison is hopeful with the addition of online registration for Parks and Recreation activities, he and his staff will be able to wait until the latest date possible to make definite plans for the Fourth of July celebration.

    Morrison said he also remains hopeful that the town will be able to salvage the summer youth sports season. “I’m thinking July is far enough out,’’ he said. “A lot of people don’t want to refund their money. I’m thinking we’ll be able to play in some form or fashion.’’

    He’s just hopeful that whatever steps are taken to reopen the state to business will be taken with caution.

    “If they open too quickly, I’m afraid we’ll have another surge,’’ Morrison said.

    In the meantime, if anyone has questions or concerns about Parks and Recreation department activities, they can keep up to date by going to the webpage, townofhopemills.com, and clicking on the Parks and Rec link. They can also visit the Parks and Recreation Facebook page, Hope Mills Parks and Recreation.

    For other questions, call 910-426-4109. The front desk at the recreation center on Rockfish Road is staffed most days from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

  • 14 scott graham EPppwcVTZEo unsplashVernon Aldridge, student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools, has long stressed the importance of the county’s coaches taking courses to make them better at their jobs.

    That commitment recently earned the county national recognition as the National Federation of State High School Associations listed three county schools as first in the nation to reach Level I status on the NFHS School Honor Roll program.

    The three schools are Gray’s Creek High School, John Griffin Middle School and Pine Forest
    Middle School.

    Since the initial three schools were announced, five more have been added to the list. They are Pine Forest High School, South View Middle School, Hope Mills Middle School, Spring Lake Middle School and Anne Chesnutt Middle School.

    To make the list, a school must have at least 90% of the full-time coaches on its staff complete four courses offered online by the NFHS.

    The courses are Fundamentals of Coaching, Concussion in Sports, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and Protecting Students from Abuse.

    There are two more levels schools can achieve by completing additional NFHS courses.

    Because all the county schools have been taking part in the NFHS initiative, Aldridge is optimistic it won’t be long before every county school is recognized for at least reaching Level I.

    “The more we take these courses, the higher quality our coaches are,’’ Aldridge said. “I think it enhances the experience for the student-athletes.’’

    He added all coaches in Cumberland County Schools have been required to take the four NFHS courses before the School Honor Roll program was started last December.

    In addition, all county schools coaches must receive training in performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using an automated external defibrillator.

    “My goal is to have all our schools to be Level 3 in two years,’’ Aldridge said.

  • The Town of Hope Mills recently got good news and bad regarding its Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant.

    The grant, which will help fund planning for pedestrian walkways in the central area of Hope Mills, was scheduled to be presented to the state by the McAdams group on behalf of the town earlier this month.

    The North Carolina Department of Transportation gets to pick which firm handles consulting work on the grant, and the good news for Hope Mills is it already had a longstanding relationship with McAdams.

    But according to town manager Melissa Adams, there’s a downside to the future of developing the pedestrian plan.

    Because of the COVID-19 crisis, people aren’t driving as much as they used to, which has cut into a lot of funding that DOT receives from sources involved with travel.

    The bottom line is, if there’s a shortfall in funding this month, that could mean the planning for the Hope Mills pedestrian project could be delayed, which further means the actual start of the construction phase of the pedestrian project would also be set back.

    Chancer McLaughlin, who is the development and planning administrator for the town, is trying to maintain a positive outlook on the situation and remains hopeful there won’t be a significant enough shortage of money to force the implementation of the design plan to be delayed.

    “One of the ideas we are going to push with this plan, which I think will be groundbreaking, is to see about the facilitation of a greenway that connects the (old) golf course to Trade Street,’’ McLaughlin said.

    Sidewalks are in the works from Town Hall on Rockfish Road to Johnson Street down to Trade Street, McLaughlin said. The greenway plan would complete a loop and link neighborhoods to the back side of the former golf course.

    “Now you have something more impactful from a pedestrian standpoint,’’ McLaughlin said. “People can walk from the golf course to Town Hall, and from Trade Street to the lake. All through pedestrian avenues, greenways and
    sidewalks.’’

    McLaughlin stressed that the money that has already been allocated will go to funding the creation of an overall plan for the proposed pedestrian upgrade, there is no money to pay for building the new walking area itself. “Once they come up with a plan, we’ll have to come up with funding for construction,’’ he said. “This is strictly for design.’’

    While there is a potential for delay in the pedestrian project, McLaughlin said town growth is doing well otherwise — in spite of the pandemic.

    The new Chick-fil-A restaurant had a successful opening recently, taking drive-through customers only, as the state’s regulations designed to protect against spread of COVID-19 continue.

    Another opening is expected to be held in the near future as the new Biscuitville franchise has wrapped up construction. McLaughlin said he was initially informed Biscuitville was planning for a summer opening, hopefully after the COVID-19 situation improves. There has been talk the opening date could come earlier, but McLaughlin said he had heard nothing concrete.

    Otherwise, McLaughlin said town business is going well and he’s gotten numerous requests for construction permits.

    “The staff is doing everything we can to be as innovative as we can during this pandemic, so we can keep things in some sort of normalcy until we can get back to our regular schedule,’’ he said.

  • A number of Cumberland County high school athletes recently received statewide recognition by being honored as all-stars and were given the chance to compete in all-star competition, subject to the lifting of COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions later this summer.

    Most of the athletes were chosen to take part in this summer’s North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star games in Greensboro this summer.

    Here’s a brief look at each of the honorees:

    Football

    Cape Fear head coach Jake Thomas was previously chosen as an assistant coach for the East team in this summer’s East-West game at Grimsley High School in Greensboro on Wednesday, July 22.

    Four Cumberland County football players were named to the East roster, linebackers Mark Burks of Cape Fear and Jackson Deaver of Terry Sanford, running back Matthew Pemberton of South View and wide receiver Anthony Fiffie of Jack Britt.

    Thomas will coach the linebackers in the game. He said Deaver was a four-year starter with
     the Bulldogs who plays like a coach on the field. “He’s very smart and will come up and hit you,’’ Thomas said.

    Deaver was the defensive player of the year in the Patriot Athletic Conference. He finished second in Cumberland County in tackles with 162.

    Burks is a versatile player who can also double as a safety. “That’s a plus when you’re coaching in an all-star game,’’ Thomas said. A three-year captain for Cape Fear, Thomas called Burks an outstanding teammate and leader.

    Burks had 70 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He was first team All-Patriot Athletic Conference at linebacker.

    Fiffie is the only one of the four county players that Thomas didn’t actually see in a game this season since Cape Fear and Britt don’t play each other. “I’ve heard offensive coaches talking about him, his size as a receiver and his hands,’’ Thomas said. “He does a great job of running routes and being precise.’’

    Fiffie was a first team All-Sandhills Athletic Conference wide receiver. He led Cumberland County in receiving with 81 catches for 1,156 yards and 17 touchdowns.

    Thomas called Pemberton a versatile playmaker who can do all kinds of things to help a team win. “He’s just a tremendous athlete,’’ Thomas said.

    Pemberton was Athlete of the Year in the Patriot Athletic Conference. He rushed 230 times for 1,919 yards and 31 touchdowns. He caught 20 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns.

    Girls soccer

    Terry Sanford’s Maiya Parrous was the lone county player selected to the East girls soccer team. Previously announced as head coach of the team was Pine Forest’s Isaac Rancour.

    Like the rest of the soccer players in the state, Parrous had her senior season stripped from her when the spring sports season was halted on
    March 16.

    Before play was halted this season, Parrous was one of the leading scorers in Cumberland County. She had eight goals and two assists. Last season she scored 19 goals.

    Parrous, who will attend the College of Charleston in the fall, said she’s excited about what she hopes will be one more chance to put on the uniform and compete as a high school player.

    “Everyone hopes it happens,’’ she said of the soccer all-star game, which is scheduled for Tuesday, July 21, at Greensboro’s MacPherson Stadium.

    Rancour said he plans to play Parrous at a wing position. “I think she has good technical ability and fits in well with the other players,’’ Rancour said. “I hope she can score a few goals.’’

    Rancour said all-star game officials indicated they would make a final decision on whether they will be able to play this summer around mid-June. “A lot of it revolves around the coaches clinic and what’s going on there,’’ he said.

    The East-West games are annually held in conjunction with the North Carolina Coaches Association Clinic, which takes place at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

    Girls golf

    Although not connected to the East-West competition in Greensboro, Cape Fear High School golf standout Toni Blackwell was chosen to take part in the fifth annual Tarheel Cup as a member of the
    East team.

    The competition, which has been canceled because of COVID-19, was scheduled May 15-17 at MacGregor Downs Country Club in Cary.

    The event would have pitted six girls and six boys from the eastern part of the state against six boys and six girls from the western part of the state using a Ryder Cup-style format.

    Blackwell won the NCHSAA East Regional championship this year and placed third in the 3-A state tournament with a two-day total of 80-69-149.

    She plans to join the golf team at UNC-Pembroke in the fall.

  • 12 masksCumberland County Schools are shut down for the rest of the 2019-20 year, but that hasn’t prevented Jack Britt High School teacher Henrietta Jutson and student Saathvik Boompelli from working together on a project providing needed support to frontline health care workers at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

    Jutson, an integrated systems technology teacher at Britt, has access to 3-D printers used at the school. Boompelli reached out to Jutson with the idea of putting the printers to use by programming them to print out a clasp that would be attached to masks like those worn by healthcare workers.

    Unlike typical clasps that loop over the ears, the ones that Boompelli envisioned go around the back of the head, so they are more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and don’t put as much strain on the ears.

    Jutson has had the 3-D printers at Jack Britt since around 2015. There are a total of three of them, each roughly the size of a refrigerator you’d find in a college dormitory room.

    Each printer has a gantry with a filament head that features an X, Y and Z axis.

    Jutson said the printer head moves left and right, forward and backward.

    “It’s like a hot glue gun,’’ she said. The printers are loaded with a roll of plastic, or filament, that Jutson purchased for the project.

    The process is a bit time-consuming, Boompelli said, noting that it takes about two hours
     to print about five of the plastic clasps.

    The Britt printers have produced a total of 350 of the clasps so far, which they’ve donated to Cape Fear Valley.

    Boompelli said until the hospital makes a new request for additional clasps, they are looking around to see if there are other area hospitals or frontline care workers that could use the clasps to make protective masks of their own.

    “The clasps can be reused and other people are making masks,’’ Boompelli said. “We thought we would focus on this.’’

    Boompelli said Jutson recently received an email from the parent of another student thanking her for providing the clasps.

    “It’s really cool to see how it’s affecting the doctors,’’ Boompelli said.

    The only problem associated with the project is the plastic filament used to make the clasps isn’t free and has to be purchased. Jutson is using a teacher fundraising tool to help raise money donated to cover the cost of the filament.

    The website is known as donorschoose.org. Visit the site and in the search space type in “Henrietta Jutson”, then look for the link entitled Filament for Good.

    As of Monday, May 4, the project still needed $280 to help pay for the filament.

  • 09daylilliesWhen the afterglow of spring is long gone, daylilies spread rainbows of color through the summer garden. From late spring to frost they are the stars, but they are not temperamental stars. They are hardworking, strong-growing contributors and the easiest to grow of all decorative perennials for Sandhills gardens. 

    One of the best ways to get to know daylilies is to visit the local American Hemerocallis Society accredited show. The event will be Saturday, June 3, on the top floor of Berns Student Center at Methodist University. 

    Since daylilies come in just about every color except true blue and in heights from a foot tall to over five feet tall, a gardener can find a cultivar for any place in the garden that gets five to six hours of sunlight. 

    They thrive in hot summers, so they are a good choice for our Sandhills landscapes. They tolerate some drought but fare better and produce more blooms if they get at least an inch of water a week. 

    Most daylily flowers are round with fairly wide petals. There are also spidery flowers with narrow petals and sepals; unusual forms with petals and/or sepals that twist, fold, or curl; and doubles that can look somewhat like a peony or like one flower sitting inside another one. 

    Flower sizes range from just over an inch to over 15 inches for some of the spiders. There are more than 80,000 registered daylilies in an incredible array of color, form and size — something for every niche in the garden.

    For best performance of your daylilies, prepare a bed with good soil that has organic material incorporated for good drainage. A soil test can give guidance about what type of fertilizer to use and how to amend the soil for proper pH and nutrients. 

    Daylilies are usually sold bare-root with leaves cut back to reduce transpiration, or loss of water vapor.  A good way to plant is to soak the roots (daylilies don’t have bulbs) for a few hours and then put the plants in the ground in the late afternoon. Do not soak for more than a day.

    Dig a hole, mound the dirt up in the center of the hole and place the plant so that the crown (where root and leaves meet) is no more than an inch below the soil with the roots reaching down into the soil. Fill the hole with the soil you dug out. Water the plants well and cover the soil with about two inches of mulch or compost. This will give the plant several hours to acclimate before the heat of the next day.

    To learn more about daylilies, join a local club and the American Hemerocallis Society. Visit local growers to see plants that grow well in your area. 

    Sandhills Daylily Club meets on the fourth Thursday of the month from February through October.  The usual meeting place is Friendship Baptist Church, 3232 Davis St., Hope Mills; but we do occasionally meet at other venues. We start at 6 p.m. with a potluck meal and the speaker starts about 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. 

    To enter flowers in the June 3 show and win awards, the flowers must be on the registration table by 10 a.m. The show will be open to the public from 2 until 4 p.m. Starting at 10 a.m. there will be short presentations on topics like hybridizing daylilies, planting and care of daylilies, herbal recipes, air layering, and companion plants. Plants for sale will be available at 12:00 p.m.  To learn more about daylilies, visit www.daylilies.org.

  • 12 01 72213353 BE6B 400B AC34 B47D274108A2Westover High School’s boys and E.E. Smith High School’s girls basketball teams made history last week, joining a handful of other North Carolina High School Athletic Association teams as the first virtual state champions in NCHSAA history.

    After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the NCHSAA to first postpone and then cancel this school year’s state basketball title games, Westover and Smith had been waiting for almost a month-and-a-half to learn what the fate of their title bids would be.

    It came via a virtual meeting of the NCHSAA Board of Directors last week on the computer meeting app Zoom. The cyber gathering of NCHSAA board members voted unanimously to name all of the teams that made the eight state championship finals for girls and boys basketball state champions.

    12 02 georgeWestover was declared the 3-A boys co-champion while Smith was named the 3-A girls co-champion.

    Brad Craddock, the NCHSAA president, who serves as principal at Glenn High School in Kernersville, said the board got a briefing
    from NCHSAA assistant commissioner James Alverson on the precedent for not having single champions.

    During the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, no state champions were determined in football. For a period of time during the 1960s and 1970s, some sports didn’t play to a state title, stopping at regional championships because the NCHSAA feared the season was getting too long. One of those teams was Seventy-First, which ended its 1970 season with a 3-A Eastern football championship.

    12 03 vernon aldridge copy“We felt like in this crazy time we are in, crowning an East and West regional champion did not do either side justice,’’ Craddock said. “We felt co-champions was the best thing we could do to honor all the work the student-athletes put
     into it.’’

    Both Westover boys’ head coach George Stackhouse and Smith girls’ head coach Dee Hardy were delighted with the decision.

    “I think the folks involved put the kids first,’’ Stackhouse said. “That’s what we are in it for and that’s what it looks like they did.’’

    Hardy has now had a hand in two state championships for Smith. She was a member of the Smith girls track team that won the state title in 1981. She said the basketball state title is the first Smith has won since then.

    “The seniors have been through enough and it’s the least we can do to say they are state champions,’’ Hardy said. “I think that’s the best ending we could have at this point in time.’’

    Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools, served on the NCHSAA board as representative of the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association.

    Aldridge said he will reach out to city and county government officials to make sure Fayetteville and Cumberland County honor the Westover and Smith teams when the pandemic passes and people can safely assemble for a public celebration.

    “This is very exciting for Cumberland County Schools to have two state basketball champions,’’ he said. “As long as I’ve been here, I can’t remember us having two state basketball champions in one year.’’

    In other major action by the board, changes were approved in the practice restrictions for high school football.

    Beginning with the fall season, the amount of preseason scrimmage time will be reduced from seven hours to five. Schools will have to observe a 48-hour break between scrimmage sessions. This does not include scrimmages in a one-day jamboree setting.

    Beginning with April 15 and continuing to the final 10 days of the school year, teams can practice a total of 60 minutes of what is called bumping, a modified form of body-to-body contact that stops just short of tackling an opponent and bringing him to the ground.

    In other rulings, athletes will not be required to get a new physical if they got one in 2019 but they will have to update their family medical history. The NCHSAA will develop a physical requirement for athletes who come from out of
    state schools.

    The realignment process has been put on hold by COVID-19 and will not resume until the realignment committee can safely meet face to face again.

    The plan is still for the next realignment to take effect by the 2021-22 school year.

    NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker made no commitment on the status of fall sports but said it is possible one or more sports may have to start late and trim the nonconference schedule to get a season completed.

  • 11 IMG 3123The lack of traffic on North Carolina’s highways caused by shelter-in-place orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the North Carolina Department of Transportation to delay numerous road projects statewide. A number of them are in the Hope Mills area.

    Earlier this month, NCDOT released a list 20 pages long of road projects across North Carolina that have been put on hold as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    It’s not safety issues preventing the workers from completing projects. The money normally available to pay for the work has evaporated.

    Many state road projects are funded through the Motor Fuels Tax, Highway Use Tax and fees from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

    With driving dramatically curtailed because so many people are staying at home, there is currently a budget shortfall of $300 million for NCDOT for the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30.

    Projects that were already underway or that have already been awarded won’t be affected.

    In addition to a release from the NCDOT, Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner was briefed on the delays during a recent conference call involving Cumberland County’s mayors along with representatives of the county Board of Commissioners and representatives of the city of Fayetteville.

    “So much is happening with the highways in Cumberland County,’’ Warner said. “Everyone is concerned. They are moving quickly to get the outer loop finished.”

     Warner said her biggest concerns for delays in Hope Mills road construction are at the intersection of Camden Road and Main Street as well as the intersection of Golfview and Rockfish Roads near the proposed new public safety building in Hope Mills.

    The intersection at Camden and Main is one of the busiest in Hope Mills.

    “That is one of our high-traffic areas,’’ Warner said, noting that a fatal accident recently took place near there. “A lot of development takes
    place on that side of town,’’ she said. “That would be the Camden Road section that goes by Millstone Theater.’’

    The other big area of concern is where the construction of the new public safety building for the Hope Mills police and fire departments, around Rockfish and Golfview Roads, is hopefully scheduled to begin work sometime this year.

    It is already a high traffic area, and the pending construction of the new public safety building is only going to make the problem even worse.

    The police department has temporarily relocated to the old Ace Hardware store on South Main Street, while the Hope Mills Fire Department
    will continue to operate out of its building on Rockfish Road.

    It’s not hard to see how road construction along Rockfish and Golfview Roads at the same time work is taking place on the public safety building could create a serious logjam.

    “If that (roadwork) project is delayed and we continue to do work on the public safety building, I see a lot of problems with that,’’ Warner said.

    She is hopeful that a town committee that has been working for some time on the Hope Mills Gateway Plan will be able to head off any major headaches the combination of the road construction and the building of the public safety building will cause.

    The Gateway Plan group includes various officials and citizens of the town of Hope Mills along with representatives of the Fayetteville Economic Development Commission, Duke Energy and the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

    “We’ve had very good strategic planning sessions,’’ Warner said. “We’ve been ahead of what’s going on with Interstate 295 and how it will impact Hope Mills.

    “Now we can just add to that concern and talk about what we do now if there is a delay. We have to have an immediate plan. This will give us opportunities to look at what we’re doing with a lot of input. It might mean we need to step back and do a better job.’’

     Following is a complete list of all the major Cumberland County road projects that have been delayed by the NCDOT funding shortfall:

     1. Bridge 60 over Lower Little River on U.S. 401.

    2. Bridge 25 on N.C. 242 over Beaver Dam Creek.

    3. 1-95 install broadband fiber from South Carolina state line to Virginia state line.

    4. I-95 in Cumberland and Robeson Counties from U.S. 301 (Exit 22) to North of I-95 Business/U.S. 301 (Exit 40). Widen to eight
            lanes.

    5. Fayetteville outer loop from South of State Road 1003 (Camden Road) to South of State Road 1104 (Strickland Bridge Road.)

    6. Fayetteville outer loops from South of State Road 1104 (Strickland Bridge Road) to South of U.S. 401.

    7. U.S. 401 (Raeford Road) from U.S. 401 (Raeford Road) from Old Raeford Road to East of Bunce Road.

    8. Cumberland, Hoke. State Road 1102 (Gillis Hill Road) from North of State Road 1112 (Stoney Point Road) to U.S. 401 (Raeford
            Road). Widen to multi-lanes and replace Bridge 250075 over Little Rockfish Creek.

  • 08OperationMovieNightGun violence is a serious issue that affects families and the communities they live in. One of the ways the Fayetteville Police Department battles this is by connecting with the community with fun events that allow people to get to know each other — and police officers. 

    Outdoor movies are one way to do this. Fayetteville Police Department’s Operation Ceasefire presents “Family Movie Night” on Friday, June 2 at Rivers of Living Water Church of God. The church is providing a hot dog meal at 7:30 p.m.  and the movie will begin at 8:30 p.m. 

    “This is our 10th anniversary of Ceasefire Movie Night and what we do is take our movie nights out into the city and the county,” said Lisa Jayne, Operation Ceasefire program coordinator. 

    “If we notice there is a spike in gun activity and crime in that area, we will look to go into that area during the calendar year and people also request for us to come to their location.” Jayne added that the purpose is for kids to come out and do a gun pledge. 

    They also offer free gun locks to parents and show a PSA before each of their movies about gun and gang violence. Parents are given pamphlets about warning signs that may indicate their child may be in a gang and who to call if they have that concern.   

    The event will feature a kiddie train, a fire safety house, health screenings by Cape Fear Valley, health and wellness resources, a rock wall, a bounce house, K-9 demo, the fire truck, police vehicles, games, popcorn, drinks and officers on site to answer any questions participants may have.                 

    This is part of the Ceasefire approach to combating gun and gang crime through suppression, intervention and prevention. “This is one of our community outreach prevention measures,” said Jayne. “We have our EKG program, which is educating kids about gun violence in the Cumberland County Schools System that we teach to all seventh graders and just finished up a third year with that.” 

    Jayne added that they have taught over 20,000 students the program and since they initiated the program, violent crime for that age group has gone down by 3 percent. 

    “We look forward to meeting new faces and having the community come out and enjoy the evening,” said Jayne.       

    Admission is free. Bring a chair or blanket to enjoy a free movie under the stars. In the case of inclement weather the movie will be held inside. The church is located at 1764 Bingham Drive. For more information call Lisa Jayne at (910) 433-1017.  

  • 14CapeFearIt took the best athletic year in school history to make it happen, but Cape Fear High School is finally the owner of the Maxwell and Wells Fargo Cups.
    The Maxwell is for the best overall athletic program in Cumberland County while the Wells Fargo is for the best program in the Mid-South 4-A Conference.
    Both are based on points presented for order of finish in official conference sports.


    Cape Fear narrowly edged perennial cup winner Jack Britt 102-101 in the final tally. The Colts had a strong spring led by a co-championship in baseball and outright titles in softball and boys’ tennis. The softball team has been nationally-ranked most of this season, getting as high as No. 3 in the country in the USA Today poll.
    Highlights earlier in the year were an unbeaten regular season in football and the school’s first conference title, and Cape Fear’s first boys’ Holiday Classic basketball championship.
    Some of Cape Fear’s top athletes will quickly tell you attitudes around the school and community have changed toward the school’s sports program.

    Softball star Haley Cashwell said knowing you have the tools and qualities to make athletics successful makes it more fun. She doesn’t think
    the tradition will die out when this year’s seniors depart.


    “More people know about it and how successful we are becoming,’’ she said. “People want to carry on. They don’t want it to die.’’
    A.J. Baldwin was a standout in basketball and football. He gives a lot of credit to Cape Fear principal Lee Spruill who frequently uses the phrase, “Colt pride never stops.”
    “Mr. Spruill is giving us school spirit,’’ he said. “It puts a smile on everybody’s face. Plus we’ve got support from the community and coaches telling us to work hard.’’
    Jackson Parker, a baseball and football player, said school pride is on the rise. “At all our games, you see the stands filled up,’’ he said. “More people get involved, more people take it seriously. That’s been a big part of the success.’’

    Football standout Justice Galloway-Velazquez agrees with Parker that community is a huge part of the school’s success. “The community got behind us and stuck with us,’’ he said.
    “We had personal relationships with them. The teachers started believing in us.

    “Everywhere I go now it’s all about Cape Fear. You see guys that don’t even go to our school wearing Cape Fear stuff. I tell them it’s all about our fans in the community.’’
    Galloway-Velazquez returns for his senior year this fall and he’s aware of what it will take to keep Cape Fear on top.

    “We’ve got to stay strong in the classroom,’’ he said. “If the coaches stay on us, we should have another fun time of it.’’

  • 05_27_09_cover.jpg Every time the Fayetteville SwampDogs take the field at J.P. Riddle Stadium, it’s an outdoor festival — food, entertainment, activities, parking, ticket sales, security — and a baseball game.

    Off the field, the team has a different list of responsibilities.

    When you run a sports franchise, it’s not like you’re selling garden variety widgets.  Your employees are celebrities. Your customers are demanding and vocal. And your business has a special place — a unique place — in the community, one that carries responsibilities and expectations.
    “We want to be a charitable organization and a good corporate citizen,” said coach and general manager Darrell Handelsman.

    “We take our responsibility seriously.”

    The team holds regular fundraisers for Special Olympics (Lou Handelsman, co-owner of the SwampDogs, has sat on the board of Special Olympics), to fight cancer, and other special causes. It has raised thousands of dollars — including significant contributions of its own — for these causes.

    The team also contributes prizes to other groups’ causes — game tickets, SwampDog merchandise, and opportunities to spend a day with a team member (including time in the dugout).

    The SwampDogs have another mission — to provide affordable, wholesome family entertainment.

    For an activity that involves the purchase of a ticket, SwampDogs baseball is a cheap date or an evening out for the family. A Family 4-Pack — four tickets, four hot dogs, four bags of chips and four drinks — costs just $30. Season general admission tickets cost $125, or $175 for box seats. Tickets at the gate cost $5 for general admission and $7 for a box seat, with $1 off for military, senior citizens and children. And, per Handelsman, if you stop by the office and let them know you’re out of work, you get in free.

    Food at the stadium is affordable, as well. The most expensive menu items, chicken or fried fish baskets, cost just $4.75 — about what a large drink costs at a movie theater.

    “We want it to be affordable, so people will come out,” Handelsman said.

    THE LONG TRADITION

    Baseball and Fayetteville go way back — Babe Ruth is said to have hit his first professional home run — in March 1914 — and earned his nickname right here. Fayetteville had a minor league team, the Cubs, starting in 1946, in the original Coastal Plain League. But by the turn of this century, minor league baseball had struggled to gain a foothold. The Generals left after nine years, followed by the Cape Fear Crocs, which left after only three years.

    Enter the collegiate summer league in 2001 with the Fayetteville SwampDogs, which Lou and Darrell Handelsman, a father and son team, purchased in 2004.
    Darrell Handelsman runs the operation and is head coach and director of operations. He had experience with other franchises and saw good business potential. He and his father shopped around and bought the Fayetteville team after learning it was available.

    Handelsman moved his wife to Fayetteville a short time after acquiring the team. The couple has had two children born in Fayetteville since then. Darrell and his father have since bought a team in Wilmington, the Sharks, but Darrell plans to remain in Fayetteville.
  • 051210-project-homeless-connect-078.gifAccording to www.about.com, almost 303,000 people live in Cumberland County. Adolph Thomas, City of Fayetteville community development specialist, knows that about 1,033 of them are homeless, and that there are not enough resources to go around to help these people.

    That is why the City of Fayetteville is joining forces with other agencies to try and bring changes to the community with Project Homeless Connect on May 20 at First Baptist Church on Moore Street.

    “Project Homeless Connect is an event sponsored by the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness steering committee,” said Thomas. “The purpose is to bring the community together — and when I say that, we are talking about the primary agencies that deal with housing, health issues, parenting — all these different agencies under one roof — to provide a one-day service to the homeless residents of our county. The idea is that any issues that these people have we are asking people to help us deal with it.”

    For example, North Carolina identification cards are a big deal. Without one you can’t get get a job and you miss out on many services that are available. Project Homeless Connect has asked the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles to provide a way to get ID cards to those who need them and would not otherwise know how to go about getting them. The $10 fee is waived for homeless individuals, for obvious reasons.

    “That is a big stumbling block for a lot of these folks,” said Thomas. “A lot of them don’t walk around with $10 in their pocket.”

    This is just one of the many areas that the event will focus on. It starts at 7:30 a.m. and runs through 1:30 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be served. Free haircuts will be offered along with medical prescription assistance, medical and dental assistance, housing assistance, job placement, government assistance and more.

    “We are trying to include local, private agencies as well,” said Thomas.

    Everyone from local churches and non-profits who are looking for ways to be helpful in solving this problem while ensuring financial accountability is offered the chance to participate.

    Local businesses will be on hand, as well.

    “We are trying to include them as part of the solution, and to make them feel a responsibility for helping to solve the problem,” said Thomas, noting that the city is also reaching out to Fort Bragg in an effort to deal with the large number of homeless veterans.

    Transportation is provided free of charge to the event for those wishing to attend. Thomas said homeless individuals need to procure and give the bus driver the Homeless Connect F.A.S.T pass.

    “Most people think of homelessness as the guy on the street corner with a sign,” said Thomas. “What they don’t realize is that a lot of our homeless in Cumberland County are families sleeping in cars — single moms and children.”

    For more information about this event, or to volunteer call 433-2161.

  • Source Code  (Rated PG-13)  Five Stars05-04-11-source-code.jpg

    Source Code(93 minutes) is the best Philip K. Dick novel that Philip K. Dick never wrote. It bears a resemblance to several other “hard” science fiction films, even if the science is a little fuzzy. Get out your blender, toss in Total Recall, Groundhog Day, The Matrix, then sprinkle with a topping of misdirection. Director Duncan Jones where have you been all my life? Hey! He directed Moon! That was also good.

    The film starts off with disorientation. Tricksy camera angles distort a suspiciously clean city … supposedly Chicago, but very, very, shiny and new. All kinds of red herrings are set before the audience, and some are even relevant. Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) finds himself in the middle of a, ahem, quantum leap. It is unclear if he is perhaps a little nuts or possibly experiencing a psychotic break during the eight minutes immediately preceding him getting hit in the face by a huge explosion.

    Then it turns out that he was not actually hit in the face by a huge explosion … it was teacher Sean Fentress, whose body he is borrowing, who was actually melted by the incoming fireball. He figures this out only after a positively exhausting interview/sort-of-debriefing with Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga, who reminds me more of a Cate Blanchett/Tilda Swinton hybrid in every film she does). He irritatingly refuses to put the lives of other people ahead of his own confusion, repeatedly demanding answers that he is clearly not going to get.

    Finally, Captain Goodwin gets it through his thick skull that he is part of a special program combining quantum whoosit with whatchyamacallit parabolic science and the movie Memento. But enough physics! Time to return to the Source Code, where Captain Colter has eight minutes to get as much information as possible about a train bombing so the army guys (and Captain Goodwin) can prevent an even bigger bombing. Not that he can change anything, so don’t even worry about that. Even if you subscribe to the many worlds theory, Dr. Rutledge points out that Colter would not be changing reality prime (that’s kind of a Slidersreference, but mostly I made it up), he would just be creating a totally new reality.

    He is sent back? (in? through? to?) and manages to avoid sounding crazypants this time. He has a slightly different conversation with Christine (Michelle Monaghan) the woman sitting across from him than he did during the opening credits, and he becomes convinced that the things he does on the train actually create change in the “real” world. Thinking about it now makes my head hurt, but at the time it made total sense.

    He starts to wonder what is going on with his reality as the metal capsule he is strapped into seems to be deteriorating in between trips. Jerky Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright, or “Basquiat” to the hardcore art nerds) points out that there a larger issues at stake, and every second they spend pandering to Colter’s insecurity about the nature of reality is one less second they are trying to prevent the annihilation of Chicago.

    With each trip, he gathers marginally more intelligence, but also becomes more certain of two things. First, he is not being told the whole truth about his status. Second, he can save the otherwise doomed people on the train. He begins to gather intel about himself as well as about the pending explosion.

    Colter does eventually get answers, and so does the audience. Half the fun is speculating about where he actually is, and if any of his desperate attempts to communicate with reality prime are successful. Overall, a superb addition to the time loop genre deserving of a much larger audience than it is getting.

  • 10 Yolanda Burse artist WakandaThe Culture and Heritage Alliance will host the “NC Wakanda Gala” on May 15 from 6-10 p.m. at the Volta Space downtown, which is located at 116 Person St.

    The event will feature a variety of art, music, dancing and more. Attendees are encouraged to wear their “Wakanda” themed or African outfits.

    “We are having fun with it,” said Kelly, the vice president for the Culture and Heritage Alliance. “There will be three artists there, we’ll have African drums, dancing, local artists, there will be African food. The Gala will feature artists like Matthew Mercer, Kognoscenti, Yolanda Burse amongst others.”

    Drinks and mingling will begin at 6 p.m., and customers will be served African hors d'oeuvres.

    Mercer, an artist who specializes in comic books, will be offering some “Black Panther” artwork for viewing and purchase.

    The Gala will observe COVID precautions, allowing up to 75 people, and temperatures will be taken at the door.

    “The Alliance promotes peace, culture in our community and all of North Carolina,” Kelly said. “We promote dance performances, culture exhibitions, storytelling to inform others of the customs, culture and traditions of all indigenous people and that’s native American, Latino, African and so much more.”

    Located at 105 Person St., the Alliance started 15 years ago and hosts events like the African World Peace Festival, the NC African Film Festival, Salsa & Swing Nights, Celebration of African Culture and workshops throughout the year.

    The Salsa & Swing event is free to the public, happening every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Volta Space. Donations are welcome and go towards the Heritage and Culture Alliance, Kelly mentioned.

    “People don’t know how much diversity is in our area, so we bring that forth and bring that out, people can see that there is diversity,” she said.

    “Everyone loves African art, but where can you get it? Is it online but you can talk to us and we’ll find someone for you.”

    Tickets prices for the “NC Wakanda Gala” are $25 single and $40 for a couple and can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com/e/nc-wakanda-gala-culture-heritage-alliance-tickets-151006994987?aff=efbeventtix&fbclid=IwAR30FZbXELJKNcg6UH4oft8FW--9LID5GZ38FEtySbtAv3aRrAXcED6AzYw

    To learn more about the Alliance, visit www.cultureandhertiagealliance.org

    Pictured Above: The Gala feature works by artists Yolanda Burse (above) and Mathew Mercer, who will dislay "Black Panther" themed works. (Photos Courtesy the Culture and Hertiage Alliance). 

  • Active-duty Soldiers bring the emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and family pillars of military life to the stage in05-02-12-soldier-show.jpgArmy Strong, the 2012 U.S. Army Soldier Show. “Every section of the show has something to do with strength in one of those areas,” Production Manager and Producer Tim Higdon said.The 90-minute song-and-dance production is designed to accentuate the strengths and resiliency of soldiers and military families through modern songs, current hits, vibrant costuming, exciting choreography and spectacular visuals.

    “That is in line with the chief of staff’s motto for this year, which is, ‘The strength of our nation is our Army, the strength of our Army is our soldiers, the strength of our soldiers is our families, and that’s what makes us Army Strong,” Higdon said. “So the show is designed to follow that theme, and to highlight the strength aspect all the way through.”

    Soldiers will attempt to sing and dance their way into the audiences’ heart, mind and soul. “Entertainment for the Soldier, by the Soldier,” is the working motto of the U.S. Army Soldier Show, which is designed to deliver a positive message to the troops.

    It’s all about ‘Army Strong – Hooah!’ So we’re moving out and doing that,” Higdon said.

    The 2012 edition unveils a state-of-the-art, high-resolution LED video wall — 13 feet tall by 28 feet wide — featuring photographs of Army life on a virtual backdrop revolving from scene to scene and song to song.

    “It’s going to be a very visual show — very current, very modern,” Higdon said. “We’re excited about that new aspect of the show. The incorporation of that LED technology is going to make the show move forward with a very modern and relevant presentation.”

    Army Reserve Sgt. Melissa Neal, winner of the 2011 Operation Rising Star military singing contest, will make a taped appearance. The Soldier Show cast will join Neal’s video backdrop to sing “Hallelujah,” which she performed during Operation Rising Star finals week in San Antonio and later recorded at EMI Music’s Capitol Records Studios in Hollywood.

    “It’s kind of magical,” said Soldier Show artistic director Victor Hurtado, who worked all three projects with Neal.

    As always, sections of the show are dedicated to legends of the entertainment industry, such as Etta James. Another blast into the past features a segment accentuating musical eras of the 1920s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, capped with the Rolling Stones’ classic “Satisfaction.”

    “The motivation for that was ‘Moves like Jagger,’” Hurtado said. “We love that song.” That tune is by Maroon 5, featuring Christina Aguilera.

    “Everything in the show really speaks to resiliency, being able to adapt and overcome,” Higdon said. “Resiliency really is that mental part, being able to put things in a perspective which allows you to continue to continue to move forward — that you never come up against a challenge that you can’t overcome.”

    “Putting the show together has gone from hard to simply difficult,” said Hurtado, a 26-year Soldier Show veteran and 12-time director. “The show came from many, many briefings, and all of these things are always in the back of my mind. … But the end result is Soldiers’ lives are illustrated within the show in a really cool way.”

    For example, strength is personified by Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be.” Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” is dedicated to the soldier-athletes in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program training for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, along withsSoldiers who participate in All-Army Sports, post intramurals and daily physical fitness drills.

    The Soldier Show comes to the Crown at 7 p.m. on May 11 and at 2 p.m. on May 12. Admission is free.

  • The book of Matthew tells the Gospel story of Jesus’ birth and his childhoo in Gainesville, Ga05-15-13-cotton-patch.gif. Wait…it doesn’t? The Cotton Patch Gospel, directed by Bo Thorp, founding artistic director of Cape Fear Regional Theatre, tells the story of what would have happened if Jesus were born in America. Cape Fear Regional Theatre adapted this play for its 29th Annual River Show, which is performed each spring at the Sol Rose Amphitheatre at Campellton near the Cape Fear River.

    “The play is taking a look at Jesus’ life in modern-day terms. He is born in Georgia instead of Bethlehem and he doesn’t go to the high priests, Jesus goes to Atlanta’s ‘black bible society.’ The message is serious but it’s told in an entertaining and creative way and still very inform-ing,” said Mike Rice,who plays Matthew.

    Though it’s a religious story, you don’t have to be reli-gious to enjoy the play.

    “People’s first impressions are it’s a religious show, yes, but you don’t have to be Bible-literate, it’s a good story to come down and see,” saidDanny Young, one of the cast members. Andrew Crowe, a newcomer to North Carolina a who plays Joseph and Judas follows up, “You may be surprised and love some things about it that you least expected. But if nothing else, come hear some great music.”

    The music is something the whole crew agrees is very significant. “The music is very integrated to the feel of the atmosphere, it’s lively and earthy. It tells the story as the dialogue does; it’s not an interlude, it reinforces events and takes you to a place you weren’t before. The songs capture events, such as the excitement from Jesus and his disciples,” Rice explained.

    “The music is a resounding experience,” chimed in Crowe.

    Bill Joyner, the music director, was praised for putting the musicians togeth-er. “It’s very remarkable to bring people together with different harmonies and structures. It’s also about hiring outside people like Andrew and developing that chemistry and comfort,” Rice said.

    Crowe added, “It takes strength to adapt and figure out how to use everything.” Picking up the conversation, Rice continued, “It’s not enough to learn the notes, you have to learn the style; learn the feel and move with the music.”

    They all agreed that the audience is another important factor. Rice said, “They are the focus. It’s the characters talking, but the narration is directly to the audience, it’s why we are here!”

    If you think the play is unique, the crew and cast mem-bers are just as cool. Rice has a degree in philosophy and theology, but also a bachelor’s in music theatre. “I’ve sung, and played guitar at churches for young people. Who would have thought 28 years ago playing guitar in this show that I would end up with the lead in the show.”

    Crowe has always been interested in music; he was doing classical music his senior year of high school but fell in love with acting and ended up splitting it with his major in music in college. This is his first performance in North Carolina and he has performed all over including Missouri, Milwaukee and Boston. Crowe said, “The continuing job of the actor is to always look for more work. When I get a job, that’s vacation. I have leisure time to learn my lines — unlike the other guys here who have other jobs and have to cram stuff in.”

    Other members can attest to that. Joyner confirms, “Having a day jobs gets exhausting and it’s hard to balance it.”

    Nevertheless, everyone is anticipating an outstanding performance. “I’m very excited,” said Joyner.

    The River Show runs May 16-26. There is a dinner-theatre option where fried chicken with all the fixin’s is served. Reservations are required for the dinner-theatre option. Or, there is an option to come at 8 p.m. when the show starts. On May 19 and 26 there will be a matinee performance at the theatre on Hay Street at 2 p.m. Lawn chairs can be brought to the Campbellton Landing performances but, please no coolers; beer, wine, sodas and snacks will be available for purchase.

    For reservations call, 910-323-4233. For more information, visit www.cfrt.org.

  • trails.jpg
    “What do you want to do today?”

    “I don’t know.  What do you want to do?”

    We’ve all been there.  When that restless feeling hits and you don’t necessarily feel like getting dressed up to go out to eat and the mall and a movie just don’t sound that appealing.  What to do? What to do?  Here is a suggestion.  Go to www.visitfayettevillenc.com and click on Drive the Trails of Fayetteville.  

    There are more than 750 miles of themed driving trails in Cumberland County and they cover pretty much every angle of the area’s history as well as other topics of interest.  Simply choose your trail and a ready made itinerary pops us along with a map of all the stops. Download the map and there is a synopsis of the trail and info about each stop so you can get a feel for what is in store before pulling out of the driveway. There is also an estimate of the time it will take to complete the tour so be sure to allot enough time for the adventure. If there isn’t anything that strikes your fancy in the pre-planned driving tours, take a short survey and blaze your own trail through the Fayetteville area. Print out the itinerary and let the fun begin.

    Although these mini adventures are billed as driving trails, many of them have stops that are well worth the time and effort it takes to explore them.  The Gaelic Beginnings Trail, for example takes visitors to Cross Creek Cemetery where many of Fayetteville’s earliest settler’s have been laid to rest.  Renowned stonemason George Lauder carved a significant number of head stones here.  It is in large part thanks to Lauder’s works that this Fayetteville landmark is listed on the National Register of  Historic Places. Each of his headstones is considered an historic treasure.

    “There are few cemeteries listed on the National Register,” said Fayetteville Historic Properties Manager, Bruce Dawes.  “These are works of art and carved by hand.  They really tell a story.”
    Old Bluff Church and Cemetery in Wade is one of the oldest  Presbyterian churches in Cumberland County.  Visit the grave of David “Carbine” Williams at this stop.  While in prison, this Godwin native invented the short-stroke piston and the floating chamber principles  which were used in making the M-1 Carbine. 

    Early congregants of Old Bluff used to ride rafts from the other side of the river and climb the bluff by holding on to tree roots to attend services, according to church member Mac Williams.  Stairs were eventually installed in the mid 1900s, but one peek at the slope inspires admiration for the dedication of the faithful of times past.  The church was not heated until the 1920s and attendees were left to their own devices when it came to keeping warm.  

    “They’d sometimes carry heated bricks wrapped in a blanket to church to keep warm,” said Williams.
    Along with many other churches and cemeteries, this tour includes the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex.  The exhibits here cover four centuries of North Carolina history.  There are often other traveling displays there as well that make this a fabulous place to spend some extra time.

    Gillis Hill Farms could be an adventure in itself.  For eight generations the Gillis family has been working thousands of acres in Hoke and Cumberland Counties.  They started in timber and turpentine and then moved on to farming, which they still do.  Although, in more recent years they’ve added agri-tourism to their farm. 

    “There are so many people here now and the town has grown up so much,” said family spokesman Andrew Gillis. “We wanted people to be aware of the history here.”

    For $2 take a self guided walking tour of life on the farm centuries ago.  Along with all the animals, and just a lovely serene setting, you can check out the tobacco barn, and the old saw mill which is partially steam powered and still in use today.  Gillis is working to rebuild the grist mill, which he hopes to have in working order by the end of the summer, complete with a working water wheel.   The 1911 era cotton gin is in disrepair right now, but Gillis plans to make that a part of the tour in the near future too. At the end of the walking tour don’t miss the chance to have some homemade ice cream in the old family homestead.

    These are just a few stops on one of the 15 available trails.  Sure a few of the sites are on more than one trail, but you get a different perspective every time and the over lap is minimal.  

    Trails:

    There is so much to see and do out there, and the leg work has already been done: choose from the list below and go have a blast.  Check back again soon for new trails that are currently in the making. That’s www.visitfayettevillenc.com

    • Dogwood Trail
    • All-American Trail
    • North Carolina Birding Trail
    • North Carolina Civil War Trail
    • North Carolina Coastal Plain Paddle Trails
    • Cape Fear River Trail
    • Homegrown Handmade–Art Roads & Farm Trails
    of North Carolina
    • Lafayette Trail
    • Cross Creek Linear Trail
    • Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains
    • North Carolina Cultural Trails
    • Discover NC Craft site
    • Blue Ridge Music Trail
    • Cherokee Heritage Trail
    • North Carolina African American Culture Tour

  • uac052814-1.gif If you follow Ben Franklin’s philosophy, then you have probably heard the phrase that “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” If that is the case, then you are not going to want to miss the Blues-n-Brews Festival on Saturday June 7 at Festival Park.

    The festival is the only fundraiser held each year by the CFRT. The funds raised by this fun and musical event are used to stage the award-winning professional shows produced by the theatre each season. So while there is a very serious reason for this annual venture, the day itself promises to be anything but serious, with great food, music, games and beer on tap.

    Co-chaired by Jenny Beaver Deviere and Karen Tinsdale, the festival will feature close to 60 breweries/beer distributors highlighting some of their top beers. The price of beer tasting is included in the ticket price, with each ticket holder receiving a glass specifically for tasting. Again this year, Dirtbag Ale, a local micro brewer operated by three soldiers, will be on hand to showcase beer made right here in the community, of course they will be joined by bigger brewers like The Mash House and Huske Hardware House.

    Deviere pointed out that the festival has grown in size since its move from Campbellton Landing, and now in addition to lines of brewers, there are also lines of participants waiting to enter the gate when the festival opens at 5 p.m. If you want to bypass the lines and get a jump on tasting, you can opt for a VIP05-28-14-blues-and-brews.gif ticket, which will get you in the door at 4 p.m. VIP tickets inlcude early admission and a one-hour private beer sampling, the opportunity to judge the beer tasting contest to name the best of show, a catered dinner, snacks throughout the evening and a private lawn for listening to the music. The VIP area is open only to those 21 years of age and older. No children are allowed in the area. Deviere noted that while children are not prohibited from attending, it is designed to be an adult experience.

    New this year is a game area where, for a small fee, attendees can play corn hole and a “beer pong”-like game for prizes. For those not purchasing VIP tickets, there will be food vendors on hand. No outside food or alcohol can be brought into the park.

    The evening would not be complete without the Blues, and the three bands slated to play will keep the park rocking. Fayetteville’s own Ethan Hanson will take a turn on stage, followed by the Fat Bastard Blues Band, with the Holy Ghost Tent Revival wrapping the evening up.

    Tickets, which can be purchased in advance at www.cfrt.org, are $30, which includes tasting or $15 non-drinkers. VIP tickets are $60.

  • In the world of the United States Military, sacrifice is a very common thing, but to sacrifice without honor is rare. As a community, Fayetteville absolutely appreciates its military and honors them. Locally the military plays a vital role in both our lives and the local economy. 05-23-12-runforthelegend.jpg

    The Airborne & Special Operations Museum invites you to join them and show your support at the 5th annual 5K/10K Run for the Legend. The run is scheduled for Saturday, June 2. Start times are 8 a.m. for the 5K run, and 8:05 a.m. for the 10K run. There is a $20 registration fee if you register by May 30, and a $25 fee anytime after that date up to and including the day of the run.

    Paul Galloway, executive director of the Airborne & Special Operations Foundation staff explained the museum’s support for the military. Galloway’s job is to make sure that everything at the museum, including events and tours, runs smoothly. While the museum is operated by the U.S. Army, to continue showing support, the museum foundation started an annual 5K/10K run. The fundraiser started in 2008 as a means of financial support for the foundation to support the museum.

    “This is the fifth year and we’ve been averaging a little more than 400 runners each year. We have been getting closer and closer to 500 but have not broken that number at this point,” Galloway said.

    The first 500 people to register will receive a free T-shirt. All are welcome and encouraged to participate in the event, but there are other ways to be involved and for your support to count. Sure the staff from the museum will be working that day and a unit from Fort Bragg has agreed to come out to help with water sites located throughout the route, but there is still plenty to be done. You can volunteer by calling the museum at 643- 2778. It will be fun, healthy and a great way to support the military and the community.

    The run is a USA competitive track-and-field certified run. It will be a family-friendly run for women, men, boys and girls. You can even bring Fido, but remember to put him on a leash. All of the competitive runners will be up front heading in two directions. One set of runners will begin heading up the hill toward Haymount while the remaining runners will be heading toward downtown into the heart of Fayetteville. All of the runners will meet up on the route and continue the race to the finish line.

    “Our run is a challenge so we’ve kept the same route for years. This is the military so it should be a challenge, right?” said Galloway.

    The top three men and women overall will win trophies. There will also be eight age groups that will win certifi cates, 10 and under is the youngest group and 60 and over is the oldest age group. Galloway expects the competition will be great since there are a lot of kids in this area and crosscountry competition is popular among students.

    For more details go to www.active.com, or www.asomf. org or call 643-2778. On the day of the run, registration is 6-6:30 a.m.

    Photo: The Airborne & Special Operations Museum invites you to join them and show your support at the 5th annual 5K/10K Run for the Legend. 

  • uac052213001.gif A true band of kindred spirits, the Gypsy Women have been together for 18 years. They’ve seen each other get married, have babies and raise families. They’ve weathered divorces, illnesses, deaths and other tough times together. The Gypsy Women take care of each other — and they take care of the ones they love.

    Sometimes that means a sick friend or a widow. Sometimes it means giving to a worthy cause like Hospice or Duke Children’s Hospital. It always means giving back to the community. That’s what the Gypsy Women do. And they do it wholeheartedly — with sass and vigor. Stewart and Marsha Bryant can attest to that.

    The Bryants were in an accident last July while in New York and found themselves facing a pile of unexpected bills. Even though the couple had insurance, it was still a big hit financially, not to mention the emotional trauma.

    “I was in the hospital for a week and we had extra expenses and hotel rooms and rental car bills and medical expenses that our insurance didn’t cover,” said Marsha. “The Gypsy Women did a poker run for us and raised about $6,000. We are defi nitely thankful for them and what they did for us. We were even able to give $1,000 of that money to another lady who has breast cancer and was struggling to pay her bills, too.”

    Though there is always something going on at Legend’s Pub on Bragg Boulevard, the Spring Fling is a favorite for Gypsy Woman and Legend’s Pub owner Holly Whitley. This year the event falls on May 24-26.05-22-13-holly-cover.gif

    Spring Fling is a weekend packed with activities, food and fun. And each year, the Spring Fling raises money for a worthy cause. Things kick off on Friday, May 24 with a pre-party that includes a pool tournament. Up to 32 people can play, it costs $20 per player, with a $500 pay out.

    Saturday’s events kick-off with a poker run. Registration for the poker run starts at noon. The ride is followed by a pig pickin’, an auction and a raffle. The pig pickin’ and auction are set to happen after the ride, most likely around 5 p.m. Up for raffle this year is a 2004 Dyna Wide Glide. Tickets for the raffl e cost $50 and only 200 will be sold. The raffle winner will be drawn after all the tickets have sold. Winners do not have to be present to win. The raffle is sponsored by Ray Road Auto Parts and Service, Legend’s Pub and Sellers Paint & Body Shop.

    Sunday features a bike show. Registration starts at noon and judging will be around 3 p.m. to announce the winners. After the bike show, stick around for the rodeo, which includes fun and games — Gypsy Women style. Don’t miss the cookout afterwards, too.

    The proceeds from this year’s Spring Fling benefit Kidsville News! Kidsville News! is a literacy publication that goes into the hands of every elementary student in Cumberland County. Partners like the Gypsy Women help put the papers in the children’s hands.

    A check will be presented Sunday evening at the cook out.

    05-22-13-legends-old-cover.gifAs one of the first biker bars in Fayetteville, Legend’s has acquired an eclectic group of patrons, something that Whitley loves.

    “We have people from all walks of life that come in here,” she said. “And they all bring something different to the place,” said Whitley.

    Julie “Jules” Farrell, one of Whitley’s friends and a Gypsy Woman, says it is Whitley’s big heart that makes Legend’s such a special place.

    “Holly is such a generous person and so giving. She comes from the heart and people can sense that in her. It is easy to see that cares about people.”

    This is represented well on the back wall of the pub. It’s filled with images of friends, family and patrons who have been a part of Legend’s Pub in some way.

    “These are people we loved. They are our family, and now they are gone,” explained Whitley.

    Some of them were killed in combat, some in accidents, some were taken by illnesses. All of them were loved and a part of the Legend’s family. Whitley knows each of them by name, how they died and when. She shares touching stories about each one and it is clear that they were more than customers. They are family.

    Whether it is poker runs, a Spring Fling or Thanksgiving Dinner at the pub, people who know Whitley know that she looks out for her friends. Last year the Gypsy Women raised more than $40,000 for a variety of causes. Whitley estimates that the group has raised about $500,000 through the years.05-22-13-legends-today-cover.gif

    “We’ve done poker runs and other things like the Spring Fling for a bunch of different causes. We have helped people with cancer and other sicknesses. We’ve raised money for people who have been hurt in accidents, and we’ve given to organizations like Duke Children’s Hospital. We even helped Goodys (the apparel store that used to be on Skibo Road). We raised more than $10,000 for them for a fundraiser they were doing. This year we are giving the money from the Spring Fling to Kidsville News!,” explained Whitley.

    While Whitley is the driving force behind the Gypsy Women, there are others who eagerly step up to support her endeavors.

    “Some people are busy and are able to help by donating cash or auction items and other people choose to give their time. I can’t tell you how many hours have been donated to helping us help other people out,” said Whitley. “Our men are always ready to help out and do whatever we ask them to do, too.”

    “They do a lot of the heavy lifting for us,” added Farrell.

    Legend’s recently underwent a facelift, with upgrades to the building inside and out. After some push back from regulars and a few jokes about putting lipstick on pigs, it has turned out to be a good thing because the things that make Legend’s Pub Special are still there. The atmosphere is still laid back and welcoming. The beer is still cold. The wall of pictures still holds the faces and memories of the departed and Legend’s is still the home of the Gypsy Women.

    Find out more about Legend’s Pub, the Gypsy Women and Spring Fling by calling 867-2364.

    Photos: top right; Holly Whitley, Gypsy Woman and owner of Leg-ends Pub. Middle left: Legend’s Pub in the early years. Bottom right: Legend’s Pub today.

  • 05-18-11-hankwilliams.jpg“Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You,” “Jambalaya” and “Honky Tonk Blues” are just a handful of the songs written, performed and recorded by the legendary Hank Williams.

    Known as one of the most imporant musical artists of all times, Williams is known as much for his colorful life as he is music. In a short five-year period that started in 1947 and ended with Williams’ death at the age of 29, Williams wrote and recorded more than 35 hits. And for a two-week period this month, May 19-29, the Cape Fear Regional Theatre will bring the legend to life in Hank Williams: Lost Highway during its annual River Show.

    Directed by Gina Stewart, the show will feature more than 20 of Williams’ songs, and will tell the story of his life from his perspective“

    I love this script,” said Stewart. “It has all the great music in it. It doesn’t shy away from the true story. It really presents the man as a real human being. What makes me so passionate is what I’ve learned about Hank. He died at 29, and made his mark on music within a five-year period. I think the show is about the passion behind songwriting — he’s an artist who could take his passion and pain and turn it into music that can comfort people.”

    Calling Williams a “passionate, volatile person that had some trouble in his life,” Stewart noted that his music came from the tragedies of his life.

    “I love that this script doesn’t shy away from that,” she said.

    Stewart has gathered what she calls the “A list cast.”

    “This is the best, I wouldn’t trade anyone in this cast for anybody in the world,” said Stewart. “I just feel incredibly lucky. Not only is everybody fantastic, but Hank looks like Hank. He sounds like Hank.”

    “When I heard the band, I was sold,” she said. “Bo called me and said, ‘I think Jerome and the Parsons are going to do the music,’ and I said, ‘I am in.’ We are so blessed. Everybody is so supportive and admiring of each other. It just works.”

    Jon Parsons, of the Parsons Family, will play the role of Jimmy in the show, as well as providing the music.

    “This script is just real,” he said.

    Parsons said he grew up with Williams’ music, but he didn’t know a lot about his life.

    “I know almost all of the songs, but I didn’t know about his life,” he said.

    Parsons said that the band will be using musical instruments much like those in use when Williams was recording. “We are going to put the real deal out there, so this is really special for us,” he said.

    “It’s really like having Hank here and having him tell you the story of where the songs came from,” added Stewart.

    The show will be the theatrical debut of Cliff Hale. Hale, who has a striking resemblance to Williams, has been singing for a number of years.

    “This is way new for me,” said Hale. “It’s lots of learning, I feel like my head is going to explode some nights when we leave here.

    ”All joking aside, Stewart said Hale and the remainder of the cast will put on a stellar show.

    As in year’s past, patrons will have the option of dining at the river or buying show-only tickets. Tickets for the dinner theatre range from $25 to $28. Show-only reserved seating tickets range in price from $14 to $20 and show-only tickets are $12 to 18.

    Bring your lawn chair or blankets and bug spray, but leave your coolers at home. Concessions will be available with beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks.

    Reservations are required for the dinner theatre and reserved seating. No reservations are required for show-only tickets.

    Dinner is served at 7 p.m., the show starts at 8 p.m. In case of inclement weather, the show will be moved to the CFRT.

    For more information or to reserve seats, call 323-4233.

  • 09STSSweet Tea Shakespeare presents “Richard III” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” on alternating nights, beginning Tuesday, June 4, on the grounds of the 1897 Poe House.

    From this famous opening line, “Now is the winter of our discontent…” to the last line the eponymous Richard utters, “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!” Shakespeare’s “Richard III” is an epic play with reams of dialogue and a huge cast of characters. STS’ challenge in presenting it is to condense the script and the cast to fit the Sweet Tea format and yet still tell the sweeping tale that effectively put an end to The Wars of the Roses.

    “This production will feature a ‘Sons of Anarchy’ vibe,” said director Jeremy Fiebig. “But what I’d love to mention is that ‘Richard III’ is source material for some of the storylines in ‘Game of Thrones.’ In particular, Tyrion Lannister is modeled after Richard.”

    A brief synopsis of English history is helpful in establishing context. The House of Plantagenet held the English throne from the mid-12th until the waning years of the 15th centuries. Midway through the 15th century, a decades-long struggle to capture the throne ensued between two branches of the House of Plantagenet — the House of York with a heraldic white rose and the House of Lancaster with the heraldic red rose. These battles and betrayals, which came to be known as The Wars of the Roses, killed off the direct male line of both houses and merged York with Lancaster when Henry Tudor, of dubious Lancastrian descent, ascended the throne and subsequently married Elizabeth of York. “Richard III” tells this story.

    Shakespeare’s script involves the audience as an accomplice to Richard’s single-minded intent to seize the English crown. Richard’s soliloquies establish his motive, means and methods while, at the same time, his dialogue with others seeks to obscure them — often humorously. Aaron Alderman plays Richard while Cheleen Sugar plays Richard’s wife, Lady Anne.

    Asked how he intended to portray Richard, Alderman said, “I can’t imagine him being a straight villain. I’ll try to find the man who fits into the oddly shaped hole that the text has left us. I believe there are moments where he is human, frail and afraid in ways many can understand.”

    “The Merry Wives of Windsor” is full of marital intrigue and comic impediments to young love. Intrigue ensues when Falstaff, whose name has become synonymous with ineptness, woos two married women simultaneously. A subplot revolves around one father’s attempt to marry off his young daughter. “Wives” is directed by Fiebig as well. Alderman plays Falstaff, which should demonstrate his diverse acting talent as the bumbling Falstaff is a 180 from the Machiavellian Richard. Traycie Kuhn- Zapata plays Mistress Ford, and Sugar takes the role of Mistress Page.

    “Show up early at 6:45 p.m. for live music, great food and beer and a great backyard party atmosphere,” said musical director Jacob French. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary, and there are discounts for students, seniors and members of the military. See Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s website, sweetteashakespeare.com, for performance dates and ticket prices. Tickets can be purchased online. Be sure to bring your own seating.

    Photo: Richard III” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” are next up in Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s season. STS actors left to right: Traycie Kuhn Zapata, Aaron Alderman, Cheleen Sugar Photo credit: Jacob French

  • 08MatthewShepard“The Laramie Project” opens May 30 at Gilbert Theater on Green Street. It tells the story of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student at the University of Wyoming. He was beaten and left for dead by two men in October 1998. Days later, he died from his injuries.

    “The Laramie Project,” written by members of the New York-based Tectonic Theater Project and originally produced in 2000, is about the aftermath of Matthew’s death and the community’s reactions. Known as “verbatim theater,” the play and dialogue were culled from hundreds of interviews conducted by the Tectonic Theater Group members during their visit to Laramie, Wyoming. Larry Carlisle directs the production at Gilbert Theater.

    “‘The Laramie Project’ is decidedly different from other productions in that the emphasis is on the characters and their monologues and not on sets or props,” Carlisle said. Carlisle takes a minimalist approach to directing his cast, preferring to let them interpret the characters. “I always say an actor’s job is to make the show look good — my job is to make the actors look good.”

    Each member of the cast plays as many as 10 different characters, and some of them are drastically different. The emotional range necessary to bounce back and forth is astounding, but the cast takes it all in stride. Deannah Robinson plays five characters. “It’s a bit of a challenge, and it’s definitely a learning experience, but it’s something I’ll take with me,” she said.

    James Merkle plays Matt Galloway, the bartender and the last person to see Shepard before the attack. He’s guilt-ridden for having not seen what was about to happen. But Merkle also plays Aaron McKinney, one of the two men who killed Shepard. "We have to come up with different ways of creating the characters so they don’t sound the same. It can be challenging, but also fun,” said Galloway.

    Chris Walker plays both Dennis Shepard, Matthew’s father, and Rev. Fred Phelps. Phelps was the head of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. His parishioners, made up almost entirely of his family members, gained national attention for protesting at the funerals of gay people.

    Merkle, who spoke with a palpable reverence for Shepard, said: “You’re seeing two spectrums — those that were horrified by what happened and those who were defending the attackers.”

    He also feels the play is especially timely in respect to current political situations. “I find it very relevant today of what’s going on out there,” he said. “It almost seems like we’re heading back to that moment. If we don’t learn from the past, we’re doomed to repeat it. But there’s also a sign of hope — hope that we can move past this.”

    While Shepard has become the face of the movement against hate crimes, “The Laramie Project” has become the proverbial mirror in society’s face. It continues to reflect the many reactions to the LGBTQ community and the dangers its members face.

    “The Laramie Project” opens May 30. Performances are at 8 p.m. May 30 – June 1 and Jun 5 -8. Matinee performances are at 2 p.m. June 1-2 and June 8-9. Visit www.gilberttheater.com to purchase tickets.

  • 11MusicBeing a music lover, I’ve gone to many a concert in my 29 years. I grew up secretly “borrowing” albums from my mom’s CD collection, back when being in a mail-order CD club was the cool thing to do. Many weekends, my mom and I would hit I-95 to head out to the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh to hear one of her favorite artists. I’m guessing I surprised her when she noticed I could sing along to all the songs at my first Alanis Morissette concert — not my proudest 6-year-old moment. Needless to say, her CD collection was moved to the top shelf of the bookcase after that particular show.

    Nonetheless, even an unreachable CD collection couldn’t stop my love affair with music. And live music? What a treat! I would find any reason for my mom to take me to see live music. I even asked to go see my 60-year-old, 6th grade P.E. teacher play in his beach music band in a run-down, hole-in-the-wall restaurant one summer when I was in middle school. And, after seeing NSYNC perform at the “Dean Dome” at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in ’01, I knew I had the whole college thing figured out. Desperate? I think so.

    But I had to be around music. It moved me. I needed to feel it pounding in my chest. I needed to know every lyric, every guitar solo, every era, every genre, anything I could get my hands (and ears) on.

    I had a good friend in middle school, a best friend, who introduced me to my love of lyrics — figuring them out, what they meant, where they came from and what they said about the human race. We’d write out lyrics we didn’t understand and pick them apart until we did. I found myself dissecting songs I had heard a million times, trying to find a song I identified with past the good beat and interesting melody. I fell in love with words written beautifully. Poetry moved me. Songs came alive for me when I could find a lyric I could sing with all my heart because it felt like my own. Where my words failed me, music explained me.

    I found a song for everything — missing my friends, graduation, heartbreak, feeling known and seen, dancing, happiness, freedom. What a release it is to sing a song that resonates with you deep in the core of who you are. It makes you feel like someone gets you. It lets you know you are not alone.

    I think that’s why I love worship music, which is just like that but on a whole different playing field. It helps me “get” Jesus.

    At WCLN Christian 105.7, we have a portion of the day we like to call Midday Praise. It’s an hour and a half of worship music, full of lyrics centered around who Jesus is, how Jesus is and how we should respond to his love and grace. Boy, am I always rocked to my core. Connecting that truth that I am loved beyond anything I could ever imagine with a song that digs deep into my heart really connects what I know with what I feel, or at least what I desire to feel. I definitely know Jesus loves me... but I want to feel it, especially on days when it feels otherwise. Worship music helps me do that.

    Check out Midday Praise if you get a chance, every weekday from 10:30 a.m. until noon on 105.7 FM. I know I need a little extra peace during the day. Maybe you could use it too.

  • 08ArtFayetteville’s 4th Fridays are a community tradition. On the 4th Friday of every month, people of all ages are welcome to enjoy a night on the town — downtown that is — with free entertainment that differs from one month to the next. Fayetteville’s historical district meets modern art with May’s theme: Art Attack. The event takes place May 24 from 6-10 p.m.

    “We’ll have live art up and down the street, from Hay Street to Person Street and the side streets,” said Johanna Brum, the event co-chair for this month’s 4th Friday.

    Instead of only selling previously made art, local artists will paint and dance and sculpt in front of a live audience. “Dancers (will be) out on the street; we’ll have body painters out. It’s the first time we’ve done it,” said Brum. To broaden audience appeal, Art Attack will be more PG-13 than kid-oriented, so a Kids Corner will be set up by Greg’s Pottery on Maxwell Street. It will feature face-painting, balloon animals and other activities.

    Downtown businesses are getting involved with 4th Friday a little differently this month. “They’re actually going to sponsor the artists,” said Brum. “It’ll be free for almost all of the artists.” The businesses will support the artists one-on-one, and each artist will set up shop in front of his or her respective store sponsor.

    Systel will sponsor Second Time Around, an old-fashioned swing band featured on Jazz Juice Radio. “Fifteen people with horns and all kinds of instruments (play) swing music from the ’40s, and they cover more contemporary music,” said Jane Casto, Headquarters manager at Cumberland County Public Library. “They have been coming for several years — it’s kind of a tradition.” Refreshments will be available.

    The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County will play an important role in the event as well. According to Christina Williams, marketing specialist at the Arts Council, 4th Friday attendees can expect an exciting display for the evening. “We will be opening our ‘Public Works’ exhibit, which is traditionally our largest exhibition of the year,” said Williams. This exhibition is open to artists of any age and skill level in Cumberland County and the surrounding areas. The Parsons, a local folk band, will perform outside the Arts Council building, and Fayetteville PWC will be inside handing out free conservation goodies.

    Art Attack is a large-scale version of a weekly event hosted by Shawn Adkins at The Rock Shop. It is designed to unite all types of artists, from photographers to tattoo artists, with one platform. Adkins is now the owner of Back-A-Round Records downtown.

    For more information about 4th Friday, visit www.theartscouncil.com or call the Cool Spring Downtown District at 910-223-1089.

  • 12marian 2 1 copyI was recently invited to view Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s “Maid Marian” at the historic 1897 Poe House. The production was enchanting. The brick-paved courtyard was lined with homemade quilts and Turkish carpets for guests to sit on while enjoying the show. The cast interacted with guests, introducing one another, explaining the history of the play and creating opportunities for the audience to enjoy it on many levels. STS raffled a walk-on part to audience members, which proved to be a hilarious addition to the production. STS also auctioned an opportunity to sit on a fabulous velvet lounge.

    The story of Robin Hood has enthralled audiences since the 16th century, but Jessica Osnoe, an actress and playwright with the company, has reimagined it from a decidedly female perspective for the company’s Honey Series, celebrating women in theater.

    It would have been easy for Osnoe to take a hyperfeminist perspective in her rewrite, depicting men as accessories and usurping the traditional legend of Robin Hood for Marian. But Osnoe used a gentle approach, implying Marian’s evolution as a vigilante, or benefactor to the masses, ran parallel with Robin Hood. Instead of removing him from the scenario, she created a level playing field on which they met as true equals. This, in turn, leaves the audience with the hope of their eventual romance.

    The play begins as the devious Sheriff of Nottingham suggests his disciple, Guy of Gisborne, marry Lady Marian so he might control her family’s estate — and their profit. The high-borne Marian, played by Jen Pommerenke, and her younger sister Emma, played by Laura Voytko, abandon the estate and flee to Sherwood Forest with several women from the village.

    Marian and Emma are joined by Marian’s cousin Eleanor, played by Osnoe. They teach other women to fight, then disguise themselves as performers so they can move about the countryside without drawing the sheriff’s attention. Then, they plunder! They rob the rich to feed the poor in proper Robin Hood tradition. Marian and her all-girl gang establish themselves as legends amongst the villagers and proper criminals with the sheriff and Sir Guy.

    Pommerenke wows the audience with her performance. She gives depth to what has traditionally been a two-dimensional character. Her Marian is strong, innovative and, at times, humorous.

    Voytko fearlessly introduces Marian’s sister Emma to the world. She’s precocious and unapologetic, educated and playfully charming.

    And Osnoe brings strength and determination to the character of Eleanor. She’s a stabilizing influence for Marian, a voice of reason in their world of chaos.

    Remaining show dates for “Maid Marian” are May 9-12. The shows begin at 7:30 p.m., and there is a preshow at 6:45 p.m. General admission is $25. Advance general admission is $17.50. Advance senior/military admission is $15, and advance student tickets are $10.

    Photo: Jen Pommerenke as Maid Marian (left) and Laura Voytko as Emma Fitzwalter, Maid Marian’s sister (right)

  • 09Memphis 1In the 1950s, Memphis, Tennessee, was subject to Jim Crow laws and segregation. R&B and rock ’n’ roll played to two distinctly different crowds — until DJ Dewy Philips changed things. Take a journey with Cape Fear Regional Theatre to “Memphis,” where rock ’n’ roll was born. The show runs May 9-26.

    “Memphis” is inspired by reallife events and people. According to director Suzanne Agins, the central character is a white DJ, named Huey Calhoun in the play, who makes it his mission to expose his white audience to the blues. He is played by Matthew Mucha and is based on real-life DJ Dewy Philips. The story is about his drive to expand people’s minds about music and his relationship with African American blues singer Felicia Farrell, a character who is not based on a real-life counterpart. “It is all this great R&B and early rock ’n’ roll coming from the African American community, and this guy who made it his life’s work to get it out to whites,” said Agins.

    When she started thinking about how to tell the story best, Agins, who also directed “Dreamgirls” at CFRT in 2017, reached back to her previous experience in Fayetteville. “I was here for ‘Dreamgirls,’ and it was an amazing thing to be surround by amazing women,” she said.

    Agins noticed that Felicia, played by Shonica Gooden, didn’t have strong female characters to relate to in the story. “I thought about the main character and wondered why she didn’t have a friend to talk to,” said Agins. “I looked at (the character of ) her brother and thought there is nothing about this (character) that is inherently male. It is a human who cares deeply for his sister.

    “We asked the licensing company if we could change this to a female character and made our case. … We cast an amazing actress, and she is killing it.” The script didn’t change, just the gender of one character.

    Gooden didn’t know the role of her character’s brother was going to change to that of a sister, but she’s embraced it. “I think it has made it better,” she said. “We brought that sisterly bond into the story, making it that much more authentic onstage.”

    CFRT Marketing Director Ashley Owen noted that the story covers an important topic — race. “It delves into the relationship between white and black people in that time,” she said. “The message is one of loving people when you come together and experience something special. It is an important story to tell, and we work hard to do it well, if for no other reason than for people to be able to talk about the message.”

    David Robbins plays Bobby Dupree, Huey’s best friend. For him, the music adds to an already meaty performance. “‘Memphis’ won best score for the year it came out,” he said. “You will be leaving the theater humming the tunes.”

    Ricardo Morgan is a Fayetteville native and no stranger to the CFRT stage. “Member of the Wedding,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Trip to Bountiful” are a few of the shows he’s performed in. Morgan is in the ensemble. “Given the theme of the show and climate of our nation, this is another opportunity for the arts to help heal,” he said. “And in doing so, we talk about preconceptions. You will leave singing, but you will also leave having asked yourself questions. Questions we ask daily come to life onstage — it is about a sense of community and supporting each other.” Due to the content, the show is rated PG-13.

    The play runs May 9-26. Visit www.cfrt.org for tickets and information. Look for theme nights and special events, including Red Carpet Ready, Opening Night Dance Party, Mimosa Brunch and Military Night, on the website.

    Photo:  Matthew Mucha as Huey Calhoun (left) and Shonica Gooden as Felicia Farrell (right)

  • 05_13_09_cover.jpg
    Click the Image for UCW's Online Edition!
     
    For 13 years now the Fayetteville After Five concert series has been  a part of the local music landscape and summer time festivities. The  first 10 years, events were held on the Fayetteville Museum of Art  property. Then Festival Park opened.  The performances were moved to downtown, and each year has been better than the last. The crowds average between 2,500 and 4,000 each month, but there is still room to grow, and that is exactly what the museum is hoping for.
     
    “I think what has been really great about the opening of Festival Park three years ago has been that it is one central location for our community as a whole, not just the downtown crowd, not just museum goers.  This is a very large music venue that is a real gem for our community and I think as popular as it is, there is still a very large part of our community that doesn’t know that festival park exists and that there are free concerts in our community every month in our downtown,” said Michele Horn, Fayetteville Museum of Art assistant director/curator.  “I’ve lived in many other ares and certainly I’ve never been in a place where there are so many free events for a community and I think we take that for granted sometimes.  That is what is great about Fayetteville and what is great about bringing these people together for Fayetteville After Five.  It is a free concert and our community really needs to take advantage of that. Other communities aren’t blessed with such a venue.”
     
    While there are still great regional and national bands lined up to entertain the community, this year local talent will be a part of the festivities, too.
     
    “This season we’ve got opening acts from the local area,” said Horn. “They will start around 5:45 (p.m.) and open and then the large acts that have been brought in will start closer to 6:45(p.m.).”
     
    This year’s Fayetteville After Five kicks-off with the Chairman of the Board. Group members General Johnson, Ken Knox and Danny Woods have been performing together since the 1970s.   
     
    Originally, billed as an R&B act in Detroit  with hits like “Patches” and “Give Me Just a Little More Time,” things slowed down considerably for them in the ’80s, on a national level at least.  Thankfully, for lovers of Carolina Beach Music, the band relocated and found great success performing their brand of music on the shores of the southeastern states. They’ll be performing on May 21 in Festival Park.  Bring your lawn chair, or blanket (no coolers please) and enjoy an evening getting into the summer frame of mind.
     
    “We’ve always been the third Thursday of the month.... We are getting  you up for the weekend,” said Horn. “We know you have one more day of work but it is a great way to enjoy Fayetteville for those people that pack up and go to the beach for the weekend or travel on the weekend. Thursday is a great night to come out and enjoy the concert while you are still in town.”
     
    While the music is what makes it a concert, watching the audience delight in the atmosphere and let their hair down is what makes it a joy for the event organizer and sponsors.
    “I think the best part is after we’ve set everything up and the main act is on. That is a chance for us to step back and watch the crowd and see their enjoyment,” said Horn.  “It is great when I see a family or young children or even ladies in their ’50s, ’60s, ’70s get up on the promenade  and just start dancing to the music and really enjoy themselves and kind of brush off that hard work week or whatever has troubled them through the week.  They just get up there and enjoy the music and enjoy themselves and have a great time.”
  • The 50th Anniversary Golden Season of the Cape Fear Regional Theatre has been a special season. So it05-02-12-on-golden-pond.jpgseems only fitting that the staff of the theatre chose to end the regular season with a really special production. With the staging of On Golden Pond, they did just that.

    If you didn’t make it to the theatre to see this production, you missed the boat. The show, starring William Christopher and Bo Thorp was noth-ing short of magical. Sure, they had a great story, with wickedly witty dialogue, but without the mastery of these two seasoned actors, the show could have fallen flat. But that didn’t hap-pen. From the moment Christopher uttered his first, “Who the hell is this?” to their last exit to say goodbye to the lake, they had the audience, hook, line and sinker.

    On Golden Pond tells the story of Norman and Ethel Thayer, a couple in their twilight years, who spend their summers on a quiet Maine Lake known as Golden Pond. The show spans one season on the pond, and deals with the issues of time, familial relationships and the approach of death — all pretty dark stuff. But playwright Ernest Thompson, puts a humorous, yet sentimental spin on the story, which keeps it from being maudlin. Throw in the sharp wit exchanged by the characters and it becomes almost comical.

    Actors performing this show must walk a fine line between sentiment and comedy to render the sweetness of the story. Thorp and Christopher had great balance. To play the roles of Norman and Ethel convincingly, there had to be connection between the actors. In the days leading up to the show’s opening, Christopher was worried that the cast would not have the time to dig into the subtle nuances that make the show so special. He didn’t need to worry.

    The two have chemistry on stage that usually comes over a long period of time. In this case, I think it comes from the mastery of their craft. Both veteran actors, Thorp and Christopher handled the material gently. They wove the story so convincingly that I felt like I was in their living room, not in the audience. They pulled the sweetness from each moment. You knew them. Watching them on stage, I pictured my own grandparents who traded similar barbs. The words were sharp, but there was always love underneath them.

    The four other cast members Liza Vann (playing the Thayer’s daughter, Chelsea), Greg King (Chelsea’s boyfriend, Bill), Jonathan Flom (the mailman) and Sean Thomas (playing Bill’s son) all did a fine job, but quite honestly, Christopher and Thorp stole the show.

    In his director’s notes, Tom Quaintance, the artistic director at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, noted that he had to “pinch” himself to realize it wasn’t a dream to work with such a beautiful script and extraordinary actors like Christopher and Thorp. I understand where he is coming from.

    As we left the theatre, I couldn’t help but wish that the sum-mer went on forever, and that we wouldn’t have to say good-bye to Golden Pond.

    Photo: On Golden Pond tells the story of Norman and Ethel Thayer, a couple in their twilight years.

  • uac051111001.jpg While the rest of the country sets aside one day in May, Memorial Day, to honor military heroes, Fayetteville/Cumberland County dedicates the entire month to doing so with the annual series of events 31 Day Salute, now in its third year. Our community has joined forces to salute our brave soldiers, veterans and their families, and to show our appreciation for their service through various patriotic performances, ceremonies, exhibits, films and fairs.

    As America’s First Military Sanctuary, we take our patriotism seriously. Home to Fort Bragg, we have a special connection with those in uniform who have selfl essly put their lives on the line abroad to keep us safe at home. Fayetteville/Cumberland County looks forward to May 1 when we begin celebrating our heroes.

    May is a special time when our community bands together to show our patriotic spirit and pay tribute to those who have served or currently serve in the Armed Forces. Many local organizations have expressed a desire to demonstrate their support, and the 31 Day Salute event series gives them a chance to do so. More than 15 community groups are participating this year, from military organizations to cultural and historical associations, each committed to rolling out the red carpet for the military.

    31 Day Salute allows us to invite the world to do what we do every day — show our appreciation and respect for those who defend the freedoms we often take for granted.

    We encourage and welcome patriots from all over the country to visit Fayetteville/Cumberland County in May to say thank you to those in uniform while enjoying our entertaining events. 31 Day Salute gives us a chance to show our gratitude and express what soldiers, veterans and their families mean to our proud military community.

    This year, 31 Day Salute features exciting new events and many returning favorites.

    The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum will allow history buffs to re-live the American Civil War through the Cumberland County Goes to War exhibit, which observes the Sesquicentennial of the war, remembers the community’s involvement in the war, and includes artifacts, pictures and educational panels.

    The Airborne & Special Operations Museum Foundation (ASOM) will host Movie-in-The Camp, where attendees will be transported back to the Korean War-era through the film Jumping Jacks (1952) starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Prior to the movie, guests can enjoy a performance by The Andrews Sisters Tribute Show featuring choreography, singing, tap dancing, comedy and acting. Also coinciding with Movie-in-The Camp will be a care-package drive hosted by the Army’s Army, a military support group made up of more than 1,200 citizen and business volunteers. Museum attendees will be able to visit the Army’s Army booth and fill care packages with pre-donated items, which will be sent to the troops overseas with the help of Fort Bragg’s Family Readiness Group.

    The annual Glory Days event will take place in historical downtown Fayetteville on Memorial Day weekend. From May 14 through June 11, the breathtaking Field of Honor featuring hundreds of flags honoring soldiers and veterans will cover the field near the ASOM and the new impressive North Carolina Veterans Park with red, white and blue.

    Those looking to enjoy a true military experience can attend the 82nd Airborne Division’s All American week, which returns after a hiatus last year due to the high number of deployments. The week will include a four-mile run, various sporting and social events, wreath laying cerem05-11-11-31-day-salute-logo.jpgonies at several monuments and a division review on Pike Field with troopers in formation — something not to be missed. During this time, the 82nd Living History Detachment will be at the 82nd Airborne Division Museum as well.

    A living history program, Military Through the Ages: A March Through History, will be presented at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex. The event will highlight various time periods throughout United States military history with encampments and educational programs that the entire family can enjoy.

    Fayetteville author Dr. Michael C. Hodges will visit the Cumberland County Public Library and Information Center to speak about his book A Doctor Looks at War. The book chronicles his experience in an Army combat support hospital during the initial year of Operation Iraqi Freedom, giving readers a unique look into the war.

    Throughout the entire month, Cape Fear Botanical Garden visitors can participate in a Red, White and Blueberry scavenger hunt. The game will take adventurers on a hunt to identify those plant species that are associated with red, white or blueberries. The Cape Fear Botanical Garden will also offer a discounted admission to members of the military.

    Fascinate-U Children’s Museum is offering half-price admission to all military families and free admission to families of deployed soldiers all month. In addition, children can create their own Blue Star flag, which symbolizes the sacrifi ces of families in war and is placed in the window of a home.

    Clark Park Nature Center will offer half price admission to retired and active military and their spouses for the Cape Fear River Boat Tour — A Military Historic Passage. The boat takes riders down the river and highlights its military history.

    In March, to build excitement across the United States for 31 Day Salute, the community kicked off the search for America’s Most Patriotic Person with Patrioke or Patriotic Karaoke.

    Enthusiastic patriots have been flocking to local spots such as Cross Creek Mall and Fayetteville State University to compete for the title, all performing the beloved American song Yankee Doodle Dandy. One patriot was crowned as America’s Most Patriotic Person at the Fayetteville Duck Derby. The performances can be seen on a Patrioke YouTube channel.

    For a full listing of events, details and participating organizations taking place during 31 Day Salute please visit www.31daysalute.com. With diverse events that will appeal to all ages and interests, there is something for everyone. Fayetteville/Cumberland County invites both locals and out-of-town travelers to come out and join us as we salute soldiers, veterans and their families throughout the month of May.

  • 05-25-11-10miler.jpgOn June 14, the U.S. Army is celebrating its 236th birthday! Fort Bragg is celebrating a little earlier with the running of the 15th Annual Fort Bragg Army Birthday 10-Miler on June 3.

    The race starts at 6:30 a.m. at Sports USA and finishes back at Sports USA after trekking through a “rolling and challenging” course on Fort Bragg. Participants are to report to the Sports USA/Hedrick Stadium area by 6 a.m. Following 6 a.m., area accessibility will be more difficult due to road closures. Pre-race instructions will be given at 6:20 a.m.

    Seven water points and two water sprays will be located along the route. Five of those water points will provide Gatorade drink. Portable restroom facilities will also be available near each water point.

    Pets, bicycles, headphones, and rollerblades will not be permitted on the course. Walkers may be required to use sidewalks in order to facilitate a more prompt reopening of streets.

    Entries will be accepted through June 2 at 5 p.m. No registrations will be taken on the day of the race. On May 26 - 27 and May 31 - June 2, complete the entry form and submit it, in person, to Funk Physical Fitness Center located at Building C-2015 on Gruber Road near Longstreet Road. Entries will be accepted at Funk PFC, from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. on these dates. On June 1, hours for registration will be extended until 7 p.m.

    For more information, visit www.fortbraggmwr.com/sportsrec/tenmiler/raceinfo.htm.

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113.

    Festival Committee Monday, June 3, 6 p.m., Town Hall Front Conference Room

    Mayor’s Youth Leadership Committee Monday, June 3, 6 p.m., Town Hall, Front Conference Room

    Board of Commissioners Monday, June 3, 7 p.m., Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall

    Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday, June 12, 5 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Board of Commissioners Monday, June 17, Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall

    Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Monday, June 24, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Activities

    Good2Grow Farmers Market Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., between Town Hall and Parks and Recreation Building.

    Pet Fest Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Hope Mills Park.

    Hope Mills Area Kiwanis Club at Sammio’s, second Tuesdays at noon and fourth Tuesdays at 6 p.m. For details, call 910-237-1240.

    Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at Parks and Recreation Building. Senior programs are for those ages 55 and up who are residents of Cumberland County. Various activities, especially Zumba classes, are scheduled Monday through Sunday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at townofhopemills.com. You can call the recreation center at 910-426-4109 or e-mail Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

    Promote yourself:Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

  • 14almshouseAnother school year ended for Cumberland County this past Friday, and that was cause for concern for Delores Schiebe and the folks at the ALMSHOUSE in Hope Mills. “We have no contact with the children after that,’’ said Schiebe, referring to the regular ALMSHOUSE house program of providing free meals to those in the community in need while school is open.

    Just three days after school closed this year, the ALMSHOUSE began a new program that will help solve the problem of making sure hungry people, especially children, can get a meal at lunchtime while school is out. The ALMSHOUSE will provide free bag lunches Monday through Friday during the summer months for anyone in need. People just need to come by the ALMSHOUSE headquarters on Ellison Street off Trade Street in downtown Hope Mills to pick up the lunch.

    Plans for the bag lunches aren’t final, but what Schiebe said the ALMSHOUSE hopes to provide is something basic, including a bottle of water, a sandwich, a bag of chips and a piece of fruit.

    “There was a time in the past when we had been able to do a lunchtime meal every day of the week, but we had to eliminate that,’’ Schiebe said. “We are very concerned because there are people needing meals at lunchtime and we’re very concerned about the children when they are going to be out of school.’’

    Once the summer bag lunch program is ready to begin, Schiebe said a notice will be posted on the door of the ALMSHOUSE building on Ellison Street. “Anyone who needs a meal can come by and get that meal from us,’’ she said.

    It’s possible the lunches could begin before mid-June if the details get worked out, but for now Schiebe said that will remain the target date for starting.

    One thing that will keep the program running during the summer months will be regular donations from the public of sandwich items like bread and various types of meat and cheese, as well as fresh fruit like apples, bananas, oranges and tangerines.

    Schiebe said the sandwiches will be prepared in advance as much as possible, and they can store them for a time in refrigerators and freezers at ALMSHOUSE. “We’ll do the sandwiches in advance so we can put them in sealed containers, Ziploc bags,’’ she said. “We won’t put mayonnaise or mustard on them. They’ll receive little packs of that.’’

    If anyone would like to inquire about specific donations needed to help with the summer bag lunches program, they can call the ALMSHOUSE at 910-425-0902, or contact Grilley Mitchell via email at grillmitch@gmail.com.

    “One of our main concerns is the children,’’ Schiebe said. “We want to take care of adults as well. But we’re unable to get to children now that school is out, and we want to be able to do that.’’

  • 13hurricaneWhen Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner first got the phone call some 18 months ago, she admitted she was skeptical.

    It was a woman from Cypress, Texas, named Virginia Valentine, who said she represented an organization called Angels Serving With A Purpose. Valentine had seen news reports on television about how Hope Mills was struggling from the after-effects of back-to-back hurricanes in the fall of 2017. She wanted to offer her organization’s help.

    It took more than a year and a half, but when Valentine and her volunteers arrived in Hope Mills just over a week ago, they found local residents who were still in need of help long after the storms had passed.

    Valentine and her group have been in operation for four years. They travel to any area of the United States that has suffered a disaster or an emergency or where there are simply people with no resources who need help.

    “I have a heart and a love for this,’’ said Valentine, who is originally from Arkansas and grew up picking cotton. “We have started doing this with my foundation, and I want to continue doing this.’’

    She watches news reports on local and national television to find out the places that might be in need of her charity. Then she reaches out to the officials of those cities, starting with the mayor, and finds local organizations she can partner with to distribute what she has to offer.

    She recently arrived in Hope Mills with two rented trucks and two vans filled with her and her team of eight volunteers.

    They brought along furniture, clothing, toiletries, cleaning products, brooms and mops. Some of the items were donated to Valentine; others she purchased with her own money.

    She doesn’t screen anyone who comes to one of her giveaways. “We just bless them,’’ she said. “We try not to discriminate or hurt. I do this generously, willingly and lovingly. Everything is free. I don’t charge anybody for anything.’’

    Valentine’s giveaway set up shop at the Hope Mills Shrine Club. Warner put Valentine in contact with the Shriners because she felt their site provided enough parking and space for Valentine to spread out all the things she planned to give to people.

    News of the giveaway was quickly spread by word of mouth and social media the day before the event was held.

    Warner said even before Valentine’s volunteers had completed setting up, people were already lining up to take advantage of the event. 

    Expecting a mad rush for the various free items, Warner said the atmosphere was calm and orderly. “They let them come in five at a time,’’ she said. “Gradually, people would take what they wanted, then the next wave came in. Nobody was grabbing. Nobody was fussing over anything.’’

    On many occasions, Warner said, Valentine would meet with people, talk with them and ask them what their specific needs were. In some cases, where families wanted the same item, Valentine would talk with them and try to determine who had the greatest need in an attempt to make sure the item went to the most deserving family.

    Warner said she saw a young soldier, who had a wife and baby and no furniture, pick up a sofa, chair and some baby items. An elderly gentleman who lost everything in the 2017 floods got a recliner and a chair.

    When the giveaway ended and there were a few items left, Valentine and her group didn’t want to take anything back to Texas with them, so Warner arranged for it to be donated to a local charity that agreed to take it.

    Valentine and her volunteers stayed in Hope Mills through the weekend, worshipping at a local church on Sunday and returning to Texas the following Monday.

    “The people that needed stuff got the message and they came,’’ Warner said. “It was very calm and orderly. It was a good thing.’

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113.

    Veterans Affairs Commission Thursday, May 23, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Appearance Committee Tuesday, May 28, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Mayor’s Youth Leadership Committee Monday, June 3, 6 p.m., Town Hall, Front Conference Room

    Board of Commissioners Monday, June 3, 7 p.m., Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall

    Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday, June 12, 5 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Board of Commissioners Monday, June 17, Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall

    Activities

    Good2Grow Farmers Market Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., between Town Hall and Parks and Recreation Building.

    Pet Fest Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Hope Mills Park.

    Hope Mills Area Kiwanis Club at Sammio’s, second Tuesdays at noon and fourth Tuesdays at 6 p.m. For details, call 910-237-1240.

    Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at Parks and Recreation Building. Senior programs are for those ages 55 and up who are residents of Cumberland County. Various activities, especially Zumba classes, are scheduled Monday through Sunday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at townofhopemills.com. You can call the recreation center at 910-426-4109 or e-mail Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

    Promote yourself: Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

  • 11AdamGriffithHope Mills is going to the dogs. Fortunately, this will be in a good, family fun way. Hope Mills Park, at 5770 Rockfish Rd., will be the site of the sixth annual Pet Fest on Saturday, June 1. The event, sponsored by Naturally Unleashed and promoted by Cumulus Broadcasting, is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

    Kelly West of Rock 103 FM said the primary purpose of Pet Fest, aside from giving pet owners a chance to congregate and interact with their beloved animals, is to raise money for the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society. “It’s just wonderful to give back to them,’’ she said.

    The way to support FAPS via Pet Fest is to register to take part in the 5K pet walk that will be held as part of the festivities. The registration fee is $15, with the money going to FAPS. To register online, go to the Rock 103 website, www.rock-103rocks.com. A link is posted there to access the registration form.

    Pet Fest used to be held in the Naturally Unleashed parking lot on Boone Trail Extension, but that created a problem. The parking lot is asphalt, West said. “This is an animal thing,’’ she said. “These animals need to stand on grass and be in a nice park area.’’

    So the event was moved to Hope Mills Park. “It has been nothing but good for them,’’ West said of the relationship with Hope Mills. “It brings a lot of people to the park that otherwise wouldn’t know it’s there.’’

    Pet Fest will get an additional boost this year as it will be held in conjunction with the second Hope Mills Good2Grow Farmers Market. “They’ll have the farmers market stuff and we’ll have food vendors, so it’s going to be a fun day,’’ West said.

    Food vendors will just be a small part of the activities associated with Pet Fest, West said. An artist who does caricatures of animals will be on hand to draw images of pets.

    There are also several contests scheduled, including a pet and owner look-alike contest. There will also be competitions for the cutest pet, oldest pet, smallest pet, largest pet and prettiest pet.

    In addition, there will be some special pet performances. The Canines in Flight, which is from Georgia and features all rescued animals, will perform. Also on hand will be the Freedom Flyers, a Fayetteville fly ball dog team, plus a team of dancing horses.

    While there is a registration fee for the 5K pet walk, all of the other events at Pet Fest are free. The only restriction is that all pet owners have their animals leashed or contained somehow.

    “I want owners to respect other pet owners,’’ West said. “It’s a free event for all ages. Enjoy yourself.’’

    Contact West at 509-901-3467 with questions about Pet Fest.

    Photo Credit: Adam Griffith on Unsplash

  • 10bathsnobsConnie Rushing makes no apologies for being a bath snob. That should be obvious because it’s the name of the business she just opened in Hope Mills with her mother, Mary Thompson, and her sister, Tammie Melvin Carlile. Bath Snob specializes in homemade candles and bath products. It is located in a former orthodontist’s office in the Hope Mills Plaza Shopping Center.

    Long before Rushing had an interest in making soap and other bath products, she said she was picky when it came to bath and body products. One day, her husband went to purchase her a gift and made the mistake of getting a standard bubble bath product from a chain pharmacy.

    “He knows I love bubble baths,’’ she said. “That’s like my zen moment. That’s the moment I can be by myself. Everyone knows, don’t disturb mommy, it’s bubble bath time.’’

    When she saw what her husband had purchased, she was less than pleased and made it known. “He was like, ‘You are such a snob,’” she said of her husband. “So when we were coming here to start a bath and body company and (thought) what do we name it, he said, ‘you’ve got to name it Bath Snob because that is what you are.’’’

    Rushing and her mother and sister didn’t decide to open the store on a whim. Their mother, a native of Elizabethtown, decided to retire in Hope Mills. That led to Rushing moving here from California and her sister relocating from Virginia.

    Both sisters had operated their own bed and bath businesses before moving to Hope Mills.

    The sisters decided to join forces with their mother and start one here.

    “We did a couple of fairs to test what kind of products people like out here,’’ Rushing said.

    Last November, they opened a kiosk at Cross Creek Mall to do more test marketing. They continued there through January, where they developed a good following for their products.

    Three weeks ago they held a soft opening of the new business in Hope Mills, then did the grand opening the second weekend in May.

    The new business offers two basic product lines.

    One is candles. In addition to traditional candles, the store also sells something called scoopables, which are a softer wax you can put into a warmer to release the scent. The scoopables come in a Mason jar.

    They also sell cookie tarts. They look like cookies, but they’re actually pieces of scented wax that can be broken up and put into a warmer.

    Bath Snob also offers what are called drink candles, like the martini, as well as banana pudding and pie candles.

    The rear part of the business contains the bath and body line. “That’s where we have our lotions, our soaps, sugar scrubs and bath bombs,’’ Rushing said.

    Rushing stressed that everything in the shop is made on-site. Special orders can be made, too. She recently had a customer who needed a soap with a higher olive oil base. Rushing let her try samples she had already made of an 80% and a 50% olive oil.

    “I said if that doesn’t work out, I’ll go 100 percent,’’ Rushing said.

    She also has customers who are allergic to things like coconut oil and shea butter. “That’s the good thing about having (the making process) in shop,’’ Rushing said. “You can cater to what they need. It’s going to make you make a better product for that customer base that needs that type of thing. They can’t get that at the regular bath and body shop.’’

    But it doesn’t stop there, and part of that is because of the unique equipment already installed in the business when the sisters and their mother took the location over.

    The orthodontist who previously occupied the space left a double sink area where the dental office chairs were located. The chairs have been removed, but the sink remains so that customers can sample various products on the premises.

    The business is also set up to allow time to take trial runs.

    They have an area where visitors can sit down, relax, get on the phone or use Wi-Fi while those shopping can take time to try out products. “We are so confident once you try the product, use that body scrub, use that lotion, use that soap and see how it does for your skin, you’re going to walk out with the product,’’ Rushing said.

    The business is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. To learn more, visit the Facebook page at Bath Snob, or the website, www.bathsnob.com.  

    Photo: Left to right: Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce President Jan Davis Spell; Bath Snob owners Tammie Melvin Carlile, Mary Thompson and Connie Rushing; Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner; and Hope Mills Commissioner Pat Edwards.

  • 13Farmers market 1The first Good2Grow Farmers Market, held at the Hope Mills Town Hall complex recently, was a rousing success.

    One thing that certainly didn’t hurt was timing the first market with several other major town events that created a lot of foot traffic in the area. On the same day as the farmers market, the town held its annual hazardous waste collection and document shredding events for citizens, along with the annual litter sweep of area streets.

    Chancer McLaughlin, development and planning administrator for the town, said there were some 17 vendors who took part in the farmers market.

    While there was obviously an emphasis on produce and farm-grown products, McLaughlin noted there were also many vendors with handmade crafts.

    Vendors offered a variety of items like farmraised pork products, goat cheese, handmade jewelry, strawberries, jalapeño jams and jellies, natural remedies, essential oils, candles, baked goods and even natural mosquito spray.

    “Every vendor that was there was so excited (about) how it turned out,’’ Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner said. Many of the vendors sold out of the items they brought.

    Warner was especially pleased with the family atmosphere of the event. “You saw kids running around, eating strawberries,’’ she said. “Parents were shopping. So much was going on.’’

    Warner is hopeful that the event will continue to grow in popularity and add more vendors over time.

    “The next one (June 1) will be the same Saturday as Pet Fest,’’ she said. “Pet Fest will be between Parks and Recreation and Town Hall. (The) farmers market will be in the area next to the ball fields.’’

    McLaughlin said the market will continue through October, on the first Saturday of each month.

    The fees for vendors are $50 to set up at the market every month or $20 if a vendor only wants to take part in the event one month.

    The original deadline to submit information to become a vendor was April 26, but McLaughlin said that has been extended. Vendors can now apply as late as the day before the next event.

    All application information and rules for being a vendor at the farmers market are on the town of Hope Mills website, www.townofhopemills.com.

    For those who don’t have access to the internet, McLaughlin said you can stop by Town Hall at 5770 Rockfish Rd. during normal business hours and pick up a hard copy of the application and rules.

    McLaughlin said organizers are working on getting a vendor that will sell fresh fish for the next market. They are also looking for more varieties of produce, including watermelons, more fruits, okra and other vegetables. He said a lot of the vegetable and fruit options will be dictated by what’s available during certain seasons of the year.

    To contact McLaughlin with questions or concerns regarding the farmers market, email him at cmclaughlin@townofhopemills.com.

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113.

    Board of Commissioners Monday, May 20, 7 p.m., Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall

    Lake Advisory Committee Tuesday, May 21, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Veterans Affairs Commission Thursday, May 23, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Appearance Committee Tuesday, May 28, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Activities

    Good2Grow Farmers Market, Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Between Town Hall and Parks and Recreation Building

    Pet Fest, Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Hope Mills Park

  • 12Veterans Memorial ParkBill Green, adjutant quartermaster for Hope Mills Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10630, encourages everyone in Hope Mills to take time during Memorial Day weekend to honor the memory of those who died in service of this country, as well as those who served and remain as veterans or active duty members of the military. The Hope Mills Veterans Affairs Commission will again hold a special ceremony to remember the fallen on Memorial Day in Hope Mills. It will be held at the Veterans Memorial Park in Hope Mills near the Parks and Recreation Center on Monday, May 27, at 4 p.m.

    In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved indoors to the recreation center.

    “Memorial Day is to honor the sacrifices of our great men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice,’’ Green said.

    The format for this year’s observance will follow a familiar pattern and feature things like the invocation and call to order, performances by a dance group, and speakers who were winners of an annual VFW contest. Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner will also read the official proclamation from the town.

    There will be some special additions to this year’s observance, Green said. One will be a presentation by Hope Mills Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers, a former commander of the local VFW post. He will share some comments about the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy, which will be officially observed in June.

    Three nameplates will be added to the memorial at the park, honoring three members of the local VFW post who have died: Jim Clark, Joe Edwards and George Hill.

    “Their families will be there so we can put nameplates on the memorial,’’ Green said. “This is just one way we can recognize them. When you put your name on a memorial, it’s there forever. This way, they are never forgotten.’’

    It’s the act of remembering that’s most important to Green.

    “You should take a brief moment... and give thanks,’’ he said of the Memorial Day observance. “If it wasn’t for the veterans, (citizens) wouldn’t have the freedoms they have today. That’s what it all boils down to.’’

    Warner thanked the Veterans Affairs Committee for all the hard work its members do in making the Memorial Day observance in Hope Mills possible.

    “We have an opportunity to remember those that have served and also recognize the active duty (soldiers) and the veterans that live in Hope Mills,’’ she said. “It’s always a somber and very special event. It’s important for Hope Mills because of our military attachment here.’’

    Warner especially praised the late Jim Clark for his years of service on the Veterans Affairs Committee in Hope Mills.

    “If you needed something, especially if you needed something from the VFW, he was willing to get it done for you,’’ Warner said. “He was instrumental in helping me get the flags we used to recognize all the veterans the first time we did a field of flags in Hope Mills.

    “He kept it alive and moved to get more veterans involved with different groups here in Hope Mills.’’

  • 18Night basketball posterThe Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department is launching a new initiative aimed at keeping young people off the streets on summer nights by engaging them in wholesome activities. Beginning June 7 and continuing until July 12, the department will offer coed 3-on-3 basketball at the recreation center gymnasium, every Friday night from 9 p.m. until midnight. The doors will open at 8:30 p.m. each Friday.

    There is no charge to play — participants simply have to sign up at the recreation offices at 5766 Rockfish Rd. 

    Lamarco Morrison, new head of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, said he got the idea after a recent meeting of the town’s Citizen Academy and the result of a conversation with recreation department staff member Stephen Kessenger.

    Morrison said the question was raised as to what the town was doing to attract youth in hard-to-reach areas of the community.

    The idea of night basketball was suggested. “It was a way to get the youth off the street in the summer, plus involve the police department,’’ Morrison said.

    Morrison later learned that Kessenger had done something similar when he was working in Hoke County. Morrison then ran the idea by other people in Hope Mills, including the town manager and people associated with the parks department.

    The plan every Friday is to hold play from 9 p.m. until midnight in the recreation department gym. There will be two half-court games going on at once, each team composed of three players. Each game will last 12 minutes.

    “If you win, you stay on the court,’’ Morrison said. “If you lose, you’re off the court. We’ll go that way until 12 (a.m.’)”

    The league is open to both male and female players. Although there is no age limit for the games, Morrison said the targeted age group is from 15 to 20 years old.

    Morrison is working to get members of the Hope Mills Police Department to play in the games, along with staff from the recreation department. They will be there both to participate but also to supervise the activity.

    “The police have two roles,’’ Morrison said, “to make sure everybody behaves, but they also will be involved with playing the game.’’

    Morrison said he is still working out some details of that arrangement with Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo.

    Concession stands won’t be open inside the gym during the games, but Morrison said food trucks would be outside for those who might want to get something to eat.

    “We’ll do it for six weeks,’’ Morrison said. “If people say they want more, we’ll look at doing it longer.’’

  • uac050813001.gif Jazz music is a uniquely American music. It was born on American soil and since its inception it has influenced every genre of music that has come after it. The hallmarks of Jazz are the use of blue notes and the polyrhythms that have permeated African American musical traditions for centuries. Unlike many movements in arts, jazz has not faded or morphed into something new destined to be completely forgotten. Jazz is still quite popular. WFSS is embracing this incredible genre of music and bringing it to the public by hosting the All American Jazz Festival on May 11.

    “This is actually an outgrowth of the Jazz on the River event that WFSS has hosted at Campbellton Landing for the last several years,” said Marsha McLean, WFSS Interim General Manager. “We are looking forward to having this at Festival Park. It is such a nice venue, and a place that the audience can really enjoy themselves.”

    One of the featured acts at the festival is The Jazz Crusaders. Since the 1970s this band has been producing a jazz-funk style of music that has topped R&B and Pop charts alike. They have recorded more than 40 albums since their inception and will be performing at the All American Jazz Festival. The members of The Jazz Crusaders are Joe Sample, Gerald Albright and Wayne Henderson.

    Keiko Matsui will also take the stage at the event as a featured performer. She is an incredible performer who has brought new life to Jazz. She is native to Japan, but now resides in Los Angeles. Keiko found her love for music at the tender age of five, when her mother gave her the first piano of her career. Her love of Jazz also developed at an early age, in middle school. She was a top student at the Japanese institutions where she studied, and was signed to a recording contract with the jazz-fusion group, the Cosmos. She came to the United States at the age of 19, and has been making her unique brand of new age, smooth jazz, and jazz-fusion records ever since.

    Marcus Johnson is another featured performer that night. He is a jazz keyboardist and performs contemporary jazz. He is known not only for his skill, but also the incredible passion he puts into his music. Johnson listened to a variety of music as a child and fell in love with jazz when he was 13 years old.

    Smooth jazz fans will be treated to a performance by Maysa. She started her career as a back up singer for Stevie Wonder and moved on to work with Arsenio Hall, Oprah and performed on The Tonight Show. She has had several top ten hits on the Jazz and R&B charts.

    “We are very excited about the lineup this year,” said McLean. “Any of the musicians featured at the All American Jazz Festival could stand alone as headliners. They are all top names in the jazz industry and bring a lot of talent to the stage.”

    While WFSS consistently provides high quality programming to the public, McLean pointed out that there is a lot more to this broadcasting station. As a public radio station there are some freedoms and some challenges that shape the services and programming. “We are proud to broadcast jazz music along with our other broadcast features like NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Jazz is not something that is commonly heard on commercial radio stations and we are glad to provide our audience with a different kind of listening experience,” said McLean. “As an institute of higher learning we have many mass communications majors that are able to get hands-on experience here. We work with the students to give them valuable learning experiences that will prepare them for the future.”

    Because WFSS is a public radio station there is always pressure to find ways to fund the radio programming and to continue to meet the needs of the listeners. The All American Jazz Festival is a way to celebrate great music while supporting public radio and the Fayetteville State University students that train at the station. The All American Jazz Festival will be held at Festival Park. The gates will open at 3 p.m. and the preshow will begin at 4 p.m. Featured artists will be presented at 8 p.m. Festival park is located at the corner of Ray Ave and Rowan St.

    Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 the day of the show. VIP tickets are $75. Ticket are available from a variety of locations. To purchase online tickets visit www.wfss.org or www.Etix.com. To order tickets by phone through Etix call 1-800-514-3849. Tickets are also available at the J.W. Seabrook Auditorium, which is open Mondays through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m and located in Fayetteville State University at 1200 Murchison Rd. Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are also available for anyone interested and further information can be found at www.wfss.org.

  • 17IntersectionIt’s been more than two years since the town of Hope Mills took action to start the process of bringing red-light cameras to the community.

    The cameras, which are already in nearby Fayetteville, are posted at no cost to the town at designated intersections and capture images of drivers running red lights.

    The drivers are contacted by mail and assessed fines. The money collected from the fines is divided between the company that operates the cameras and Cumberland County Schools.

    Neither the town nor its police department are involved in any way in the operation of the cameras or where the money goes. The only thing the town does is decide which intersections to have the cameras cover.

    When the plan was first presented to the town’s board of commissioners March 6, 2017, members of that board voted unanimously to move forward with looking into adding cameras to the town.

    The issue has resurfaced since the North Carolina House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would bring the cameras to Hope Mills. It still has to pass the North Carolina Senate for it to happen.

    Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo stood by his previous comments from the board meeting of two years ago and said traffic safety is always a priority in Hope Mills. He added that no decisions had been made on where cameras would be located if they are finally approved. When it comes time to make a decision, Acciardo said, the town will likely draw on statistics and find the locations where accidents have been the biggest problem.

    Commissioner Pat Edwards, who seconded the original motion by Commissioner Jerry Legge to look into the cameras, said she had heard a lot of pros and cons since then about bringing the cameras to Hope Mills.

    Edwards said input from citizens would guide her final decision on adding cameras, but she added that if the issue involves safety for the community and the schools get additional funding from the project, she would tend to be supportive.

    “How often do you get something that doesn’t cost anything that provides safety?’’ Edwards said.

    Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner supports the cameras, both for the role they could play in saving lives and for providing money to the schools.

    Warner mentioned a number of intersections where accidents occur frequently that have been looked at in previous years. The list includes Hope Mills and Camden Road, Hope Mills and Highway 162, and Legion Road and Highway 162.

    “A lot of it has to do with impatience, especially at Main Street/Hope Mills Road and Camden,’’ Warner said. “They just take a chance. We see it happening all the time.

    “Statistically, there is national proof that the red-light cameras save lives and prevent accidents in attempting to prevent traffic from running yellow and red lights. Ultimately, the final decision will be left up to this board.’’

  • 05-15-13-4th-friday.gifMay 24th won’t be just any Friday; it is the celebration of 4th Friday, and for Fayetteville, that means tons of fun events, exhibits, music and art for all ages downtown.

    Visit art galleries including the Gallery ONE13 and the Arts Council. The Arts Council will show off its exhibit called Get the Picture III. This is the third juried photography competition hosted by the Arts Council. Residents of the Cumberland County who are 18-years-old and older were encouraged to participate and submit their best photography in black-and-white, color or digitally-manipulated formats. The selected entries will be shown on 4th Friday and winners will be announced at 8 p.m.

    The title, Get the Picture, emphasizes the goal and photographers were asked to keep that in mind.

    “It’s not about taking the picture, it’s about getting the best picture out there, going out and capturing something compelling and spectacular,” Mary Kinney, marketing director of the Arts Council said. She herself enjoys this event, “With $1,000 dollars in total prize money up for grabs, photographers will submit their very best work, making this show truly exceptional.”

    The much-anticipated show will run through June 22, so there are plenty of chances to view it.

    Fascinate-U Children’s Museum is to host a free craft activity from 7 to 9 p.m. for children and their families. Show off the colors red, white and blue by making Patriotic Wind Streamers in collaboration with the museum’s month-long celebration of Military Appreciation Month.

    People will also get to travel back in time at the Fayetteville Area Transportation Museum, where an exhibit will show the progress of transportation from pre-history up to the early 20th century. Other fun activities include crafts, produce for sale, a vintage car display and also live music. Bands include Blues Engima and the Raiford Street Band playing tunes of rock and blues. Also in the museum, visit the newest exhibit called A History of Fayetteville’s Jewish Community. It celebrates the Jewish community here in the city and how they have positively impacted us with their contributions socially, economically and culturally. This exhibit covers the early 19th century through mid-20th century and also tells of the events of the Holocaust and World War II.

    More history takes place in Fayetteville’s own Market House. People can walk around the historical monument’s display, A View from the Square: A History of Downtown Fayetteville, filled with maps and images telling the unique past of our own city.

    Music selections heard at every corner make for a very fine-tuned evening. City Center Gallery and Books hosts the favorite family, the Thiriot’s, in which each family member plays the violin.

    The Army Ground Forces Brass Quintet is expected to play brass music along Hay Street. And stop by Headquarters Library to hear a performance by the band Second Time Around. Citizens can listen to swing music while enjoying refreshments. The fun starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m.

    Find out more about 4th Friday at www.theartscouncil.com

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113.

    Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday, May 8, 5-6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Board of Commissioners Monday, May 20, 7 p.m., Luther Meeting Room, Town Hall

    Lake Advisory Committee Tuesday, May 21, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Veterans Affairs Commission Thursday, May 23, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Appearance Committee Tuesday, May 28, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Activities

    Citizens Academy Tuesday, May 14, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Town Hall

    Hope Mills Area Kiwanis Club at Sammio’s, second Tuesdays at noon and fourth Tuesdays at 6 p.m. For details, call 910-237-1240.

    Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at Parks and Recreation Building. Senior programs are for those ages 55 and up who are residents of Cumberland County. Various activities, especially Zumba classes, are scheduled Monday through Sunday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at townofhopemills.com. You can call the recreation center at 910-426-4109 or email Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

    Promote yourself

    Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

  • uac052913001.gif If you’re looking to have a good time on Saturday, June 1, you don’t have to look far. Simply take a drive down to Festival Park, where you can enjoy two sultry pleasures — beer and the blues, as the Cape Fear Regional Theatre brings back the Blues and Brews Festival.

    The Blues and Brews Festival, an annual fundraiser for the theatre, has been a favorite community event for a number of years. First held at Campbellton Landing, the festival has grown dramatically over the years, which lead to the move to Festival Park. Last year, more than 2,500 people sipped their way through the festival, which has event organizers setting their sights a little higher this year.

    “We are shooting for 3,000 people this year,” said Jenny Deviere, the chair of this year’s event. This is Deviere’s 褀rst year as chair, and she hopes that some minor tweaks to the already successful festival will help bring in more people.

    “This is the first year we have had a presenting sponsor,” explained Deviere. “Mellow Mushroom is partnering with us as the presenting sponsor. They will cater the entire VIP tent, as well as have a raf踀e for a lucky couple to win pizza for a year.”

    The VIP ticket was introduced several years ago and has been a tremendous success. VIP ticket holders gain entrance to the festival an hour earlier than normal ticket holders and their ticket includes dinner in the VIP tent.

    There will be a tasting featuring all the breweries during the VIP hour. Those holding VIP tickets will have the opportunity to sample the brews and vote for the Best in Show. The winning brewery will have a banner in front of their tent proclaiming its beer the Best in Show.

    For those who do not purchase a VIP ticket, there will be more food vendors on hand than in years past. That is one of the tweaks Deviere and the Blues and Brews Committee made. “We don’t allow outside food or drinks, so it is important to have a big assortment of food for folks who are spending the evening,” said Deviere.

    One of the biggest tweaks to the festival revolves around the music.

    “One of the biggest areas that we have had people comment on over the past couple of years is the music,” she noted. “We have heard that folks think the music has been lacking; that we haven’t paid as much love to the music and bands as we should have. So we are correcting that this year.”

    Blues lovers will be happy to know that there will be not one, but three great blues acts performing this year.

    Kia Walker, a local performer will be on hand in the VIP tent beginning at 5 p.m.05-29-13-brews-&-blues-1.gif

    On the mainstage, Old Habits, a Raleigh-based band, will belt out its mix of Blue Grass and Rock-A-Billy Blues. Old Habits will be followed by a band that Deviere classi褀es as a dirty, old blues band, the Fat Bastard Blues Band out of Mebane, N.C.

    With the music covered, that brings us to the heart of the festival — the beer.

    “We will showcase more than 100 beers from all over the southeast,” explained Deviere. “With each (full-priced) ticket purchased, attendees will receive a commemorative glass for tasting.”

    Nannette Walsh, a theatre volunteer, was in charge of organizing the brewers for the events. Walsh brought together an eclectic mix of independent brewers and brewers who are represented by distributors. Two distributors, R.A. Jeffreys and Healy Wholesale, will focus on some of their more non-traditional beers.

    Confirmed brewers and beers that will be available for tasting are:•

    Aviator Brewing Company, a Fuquay-Varina-based brewery, that will feature HogWild IPA, HotRod Red and the Devil’s Tramping Ground Belgian Tripel.

    • Barrel Trolley Brewing Company out of Rochester, N.Y., represented by Mutual Distributors, will showcase its Barrel Trolley Shandy. Also represented by Mutual, is Saranac Brewery, which will feature Saranac Summer Shandy, Blueberry Blonde and a White IPA.

    • R.A. Jeffreys will feature a number of breweries, including:

    * Blue Point Brewing Company, Long Island, N.Y., with a Toasted Lager Hoptical Illusion, a White Ipa and a Summer Ale.

    * Carolina Brewery, out of Pittsboro, N.C., with a Sky Blue Golden Ale, Copperline Amber Ale, Flagship IPA and Bullpen Pale Ale.

    05-29-13-brews-&-blues-2.gif* Natty Greene’s, a Greensboro-based brewery, will have a Southern Pale Ale, Buckshot Amber Ale, Elm Street India Pale Ale, Shock Top, Shock Top Apple, Landshark and Black Crown available for tasting.

    * Blue Point Brewing Company, of Long Island, N.Y., will have Toasted Lager, Hoptical Illusion, White Ipa and Summer Ale.

    * Carib Brewery will showcase its Carib Lager and Mackeson Stout.

    * Goose Island will showcase 312, Honkers and a Summer IPA.

    * Fayetteville’s own Huske Hardware will pour its Watermelon Wheat Beer and its Ala Yeah Pale Ale, Farmhouse and Spring of Perles Light Lager.

    * Wild Blue from Anheuser-Busch.

    * Lonerider Brewery our of Raleigh, N.C., will have The Preacher-Saison, a Shotgun Betty Hefe Weizen and Sweet Josie, a Brown Ale.

    * The Lion Brewery, of Wilkes-Barre, Penn., will feature a Lionshead Pilsner and a Stegmaier High Drive.

    * Triangle Brewery will bring a Belgian Golden, a Triangle White and a Best Bitter.

    • Carolina Brewing, of Holly Springs, N.C., will bring a Carolina Pale Ale, Carolina Nut Brown Ale, Carolina India Pale Ale and Carolina Summer Ale.

    • Fayetteville’s Mash House will feature a Blonde, Irish Red, IPA and Maibock.

    • Railhouse Brewery, out of Aberdeen, N.C., will pour a FCA IPA and a Mastiff Oatmeal Stout.

    • Raleigh Brewing Company will feature a House of Clay Rye IPA and a Czech Pilsner

    • Healy Wholsale will represent a number of brewers, including:

    * Boulevard Brewery with a Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat

    * Foothills Brewery showcasing Hoppyum, Seeing Double and a Carolina Blonde Hefe.

    * Leinenkugel Brewery will pour Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy.

    * New Belgium Brewery will serve Fat Tire, 1554, Ranger IPA and Dig.

    * North American Brewery will pour Magic Hat #9.

    * Sierra Nevada Brewery will present Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Summerfest.

    * 10th and Blake will have Crispin Cider, Blue Moon, Blue Moon Seasonal and Batch 19.

    Tickets for the event are $35 for those tasting; $15 for general admission; and $50 for VIP admittance. The VIP Tent is open from 4-5 p.m., with general admission beginning at 5 p.m. This year, credit cards can be used at the gate. For tickets and more information, visit www.cfrt.org.

    Photo: Middle right: Blues and Brews — from Campbellton Landing to Festival Park. Bottom left: Fat Bastard is set to perform along with Kia Walker and Old Habits.

  • 16Hope Mills fire chief chuck Hodges copyA national car rental company once had a major advertising campaign based on the notion that since they were No. 2, they tried harder.

    Nobody’s suggesting the Hope Mills Fire Department do the same thing, but the No. 2 rating it received from the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshall is something to brag about. 

    A No. 1 rating is next to impossible to get according to Derrick Clouston, one of the people involved with handing the ratings out. There are currently 1,252 fire departments in the state. Clouston said only nine have No. 1 ratings.

    Clouston said what it takes to get a rating of one varies by community. “It’s not a cookiecutter process,’’ he said. “You can’t compare one community to another.’’

    The No. 2 rating Hope Mills received is also based on support Hope Mills could get at a fire from surrounding departments, like Fayetteville, Stoney Point or Pearce’s Mill, Clouston said. 

    Mike Williams, who also works with the office that handles the inspections, said the rating is based on a number of factors, including the county water system, communication system, overall operation of the local fire department and its training.

    Williams said the high rating Hope Mills earned, which will go into effect in August this year, shows Hope Mills has done a great job maintaining its overall efficiency as a fire department.

    Hope Mills fire chief Chuck Hodges is delighted with the rating Hope Mills got, adding that to him it’s like getting a one. “Our guys are pretty ecstatic,’’ he said. “You’re recognized nationwide with this rating. For a fire chief, it’s saying how I stack up, not in other departments by size. This is how I stack up against every fire department in the United States.’’

    Earning the rating involved a lot of hard work by Hodges and his staff. Much of the inspection for the rating involves going through paperwork, including years of service test records. Hodges said the Hope Mills fire department team assembled the records ahead of time as much as possible to make the process go smoother.

    But there is also a physical inspection involved. “They open every compartment on every truck,’’ Hodges said. They also check to make sure all the needed equipment is there, going so far as to count how many pike poles of certain lengths a truck carries.

    “They look at how many trucks we send to certain types of calls, how many people we have on those types of calls,’’ Hodges said.

    The tangible benefit for the town, aside from having a fire department ready to handle the job required, is how it can affect the community’s insurance rates.

    “The lower your rating, the less insurance premiums you pay as far as the town is concerned,’’Hodges said. “We look very good to businesses and developers. That’s a selling point to them.

    “You can move into Hope Mills, open a business in Hope Mills, and you’re going to pay less insurance premiums because of the ratings. Commercial properties really see savings when you get below a five.

    “For any town officials trying to recruit business or development in the town, that’s a feather in the cap.’’

    Photo: Chuck Hodges

  • People use words like energetic, adventurous, outgoing and strong-willed to describe Zach Grullon. A graduate of Jack Britt High School, Grullon dreamed of serving in the United States military and considered a tandem jump with the U.S. Army Golden Knights a dream come true.

    Grullon passed away on Jan. 28, 2012 after battling a rare form of cancer, Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma, for more than two years. The disease, which primarily attacks teens and young adults, is a rare liver cancer. Annually, 200 young adults die from this disease each year. Some 72,000 teens and young adults are diagnosed with various forms of cancer every year, according to a 2010 Wall Street Journal article, of that number, 10,000 die. Until 2008, little research was done in the area of Fibrolamellar because it is so rare, but that changed when Tucker Davis, the founder of the Firbrolamellar Cancer Foundation, was diagnosed with the disease.

    Davis founded the foundation with the hope of finding a cure for this often fatal disease. The foundation’s mission is threefold: Find a cure and treatment options, raise awareness of the disease and bring attention to teen and young adult cancers.

    Grullon’s parents, Kevin and Shawn, local realtors want to contribute to that mission in their son’s memory. Zach Grullon was diagnosed with FHC in March 2010. He had been dealing with severe stomach pain and nausea for a couple of months. Friends and family didn’t think much of the pain because Zach worked out so hard. After numerous test and scans, a grapefruit-sized tumor was found on his liver. In April 2010, he had a liver resection, but the cancer had already spread to his lymph nodes. Zach began an intensive round of chemotherapy, but he didn’t let it stop the way he lived his life. He continued to work out and play sports. And, in August 2010, just a couple of months after his high-school graduation, he jumped with the Golden Knights.

    05-23-12-janice-article.jpgThe memory of that jump inspired his parents to host a Free Fall to Fight Cancer on Saturday, June 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Raeford Parachute Center. The event will give individuals the opportunity to perform a tandem jump with former and off-duty members of the Golden Knights who are volunteering for the cause. For a $330 donation, individuals will get to jump with the world-famous team and receive a video and photos of their jump to share with friends and family. Those interested in participating in the fundraiser must be at least 18 years of age and weigh less than 235 pounds.

    In addition to the jumps, there will be raffles for great prizes, a silent auction and fund games for children. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase.

    A Cruise to Fight Cancer, featuring classic cars, will drive a route from Spec Ops Motorsports in Hope Mills around Fayetteville. Students from Paul Mitchell School will be on hand to give manicures and the Renaissance Day Spa will have a tent as well. All proceeds from the event will go directly to the Firbrolamellar Cancer Foundation.

    To register or for more information, contact Kevin and Shawn Grullon at 910-257-3027 or 910-229-1100 or email grullonteam@gmail.com.

    Photo: Zach Grullon and his father, Kevin, at his jump in August 2010. Zach died earlier this year after a two-year battle with cancer.

  • Travel is a leading American industry that’s more than just fun. In fact, travel and tourism is one of the country’s leading industries — it impacts the economies of the nation, the state and here in Cumberland County. May 4-12, we recognize the impact of this industry with National Travel & Tourism Week, a national celebration from the U.S. Travel Association that champions the value of travel. The 2013 theme for National Travel & Tourism Week is “Travel Effect.”

    Nationwide, travel supports 14.6 million jobs with a $200.9 billion payroll. U.S. travelers generate $2 trillion in economic impact that contributes $128.8 billion in tax revenues for federal, state and local governments. In fact, without travel and tourism’s contribution to the tax base, each household would be taxed an additional $1,060 per year.

    In 2011, domestic visitors spent $18.4 million across North Carolina, generating $2.8 billion in tax receipts. This is an 8 percent increase from the previous year and a record high spending fi gure. North Carolina tourism supports 187,900 jobs for North Carolina residents and contributes $4.18 billion to the state’s payroll.

    Of North Carolina’s 100 counties, Cumberland County generates the eighth highest economic impact from domestic tourism. In 2011, the industry generated $450.11 million in expenditures and $33.96 in state and local tax revenues. This represents a $104.53 tax savings to each county resident. Additionally, Cumberland County’s tourism industry employs 4,200 people with a payroll of $80.97 million. Tourism is Cumberland County’s second largest industry.

    Marketing the community

    The Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau works to maximize the economic impact of travel and tourism in Cumberland County. That figure is steadily rising. From 2001 to 2011, domestic tourism expenditures grew 83 percent from $245.99 million to the present fi gure of $450.11 million.

    The bureau is funded through occupancy taxes collected from overnight visitors at Cumberland County hotels and administered by the Tourism Development Authority (TDA). This means that no local taxpayer money is used for the promotion of travel and tourism. (The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County and The Crown Center also receive a portion of occupancy tax collections.)

    You might wonder how the FACVB markets the community to visitors. Each year, we produce a detailed program of work that outlines the program for the coming year. All marketing decisions are research-based, allowing us to pinpoint the wants and needs of the visitor.

    Some tactics/projects on the plan include:

    • Attending trade shows to secure leads for meeting planner, group tour operator and sports tournament business.

    • Managing and maintaining a comprehensive website that promotes the entire Cumberland County travel industry

    • Public relations efforts to secure positive publicity on Cumberland County as a travel destination. These efforts may include social media contests, writer visits, press releases, event listing in trade and Web publications and outreach to targeted journalists.

    • Development of a Destination Guide to cover all travel markets

    • Targeted advertisement with lead generation for continued marketing

    The FACVB continues to maximize the impact of travel and tourism on our economy by providing programs and services for visitors to Cumberland County. We always keep an eye on the visitor — and work to fulfi ll their needs.

    BECAUSE THE VISITOR

    Because the visitor has a need, we have a job to do.

    Because the visitor has a choice, we must be the better choice.

    Because the visitor has sensibilities... we must be considerate.

    Because the visitor has an urgency, we must be quick.

    Because the visitor has high expectations, we must excel.

    Because the visitor has influence, we have hope of more visitors. Because of the visitor, we exist.

    - Karl Yena Yena & Associates

  • When was the last time you discussed hot flashes in public? What about night sweats and mood05-07-14-menopause.gif swings? Well, grab your girlfriends, ladies. Menopause the Musicalis coming for one day only to the Crown Center on May 18. It’s a Chick Flick, live on stage!

    The entire musical is set in a department store, where four women with seemingly nothing in common meet by chance over a black lace bra. From there, a friendship is formed that gives way to conversations about hot flashes, chocolate cravings, wrinkles and mood swings. The show is staged to classic tunes from the 60s, 70s and 80s and promises to have you dancing in the aisles.

    It is estimated that nearly 11 million women have attended a performance since the 2001 opening in Orlando, Florida. Inspired by a hot flash and a bottle of wine, writer and producer Jeanie Linders created the show as a celebration of women who are on the brink of, in the middle of or have survived “The Change.”

    Although the show’s message may seem a little “senior,” Ingrid Cole, one of the leading ladies of the show and winner of the 2012 Suzi Bass Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal as Rose in Gypsy with The Atlanta Lyrics Theatre, promises that people of all ages will love it- men, too. “Men love the show! This is why the show is so popular. It applies to everyone,” Cole says.

    As an original show cast member, Cole was a bit surprised at first at how popular the show is, but not anymore. “We are all a little amazed at how this little show has exploded. But, it’s no surprise anymore that people have at least heard of it.”

    Cole says she and her cast mates are having the best time touring with Menopause. “We get along really well and respect each other. You can see it on stage, too.”

    The show is produced by GFour Productions, which has won more than 40 Tony Awards. Notable productions include The Book of Mormonand I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

    The show begins at 3 p.m. and runs for 90 minutes. Tickets range from $30 - $65 and are available online at Ticketmaster.com, in person at the Crown Center Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 1.800.745.3000. Group discounts of 10+ are available by calling 888-686-8587 x 2. Additional service charges and fees may apply.

    Menopause the Musicalhas entertained audiences in more than 450 U.S. cities, in a total of 15 countries and more than 300 international cities. Internationally, the show has been performed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

    Cole says, “You get in the room with a bunch of women who are celebrating the change and a magical thing happens. We feel like rock stars! Be prepared to laugh and have a good time! And, don’t we all need that?”For more information about the show, please visit www.menopausethemusical.com.

    For more information about Ingrid Cole, please visit www.Ingridcole.com.

  • 05-22-13-ryan.gifDiagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during his senior year of high school, Ryan Kishbaugh was a determined young man who refused to let cancer get the best of him. His inspirational story gives hope to others who are fighting cancer, so in memory of Ryan, the 2013 Ryan Patrick Kishbaugh Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on July 13 at 8:30 a.m. at Cypress Lakes Golf Course to benefit the nonprofit Carpe Diem Foundation.

    The Carpe Diem Foundation has three tenets: it supports other foundations, it promotes and helps fund education and research for the treatment of chronic illnesses and it provides college scholarships for student athletes who have a chronic illness or someone who has battled a chronic illness during their formative years and plans on attending college.

    “This is the 10th year of Ryan’s memorial golf tournament and it has turned into a large annual event,” said David Kishbaugh, father and host of The Ryan P. Kishbaugh Memorial Golf Tournament. “Each year we raise money and we give it to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.”

    Kishbaugh added that last year they maxed out participation and used all of the available slots.

    The event will consist of a day of golf, food, beverages, T-shirts and prizes. There will be a hole-in-one contest, a 50-50 raffl e and a special putting contest. There will be prizes for longest drive and closest to the pin.

    “Restaurants will provide the food and drinks for the event,” said Kishbaugh. “Everyone comes out and we play golf in memory of Ryan.”

    Ryan Patrick Kishbaugh was born on July 26, 1984. He was an exceptional young man who excelled in all of his endeavors. He graduated second in his high school class and was accepted into Princeton University. He played varsity soccer and basketball. He won the 2001 Governor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. He worked for Habitat for Humanity, helped at Better Health and worked at diabetes clinics.

    Kishbaugh describes Ryan as a good kid, independent and hardworking.05-22-13-ryan-golf-tourn.gif

    “He believed in people and was my most free-spirited child.” said Kishbaugh. “He didn’t believe in conformity, but yet he was so self-driven and excelled in anything he wanted to do.”

    Kishbaugh added that when Ryan learned that he had cancer in 2001, he decided that he was going to defeat it and not let it get him down.

    Openings for the tournament are fi lling up fast, and Kishbaugh hopes to see a full roster on the golf course again this year. Online registration at http://golfdigestplanner.com/22842-2013RPK and includes a one-year subscription to Golf Digest. Registration on the day of the event begins at 7:30 a.m. For more information, call 850-7833.

    Photo bottom right: The 2013 Ryan Patrick Kishbaugh Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on July 13 at 8:30 a.m. at Cypress Lakes Golf Course to benefit the nonprofit Carpe Diem Foundation. 

  • 05-14-14-kiwanis.gifIn the minds of many people, there is no more noble a gesture than caring for the needs of the children in our community. There are so many children and so many needs that people feel should be addressed. If an individual can make a sustained effort to make a difference, some of those needs can be filled. If a group of individuals comes together to take up the cause, the effect of the individual can be multiplied several times over. If that group can sustain the effort for an extended length of time, it is possible to make a substantial difference.

    The Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville is an organization of individuals from our community that have taken the gesture of caring for the needs of children and embraced it as a mission. Bill Bowman, publisher of Up & Coming Weekly, is a member of the club who describes it as, “dedicated to the community and improving the lives of youth.” Since its formation in 1921, the Fayetteville Kiwanis Club has worked to better the community and serve children, preschool to high school, by offering and supporting many programs in varying areas of interest.

    For the Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville, one program has become particularly endearing to the community, the annual Talent Night Showcase. The showcase has returned for its 63rd year and will be held at its traditional home at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre on June 13. The event is a showcase for talented young people from pre-school age though high school that serves as a fundraiser to support other Kiwanis programs like; Reading is Fun, Little League Baseball, and Key Clubs.

    Bowman credited the community for the longevity and enduring success of the event, “When you have an event like this that draws the crowds it draws and serves the community it serves, it perpetuates itself. It’s not us that keep it alive; it’s the fact that it is a successful and prestigious event and this community that keeps it alive.”

    Youth from all corners of the area will descend on the Honeycutt Recreation Center on May 31 for auditions. If they are selected as finalists, they will perform on the stage at Cape Fear Regional Theatre on June 13. The competition for those spots in the main show will be intense according Bowman, “We will audition hundreds of children who will vie for five or six spots in each category. We have them broken down by grade level but only five or six, depending on the competition, will be chosen. This is not just a talent show; this is the best of the best.”

    In speaking about the type of talent that is selected, Bowman elaborated, “It is some amazing talent. We have had winners from the Kiwanis Talent Night go on to hold positions in the Boston Pops, go on to Broadway, and even become Miss North Carolina. We have a long tradition of turning out some of the best talent the county has to offer... For $7 you should not pass up the opportunity to see these young performers. “

    For more information about attending or performing, please visit the Kiwanis Talent Night Showcase website at www.fayettevillekiwanis.org/talent.

    Photo: Local students are invited to compete in the 63rd Annual Talent Night Showcase.

  • 05-28-14-ceasefire.gifIn 2002, Project Safe Neighborhood came to Fayetteville under the Operation Ceasefire name. The program is part of a national initiative that was started under the Bush Administration in 2001. It is rooted in successes from programs that were implemented in Boston, Mass., and Richmond, Va., in the late 1990s.

    On June 6, at J.S. Spivey Rec Center, Operation Ceasefire presents Escape from Planet Earth. The movie is free and open to the public. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on and enjoy an evening with friends.

    According to the Operation Ceasefire website, the goal is “To improve the quality of life for all residents of Fayetteville/Cumberland County by reducing gun and gang violence in our community.” Lisa Jayne is a part of the Fayetteville Police Department and serves as the Operation Ceasefire Coordinator; she describes Operation Ceasefire as having three core elements, “intervention, suppression and prevention.”

    The intervention component comes from a series of meetings Jayne refers to as “Call-ins.” “We work with Probation Parole; they send us about 100 parolees that are currently on probation or parole for gun crimes … That list gets narrowed down to around 30 individuals. We meet at Kingdom Impact Ministries as the faith based aspect is a part of Ceasefire, too. The parolees are given an appointment for a follow-up assessment with me. They are then put into a resource room … to provide education resources, jobs, healthcare, anything that people with felony convictions on their records have a hard time with. I also have speakers who have been there and done that… to give them some hope for how things can be turned around. After the speakers, there is a panel of all the law enforcement agencies of the area, from federal to state; they give them some tough love.”

    Suppression is a joint effort between local and federal law enforcement. From Jayne, “We have a very strong relationship with Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms... Any cases, tips, or anything done at the state level, we funnel it through the ATF to see if they can take the case federally. Federal sentences are much longer than state sentences … you don’t get out for good behavior… there is no parole or early release.”

    Jayne says that prevention is accomplished by a number of initiatives including the Movie Night program, “In 2007, we purchased outdoor movie equipment … We go into neighborhoods that are disadvantaged with a free movie, popcorn and soda. The police are on hand, while the children are watching a movie … if the public wants to talk to the police about a certain area where they may see a problem or if there are people causing problems. It is over two hours of face-to-face time in a non-threatening, laid back and family atmosphere.” The program also utilizes a gang detective that goes and does presentations about gangs that are just for adults. To promote gun safety, gun locks are distributed at no charge to anyone who owns a gun that also has children.

    For more information about Operation Ceasefire and any of its programs, including the Movie Night schedule, visit their website at www.ceasefire.ci.fayetteville.nc.us. Program Coordinator Lisa Jayne is available to provide information on the program, volunteering and donation opportunities at 910-433-1017 or LJayne@ci.fay.nc.us.

  • get down downtown flyerCool Springs Downtown District will host Get Down, Downtown on May 28 from 7-9 p.m. in downtown Fayetteville.

    “The mission behind Get Down, Downtown Fayetteville is to showcase our local musicians, artists and performers, while encouraging visitors to shop and eat local in downtown Fayetteville,” said Lauren Falls, Cool Springs director of marketing and events.

    This event highlights the organizations Busker Program, which has been incorporated in their 4th Friday and holiday events over the last three years.

    Attendees can expect seeing live performers, artists, musicians along Hay Street and Person Street. The family-friendly event will also feature a balloon artist.

    “This is a free, family friendly event and we encourage you to come and enjoy the local talent here in downtown Fayetteville,” Falls said.

    Some of the artists and performers will include, Michael Daughtry and the Drift (Musician), Aloha Ka'naka O Hula Hulau Dancers, Matthew Mercer (VADEN presents Art by D-Zine), Costa, a balloon artist from Imagine Circus, Shadows of the Fire Dance Troupe, performers from Gilbert Theater, among others.

    The event won’t feature specific deals or promotions, but attendees are encouraged to support local businesses and attractions.

    “At Get Down Downtown Fayetteville, you can expect to see a diverse group of performers, artists and musicians from our Fayetteville community” she said.
    For more information, please visit our event page: https://bit.ly/GetDownDowntownFay

  • 11 rocknontheriverAfter being shut down last year due to the pandemic, local music event Rock’n On The River is back and ready to kick-start the season with a double header May 21.

    The concert series will feature a performance each month from May until October at 1122 Person St. (behind Deep Creek Grill) in Fayetteville. The May show will feature two tribute bands — Mostley Crue, playing Motley Cure hits, and Shoot To Thrill, who will pay homage to AC/DC.

    “The event will benefit two local non-profits - Karen Chandler Trust and Kidsville News,” said Greg Adair, organizer of Rock’n On The River. “Half of the proceeds from the event will go to these non-profits.”

    The Karen Chandler Trust is a local nonprofit helping those battling cancer. Kidsville News Foundation is an education and literacy nonprofit in Cumberland County.

    Mostley Crue will perform from 6-8 p.m. Shoot To Thrill will kick off at 8:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

    “We are a pretty high energy band and bring a lot to the show,” said Scott Koempel, lead guitarist for Mostley Crue. “It will be a lot of fun and will be a great night if the weather is perfect.”

    Based out of Raleigh, Mostley Crue started about 13 years ago and currently has four members and a growing following.

    “They are there to laugh and have a great time,” he said. “The band we are playing with, we are great friends, they are a great band and, in the music community, a lot of the community is like family, we support each other.”
    Shoot To Thrill, another Raleigh native, consists of five members and is an all women rock band covering AC/DC that has been around for the last eight years. Shoot To Thrill is known for their fun stage show that incorporates the
    audience.

    “Even though we like to dress up, rock out and put on a show, we really like to play well,” said Wendy Brancaccio of Shoot To Thrill. “We are so excited … it was so fun when we played two years ago.”

    The Rock’n On The River events will feature food and drinks for purchase at the venue.

    “Deep Creek Grill is the partner that will offer different diner type foods like barbecue, hotdogs, the typical southern diner food,” Adair said. “This is also a Healy sponsored event, and they will be selling beer, four different types of beer and drinks. No outside food or drinks will be allowed.”

    Rock’n On The River began in 2018 when Adair felt the need for a local event for the people of Fayetteville.

    “I just found the place down there and wanted to bring the river back, it wasn't being utilized the way it should and it's a really pretty place,” he said.

    The music series will feature other bands like Reflections II, Trial by Fire, Heart Breaker, Joyner Young & Marie and more for the rest of the season.

    “It's a great set up that gives a chance for a lot of new people to discover bands that may not have seen or go to see usually,” Koempel said. “It's a win situation for the vendors, the event, the bands and people.”

    Parking for the show begins at 5 p.m. and costs $3 per person in any vehicle. Food and beverage sales also begin at 5 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring their chairs and blankets. No pets are allowed at the event.

    For more information, line-up updates on Rock’n On The River, visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/Rockn-On-The-River-271048666818630

    10 Crue and Thrill

     

     

     

     

     

     

    May 21
    6 p.m. Mostley Crue (Motley Crue Tribute)
    8:15 p.m Shoot To Thrill (AC/DC Tribute)
    June 18
    6 p.m. Reflections II (variety)
    8:15 p.m. Trial By Fire (Journey Tribute)
    July 16
    6p.m. Joyner, Young & Marie (Pop/Variety)
    8:15 p.m. Heart Breaker (Heart Tribute)
    Aug. 27
    6 p.m. Throwback Collaboration Band (R&B/Dance)
    8:15 p.m. North Tower (Beach/Boogie)
    Sept. 17
    6 p.m. Cool Heat (Variety/Beach/Dance)
    8:15 p.m. Bad Inc. (Bad Company Tribute)
    Oct. 22
    6 p.m. Rivermist (Classic Rock/Variety/ R&B)
    8:15 p.m. Tuesday's Gone (Skynyrd Tribute)

  • nerd marketIt’s time to put on your favorite superhero outfit because the Cool Spring Downtown District is hosting its first-ever Nerd Market on May 15 from noon until 4 p.m.

    “The Nerd Market will be a place where you can find DC and Marvel memorabilia, artists selling their work, and so much more,” said Lauren Falls, the director of marketing and events for Cool Spring Downtown District.

    Adults and kids of all ages are invited to take part in the opportunity to shop and support the local nerd/comic con community.

    “This is a family-friendly event and free to the public. We will have a food truck, DJ and a cosplay contest that you can enter to win a prize,” Falls sad.

    The Nerd Market will be held at 301 Hay Street in Fayetteville. Those interested in entering the cosplay costume contest can register online. For more information and sign up please visit https://bit.ly/NerdMarketDowntownFay.

  • 12 10North Carolina USA Boxing presents their 1st annual Carolina Gloves Boxing Tournament May 14 through Sunday, May 16 at Freedom Courts Sportsplex.

    Tournament sessions for Saturday are scheduled to begin at noon and 6:00 p.m. Championships will take place Sunday at noon.

    “We wanted an event that we could grow every year and it had to be branded with the Carolina Gloves name on it,” said Patrick Finklin, tournament director and president of NC Amateur Boxing.

    “We decided to have a boxing tournament in Fayetteville because it is the center of the hub of North Carolina.”

    Finklin added that after COVID-19 many boxers are hungry to start boxing again.

    Boxing is a positive intervention that has been proven to help at-risk and troubled youth stay on the right path.

    “It is an outlet and a lot of gyms in the United States use it to keep kids out of trouble,” said Finklin.

    “They see Floyd Mayweather as well as other well-known boxers and their goal is to become one of them because it is not just always about basketball and football.”

    Boxing can be a platform to not only give kids a positive outlet, but also encourage a long-term commitment to the sport.

    “I was too short for basketball and too small for football,” said Juan Verdejo, who started boxing in his teens. Now 34, Verdejo serves as the head boxing coach at Burgess Boxing & Fitness in Spring Lake. “I think boxing is a way of life.”

    The tournament is a way to bring boxers from area clubs together and promote the sport, Verdejo said.

    “This event will help bring awareness, be entertaining and help build up local youth,” Verdejo said.

    The tournament is open to the public and local audiences can also expect to see talent from across the country compete.

    “Right now we have people registered from California, Florida, New York and Ohio that are coming to participate in the tournament, said Finklin. “We are expecting about 300 boxers to show up in Fayetteville from 8 years old to 70 years old.”

    Being a great boxer requires a lot of training, skills and endurance. It takes 4 months to a year to train for a big fight.

    “The characteristics of a great boxer are being motivated, having great mental and physical discipline, perseverance and the determination to get better,” said Finklin.

    “Their training entails stretching, muscle memory, running, sparring, fighting and competing.”

    He added, “They start off as a novice which is 0-10 fights and once they get more than 10 fights they are in an open division. Every boxer’s main goal is to make the United States Olympic Team and afterwards to become pro.”

    “We have about 6 gyms in the Fayetteville and Spring Lake area and we have boxers from all over the country coming in,” said Finklin. “If you have students who are in the boxing gym come on out and support the event because those students will be at the tournament.”

    Prizes for the winners of the tournament include a Championship Belt and bragging rights for the 1st place winner and a medal for the 2nd place winner.

    “We want to bring some exposure of amateur boxing to North Carolina because there are a lot of people who don’t even know that it exists,” said Finklin. “We wanted to create an outlet for people to be able to be excited about and come out to watch.”

    All boxers and coaches must check-in Friday, May 14 from 12-6:00 p.m. General admission is $15 and $10 with a student ID. The event is open to the public. For more information call 910-309-6956 or visit www.ncusaboxing.net

    Pictured Above: Head boxing coach Juan Verdejo (center giving thumbs up) will be coaching boxers from Burgess Noxing and Fitness in the 1st Carolina Gloves Boxing Tournament. (photo courtesy Burgess Boxing & Fitness). 

  • 11 Fay area Trans MuseumThe Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum opened Literary Fayetteville: Pages of Our Past, a new exhibit that showcases books from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century.

    These books tell the story of Fayetteville’s past through pamphlets, stories, diaries, familiy bibles and more.

    “This exhibit has never been done before,” said Museum Director Bruce Daws. “We picked a timeline, and discussed what to showcase within that frame.”

    The exhibit features over 50 books and pamphlets, each with a unique story and connection to Fayetteville.

    Each book within the exhibit is numbered and there are binders provided that contain the information and background for each book displayed.

    The exhibit also examines Fayetteville's authors, book dealers and libraries. It breaks down the importance of books and how they related to social life in the early 1900s.

    Literary Fayetteville: Pages of Our Past is not just an interesting learning experience for the family, it also provides knowledge to both historians and book collectors. Book collectors can learn what makes a book valuable, and factors relating to the care and condition of a book. Historians can learn the backgrounds of previously unknown books.

    This exhibit provides information that is not only interesting to Fayetteville locals but also fills in the gaps for history buffs.

    One of the pieces that stand out is number 49, which is the diary of Elizabeth Poe as it was kept from 1903 to 1909. She was one of the last of the Poe’s to live in Fayetteville’s E. A. Poe House, now a museum on Arsenal Avenue. This diary allows viewers to step back in time and experience Fayetteville’s life and society through the words of a young woman living in that time.

    The free exhibit was opened to the public on April 23. Depending on the popularity of the exhibit, the Museum will determine if it will remain open for six months or a year.

    The exhibit is a family-friendly environment with something for all ages.

    The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum is located at 325 Franklin St. and offers tours of several different historical monuments, the museum and the museum’s annex. Museum hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    For more information about tours and schedules visit their website www.fcpr.us/facilities/museums/fayetteville-area-transportation-and-local-history-museum or call 910-433-1457.

     

  • 09 Gary Lowder picAs more pandemic restrictions are being lifted, many of us are ready for spring and summer activities to begin. Warmer weather and sunshine invite us to venture outdoors to enjoy friends, good food, a favorite beverage and great music. On May 14, Fayetteville Dinner Theatre, Up & Coming Weekly, and Gates Four Golf & Country Club will kick off the Gates Four Summer Concert Series with the Carolina Summer Beach Bash.

    Piedmont Natural Gas and Jay Dowdy of All American Homes are the title sponsors of this new summer-long outdoor music venue for Cumberland County residents. Working in conjunction with Healy Wholesale Distributors, these great sponsors support this musical series to assist in raising money for reading and educational resources for Cumberland County children through the Kidsville News Literacy and Education Foundation.

    All concerts will be presented outdoors at the Gates Four Pavilion and socially distanced. The Concert Series includes a variety of musical acts from Beach to the Beatles. The Concert Series will be held monthly through September, with tickets available online at www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com or the Gates Four business office during business hours. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with food (included with ticket price) served 6-7:30 p.m. A complete line of beverages will be available at three convenient full-service cash bars serving Healy Wholesale beer and wine products and your favorite mixed drinks. Concierge table service will be provided for VIP tables inside the Pavilion. Fayetteville's own Mash House Brewery will also have a large selection of their custom craft beers available. Sweet Frog will be present for those with a sweet tooth.

    There will be something for everyone during this concert series which showcases a different band each month. Kicking off the Concert Series on May 14 is Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot. Known as a party band based out of North Myrtle Beach, their music covers songs from several decades with many different genres of music represented, including soul, rhythm and blues, funk, reggae, jazz standards, country, 50s, 60s and Carolina Beach Music. In addition to covering today's top trending hits, the Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot also has successful hits on local radio and internet stations across North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Florida.

    Members of Smokin' Hot have been nominated collectively for several Carolina Beach Music Awards over the years. In 2013, the band won "CD of the Year" at the Carolina Beach Music Awards. In 2014, they won "Group of the Year." In 2015, they were nominated for 13 Carolina Beach Music Awards, with J.K. Loftin, group guitarist, winning "Engineer of the Year." In 2016, they were nominated for 6 CBMA Awards, including "Male Vocalist" (G. Lowder), "Group Album" ("Playin' With Fire 2"), "Entertainer" (G. Lowder), "Engineer" and "Producer" (J.K.Loftin), "Collaboration or Duo" (G. Lowder & Marsha Morgan, "Too Many Tears"). Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot is an example of the quality entertainment Gates Four brings to Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

    The next concert on June 26 will be the British Invaders, who will present a Beatles Tribute to Beatlemania of the 1960s when English bands stormed the U.S. music charts and won over crowds of screaming fans. While dressing in period Nehru suits and playing vintage instruments, the British Invaders will entertain the audience with a mixture of British hits from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Dave Clark Five, The Animals, The Yardbirds, Rod Stewart and Elton John.

    On July 17, it's a classic retro rock party with the Jan Michael Fields Band performing hits of the 70s and 80s. Here is another decade of fabulous Rockin' in the 80s music. Jan Fields is a charismatic performer known as one of the top vocalists in the southeast. His stellar voice and ability to work the stage are just as relevant today as in the 80s when he was the frontman for the international touring act, Sidewinder. Jan is the consummate pro, and his dedication to his craft earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 for outstanding contributions and support of the North Carolina music industry.

    August 28 picks up in the 90s with Stylin' Country with the Tim Hair (Tim McGraw) Tribute Band. For fans of McGraw's country and crossover hits, the show will follow his career from his 1994 breakout "Indian Outlaw" and feature his many number one songs through his chart-topper "Humble and Kind."

    The grand finale of the Summer Concert Series is on September 18, showcasing Fayetteville and Cumberland County's 4-time winner "Best Local Band" in Up & Coming Weekly's Best of Fayetteville survey. The versatile Rivermist Band will be performing their award-winning songs to include top forty, rock, pop, funk and R & B. This talented group of musicians has played together in Fayetteville and the southeast for more than 40 years. It is a great way to end the Summer Concert Series. Their shows are always professional, energetic and entertaining.

    Plan to be at the Pavilion at Gates Four on May 14 for the Carolina Summer Beach Bash. The Gates Four Summer Concert Series offers terrific music from the talented artists along with Gates Four hospitality, friends, great food, plenty of drinks and a great time. Tickets for all concert dates are available for purchase at Gates Four or online at www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com. Tickets are $60 per person and include the concert, food, lawn seating (bring your chairs), gifts, door prizes and a few surprises.

    For VIP Tables, group rates or more information, call 910-391-3859. Tickets are limited in order to keep the concert attendees comfortable and socially distanced.

  • 08 sdc parachute 3The Salvation Army of the Sandhills region will be hosting a Summer Day Camp for children in grades K-8 from June 7 to
    Aug. 16.

    “The Salvation Army Red Shield Club Summer Day Camp is our annual camp that provides a safe environment for the children we serve to play and grow,” said Alison Henion, who serves as the community relations and development coordinator for Sandhill’s Salvation Army.

    The camp takes place annually and can usually hold 45 to 50 kids but will host only 22 this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. The camp costs $55 per week, with a one-time $15 registration fee, and will have a rolling registration all summer so participants can join anytime. Camp will be held during the day from 7:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

    “This year is an Olympic theme so we will have many friendly and fun competitions mimicking the Summer Olympic Games,” Henion said. “We also have art and crafts, field trips, movie days and computer time. We incorporate education in a fun way as well by hosting a reading competition and academic games.”

    The camps will be led by their Community Center Director Donya Campbell along with two other program aides.

    “We also will have different businesses, churches and community groups come spend time with the kids,” she said. “They host activities provide lunch or just simply hang out and play.”

    The camp application to the camp can be found at www.salvationarmycarolinas.org/fayetteville/community-center/? and emailed to donya.campbell@uss.salvationarmy.org or delivered in person at the admin office located at 220 E Russell St.

    For those interested in donating to the local Salvation Army or volunteering, visit www.salvationarmycarolinas.org/fayetteville/? or call Alison at 910-483-8119.

  • 07 CFRT BEFORECape Fear Regional Theatre is undergoing renovations to improve the audience experience.

    The popular theatre that began performing in 1962 under the name “Fayetteville Little Theatre” became CFRT and now features a three-story complex serving about 49,000 audience members in a typical year.

    “This theatre is flying from coach to first-class,” Mary Kate Burke, artistic director for CFRT, said.

    CFRT will be getting a new HVAC system, more handicap accessible and stair-free seating, better lighting and a new sound system, among other changes.

    “The width of the seats will go from 19 to 21 inches and the depth of each row will gain at least 6 inches deeper than before from the knees to the back of the chair,” Burke said. “There was a lot of community engagement and consensus and we have decided to stick with the red seats.”

    In the past, CFRT received feedback about volume issues and uneven hearing throughout the theatre. The new sound system will address and fix these problems. The organization invited Rob Kaplowitz to help design the system.

    Kaplowitz is a 25-year veteran in the sound industry, having worked as a composer, sound designer and is a recipient of a Tony Award for “Fela!” and an OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence In Sound Design, among other celebrations of his work. He has worked in many theatre companies on and off Broadway.

    CFRT hosted a meet-and-greet with Kaplowitz for theatre sponsors, donors and patrons on April 16 to show the crowd prototypes of the new improvements and the new sound system.

    “The old sound system’s best speakers were the center ones, you can see there’s a wide variation from front to bank, so rest assured I have replaced all of them,” he said. “We are becoming inaudible going to the back. Before, the person who wanted the front and aisle seat was hearing the worst sounding show possible.”

    Kaplowitz said the equipment that CFRT had been using in the building is pre-2000s and basically obsolete, adding that sound technology has rapidly evolved in the last few years.

    “The new speakers sound 60 times better than the voice you heard so far,” he assured the crowd. “With the new speakers, you've got coverage all the way to the back, with very little variation. The difference between two seats will not be more than 8 decibels, which is very low.”

    CFRT has reached over 70% of their monetary goal to pay for renovations due to contributions from various patrons and donors. The theatre also received a $250,000 grant that jump-started the campaign from a foundation that prefers to remain anonymous.

    Theatre-goers can also sponsor a new seat with a plaque bearing a name or message. There are about 100 seats left to sponsor. Sponsor plaques from the original seats will be part of a new installation in the lobby. More information can be found by visiting www.cfrt.org/support/#capital-campaign. Those interested in learning how to become a sponsor can call Ella Wrenn at 910-323-4234 ext. 229.

  • 22Darius McLeodDarius McLeod

    Westover • Basketball/golf • Senior

    McLeod has a grade point average of 3.8. He was a second team choice in the 2018 Holiday Classic basketball tournament. He played golf three years for Westover. He is a member of National Honor Society, National English Honor Society and the Academy of Health Sciences.

    23alainawalkerAlaina Walker

    Westover • Volleyball/softball • Senior

    Walker is ranked third in her class, with a 4.18 grade point average. She has been a member of Health Occupations Students of America for four years. She is a member of National Honor Society and the Academy of Scholars. She helped the Westover softball team to its first state playoff appearance in school history, batting .400 and driving in 15 runs.

  • Here is the Patriot Athletic All-Conference softball team as chosen by the league’s head coaches.

    Coach of the year: Stuart Gilmer, Gray’s Creek

    Player of the year: Jaden Pone, Gray’s Creek

    Pitcher of the year: Katie Murphy, Cape Fear

    First team:

    • Terry Sanford — Anna Suggs, Maddie Beard

    • E.E. Smith — Kayla Parson

    • Pine Forest — Zareeya Watson, Brianna Crosby, Brittany Maultsby, Korie St. Peter, Mary Lee Sullivan

    • Gray’s Creek — Mackenzie Mason, Drew Menscer, Kylie Aldridge, Morgan Brady, Courtney Cygan, Jaden Pone

    • Overhills — Malik’s Dones, Kiana Jones

    • Cape Fear — Katie Murphy, Morgan Nunnery, Alyssa Meredith, Taylor Melvin, Aubrey Griffin, Jess Oxendine

    • South View — Mia Ayers, Danielle Golcher, Alex Deville

    • Westover — Alaina Walker

    Honorable mention:

    • Terry Sanford — Mylie Leahy

    • E.E. Smith — Madilyn Hotchkiss, Abraonna Williams

    • Gray’s Creek — Summer Powell, Madi Badley, Rebecca Collins

    • Overhills — Taylor Nunn, Megan Maurer, Liz Mitchell

    • Cape Fear — Marlin Horne, Aleiyah Payne, Lauren Adams, Ava Basket, Toni Blackwell

    • South View — Faith Franklin, Raven Camacho, Bailey Lockwood, Katie Smith

    • Westover — Chkylie Boado, Jasmine Kelsey, Maya Johnson

  • 18davidjohn HerzHere is the Patriot Athletic All-Conference baseball team as chosen by the league’s head coaches.

    Coach of the year: Sam Guy, Terry Sanford

    Player of the year: Davidjohn Herz, Terry Sanford

    Pitcher of the year: Nick West, Cape Fear

    First team:

    • Cape Fear — Cade Oliver, Cole Altman

    • Douglas Byrd — Edwardo Alfons

    • Gray’s Creek — Landen Harris, Tyler Strickland, Aaron Smith, Ryan Miller, Dillon Taylor

    •Overhills — Ricky Kelly

    • Pine Forest — Justin Honeycutt, Isaac Gonzales, James O’Brien, Lance Lockamy

    • South View — Riley Caudle, Damon Evans, Keshawn Dunham

    • Terry Sanford — Justin Ebert, Jackson Deaver, Marcus Sanchez, Dorian Clark, Tommy Cooney, Hunter Wiggins

    Honorable mention:

    • Cape Fear — Nick Minacapelli

    • Gray’s Creek — Hunter Smith, J.J. Rivera

    • Overhills — Johnny Vickers, Richard Hooks

    • South View — Caleb Shinn

    • Terry Sanford — Jack Cooney

  • 15haleynelsonFreedom Christian Academy’s softball team experienced tragedy before its 2019 season ever started. But by season’s end, the coaches and players were able to move from tragedy to triumph as they bought home the school’s third North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association state title in four years.

    The Patriots entered this year’s NCISAA 2-A state tournament as the No. 3 seed but cruised through the double elimination portion of the playoffs unbeaten. They beat both top-seeded Rocky Mount Academy and No. 2 Halifax Academy along the way, the former on its home field in a 16-inning duel lasting over three and a half hours.

    Freedom finished the season 16-4 under the leadership of first-year head coach John Smith. Smith was no stranger to the Freedom softball program. He became the school’s director of security in 2016 after his longtime friend, the late Eddie Dees, had become Freedom’s softball coach and led the Patriots to their first-ever softball championship.

    Dees passed away that same year. Smith, a former member of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department and the Hope Mills Police Department, continued in an assistant coaching role until he was asked to take over as head coach entering the 2019 season.

    It wasn’t long after he was hired that the team experienced misfortune. Haley Roberson, the starting third baseman, died at her home in late September one morning before school.

    “She was a solid defensive player and an offensive threat,’’ Smith said of Roberson. “Between the emotions of losing her, starting the season without her and trying to fill that void, it was some trying times.’’

    It was reflected in the team’s record as they struggled to a 3-3 start.

    “We only had five returnees and eight new girls,’’ Smith said. “The nucleus of that bunch was seventh and eighth graders. They had travel ball experience, but they hadn’t been with our program. We had to learn their skill set.’’

    Smith praised the work of two veteran assistant coaches, Russell Montgomery and Jimmy Nelson. “They know the game inside out and were there to help me,’’ he said.

    So were their two daughters, pitcher Haley Nelson and catcher Molly Montgomery. Nelson, a junior, is committed to play at Queens University of Charlotte. Montgomery, a senior, has a scholarship to Gardner-Webb University.

    Just getting to the postseason was a brutal test for Freedom because of the tough competition it faced in its own league, the Sandhills Athletic Conference. Cape Fear Christian Academy won the NCISAA 1-A state championship. Fayetteville Christian made the final four in the 3-A playoffs, and Village Christian was a top ten seed in the same classification.

    The Patriots lost at Rocky Mount Academy 4-0 in their second game of the season, so Smith knew when they faced them again in the state playoffs it was going to be a challenge.

    “It was definitely a pitching duel for 16 innings,’’ he said of the rematch in the state tournament. Finally, Marissa McQueen, a seventh grader, drilled a double to right center to score a pair of runs that held up for the win.

    Nelson went the distance on the mound and recorded 13 strikeouts in the win. Both she and Montgomery were selected to the NCISAA 2-A All- State team.

    But those aren’t the most interesting numbers about the championship season. Roberson’s jersey number was three, her position third base, and that number kept popping up for Freedom in the postseason. To begin with, they were the third seed in the state tournament.

    They won the final game of the tournament over Halifax 6-3, after scoring three runs late to break a 3-3 tie. And when the season was over, the Patriots had their third state title.

    “Although Haley was not present, she was there in spirit and mind with us,’’ Smith said.

    Photo: Haley Nelson

  • 16IsabellaWitherow

    Isabella Witherow

    Gray’s Creek  • Cross country/swimming/ Unified track •  Junior

    Witherow has an unweighted grade point average of 4.0. She is a member of National Honor Society and the Yearbook Club. She will attend North Carolina Governor’s School this summer.

     

    17NickQuinn

    Nick Quinn

    Gray’s Creek • Wrestling/Unified track • Senior

    Quinn has a weighted grade point average of 4.4. He was a member of the Academy of Information Technology at Gray’s Creek. He will attend North Carolina State in the fall to study engineering

  • 15tennisterrysanfordHere is the Patriot Athletic Conference tennis team as chosen by the league’s head coaches.

    Player of the year: Alexander Kasari, Terry Sanford

    First team, singles:

    • Terry Sanford — Nathan Lieberman, James Barefoot

    • South View — Christian George, Ben George

    • Overhills — Roger America, Chase Thompson

    • Pine Forest — Jacob Green, Colby Blackwell

    • Gray’s Creek — Garrett Hoyt, Dylan Daniel

    • Cape Fear — Jalen Farmer, Hunter Edwards

    First team, doubles:

    • Terry Sanford — Nathan Lieberman, Alexander Kasari

    • South View — Christian George, Ben George

    • Overhills — Roger America, Chase Thompson

    • Gray’s Creek — Garrett Hoyt, Dylan Daniel

    • Cape Fear — Hunter Edwards, Eli Benbenek

    Photo:  Left to right: Terry Sanford’s Nathan Lieberman, Coach Gene Autry, Alex Kasari

  • 14CorrineShovlainHere is the Patriot Athletic Conference girls soccer team as chosen by the league’s head coaches. 

    Goalkeeper of the year: Lindsay Bell, Terry Sanford

    Defensive player of the year: Kara Walker, Terry Sanford

    Offensive player of the year: Corrine Shovlain, Terry Sanford

    Coach of the year: Karl Molnar, Terry Sanford

    First team:

    • Terry Sanford — Maiya Parrous, Kate Perko

    • Pine Forest — Sierra Turisch, Alyssa Rancour, Cate Hinton, De’Sheryl Hill

    • Gray’s Creek — Kylie Rock, Emma Brock

    • Overhills — Valeria Pomales, Tayra Chikhaoui

    • Cape Fear — Amelia Shook

    • South View — Kyra Delany, Lillian Flantos

    Second team:

    • Cape Fear — Gabrielle Bynum

    • Terry Sanford — Courtney Arnold, Halie Blizzard, Imani Elliott

    • Gray’s Creek — Eve Morrison, Gabi Jobes

    • Pine Forest — Holly Harwick, Avery Vorholt, Kahala Bandamann, Stella Valenzuela

    • Overhills — Georgia Migos, Aja Wilson, Katelynn Johnson, Marissa Rodriguez

    Honorable mention:

    • Overhills — Tyanna Lee, Aliyah Proctor

    • Pine Forest — Hailey Harwick

    • Cape Fear — Lily Terwilliger, Emily’s Holt, Nyanja Williams

    Photo: Corrine Shovlain

  • 12LandenHarrisIf the early turnout is any indication, Mark Kahlenberg should not have a problem keeping a full team on the field this summer for the Hope Mills Boosters American Legion baseball program.

    At the first official practice of the season last week, Kahlenberg had a potential roster with 23 names of players from area high schools who were either on hand at the first workout or had expressed interest in playing this year.

    Even with the good turnout, Kahlenberg expects this year’s team to be somewhat young, with a number of players who will be getting their first taste of the American Legion brand of baseball. The roster is heavy with a big crop of players from Cape Fear. Gray’s Creek High School has returned to the mix, along with players from South View and Douglas Byrd.

    Before it’s all over, Kahlenberg hopes to pick up some players from Freedom Christian and Terry Sanford. The Bulldogs were still involved in the state 3-A baseball playoffs when the Boosters American Legion season kicked off last Sunday with a doubleheader against Jacksonville Post 265.

    “Last year we were struggling to put nine guys together around tournament time,’’ Kahlenberg said. “At our first meeting (this year), we had 14 guys, and I knew there were 10 other guys who couldn’t make it.’’

    Among the players Kahlenberg will be counting on are pitcher Landen Harris from Gray’s Creek, who’s committed to play at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Another prospect is Aaron Smith, Harris’ Gray’s Creek teammate, who batted in the No. 3 position for the Bears this season.

    South View prospects include Riley Caudle, who recently committed to play for Methodist University. Another promising player is Cape Fear’s Nick West, who played shortstop and pitched and could fill an important need for Kahlenberg in the heart of the lineup.

    Kahlenberg doesn’t feel the team has an established pitching ace as the season begins and will have to rely on pitching by committee until things get more settled. “Hopefully we can develop those pitchers into a starting rotation,’’ he said.

    Both Harris and Caudle are optimistic about this team’s chances this summer.

    “I like playing with my friends from all over Cumberland County,’’ Harris said. “I think we can do pretty good if we bring it all together, hit the ball and play the game how we learned it.’’ Harris also hopes to use the Legion experience to work on his off-speed pitches and improve his velocity.

    Caudle is looking forward to facing better pitching this summer, improving how he sees the curveball and working on improving his ability to hit to the backside. “We have a lot more people than last year,’’ he said. “A lot of them are going to college, so they’ll focus on Legion ball.’’

    The Boosters will again play their home games at South View High School.

    Following is this year’s schedule. Whiteville currently does not have a team this year, but Kahlenberg said he had seen reports on social media that the Whiteville club was attempting to get funding so it could possibly return this year. For now, its games have been removed from the schedule.

    Photo: Landen Harris

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    SCHEDULE

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to some late changes in the Hope Mills Boosters 2019 schedule, portions of the version in this week's print edition are incorrect. The correct schedule appears below. 

     

     IMG 3915

     

     

     

  • 17Jason PorterJason Porter

    Gray’s Creek • Basketball • Senior

    Porter has an unweighted grade point average of 3.74. He averaged 4.3 rebounds per game for the Bears basketball team last season.

     

    18Heather Edge copySarah Emilie Edge

    Riverside Christian Academy • Softball • Junior

    Edge has a 4.0 grade point average. She is a member of the Cedar Creek Baptist Church Youth group. She volunteers to run sound equipment at Riverside Christian for school and church programs. She is a member of the Beta Club and volunteers with Samaritan’s Purse and Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief.

  • 16DK sportsAfter a five-month hiatus to regroup and reorganize, the DK Sports Page sports radio talk show has resumed on Monday nights from 6-8 p.m. It airs on WFNC 640 AM with hosts Trey Edge and Bill Boyette.

    “Fayetteville needs a local talk show based on local sports, from the high school level to the college level to NFL ties,’’ said Edge. In addition to hosting the show, he’s the play-by-play voice for the DK Sports, Inc., game of the week in various sports. He’s also the Friday night voice of Terry Sanford during football season.

    Also on the game broadcasts are Boyette, providing color commentary and occasional appearances by Don Koonce, founder of DK Sports, Inc.

    When it comes to the DK Sports Page, Edge said the show will try to cover everything but will focus primarily on local sports.

    “We’ll always have a high school segment each and every week,’’ he said.

    When the show returned to air for the first time last week, high school guests included Terry Sanford baseball coach Sam Guy and Jack Britt softball coach Sebrina Wilson. Also interviewed were University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill football coach Mack Brown and Fayetteville Woodpeckers general manager David Lane.

    The initial version of the show, which debuted in the late summer of 2017, was heavy on interviews with coaches. Edge said the goal this time around will be to try and talk with more players, both active ones and former players from the area who have moved on to the professional ranks.

    Boyette, Edge’s cohost, is a veteran high school basketball coach who led his Fayetteville Academy Eagles to the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 2-A championship last season.

    Edge said Boyette is an avid sports fan who obviously has a lot of expertise in basketball but is detail-oriented in all aspects of sports. “That’s probably why he’s successful as a coach too,’’ Edge said.

    The show was strictly studio-based during its initial run, but Edge said that could change with the revived edition. “We may be looking to go out live,’’ he said, “for example, to a Woodpeckers game. We may try to do something where we get in front of people and do live broadcasting from there.’’

    To keep up with the show and to send suggestions for possible topics or guests, Edge said fans should follow the show on Twitter at @DKSportsPage.

  • 15Wells Fargo CupFor the second time in three years, Cape Fear High School has won the Patriot Athletic Conference Maxwell/Wells Fargo Cup for overall athletic excellence. The Colts took the cup back from last year’s winner, Terry Sanford, which finished second in this year’s chase for the honor.

    The award is based on points awarded to each school for order of finish in official conference sports.

    Cape Fear had 150.5 points to 145.5 for Terry Sanford.

    The Colts used a strong finish in the spring sports season to wrap up the trophy. They shared the regular-season title in softball with Gray’s Creek and won boys golf while placing second in boys tennis and boys track. The Colts took third in baseball. Other championships won by Cape Fear this season were volleyball, girls golf, wrestling and boys and girls swimming.

    Terry Sanford also had a strong spring, winning girls soccer, baseball and boys tennis, with a second-place finish in girls track.

    Terry Sanford’s other championships this year were in boys soccer and girls tennis.

    Pine Forest finished third with 132 points. The Trojans won conference titles this season in football and boys basketball.

    The Trojans didn’t win any championships in the spring but took second in girls track, boys golf and girls soccer.

    Other conference titles for the year were won by South View in boys and girls cross country and boys and girls track. E.E. Smith won girls basketball. Cape Fear and Gray’s Creek shared the conference regular-season title in softball.

    Other point totals for the conference were Gray’s Creek 128.5, South View 125, Overhills 99, E.E. Smith 87.5, Westover 53.5 and Douglas Byrd 32.5.

    Photo: Cape Fear athletic director Matt McLean arrives at Terry Sanford with a dolly to reclaim the Wells Fargo Cup.

  • 14Exemplary schoolCumberland County Schools made history at last week’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association annual meeting in Chapel Hill at the Dean E. Smith Center. For the first time, the same school system captured the NCHSAA’s coveted Exemplary School Award in consecutive years. Cape Fear won the honor in 2019, and Terry Sanford made it two straight by winning this year’s award.

    They are the second and third county schools to take the honor. Jack Britt won it in the 2009-10 school year.

    Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for Cumberland County Schools, said the award means much more than athletic success. He said the award also recognizes the number of nationally certified coaches a school has on its staff.

    “On the academic side, they look at testing scores and the number of students taking advanced placement honors classes, as well as how students do on advanced placement exams,’’ he said.

    “It’s an all-around award, truly recognizing a school that has embraced the idea of the student athlete.’’ 

    Terry Sanford athletic director Liz McGowan said it’s great for the school to be recognized by both its peers and a statewide organization like the NCHSAA. “It’s not just coming to school and doing a good job,’’ she said. “It’s my coaches taking extra classes, my kids going to leadership conferences they are invited to. My kids’ grade point averages are awesome, working hard inside the classroom as well as on the field.’’

    Terry Sanford principal Tom Hatch said the award validates what the school’s coaches do every day, as well as the work they do beyond the athletic field.

    Retired Cumberland County student activities director Bill Carver often referred to high school athletics as the front porch of the school. Hatch said he agrees with that philosophy.

    “Athletics allows people who graduated from a school or live in that community to come around and watch a lacrosse match or a wrestling match, football or basketball, talk about what’s happening with their child,’’ he said.

    ‘’Athletics is the front porch of the school, and our front porch looks pretty good right now.’’

    Photo:  Left to right: Vernon Aldridge, Cumberland County Schools student activities director; Joe Franks, NCHSAA Board of Directors member; and Liz McGowan, Terry Sanford athletic director

  • 21Emilya HoltEmilya Holt

    Cape Fear • Soccer • Senior

    Holt has a 3.9 grade point average. She’s a member of the Student Media Specialist Association, Key Club, and Students Against Destructive Decisions. 

     

    22Matthew RaynorMatthew Raynor

    Cape Fear • Baseball • Senior

    Raynor has a 4.6 grade point average. He’s a member of Student Government Association, Game Day Operations Staff, and the Creative Writing Club.

  • 20schoolTwo complex issues, the athletic status of transgender students and allowing home-schooled students to play for public school teams, were addressed at the May 1 spring meeting of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors in Chapel Hill.

    On the subject of transgender athletes, the NCHSAA ruled that when the gender an athlete identifies with differs from the one listed on his or her birth certificate, the student must submit a Gender Identity Request Form to the NCHSAA.

    The form lists a variety of supporting information the student must provide to the NCHSAA, which will refer the matter to the Gender Identity Committee for consideration. That committee will include a member of the current NCHSAA Board of Directors, a school administrator, and a physician and a psychiatrist or psychologist with credentials in the area of gender identity health.

    Home-schooled students will be allowed to participate in athletics with the school located in the district where they live. They must provide notice to the school principal 10 days before the first practice of the sport in which they wish to participate. They must also provide documentation on such things as attendance, immunization and transcripts before being allowed to play for a high school team.

    East Bladen High School’s Patty Evers attended her final NCHSAA board meeting May 1. Evers has represented Region 4 for the last four years. The region includes Fayetteville and surrounding counties.

    “I think we moved in a positive direction,’’ Evers said of the announcements on both transgender athletes and home-schooled athletes.

    Evers thinks the new language added to the NCHSAA Handbook for the 2019-20 school year is a good starting point. “Like everything else, there will be tweaks along the way,’’ she said.

    Speaking specifically about the transgender issue, Evers said she knows there are transgender athletes in some parts of the state and that their parents have questions.

    “It’s something we needed to do,’’ she said. Other action taken by the board at last Wednesday’s meeting included the following:

    • Wilson, the official ball of the NCHSAA, will be used in all playoff competition for volleyball, soccer, football, basketball, softball, baseball and tennis. Schools that don’t use the Wilson ball will be penalized for illegal equipment.

    • An increase in fees for officials for five percent will be established every four years starting with the 2020-21 school year.

    • Baseball and softball teams can play doubleheaders with both games lasting five innings, subject to mutual agreement.

    • Wrestlers can take part in two tournaments per day. But there are limits. They can’t exceed any weekly limitations. The two tournaments must be on the same day. Only varsity wrestlers can do this, and only a maximum of three times per season.

    • An annual girls wrestling state tournament was approved. The NCHSAA held its first-ever all-girls wrestling tournament this past season on a trial basis. It drew more than 80 female wrestlers from across the state.

  •     If the Crown Theatre could speak, it surely would have let out a lusty “Hoo-aah!” on Monday, May 19, as the 41-year-old building was renamed and rededicated in honor of our nation’s fighting men and women.
        As local dignitaries, politicians, military officers and enlisted men looked on, a red-white-and-blue ribbon stretching across the front door of the Crown Theater was sliced as easily as a hot bayonet through butter, transforming the facility into the Cumberland County Memorial Auditorium: a true journey through the past as Cumberland County Memorial  Auditorium was the facility’s original name when it was opened way back in 1967 — it was re-christened the Crown Theatre in 2002 by then-CEO Rick Reno for marketing purposes.{mosimage}
        It was only fitting that the man wielding the scissors which gave the Cumberland County Memorial Auditorium back its glory was Sgt. First Class Michael Onstine, who was recently awarded the Silver Star medal for heroics in Iraq. Onstine, despite being wounded in the shoulder and both legs by shrapnel during a pitched battle, held back a band of 20 insurgents single-handedly with cover fire from his M-1 and grenades while his platoon, pinned down by enemy fire, was able to safely withdraw.
        Onstine’s grit and bravery, and that of all soldiers, past and present, who have walked the streets of Fayetteville, and Baghdad and Siagon, was recognized by Dr. Jeannette Council, vice chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners.
        “Many of the soldiers who served in Vietnam trained here in Fayetteville,” said Council. “And now we are at war again in the desert of Iraq. It is right and appropriate that this complex be renamed in honor of our military. This building is proof of what they have done and how we hold them in our hearts.”
        Lifelong Fayetteville resident Mayor Tony Chavonne invoked the rich past of the complex, citing the many great performers and shows that took place there back in the glory days. You could almost hear the whip snap and the tiger’s roar as Chavonne described the childhood wonder of watching the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus perform inside those brick walls; the mayor even invoked the King, Elvis Presley, who played here, taking with him the hearts of thousands of screaming, swooning women when he finally left the building.
        But the true kings on this day didn’t carry a bullwhip or come adorned in rhinestones: the royalty on this warm, windy morning wore military braid black, burgundy, tan and green berets, and combat boots.
    Eighth District Congressman Robin Hayes wore his own military regalia as he honored the soldiers, particularly those of the 82nd Airborne Division.
        “I am wearing an 82nd Airborne hat and pin today,” said Hayes. “General Bill Caldwell gave me this old, raggedy hat, which I recently wore when we opened a VA hospital in Hamlet.
        “It’s an All-American day as we pay tribute to the men and women who provide us the freedoms and the right to practice our religion,” said Hayes, who added an aside to the recent chapel controversy at Fayetteville’s VA Hospital, “We’re taking care of that little issue at the chapel and we will get it worked out.”
        After the rededication ceremony, entertainment was provided by the internationally renowned 82nd Airborne Division All-American Chorus, which performed such rousing, patriotic numbers as Your’re in the Army Now, Mr. Smith and America The Beautiful, finishing with an appropriate and heartfelt version of Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA.
        On this day, citizens and soldiers were especially proud to be Americans, basking in the glory of the Crown.
  • 19Josiah HopkinsA year ago, Pine Forest’s Josiah Hopkins had his worst round of the regular season in the final match and fell short of winning the Patriot Athletic Conference individual golf championship. Cape Fear boys golf coach Todd Edge entered this season with a young team that included no seniors as he tried to rebound from a second-place finish to Pine Forest last year.

    Both Hopkins and the Cape Fear team found the answers last week during the final regular season conference match at Baywood Golf Club.

    Hopkins shot a final round 74 at Baywood to win both the weekly tournament and the regular season title. It was his lowest round of the season.

    The Cape Fear team completed a sweep of the seven regular-season matches, shooting a 326 on its home course at Baywood.

    “I think one of the main reasons I blew up last year was my mindset wasn’t in the right place,’’ Hopkins said. “I guess you could say my chances were pretty good, but when push comes to shove, I just wanted to have fun this year and give all the glory to God.”

    Hopkins didn’t feel any one part of his physical game made a big difference for him this year. “I don’t hit the ball that far,’’ he said. “I don’t hit the ball that straight. I’m not the best chipper, and I don’t make the most putts.

    “Frankly, there are better golfers in our conference than me. The only thing that separates me from the rest is keeping a good attitude when I hit the bad shots.’’

    Hopkins feels last Monday’s win gives him some momentum entering postseason competition in the regionals and possibly the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state tournament if he or the Pine Forest team manages to qualify.

    “I hope I qualify for the states,’’ he said. “That’s been my goal for this season.’’

    Edge said his team entered this year leaning on the play of junior Colton Danks. “He was the most experienced player coming back,’’ Edge said. “He didn’t have a good sophomore season.’’

    Freshmen Austin White and Mason Starling contributed to the Colt effort in some tournaments this year. Edge also got some good rounds from Luke McCorquodale and Alex Benbenek.

    “We didn’t have the best player every match, but we had four consistent players every match,’’ Edge said. He said he could count on two or three players shooting in the 80 to 85 range every match. Danks turned in a 76 at Baywood last week, his lowest round of the regular season.

    “We played well off each other,’’ Danks said of the Cape Fear team. “We had each other’s backs, and we knew what we were capable of.’’

    Playing the final match of the regular season at Baywood, Cape Fear’s home course, was also a boost, Danks said. “That’s something we looked forward to, that we could finish up at home, having all our parents there to see us win,’’ he said.

    If Cape Fear survives the regional tournament, Danks thinks the Colts could challenge for a top five finish in the NCHSAA championship match.

    “There is going to be a bunch of higher level competition, but I believe we could give it a run,’’ he said. “We are going to have to play with a more defined strategy than we’ve had all year. We’re going to have to be confident and believe in our abilities for us to do well in the postseason.’’

    Here is the Patriot Athletic All-Conference golf team, which is based on order of finish in the regular season. Coach of the year was based on a vote of the head coaches.

    Player of the year: Josiah Hopkins, Pine Forest

    Coach of the year: Todd Edge, Cape Fear

    First team: Josiah Hopkins, Pine Forest; Max Canada, Terry Sanford; Colton Danks, Cape Fear; Spencer Barbour, Terry Sanford; Luke McCorquodale, Cape Fear; Austin White, Cape Fear.

    Second team: Hunter Cole, Gray’s Creek; Walker Shearin, Pine Forest; Mason Starling, Cape Fear; Alex Benbenek, Cape Fear; Chandler Parker, South View.

  • 03 vote verticalIn 2006/7, I led the opposition to an effort to restructure the Fayetteville City Council. I was wrong. Vote Yes Fayetteville is a current attempt to change the Council make-up from nine single member districts to five single and four at-large seats. This is an opportunity for correcting a serious past failing, and I am taking it. I will do all that I can to help achieve this restructuring.

    In 2006, I attended a meeting where several speakers made the case that the proposed referendum to change the Council structure would dilute Black representation on the Council. In that meeting, I agreed to lead an effort opposing the referendum. I did so even though I had signed the petition calling for the referendum.

    My mind was changed because I accepted the argument that Black citizens face some challenges that are best understood by other Blacks. In addition, when looking at voting patterns in the city, it was clear that white citizens primarily voted for white candidates. This voting pattern brought in the likelihood that there was a racism component at work. There was also the consideration that running at-large is more expensive than competing in a single district and that would be a hindrance for Black candidates.

    In the end, on February 6, 2007, the referendum passed and the process of implementing the new structure started. However, the U.S. Justice Department had authority to reverse the decision of Fayetteville voters and did so. The Justice Department concluded that that the 6-3 plan could negatively affect minority voting. That is, make the election of minority candidates less likely.

    Opposing passage of the restructuring resolution gave our group members far better insight into the issues affecting all Fayetteville citizens, but especially Black residents. More clearly, we saw the societal and political blind spots: areas that needed to be addressed, but with different approaches and attitudes from what was the norm. For this reason, what had been the referendum opposition organization, “NO 2,” became the Fayetteville Area Coalition for Equality (FAYCE). I was elected chairman of the new organization.

    The focus of FAYCE was on the needs of Black residents while endeavoring to have local governments treat all residents fairly and equally. It is absolutely critical to understand that it was not our aim to have any group(s) of Fayetteville citizens given attention to the detriment of any other group(s). Even though our focus was on issues affecting Black citizens, the aim was fair and equal treatment for all.

    FAYCE had a clearly defined approach for pursuing our overall aim. Gathering facts and examining those facts, before taking a position on any issue, was central to that approach. There was also commitment to detailed planning for any project or action.

    Our commitment to these principles showed through in the structure of our meetings, in how we addressed difficult issues, in developing a candidates’ guide for the 2007 municipal election, and sponsoring candidates’ forums for that election. In line with our desire to get facts and thoughtful responses and to accurately and productively inform citizens, we provided forum questions to the candidates in advance. In line with our approach, these forums were not about tripping anybody up; they were about informing citizens and encouraging reasoning over emotion.

    Into 2008, FAYCE was proving very effective in pursuing the organization’s goals. Then came the 2008 North Carolina presidential primary. Barack Obama received 9 out of 10 Black votes. Don Worthington, a reporter with The Fayetteville Observer, called and asked me what I thought about Blacks voting so overwhelmingly for Obama. He quoted me correctly as saying, “If nine out of 10 Blacks voted for Obama, they may be guilty of the same racism they accused whites of in the past.” The main argument in 2006, against restructuring the Council, was that since whites overwhelmingly voted for whites, that voting pattern indicated the presence of racism. Continuing that reasoning, why would Blacks voting overwhelmingly for a Black candidate not also raise the possibility of racism?

    Although there were some individuals who publicly agreed with what I said, the outrage in opposition was deafening. WIDU, a local radio station with a sizeable Black audience, was inundated with calls from people who were totally disgusted with my comment.

    The level of disgust was eye-opening for me. Then there was this statement written by someone on Ron Harrison’s blog: “…FAYCE flounders — and honestly, it was beginning to look like an organization that could positively influence the community … which befuddles me why Merritt opened his mouth in such a manner.” The clear message from the outrage and comments, such as the one quoted here, was that I should have been quiet regarding a condition I believed could prove dangerous and debilitating for this city and even the nation. That was not and is not my approach to leading or living. I resigned as chairman of FAYCE.

    The experience that I have reviewed to this point caused a major revamping of the framework within which I do my thinking. For instance, there was a time when, if the government said something was true, I accepted it without question; I was inclined to, without detailed examination, accept claims of racism as true; I believed that the vast majority of politicians were committed to doing what was good for all Americans; did not give extensive attention to the political process, governmental policies, or fiscal considerations. Every one of these components, and more, of my framework for thinking has shifted 180 degrees.

    Against this backdrop, here is how I now assess Vote Yes Fayetteville. The 5/4 restructuring is required because the current structure of nine single member districts is doing exactly what, in 2006, those of us who opposed that restructuring claimed would happen if it were instituted; except, in 2021, the racial impact is reversed. In 2006, there were more white residents than Black. That is no longer the case. Eight of the 10 members of Council are Black and, during elections, indications are that Black citizens overwhelmingly vote for viable Black Democratic candidates. Applying the racism argument made in 2006/7 by those of us who opposed restructuring, and by the U.S. Justice Department in overruling the will of Fayetteville voters, the current Council structure requires some effort to even the playing field for white citizens.

    Another point of opposition being raised again is that it is more expensive to run at-large than in a district and this puts Black candidates at a disadvantage. One response to this claim is to point to Blacks who are currently serving in at-large positions, such as: sheriff, chairman of the County Commission, and Clerk of Court.
    In terms of fairness and equal treatment of all, the impact on white citizens of this at-large cost argument demands attention. It says to white citizens who have financial means, “You are able to provide substantial financial support to candidates or to your personal campaign; consequently, we must maintain a system that prevents you from participating in the political process in a manner equal to all other citizens.” This is totally unfair and certainly smells like discrimination.

    There also seems to be greater attention to issues championed by Black residents than to those affecting all citizens of the city. The first of these regards the Market House; despite its otherwise very positive historical significance, because slaves were sold there, Council is giving significant attention to what might be done to quell outrage from some Black citizens and an undetermined number of white citizens. Of equal high priority with Council is satisfying demands for a citizens police review board that would have access to records and information that are not now publically available.

    While there is tremendous focus on these two issues, the weightier responsibilities of local government are getting far less attention than is necessary or reasonably expected by the general public. Among these are understaffing of the police department, rising crime rates, failure to protect property during a season of protesting/rioting/looting, not proactively promoting economic development, questionable handling of infrastructure needs, and, in general, conducting city affairs in a fashion that divides rather than unifies citizens.

    The negative consequences of the picture painted here are many, but the loss of white residents is one deserving of serious consideration by those who might oppose Vote Yes Fayetteville. Since 2000, maybe before, the white population of Fayetteville has been in decline. If this restructuring and other fairness/equalizing actions are not taken, Fayetteville will experience the same terrifying quality of life decline as other cities that followed our current course. Consider Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles and so forth.

    At the bottom line, I contend that if this effort to restructure the Fayetteville City Council fails, it will show us to be a city where white citizens are treated unfairly, the primary indicator of racism in voting only applies to whites, and we are willing to protect these conditions at the cost of a dramatic decline in our quality of life.

    Support Vote Yes Fayetteville.

  • 02 churchIt’s that most wonderful time of year again, when the current temporary members of the Fayetteville City Council are tempted to sell the rights to the Public Works Commission for thirty years. In return, the Council will get a mess of pottage in a secret financial story of Biblical proportions.

    This time the would-be buyer is an investment outfit from Louisiana called Bernhard Capital Partners. Let’s call this firm Bernie to keep things simple. The Fayetteville City Council will play the role of Esau. Bernie will take the role of Jacob. PWC will inhabit the role of Birthright in this story.

    Ponder the story of Jacob and Esau from the Bible to see how this fits the City Council’s current flirtation with selling PWC to some out of towners for some fast cash.

    Jacob and Esau were the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. Esau was born first which gave him the Birthright. This was a big deal in Hebrew times as the first born got the best parts of the family inheritance. Jacob grabbed Esau’s ankle in an effort to be born first. However, Esau emerged first securing his claim to the Birthright.

    Years later, Esau had been out in the fields. He came home hungry as a starving bear. Jacob, being a homebody, had cooked up a mess of red pottage which is what they used to call stew. Jacob, sensing an investment opportunity, refused to give Esau any of the pottage unless Esau swapped his Birthright for a bowl of pottage. Esau’s blood sugar was way down which caused him not to think clearly. Choosing immediate gratification over the delayed version, Jacob agreed to swap his Birthright for the mess of pottage.

    The deal was done. No birthright for Esau. It was a sweet deal for Jacob who was just out a bowl of stew.

    So how does this story fit our very own City Council and its interest in selling PWC as an indentured servant for 30 years to some strangers? Apparently, the City Council was working out a double secret deal like the Manhattan Project with Bernie to sell off PWC. The Raleigh News & Observer spilled the beans in a story on April 13 blowing the cover off the negotiations of the proposed 30 years of PWC wandering in the wilderness under the tender mercies of an out of state company.

    Turns out there is a non-disclosure agreement between the City Council, PWC and Bernie so the full details aren’t available to the roughly 140,000 electric, water and sewer customers of PWC.

    As the Church Lady used to say, “Well, isn’t that convenient?” At the time of the writing of this column, the NDA was still in place and the details were still double secret. The News & Observer report said Bernie had offered $750 million to the City for the PWC rights for the next 30 years.

    If the opening offer was $750 million, you know that the rights are worth far more than that amount.

    PWC has been around since 1905. It is owned by the city of Fayetteville which means the citizens of Fayetteville. It has received numerous awards for being well run and providing excellent service to our citizens.

    In the interest of full disclosure, my father E.H. Dickey was an electrical engineer for PWC for many years. He was one of those guys who got up in the middle of the night during storms to get the power back on. There are a lot of those guys at PWC who get up in the middle of the night to keep things running. They are local. Having local guys who live here take care of things here is a good thing. No one in Louisiana currently decides when to do maintenance in Fayetteville.

    Under Bernie, that could change. Deferring maintenance is way absentee owners make more money. Do you want to trust an absentee owner to decide whether to spend money to maintain PWC’s equipment? I don’t.

    All this comes under the heading of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Bernie may be wonderful. I don’t know. I do know PWC ain’t broke. Why gamble?

    The makeup of the City Council is temporary. Council members come and go. Fayetteville’s citizens outlast councils. PWC has been run by local citizens since 1905 unless the Council decides to sell it into indentured servitude. The temptation for the current Council to sell PWC is going to be great. The Council would have a slush fund of $750 million to spend on all sorts of favorite ideas. How long do you think it would be until they spent that pile of money on pet projects? The current Council will be out of office, the pile of money will be gone, and Bernie down on the bayou will be setting our rates, deciding on maintenance, and putting us on voice mail before you can say “Oops!”

    It was not a good idea to kill the Golden Goose to get her golden eggs. Indenturing PWC for 30 years to get PWC’s Golden Eggs today will be a decision we will all regret later. PWC is Fayetteville’s Birthright.

    It’s your hometown utility. Tell the City Council not to trade 30 years of PWC for a mess of pottage. Tell your City Council to tell Bernie thanks, but no thanks.

  • 01 Crime Stoppers LogoWell, now that our Hometown Utility PWC has ceased negotiations with Bernhard Capital, Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin and his cabal may be back to the drawing board for an alternative plan to raid the coffers of one of the most caring, well-managed and efficient utility companies in the state.

    On two fronts, the entire ordeal of the prospect of allowing an equity firm with no utility experience to take over the management or our local utility was the near-perfect example of how the lack of transparency in local government can impact a community.

    One: lack of transparency allows unpopular and unsavory schemes to hatch.

    Two: When there is openness in government, it enables local media to report news and provide detailed information to the general public, keeping them informed on issues and situations that affect taxpayers' livelihoods and quality of life.

    Transparency encourages elected officials to justify their actions. Free speech and transparency in government are vitally important in maintaining a free democracy. Of course, it helps when local elected officials care more about their constituents than they do themselves. In our community, it's sadly becoming pretty apparent they do not.

    Those who care about the Fayetteville and Cumberland County community and its residents get involved with the community. Two recent Fayetteville events demonstrated this type of caring.

    The local Crime Stoppers organization cares about our law enforcement officers. Fayetteville Crime Stoppers recently launched a county-wide appreciation initiative where they began visiting law enforcement agencies in Fayetteville and Cumberland County to present officers a full dinner gift card from Chick-fil-A. It was made possible through the partnership and generosity of local businessman Tommy Arnold, owner of Chick-fil-A, and the dedication of the Crime Stoppers organization. The initiative was launched May 6 with a presentation to the Fayetteville City Police Department by Arnold, Fayetteville Crime Stoppers Chairman Dr. Eric See of Methodist University, and Duncan Hubbard of Holmes Electric. These Crime Stoppers supporters and volunteers are people, businesses and organizations that care, and the Fayetteville community is better and safer because of them.

    The Care Clinic on Robeson Street is another perfect example of a local organization dedicated to caring for the health and welfare of residents who cannot afford health insurance for medical and dental services. For over a quarter century, this invaluable and charitable non-profit organization has depended on a countless number of caring volunteers from all walks of life, funded only by generous donations and a few well-planned community events.

    One such event was also May 6, when they held their annual Wine Tasting and Silent Auction at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens. It was heartwarming to see the outpouring of community support for an organization that provides medical and dental services to residents free of charge. The event was a virtual "who's who" of caring residents, including Mike Nagowski, CEO of Cape Fear Valley Health Systems, and State Representative John Szoka. Unfortunately, conspicuously absent were members of our city and county management team and our elected officials. This was highly disappointing.

    You would think this would have been the perfect time to come and support the Care Clinic and the people that do so much work for our residents. Our local elected officials missed this opportunity while sending a message of apathy to their constituents. No doubt, if asked, everyone will have a grand excuse for not attending, but the fact remains — “actions will always speak louder than words.”

    Another saying our leadership should become familiar with: "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

    As a media source, we work with hundreds of people and dozens of great invaluable organizations covering all aspects of quality of life in Fayetteville — people and organizations that care. These people and organizations make our life better and our community pleasantly unique.

    We need leadership that respects, encourages and endorses those values. There is no hiding from the truth. Again, "actions will always speak louder than words."

    In the coming months, all residents must pay close attention to the actions of those who seek leadership positions in our community. Their track record will speak volumes on how much they care about the Fayetteville and Cumberland County community.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 11 NeverlandAlpha & Omega Dance Academy is bringing Peter Pan, Captain Hook and the Lost Boys to the Sandhills with its spring recital, “Neverland.” The AODA team welcomes the community to enjoy this unique, dance driven presentation of Peter Pan’s story Saturday, June 9, at Fayetteville State University’s J.W. Seabrook Auditorium.

    A scaled-down children’s recital, featuring dancers ages 3-6, begins at 10:30 a.m. “Neverland,” the larger production showcasing students ages 7 and older, begins at 3 p.m.

    “Instead of holding a typical dance recital, our artistic staff and dancers work hard to provide a theatrical and thematic production, complete with a cast of main characters, narration, acting, costumes and creative sets and props,” said AODA owner and instructor Rachel Choi.

    AODA offers classes ranging from pointe to hip hop, and each of those classes will tell a part of the story – from ballerinas flying to Neverland to tap-dancing crocodiles to musical theatre performing the iconic song “Ugg-A-Wugg.”

    “Whether you’re attending our (production) to support your friends or decide (if) our studio is right for you, we’re excited to give you a sneak peek into our world of dance,” said Sarah Pages, artistic and production director and dance instructor.

    Choi said, “I hope this will be an entertaining show, but even more so, I hope ‘Neverland’ will serve to inspire everyone, young and old, to never forget the beauty and power of imagination, hope, belief and friendship – and perhaps a little bit of pixie dust.”

    AODA is a Christian studio and one of the only local non-competitive dance studios. Its ratings on popular platforms like Facebook boast 5 stars. Past AODA productions include “A Puppet to a Boy” (“Pinocchio,” 2012), “Oz” (“The Wizard of Oz,” 2013), “Narnia” (“The Chronicles of Narnia,” 2014), “Alice” (“Alice In Wonderland,” 2015), “Adventures with Mary and Bert” (“Mary Poppins,” 2016) and “Belle”( “Beauty & The Beast,” 2017).

    Tickets to “Neverland” on June 9 cost $10 and include entry to the morning children’s recital. They can be purchased in advance at AODA, 201 S. McPherson Church Rd., or at the door the day of the production at J.W. Seabrook Auditorium. AODA students and children under the age of six enter free. Seating begins 30 minutes prior to each show.

    Visit www.alphaomegadanceacademy.com or call 910-860-1405 to learn more.

  • tribute 2I never truly understood the role of a mother until I lost my mother, Cora Jones, the night before Thanksgiving in 2007. I also lost the person who informed me of her death. My little sister, Chakita Jones, was murdered four days before her 26th birthday. My sister and mother were not perfect, but they did their best to give their kids the best. As a mother of seven, my sister gave her life to save her son’s life. When my sister was killed, she was shielding my nephew from bullets. During her last six months of life, my mother was more worried about me, Kita, and Josh than the fact that she was dying. Her biggest concern was making sure that I finished high school and enrolled in college. But, when Kita called me, my entire world changed. I had never experienced the death of a family member. When I lost my mother, I felt numb for months. When I lost my mom, I lost unconditional love. I lost my direction in life, motivation, and my will to continue with life. Yes, I had suicidal thoughts. While many will not admit it, this is a reality for many of us who have lost our mother. You will never get over it. Every year, I, like others, am reminded of the importance of a mother.

    Mother’s Day is bittersweet for those who do not physically have a mother. We take the time to reflect on the beautiful memories she left us. However, we are constantly wishing that we can have one more conversation. Everyday, I wish that I can go back to 1360 Davis Street and sit on the steps under the tree with my mom while she has a cold beer after a long day of work at the cleaners.

     On Mother’s Day, me and Kita would visit her gravesite and reflect. Now, Kita is gone and I have to visit two gravesites. When my mom passed away, Kita was that last living piece of her that I had. Kita was four years younger than me, and no matter how much we would argue, I always knew she was going to be there. She provided that unconditional love that I needed at a trying time. We did not judge each other. When she had my niece, I watched her grow from a girl to a woman fast. Though she was young, she understood that she had to care for this life she was bringing forth. As we grew older, Kita had more kids and loved each one equally. At the time of her death, she was the mother of seven beautiful children. Realistically, I was in no position to take on the responsibility of seven more kids alone. So, I am forever thankful to my cousins Brittany, Courtney, and Iesha for being there. These women along with all the other females in my family stepped into a void that was created by a senseless act of violence. Before my mom passed, she met this woman that lived across the street from my aunt and they became friends. Over the years, Kia grew to be more like family and would become grandmother to all 10 of my mother’s grandchildren. She does her best to be present for every special occasion concerning the kids, just as my mother would.

     I will never forget the day I told Kita and Kia I was about to have my first child. They acted as if they were more excited than me. However, nothing will ever top the moment that my kid’s mother jokingly threw two positive pregnancy tests on me and said “congratulations, you a daddy now.” I jumped out of the bed and grabbed her instantly. She made me the happiest man on earth and gave me a reason to push forward. I was already confident in her mothering skills because she had a child prior to us meeting. I was the one who had to learn how to be a parent. She was the greatest teacher. When my son was born, I was constantly wondering if I was doing the right thing. I would always ask questions like “can I hold him,” “how am I supposed to do this,” or “are you sure I’m not hurting him.” She would always laugh while she helped me and reassured me that the baby is good. Like many mothers, G has made sacrifices to ensure that me and my boys can have peace... and clean clothes. As a father, I must commend the mother of my children. She is a mother and business owner that loves to give back. Last summer, in the late stages of her pregnancy, she participated in marches and helped to serve the homeless at the Market House. Her maternal gifts allow me the opportunity to focus on providing for our family. There is no amount of gratitude that can be shown to express how I feel about her.

     She recently donated her time and hands to mothers that lost their sons in combat. Her company, Royal Stitches, provided handmade red, white and blue roses named American Flowers to veteran nonprofit Southern CC, Inc. as a part of their “Tribute to Gold Star Mothers.” CEO Tony Brown and his organization honored Gold Star Mothers with a day of pampering. Mothers received a makeover courtesy of Fusion Hair Salon. After receiving makeovers, the group of women were escorted to Pierro’s for dinner and Hummingbird to make candles. During dinner, the mothers were serenaded by Tony and a group of men. Before departing, each mother was given a gift bag that included American Flowers among other gifts donated by small businesses throughout the community.

     A mother is the most important person you have in your life. As men, we will never know what it is like to carry a child. Witnessing childbirth changed my life. I can only imagine how it feels to birth a child. But, women do it every day. So, salute to every mother. Happy Mother’s Day. Salute to every activist getting active. Peace.  

     

    Pictured below: (left) Author Rakeem Jones and his sister Chakita.  (right) Cora Jones, the author's mother.

    Photos courtesy of the author.

    Keem and Kita

    Keem Mom Cora Jones

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 10 CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOFPlaywright Tennessee Williams wrote often about the human condition. Cruelty, suffering and yearning for love in alonely world consumed his writing. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” which he wrote in 1955, is no different. The Southern classic fits perfectly as the last show of the Gilbert Theater’s 2017-18 season, punctuating a theatrical journey of wild, caged hearts. Performances of the show run June 1-10.

    “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” tells the tale of a husband and wife, Brick and Maggie, who are at odds both physically and emotionally. They don’t sleep together. Brick, a copious drinker, is still in shambles over the suicide of his best friend. Maggie is concerned with whether or not Brick’s siblings will inherit Big Daddy’s fortune. Meanwhile, everyone except Big Daddy seems to know he is dying of cancer.

    Knee-deep in the sludge of greed, familial discord and lies, the whole clan gathers to pretend and to smile and to “celebrate” Big Daddy’s birthday. Yet as often happens with family, past slights explode to the surface.

    In Williams’ original play, he critiques the homophobia and sexism rampant particularly in the South. But these critiques don’t quite make it into the 1958 MGM film version, starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. The film was produced in the height of the Hays Code era, when sexual repression on film was the standard.

    According to director James Dean, the Gilbert Theater adapted Williams’ 1974 version of the play, which contains more overt portrayals of the original undertones.

    “(Williams’) plays are usually about how difficult communication is between people,” said Dean. “This one is really about this one rich family and their lack of communication in that core, the dysfunction of this family.”

    One of Williams’ earlier plays is subtitled “A Prayer for the Wild of Heart That are Kept in Cages.” It is also a good working summary of the Gilbert Theater’s season.

    The season opener, “Evil Dead: The Musical,” is a playful reflection of the wild being caged in a dead zombie body. A cage is a cage.

    The Gilbert’s follow-up was the classic story of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” George Bailey so embodies the idea of a caged free spirit. He wanted to build things. Go places. Be somebody. But he become strapped in his small town, destined to take over his father’s banking business and live a life of quiet desperation. The ending sees George accepting and becoming almost grateful for his cage.

    To paraphrase the candid Williams: you either accept it, kill yourself or stop looking in mirrors.

    By adapting David Ives’ play “Venus in Fur,” the Gilbert continued the theme of a trapped wildness aching to be free. Thomas wants to put Vanda in a certain kind of box: submissive to the director’s ideas and ego, demure, not headstrong. Still, Vanda is the one to turn the tables and put Thomas in that very box designed for her.

    “Antigone,” on the other hand, shows the wild heart of an activist, a revolutionary, trapped in the cage of simply being born in the wrong time.

    With “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” one hopes the Gilbert captures the desperation of Williams’ characters to connect beyond the steel cage of our individual selves. If so, it will be the cherry a top a well-crafted season.

    “Every single person can relate to the things going on in this play,” said Dean. “We all have problems within our family units. You might love them and at the same time you just can’t believe they’re saying or doing the things that they do.”

    To support the Gilbert and its 25th anniversary season next year, the theater is hosting a fundraiser featuring classical chamber music June 10. Tickets are $30 per person. For more information, visit www.gilberttheater.com.

  • 11 N2105P21004CIn 1914, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson officially recognized Mother's Day as a national holiday. More than a hundred years later, the holiday has become a global celebration to honor the mothers who made sacrifices to raise generations of children and support them through adulthood.

    While flowers or chocolates are a perfectly suitable way to say thanks, it's the way you live your life, the special words you say to her, or even those you write in a card that mean the most.

    Before I even turned 18, I left home to join the Army, and never returned except to visit. And while I can still hope that my life in some way is a tribute to the mother who raised and launched me into the world, so much of what I know about mothers and their adult children I've learned from a front row seat to an amazing mother and grandmother — my wife.

    On a recent Saturday, she made plans for as many as wanted to join us to gather their Nerf® guns and follow us, or to see how many we could fit inside each vehicle for a drive-thru dinosaur hunt in a neighboring county. It was a day of silliness including a lunch-on-the-road and picking strawberries at a local farm.

    Later that same day, our son knocked on the door with his children who were excited to give us some small gifts they picked out for us while on a Spring Break vacation. As if that weren't enough, the following day, our daughter invited mom and me over for fresh strawberry pie and some fun conversation.

    This is some of what being a mom is about. Loving your children, giving them your time and attention, and watching them blossom into parents who do the same. It's not all dinosaur hunts, gifts and strawberry pie, but those things stem from a life well-lived, and children well-loved.

    The Bible has much to say about the joys, challenges and rewards of motherhood. In Proverbs 31:26 it says "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." That's what I see when I look at the woman — the mother — I've spent more time with than any other. Wisdom and kindness. A mother who loves her children and theirs. A mother who wants the very best for every single one of them, and stops to call, video chat, and pray for each of them on a regular basis.

    There's not enough I can't say enough about the importance of motherhood, so if you're a mom — thank you. If your mother is still living, I hope you'll take it from here. Call her. Write a letter. Fill a card with words that will honor her and place it in her hands.

    As you celebrate all that motherhood is and means, let me point you again to the Bible. If you only have time to read one small chapter, read Proverbs 31 where you'll find this in the 28th verse – "Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

  • 15BiltmoreHere is a newspaper headline from last week: “A ‘palace’ in NC: One of the state’s largest homes is for sale.”

    Must be the Biltmore House in Asheville, I thought. Then I kept reading. No, the 16,000-square-foot home in the headlines is in Rougemont, a high-end Durham suburb. You can buy it for $6.95 million.

    But if you owned it, you would not come close to having one of the largest houses. Just for comparison’s sake, the White House has 50,000 square feet. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago has 62,500. Whitehall, the Palm Beach house Henry Flagler built for his North Carolina bride, Mary Lily Kenan, is 60,000.

    Another large North Carolina-connected house, Duke Farms, built in New Jersey by James B. Duke, had 58,000, until it was taken down in 2016.

    But if you are still thinking Asheville’s Biltmore House, you have the right idea. With a reported area of 175,000 square feet, it is by far the largest privately owned house in the United States.

    It is also one of the country’s most visited attractions.The mansion with 250 rooms is packed full of art, antiques, architecture, books, collections of vintage clothing and other accessories representative of the Gilded Age. The house is part of an 8,000-acre compound containing expansive gardens and landscapes, the first managed forest in the country, a deer park, miles of level paths and walking trails, a section of the French Broad River and a winery that enjoys a growing reputation.

    On a typical day, thousands of visitors pay up to $75 for a one-time visit to the attractions. If it sounds expensive, it is really a bargain compared to a trip to France to see something comparable.

    How did this world-class attraction come to be in North Carolina?

    In her latest book, “The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home,” Denise Kiernan tells the story of how and why the Biltmore House was built and how its gradual transformation to a high-class tourist attraction made its survival possible.

    In 1888, George Washington Vanderbilt, a young wealthy bachelor, and his mother came to Asheville to take advantage of the healthy mountain air. On horseback rides around the surrounding mountains and forest, George was enthralled. Through agents, he began the secret and systematic purchase of thousands and the tens of thousands of forest and farm lands. Ultimately, more than 100,000 of these acres became the nucleus of the Pisgah National Forrest.

    George also decided to build a home for himself and his mom. The idea began modestly, but after a trip to the Loire Valley in France with the famed architect Richard Morris Hunt, plans expanded. The designer of Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, was brought on to design the landscape, and Gifford Pinchot agreed to plan for the massive forests.

    The house opened in 1895. Kiernan told merecently that it might have been simply a 275-room “man-cave” for the then aging George. In 1898 he married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser, and in 1900 their daughter, Cornelia, was born at Biltmore.

    In Kiernan’s opinion, Edith is the great hero of the Biltmore story. When George died in 1914, financial challenges had surrounded the Biltmore operation. Edith took the lead. She secured and followed expert advice that required painful cutbacks and sales of beloved projects. Later, she arranged for the sale of most of the forest properties.

    In 1924, Cornelia married British diplomat John Cecil. Although their marriage did not last, their sons, William and George, and their families took charge of the aging castle. They developed a sustainable and profitable business model that assures our state will have our country’s largest privately owned house for many years to come.

  • 01 PWC FHUNote from Publisher Bill Bowman: I am yielding my space this week to Fayetteville resident, PWC ratepayer, and former District 8 Fayetteville City Councilman Ted Mohn. He is known for his laid-back common-sense management style, keen insights into complex city issues, and his razor-sharp analysis of what constitutes fiscal responsibility and good municipal business practices. Below he raises 13 pertinent questions about the proposal made to our city by Bernhard Capital to manage our Hometown Utility. These questions need to be answered before any further consideration is given to this proposal.

    Fayetteville PWC is correct to request being released from the non-disclosure agreement with Bernhard Capital LLC. Citizens of Fayetteville and FAYPWC ratepayers deserve answers on this proposal. Fayetteville City Council should join our FAYPWC in being released from the NDA. Our Hometown Utility belongs to us and we deserve answers in a reasonably timely manner.

    In June 2019, I attended a meeting at City Hall along with Mayor Mitch Colvin, Councilmember Tisha Waddell, FAYPWC Commissioner Darsweil Rogers, select Fayetteville senior staff and members from Bernhard Capital. Bernhard provided us a handout with background company information and the basic concept of how such an agreement might work. No specific financials were ever discussed. Everyone agreed much due diligence was needed for any further discussion for an initial financial proposal of this magnitude. June 2019 was the last time I heard of Bernhard’s idea until I noticed a closed joint-meeting between City Council, our FAYPWC Commission, Bernhard members and select city and FAYPWC senior staff. That meeting occurred on December 1, 2020, at Fayetteville State University. I thought it was odd at first but then I realized the extra space was most likely needed because of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements.

    Fayetteville taxpayers and FAYPWC ratepayers outside city limits deserve details of the Bernhard proposal. Below are some of my simple questions:

    1. How much actual cash will the city be provided upfront from Bernhard?

    2. Is Bernhard going to pay-off all current city debt in addition to the upfront cash?

    3. Who will set the FAYPWC customer electric, water and sewer rates?

    4. Who will negotiate with Duke Energy for long-term bulk electric rate purchases in the future?

    5. Will Bernhard pay actual property taxes versus how FAYPWC now pays Fayetteville money from their electric fund as payments in leu of taxes (PIT) as specified in the City/FAYPWC charter?

    6. Will the potential new annual property tax payments from Bernhard be greater each year than the PIT money currently paid by FAYPWC to the city per the charter?

    7. Will Bernhard actually build a satellite headquarters in Fayetteville and bring 200+ jobs like they told Lafayette, Louisiana, they were considering back in 2018 and never did?

    8. Bernhard says they make their investment back by being more efficient in running business. During their due diligence what aspects of running FAYPWC will they make more efficient to save money which would go back to their investors?

    9. Fayetteville PWC is a not-for-profit utility. Will the NC General Assembly have to update the charter to allow FAYPWC profits to be turned over to Bernhard and their investors?

    10. Fayetteville PWC currently takes what could be considered profit and turns around and uses that money for infrastructure upgrades, extensions and improvements. Will Bernhard take that money to repay their investors or will they continue to invest in infrastructure upgrades and replacements?

    11. Will Bernhard want some type of revenue sharing agreement where they automatically get “x%” of the initial annual revenue from the electric, water and wastewater fund regardless of projected/planned infrastructure needed upgrades identified by the FAYPWC?

    12. Who will have regulatory oversight of Bernhard’s management of our FAYPWC’s electric, water and wastewater departments and funds?

    13. How many years does this proposal last and what happens at the end of this proposal to the city, FAYPWC ratepayers and Bernhard investors?
    Many questions still need to be answered and I’ve only scratched the surface. If Bernhard has done their due diligence to make this a win-win for the city of Fayetteville, FAYPWC ratepayers and their investors, I’d like to see their amortization tables on who is held harmless, who makes out and who gets the short end of the stick. I need to see these projections from Bernhard broken down by each utility fund to better understand what is being proposed and projected. I also want to see projections from our FAYPWC senior staff and whomever the city of Fayetteville might have hired to review all of this.

    Residents and FAYPWC ratepayers deserve transparency on this proposal and we need it before our City Council and FAYPWC Commissioners take public votes on the Bernhard proposal.

  • 12FYSOThe Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra presents the Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Spring Concert Sunday, May 20, at 4 p.m. at Fayetteville Academy.

    “The purpose of this group is to give kids another opportunity to play; they are not incompetition with anybody,” said Dr. Larry Wells, music director of the FSYO. “This concert will feature all three of our ensembles: a concert band, a string ensemble and the full orchestra.”

    Wells added that one of the things he loves about this group is they don’t do many arrangements and they do the real versions of the compositions.

    “Some of the pieces are quite difficult and the students are learning how to manage professional music situations, so it is not watered down,” said Wells. “The full orchestra is doing the real version of John William’s movie music to ‘Jurassic Park,’ which is fantastic.” Wells added all of the groups are playing tough pieces, and it should be a great concert.

    The FSYO is now accepting applications for the 2018-19 school year. Registration deadline is Friday, Aug. 31. The orchestra is for students ages 13-21 in public, private or home-school, who have experience playing the violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, French horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba orpercussion.

    An advanced summer music camp will take place June 25-29 from 9 a.m.– 2 p.m.at Fayetteville Academy. It is suited for advanced players. In addition to the age requirement, the student must be able to play a two-octave chromatic scale and know at least five of the 12 major scales on their instrument and/or the student must have been participating in the FSYO for at least one year. The registration deadline is June 8.

    “We don’t turn anybody away and we will find a home for you,” said Wells. “We invite everyone to come out to the concert and see what the students have learned.”

    The concert is free and open to the public. For more information about your child’s opportunity to be a part of the FSYO, call 910-433-4690 or visit the website at www.fayettevillesymphony.org

  • 10Public Works Call Home Hero copyOn May 25, Cool Spring Downtown District will host 4th Friday, Fayetteville’s monthly exhibitionof art and culture, in conjunction with E. E. Smith High School. This month’s theme is high school reunion.“

    A joyful time, to be sure,” said Janet Gibson of 4th Friday, director of marketing and communications of the Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County. “Unique stores and restaurants are a buzz with activity. The streets are often filled with music and dance. Art is everywhere to be found.”

    One of the highlights of the event will be the opening of the annual art exhibition called “Public Works,” sponsored by Fayetteville PublicWorks Commission. This will be the thirteenth annual exhibition.

    “For the people and by the people, anyone can enter,” Gibson said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re three or 93, you can enter. If you’re into painting or photography, you can enter.” The only rule for submission is that you must live in Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson or Scotland County, Fort Bragg or Pope Army Air Field.

    This time-honored exhibit is something the community looks forward to every year and is a celebration of the many talented artists in the area.The art will be displayed within the art center gallery. “It will look like almost every square inch of the gallery will be filled with art,” Gibson said. There will be a people’s choice winner, which will be voted for online.

    The Arts Council is one of many places to visit during 4th Friday.

    There will also be a show of songs and stories from the ’50s to the ’80s at Headquarters Library, presented by The Parsons folk group from 7 to 9 p.m.

    A third highlight of the event will include arts and crafts with Fascinate-U Children’s Museum, where children can create spoon maracas out of recycled plastic eggs and explore the museum. Fascinate-U Children’s Museum will have free entry for the event.

    Additional exhibits include several art and history installations, such as displays at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum and the Cape Fear Studios Members’ Anniversary Exhibit.

    Gibson described 4th Friday as a celebration of the community. “You can feel the energy; it’s a great time to celebrate the arts, visual and performing, and it’s really heating up with spring and summer,” she said. “People get off work on Friday, they come down, they bring their families, and it’s a joyful celebration of everything we have down here.”

    Visit www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com/visit/4thfriday or www.theartscouncil.com/thingsto-do/fourth-fridays or search for Fourth Friday Fayetteville on Facebook for more information.

  • 08CrownsCape Fear Regional Theatre will wrap up the season with “Crowns,” a gospel musical, May17–June 3. The show, written by Regina Taylor, is adapted from the book “Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats” by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry.

    The book is a collection of photographs and oral histories of African-American women in their Sunday best, which includes elaborate head gear, a cherished custom prevalent in the South among many religious denominations.

    The musical weaves many of those stories into characters who offer support and encouragement to each other, said CFRT artistic director Mary Kate Burke. “It’s really a collection of stories about acommunity,” she explained.

    Yolanda, an African-American, struggles with grief after the death of her brother. She goes down South to live with Mother Shaw, her grandmother. Mother Shaw introduces Yolanda to her circle of “hat queens.”

    The “hat queens” embrace the younger woman and take her under their wings, said Cassandra Williams, who plays Mother Shaw. Each hat they wear has a story of a wedding, a funeral, a baptism. The women share stories of how they’ve managed life’s struggles. As a community, they help Yolanda deal with the loss of her brother and find her own identity.

    “It shows African-American culture, but any group of women can identify with the story,” Williams said. “The whole play is cathartic.”

    “And it’s funny,” said Burke, adding that these characters deliver a good bit of “hattitude.”

    “There is a different hat for every occasion,” Williams said, “and you are introduced to different characters vis-à-vis the different hats they wear.”

    Williams explained that “hat queens” are those women who can wear any kind of hat. “A regality comes with it and you feel like a queen – you know that you look good.”

    With that regality and confidence comes a broader message, said La’Tonya Wiley, who plays Mabel in the show.

    “We call them her crowns,” Wiley said. “It celebrates the power of a woman; it celebrates womanhood and femininity.” She added that the show allows men to see the complexity of women – just as there are layers and many parts to a hat, there are layers to women.

    The show will appeal to men as well as women, said Burke. “It is a celebration of womanhood, but not at the cost of men,” she said. “It has such a generous spirit.”

    “Crowns” is directed by Donna Bradby (“The Wiz”). The songs are traditional gospel, with some blues and jazz. Featured songs include “Ain’t That Good News,” “Marching to Zion,” “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” and “Wade in the Water.”

    Joining Williams and Wiley in the cast are Ariel Blake as Yolanda, Sha’air Hawkins, Janeta Jackson, Chasity McIntosh and Walter Johnson.

    Tickets for “Crowns” range from $17-$32, with discounts and group sales available. Special events for the musical’s run include Preview Nights May 17 and 18; Opening Night Celebration with the cast and creative team May 19; and Military Appreciation Night May 23.

    There will be a Tea and Chat with milliner Barbara Wood on May 20 at 5 p.m. with a hands-on demonstration of making a pillbox hat. The catered event is free but seating is limited, so register by contacting the box office at 910-323-4233 or janisl@cfrt.org. This event is sponsored by the Fayetteville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

    For more information about the show or special events, contact the box office at 910-323-4233 or visit www.cfrt.org.

  • 11F2TMovies can transport us to any place or time or culture. They engage the entire spectrum ofhuman emotions. We can laugh over life’s little failures or die a thousand deaths of heartbreak through the characters that flit across the screen. But really, we love movies because we love the shared experience.

    “Frame to Table” aims to celebrate the shared experience of film culture on Friday, May 4, at 7 p.m. at SkyView on Hay. It is a fundraiser with a unique twist that will benefit the third annual Indigo Moon Film Festival.

    With food and wines reminiscent of legendary movies, attendees can enjoy a “culinary trip around the world.”

    Pat Wright and Jan Johnson are the co-directors of the nonprofit putting on the fundraiser, as well as the organizers of the film festival. Both agreed the inspiration for this distinctive fundraiser stems from the desire to celebrate a love of movies.

    “There are certain films that are in our childhood that we love and mark moments in our lives where the family will all be gathered around the television or they all go out to a drive-in,” said Wright. “Film is very important cultural art, and we want people to remember how important film is to them and their personal history.”

    Though the films and local caterers have yet to be chosen for the event, the organizers promise attendees will not be disappointed.

    “It’s for movie lovers,” said Johnson. “We love decorating the tables to reflect the different ethnic areas like Italian or Vietnamese or Thai or African. There are films associated with all of those countries, so we just think it’s fun. People really enjoyed it last year.

    ”You can expect movies like “The King and I” for China or “Good Morning, Vietnam!” for, of course, Vietnam. Clips from the movies will play at each table chosen to represent a different country and its cuisines.

    According to Wright and Johnson, the fundraiser works as a way to “ignite excitement” about the upcoming Indigo Moon Film Festival. Seeing familiar movies from the past reminds festival-goers of the brand new international films to be screened in a few months.

    Last year, hundreds of people gathered to watch films submitted from all over the world. According to Wright, films have already been submitted from as far away as Afghanistan, Iraq and China this year.

    The fundraiser is vital to the film festival because it provides necessary funding to bring the filmmakers to Fayetteville.

    “Filmmaking is a difficult life and you often do a lot of work for not much money and very little in the way of screenings or recognition,” said Wright. “We want to do everything we can to encourage the directors to come and to be apart of the festival screening.”

    In fact, last year, the Indigo Moon Film Festival was the North Carolina premiere site for the acclaimed documentary “Hondros,” featuring Chris Hondros and directed by Greg Campbell. Both were Fayetteville natives and Terry Sanford High School graduates. According to Variety, the film has gone on to be purchased by Netflix.

    “We hope they have a great time (at the fundraiser), learn a little about how to attend a film festival and bring films up in their minds and remind them how much they love film,” said Wright.

    Indigo Moon will accept film submissions until July 30. Categories include feature-length and short narrative and documentary films, animation and student films.

    “Frame to Table” will take place at SkyView Lounge on Hay Street. Tickets are $50 per person. Visit www.indigomoonfilmfestival.com/f2t/tolearn more and to reserve your seats.

  • 08Natural Embrace photoThe city of Fayetteville, through the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, currently has several sculptures on display in various locations downtown.The complete exhibit is titled “Work in Progress.” The public art exhibit began two years ago with 11 sculptures. Because the sculptures are leased for 11 months, the current exhibit is the second rendition and is properly titled “Work in Progress 2.” There are now 17 sculptures on display. Private donors matched with Arts Council funding helps make them available to the Fayetteville community.The Arts Council is aiming to make one of them permanent.

    The sculptures are distributed strategically to encourage visitors and residents alike to explore the downtown district. City leaders across the state have been inquiring into Fayetteville’s “Work in Progress” Art Exhibit to learn how they could also implement such an exhibit in their cities. Various groups, including one home school group of 50 students, have requested tours to view the sculptures and learn about the artists and meaning behind the art. The city’s new mobile app offers self-guided tours using an interactive map that shows where to find the sculptures. It’s available for both Android and iPhone and is free.

    One sculpture in the exhibit has captured the hearts of many in the community. The public artwork is called “Natural Embrace” by sculptor Paul Hill. It is located at Person Street Plaza across from the Cumberland County Courthouse. The sculpture, made of metal, depicts a spiraling Venus fly trap. In a community wide survey, “Natural Embrace” was voted the favorite out of the 15 works of public art that were installed over the course of the year. There is currently a drive to raise funds to purchase it and make it permanent so it can be enjoyed for generations to come.

    The price for Fayetteville to purchase the sculpture is $40,000. The Arts Council’s goal is to raise $20,000 through fundraising efforts, and then it will contribute up to $20,000 in matching funds. Donations have ranged from $1 from a young child to over $2,000 from a resident committed to the arts. So far, $17,752 has been raised. Janet Gibson, director of marketing and communications for the Arts Council, has no doubt the Arts Council will meet the goal by the deadline. “Thanks to the generosity of community donations, I am confident ‘Natural Embrace’ will be a permanent fixture in downtown Fayetteville,” she said.

    If purchased, “Natural Embrace” will be the third permanent sculpture placed by the Arts Council in downtown Fayetteville. The sculptures “Tree of Good and Evil” and “Dancer” were both donations. Eric Lindstrom and Kennon Jackson donated the former and Dr. and Mrs. Patrick Callahan donated the latter.

    Gibson explain that in the unlikely event that the Arts Council falls short of its goal of $20,000 to put toward purchasing “Natural Embrace,” the sculpture would move on to another city in September and donations would be returned. Donors would also be given an opportunityto repurpose their donations to the Art Council.

    Learn more about the project at www.theartscouncil.com/naturalembrace

     

    PHOTO: “Natural Embrace” is located at Person Street Plaza across from the Cumberland County Courthouse.

  • 05JaneEyre1The sun sets on a picturesque Sunday afternoon in Fayetteville. Further down the hill on Hay Street, the annual Dogwood Festival was wrapping up its final day, but in the backyard behind the 1897 Poe House at the Museum of the Cape Fear, blankets were being spread and folding chairs were being opened in anticipation of a production of Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s “Jane Eyre.”

    The play is an adaptation of the Victorian novel of the same name by Charlotte Brontë. It’s about an orphaned girl who grows up to become a governess at Thornfield Hall where she is charged with looking after Adèle, the ward of a wealthy man named Edward Rochester. The novel and the play focus on the evolution of Jane’s relationship with Rochester, which is never as simple as it might seem.

    Director Jessica Osnoe and her crew have assembled a cast worthy of bringing this show to life. Jen Pommerenke turns in a delightful performanceas Jane – the humble orphan-turned-governess. Pommerenke brings a unique and quiet charm to the role. Opposite of Pommerenke for most of the production is Richard Adlam’s Edward Rochester. Adlam’s charisma commands attention any time he is onstage.

    The rest of the ensemble is a delight as well. Sweet Tea Shakespeare employs an old theater trick called “doubling,” which allows performers to work in multiple roles. This is the case with the rest of the performers in this production, who are all a pleasure in their own right.

    Alexcia Thompson (BlancheIngram/Bertha Mason) plays an essential part in the narrative and is a commanding presence. She brings such commitment to her part as Bertha, the mysterious laughing woman hidden away in the attic of Thornfield Hall, that the audience will inevitably want more of her.

    Traycie Kuhm-Zapata (Mrs. Fairfax/Mary Rivers) confidently leans into her position as a source of comedic relief. Gage Long (St. John Rivers/LordIngram/Clergyman) captivates and Annalise Kelly (Adèle Varens/Hannah Smith) is a treat to watch as is Erin Fossa (Mary Ingram/Diana Rivers). Gabe Terry (Richard Mason/Host), who has a unique and rewarding delivery, rounds out this capable ensemble.

    According to Osnoe, “Sweet Tea Shakespeare creates a home for beautiful, wondrous storytelling, so ‘Jane Eyre,’ the story of an orphan in search of love and home, makes perfect sense for us.”

    Pommerenke agreed: “’Jane Eyre’ is a timeless story that is recognized by so many. To me, both Jane and Rochester find a home in the love and acceptance of each other. But home also comes in the form of redemption, forgiveness and family in this story.”

    Long added that working on ‘Jane Eyre’ has been a true pleasure. “I’d have to say, besides working with a passionate cast, my favorite aspect (of this production) would have to be bringing the script to light on stage. With the help of Miss Osnoe, we’re able to bring deeper insight into Brontë’s story. My deepest hope is to connect with an audience, and I get the joy of doing that at every performance.”

    It is clear that the entire cast shares in that sentiment. It is a joy to watch the company at Sweet Tea Shakespeare bring this story to life.

    “Jane Eyre” continues with shows May 3-6, starting each evening at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $8-$20. Children under five are admitted for free. For more information, or to order tickets, visit www.sweetteashakespeare.com or call 910-420-4383.

     

    PHOTO: Richard Adlam plays Edward Rochester.

  • uac051811001.jpg Nothing says summer in Fayetteville like Fayetteville After 5. With the demise of the Fayetteville Museum of Art, many in the community thought this beloved event would also slip away. But thanks to community sponsors and the Dogwood Festival Board, the event is back and better than ever.

    So slip on your shagging shoes and head down to Festival Park on Thursday, May 19, to welcome summer to the community with the smooth sounds of one of the state’s favorite beach bands, The Tams.

    “We are so excited to be honored with the opportunity to partner with Bud Light/R.A. Jeffrey’s with another community event,” said Carrie King, executive director of the Dogwood Festival. “Our partnership through the spring Dogwood Festival has blossomed into a series of committed community events. We are thrilled to be given the opportunity to host this event.

    “With this joint venture we now are a one-stop source for free entertainment for the spring and summer,” she continued. “We certainly don’t give folks a reason to say there’s nothing to do in Fayetteville!”

    While King has nothing but good things to say about the title sponsor, Jeff Fox, the zone manager for R.A. Jeffreys is also a big fan of the Dogwood Festival.

    “This year’s Fayetteville After 5 concert series will be spectacular with our new host, the Dogwood Festival,” he said. “We are very proud of the success this event has had in the past, and moving forward, we know that Fayetteville After 5 will be another premier event. We, at Bud Light R.A. Jeffrey’s, are excited to offer Fayetteville After 5 as a free event in the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg community — the place we call home.”

    The community is again invited to bring their blankets and lawn chairs down to the park to listen to some great music, dance and enjoy a summer’s evening with their friends and families. Food and beverages will be available for sale at Festival Park.

    The event has quite a following among lovers of beach music, and those folks will be happy to know that some of their favorite bands will be returning.

    The Tams will kick-off the event on May 19. Formed in Atlanta, Ga., in 1962, the members of the05-18-11-thetams.jpgband sang and danced as a way of having fun and to escape their circumstances while hoping to make at least a little money. The group began performing in local night spots for $1.25 each. These small wages only allowed for them to purchase matching Tam O’shanter hats to wear while on stage. From this trademark, the legendary Tams name was born. The band had their first Billboard hit in 1962, the single “Untie Me.” In 1963, ABC Records signed them and their fi rst album produced a Top 10 hit, “What Kind of Fool.” They began playing throughout the country and a string of hits followed, including “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy,” “I’ve Been Hurt” and “Hey Girl.” Since then, they have released more than 15 albums and been honored with one Platinum and two Gold records. They have toured and recorded with Jimmy Buffet and performed with such greats as Gladys Knight, Jackie Wilson and many more. They have received the title “Beach Band of the Decade” and have been inducted into the Georgia Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Hall of Fame and the Beach Music Hall of Fame.

    On June 16, Cafe Mars, a Raleigh-based band known for a mix of funk, jazz and pop will be on stage.

    On July 21, another legendary band, The Embers, will take to the stage. For decades The Embers have been making music by playing a mix of rhythm and blues and heart and soul — otherwise known as Beach Music — for years. Bobby Tomlinson, drummer and the leader of the band, believes that Beach Music is music with a memory. To say that the Embers play Beach Music is an understatement. After 17 albums and numerous single releases, The Embers are one of the most popular bands as well as one of the most active groups in the country. They boast an average of 300 dates per year, all ranging from Toronto to Florida, and westward to California and Hawaii. Over the years they’ve played for presidents and princes, students and bankers, at the beach and in the city, on record and in concert.

    The Embers have survived disco, punk, new wave and hip-hop. They’ve been inducted into the South Carolina Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame and were named North Carolina’s Offi cial Musical Ambassadors.05-18-11-cafe-mars.jpg

    On Aug. 18, Suicide Blonde will return to Fayetteville After 5. Based out of Raleigh, N.C., Suicide Blonde is comprised of “children of the ‘80s” who have united to bring back the spirit of this incredible decade. With its lineup of experienced musicians, this exciting band well remembers what it was like to wear a mullet, hop in the Trans-AM and drive to the blaring sounds of AC-DC, David Bowie or the Cure. With a wealth of experience in many genres of music, Suicide Blonde brings the required professionalism, musicianship and unmistakable love of the ‘80s to the stage for an unforgettable time of fun and excess.

    The series winds up on Sept. 15, with a performance by The Band of Oz. The Band of Oz was formed in 1967 as a part-time band playing fraternity parties and high school proms all over the South. In 1977, the band went on the road full time. Since that time the band has made an exceptional name for itself throughout the Southeast by playing the top clubs and corporate parties, and getting excellent reviews along the way. For several years the group has been a guest on most of the major beach concerts in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia.

    All the fun happens the third Thursday of every month at Festival Park. Bring your blankets, chairs, friends and families, but leave your pets and your coolers at home. For more information, visit www.faydogwoodfestival.com.

    Photo: Top right - The Tams, bottom left - Cafe Mars

  • 060111001.jpg “From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.”

    Saint Arnold of Metz, The patron Saint of Brewers

    On Saturday, June 4, Fayetteville lovers of beer and the blues will get a chance to indulge themselves, as the Cape Fear Regional Theatre brings the 8th Annual Blues and Brews Festival downtown.

    The event, which was fi rst held down by the river at Campbellton Landing, now calls Festival Park home. Each year the theatre brings some of the best brewers and beers from around the southeast for one afternoon. For much of that time, veteran CFRT performer Cassandra Vallery has been at the helm of the event. She has seen the festival grow each year and expects this year’s Blues & Brews Festival to be better than ever.

    “We are bringing more than 19 of the best brewers from around the southeast to Fayetteville,” said Vallery. “We also have some of our great local distributors who are going to bring the beers that they represent so that people will have a great variety of beers to sample.”

    Each of the breweries will bring a variety of their beers to the festival, which usually showcases around 50 different individual beers. Each ticket gives the attendee a 6 ounce souvenir tasting glass to use throughout the afternoon. As beer connoisseurs work their way around the festival grounds, they will have the opportunity to sample the beer and talk with the brewers about them

    .Some of the brewers who will be on hand are:

    Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, a Farmville, N.C., based brewery that specializes in dark beers. The brewery opened in August of 2004, and has been involved with the festival since its inception. According to the brewery’s website, the brewers “specialize in beautiful, delicious, full flavored dark beers.”

    Some of the brewery’s offering are: an amber ale that is a medium bodied beer with a lovely tawny copper or bronze color. This brew emphasizes malt complexity with layered caramel malt flavors; a brown ale that is an American brown ale brewed with loads of hops from start to finish and a flowery aroma; and a porter that features a pronounced flavor of roasted grains reminiscent of dark chocolate.

    Lone Rider Brewing Company, a Raleigh-based brewery, touts itself a brewing “ales for outlaws.”

    Offerings include: Shotgun Betty, which is a German-style Hefeweizen wheat beer with a rich06-01-11-brews-crowd-pic.jpg banana-clove nose and refreshing dry finish; Peacemaker, a west coast-style American Pale Ale with a unique and bountiful hope aroma with a well-balanced bitterness; and Sweet Josie a complex American brown beer that has a nice hop bitterness with a generous amount of chocolate and aromatic malts.

    Kinston-based Mother Earth Brewing will also be at the festival. The brewery puts “fresh hops and malts” and “a lot of heart and imagination into every Mother Earth bottle.” Offerings include Endless River, which is a clean, crisp beer, Kolsch offers a very slight fruity flavor and aroma. It is light gold in color, with a delicate head; Weeping Willow Wit, which offers low hop bitterness and pours very hazy, with a light gold color. It has a bitter orange peel and fresh coriander that adds zest and depth; Sisters of the Moon that is made with American hops. It is light copper in color and has an intense hop aroma and strong hop bitterness.

    Fayetteville’s own breweries Huske Hardware House and the Mash House will also be on hand to offer some of your favorite local brews. Other breweries include Carolina Brewery, Big Boss, Brooklyn Brewery and Natty Greene’s Brewing Company.

    In addition to the beer, there will also be a wide variety of food vendors on hand including Huske Hardware, Two Brothers Grilling, YumYum Chicken, and vendors selling pizza, hot dogs and other beer-friendly foods.

    While you sip and eat, you can also listen to a great line-up of blues musicians, many of who call Fayetteville home.

    “It is a very laid back atmosphere,” said Vallery. “Each year we get people out who love beer, love good music and love to have a good time.”

    While children are welcome at the event, Vallery said that there will not be any children’s activities during the festival.

    06-01-11-brews-picnic.jpgThere are four levels of tickets:

    The VIP Ticket is $35 and gives patrons an hour of private beer pour before the gates open. Each VIP ticket holder will also be able to enter the VIP tent and eat a picnic lunch provided by Huske Hardware.

    The gate opens at 5 p.m. for other ticket-holders. Tickets are $25. There is also a non-drinking ticket for designated drivers and others who don’t like beer but would like to enjoy the afternoon. That ticket is $15. There is also a children’s ticket, which is $10.

    “All of the money goes to the CFRT to support our annual productions,” said Vallery. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year.”

    The event runs from 5-10 p.m. Volunteers are needed, and all VIP tickets must be purchased before the day of the event. For tickets and more information, visit the website at www.cfrt.org.

  • Skype With Loved ones

    We live in a transient world. Families are no longer living on the same farm or within walking distance of one another. They often live miles, states or even continents apart. Fortunately, we have technology that bridges the distance gap. Martha and I were talking with one of our clients recently about a gift his son gave him, a laptop computer with a camera and microphone. He was so excited about the fact that he can now have video con-ferences with his son and grandchildren in New York City. Either one would phone the other to see if they were available for a conference. Then, they all got in front of their computers and con-nected real-time with each other. He not only talked to his grandchildren, but was able to actu-ally see the expressions on their faces. It was the next best thing to being physically together. He even got dressed up for the occasion.05-11-11-senior-corner.jpg

    The business world of video conferencing has now moved into the homes of millions of people. The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project tracked adults using online video technology. They found that 31 percent of people 50 years old and older are using this form of communication. Half of the 31 percent were 65 and older. Skype is a popular software application that allows subscribers to make free voice and video calls over the internet using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. The technology is so straightforward that many teenagers are very capable of helping their grandparents get started.

    These real-time connections with family are a huge bonus. Grandparents can place the call and read books to their grandchildren at bedtime, share in the excitement of a report card, or view a newly completed art project. Imagine being able to show your grandchildren one of your special talents and not hav-ing to wait for a visit to show them. How meaningful for them and you to be able to share with each other on a regular basis.

    Because of the ease in getting it set up, many people are applying it to a variety of situations. One example really impressed me. Nancy Crawford, a 100 year old resident of an assisted living facility in Charlotte, N.C., went to her doctor appointment with a geriatric care manager who brought along a laptop with a webcam, microphone, and Skype connection. Her grandson, six hours away, was able to see, hear and be involved with what was happening at the doctor’s office and be engaged in the care his grandmother was receiving. He even noticed his grandmother was wearing the new wig he gave her as a birthday gift. Great use of technology

    !Connecting with loved ones has never been easier. Think beyond cell phones and text mes-sages. Think beyond emails and downloaded photos. Using a home computer, internet appli-cation, webcam and microphone, you can con-nect with someone in real-time - you are looking right at them, and they at you, on your computer screen. You’ll be surprised how enjoyable it is once you get started.

  • uac052511001.jpg As baseball season approaches, the Swampdogs are busier than ever. Sure, they play a great game of baseball, but this local team offers so much more than nine innings and summertime refreshments.

    When you buy a ticket to one of their games, you are uniting with an organization that is a powerhouse of goodwill and generosity in this community. Not only do they give to the community, but they’ve supplied the major league teams with a few players, too. The season opens on May 31, with the first home game on June 1.

    Just like last year, fans can expect something different at every game. A fan favorite in these tough economic times is the family four pack, which is four tickets and four meals for $30. There aren’t many places where you can bring the family out for an evening of entertainment and a meal for 30 bucks.

    Every half-inning of every home game, there is an on-fi eld promotion — so there is fan involvement on the fi eld throughout the whole game. There is no lull in the action, whether it is the pie eating contest which gets two kids just covered in pie, or the toilet seat toss, which is like a big game of horse shoes, where folks are throwing toilet seats at a plunger to win a prize. The SwampDogs work hard to make sure the fans are actively engaged

    .Jeremy Aagard, the SwampDogs assistant general manager, likens it to the Super Bowlwhen “you go to the bathroom during the game so you can see the commercials,” only at a SwampDogs game, “You get up to go to the bathroom during the game because you want to see the on-fi eld promotions.”

    To add to the excitement, every home game has a different theme. Some of the highlights are Striking Out Cancer night by Cape Fear Valley Health System in which the players wear one-of-a-kind pink jerseys that are auctioned off at the end of the game. All the proceeds go to The Friends of Cancer Center. There is also the 7th Annual Bobblehead giveaway presented by Lumbee River EMC. The first 500 fans to the gate get a bobblehead of the SwampDogs’ mascot Fungo.

    “There are people who collect these and can’t wait till next year to get the newest one,” said Aagard. “We’ve got 15 giveaways this season. You can come to the ballpark every home game and more than half of those night05-25-11-swampdogs-pie.jpgs you will probably come home with something as a give-away item.”

    Summertime St. Paddy’s Day is back, too. Watch as the team turns the park green and gives all the players Irishsurnames for the night. There is Irish music and a pint glass giveaway. 

    On Father’s Day, the first 500 dads into the park will get a Bar-b-que gift set. The SwampDogs see it as a cool way tocome hang out with dad at the ball park. 

    The Sandhills Senior High School Showcase gives graduated seniors from area high schools their last chance to play in front of the hometown crowd. The MVP of that game gets a $1000 scholarship, too. It is a night when the SwampDogs are actually away, but it is a really neat experience for the students who just graduated to play on a semi-pro fi eld.

    According to Aagard, one of the season high points is the Coastal Plain League (CPL) All-Star game. He says it is not unusual for CPL players to make it to the major leagues. This year, the SwampDogs are hosting the event on July 17 and 18.

    “We just had another SwampDog who was a CPL All-Star in ‘05 make his major league debut — Andy Dirks. I think the biggest thing is that fans can come to the Swamp and there is a good chance they will see a future major leaguer — if not more than one — which is really, really cool to bring to Fayetteville,” said Aagard, adding that “According to Doug Peters, the president of Chamber of Commerce, the CPL All-star game could represent a $2 million economic impact on Fayetteville and the surrounding area. We are bringing people from all across the country to see their kids play. They’ll be spending money on hotel rooms, restaurants, gas station05-25-11-swampdogs-cookie.jpgs — there is going to be a huge infl ux in the two-day span.”

    There are plenty of other events this season that Aagard is excited about sharing with the fans, like the fireworks shows. Look for another one to be added to this year’s calendar. That brings the number of games that end in a fireworks display up to four over the course of the season. The shows will take place on June 4, July 3, July 18 and July 30.

    “Last year we had more than 5,500 people here on July 3. I’m telling you it is the best fi reworks extravaganza of the summer,” said Aagard. “It is phenomenal … it is just unbelievable that we continue to draw such large crowds. We really appreciate everyone coming out every year as it has continued to grow.

    “We put all our effort into making sure we put on a good show and that the families are taken care of, and I guess it is just a bonus that we always have a good baseball game going on at the same time,” he added.

    When it comes down to it, the SwampDogs are very serious about providing fantastic family-friendly entertainment, and making the community a better place while they do it.

    For more information, visit www.goswampdogs.com.

  • 07 khiarimhoons Quarantine may seem to be winding down, but the need for social distancing remains. In the past few months, the quarantine brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that personal connections are a vital part of daily living. Without them, the world seems a little bleak. In response to this need for connection with others, the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County joined forces with artists of all disciplines to host Hay Street Live Virtual Jam Session. It is a bright spot in a trying situation and something to look forward to each week.

    Using modern technology, the Arts Council is bridging the gap by hosting a series of virtual events every Friday, at 6 p.m., through live streaming on Facebook.

    While the concept of time may be altered due to the quarantines, the attempt to reach some kind of normalcy is vital to mental health and maintaining relationships. Whether it seems real or not, spring has sprung, and Memorial Day is in the rearview mirror. Summer has officially begun. Aren’t we all ready for some fun? May 29, performer Kiari Mhoon will be featured on Hay Street Live Virtual Jam Session to kick off summer with some smooth R&B and pop tunes.
     
    Although he’s young, 21-year-old Mhoon has performed for many years, starting his foray into entertainment right after he learned to walk and continuing to today. Originally from Arkansas, his family settled in Tennessee, where he attended high school and performed in school plays, the choir and madrigals, as well as small group ensembles and solo performances. During his time in the Army, Mhoon played the lead in the “ U.S. Army Soldier Show” and sang the national anthem at several events and ceremonies.

    After winning a contest held by Universal Records, Mhoon took his group “Versatile” on a nightclub tour. In 2017, he released his first album, “24 Hours,” under his independent label, Mhoon Records. This was followed by a second album, “All I Want,” in 2019.

    This week, Mhoon, who is influenced by artists such as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Beyonce, will perform for the Fayetteville community, so get ready to groove. According to Mhoon, listeners can expect to hear “songs from his albums, along with songs that have inspired me in some way.”

    “Kiari is an immensely talented vocalist, and he also performs in the 82nd Airborne Band,” stated Metoya Scott, public relations manager for the Arts Council. She continued, “While this may not be the same experience as seeing Kiari perform live, it will still be very entertaining” for those who attend.

    In closing, Scott acknowledged how the Hay Street Live program has grown since it started. “The Arts Council is grateful (for) the amount of participation we’ve received for Hay Street Live, and we are looking forward to more performances to come,” she said.

    To view Kiari Mhoon this Friday, and for performances going forward, visit www.theartscouncil.com, www.wearethearts.com, or check out Facebook @TheArtsCouncilFAY to view the upcoming virtual concerts.
     
  • 09 01 magicianThe Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County presents Hay Street Live: A Virtual Jam Session, every Friday, from 6-7 p.m., streaming live through Facebook.

    “Hay Street Live is a virtual jam session that is streamed live through our Facebook account, which is at Facebook.com/TheArtsCouncilFay,” said Metoya Scott, public relations manager of the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. “It gives our community a chance to connect with local artists from North Carolina and comment and party in the house.”

    It’s a fun and entertaining way to support and showcase local talent, but with a twist! For each show, the Arts Council invites a mixologist from a local restaurant to share their favorite mixed drinks with the audience and to share the secrets of how to make a perfect cocktail. Often, the drink recipes are original recipes or modern interpretations of classics. The audience gets a new recipe and insight on the science of beverage making, and businesses and mixologists get some exposure — it’s a win-win.

    The entertainment lineup varies from week to week. Last week, soulful singer Leme Nolan of Beaufort, North Carolina, entertained Fayetteville audiences by belting out covers of pieces by Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige and SWV, in addition to performing her original work, “Love with a Ring Attached.” 

    The week before that, it was the All-American rock group, The Guy Unger Band — the ultimate “light up your life” party band that really knows how
    to rock.

    Coming up on the Virtual Hay Street Live program this Friday, May 22, is another local top-notch Carolina rock band known from the mountains to the coast, Rivermist. Voted the 2018 and 2019 Best Band in Fayetteville by Up & Coming Weeklyreaders,  Rivermist has been performing up and down the East Coast since 2014, although the band members have performed together for decades. According to Greg Adair, founding member and manager of Rivermist, they love working locally, especially when supporting the Arts Council, historic downtown Fayetteville and the military. He’s proud of the band’s motto: "Ain't No Party Like A #rivermistparty cause a Rivermist Party Don't Stop!"

    The band did not feel right about accepting donations or tips during Hay Street Live for their personal use because of the circumstances of the virtual event, but there will be a link to the Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research should people decide to donate on behalf of the band.

    Rivermist hopes to replicate the feeling of a live performance. “We figured what we’d do is set up several cameras — we've got a system that we’re going to try to use," Adair explained. "We’re going to try to do a full stage, lights, everything show. I know it’s going to be more work and a lot more tech involved, but people have waited this long for it.”

     Adair hopes that people will interact with the band online while the event is streaming and even make requests.

    Hosted by Bill Bowman, publisher of the Up & Coming Weeklynewspaper, he will introduce the evening’s official guest mixologist, Joseph “BEAR” Dewberry, owner of On After Bar & Grub. BEAR will introduce viewers to two of his favorite signature summer drinks — "Bear’s Southern Peach" and the "Hot Head."

    In addition, Hay Street Live introduces Jeremy Ruis, a young Fayetteville-born magician who has been making magic an art since he was 7 years old. Watch closely. Jeremy brings fun, wonder and amazement everywhere he goes.

    Since the arrival of COVID-19, the Arts Council’s in-person events have been canceled, but that doesn’t mean the fun stops. “During this uncertain time, we want to give people a way to connect and still be entertained,” said Scott. “We recently had to cancel an exhibition, and the artist donated the money that they paid to have their art exhibited back to the Arts Council. That really warmed our hearts, so we wanted to do something to promote our artists — so we started doing Hay Street Live.”

    Scott added that because COVID-19 has impacted so many artists, the Arts Council wanted to give them a platform to continue to share their artistry while engaging people at home with high-quality entertainment. With a little creative thinking, it didn’t take long to come up with something different and entertaining to look forward to every Friday night.

    “Please join us by streaming — and interact by asking the band, bartender or host questions,” said Scott. “This event allows you to have a really
    good time.”

    There is a page on the Arts Council’s website for bands or artists to apply to perform. The performer for Hay Street Live on May 29 will be Kiari Moon. Viewers can send a virtual tip to the performer by visiting www.wearethearts.com. Visit www.theartscouncil.com for more information.

    09 02 RivermistVirtual 4th Friday

    The excitement doesn't stop when Hay Street Live ends. In a typical month, Fayetteville citizens could look forward to walking the streets of downtown Fayetteville, perusing local businesses, looking at art, hearing great music and participating in events for the Cool Spring Downtown District’s 4th Friday event. Although little has been typical recently, CSDD has been working  hard to provide the same level of entertainment and fun that locals look forward to every month but all available through handy technology. From 7-8 p.m., visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1131937423837143/ to see a livestreamed Virtual 4th Friday.

    "We want to help our downtown community during this time, and virtual 4th Friday is one of the few ways we can do that … 4th Friday is another thing people can experience from the comfort of their own homes but also be directed to a website with downtown businesses that are currently open," explained Lauren Falls, the marketing and events director for CSDD. "We want to do that because we not only want to support our downtown community but give back during this time. Virtual 4th Fridays are one of the few ways we can do that."

    If you loved Rivermist's music for Hay Street Live, they will be back for an encore performance for the 4th Friday live stream. In addition to the live music, Matthew Mercer will create some new art during the stream. Mercer has an impressive resume. In his 20-year career, he has illustrated three books, drawn a family portrait of NFL Hall-of-Famer Emmit Smith of the Dallas Cowboys and his family and even been invited to the White House, where he drew a family portrait for President Barack Obama. In addition to these impressive achievements, Mercer has drawn over 20,000 caricatures between working as an artist at Walt Disney World and his own business.

    "I think virtual events are important for the community not just to have something to do, but the way we try to do our 4th Friday event is to try to encourage people to shop, eat, and support local," Falls said.

  • 07 haystreetliveThe world has changed a lot in the last six months. We’ve changed the way we shop, worship and celebrate. We’ve changed the way we greet each other, and when we are lucky enough to meet in person, that’s changed, too — masks on and 6 feet apart, please. What hasn’t changed, though is our desire to have fun. To connect. To be entertained. To interact. Also unchanged is the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County’s passion to bring art and entertainment to the community. The organization has reimagined ways to support artists while engaging residents. Gallery tours are virtual now. And a new program called Hay Street Live provides an interactive and entertaining alternative to passively binge-watching yet another series. The next Hay Street Live is set for Friday, May 15.

    Remember going to a live performance and laughing and chatting with friends? Watching the mixologist show off their newest recipe? Connecting with the energy of a talented performer? Hay Street Live has remixed that experience. It’s part talk show, part convo, part mixology lesson and 100% entertainment. And in this case, the audience is up close and personal with the host and the talent. Tune in to the Arts Council’s Facebook page at 6 p.m. for the Facebook
    Live event.

    The flow of the evening takes the natural course of a night out — some chatting, then maybe some entertainment and a short conversation with the performer. Cutaway to the mixologist for some chit chat and a new recipe and demonstration, then back to the performer for another song, etc. Attendees participate throughout the event, commenting and using Facebook’s interface to let the other people involved know how they feel about what is going on.

     This week’s host is Kia Anthony, founder and president of Circa 1865.

    R&B singer Leme Nolan headlines the musical portion of the event with a combination of original and cover songs. Her original piece is “Love with a Ring Attached.”  She will also perform pieces by Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige and SWV.

    Nolan said one of her favorite things about performing is the connection she creates with the audience. “With music, it is all about connecting and being real. It represents who I am, and it comes naturally to me. I am really thankful for this opportunity. We are going to have a good time.”

    Nolan also plans to relaunch her dance challenge at Hay Street Live.

    Jaquetta “Lady J” Gooden is the mixologist for the week. She’s no stranger to the show, having been the host as well as the mixologist in the past.

    This week, she’ll be making her take on a blood orange margarita and another tequila-inspired cocktail.

    In addition to being fun, the program is important. “Hay Street Live is a virtual show that gives local artists a platform to showcase their talents,” said Gooden. “ … I believe what makes Hay Street Live stand apart from other streaming events (is that) it is providing a sense of going out without leaving your home. It’s like attending a concert from your home — and you get to learn how to make some fun cocktails along the way.”

    Hay Street Live lasts from 6-7 p.m. and is set for every Friday through June 12. To find out more about the Arts Council and Hay Street Live, visit www.theartscouncil.com. Find out more about Nolan at https://www.lemenolan.com/ or check out her music on Youtube.

  • On May 11, along with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers will perform at Saint Ann Catholic Church at 7:30 p.m. Michael Martin, conductor of the COS is excited about the performances that will be featured that evening. 05-02-12-cos-lgo.jpg

    The theme of the show is light and the title of the performance is Let Your Light Shine. Composer Morton Lauridsen’s piece titled Lux Aeterna illustrates the concept of light being very powerful in both poetry and song. The five movements of Lux Aeterna are based on various references to light from sacred Latin texts. The power and finesse of Lux Aeterna will speak to each of us in its own way.

    “The first recording of Lux Aeterna by the Los Angeles-based composer Morten Lauridsen demonstrates that it IS possible for important contemporary music to speak directly to the human heart. Composed in 1997 for the LA Master Chorale, Lux Aeterna is a rich, complex, intensely moving piece that people will be listening to for a long time to come,” raves Jim Svejda, National Public Radio at www.peermusicclassical.com.

    On the same site, Lauridsen describes his work …“Lux Aeterna — Eternal Light — is an intimate work of quiet serenity centered around a universal symbol of hope, reassurance, goodness and illumination at all levels. This work formed in my mind over several years, and I began serious work on the piece shortly following the completion of Les Chansons des Roses in 1993. I put aside the Lux in early 1994 to compose the Christmas canticle, O Magnum Mysterium. The serenity and the uncomplicated and lyric style of O Magnum Mysteriumare continued in Lux Aeterna, which is fashioned on texts from several different Latin sources, including the requiem mass, each containing a reference to Light.”

    Born in 1943, Lauridsen was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale from 1994-2001 and professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than thirty years. His works have received three Grammy nominations. In 2006 Lauridsen was named “American Choral Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2007 he received a National Medal of arts from President Barack Obama. This is the highest award given to artists and art patrons by the U.S. government.

    The conductor of COS, Martin, along with his wife Amanda and their two children David and Meredith, relocated to Fayetteville, North Carolina in 2007 from the great state of Maine. Martin is originally from New England, where he received his Bachelors Degree then received his Advanced Degree in Music Education from Kent State in Maine.

    Martin soon discovered that the Cumberland Oratorio Singers group was in need of a conductor and so he quickly jumped at the opportunity of becoming the next conductor. In 2008 he was appointed artistic director and conductor for this group of talented singers.

    An Oratorio is a large-scale musical work for orchestra and voices, typically a narrative on a religious theme performed without the use of costumes. The COS is made up of members with a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, ages, and musical experiences. There are currently 70 members in the COS group but it has been as many as 100 members. “The group is so diverse that we are able to do some things that other groups can’t do,” stated Martin. Because of the demographics of the group it has allowed them to connect to the community in a different way and next year they are planning on combining and working more with the Fayetteville Orchestra Symphony. For ticket information, please call COS President Margaretta G. Kelly at 482-0006 or Director Michael Martin at 630-7153.

  • 09 01 Stonecloud picA cool evening breeze drifting lazily up the banks of the Cape Fear River. Live music wafting through the air. Friends and family gathering to enjoy an evening in the fresh air. This is what longtime musician and Fayetteville native Greg Adair had in mind when he set out to bring Rock’n on the River to Fayetteville in 2017. And he had the perfect spot in mind, just across the river from Fayetteville proper near Campbellton Landing.

    09 02 Bad Inc“It is such a cool place — a quaint place with shade and a meadow off the river,” said Adair. “Using the Cape Fear River is always a plus. It has always appealed to me. … I love being riverside.”

    He first had his sight set on the Sol Rose Amphitheater, home of the Cape Fear Regional Theatre River Show for many years. In the end, he chose to partner with Craig Williams, owner of both the nearby eatery Deep Creek Grill and the sporting goods store Deep Creek Outfitters. “Craig built a stage behind  Deep Creek Grill with a permanent top on it,” said Adair. “It’s perfect for what we wanted to do. We figure we can 09 03 Throwback Collaboration Bandfit 1,100-1,200 attendees.” And they’ve already come pretty close to that.

    Rock’n on the River hosted its first concert in October of 2018. About 400 people showed up to hear Adair’s band, Rivermist, and  The Guy Unger Band.

    2019’s season had three successful concerts. The first brought in close to 400 people. The second had over 500 attendees and the third saw 915 eager listeners show up.

    09 04 North Tower picThe 2020 season will have a late start but will include six concerts. The first two concerts had to be rescheduled, but  even if it means doubling up, the season will be completed, Adair said.

    There are two bands at every show, Adair said, a regional or local band performs at 6 p.m., followed by the main headliner. “The headliners are all tribute bands this year,” he added.

    The Rock’n on the River concerts are set for the third Friday of the month. “We worked around other events, so it gives everyone somewhere to go without  putting anything on top of each other,” said Adair. “I feel like everyone was getting out before, but I think when things are back to normal, people will really show up.”

    09 05 Joyner Young MarieDeep Creek supplies food for purchase. The menu usually includes barbecue sandwiches, corn on the cob and grilled burgers. “They sell soft drinks, and Healy Wholesale Company, our presenting partner, provides beer for purchase,” said Adair. “The CARE Clinic distributes the beverages. Sandy’s Automotive has also contributed, and BOB FM has been nothing short of great.”

    Parking is $10 per vehicle and  $5 for a motorcycle,  but the concert free. The parking fee allows Adair and the event sponsors to pay for security. “We’ve never had a problem, and we don’t expect to, but we want to be smart and safe. It is always better to have it and not need it than vice versa,” Adair said.

    09 06 Heart Breaker Heart TributeAdair and the event sponsors have been thoughtful about providing a safe, unique and fun experience and have implemented all the practical amenities needed for a good time. Before each concert, Mosquito Squad comes out and sprays. “It knocks the mosquito count way down,” said Adair. “Then we have portable toilets brought out. They are always clean. We usually have two regular and one handicap-accessible.”

    Rock’n on the River  is about people having access to entertainment. It’s about coming together and having a good time. “It is about having a place to go and having a good place to go,” said Adair. “There are several places we could go to fit more people, but I would 09 07 Rivermist BW Wlogo for trailerrather keep it close to the river and have it in a more intimate atmosphere.”

    Schedule:

    June 19Stone Cloud opens at 6 p.m. followed by Bad Incorporated  at 8 p.m.

    Stonecloud was formed in the spring of 2016 in Lumberton. The band is multitalented as they can play multiple genres from classical blues to rock and country.

    09 08 Tuesdays Gone Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute copyBad Incorporated is a Bad Company/Paul Rodgers Tribute Band out of North Carolina, honoring the music of British super group Bad Company and its legendary front man Paul Rodgers.

    July 17Throwback Collaboration Band takes the stage at 6 p.m., and North Tower follows at 8 p.m.

    Throwback Collaboration Band shares old-school music as well as original music they are proud to call their own.

    09 09 Mostley Crue Motley Crue TributeNorth Tower is a Beach, Top 40 and Show Group. The band launched in October of 1978.

    Aug. 21, at 6 p.m., Joyner Young & Marie take the stage, and at 8 p.m., enjoy Heart Breaker.

    Joyner Young & Maries has played all over Fayetteville, Southern Pines and Pinehurst for over 30 years. They play a wide variety of music.

    Heartbreaker is the Ultimate American tribute to the band Heart. They perform with the goal of playing each song with love, respect, and 09 10 Shoot To Thrill Girls ACDC Tributea true passion for the original material; their goal is to bring a truly transcendent, and pitch-perfect concert experience, both musically and visually.

    Sept. 18 Rivermist, presented by Up & Coming Weekly, opens at 6 p.m. Tuesdays Gone takes the stage at 8 p.m.

    Rivermist was formed in July 2014 in Fayetteville. The band is collaboration of musicians that have been playing in and around the Fayetteville area for more than 40 years. Rivermist is primarily a Classic Rock/ R&B/ Variety party band. They have been voted Fayetteville/ Fort Bragg’s 2017 Best Local Band, 2018 Best Local Band, and even more recently,  2019 Best Local Band by Up & 09 11 Cool Heat picComing Weeklyreaders. 

    Tuesday’s Gone is the ultimate tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd and was formed in 2005 in Raleigh. They are dedicated to reproducing the original sound of one of the greatest and most legendary bands of all time. 

    Oct. 23’sperformance was originally scheduled for April and will feature Mostley Crue at 6 p.m. and Shoot to Thrill at 8 p.m.

    09 12 TBF picMöstley Crüe is the ultimate tribute to one of the 80’s most notorious and legendary hard rock acts, Mötley Crüe. Möstley Crüe was formed in Raleigh in 2007 and quickly rose in popularity with local and regional hard-rock fans still longing for a taste of the 80s.

    Shoot To Thrill is an all-female tribute to AC/DC. They decided on AC/DC in particular, because the band’s songs are a marriage of compelling music and creative storytelling.

    The Nov. 16 show, which was originally scheduled for May, features Cool Heat at 6 p.m. and Trial by Fire at 8 p.m.

    Cool Heat is a variety cover band from Southeastern North Carolina known for playing Motown, R&B, Soul, Funk, Beach and classics from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Cool Heat is made up of five accomplished musicians, three of which have played together since high school.

    Trial by Fire is a tribute to Journey. Trial by Fire was born out of the hearts of five seasoned Charlotte-based musicians. They embrace the sound and visuals of the Steve Perry era of Journey.

    Find out more about Rock’n on the River at the Rock’n On The River Facebook page.

     

     

     

  • A season of “Blessings” for Laura Story…

    Sowing & Reaping

    As we go through life, we will all inevi-tably reap what we have sown. Laura Story has been faithful in her music ministry as well as her devotion and support to her ailing husband, Martin. Lately she has certainly been enjoying the reaping end of the equation.

    Heading to the Grammy’s05-09-12-the-buzz.jpg

    Her song “Blessings” has been her most successful song to date, both in sales and more importantly in the impact it has had on people’s lives. As a result of this success, Story was nominated for and won her first Grammy Award. A rare feat for any Christian artist, and even more a female worship artist.

    Multiple Doves

    tory was recognized by her peers in a big way at last month’s 43rd Annual GMA Dove Awards! She walked away with Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year and Album of the Year, as well as overall Song and Songwriter of the year – all stemming from her huge hit “Blessings.”

    The Singer/Songwriter Becomes an Author

    Capturing an incredible thought in a song is nothing new for Laura. What is new is turning those thoughts into a devotional book called What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops? Comprised of 30 daily devotions designed to draw readers into a deeper understanding of God’s sometimes mysterious gifts, What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops? includes the devotions “He Loves Us Too Much to Give Us Lesser Things,” “When Faith Disappears,” “The Blessed Thorn,” “Giving Endurance a Chance to Grow” and “How Can We Find Peace Amid Suffering?” Each devotion contains Story’s personal reflections garnered from her own journey, along with prayers, quotes and a journaling page for readers to recount how blessings have impacted their own lives.

    Best Blessing of All

    As if the music awards and the success of her new cd and book weren’t enough to make this one of Story’s best years ever, she and her husband recently learned that she is pregnant. The bundle of joy is due to arrive in September and the expectant mom and dad couldn’t be more excited. 2012 has already been a year of bountiful blessing for Story and we wish her many more!

    Photo: Laura Story

  • “I have gotten more than I asked for. All that I ever wanted was to hear my voice on record and have a song05-16-12-patsy-cline.jpgamong the Top 20.”

                                    — Patsy Cline Patsy

    Cline was one of country music’s first ladies. She lived her life wide open and shared it with her fans through the haunting, sometimes funny but always honest songs she belted out night after night.

    To her, the pinnacle of success was having a record. Today, she would probably be somewhat amused that there is a movie and not one, but two country musicals that celebrate her music and her life. And, Fayetteville residents get a chance to join in the celebration May 17-May 27, as the Cape Fear Regional Theatre brings A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline to the river stage at Campbellton Landing.

    “This is really the kind of place that Patsy would have performed,” said Kara Boyer. “She was always performing at fairs and outdoor events. This show almost feels like a concert.”

    Boyer, a Kernersville, N.C., native who now lives in the Big Apple, will join veteran CFRT performer Mike Rice at the CFRT River Show to bring Cline’s story to life.

    A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline follows Cline’s climb to stardom from her hometown in Virginia to The Grand Ole Opry, Las Vegas and Carnegie Hall, which she noted “was grand, but not as big as The Grand Ole Opry.”

    A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline includes more than 20 of the country music legend’s popular hits: “Walkin’ after Midnight,” “Sweet Dreams,” “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy.”

    Directed by Bo Thorp, the show has its moments of comedy and of the haunting heartbreak of Cline’s music. Put all together, Thorp believes it will create magical nights down by the Cape Fear River.

    “This is absolutely one of the top shows we’ve ever done,” said Thorp. “Everyone loves Pasty Cline. Everywhere I’ve gone over the past few weeks, people say they can’t wait to see the show. We have some amazing talent, and are ready to be spend some great nights down by the river.”

    For Boyer, who has done both tributes to Cline, performing down the river will be a fi rst. “This is one of those parts that once you start playing it, you get the opportunity to play it several times,” said Boyer.

    The show has 22 of Cline’s top songs. “For the fi rst three or four months I was prepping for the show, I never sang a note,” said Boyer. “I just listened to her, and watched any YouTube video I could find so that I could learn her. I wanted to see how she stood, how she sang, how emotional she got. I just listened over and over again. Before I ever dared open my mouth. I really just had to give over to the artistry that people know and love about Patsy Cline.”

    “Her heartache came because she lived a hard life,” said Boyer of Cline. “She wanted to succeed as an artist and did what she had to do to become successful. When she sings, she puts everything she had into her songs. She is so emotional.”

    This year’s dinner theatre features the great American hamburger as the dinner choice, served with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, dill chips, molasses baked beans, southern potato salad and iced tea. Dinner starts at 7 p.m., with tickets ranging from $25 to $28. Show-only reserved seating ranges in price from $14 to $20, with non-reserved seats ranging from $12 to 18. Dinner starts at 7 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m.

    For tickets and more information, visit www.cfrt.org.

  • uac053012001.jpg Cassandra Vallery is known for portraying awesome characters on the stage of the Cape Fear Regional Theatre. But for the past nine years, she’s also been known as the driving force behind the Blues-n-Brews Festival, the CFRT’s largest fundraiser. This year is no exception.

    “Each year the festival has gotten a little bit bigger and a little bit better,” said Vallery. “And we hope next year, for the 10th anniversary to pull out all the stops.”

    But don’t worry, this year’s festival, which is slated for Saturday, June 2 at Festival Park, is shaping up to be the party of the summer. Last year more than 2,300 people turned up to taste some of the finest beers in the southeast, and Vallery expects to exceed that number this year.

    “We have invited brewers from all over the Southeast and we will have at least 100 different beers to sample at the festival,” she said.

    In addition to the wide assortment of brewers who will be on hand, there will also be a number of food vendors on hand ready to tempt your taste buds after you’ve made a round of the beer tents.

    And, for the first time this year, if you are not a beer drinker, you can purchase a $15 non-drinker ticket and then purchase wine at the CFRT’s tent.

    “I had so many people tell me that either their husbands or boyfriends drink beer but they don’t drink it. They’ve asked why we don’t’ have wine, so this year, we are adding wine to the event,” Vallery explained.

    And, if you are the designated driver, don’t worry, there will also be a Monster tent on hand where you can drink your favorite energy drinks; a coffee bar where you can drink your favorite blend; and a cigar bar where you can smoke your favorite stogie.

    But at the end of the day, the event is about the beer. For $30 in advance at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre Box Office or via the website (www.cfrt.org) or $35 at the gate, you will receive a six-ounce sampling glass. With the glass, you can visit every brewer in the park and sample all of their beers.

    “The brewers love coming to this event and they come back year after year,” said Vallery. “We also get great support from our wholesalers like Healy Wholesale, R.A. Jeffreys, Mutual Distribution Company and Empire Distributors. The beer people really make this event a success.”

    While the wholesalers will have their commercial label beers on tap, the brewers will have their custom crafts on hand to sample. A sample listing of brewereries participating includes: Carolina Brewery, Natty Greene’s, Sierra Nevada, Blue Moon, Sweetwater, Big Boss, Aviator Brewery, Huske Hardware, Mash House, World Brews, Bluepoint and Magic Hat.

    There is also the second half of the festival: the Blues. Performing this year are Nita B and Her Swingin’ Soiree, Elliott and the Untouchables and Chris Hurst.

    The event runs from 5-10 p.m.; however, if you would like to sample before the crowd arrives, you can purchase a VIP ticket for $50. The VIP tickets allows you to enter the festival an hour early. You also receive a picnic lunch in the shade of the VIP tent, as well as a private concert by Chris Hurst and snacks throughout the evening.

    This is an adults-only event, so be sure and plan early for a baby sitter, as there are no children’s activities.

    For tickets and more information, visit the theatre’s website at www.cfrt.org or call the Cape Fear Regional Theatre Box Office at 323-4233.

  • Summer 2012 is right around the corner, and it will usher in the fourth master’s level program at Methodist University. The Master of Education Program at Methodist will begin its first class June 11, with an exciting new program designed for today’s working and busy classroom teachers. Our Master of Education Program is especially looking for teachers who want to increase their knowledge and skills in the K-12 areas of reading or special education. These two subjects were chosen as degree concentrations to complement our current program and increase teaching expertise in these vital areas.

    When we were building our program, we gathered a group of school partners for professional input in the program’s development, including principals, teachers, central office staff and Methodist education candidates. The various school personnel came from Sampson, Harnett, Cumberland and Hoke counties, as well as Fort Bragg Schools. The teachers had either recently complet-ed a master’s level program or were experienced master teachers. Together, the group made up our Professional Community Committee.

    Looking carefully at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Graduate Standards, the PCC dis-cussed what a master teacher should know and be able to do. We also discussed the new North Carolina Teacher Evaluation Instrument and process. We felt strongly that teachers graduating from a Master of Education Program should have the knowledge, skills and dispositions neces-sary to extend themselves as leaders in the classroom and beyond. Additionally, the PCC discussed student assessment data and how to use it to impact teaching and learning.

    We very much wanted to ensure that our course offerings were relevant to today’s teachers. A good example is how we approached the Instructional Technology class. Teachers must be familiar with the tools of technology, but they also need to know how to integrate them into their teaching and give students hands-on experience with these techno-logical advancements.05-23-12-methodist article.jpg

    As recruitment efforts have geared up for the Term II summer start date, applicants have been pleased with the program’s schedule. Teachers can finish the program in two full years, which includes two summers. During the summer, classes will be face-to-face on campus, fol-lowed by a blend of occasional on-campus sessions and online courses in the fall and winter semesters. The hybrid classes fit into a teacher’s busy schedule, but still provide useful professional interaction.

    Applicants are also happy about our convenient location. Methodist University serves the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg and surrounding area counties. Applicant Yasmeen Robins said she decided to apply to the program partly because of the proximity of the university to both her home and school.

    More importantly, she said her colleagues who are grad-uates of the Methodist undergraduate education program speak highly of their experience at the university. They talk about their training, the strong faculty and staff, and the support they received.

    Each professional who is motivated to further his/her education and to be a lifelong learner has usually been influenced by a mentor in his/her profession or communi-ty. Each of us has the opportunity to encourage that pro-fessional who will continue to grow and learn and make a difference in the life of our students and community. In keeping with the Methodist vision, we want to continue to engage, enrich, and empower today’s teachers, as we all strive for rigor, relevance and excellence in our profession.

    For more information, contact Sue Godwin at 910.630.7060 or sgodwin@methodist.edu.

    Photo: Master of Education Program is espe-cially looking for teachers who want to increase their knowledge and skills in the K-12 areas of reading or special education. 

  • The Army turns 237 this year, and while most people celebrate birthdays with cake and a party, the05-30-12-10milers.jpgArmy has another tradition, at least at Fort Bragg. On June 8, join Fort Bragg FMWR for the 16th Annual Army Birthday 10-miler and celebrate with our nation’s finest.

    Steve Johnson is one of the event organizers. He’s been a part of this event since its inception.

    “I’ve been doing this since 1996,” said Johnson. “The commander at the time wanted to have Fort Bragg represented at the Army 10-miler with a team, so we were tasked to find the best runners. Having a 10-miler that would serve as a qualifier is what we came up with.”

    It worked then, and it still works. Each October, Fort Bragg sends a men’s team, women’s team and master’s team (over 40 age group). This year the installation is also sending a sergeant’s major team to run the Army 10-miler in D.C.“

    Last year, we sent three teams and all three won,” said Johnson. “The women’s team has been really dominant at the Army 10-miler for the last 16 years.

    ”While it is a qualifier for the Army 10-miler, the race is also an event to honor soldiers and to celebrate the Army’s birthday. Johnson said that for the last three years, about 2,000 runners have showed up and crowds like that require a little support from the installation.

    The route needs to be secure, which means there are about 150 soldiers guarding parking lots and side streets. The runners require adequate medical coverage, which takes six ambulances and about 40 medical personnel. The many fluid stations and seven aid stations require another 120 people.

    Johnson considers the event a success when it is all said and done and everyone has a good time.

    “I think that when participants have an enjoyable experience, that is gratifying for the people who worked to support the event,” he said.

    The public is invited and runners can enter through June 7 up until 5 p.m. There is no registration on race day.

    Runners report to Sedgewick Stadium at 6 a.m. Pre-race instructions follow at 6:20 a.m. The course starts at Sedgewick Stadium on Long Street, meanders through Keerans, Taylor and Spooner Streets, crosses Long Street onto Ardennes Street and Campbello Street on to Gruber Road. There is a turn around at Gruber Road and Zabitosky Road and runners follow the route back to Sedgewick Stadium. It is a challenging race, which is appropriate for the Army’s birthday celebration.

    Through May 30, runners can register online at www.fortbraggmwr.com, or by completing the registration form and delivering it to Leisure Travel Services, which is located in the mini-mall near Reilly Road and Honeycutt Street. May 31 and June 1 and June 4-7, registration is at Funk Physical Fitness Center, on Gruber Road near Long Street.

    Along with the 10-miler, the Seventh Annual Army Birthday 4-Mile Walk is scheduled for the same date and time as the run. In fact, the registration process is the same for both events. Walkers will not receive a timing tag, since the walk is non-competitive.

    Find out more at www.fortbraggmwr.com.

    Photo: The Army Birthday 10-miler is a Fort Bragg tradition.

  • For Fayetteville, summer doesn’t arrive in June when school lets out and people head to the beach. May offi cially kicks off the season with Fayetteville after 5. This free, public concert has been a part of the Fayetteville music scene for 15 years. Funded through R.A. Jeffrey’s Distributing Company/Bud Light the event is operated by the Dogwood Festival Committee, and they have made sure that it is a great time for family members of all ages to join in and listen to bands and participate in other activities such as corn hole barrels. 05-08-13-fay-after-5.gif

    This summer season is expected to be newer and “beefi er” than ever, as Carrie King, executive director of Dogwood Festival, put it. The event that was originally held on every third Thursday is now every third Friday, and will run through May, June and July only. Both King and Jeff Fox, the manager for R.A. Jeffrey’s, agree that the change in weekday will allow for more attendance. The goal is to be fl exible and accommodate work hours — and hopefully the weather won’t be as hot.

    R.A. Jeffrey’s put together a fun raffle with Bud Light. The lucky people that won beach towels during the Dogwood Festival can come to Fayetteville After 5, show their towel and get one free beer. They then are eligible to register to win free beer for a year. Names will be drawn for the winner on the last concert in July. Bud Light will also give away free prizes at each event to the audience present before 6:30 p.m.

    New genres of music are in the line up this season, too. King stated, “ I felt, and all of us in the planning process agreed, that there needed to be a change, a sprucing up to freshen up our venue and to try to have a different feel.”

    Audiences can now expect to hear 80s tunes, rock n’ roll as well as country music. May 17 is the first concert of 2013 and features On the Border, a band that, as King said, “is an awesome, awesome, awesome, Eagles tribute band.”05-08-13-fay-after-5-2.gif

    On the same night, the returning favorite Suicide Blonde takes the stage. In June 21, Fayetteville should grab their cowboy hats for James Otto as he sings country songs.

    July 19 will wrap up the season with tribute bands and people can sing “I’m back in black!” and other favorite oldies. Three bands will be playing, In the Name of Love, a tribute to U2, High Voltage, a tribute to AC/DC and Mostley Crue, a tribute to Motley Crue. (Warning: this may cause adults to travel back in time for the whole night and pretend they are a teenager again, causing them to scare their kids).

    The music and food always create a relaxing atmosphere. King said her favorite part of putting this together includes seeing the first concert because it does kick-off summer and it serves as a “feel-good event” for her.

    Fox added, “I love seeing a lot of people and this is also a good networking opportunity where I can meet people from different businesses and talk with them one on one.”

    Fox also envisions Fayetteville after 5 becoming a concert tradition with a huge turn out like in North Hills Raleigh, another event R.A. Jeffrey sponsored. When first starting it, Fox said, “I wanted to have an event that would bring the community for free and also be enjoyable.” He reaffi rms this goal and wants it to continue while picturing the future.

    Fayetteville after 5 is the one summer event you don’t want to miss. Come on down to Festival Park, lie on the grass and, as the Eagles say, “take it easy.” Gates open at, you guessed it, 5-ish p.m. at Festival Park. Find out more at www.faydogwoodfestival.com.

    Photo: This season’s premier Fayetteville After 5 concert features Eagles tribute band, On The Border and 80s band Suicide Blonde.

     

  • Iron Man(Rated PG-13) 5 Stars05-22-13-movie.gif

    Iron Man 2 sort of sucked compared to Iron Man. Luckily,Iron Man 3 (130 minutes) manages to avoid the near in-evitable diminishing returns that afflicts several popular Marvel movie franchises (seriously, go watch Spiderman 3and X-Men: The Last Stand: there was a one in three chance this movie was going to be unwatchable). Director/co-writer Shane Black replaces Jon Favreau and does a heckuva job channeling his 80s action cre-dentials into the superhero format. In fact, if you’re ever looking for an undiscovered movie to watch on Saturday night, go rent his directorial debut (starring Robert Downey, Jr.) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

    Black manages to get Downey, Jr. to enunciate his lines, provides Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) with a brief, shining moment of feminist agency, and throws in a plot twist that even die-hard Marvel fans (such as myself) did not see coming.

    The film begins in the middle of some serious explosions with a Tony Stark (Downey, Jr.) voice-over. For those of you interested in movie trivia, this is al-most the exact same way Shane Black began Kiss Kiss Bang Bang — in the middle of the action with Downey, Jr. interrupting his own voice-over to take the audience back to an even earlier point in the story. Narratively speaking I like the device because it lets us know that however innocently the story begins it is leading to something explosively big.

    In this case, we are taken all the way back to 1999, while Stark reminisces about some of his playboy behavior. He hooked up, humiliated a passerby, solved a science problem, and took off free and clear all in a single night. One of the really cool things about Downey Jr.’s approach to this character is the way he manages to convey the brilliance/arrogance of the character in little scenes like this one. Stark is a bit of a bully only because he is completely impatient with those who aren’t as smart/obsessive as he is (almost everybody). He is not purposely cruel, but he is unthinkingly cruel because it generally does not occur to him that other people are real and are affected by his actions.

    So, when he sends Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) to wait on a cold roof for a meeting that will never happen, or when he treats Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) as a one-night stand he is behaving per-fectly in character, not realizing (or not caring) that his actions have long term consequences for other people. Since he routinely treats other people as insignifi-cant bystanders to his starring role there are bound to be at least one or two people feeling alienated by him that also have as-pirations towards super villainy.

    Anyway, Stark continues to tell his story. Post-Avengers, Iron Man is feeling a bit of anxiety. He isn’t sleeping and his insistence on recovering from his alien invasion induced PTSD by tinkering with model after model of the Iron Man suit is driving a wedge between him and his number one babe, Pepper.

    When Stark Industries security chief Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is badly injured during what appears to be a ter-rorist attack at Mann’s Chinese Theater, Stark rashly issues a direct challenge to the mysterious Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley). Of course, when you dare a super villain to come and get you they generally try to wipe you off the face of the Earth, so it sur-prises no one when the Mandarin’s forces blow up Stark’s mansion. This leads to the second half of the film, during which Iron Man is stuck without a reliable suit, forced to rely on a malfunctioning prototype and a precocious kid (Ty Simpkins) who I re-ally could have done without.

    All things considered kudos to Shane Black for getting Iron Man out of his Iron Man suit for most of the film. This is a su-perhero movie, but it is also a movie about a superhero’s psychological vulnerability.

    Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.

  • 05-29-13-spring-lake-public-safety.gifDuring North Carolina summers, barbeques and cook-offs are a tradition. They bring the community together over great food and the beautiful outdoors. It is in this bonding of the people that ideas are shared and the community can grow. One particular area that every community can grow in is their public safety, and The Spring Lake Public Safety Foundation is planning to hold an open house and barbeque cook off for just that purpose.

    One of the most important functions of this open house event is to let the community see and interact with the Spring Lake Police and Fire departments. It sends out a message of accessibility and availability to the community.

    “It is an open house and the Spring Lake Police Department and Fire Department will have their trucks out there and do safety demos on summer safety and stranger danger, etc. We want to say that we are here and we are at your service,” said Kristy Sykes, an event committee member.

    At the Open House and Barbeque Cook-Off, there will be live entertainment, food, vendors and even prizes.

    “Tickets for the raffle are $50 and the grand prize is $2,000. The reverse raffl e is when the last ticket holder standing is the winner, instead of the first ticket drawn. The last four people standing have the option to split the award or go for all or nothing. The proceeds for the event go to the Public Safety Foundation to help purchase new safety equipment for the police department and the fire department,” Sykes explained. The raffle will be held inside the gym at 5 p.m.

    The committee has designed a plethora of events for attendees to enjoy.

    “The police chief is going to do demos of sawing-off car doors of crashed vehicles. Kids can try on fi reman gear and walk around. We will have food vendors out there and the barbeque cook-off is going to feature ribs, chicken and pork,” said Sykes. “There will be a contest for the best barbeque, but there will be other food vendors out there as well. There will also be arts and crafts. Noah’s Art, which is a new business in Spring Lake, will be present. This is an art studio for kids that focuses on classes for kids and “mommy and me” outings, and Saturday classes. There will also be bouncy houses, and starting at 11 a.m., the local D.J. Ryan from WCCG 104.5 FM will be performing.”

    Not only will this event offer an exciting and fun day for all that attend, it benefi ts the community in many ways. First, it creates a bond between the community and the people who protect it. Second, it funds the police and fire departments by providing them with the equipment they need, and finally, it fosters the growth of the entire Spring Lake Community.

    Sykes added, “It is a big deal for Spring Lake in trying to bring together the community. Spring Lake is growing rapidly and the town, Chamber and Foundation are working together to provide more free community events.”

    The Open House and Barbeque Cook-Off is June 1 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Spring Lake Community Center Complex. This building is located at 245 Ruth St., Spring Lake. For more information, call 497-8821 or visit the Spring Lake Community website at www.spring-lake.org/calendar.html. More details can also be found on the Spring Lake Public Safety Foundation Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SpringLakePublicSafetyFoundation

  • uac050113001.gif As America’s First Military Sanctuary Community, we take our patriotism seriously. Home to Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the U.S., we feel it’s important to stand behind our troops, and we embrace any opportunity to salute those who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom.

    While the rest of the country sets aside one day in May, Memorial Day, to honor fallen members of the military, Fayetteville/Cumberland County dedicates the entire month to celebrate service members, veterans and their families with the annual series of events called 31 Day Salute, now in its fifth year.

    This community-wide “salute to soldiers” reflects the collaboration of numerous Cumberland County businesses and organizations dedicated to showing their appreciation for the military through a variety of patriotic performances, ceremonies, exhibits, concerts and fairs.

    Nearly 40 local groups are participating in this year’s 31 Day Salute, from military charities to cultural and historical associations, each committed to showing what soldiers, veterans and their families mean to our proud military community.

    We encourage and welcome patriots from all over the country to visit Fayetteville/ Cumberland County in May to say thank you to those in uniform while enjoying our entertaining events.

    This year’s, 31 Day Salute features exciting new events and many returning favorites. Helping to kick things off is the Fort Bragg Fair, which runs through May 12. This annual festival features carnival rides, live music and entertainment, games, food and fun for the whole family.

    The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum will give history buffs a chance to re-live Fayetteville’s patriotic past with guided tours of the War of 1812 and Civil War exhibits at the museum and the rare opportunity to tour the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Museum and Armory, where participants will learn about the early militia system. Other stops include Liberty Point, the F.I.L.I. Parade Grounds, Cross Creek Cemetery and the N.C. Veterans Park.

    Hundreds of American flags will fly on the parade grounds of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum starting May 12, with the opening of the 2013 N.C. Field of Honor. Honoring those who currently serve, those who have served and the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation’s freedom, each flag also comes with its own story and displays a large yellow ribbon identifying the person who sponsored the flag and the flag honoree.

    Just across the street, the North Carolina Veterans Park will host an Armed Forces Day celebration, which will include a memorial service, a wreath-laying and a table ceremony featuring the Jack Britt High School JROTC color guard.

    Those looking for a true military experience can head over to Fort Bragg for the 82nd Airborne Division Living History Weekend. On May 23, the 82nd Airborne Division will hold its offi cial Memorial Service honoring the 7,000 82nd Airborne Division soldiers who lost their lives between 1918-2012. During that time, the 82nd Airborne Division Museum will also display the Living History Encampment, which covers the division’s history from 1917-1999.

    A living history program, Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy’s “Flawed” Victory, will be presented at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex. The event will provide a detailed look at “lessons learned” from the attack on our Pacific Fleet on Dec. 7, 1941. Jason Wetzel, staff historian with the Office of Army Reserve History, Headquarters – United States Army Reserve, will be on hand to speak about the amazing blunders of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Members of the military will also receive special discounts at several local businesses throughout the month of May. Fascinate-U Children’s Museum is offering half-price admission to all military families and free admission to families of deployed soldiers and The Climbing Place will offer a special discounted rate of $10 to those with a valid military ID.

    For a full listing of events, details and participating organizations during the 31 Day Salute, please visit www.31daysalute.com. With diverse events that will appeal to all ages and interests, there is something for everyone. Fayetteville/Cumberland County invites both locals and out-of-town travelers to come out and join us as we salute soldiers, veterans and their families throughout the month of May.

  • 05-22-13-ftcc.gifOn the evening of May 10, 120 high school students reached a milestone in their educational journeys. From this group, students who chose to walk quietly took their places in line somewhere in the recesses of the Crown Coliseum. They straightened their graduation gowns and made sure that their tassels were hanging from the correct side of their mortarboard caps.

    As the processional music began, the high school students entered the fl oor of the Crown and took their seats alongside roughly 1,000 other students. Collectively, this group of graduates prepared for their commencement not from high school, but from college. This was Fayetteville Technical Community College’s graduation ceremony.

    One might be tempted to wonder how (and why) so many high school students were invited to participate in a college graduation ceremony. These young men and women were part of FTCC’s High School Connections program, which is designed to allow local students to take tuition-free college classes during their junior and/or senior years of high school. The high school students attending graduation had completed a full program of study at FTCC and were thus awarded a college certifi cate for their efforts. For a small handful of students, this was actually their second FTCC graduation; they had completed one certifi cate program as high school juniors, and then chose to tackle a second as seniors. These students should be commended for their hard work and dedication to their studies.

    Through High School Connections, FTCC invites and encourages local public, private and home-school students to take college classes tuition-free. By taking advantage of the HSC program, students can often participate in programs that they might not otherwise be able to access. Not every school in the area can offer an award-winning culinary program or fi nd the resources needed to teach automotive and machining classes. Fayetteville Tech is also on the cutting edge of technology and offers several computer-based programs, such as information technology hardware/software, computer programming, graphic design and social media. Opportunities abound to get a jump-start on a career choice in fields like green sustainable architecture, criminal justice, infant/toddler care or fire protection technology.

    Students can even choose to take college-transfer courses in order to fulfi ll some of their general education requirements for college. The list goes on and on; there truly is a program for just about everyone. Students who wish to participate in High School Connections for 2013-2014 must be rising juniors and seniors with a weighted GPA of approximately 3.0 (program requirements differ). As of May 10, there were nearly 500 students already signed up for next year, and many more will continue to enroll throughout the summer. Students and parents should visit the HSC website or “like” our Facebook page to learn more about enrollment procedures for the fall, including days and times of open registration.Please don’t miss out on your chance to earn free college credit in high school! We’ll see you and hundreds of other high school students at graduation 2014!

    For more information, visit www.faytechcc.edu/highschool_connections/default.asp

    Photo: Through High School Connections, FTCC invites and encourages local public, private and home-school students to take college classes tuition-free.

  • 09Caroline 2Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s production of “Caroline, or Change” is a beautiful, necessary and visceral work of art. I cried three times. And I will probably pay to see it again. 

    “Caroline” was not the show I expected it to be. Neither was its protagonist. After interviewing Director Bryan Conger and lead actress Joy Ducree Gregory two weeks ago, I knew a few things. I knew the washing machine, dryer, radio, moon and bus are all played by people. I knew it’s a show deeply rooted in memory and imagination. I knew Caroline is a sad character. And I knew the story is all about change.

    But I didn’t know the washing machine would feel like a wise, kind aunt. I didn’t know the dryer would emanate both sensuality and fear. I didn’t know the moon would feel so disconnected from and yet sympathetic to the humans below.

     The way these imaginary characters sing, riding in and out of Jeanine Tesori’s score, creates an atmosphere of authentic human experience that’s better than realism. In the hot, damp basement where Caroline spends her days doing laundry as a maid, the audience is given a window into the way Caroline thinks and feels about and remembers her past — a window Caroline can no longer offer to real people. 

    When she sings in that basement and is joined by the washer’s song, the radio’s song and the moon’s, it’s like seeing bright colors painted right next to each other — distinct and yet blending in the mind’s eye to create something real, fresh and relatable.

    I also didn’t know a sad, angry and hopeless protagonist could be so compelling and inspiring. 

    I don’t think we see enough characters like Caroline onstage. She was so very real. Ducree Gregory does an incredible job. The show is worth attending on the basis of her final song alone. The maturity, dignity and responsibility with which Ducree Gregory brings Caroline to life as a three-dimensional and complex woman who yes, is sad, is powerful.

    The entire cast is phenomenal. Their onstage chemistry was a bit slow to start, but once they found their groove, I didn’t care; I was just there with them, completely absorbed in their world. 

    Kesimy Martinez stood out as Caroline’s oldest daughter, Emmy. Martinez has a unique presence — an understated confidence and spunk, and an expressive voice with impressive control. Christian Lattimore and Henry Gregory IV are delightful and completely unaffected in their acting as Caroline’s two younger sons, Jackie and Joe. Michael Bertino is endearingly awkward and boyish as the son of the Jewish family Caroline
    works for.

    The last thing I did not know, going into this show, is that the change this story is really about is a kind I’d never seen onstage before. The story is set in Louisiana, 1963; the number of political and social changes going on outside of Caroline are numerous, and those are addressed. Then there’s pocket change; I won’t say more than that this kind of change is important to the story, and to one particular relationship. Lastly, there’s this other kind of change: “That’s how Caroline will change — that’s how Caroline will rearrange herself.” Caroline sings out these words in the show’s most beautiful and heartbreaking moment. To understand this last kind of change, you have to see the show. It’s more than worth it.

    CFRT invites the public to attend a pre-show conversation focused on the civil rights movement May 18 from 6:30-7:15 p.m., facilitated by Reverend Cureton Johnson. This event was made possible because CFRT received the prestigious NEA “Art Works” Grant for “Caroline, or Change.”

    The show runs through May 28. Tickets cost $15-$25 and can be purchased by visiting www.cfrt.org or calling (910) 323- 4233.

  • 11Foxshire1Most people can remember a specific interest that burned in their childhood hearts and led to like-minded friends, a secret club and glorious endeavors of creation. For the founding members of Foxshire Films, each person remembers one passion very clearly: love of motion pictures.

    Foxshire Films currently consists of four of its founding members — Samuel Heble, Brendan Alspach and brothers Nicholas and Gage Long — and recent recruit Kathryn Holden.

    “We want to challenge ourselves and the community around us to go forward artistically and just do it; pursue your dreams,” said Alspach. Heble agreed, adding, “I want our films to give glory to God in a way that’s truthful and destroys Christian art culture. We want to preach the gospel through messages that are really raw and in unique ways, straight from our hearts.”

    On December 12, 2015, Heble, the Long brothers and others who are no longer with the group met up at Coffee Scene to talk about film. At that meeting, everyone was full of restless energy and ready to turn their love for film into commitment and action. “It was very organic in a surprising way. … We got together and it was so collaborative that (the group’s formation) kind of just happened on its own,” Gage said. “The lack of things happening pushed us to commit,” added Nick.

    That’s not to say it was a picture-perfect start. They were working with a small amount of basic film equipment and an essentially non-existent budget. Their communication and organizational skills needed much improvement. 

    But they committed. They met every Wednesday for two to five hours. They spent time outside of that weekly meeting doing individual tasks like writing short film scripts, storyboarding or scouting film locations.

    And as they continued to meet, they just started doing it: making films, trying on roles and skills and getting their hands dirty. Their first production was “John Johnson” in January 2016, a one-and-a-half minute film that was shot in one day, in one room, with one actor — that actor being founding member Nick.

    Since then, they’ve made five more short films. Their most recent release, “One Night…,” is an 11-and-a-half minute comedy-suspense with five actors and an original score composed by Greensboro musician Andrew Beach and performed by music students at UNC Greensboro, with atmospheric lighting aided by a homemade fog machine. Another one of those five films, “Through the Treeline,” was accepted into Fayetteville’s Indigo Moon Film Festival in October 2016.

    This year, Foxshire showed its films and spoke at two public events, FTCC’s Off the Record: Artist Series night, and SKD’s Cultural Arts Festival. They plan to continue their forward momentum, aiming to build a growing network of film-lovers and dream-chasers in Fayetteville.

    Last summer, Foxshire made its first big effort to reach out to the community with a project titled The Fox Gathering. For this five-month project, Foxshire put out an open call to those interested in any aspect of filmmaking, like screenwriting, directing, acting or sound. The goal was not to create perfect products, but to give people a chance to jump into the filmmaking process and learn together regardless of skill level. A total of 33 people participated, and the result was three short films. Collin Tubbs, Fox Gathering participant, said, “(It) was really open to whoever was interested and invested in it. …It was like a breath of fresh air.”

    The resounding theme of my interview with Foxshire was, “Just do it.” So take note, dreamers. Go forth and do. Email foxshirefilms@gmail.com to connect with the group, and follow their progress by liking their Facebook page. Watch three of their films at vimeo.com/foxshirefilms and watch their Fox Gathering films at vimeo.com/thefoxgathering.

    Photo: Foxshire Films members Nick Long, Kathryn Holden, Gage Long, Brendan Alspach and Samuel Heble

  • 17SlampPoetsPoetry is a form of expression that requires creativity and skill. Slam poetry adds extra layers of difficulty because it requires the poem to be memorized and verbally expressed, and it’s a competition. 

    Poets verbally present an original work and a panel of judges rates the performances. This sort of competition started in 1984 in the Jazz clubs of Chicago when American poet Marc Smith started experimenting with types of poetry performances. Since then, poetry slams have increased in popularity. There are now national and international competitions that celebrate this unique art form every year. This year, local poets received an invitation to one of the world’s premier slams.

    There is only one youth poetry slam team in Fayetteville: The Poetic Pathos Slam Team. The group has performed all over Fayetteville and Hope Mills. It is a student club based out of Gray’s Creek High School. The club was started four years ago by coach Joel Mayo. Recently the group was invited to participate at Brave New Voices, which is an international slam poetry festival and competition. Only 50 teams are invited to participate from around the globe every year. 

    Brave New Voices was created by Youth Speaks, Inc in 1998. Youth Speaks, Inc. was founded in 1996 by James Kass and is based out of San Francisco. Its mission is to create safe spaces and challenge young people to “find, develop, publicly present and apply their voices as creators of positive societal change.” The organization brings together art education and civic engagement in unique, evolving and relevant ways. The Brave New Voices festival is an extension of this mission.  

    This year the festival takes place July 19 through 22 in the Bay Area. The young participating poets will have the opportunity to participate in workshops, slams, showcases, community service and civic participation events. 

    The festival is not only an opportunity for the team to perform and bring a global spotlight to the arts in Fayetteville. This is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the growing artists on the team to hone their craft at an event specifically designed to encourage and empower them. They will also be able to bring all this passion and learning back home to Fayetteville. 

    This festival is obviously an incredible opportunity. The big challenge is the funding. The Poetic Pathos Youth Slam Team is a new team and they don’t have the funds to send 5-6 members and their coaches to the competition. They are asking for the community’s support with a Gofundme page. 

    They need $2,000 for registration fees by June 1, and $7,000 overall to fund transportation, registration fees, housing fees and food for
    the trip. 

    To donate and to support the growing artists in our community, visit https://www.gofundme.com/poeticpathosBNV. There is no more direct way to support the arts.  

  • 08fourthfridayThere is always something fun to do at 4th Friday. The art openings, historical exhibits, music, shopping,  activities, great dining experiences; what’s not to love? 

    On May 26, The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County opens one of its most popular exhibits — the “Public Works” exhibition. What makes this exhibit so special is that all of the art in the show is by local artists from Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, and Scotland Counties, Fort Bragg or Pope Field.  

    The Fayetteville Public Works Commission sponsors the   community-wide exhibit. Attendees are invited to vote for their favorite pieces. The “People’s Choice” winner will receive a gift basket and the winners of the online virtual vote will receive prizes from the Arts Council. Many of the pieces will be available for purchase as well. The exhibit will be on display through July 22. Visit www.theartscouncil.com for more information.

    Each month, the Downtown Alliance plans fun, themed activities for 4th Friday. This month, the theme centers around the Field of Honor, which is sponsored by the Alliance and the Airborne  & Special Operations Museum Foundation.  

    The Field of Honor, located at ASOM and the NC Veterans Park, is a living display of heroism that flies as a patriotic tribute to the strength and unity of Americans. Find out more at www.ncfieldofhonor.com.

    Cape Fear Studios offers another option to view the work of local artists with its 27th Annual Members’ Exhibit. The show includes pottery from visiting artist Ben Owens. There will be a reception from 6-9 p.m. 

    At Headquarters Library, enjoy big band music from Second Time Around. Favorites include pieces by Glenn Miller, Les Brown and more. The band will also perform music from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s from 7 to 9 p.m.

    Children will enjoy a visit to Fascinate-U Children’s Museum where they can creats spring flowers and explore the museum from 7-9 p.m. for free.

    The Market House opens for 4th Friday with different exhibits throughout the year. This month, the exhibit is all about banking. Take in the exhibit and enjoy the view from  upstairs from  6 to 10 p.m.  The banking exhibit is in addition to the permanent exhibit, “A View from the Square: A History of Downtown Fayetteville.”

  • 12Caroline1In the musical “Caroline, or Change,” opening at Cape Fear Regional Theatre this weekend, the washing machine, dryer, radio, moon and bus are all played by people. 

    “I think that immediately (establishes) that this is not realism,” said Director Bryan Conger. “This play is all about change. I think change begins in the imaginations of people. They imagine what is beyond them or what could be … and that’s how a movement starts.” He said the idea of imagination, memory and emotion being the catalyst for concrete change informed his approach to the whole show. 

    Joy Ducree Gregory, who plays Caroline, agreed. Gregory said it’s Caroline’s memories and feelings projected onto inanimate objects that allow her as an actress to portray someone who might otherwise seem one-dimensionally sad. “I don’t think she’s emotionally available enough to tell (other people) about herself, but she is emotionally available enough to have conversations with these inanimate objects, which all sort of represent a piece of her,” added Conger.

    There are, however, other human characters in this story, like Caroline’s 8-year-old boy, her daughter who is coming into adulthood and the middle-class Jewish family she works for as a maid. Tension between Caroline and the Jewish family rises after a small amount of money goes missing. This serves as the impetus for the play’s exploration of the political through the personal, set in 1963 Louisiana. 

    Look forward to Jeanine Tesori’s visceral score played by a live orchestra that, according to CFRT’s mailer, blends blues, gospel and traditional Jewish melodies. In most musicals, spoken dialogue carries a good amount of the story with songs arriving at strategically emotional moments. Conger said this dynamic is reversed in “Caroline.” Gregory said she’s heard this score performed by other casts and she’s blown away by the talent in this production, saying Conger did a perfect job casting each role. “I don’t believe I’ve ever before been part of a show where every rehearsal I get chills just from listening to the music,” said Gregory. “This is the most challenging role, vocally, that I’ve ever (undertaken) … I’ve never had to dig so deep emotionally to sing a song.” 

    Gregory said the issues “Caroline” explores continue to resonate because they are still relevant in today’s America. “In this story, you have issues with race, issues with culture, with the disparities between those that have and those that don’t have — how those with privilege view the world and view money, versus those that don’t,” she said. “When you take that storyline and you look at where we are in 2017 … I think yes, we’ve come a long way, but … it’s clear that this is a time where we have to look at where we are. And the same conversations that will happen as a result of this play, those are the same conversations we need to be having in America.”

    CFRT invites the public to attend free pre-show conversations May 17 and 18, from 6:30-7:15 p.m. On May 17, Nick Glazier, executive director of the North Carolina Justice Center, will facilitate a conversation about poverty and economic disparity in America. On May 18, Reverend Cureton Johnson will facilitate a talk about the civil rights movement. Pre-show conversations are made possible due to CFRT’s receiving the prestigious NEA “Art Works” Grant for “Caroline, or Change.”

    “Caroline” opens for preview nights May 11-12, with official opening night Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15-$25 and can be purchased by visiting www.cfrt.org or calling (910) 323- 4233.

     

  • 08SankofajbugThe Sandhills Family Heritage Association started as a personal quest. The founder, Ammie Jenkins, was interested in her own family’s story. She researched how her family progressed from slavery to landownership. As part of her discovery process she interviewed many community elders, and they shared their stories and experiences with her. Through these interviews, Jenkins uncovered incredible themes of strength and resilience as well as critical community issues. 

    This inspired her to create the SFHA to address social, economic, environmental and cultural issues that negatively impact rural communities. The programs promote ideas like self-sufficiency, land ownership, preserving cultural heritage and education — all while uniting the African-American community members in the Sandhills region. In that spirit, each year SFHA hosts the Sandhills Sankofa Festival. This year, the festival is set for May 20.

     Sankofa means “go back and get that which we have lost or forgotten.” The festival is sponsored by both the SFHA and the Spring Lake Recreation Department. Since its founding in 2002, the festival has provided a space annually for the celebration and appreciation of rural African-American culture and heritage.
    This is a family-friendly event that features performing arts, educational exhibits, food and entertainment. 

     The live entertainment at the festival represents the diversity and immense creativity within African-American culture. The headline act is Johnny White and The Elite Band. The group has performed all over the United States and is widely recognized for their powerful vocals and soulful performances. 

    Puncho, an artist who specializes in blues, will also perform during the festival. The group Shea-Ra Nichi will perform a powerful and educational rendition of African dance and drumming. Mitch Capel will also make an appearance as Gran’ Daddy Junebug, demonstrating the captivating art of storytelling. 

     In addition to live performances, there will be artists who work in many different forms of media that represent different aspects of African-American culture throughout history. There will be demonstrations of African dancing, drumming, storytelling, fabric art, culinary arts and visual arts. There will also be a variety of vendors, many of which are local small businesses and organizations. This festival is an opportunity to experience, appreciate and share African-American culture in the Sandhills. 

    There are several other SFHA programs that are active year-round. They fall under five categories that create the acronym HOPE: history and heritage preservation; outreach and community education; protection of land and natural services; and economic development. 

    Within each category there are several specific ways in which SFHA touches the community. Examples are oral history interviews, the Sandhills Farmers Market accepting EBT Food Stamps, information about sustainable farming practices and vending opportunities at the farmer’s market. These are just a few examples of how SFHA is working to directly touch the lives of African-American community members. These resources and connections improve the immediate quality of life and future for recipients. Furthermore, when individuals succeed, the entire community grows and benefits. 

    Admission to the Sankofa Festival is free. It takes place May 20 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. It will be held at the Edward Mendoza Municipal Park, which is located at 1770 Little River Rd., in Spring Lake. 

    For more information, visit: http://sandhillsfamilyheritage.weebly.com/sankofa-festival.html. 

  • 13GreenBeretThe year was 1966. The Righteous Brothers, The Four Tops, The Monkees and The Mamas and The Papas were all in the Billboard Top 10. The No. 1 spot for five weeks, though, was held by a special forces soldier who had taken a punji stick to the knee in Vietnam. It was Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler’s “The Ballad of the Green Berets.” 

    The song sold 9 million records. Sadler earned more than $500,000 in royalties in 1966 from the song. Later, Sadler would say the song was the worst thing that ever happened to him. 

    Historian, journalist and author Marc Leepson captures Sadler’s triumphs and misadventures in his recently-published book Ballad of the Green Beret: The Life and Wars of Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler, from the Vietnam War and Pop Stardom to Murder and an Unsolved, Violent Death. On Sunday, May 7, City Center Gallery and Books will host a book signing and author presentation for Leepson.

    When Leepson decided to write about Sadler, he had some general knowledge of the green beret. “I knew about the song, and I knew about Sadler and that he was involved in some mercenary stuff. I discovered a lot of what people don’t know,” said Leepson. “I interviewed 71 people, most all of them knew him and many of them trained or served with him. I found people he grew up with, a guy he was in the Air Force and Army with and in Vietnam. They told me a lot of stuff.”

    There was stuff about the guy Sadler killed in Nashville in 1978 and how Sadler got away with it. “There are three chapters in the book about it,” said Leepson. “The detective from the case was very cooperative. Barry’s mug shot is in the book.”

    After serving in the Army, Sadler’s dream was to become a recording artist, screenwriter and actor. While he did score some bit parts in a few western series on TV, his dreams of fame and fortune as a performer and musician never came to fruition. He was broke and in debt by 1973. Sadler did write 29 pulp fiction novels, though. All but seven of them were part of the Casca: The Eternal Mercenary series. While the books sold well, Sadler never recovered financially. That didn’t keep Sadler down; he moved to Guatemala where he claimed to train Contras. While there, he was shot in the head, kidnapped and more. Leepson covers it all.

    “This is the first biography of Barry Sadler and he has a local connection. He lived in Fayetteville. He trained at Fort Bragg and was assigned there. The song is the unofficial theme song of the special forces,” said Leepson. “It is still played today. I don’t think anyone knows how it came to be. I tell that story in detail. It involved a public affairs lieutenant, a general and Barry. He went viral before anyone knew the word internet.” 

    While this is Leepson’s ninth book, he is no stranger to Fayetteville. He spoke about his book Lafayette: Idealist General during a Lafayette Birthday Celebration weekend in recent years. Leepson has also written about Francis Scott Key, the Civil War, the history of the American flag and Monticello. On May 7, guests who attend the book signing will have a chance to ask Leepson questions and hear him speak. His presentation begins at 2:30 p.m. Books will be available for purchase. Find out more about City Center Gallery and books at www.citycentergallery.com. Find out more about Marc Leepson at www.marcleepson.com.

  • 12COSFor years, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers have been bringing incredible music and cultural opportunities to our region. Originally, the group was an “ensemble,” but more recently the group has expanded and partnered with various other community organizations. COS now includes three choirs: The Cross Creek Chorale, Campbellton Youth Chorus and the Cumberland Oratorio Singers make up the core of the group. 

    This growth is due in part to the work of Dr. Michael Martin, who will soon be leaving the COS. “I think we have done much to increase the positive reputation of the group and advance a support for choral music. This mission began with my arrival in 2007: to create a local symphonic choral organization that could partner with my choral program and create high-level music opportunities for the community and ourselves,” he said. “With the foundation provided by Alan Porter’s prior leadership, we have partnered with local colleges and professional music organizations. We have also delivered large orchestral and choral works with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra.” 

    The music produced by the Cumberland Oratorio Singers is phenomenal. It may surprise some audience members to know the members of the group all have day jobs. For Martin, this is one of the best aspects of the group, as it allows for community members to engage deeply with the arts. According to Martin, “It is the community approach to performance that makes these people special. Most members are not driven by anything but the success of the group. We come from all over the community: doctors, lawyers, from different churches, teachers, custodians, etc., all for the purpose to make music!”  

    Martin acknowledges building a community in Fayetteville has some particular challenges. “People come and go, and in Fayetteville this challenge is even harder given the nature of our military community with frequent moving,” he said. “The one thing we can never forget is why people should do this to begin with: to come together as a community to sing!” 

    Inarguably, Martin has made a huge impact not only on the Cumberland Oratorio Singers, but also on the local community as whole. Luckily his new focus won’t take him too far away. 

    “While COS is very respectful of my space with my family, it has become too much to balance with my growing responsibilities at Methodist University. For now, I am focused on being there for my job and family, as well as expanding my role in choral music in North Carolina,” he explained. “I intend to be involved with the COS in the future, hopefully as a member of the board. After a year away, I would like to be involved with them and offer my support to the new director in whatever way he or she would like. I believe in this group and will advocate and support them in any way possible!” 

    His years of experience have also inspired him to leave a little friendly advice for the incoming director. “If there is one thing that I have learned from my years of conducting community choirs it’s that most people sing simply because they want to do it. It is not a requirement for them, and that needs to be respected and supported. They are not paid, but we tend to expect them to be professional in every way. I have always considered our membership as ‘volunteer professionals’ with families and jobs. Therefore, people will learn and perform with what little time is available.” he said. 

    There is still time to catch a performance of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers this season. The next concert is May 19. Find out more at www.singwithcos.org. 

  • 01COVER“The word ‘conductor,’ in my opinion, has more than one meaning. There’s ‘conductor’ like the person who waves the stick around, and then there’s ‘conductor’ as in the element that conducts the energy like a copper wire. You are conducting the energy of the music into these people that you’re standing in front of, and then that transmits to the audience.” 

    The man who said this has been in love with music since he was 3 years old and the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra just revealed him to be its new music director and conductor. His name is Stefan Sanders. 

    Sanders said he remembers going to a concert when he was a teen and sitting very close to the stage. He said seeing the energy emanate from the conductor to the musicians onstage was “absolutely mesmerizing to watch. I knew right then and there ‘This is what I want to do with my life’ … it just took my breath away.’”

    Today, as a successful conductor and thriving artist, Sanders said his approach stems from that same idea about emanation he initially fell in love with. “There’s a term in music called ‘pulse.’ And that is usually referred to as the time, rhythm or beat of the music. But I think … the pulse of music is more like the pulse of a living thing, a heartbeat. There’s this inner pulse that all living things have... it’s a word used to describe the feeling (of something at its core).” 

    He believes a conductor’s number one job is to take the time to understand the pulse, or living heartbeat, of a piece of music, and to emanate that understanding to the musicians. His job is done, he said, when an orchestra can feel the music’s pulse without him so that for the performance he can simply be the facilitator. 

    And music isn’t the only thing that has a pulse. Cities do too, Sanders said – and he liked Fayetteville’s. Sanders spent a week in Fayetteville last November when he came as one of five auditioning guest conductors selected by an FSO search committee. “After a couple of days in Fayetteville, I knew that if they would offer me the position, I would heartily accept,” he said. “I was completely charmed by Fayetteville. One thing that surprised me was the amount of international representation … Every single person I met was an absolute delight.... I know I’m going to a community of like-minded people and people that respect and treat one another with dignity and kindness.” 

    Sanders said he wants to build the identity of the orchestra within the community as an essential, vibrant point of human connection and help continue FSO’s upward trajectory of musical excellence. “When the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra was putting together (the contract), they were very wise in stipulating they wanted a 12-week commitment. This is more weeks than there are actual performances... They (wanted to ensure) they would have access and availability of their music director to make an impact on their community beyond just conducting concerts. That is one of the things I really relish for this for the coming season and our future,” he said. 

    Sanders said he wants to combat the idea that orchestras are “high-brow” or only enjoyable to certain types of people. “Good music was … written by a human being that had the same experiences and feelings about life that every other person has about life. It just so happens they were living and working in a time where this was their medium for expression,” he said. He said he wants to provide a context where everyone feels welcome to come to an FSO concert and where people are willing to sacrifice some of their time and resources to do so because they can see the value it will add to
    their lives. 

    “(Art) is how we know for a fact … that we all share … this sense of community, whether it’s Fayetteville, North Carolina, the U.S., North America or the globe,” said Sanders. “We are not alone, and culture and art are how we express these feelings we all feel no matter where we’re from. This consumes my mind and my vision for what I do. I’m constantly thinking about how I can share this with as many people as I possibly can because that’s really what conducting is all about.”

    The 2017-18 FSO season, led by Sanders, begins this October. Tickets will be available starting in May. Learn more about FSO’s values and mission at www.fayettevillesymphony.org. 

  • 05-14-14-fay-after-5.gifPresented by R.A. Jefferies, a local distributer of Budweiser products, and organized by the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival, the Fayetteville After 5 concert series is a huge hit throughout the community. “This has become like a tradition for families. They come to the concert every month. We have two sisters who go to every single event and always give us feedback. It is a tradition for our community,” Carrie King, executive director of the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival explained. Every third Friday during the summer season, Festival Park is full of talented musicians performing for the community — and it is absolutely free to attend. It is a great family-friendly event that is perfect for sitting back in the grass and relaxing or dancing with friends.

    For this next season, the event will keep the changes made the previous season. The concerts are on Friday and there is a variety of music scheduled. These changes were made to the concert series in order to make it more accessible to the community. Friday evenings is often easier to go to a concert — and now there is some music for everyone. These changes have been met with great success. “We feel that the community has really embraced these changes. It was a change in format as well as a change from the type of music, beach music. Now there is something for everyone regardless of preferred genre,” said King.

    Fayetteville After 5 brings a lot to the community. It provides a free place to spend a fun evening with family and friends. It also brings talented and skilled performers into the area. According to King, even though the concert is free, it still brings business into the downtown area, which stimulates the local economy. Dinner and then a concert is the recipe for an incredible evening. There are also refreshments sold at the concert and the proceeds are used to help support the nonprofit Fayetteville Dogwood Festival organization.05-14-14-fay-after-5-2.gif

    This summer’s concert season offers several musical genres and styles. To kick off the season, the May 16 concert begins with Josh Thompson and the Erin Nenni Band. Both of these performers are country musicians. The theme for the June concert this year is Funk. The concert is on June 20 and will feature Liquid Pleasure and Big Rick and the Bombers. July 18 hosts Captain & the Keels, a BeeGee’s tribute band, and Heart Brigade, a Heart tribute band. August 15 brings the Eagles tribute band On the Border and the Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band Tuesday’s Gone.

    The gates of Festival Park open at 5 p.m. for Fayetteville After 5 events and the first acts begin between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. The concert closes at 10:30 p.m. No outside food or beverages are allowed. Bring chairs or a blanket to relax on. For more information visit www.faydogwoodfestival.com/p/Events/211 or call 323-1934. Festival Park is located at 225 Ray Ave.

    Photo: top left; Josh Thompson, bottom right; Erin Nenni.

     

  • What do you get when you cross Shakespeare, science fiction and rock-n-roll? An entertaining afternoon at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

    Return to the Forbidden Planet, on stage now, was written by Bob Carlton. It is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and also on the 1950s film Forbidden Planet, which was also loosely based on The Tempest. The show, directed by CFRT Artistic Director Tom Quaintance, is a quirky mix of rhyming script and feel-good music from the ‘50s and ‘60s that has the audience bopping in their seats, and patrons leaving with a smile on their face.

    The May show is traditionally the River Show; however, flooding at the river made it impossible to hold the show there this year.05-21-14-forbidden-planet.gif

    On a recent Sunday afternoon, the theatre was, unfortunately, almost empty. But that didn’t dampen the spirit of the cast who sang and danced as if the house was full. For some of the regular attendees to Sunday matinees at the CFRT, the show was a change of pace, but from the gentlemen sitting next to me who sang every word and those in front of me who were keeping time with the music, it was a welcome one.

    The show takes some well-known rock anthems — “Great Balls of Fire,” “Born To Be Wild,” “Good Vibrations,” “Gloria” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” just to name a few — and tells the story of an adventure into the id and the heart.

    The show starts with a takeoff of a spacecraft, piloted by Captain Tempest (played by Wilmington-based actor and physicist, David Lorek) on a routine mission into the universe. On this particular mission, a new crew member comes aboard — the Science Officer (Taylor Kraft) — who challenges the captain’s chauvinistic views about women, which leads into a campy production of “It’s a05-21-14-forbidden-planet-2.gifMan’s World.”

    All is not as it seems, and when the ship is drawn to the planet D’illyria (the Forbidden Planet), the Science Officer abandons ship, leaving the crew to meet its fate. But all is not lost. The crew meets Prospero (played brilliantly by Newlin Parker), a scientist who was sent by his wife Gloria to wander outer space along with his daughter, Amanda (played enchantingly by Fayetteville’s own Halle Vargas Sullivan.)

    The twists and turns that follow make for a wild ride on Capt. Tempest’s ship and a great time for the audience.

    The music provided by Bill Joyner, Milton Smith, Danny Young and Richard Gates, is obviously what drove this ship; however, at times, the sound did not seem to balance and the music overrode the lyrics and the speeches of the cast.

    That being said, if the worst thing I can say about the play was that they were playing that rock music too loud … then rock on! This is an out-of-this-world production that you do not want to miss.

    The production runs through June 1, with shows Thursday through Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. and the traditional Sunday matinees. Tickets range in price from $18 to $25. To make reservations, visit the website at www.cfrt.org or call the box office at 323-4233.

    Photos: The Return to Forbidden Planet, directed by CFRT Artistic Director Tom Quaintance, is a quirky mix of rhyming script and feel-good music from the ‘50s and ‘60s that has the audience bopping in their seats, and patrons leaving with a smile on their face.

  • 05-28-14-spring-jam.gifThe Cape Fear Botanical Garden is far more than a beautiful piece of cultivated green space among the concert landscape. It is a sustainable garden and a center for culture and education. It all began in 1989 with a shared passion amongst a few gardeners. Since its inception at a kitchen table, the garden has grown into 79 acres with more than 2,000 varieties of ornamental plants. One way that the garden provides the community with cultural activities is through its annual Spring Concert Series.

    The concert series is composed of four concerts, each featuring a different band. June 13 features classic rock performed by the Coconut Groove Band. “People can expect to have a terrific evening. The blending of live music performances and the beauty of the garden is a wonderful experience for our members and visitors. Gates open at 6 p.m., and the entertainment begins at 7 p.m. We encourage everyone to bring a lawn chair or blanket, find a spot on the lawn, get situated, purchase food and drinks and settle in for a relaxing time — although sitting is not required. Everyone is invited to dance or take a stroll along the paths and enjoy the music as it floats through the garden,” said Meg Suraci, Cape Fear Botanical Garden marketing director.

    The Coconut Groove Band is no stranger to Fayetteville. With a musical repertoire that includes easy listening, soul, rhythm & blues, Americana, rock n’ roll, hard rock, pop, funk, blues, country, bluegrass and jazz, the band provides a fun evening of light-hearted entertainment.

    The concerts are rain or shine events. Preferably, the music is enjoyed beneath a beautiful and clear night sky, but in the case of rain, the fun continues in the Orangery. After several years of practice, the garden staff has mastered putting on a great event for the community. “This is the garden’s third year presenting the Spring Concert Series. We’ve learned by experience and have tweaked each event along the way. Our staff and volunteers have a pretty good handle on presenting a terrific event. One thing we can’t control is the weather, but we don’t worry about it,” Suraci explained.

    Tickets for the concerts cost $15 for non-members and $10 for members. Along with discounted concert tickets, garden member receive many benefits. “Cape Fear Botanical Garden offers events of incomparable ambiance with great music in a beautiful outdoor setting, as well as fun, safe and affordable evenings out for the whole family — it’s something everyone needs to experience!” Suraci said. Members support these events and have greater access. For example there is free admission for a full year, special admission prices for workshops and events, and invitations to member only events. Additionally, $5 of every membership supports the garden’s Endowment of Sustainability. Members support not only the garden, but also the garden’s future.

    The gates open at 6 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m. Chair rentals are available. Food, beverages and wine are available for purchase. No outside food, beverages, coolers or pets are allowed. The garden is located at 536 N. Eastern Blvd. For more information visit www.capefearbg.org or call 486-0221.

  • uac051414001.gif On Thursday, May 22, Mayor Robertson and the Fayetteville City Council will host a reception for Miss North Carolina U.S.A., Olivia Olvera as she prepares to compete in the 63rd Miss U.S.A. Pageant on June 8 in Baton Rouge, La. A strong community advocate and selfless volunteer, Olvera hopes to continue to make a difference in whatever capacity she can.

    Olvera’s journey to winning the Miss North Carolina, U.S.A. title was unconventional to say the least. A self-described tomboy, Olvera is a South View High School graduate, an Army brat and the former Operations Manager at Bell’s Seed Store. She never considered herself the glamorous type but a $100 bet with her mom changed that. “My mom bet me $100 that if I entered a pageant at school I would win,” said Olvera. “I didn’t believe her, but I took the bet … and I won. It was fun.”

    After high school, Olvera attended Methodist University for a year before moving to South Carolina to attend the University of South Carolina. She didn’t expect to be entering any more pageants at this point. “I went to USC and some of my girlfriends were entering pageants, but I didn’t think much about it,” said Olvera. “But then I got stopped in Belk and was asked to compete for Miss South Carolina. I laughed. The person who stopped me was the (pageant) director and owner of four states. I said ‘yes’ and ended up in the top five for three out of four pageants.”

    According to her webpage, Olvera held the Miss Sun Fun 2011 title and won third-runner-up at Miss South Carolina U.S.A. 2011. The following year, she won the Miss Charleston U.S.A. 2012 title and claimed first-runner-up at Miss South Carolina U.S.A. 2012. Before moving back to North Carolina, Olvera competed one more time at the Miss South Carolina USA pageant as Miss Summerville USA and was again named third-runner-up. She was crowned Miss North Carolina USA 2014 on November 9, in High Point, N.C.

    While the pageant scene is rigorous, the hard work really begins after the winner is crowned. As Miss North Carolina U.S.A., Olvera has the freedom to make the most of her time in the position. She spends countless hours volunteering all over the state. “My agenda is not about fame or having a modeling career,” said Olvera. “My agenda is to help small businesses, promote charity organizations and events in the state and to be a voice for those with no voice.”

    Mayor Nat Robertson sees Olvera’s reign as a boon to the greater Fayetteville area and another thing for people to appreciate about the community. “I think Olivia is just one example of the many beautiful things that Fayetteville has to offer,” said Robertson. “She does a great job representing our city and she is a wonderful person, as well. This is especially good for Fayetteville to be so well represented on a national level.”

    During her reign, Olvera chose to spend a lot of her time in support of wounded warriors and children’s05-14-14-miss-nc.gif literacy. One of the causes she partners with is Helping a Hero, an organization that builds specially adapted homes for severely injured military personnel and their families. Helping a Hero adapts these homes for the specific injuries and challenges of wounded heroes. Locally, McKee Homes is building such a home for a wounded warrior. The home will be in Legacy Lakes in Aberdeen.

    As the daughter of a soldier, Olvera understands the hardships that come with military service. She knows first hand the effects of the long separations that military families endure and feels a connection to the wounded warrior cause. “My dad is retired now and recently we went on a fishing trip. I was excited to spend some time with him. He was gone a lot when I was younger and this seemed like the perfect way to reconnect,” said Olvera. “At some point he asked me to grab a drink for him and so I went to get it and I grabbed a Coke. Then my brother said, ‘No. He likes Dr. Pepper.’ That really hit home. That’s my dad and I didn’t even know what he likes to drink.”

    Olvera said her dad has been supportive of her reign as Miss North Carolina U.S.A. “Once dad said ‘do it,’ there was no way I couldn’t run,” said Olvera.

    At the pageant on June 8, if Olvera wins the crown, she will have just ten minutes to say goodbye to her friends and family and then will be whisked away to start her new life in New York. The newly crowned Miss U.S.A. will spend her time raising awareness for breast and ovarian cancer and supporting the U.S.O. and Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization that is “dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

    The Miss U.S.A. Pageant airs live on NBC at 8 p.m. The reception for Olvera is set for 3:30-5 p.m. at City Hall. The public is invited to attend. Find out more about Miss North Carolina U.S.A. at http://www.missnorthcarolinausa.com.

    Photo: Olivia Olvera, Miss North Carolina U.S.A. and Fayetteville native is set to compete in the Miss U.S.A. tournament on June 8 in Baton Rouge, LA.

  • 16 Mike Moses JrMike Moses Jr. brings a rich connection with basketball to his new job as head boys coach at South View High School.

    Moses, who comes to South View after coaching the St. Pauls High School girls last year, takes over from Wendell Wise, who stepped down earlier this year.

    Moses played high school basketball in Detroit before going to Eastern Michigan and eventually playing basketball at Fayetteville State.

    He coached for six years with Alphonza Kee at Fayetteville State, who is now head coach at Cape Fear. He worked briefly with Nike conducting basketball camps and also taught at Trinity Christian School in Fayetteville before getting back into coaching at St. Pauls last year.

    He took a team that was 3-25 the previous year and guided them to a 13-11 record.

    When the South View job opened, he was immediately interested. “I’m totally familiar with the success of South View,’’ he said of the school whose gymnasium is named for former coach Ron Miller.

    The Tiger program has slumped in recent years, and Moses thinks it needs not rebuilding but what he calls rebranding. “You bring in a new coach, you bring in new philosophies,’’ he said. “I have an energy that’s unmatched. I’m super passionate about this game.’’

    Moses said his father, Mike Moses Sr., coaches at the collegiate level and was a college player himself for St. John’s in the mid-1980s.

    “I’m going to bring it every day,’’ he said. “Your players feed off that. I’m going to set a standard and expectation, and it starts with me.’’

    Moses said he planned to hold his first meeting with the players at South View last week. He already has a plan set for off season workouts.

    He wants the team to condition on Tuesdays and Thursdays and practice on Mondays and Wednesdays during the summer.

    He also wants to get video of last year’s South View team to familiarize himself with the returning players.

    “I’m an up and down guy,’’ he said of his basketball philosophy. “I’m trying to get a shot in the first seven seconds of a possession. We want to score in transition. It requires a lot of talent to come down every possession and get a basket in a set play.’’

     

    PHOTO: Mike Moses Jr.

  • 15 Dr. Christopher DagueDr. Christopher Dague has long been on the path to be a college professor. But he’ll take many pleasant memories with him from his 13-year detour as a teacher and coach at Jack Britt High School.

    Dague, the baseball coach at Britt, will be leaving the school at the end of this year to become a professor at The Citadel in Charleston, SouthCarolina.

    He got his Ph.D from North Carolina State University in 2015 and has continued coaching baseball and teaching at Britt, along with doing some teaching for Campbell University.

    “I’ve told a lot of people, it’s bittersweet,’’ he said. “For me it’s more about the fact that this school and the people here will always mean more to me than I will ever mean to it.’’

    Dague said he can’t imagine ever teaching high school anywhere other than Britt. “It’s a place that has such incredible expectations of the faculty, students and athletics,’’ he said. “It’s special here. I can’t really describe it.’’

    He has a similar feeling for his new job at The Citadel, where he’ll teach educational psychology and curriculum instruction to both cadets and graduate students.

    “I’m going to an institution with an incredible and historic tradition,’’ Dague said. “Hopefully the information I’m going to provide to those students will impact students across South Carolina.’’

    Dague is the only baseball coach in Britt history tow in a share of a conference title. That happened last year. There is no baseball or coaching in his immediate future at The Citadel, and it’s something he will miss.

    “It’s the last connection with my father,’’ said Dague.“I lost him in 2002. I thought a lot about him over the last couple of days. It’s been such a great opportunity for me. I’m going to leave the door open.’’

    15 Steve ClabaughJack Britt named Steve Clabaugh as its new baseball coach. Clabaugh is a former coach at Seventy-First and Overhills High School and has been an assistant at Britt for three years.

    In a prepared statement, Clabaugh said, “I am honored and am very excited about my new role in the Jack Britt baseball program. I’m inheriting a program with a strong tradition of excellence, thanks to the hard work of some great coaches who have come before me.

    “I’m really looking forward to working with this great group of young men, parents, administration and community.’’

     

     

    PHOTOS: (Top to Bottom) Dr. Christopher Dague and Steve Clabaugh

  • Meetings

    For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Acting Deputy Town Clerk Tiffany Gillstedt at 910-426-4112. Most meetings take place at Town Hall.

    • Board of Commissioners Monday, June 4. A public hearing on the proposed FY 2018-2019 Budget will be held. Citizens Academy Graduation will take place that evening as well. Students will be presented with a plaque displaying their certificate of completion.

    • Historic Preservation Commissioners Wednesday, June 13, 5 p.m.

    Activities

    • Hope Mills Area Kiwanis Club at Sammio’s, second Tuesdays at noon at and fourth Tuesdays at 6 p.m. For details, call 910-237-1240.

    • Fall sports registration June 1-July 28. $30 per child; $15 late fee after registration deadline. Season begins Sept. 8. Call 910-426-4109 for more information.

    • Pet Fest Saturday, June 2, at Hope Mills Municipal Park. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free.Call 910-486-4636 for details.

    • Food truck Rodeo Thursday, June 7, 5-8 p.m. Held in the big parking lot at Town Hall.

    • Daddy/Daughter Dinner & Dance Saturday, June 9, 6 p.m. $50 per couple plus $20 for each additional ticket purchased. Call 910-426-4107 to RSVP by June 1.

    • First Annual 4th of July Pageant Friday-Saturday, June 22-23. Pageant registration deadline is June 1. For more information, call 910-426-4107.

    Promote yourself: To include your business’s event, emailhopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

  • 14 Hope Mills signsThinking about putting up a sign to advertise something in Hope Mills? Do yourself and the town a favor by checking first with Chancer McLaughlin, development and planning administrator for the town. You could save his department and yourself some headaches.

    McLaughlin and his staff oversee the good, the bad and the ugly of the signs that pop up all over Hope Mills. They recently sent out a mailer to all the businesses in town with a refresher on what is and isn’t allowed by the town’s sign ordinance.

    That ordinance takes up about 14 typed pages. Why so much reading material? McLaughlin said it’s because there’s a lot of ground to cover.

    McLaughlin said the sign ordinance stretches to14 pages not because there are so many different signs, but because the rules covering how different signs are regulated tend to be layered.

    Since a person or a business may only be looking at one type of sign to install, McLaughlin said there may be only a couple pages in the sign ordinance that apply specifically to them.

    If there’s one sign McLaughlin said the town is most likely to have a problem with, it’s what’s called a flag sign.

    Flag signs are portable or moveable signs not meant to be permanently attached to the ground or a building. Sometimes businesses use flag signs, and that’s where problems arise.

    “The sign ordinance allows flag signs for the grand opening of a business for a period of a week,’’McLaughlin said. “You can’t have a flag sign that’s a permanent attachment.

    “In addition to providing information about the sign ordinance, the mailer the town recently sent out to local businesses about signs alerted the businesses that Hope Mills plans to become more aggressive in its handling of violations.’’

    But McLaughlin and his staff haven’t exactly been ignoring the sign issue in Hope Mills. At least every other Friday, and sometimes more often if they notice an increase in illegal signs, McLaughlin and his co-workers do sign sweeps of Hope Mills.

    Normally, McLaughlin said, his team divides the town into quadrants,focusing on the commercial areas, and take one quadrant each Friday of a sweep. Their aim is to cover the whole town in the space of one month. On some days, they’ll tackle a larger area.

    While on these tours they also try to educate people they encounter on what signs they can and can’t use.

    He noted nearly all the signs you see posted on public right of ways advertising various small businesses are against the rules.

    On some weekends, McLaughlin said, his team picks up as many as 60 signs. And the sweeps continue.

    “As fast as we keep picking them up, they keep putting them down,’’ he said. “We have to be very consistent with continually putting the message out there.’’

    If you have questions about what signs are legal and illegal, contact McLaughlin’s office at 910-426-4103.