• 12 AndyKarcherThe months leading up to the summer break are normally a time when coaches at North Carolina High School Athletic Association member schools are allowed to have off-season conditioning workouts with their teams if they coach a sport that’s not in season during winter or spring.

    But that hasn’t been the case for E.E. Smith football coach Andy Karcher, who took over the Golden Bull program in late February. Barely three weeks after being hired and joining the faculty at Smith, Karcher found himself cut off from his team as the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shutdown of high school sports in North Carolina.

    Now Karcher, along with other coaches in Cumberland County, is anxiously awaiting the arrival of July 6, when they will be permitted to begin conditioning workouts with their teams under stringent safety guidelines suggested by the National Federation of State High School Associations and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

    Karcher, who came to Smith after serving as an assistant coach under Bill Sochovka at Pine Forest, got a few weeks to see some of his football players in weightlifting class at Smith, but has since been limited to only virtual contact with them.

    “We’re putting in a new offense with new terminology,’’ Karcher said. “We’re trying to do as much as we can with the mental game.’’

    One of the real challenges of only being able to meet virtually, Karcher said, is getting his athletes used to accountability, showing up on time, or showing up at all.
    “For me it’s been extremely stressful trying to move forward,’’ he said.

    He said he’s done the best he can talking to his players about the importance of maintaining their conditioning, taking part in regular workouts at their homes.
    “I think when we come together, we’ll be able to hit the ground running,’’ Karcher said.

    But there are still questions, he added, noting that between answering questions from his players and his new coaching staff, they are all finding themselves in totally uncharted waters.

    “It’s really challenging me to find creative ways to get things done,’’ he said. The challenge has been complicated by the fact that whatever ideas Karcher comes up with, he has to make sure they take into account the need for things like social distancing and the other restrictions still in place because of the pandemic.

    He praised members of his new coaching staff for adapting to the challenge as well. “They have taken it upon themselves to attend virtual coaching seminars,’’ he said. “They are trying to learn more about what we’re trying to do.’’

    Karcher has also reached out to coaching friends like Sochovka and Ben Penny at Triton High School for suggestions on what to do. “It’s about talking and sharing,’’ Karcher said.

    One of the biggest things he can’t control, and won’t be able to deal with until the first official day of fall practice when it comes, is learning how his team will deal with the physical aspect of football.

    “Football is a contact sport,’’ he said. “As soon as we can get back to some normalcy, the kids’ spirits and our spirits as coaches will lift.

    “The biggest thing now is trying to come up with a plan that is going to make sure the kids are mentally ready.’’

    The most important thing Karcher wants to teach is teamwork, finding out how much his players know and trust each other so they can get through the challenge together.
    “That’s what I love about football,” Karcher said. “It’s a sport that translates to everyday life after high school.’’

    He hopes his players will adjust to the restrictions of COVID-19 workouts quickly, but most important of all, that they stick to them. “Follow the procedure as you’re supposed to follow it,’’ he said. “Make sure everybody is staying safe.

    “This might be the new norm for awhile. We have to be flexible and do what we can do. We want to make sure everybody is doing what they are supposed to do so we can arrive at the season and it (the restrictions) won’t be prolonged any longer than it needs to be.’’

  • 11 missionfieldministriesTwenty-one years ago, Pastor Michael Mathis felt a calling to branch out on his own and establish a ministry that was both aimed at worship and serving his fellow man.
    With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a ministry like the one Mathis operates has become more important, and he’s trying to let people in need from Hope Mills and beyond know what he has available for them.

    Mathis is the founder of Mission Field Ministries, which has its physical location at 3429 Black and Decker Rd. on the outskirts of Hope Mills.

    He had previously served at Williams Chapel from 1988-99 when he felt a calling to establish his own church.

    He started his ministry with regular worship services at the Comfort Inn on Skibo Road in 2000, meeting there for about six years before setting up his own place of worship.
    Outreach has always been a part of what Mathis has done as a minister. He’s held regular programs at Haymount Rehabilitation Center on Bragg Boulevard and the prison in Scotland County, until the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions forced him to limit his interaction at both those facilities.

    He’s also done outreach to the homeless in the area, making visits to them beneath bridges to provide assistance.

    Over the past two years, Mathis has expanded another aspect of his ministry that provides food to those in need. Originally, he was serving about five families on a regular basis. A partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank has increased the reach of the food ministry.

    Currently, he’s serving about 25 families regularly, and he’s looking to expand more as the pandemic continues.

    “About four months ago, we saw the need to do this monthly,’’ he said of the food distribution. As a result, Mathis has designated the third Saturday of every month as the day he holds food giveaways at his Black and Decker Road location.

    After getting the food from Second Harvest or other sources, Mathis has a team that puts it in boxes. The food is provided in an unprepared state and includes both perishable and non-perishable items.

    The goal with each food box is to provide the basics for a good meal for the family that is receiving it. Each third Saturday during the hours of noon to 2 p.m., any family in need is invited to drive up to the church, open their trunk and the box of food is placed inside.

    No eating of food on the church grounds is permitted.

    Mathis said there is no paperwork for people to fill out, no interview process. It is given to anyone who is in need and wants to stop by.

    So far, Mathis said they’ve never run out of food during one of these giveaways, but Mathis said it is first come, first served so people are encouraged to arrive as soon as possible on the giveaway day.

    “I’m sure the numbers are fixing to increase as more people embrace what we do,’’ he said. For that reason, he welcomes donations from anyone who would like to contribute food to the ministry. “I’m proud of the kind of food items we are issuing,’’ he said. “I want people to know about this.’’

    If interested, contact Mathis directly at 910-988-0795.

  • 15 01 billThere’s an old cartoon that shows a couple of vultures sitting on a branch, scanning the horizon for carrion to eat and finding nothing.

    One vulture turns to the other and says, “To heck with patience, I’m going to kill something.’’

    That sentiment isn’t too far off from the frustration high school coaches and athletes around North Carolina and the Cape Fear region are feeling as they wait for the COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted so they can return to practice.

    The North Carolina High School Athletic Association finally opened the door to the return to off-season workouts recently, using guidelines established both by the National Federation of State High School Associations and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

    15 02 vernon copyBut many of the state’s larger school systems, including Cumberland County, decided to hold off and delay the start of practice until Monday, July 6.

    A conversation I had recently with Bill Sochovka, the dean of Cumberland County’s head football coaches, had me agreeing with the county’s plan to wait.

    Sochovka had the same opinion, for a simple but solid reason. He wanted the county to take its time and see what happens at other schools that open up, examine what practices are in place, what works, what doesn’t and how to safely open the doors for the athletes and coaches in the safest manner possible.

    Vernon Aldridge, the student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools, is also in the corner for caution, but for some different reasons. Aldridge wants to take time to make sure each of the county schools will have supplies on hand that they wouldn’t normally stock, things like hand sanitizer and other materials to make sure everyone stays as germ-free as possible.

    With recent spikes in new cases since some COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, it’s clear everyone needs to take this illness seriously and continue to do everything possible to flatten the curve.

    Nobody wants to see a return to practice and games more than I do. But I also don’t want to see an early return lacking proper precautions causing further spread of COVID-19.
    Instead of copying the vultures, let’s adopt the philosophy of one of my favorite Clint Eastwood characters, Gunny Highway from the movie "Heartbreak Ridge." As Gunny Highway said, let’s improvise, adapt and overcome, and make practice and play as safe as it can possibly be.

  •  10 4th of july decorationsThere will be no Fourth of July parade and no public fireworks display in Hope Mills this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The town’s Board of Commissioners recently voted to delay the fireworks until Ole Mill Days in the fall, concerned about large crowds that might gather to watch as reports of spikes in the spread of the disease
    continue.

    Meghan Freeman of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation staff began exploring alternative ways to celebrate the holiday and learned of a tradition in another town involving decorating homes and businesses. Freeman thought it was a cute way to observe the holiday while still keeping safe through social distancing.

    Townsfolk are urged to show off their patriotism in any manner they choose. It can include displays of red, white and blue, or they can put together a display that honors first responders or essential workers.

    “The purpose of decorating is to unleash their creativity and bring a smile to their neighbors,’’ Freeman said. If they don’t have a porch or lawn, Freeman said homeowners, apartment dwellers and businesses in Hope Mills can decorate anything about their location that can be seen from the street or the sidewalk.

    People who have piers on Hope Mills Lake are also welcome to decorate those, but Freeman said she doesn’t plan to include them in the decorating contest that the town will be conducting.

    There will be three categories in the decorating contest. They are most patriotic, most outstanding decoration and spirit of freedom. Prizes will be awarded in each category, but Freeman said a final decision on the nature of the prizes won’t be announced until June 30.

    Registration closed prior to the publication of this article. Contestants need to have their decorations in place by June 30 and leave them on display through July 5, which is when the winners will be announced.

    A committee of elected town officials will drive around to look at the various decorations and make the decision on the winner.

    Anyone who registered for the competition will have their home marked on an interactive map on the townofhopemills.com website, so people can have a virtual map to find the decorated homes.

    It will indicate both the address and whether or not the decorations include lights that can be seen at night. The first 50 who sign up will also get
    yard signs.

    “We could have easily just thrown up our hands,’’ Freeman said. “I think we are providing an outlet for some sort of patriotism. It brings the community together and it’s a time to have fun.’’

    Deputy Chief Bradley Dean of the Hope Mills Police Department reminded everyone planning their own fireworks that anything that shoots into the air or explodes is illegal without a pyrotechnic license.

    Dean added the police would rather educate than enforce, but if someone is injured or property damage results from illegal fireworks, they have no choice. “We want people to be safe,’’ he said.
     
  • 14 bookFrom his high school days playing football for legendary coach Herman Boone to taking the disaster that was the Westover girls’ basketball team and turning it into a state champion, Gene Arrington enjoyed one of the most amazing athletic careers anyone could dream of.

    Now, after listening to the urging of friends and family, he’s written a book about his experiences.

    “Rise of the Wolverines: The Making of a Titan and Beyond’’ tells Arrington’s story from his days under Boone at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, to his years turning the Westover girls basketball team into the best in the state. 

    Arrington’s sister, Ethel Delores Arrington, actually did the writing, as Coach Arrington sat down with her and dictated the story of his life.
    “My sister had written a book before and she got right in there with me,’’ Arrington said. 

    When Arrington took over the Westover girls’ program, then Wolverine principal John Smith said everyone warned him it was a dead-end job and had the record to prove it.
    At the time, the Wolverine girls were mired in an 87-game losing streak.

    “Westover had been kind of labeled as a nonproductive type of school,’’ Arrington said. “I wanted them to know Westover could do anything any other school could do and win, and they did.’’

    Arrington’s formula for success wasn’t anything complicated. “Confidence,’’ he said. “Those girls were confident they could beat anybody.’’

    He said his guidance as a coach came largely from the legendary Boone, whose story was featured in the 2000 film “Remember the Titans,’’ starring Denzel Washington, which shared the story of Boone’s 1971 T.C. Williams team and the challenges he faced coaching at the height of public school integration.

    “He was my mentor,’’ Arrington said. “He was my buddy. Most of the things I did were a mirror of him.’’

    Boone, who died of lung cancer last December, wrote the foreword for Arrington’s book.

    Arrington snapped the Westover girls’ losing skid in his first season there with a win over perennial Cumberland County girls’ basketball power Pine Forest. 

    In his 15 seasons at Westover, Arrington only had three teams with losing records. From 2004-10, his teams won 20 or more games every season, winning or sharing the conference basketball title six times. Health reasons led him to retire before the 2013 season.

    The Wolverines had their best season in 2008, when they went 30-2 and defeated West Charlotte 58-53 at N.C. State’s Reynolds Coliseum for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A girls’ basketball title. Along the way, they knocked off a 30-0 Raleigh Wakefield team in the semifinal round.

    In the title game against West Charlotte, Arrington recalled taking a timeout with about five minutes to play and his team trailing by eight points.

    Arrington said he usually did the talking during timeouts, but he recalled a moment reminiscent of one of the final scenes in the famed high school basketball movie “Hoosiers.”

    Linda Aughburns, one of the stars of the state title team, looked at Arrington in that huddle and said to her coach, “We got this,’’ he recalled. 
     
    In January of 2015, Westover paid tribute to Arrington’s outstanding career by naming the gym at the school in his honor.

    Arrington said his hope for people who read the book is they will get a simple message from it. “I hope they’ll realize perseverance, building confidence, faith in each other and believing are the keys to success,’’ he said. 

    The book is not available in stores. For information on purchasing it, go to www.coachgene.net. The cost is $17 plus $5 for shipping and handling. To 
    place orders for multiple copies, email etheldelores@gmail.com.
     
  • 13 hopemillslakeThere was a time when the position of lake attendant at Hope Mills Lake was seasonal, but with the popularity of the lake since its return, the need for someone to be on duty more frequently has increased.

    That’s why the town is seeking to add at least two part-time lake attendants as soon as possible to try and keep things in order at the popular recreational area.

    Lamarco Morrison, who heads the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, said he’s currently having to assign full-time staffers who have other jobs to handle the lake attendant’s role.

    “We definitely have to have someone there on the weekends to make sure they are adhering to the rules,’’ Morrison said. 

    Those rules have gotten more complicated because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, with lake attendants having to step in and enforce social distancing restrictions.

    The basic responsibilities of the lake attendant are fairly routine Morrison said. They monitor the lake and its park to make sure town ordinances are being observed, like no one fishing in the designated swimming area, making sure trash is picked up and making sure the restrooms at the lake are clean.

    The lake attendant is not required to do any grounds care like mowing or weeding. They do need to check on things like making sure dogs are on leashes and that no one parks a vehicle at the boat ramp except to put a boat in the water and then leave.

    Other rules that need to be enforced are no smoking and no weapons.

    The main COVID-19 rule that is a problem with lake visitors is limiting all groups to a maximum of 25. That is also the limit imposed on the number of people that can be in the swimming area at one time.

    While the wearing of masks is encouraged in the park, Morrison said it is not a rule.

    There are no limits on how many cars can be parked in the lake parking lot, but Morrison said the lake attendant does enforce the 25-person rule when people are outside of their vehicles. If they decide to buy food at the nearby Big T’s food stand, they cannot congregate to eat it there in large groups and must either leave or eat in their cars. 

    Park staff is no longer putting up a barricade at the parking lot at day’s end. Typical summer hours for the park are from dawn to dusk, with the park usually shutting down each day around 10 p.m. There is an attendant on duty from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. They work in two shifts of no more than six to six-and-a-half hours per day. State and federal laws limit how much the part-time attendants can work both weekly and annually without receiving benefits.

    The attendants are not authorized to assess penalties for violating park rules. Their instructions are to tell someone one time if they are in violation of park rules. If the person ignores the warning and continues the violation, the attendants are not to confront the person violating the rules, but instead contact local law enforcement to handle the problem.

    Unfortunately, Morrison said that has happened on numerous occasions.

    To apply for the lake attendant position, go to Town Hall on Rockfish Road during normal business hours.
    13 hopemillslake
    You can also follow this link to the application online: www.townofhopemills.com/jobs.aspx.
     
  • 12 jasonnortonJason Norton was remembered by his peers as someone who was easy to talk with, who wanted to win, but above all did everything for the benefit of the athletes at his school.

    Norton, 47, who served as athletic director at Pine Forest since 2015, after an outstanding career as both an athlete and coach in his native Richmond County, died earlier this month after a lengthy battle with cancer.

    He is survived by his wife, Lauren and sons Alex, Kevin and Jase.

    Norton was an all-American placekicker at Catawba College, while playing for two state championship football teams at Richmond Senior and coaching a third.
    He joined the staff at Pine Forest as athletic director in 2015, continuing to work there until the disease forced him to step down after the 2019 school year.

    “He was very genuine,’’ said Pine Forest principal David Culbreth. “When he came to Cumberland County, he was excited to have the opportunity to be an administrator and an athletic director. It made everything easier with the enthusiasm and energy he brought.’’

    “I don’t think you could have met a nicer, kinder person than Jason,’’ said Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools. “His ability to build relationships and be a good listener is what drew people to him.’’

    Chad Barbour was the athletic director at South View when he first crossed paths with Norton and they became close friends. Barbour is now principal at Cumberland Polytechnic High School.

    “He wanted the whole program to be successful and he wanted to get the best people in the positions he had,’’ Barbour said. “He had high expectations for the way students were supposed to conduct themselves.’’

    One of Norton’s closest friends was David May, who coached with him at Hamlet Junior High School and was on the coaching staff at Pine Forest when Norton became athletic director.

    “He’s worn so many hats in his life, coaching, teaching and being a father and a husband,’’ May said. “I can’t tell you how many people he’s taken to football camps all over the country with his boys that wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go.

    “I know he’d be looking down right now amazed at all the love and support he’s receiving, how highly people thought of him. He wasn’t a vain type of guy who looked for praise.’’

    During his battle with cancer, Norton received three major awards, including the Braveheart Award from the N.C. Athletic Directors Association, the Tony Simeon Courage Award from the N.C. High School Athletic Association and most recently the Stuart Scott Courage Award from HighSchoolOT.com.

  • 12ThrillSeekingI just returned from a motorcycle adventure ride that was so challenging I actually feel shorter. While most motorcyclists were heading to Rolling Thunder, a few crazy guys were traveling across Virginia and West Virginia on what I was told would be “a pretty easy off-road ride with mostly graveled forest roads.” I was thinking Jeep trails, which for the most part it was. It’s the parts that are not Jeep trails that make "adventure riding" adventure riding. Little did I know I would be experiencing narrow trails almost like jungle canopy, red-clay slippery mud, 400-foot drop-offs and many water crossings.

    At moments, I asked myself, “What am I doing this for? I’m tired; I hurt. Should I sell my dual-sport bike, get me a nice traveling bike and stick to the roads?” Getting stuck in what I will call mud quicksand took us two hours to get out of and required us to build a makeshift bridge in the middle of nowhere.

    My wife watched my exploits on Facebook and said to me, “There is no way that looks fun at all.” Every night, I agreed with her. Strangely, the day after I got back home, my body was in full-on travel mode. I wanted to get back on that bike and ride. Then I found myself wondering what my next trip would be. Crazy, right?

    Most of my life has been in and around military, firemen and policemen. All of these jobs are high-risk jobs. Their friends and family worry every day if they will get back home. They, in turn, go to work every day and dream of some sane job doing something safe — but they choose to get back on it.

    Thrill-seeking and risk-taking varies. For some, going to a scary movie is enough. For many, it is jumping on a motorcycle and going for a ride. For others, it is parachuting or tickling a bear’s belly. So, where does this motivation come from?

    The amygdala is the answer. It's a small, almond-shaped set of neurons in the brain's medial temporal lobe, which is kind of the center of the brain. Here, our mind processes a convergence of inputs of chemicals the body produces. These chemicals are generated based on what our senses tell our mind, and the body produces respondents. If danger is perceived — real or not — it triggers our instinct to respond to the situation. Part of our instinct is stimulated by our body’s ability to produce adrenaline, endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. Together, they produce substances that stimulate positive and even euphoric feelings. Our body gets high from accomplishing or surviving something.

    Adrenaline is the chemical that gets us ready for action when we perceive danger. It is that moment that often defines success or failure.

    Endorphins keep up our endurance. It is the runner’s drive and ultimate will to keep going when their body tells them to quit or walk.

    Serotonin feeds brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation and some social behavior. Serotonin aids a wide variety of tasks in the body and is often called the “happy chemical” because it works for our wellbeing and happiness.

    Dopamine comes up when we are attempting to accomplish a challenge. It’s that decision-making process that says “Hey, let's go jump in the ocean, feed sharks and take pictures.” Together, these chemicals are highly addictive and connive to drive us to seek out that thrill or scary challenge.

    Thrill-seekers often operate in unpredictable situations. Thrill-seekers are usually not good with being deliberate, focused, concentrated or patient. They overcome these things by being prepared, training for situations, doing mental rehearsals or having an excellent medical plan.

    To keep us in check, the brain's frontal lobe acts as an internal control panel that gives us cognitive skills like problem-solving, language, judgment, sexual behavior and emotional expressions. It gives us our personality and ability to communicate. It is also the part of the brain that tells us, “Danger. Stop. This is not safe.”

    I deduce that the most significant challenge for the thrill-seeker is between their amygdala and frontal lobe. They have to calculate the amount of risk, gain and loss they're willing to give for their next adventure.

    If there is a topic you would like to discuss, email motorcycle4fun@aol.com. RIDE SAFE!

  • 12 chuckhodges copyThe town of Hope Mills is looking for a new fire marshal and hopes to have one in place by the end of July.

    “Pretty much every municipality has its own fire marshal or they have to contract with the county,’’ said Hope Mills fire chief Chuck Hodges, adding the town has had its own fire marshal since the early 1990s.

    Currently, a part-time assistant fire marshal is handling most of those duties, which include inspecting local businesses and buildings for their adherence to fire codes.

    But the assistant is only qualified to do what are called level one and two inspections. Hodges said they need someone full-time who has complete training and certification to do higher level inspections, known as level three, for larger businesses like Lowe’s and Walmart.

    There are people on the current staff, Hodges said, including himself and the deputy chief, who are certified to do the higher level inspections. “With as much construction and building as there is going on in Hope Mills, we don’t have the time to do it,’’ Hodges said.

    That’s why it’s important that the town get a full-time fire marshal on board.

    In addition to doing business inspections, Hodges said the new fire marshal will, in many ways, become the most familiar public face of the fire department in the community.

    The fire marshal is charged with educating the public on the topic of fire safety.

    “If there is a civic group or fire prevention class, they will be the ones who coordinate that,’’ Hodges said of the fire marshal.

    He said the fire marshal plays a major role during fire prevention month, which is typically held during October, in conjunction with the anniversary of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire.

    “They do public relations functions where it comes to fire and life safety,’’ Hodges said. “Public speaking skills are a plus.’’

    When it comes to relating with business owners about fire safety issues, Hodges said the ultimate goal is to make all businesses in the town safe for both patrons and employees.


    In a roundabout way, it’s also designed to make it safer for the firefighters should they ever have to respond to a situation at a local business.

    “If they are complying with code, it makes it safer for us to respond,’’ he said.

    In addition to public relations skills, the fire marshal will also have to have command capability. “If I’m gone or the deputy chief is gone, the fire marshal is the next in charge,’’ Hodges said.

    Hodges indicated the new fire marshal will likely come from outside the current staff as no one qualified and currently on board has expressed a serious interest in the position.

    “It’s an important job, for everybody,’’ Hodges said. “It reduces the risk and adds to the quality of life for the people who live in the town.

    “It’s rare they’re going to go into a business in town that’s not safe.’’

    To apply for the fire marshal job, go to www.townofhopemills.com/jobs.aspx.

  • 13 CumberlandCountySchoolsNEWlogoAthletes and coaches from the Cumberland County Schools will be allowed to begin off-season workouts effective Monday, July 6.

    “We look forward to getting our student-athletes back on campus safely,’’ said county student activities director Vernon Aldridge in a press release last week. “The July 6 date is subject to change if state and local directives deem it necessary.’’

    The decision was made following the announcement by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association that it was lifting the statewide hold on summer workout sessions and allowing schools to resume on June 15. However, the NCHSAA said it would be the right of each school system to announce if it would open June 15th date or wait until later.

    Aldridge said workouts in the county will be held under guidelines released by the NCHSAA, as well as additional guidance from the Department of Health and
    Human Services.

    In the weeks prior to July 6, Aldridge said county schools will make sure they have the supplies and equipment required to insure safe practices, along with instruction for athletic staff on following the prescribed procedures.

    By returning July 6, Cumberland County will miss the NCHSAA dead period normally held the week of July 4. A second dead period in July, the week of the annual East-West All-Star games, has been waived as the games and North Carolina Coaches Association Clinic this year have been canceled.

    Athletes and parents must complete registration forms online using the "Final Forms" link that can be found on each school’s website in order for athletes to participate in summer workouts.

    Any student with an athletic physical performed on or after March 1, 2019, will be considered eligible for 2020-21. Students who had a physical earlier than that date will be required to get a new one before attending workouts.

    Assuming there are no other changes to the calendar, the July 6 date will give Cumberland County athletes four weeks of summer workouts before the official start of fall practice, which is still scheduled for Aug. 1.

  • 05BabeRuthThe recent arrival of the Woodpeckers and the Segra Stadium represent a new page in the long history surrounding baseball. Most of us are familiar with the recent history of local baseball to include the Generals and the Crocks, and some will even remember the Highlanders. This article will test your knowledge of the earlier Fayetteville history concerning one of America’s favorite sports.

    Q: When and under what circumstances did baseball as we know it arrive in North Carolina?

    A: It was during the Civil War. A group of Union prisoners in 1863 engaged in games of baseball at the prisoner-of-war camp located in Salisbury.

    Q: When was baseball first played in Fayetteville, and what was the name of the first team?

    A: Baseball was first played in Fayetteville in 1867. The first team was named the Lafayette Club, in honor of Fayetteville’s namesake, Gen. Lafayette. He was a young French nobleman who aided the colonies during the American Revolution.

    Q: Where was baseball first played in Fayetteville?

    A: The first game was played on an empty lot off Rowan Street but quickly shifted to the Military Green, which served as a militia parade field. The Military Green was located where the Transportation & Local History Museum is now located at 325 Franklin St., just a few blocks from the new Segra Stadium.

    Q: When did African American baseball teams begin to play in Fayetteville?

    A: An African American club was formed soon after the Lafayette Club. The local newspaper reported in July 1867 that the Fayetteville African American Baseball Club would be engaged in competition against a team in Charleston South Carolina. The name of one of the early Fayetteville African American teams was the Teasers.

    Q: How much did it cost to watch a baseball game in Fayetteville during the late 1800s?

    A: The admission was between 5 and 10 cents, and to encourage ladies to attend, they were often admitted free.

    Q: How did our local citizens support Fayetteville teams playing out of town?

    A: Bit by the baseball fever bug, many local citizens would board steamboats or trains and travel to other towns to root for the Fayetteville teams. Fayetteville and Cumberland County were consumed with the spirt and enthusiasm of baseball fever.

    Q: By the early 20th century, Fayetteville had the reputation of having one of the best baseball fields in the South. Where was it located?

    A: It was located at the Cumberland County Fairgrounds, where the Department of Transportation is now located, at Gillespie Street and Southern Avenue. The fairgrounds featured a covered grandstand and an oval track with the baseball diamond laid out in the middle of the track.

    Q: When did Fort Bragg first get involved with local baseball?

    A: Camp Bragg was established in 1918, and within one year, the assigned soldiers formed teams and engaged in competitive games with Fayetteville teams and surrounding cities. They were part of the Red Circle Baseball League organized by the War Camp Community Service.

    Q: What is Fayetteville’s earliest connection with professional baseball?

    A: It dates back to 1909 with the incarnation of the Fayetteville Highlanders, which was a Class D Eastern Carolina League franchise in 1909- 1910. The Highlanders won the 1910 ECL title with the help of future sports legend Jim Thorpe.

    Q: What is Fayetteville’s connection with the famous “Babe” Ruth?

    A: On March 7, 1914, while playing an intra-squad exhibition game at the Cape Fear Fairgrounds, Babe Ruth hit his first home run in professional baseball. Ruth hit the ball a distance of 135 yards. It was Ruth’s fifth day as a professional, his first game, and his second time at bat. It was also here that he acquired the nickname “Babe.”

    Q: What is the connection between Crown Ford automotive dealership near the intersection of Skibo Road and Bragg Boulevard and baseball?

    A: Crown Ford occupies the land that was developed shortly after World War II as the Cumberland County Memorial Stadium, later renamed Pittman Stadium. From 1946 to 1956, the stadium was home to Fayetteville Cubs, A’s and Highlanders, which were minor league baseball teams. After the 1956 season, the Highlanders decided to disband the team, and shortly after that, Pittman Stadium closed.

    Fayetteville is rich in baseball history. If you wish to explore this fascinating topic further, visit the “Fayetteville Baseball Fever” exhibit at the Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum located at 325 Franklin St. The exhibit features a wealth of local history, trivia, photographs and artifacts. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. Tours and guest speakers can be arranged by calling 910-433-1457, 910-433-1458 or 910-433-1944.

  • 11 kahlenbergFew things are more important in the world we currently live in than being able to articulate individual wants and needs. It’s in times like these that the job of someone like Deana Kahlenberg is so important.

    Kahlenberg, who is a speech language pathologist at Gallberry Farm Elementary School in Cumberland County, was recently honored by her peers as the Cumberland County Schools speech language pathologist of the year.

    Kahlenberg said she was “blown away” to be recognized after being in the profession for only six years.

    She was inspired to pursue her career by an elementary school teacher who created a love of working with children in her. Kahlenberg said there is also a history of stuttering in her family that sparked a personal interest in the profession.

    While some speech pathologists work at multiple schools, Kahlenberg does all of her work with students at Gallberry Farm. Her focus is on students in preschool through fifth grade who have communication disorders. These can range from having difficulty making certain sounds to problems understanding or using language.

    A graduate of Radford, Kahlenberg was an elementary classroom teacher for seven years before she and her husband Mark, who is also a speech pathologist in Cumberland County, went back to get their masters degrees in communication disorders.

    Although this year changed things because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kahlenberg normally works with 50 to 60 students per year in both individual and group sessions, depending on the needs of each child.

    Kahlenberg is part of a team approach that includes teachers, teacher assistants, parents and entire families in working with students who need communication help.
    “The goal of what we do is to give everybody a voice,’’ she said of the students she works with. “I think it’s more critical than ever,’’ she said. “Making sure everyone has that voice and fair opportunity to get an education is our goal.’’

    Because a lot of Kahlenberg’s work involves one-on-one interaction with students, the pandemic complicated things, especially when school was closed.

    “We moved to teletherapy,’’ she said. “We rely heavily on caregivers and family members to help go through the therapy process. There is a lot of caregiver training and counseling involved.’’

    Dawn Collins, the principal at Gallberry Farm, said Kahlenberg did everything in her power to make sure no students fell through the cracks because of the lack of face-to-face teaching this year once school closed.

    “She used all the resources possible,’’ Collins said. “She would meet with students in small groups virtually and one-on-one. She considered it a personal goal to contact the students with the best resources she had.’’

    Kahlenberg said her primary hope for any recognition she receives from being honored is to increase interest in the speech pathology profession and hopefully draw others to pursue it as a career.

    “We are always needing more speech therapists,’’ she said. “I hope it will bring light to the profession and draw younger people to enter it.’’

  • 12 01 MatthewPembertonJust as Cumberland County was hoping to celebrate a pos-sible high point in mid-March with two state basketball champions, the high school athletic season across the state of North Carolina came to a crashing half because of restrictions imposed to pre-vent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    Not only was the basketball season prevented from ending on the court, spring sports athletes saw their seasons end after just a week, and they were eventually canceled.

    12 02 KylieAldridgeBut while the year may have ended abruptly for many county athletes, there were some who were able to com-plete their seasons. Here’s
    a quick recap of the athletic year by season.

    Fall
    Football — South View and Terry Sanford finished with 7-1 conference records in the Patriot Athletic Conference with the Tigers winning the
    head-to-head matchup on the field 23-17 in a game that went double overtime.

    12 03 MiyaGilesJonesDorian Clark led the county in rushing with 2,346 yards. The top passer was Dashawn McCullough of E.E. Smith with 2,336 yards.

    Volleyball — Gray’s Creek cruised to the Patriot Athletic Conference title with a 25-1 record, led by Kylie Aldridge and Kelsie Rouse with 77 and 70 aces respectively.

    Boys soccer — Gray’s Creek edged Terry Sanford for the Patriot Athletic Conference title, finishing one game ahead of the Bulldogs in the league stan-12 04 DallasWilsondings. Eric Chavez was the leading scorer for the Bears with 17 goals and 14 assists.

    Girls tennis — Cape Fear ended a 17-year losing streak to perennial county tennis power Terry Sanford, beating the Bulldogs 6-3. Terry Sanford wound up as the No. 1 seed in the state playoffs while Cape Fear earned a wildcard berth. Cape Fear reached the third round of the state 3-A playoffs, ended 14-2 after losing to unbeaten New Hanover.

    The Colts were led by Brooke Bieniek and Paige Cameron.

    Cross country — Octavious Smith of E.E. Smith was the top male runner in the county, winning the Patriot Athletic Conference meet with a time of 12 05 dmarcodunn16:09.10. Cape Fear, led by Jonathan Piland and Julius Ferguson, was the team winner for the boys.

    For the girls, Terry Sanford’s Rainger Pratt won with a time of 20:21.90. The Bulldogs also took the team prize.

    Girls golf — Toni Blackwell again led Cape Fear to the Patriot Athletic Conference title. She went on to win the 3-A East Regional tournament and placed third in the NCHSAA tournament. For the regular season, Blackwell averaged 77.9 per round. 

     

    12 06 toniblackwellWinter

    Basketball — Westover’s boys and E.E. Smith’s girls came within days of playing for state 3-A bas-ketball titles, only to have the restrictions put into place because of COVID-19 see their games first postponed and eventually canceled. The NCHSAA Board of Directors eventually decided to declare all of the teams that had advanced to this year’s state basketball finals cochampions.

    The Westover boys were led by D’Marco Dunn, who averaged 20.8 points per game and has recei-ved numerous college scholarship offers.

    Miya Giles-Jones was Smith’s leading scorer with 13.4 points per game.

    Wrestling — South View edged Cape Fear for the Patriot Athletic Conference regular season honors, but the Colts brought home more state hardware. Dallas Wilson won his third consecutive state individual title for Cape Fear while teammate Nick Minacapelli won his first title after a third-place finish a year ago. Wilson was also named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the state 3-A tournament.

    Bowling — It was a banner year for local bow-ling as the Gray’s Creek boys and Terry Sanford girls captured state championships.

    Junior Zoe Cannady helped pace Terry Sanford while on the boys’ side Terry Sanford’s Rolf Wallin won the boys’ state individual title.

    The Gray’s Creek boys were led by regular sea-son MVP C.J. Woodle and Gio Garcia.

    Swimming — Cape Fear’s boys and Terry Sanford’s girls were the top swim teams in the county. Among the top swimmers were Terry Sanford’s Allison Curl and Pine Forest’s Brandon Chhoeung.

    Spring

    Baseball — Gray’s Creek was off to a 5-0 start when the season ended. Ben Jones was batting .667.

    Softball — Cape Fear was 6-0 and South View 3-0. The top three hitters were Kylie Aldridge of Gray’s Creek at .727, Morgan Nunnery of Cape Fear at .722 and Jaden Pone of Gray’s Creek at .714.

    Girls soccer — Terry Sanford was off to a 4-0 start led by eight goals from Maiya Parrous and seven from Corrinne Shovlain.

    Track, golf, tennis and lacrosse seasons were practi-cally wiped out by the COVID-19 restrictions.

    Major Awards
    Here is a list of all Cumberland County Schools athletes that received major individual awards from their conferences during 2019-20: Patriot Athletic Conference

    Football 

    Athlete of the Year —
    Matthew Pemberton, South View
    Offensive Player of the Year — Dorian Clark, Terry Sanford
    Defensive Player of the Year — Jackson Deaver, Terry Sanford

    Volleyball

    MVP — Kylie Aldridge, Gray’s Creek

    Boys Soccer

    Offensive Player of the Year — Carlos Villarreal, Pine Forest

    Defensive Player of the Year — Davis Molnar, Terry Sanford

    Goal Keeper of the Year — Davin Schmidt, South View

    Girls Tennis — Kelcie Farmer, Pine Forest Boys Cross Country — Octavious Smith, E.E. Smith
    Girls Cross Country — Rainger Pratt, Terry Sanford

    Girls Golf — Toni Blackwell, Cape Fear
    Boys Basketball — D’Marco Dunn, Westover Girls Basketball — Faith Francis, Westover Wrestling — Dallas Wilson, Cape Fear
    Boys Bowling — C.J. Woodle, Gray’s Creek Girls Bowling — Donna Kerechanin, South View Girls Swimming— Allison Curl, Terry Sanford Boys Swimming — Aiden Stockham and Brandon Chheoung, Pine Forest

    Cheerleading — Avery Schenk, Terry Sanford Sandhills Athletic Conference

    Swimming — Anna Miller, Jack Britt

    From top to bottom: Matthew Pemberton, Kylie Aldridge, Miya Giles-Jones, Dallas Wilson, D'Marco Dunn, Toni Blackwell

    Photo credit for Giles-Jones: Matthew Plyler/MaxPreps

     

     

     

  • 10 02 diner Chef Glenn Garner had planned for an April opening of his new location of The Diner by Chef Glenn and Company on Camden Road.

    Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed things down, mainly because of the restrictions in place that made the idea of rolling the restaurant out earlier impractical, since it would not be open to sit-down customers. But Garner promoted interest in the new business by parking his food truck out front while work continued on the new location, serving customers to-go meals from the truck.

    Now that the state of North Carolina is gradually reopening and restrictions have been loosened on restaurants, Garner held his official opening of the new location last week. Of course, there will still be limits on how much he can do, the main one being occupancy is limited to half capacity, which in his case will be no more than a maximum of 113 customers inside at one time.

    “It’s for a good reason and I understand that,’’ Garner said of the restrictions. "But I don’t think a lot of places are going to open until Phase 3 starts off.’’

    Phase 3 is the next stage of reopening under the limits set down by Gov. Roy Cooper that will allow businesses like restaurants to return to more normal operations.

    Although they aren’t required, Garner will promote the wearing of masks in his new business. He will also be required to sanitize the tables after each group of customers leave. To comply with social distancing, no customers will be seated at adjacent tables or booths, leaving unoccupied spaces as a buffer to allow proper spacing between everyone.

    Garner admitted he’s concerned if he’ll be able to even reach 50% occupancy with any regularity. He has visited other restaurants in anticipation of opening his and said many of them are not half full. “I think they are shell-shocked,’’ he said of potential customers.

    Garner has set his hours for Tuesday through Thursday from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday he’ll be open 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., closing on Sundays and Mondays. The diner offers a brunch on Sunday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 


    His aim with the new restaurant is to give Hope Mills diners the most varied and upscale menu available anywhere in town, and he thinks it will rival or exceed offerings they can get from specialty restaurants along Fayetteville’s McPherson Church Road, the town’s unofficial restaurant row.

    Just a sampling of what Garner will be serving includes seafood, steak, prime rib, chicken and oysters.

    The decor and theme of The Diner is 50s and 60s. Both the inside and outside of the building are decorated with signs and displays highlighting that era.

    In addition to the main seating area, Glenn will offer a private dining room for any group of 10 or more people that can seat up to 100.

    It will be available for parties or any kind of group meeting. Anyone interested in using it needs to make a reservation at least 48 hours in advance.

    As for Garner’s old location in downtown Hope Mills, it will close temporarily while he’s getting the new business open, with plans to reopen the downtown business sometime over the next quarter. The location on Main Street, formerly known as Becky's Cafe, will be renamed Just Breakfast by Chef Glenn and Company. It will open Monday, June 22 from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. The number is 910-929-2520. It will be open Monday through Saturday. 


    For further information on either location, Garner can be contacted at 910-705-2664.

  • 11 01 GraysCreek1For the third year in a row and the fourth time since 2009, Cumberland County has brought home the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Exemplary School Award, a measure of the quality of what the NCHSAA calls the total program at the winning school.

    The win by Gray’s Creek adds them to a list that includes the last two winners, Terry Sanford and Cape Fear, along with Jack Britt, which captured the award in 2009.

    A common thread at all of the schools is something that was started years ago by former Cumberland County Schools student activities director Fred McDaniel and continues today with one of his successors, Vernon Aldridge. That’s a push for all county schools to get their athletic directors and coaches certified by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

    “I think it helps with the quality of coaching that our young people are going to receive,’’ Aldridge said. “I think the taking of National Federation courses is creating a better coach, which hopefully will create a better experience for our student athletes in Cumberland County.’’

    Aldridge said the award does more than measure what a school does on the athletic field. It considers multiple elements, including academic performance.

    “It’s exciting to have three schools in three years win this award,’’ Aldridge said. “What I hope it shows is we are providing a quality product, athletically as well as academically, for the students in Cumberland County.’’

    Gray’s Creek athletic director Troy Lindsey, who like Aldridge is currently a member of the NCHSAA Board of Directors, feels the award for his school is the byproduct of having an outstanding staff, including both head and assistant coaches.
    “Everyone of my head and assistant coaches gets it,’’ Lindsey said. “They get the whole purpose of what interscholastic athletics is about. It’s an extension of the classroom.’’

    Lindsey feels Cumberland County has been a consistent winner of the Exemplary School Award because of outstanding leadership over the years at the county level, coupled with the fact the entire school system has embraced the importance of having certified coaches and athletic directors.

    “I’ve been an athletic director for 15 years, and for 15 years it’s been the same message,’’ Lindsey said. “You’ve got to do it right and you’ve got to get the certification to stay up to date on things.
    “I think we have embraced that as a system before other people have.’’

  • 10 quetuckerBarring any last-minute changes caused by the situation with COVID-19, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association has set a tentative date of June 15 for hopefully allowing its member schools to resume some kind of workouts in preparation for what it hopes will be a fall sports season.

    But the look of those workouts and the look of the fall sports season are pictures that will both be dramatically altered and possibly out of focus based on the various plans that have been put forward for how teams can proceed.
    On a video conference call with reporters statewide last month, NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker announced the official extension of the current summer dead period to June 15, hoping that by then, the Phase Two plan of reopening the state of North Carolina would allow enough flexibility for teams to conduct some kind of practices.

    “We will be very deliberate in our task, which is one reason we have not rushed,’’ Tucker said.

    The main reason for taking it slow, Tucker said, was to carefully develop plans to make workouts safe as possible and allow coaches and athletic directors time to develop their own local plans of how to secure things like hand sanitizer and set up hand-washing stations.

    “It will not be possible to prevent every student-athlete from contracting COVID-19,’’ Tucker said. “It’s our goal to do everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our student-athletes, our coaches and the communities represented by our schools.’’

    For some sports, like football and wrestling, summer workouts will likely not allow any physical contact, making them more sessions devoted to conditioning than actual practice sessions.

    Tucker said the current NCHSAA plan is not to hold any team back from practice once June 15 arrives, but to allow all of them some form of workouts within the guidelines set down by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The National Federation of State High School Associations has also issued a lengthy set of guidelines, but Tucker said the DHHS guidelines would take precedence.

    The big question yet to be answered is will there be a fall sports season, especially football, which generates much of the revenue that is the life blood for the entire athletic program at many schools.

    The other question yet to be answered is how many fans, if any, would be allowed to attend football games or other sporting events. That is a question Tucker is not ready to answer.

    “To not have any fans in the stands would be rough,’’ she said. “We are not at the point yet where we are pulling up the tent on football this fall. We are hopeful we can have some fans.’’

    Once the fall arrives, Tucker said the NCHSAA will look at any option possible to putting teams on the field, especially football. That could mean everything from a later than normal start to cutting the season short.

    NCHSAA bylaws do not prohibit moving a sport to another season, but Tucker said that’s something that the NCHSAA would prefer not to do. “Moving sports season is a last resort,’’ she said. “It’s too early to talk about that. It’s very clear whatever we do will not be outside the parameters of the guidelines from the governor and DHHS.’’

    For the moment, Tucker said the most important thing is that all agencies involved in deciding when and how high school sports will resume be consistent with what is put in place.

    “It is important we are all singing from the same song sheet,’’ she said.

  • 09 radio broadcastAt this moment two of the deadliest words that can be uttered or typed are "I heard..."

    Eighty-two years ago, Orson Welles did a radio broadcast, a dramatization of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds," that had thousands convinced Martians had landed in New Jersey and the world was ending.

    People took up arms and needlessly threatened each other and some almost committed suicide rather than be incinerated by a Martian ray gun.

    And this was many years before social media, which has turned anyone with a smartphone and working fingers into a person with their own internet megaphone.

    If you hear something or see something suspicious, check it out with the authorities.

    If you must share with friends, do it by private message before stirring a wider panic. Resist the urge to go back in time to 1938 and tell folks the Martians have landed. Be cautious. Be vigilant. But most importantly, be responsible.

  • 08 sandsThe stereotypical image of a librarian is someone who has a stern visage, repeatedly asks people to stay quiet while studying and chastising library patrons for failing to return books on time.

    Pamela Sands is anything but the image of the stereotype, both in how she does her job and in the title itself, which has morphed from simple librarian to media coordinator. Whatever the title, Sands is obviously good at what she does.

    For the second time in six years, Sands, who works at New Century International Middle School near Hope Mills, has been named by the Cumberland County Schools as its media coordinator of the year. She now competes for statewide recognition, an honor she previously won in 2014-15.

    A native of Pennsylvania, Sands relocated to Cumberland County in 1998 to take a teaching job here. She taught at the high school and elementary school level in the county before becoming the media coordinator at New Century when it opened.

    She said the job of media coordinator had always been her dream, even though landing it required her to return to school to get a masters degree in library science.

    While some still refer to Sands’ job as librarian or in some cases media specialist, she said the position has changed a great deal from the stereotypical image of what a librarian does.

    “It is a more diverse role, really the best of both worlds,’’ she said. In her job, she not only gets to teach children but also interacts with the staff members at her school, helping them in their teaching jobs.
    She feels her top responsibility is to instill and inspire her students with a love of reading. But the advance of technology has expanded her role.

    “It is also on our shoulders to teach them to be good digital citizens as we’ve moved into the world of being online,’’ she said. “There are a lot of things we teach the students about evaluating information, how to use the information you
    find online.’’

    Her work with her fellow teachers involves collaborating and sharing resources with them. She is involved in helping her cohorts with professional development, something
    she enjoys.

    When it comes to the task of encouraging students to read, Sands said she strives to be creative. “We do things out of the box,’’ she said.

    She does what she calls book tastings, where she gets students to sample different books in hopes of finding something that inspires them. She also has her students do what she calls book snaps, where they create a snapshot of the book by interacting with the text and putting their personal feelings on what they are reading.

    Every year, Sands tries to bring in an author, usually from North Carolina, to meet with her students and discuss the book or books they’ve written. “That sparks a personal connection with the kids,’’ she said. “I always see the kids reignited with their love for books, especially with a book written by a person they’ve gotten to meet.

    “I try to keep current with what the kids are interested and involved in,’’ she said. “I’m also a big believer in sharing with staff. As I find cool tools they could use in the classroom or see things that go along with their curriculum I share it with them.’’

    Unfortunately, with the growth of the internet, there are some in the business of cutting costs who argue brick-and-mortar libraries filled with books and magazines are things of the past and that we should turn to strictly digital sources of information as a way of saving money.

    That kind of thinking saddens Sands, who argues that the printed word is still a critical piece of educating today’s students.

    “Children aren’t reading online as much as we think they are,’’ she said. As proof, she notes the circulation of digital ebooks is far outstripped by how often students check out printed works.

    “Kids still prefer the printed book,’’ she said. “Making sure we provide these resources is essential.

    “The act of reading allows us to have shared experiences. The characters in the books we read, the information we find in books and magazines, helps us find a connection to the world.’’

    Sands said that’s especially important now when many people are cut off from the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “For our own emotional health, these connections are vital,’’ she said. “I can’t imagine a world without libraries. Who’s going to teach them other than the librarian?’’

  • 12 madisonpompeyWestover High School’s Madison Pompey has been named the Region 4 winner of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Willie Bradshaw Memorial Endowed Scholarship.

    The scholarship, which is worth $750, is presented to winners from each of the state’s eight geographic regions, with two statewide winners getting an additional scholarship of $1,000.

    The winners are chosen from outstanding minority nominees for the award, which is named for Bradshaw, a Durham native who was a star athlete at Hillside High School and a longtime coach and athletic administrator. He is a member of both the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and National High School Halls of Fame.

    Pompey competed in both cross country and track and field during all four years she was a student at Westover. She was a team captain her junior and senior years and earned second team all-conference, lettering in both sports.

    She also received the Distance Award and the Coach’s Award.
    She is active in her church as a member of the youth group and a participant with the church’s liturgical dance team.

    Pompey volunteers both at her church and with local civic organizations. She plans to pursue a degree in forensic science.

  • This time of year, high school football coaches are usually getting ready for a long summer of conditioning workouts with their teams in preparation for the start of official practice in North Carolina on August 1.

    11 01 BillSochovkaBut the COVID-19 pandemic and lingering uncertainty over what kind of, if any, football season we’ll have this fall has the Cumberland County Schools senior high school football coaches taking a far more cautious look at what a return to the sport could mean.

    None are more circumspect in their feelings about this fall than veteran Pine Forest coach Bill Sochovka. Like all of his fellow coaches, his main concern is the health and safety of his players and coaches. He’d like to wait and see what goes on in states that are opening up practice faster than North Carolina.

    “A later date would give us a better understanding,’’ he said, adding he’d prefer to have preseason practice no earlier than July 1.

    “People forget that high school sports, particularly football, is a natural petri dish for germs,’’ Sochovka said. “Anytime a kid gets a sniffle or a stomach bug, you’re going to have six or seven kids on the team wind up getting it.’’

    11 02 jakethomasSochovka said the sport of football is already under the microscope for how it handles injuries because of the recent concern for the treatment of players who suffer concussions. “We’ve got to think about kids and safety first,’’ he said. “We’ve got to be smart about it.’’

    Another concern is just what kind of football we’ll be playing when the sport first resumes. Jake Thomas, coach at Cape Fear, noted that the preliminary practice guidelines set down by the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations turn practice into more of a case of strength and conditioning than actual game practice.

    “Screening every athlete and coach every time you meet with them seems not financially feasible,’’ Thomas said. “Schools already have limited budgets, and now football games without fans and a band
    will financially destroy high school athletics and many schools.’’

    Thomas thinks coaches may need to look for pre-determined risk factors like a respiratory condition and possibly not allow at-risk athletes to come out for the team.

    “At some point, we have to go back to living life and stop hiding in fear,’’ he said.

    Terry Sanford coach Bruce McClelland said his staff has already worked out a rotation of players to limit numbers in the school’s weight room, along with plans to sanitize all areas used by players and team staff.

    “There are so many different professional opinions I have listened to — it’s become confusing,’’ he said. “I am honestly hoping we get some good news in the near future from the medical field that will help make this an easier decision.’’

    Seventy-First coach Duran McLaurin would love to be practicing, but he’s cognizant of what that could entail. “I’m very concerned with keeping my players safe more than any reward I can think of right now,’’ he said.

    Regardless of what happens, the advice given by new E.E. Smith head coach Andy Karcher is likely the wisest. “The biggest takeaway from this is to be patient, keep everything and everyone as clean as possible and don’t take any unnecessary risks,’’ he said.

  • 10 01 gareydoveThere’s one major advantage to being involved in the recreation business at the time of something like the current pandemic.

    At least that’s the opinion of Maxey Dove, assistant director of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department.

    “It’s one of the bigger fields for leaning on your neighbor,’’ said Dove, who has been doing a lot of that lately. He’s reached out to fellow recreation personnel from programs around the area that Hope Mills competes against, feeling them out for ideas and suggestions on what they are doing during this situation.

    “There’s a lot of networking, a lot of communication in parks and recreation that’s beneficial to everybody,’’ Dove said. The problem is there’s also one consistent thing he’s been hearing when talking to his counterparts.
    “It’s certainly unprecedented times and unprecedented circumstances,’’ Dove said. “Everybody is kind of learning together.’’

    10 02 browerparksignHope Mills has already been faced with one difficult decision, the cancellation of its entire spring sports program that normally would have stretched well into the summer months.

    Sports wiped off the spring calendar include indoor soccer, baseball, softball and wrestling.

    Dove and his staff are in the process of refunding registration fees that had already been paid and said it will take roughly three to four weeks to get checks written and returned to everyone who signed up.

    The Dixie Youth organization, with which Hope Mills is affiliated, also canceled its annual World Series, but Dove said that was done with good intentions.

    In a normal year, teams compete first in the regular season then select an all-star team from their local league to advance into state competition in hopes of reaching the Dixie Youth World Series.

    By eliminating the World Series, the Dixie Youth officials hoped to encourage local leagues to play as long a regular season as they could, if they were playing, and not cram a short season together just so they could put an all-star team on the field for the World Series and only allow a handful of players the chance for extended competition.

    “It wasn’t just about the select 12,’’ Dove said of the all-star teams.
    While Hope Mills is shut down for the spring, Dove said other states are further ahead in opening up their recreation programs for play and some are already on the field for baseball.

    However, in talking with officials from other states where baseball is taking place, he said they are observing strict safety precautions that are making the game a lot different from what we normally see.

    For example, players aren’t allowed to sit in the dugouts when they’re not on the field. Yellow ribbons are placed along the fence six feet apart to indicate proper social distancing. Each team has its own baseballs and they are bleached every inning or half inning.

    Dove said he and his staff at Hope Mills had also discussed some possible precautions they may take if baseball resumes in the fall league at Hope Mills this year.

    The fall league is a noncompetitive league for players ages 7-12 designed as a developmental program that doesn’t focus on wins and losses but on getting the players ready for the following spring season.

    Dove said some of the ideas discussed are having teams leave the field completely after practice before allowing another team on the field, and possibly having separate entrance and exit gates to the field.

    They also discussed counting spectators, and possibly limiting each player to having only a single parent able to come and watch the game. Providing hand sanitizer and disinfecting the dugouts was also considered.

    Dove said other states have been trying different things to keep the games as safe as possible. Among them are not allowing players to steal, no high fives between players and coaches and putting the home plate umpire behind the pitcher’s mound to call balls and strikes.

    “At a certain point, it’s still a contact sport,’’ Dove said. “They’re doing everything they can to create distance.’’

    The next sports season on the calendar is fall, and Hope Mills is trying to take a positive attitude toward being able to compete then and plans to launch fall sports registration in the near future.

    The good news is the recreation department has been working toward doing registration online and that will be in place for the fall season, so people won’t have to physically come to the recreation center to sign their children up for competition.

    In addition to getting ready for the fall season, the recreation department is making needed repairs and improvements to the Gary Dove Memorial Building at Brower Park. The multipurpose structure was named last April in memory of Maxey Dove’s father. Gary Dove was a long-time coach and leader in the Hope Mills youth sports program.

    A new roof and gutters will be placed on the building, along with repairs to the building’s sheet rock. In addition, some of the upstairs space where the Hope Mills Youth Association used to meet will be converted to office space for Dove.

    The two-story structure already has a concession stand, restrooms for men and women and a multipurpose activity room used for cheerleading and wrestling.

  • Pages from WVJULY2017 Eflip

  • army-ground-forces-band.jpg

    The Army Ground Forces Band kicked off its Summer Concert Series beginning May 29 at Festival Park. The series of five concerts will run from May through August. All shows are free and open to the public.

    “We are the musical ambassadors of U.S. Army Forces Command, the largest [command] in the Army,” said Capt. Dae Kim, who serves as the commander and conductor of the Army Ground Forces Band, headquartered at Fort Bragg.

    “We like to get out in the community,” Kim said. “Not only to tell the Army story but to put a face on the soldiers of Army Forces Command.”

    The 54 soldiers assigned to the Army Ground Forces Band are a deployable unit as part of FORSCOM Headquarters, and must maintain their soldier skills such as physical fitness, weapons qualification and proficiency in other common troop tasks. 

    They are also talented musicians, Kim explained. 

    “Most play an instrument. Many have advanced degrees with many having experience in some of the finest music schools and conservatories across the country,” he said.

    He is an accomplished clarinetist. Before joining the Army, Kim graduated Officer Candidate School as a Distinguished Military Graduate. All soldiers in the unit “went through a rigorous audition process” before being selected for the Army Ground Forces Band, which is considered one of the top three in the Army.

    For some performances, the Concert Band showcases the talent of most of the unit. To maximize their talent and provide as many shows as possible (on average 225 performances a year), the entire unit can be broken down into seven smaller ensembles.

    The Summer Concert Series performances feature the Concert Band, which maintains a large and varied repertoire of traditional and contemporary pieces. Other ensembles include the Ceremonial Band, which performs in parades and ceremonies; the Loose Cannons, a rock/pop band with some R&B, Hip Hop and Country; the Dixieland Band; and multiple Jazz combos. 

    The unit also has Woodwind and Brass Quintets which perform and specialize in crafting clinics and classes for high school and college music students, “bringing years of experience and musical knowledge to young musicians while showcasing Army professionalism” according to the unit’s website.

    Summer Concert Series

    • 240th Army Birthday, June 12, 7 p.m. at Festival Park

    “Celebration of the Army’s history, we tell the Army story through music,” Kim said. “We want everyone to come out and help us celebrate their Army.” 

    This is the concert not to miss, he said. The celebration will include cake.

    • Dancing Under the Stars, June 26, 5 p.m. Hay Street 

    This is the only concert in the series not held at Festival Park. A dance floor will be constructed in the middle of the street in front of the Arts Council, Kim said. The concert will include “something for everyone” with a variety of tunes ranging from ballroom to new classics. 

    • Kid’s Night, August 14, 6 p.m. at Festival Park

    “There will be a family friendly atmosphere,” Kim said, with a picnic area and interactive events targeted to ages 4 to 8. Children will be able to hear professional musicians talk about music and instruments and answer questions. Children will also be able to march along behind the drum major.

    • End of Summer Blast, Aug. 28, 8:30 p.m. at Festival Park

    This second annual end of summer blast will be in conjunction with the Arts Alliance/4th Friday/Fayetteville After 5. Kim said concert-goers can expect patriotic tunes as well as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the “1812 Overture” with a salute battery (live cannons) in the finale.

    For more information visit armygroundforcesband.com or check their Facebook page for the latest information about concerts and full schedules.

  • 17 Green Book Web Inside 1140x450 2The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, has created a new traveling exhibit about sites important to, and personal memories about, American travel during the “Jim Crow” era of legal segregation. The Navigating Jim Crow: The Green Book and Oasis Spaces in North Carolina traveling exhibit will be at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex though July 9.

    “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” published between 1936 and 1966, was both a guide and a tool of resistance designed to confront the realities of racial discrimination in the United States and beyond. The book listed over 300 North Carolina businesses — from restaurants and hotels, to tourist homes, nightclubs and beauty salons — in the three decades that is was published.

    The exhibit highlights a complex statewide network of business owners and Green Book sites that allowed African American communities to thrive, and that created “oasis spaces” for a variety of African American travelers.

    Eight vibrant panels form the traveling exhibit, showcasing images of business owners, travelers and historic and present-day images of North Carolina Green Book sites.

    The words of African American travelers and descendants of Green Book site owners are featured prominently in the exhibit. Each of these stories are from oral histories collected by the AAHC in 2018 and 2019.

    This exhibit was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and there is no fee to see this exhibit. Two versions will tour the state’s African American cultural centers, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, history museums, historic sites and libraries. For more tour dates and locations, visit https://aahc.nc.gov/green-book-project. For additional information about the exhibit, call 919-814-6516.

    The Museum of the Cape Fear is located on the corner of Bradford and Arsenal avenues in Fayetteville, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. The museum operates under the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, within the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

  • 19 Picture1Cape Fear Studios is hosting Evoke, an exhibit featuring member artist Angela Stout. The exhibit features her striking art creations in oil and will be shown June 23 through July 25. Stout is a contemporary painter, printmaker, photographer and sculptor.

    Also a veteran, Stout teaches art classes to the public. She is a graduate of Fayetteville State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Arts. Stout exhibits frequently in group exhibitions and competitions locally, nationally and internationally. Her artwork deals with evoking a feeling and the social condition.

    Cape Fear Studios is also excited about having its first open reception in a year on Fourth Friday, June 25 from 5–7 p.m. The event if free.

    Cape Fear Studios is a non-profit artist co -op, offering original pottery, woodwork, glass, jewelry, metalwork, paintings and photography. The Studio’s workshops and retail section will also be open to visitors.

    Cape Fear Studios is located at 148 Maxwell St. The Studio will be open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Questions can be directed to: artgallery@capefearstudios.com, or 910-433-2986.

  • 05 11 The District Summer Market Logo light in dark out 1The Cool Spring Downtown District has launched the District Summer Market at Festival Park. This combined farmers and makers market is scheduled to operate from 4-8 p.m. every Thursday through Aug. 26 (except July1). Market wares, food, beverages, free entertainment and other activities will be available. Vendors are selling a variety of wares and products at the market each week including locally grown produce, meat and seafood as well as locally made artwork and artisan goods. Food and beverage trucks are selling meals and drinks. Canned beer from Bright Light Brewing Company and Lake Gaston Brewing Company will be available at the Cool Spring Downtown District tent.

  • Urinetown 4 03Gilbert Theater’s newest musical “Urinetown” is set to open June 4 and run through June 13, bringing some clean toilet humor to the public. Written by Greg Kotis, the musical originally premiered on Broadway in 2001, and it satirizes various social constructs.

    “One big-wig has taken over everything in the story and is monitoring the water use and making huge amounts of money doing so,” said director Robyne Parrish. “People literally have to pay to pee under the threat that they will be sent away to this place called Urinetown, if they disobey.”

    The storyline is set in a dystopia where a water shortage leads to governmental ban of private toilets and how one man, Bobby Strong, stands up against the unjust system.

    “The question is, ‘what is Urinetown?’ Is it a jail, is it an island somewhere, is it a work camp, what is it and you find that out as the story progresses,” Parrish said.

    The lead of the story rallies the town people to speak up and make change in the town, actor Quentin King said.

    “The main character meets and falls in love with the villain’s daughter, Hope, so there is a little bit of the star-crossed lover’s element,” actor Jacquelyn Kessler said.

    The musical puts a satirical spin on the legal system, and questions capitalism, corporations, corporate mismanagement and bureaucracy.

    “It has all the things you want to see in the musical, it’s got love, heartbreak, death and fantastic characters, so any big Broadway musical lover is going to love this show,” Parrish said. “Huge built-in numbers and great dance numbers, sweet ballads, it just has a little bit of everything for everyone.”

    Urinetown also mocks Broadway musical shows like “The Threepenny Opera” and “Les Misérables.”

    “It’s going to talk about social constructs so it will be a lot of poor versus rich for a lot of the scenes so hopefully the clothes will reflect that. One group will be dressed posh and the other very raggedy Ann,” Kessler said.

    Artistic Director of the Gilbert Lawrence Carlisle encourages potential audiences to not shy away from the production because of the title.

    “People should not be turned down by it being called “Urinetown,’ it’s good family fun and there’s something for everyone,” Carlisle said. “The opening night is sold out already.”

    For more information about the show and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.gilberttheater.com/index.php

  • 05 Circus Noir by Robert ArbogastIn an effort to continue the discussion on social justice, Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery is exhibiting Art & Social Justice, a national juried exhibition until June 26. For gallery owners Dwight Smith and Calvin Mims, like many of the exhibits, it is a way “for people to see the world from a different perspective.”

    Over 155 works of art were sent to be juried into the gallery or the online exhibit based on the prospectus: “We are living in a tumultuous time; the pandemic has illuminated many of the inequities in our country. How do we move towards equity? Why do we seem to be moving away from fairness? Make an impact with your visually representation of feelings and thoughts on social injustice today … we hope the exhibition will continue the discussion of our path to social justice.”

    Although the dominant theme in the exhibition is Black Lives Matter, artists have submitted an unexpected range of themes, styles and mediums based on the principle of social justice: every individual in a society has the same rights and opportunities to be treated fairly and equitably by the society they live in.

    An unexpected subject by Korean artist, Sueim Koo, from Ridgefield, New Jersey, is a good example of why visitors should come to the gallery or visit the exhibit online and take the time to read the artists’ statement. In her work titled “Marriage Life (I was Covering my Eyes, Ears and Mouth),” Koo mixes abstraction and realism, predominantly green and pastel colors, abstracted faces are covered by realistic hands and arms on a background of patterns.

    Without knowing what the artist intended, “Marriage Life” immediately leads us to understand there is a hidden social justice theme taking place. Koo’s artist’s statement is specific: “I am covering my eyes, ears and mouth with my hands in reference to the principle ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.’” It is also in direct reference to a Korean proverb about marriage. According to this proverb, a new bride should be blind for three years so she will not criticize anything she sees, dumb for three years so she won’t speak out and say something she may regret later, and deaf for three years so she won’t be upset by being scolded.”

    Koo’s work is built on a basic social justice premise: the value of oneself in a culture (and to herself) is not greater or lesser than others. The artist speaks to this by stating, “the proverb of the bride can also be used to describe my life as an immigrant … I would sometimes avoid situations in which I would be seen as a foreigner … there were many times I had to pretend not to see or not to hear in order to overcome feelings of humiliation. We must avoid these hurts caused by unfair beliefs about people with different skin colors, different language, different cultures and different gender.”

    In sharp contrast to “Marriage Life,” the digitally enhanced gouache titled “Circus Noir” by Robert Arbogast, from St. Augustine, Florida, stands out in the exhibit. Smaller than many of the works surrounding the print, the artist has said much with a minimal graphic design. Shapes and text in black, red, white and minimal green will speak to viewers from across the gallery to look closer — the artist mixes signals to create intent. Arbogast’s statement clears up the confusion: “’Circus Noir’ was inspired by circus posters. In that context, the image could be interpreted as a ‘trick shot,’ shooting a lit cigarette from a man’s mouth. The image can also be viewed as execution, the black man smoking a last cigarette before being shot. The ambiguity is intentional. But the hand holding the gun is white, an intentional reference to the epidemic of Black men being murdered by policemen.”

    The above are only two of the thirty-six works hanging in the gallery. The styles range from realism to abstraction, textiles, mixed media to paintings. Just as diverse are the social justice themes artists addressed in their work. Black Live Matter is a prevalent theme, but other themes include, but are not limited to, #MeToo, sexual orientation and gender identity, immigration and poverty.

    Curator- juror, Rose-Ann San Martino, must have had a difficult time selecting the award winners from such a varied range of work; but her experience as a professional artist, art advocate and being involved with Ellington-White Corporation since 2008 is a strong background of experience. San Martino studied drawing and painting at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. Her work has been exhibited locally and nationally in group and solo exhibitions and can be found in private collections throughout the United States.

    San Martino worked from a valid system of assessment: “The work had to be well crafted, adhere to the theme of the exhibit, and the intent of the work needed to be immediately recognizable. Many excellent works were submitted, but the subject did not follow the theme of social justice.”

    She continued, “How does one select between a textile wall hanging, a print, photograph or a painting for an award? It’s never a hierarchical decision based on a medium, the image needed to be instantly recognizable and reflect what the artists included in the artists’ statement. Being recognizable can fall into the cerebral or sublime. For example, the first-place winning entry, a black and white photograph by Richard Perry, from Chapel Hill is an example of the cerebral — a hand pressing against a chain link fence is an image which immediately symbolizes not just one theme, but many themes of social justice.”

    As the curator and juror of Art & Social Justice, “I was not surprised but pleased that artists addressed so many different themes, and their approaches to the themes ranged from extremely serious to humorous and even quirky. For visitors to the gallery, or the online exhibit, should take the time to read the artist’s statement. We all bring our own meaning to a work but reading the artist’s statement may give someone a new way to look at a theme or an artist’s approach to a theme.”

    Other awards by San Martino include Jeremy Wangler, “7,” photography (2nd), and Sueim Koo, “Marriage Life (I was Covering my Eyes, Ears and Mouth),” mixed media (3rd). Honorable Mentions were given to a textile wall hanging titled “Gaslighter” by Mel Dugosh and “Circus Noir” by Robert Arbogast.

    You will have to visit the gallery (or go online) and see firsthand how artists have created works which intersect with political activism and social justice causes. The only artist from Fayetteville in the exhibit is Andrew Johnson.

    The exhibit is a means for raising awareness about social issues and affecting positive change. For information and to view the online exhibit, visit www.ellington-white.com/art-social-justice-exhibition. The gallery is located at113 Gillespie St. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday. For more information email ewp-arts@hotmail.com or call 910-483-1388.

  • 16 readingCumberland County Public Library presents “Tails and Tales” from June 1 to Aug. 15 at the Cumberland County Public Library. “Tails and Tales” is one of many 2021 Summer Reading Programs for children, teens and adults. It is designed for someone to read books, watch programs and win prizes. Participants keep track of their reading and earn virtual badges for the chance to win prizes like headphones, gift cards and color-changing mugs. Grand prizes include an annual family membership to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, a $100 gift card and a Kindle. Individuals can tack their progress by using a reading record which can be picked up at any library branch or downloaded and printed. Find your nearest branch and more information about the Summer Reading Program at https://cumberland.lib.nc.libguides.com/srp

    “Tails and Tales” is the perfect way to keep children and teens engaged in learning while school is out. Prizes start at just five hours of reading. The program helps improve reading skills, promotes creative thinking, imagination and storytelling. Teens can participate in fun activities like games, challenges and missions.

    Adults can take advantage of BookMatch, a new service that helps adults find their next great read. Customers can fill out a short questionnaire on the library’s website to identify books matched to reader interests and librarians create a customized list of book titles.

    Keep up with Summer Reading by following the library’s social media pages at facebook.com/CumberlandCountyPublicLibrary or YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/channel/UCkKV_zbl08357r3rtgc0yxA. All library branches re-opened to the public in May. Library hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit the library’s website at cumberland.lib.nc.us for more information and links to social media. Curbside service is available at all Library branches.

  • Have you ever heard the phrase “as rich as Croesus”? 06-23-10-online-poker.jpg

    Those of a certain age, or possessing a classical education, will surely remember the phrase as both a description of great wealth and a reference to a famous Lydian king in ancient Asia Minor.

    Lydia had become fabulously wealthy as the ancient world’s cross between Hong Kong, Wall Street and Dubai. It was a focus for international trade. It was a place of great financial innovation. It was, in fact, the place where coined money was invented.

    Not coincidentally, Lydia also appears to be the place where dice were invented. If you think you can have money sloshing around without someone wanting to gamble with it, you have been living a very sheltered life. Come join us out here in Reality Land, won’t you?

    Yes, I’m talking to you folks in North Carolina’s governing class — to state legislators, county commissioners, mayors and sheriffs. All of you who have supported past attempts to ban video poker, and now want to pass new legislation to ban the “Internet sweepstakes” parlors that have been springing up across North Carolina.

    I’d heard about the phenomenon, of course, but it really came home to me a couple of weeks ago when I was frequenting my favorite seafood restaurant down in Calabash, Captain John’s. Right there across the parking lot was a former seafood hut that had been turned into an “Internet sweepstakes café.” Then I began noticing similar establishments all around Brunswick and Columbus counties, then all the way back to my home in southern Wake County.

    Not being inclined to risk my money so frivolously, I didn’t go into any of these places. Don’t need to. I’m reasonably certain that they look and feel just like the old video-poker rooms I’d previously visited, or like any gambling establishment on the fringe of respectability and/or the law.

    The patrons came in at least three varieties. First, there are the few people just out to try something new. Most won’t be back. Second, there are the people who fancy themselves to be “serious” gamblers and insist on the awesome potential of some secret system. They’ll be back, pathetically. Third, there are the many people who are so desperate that they’re willing to risk their last nickel hoping for a big score. They’ll be back until their money runs out.

    I’m no fan of gambling. But I’m also no fan of government officials sticking their noses into other people’s business. Many of the same politicians who gave us North Carolina’s squalid Education Lottery then went after video poker — can’t have those grubby private businesses competing with the state for gambling dollars — and now want to shut down the most popular way to evade the ban, Internet sweepstakes.

    The Greensboro News & Record’s Mark Binker reports that the House Democratic Caucus recently tried and failed to come to some kind of consensus on what to do about Internet sweepstakes. My guess is that there’s also a division among Republican legislators in both chambers.

    Whatever you think of the state’s current public policies on gambling, please don’t be deluded into thinking that government can actually forbid it. Again, gambling is literally as old as money. Last night, thousands of North Carolinians gambled their money on Web sites, in private card games, at pool halls, with bets on sporting events, by buying lottery tickets, at the Harrah’s casino on the Cherokee reservation and in Internetsweepstakes cafes.

    If North Carolina bans the latter, all the other gambling will continue. And the video-poker industry will come up with yet another way to satisfy the manifest consumer demand for casino-style gaming.

    So even if you’ll never agree with me that government ought to respect the rights of individuals to do what they want with their own money, at least consider the possibility that you might just be wasting your time and my tax dollars on a pointless exercise.

    In other words, please stop betting my money so poorly. If I want to blow it, I’ll do it myself.

  • As the weather gets warmer, the Cape Fear Botanical Garden is blooming with life. With more than 2,000 varieties of plants and flowers, including a camellia garden, a heritage garden and a children’s garden, there are plenty of sights and scents to enjoy.

    For the second consecutive year, the CFBG will provide sweet music to complement the serene environment. As part of the CFBG’s Spring Concert Series, The Coconut Groove Band will play a wide variety of classics under the twilight skies, June 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., rain or shine.

    The Coconut Groove Band, or CGB, as the band prefers to be called, features an eclectic mix of music, including songs by the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and several other artists. The band also plays music by Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the Allman Brothers for those who prefer the classics.

    06-05-13-sping-concert.gifWe realize that everyone has their own musical tastes and try not to alienate anyone,” said Rick McClanahan, who is on guitar and vocals. “We figure everybody in the audience is going to hear something during the show that they really enjoy.”

    The Coconut Groove Band has been playing together since 1996, at which time the band covered a number of Jimmy Buffet songs. Over the years the band broadened its repertoire. McClanahan said the name Coconut Groove Band doesn’t represent the wide variety of music they play, but the name stuck. The four members, McClanahan, Eric Willhelm (drums), Leslie Pierce (bass) and David Harper (keyboard) offer the audience much more than tropical rock.

    “We all four sing — which is one of our greatest strengths. We’re very proud of our harmony arrangements,” McClanahan added. “We are able to perform songs that most other bands would never attempt.”

    The Coconut Groove Band is the fourth band in the spring concert series. The CFBG added a fifth band to the series this year. The last concert will be held June 28 featuring Fantasy, a rhythm and blues band.

    Kensley Edge, director of development and marketing for the CFBG, said, “The gardens are a wonderful attraction in the Cape Fear region. The concerts are an addition to the beautiful scenery and other activities the gardens offer,”Edge said.

    “It’s an activity that everybody can enjoy,” Edge added.

    Elliotts Catering of Pinehurst will have food available for purchase at the concert. Beer and wine will also be sold at the event. All proceeds benefit the garden.

    Come out and join the CFBG and get your groove on with the Coconut Groove Band June 14. The garden is located at 536 N. Eastern Blvd. in Fayetteville.

    The price of the concert is included in the cost of general admission. Garden members get in free. It is $8 for general admission, $7 with military identifi cation. The price of admission for children ages 6-12 is $2.50. Admission is free for children fi ve and under.

    The CFBG is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12-5 p.m. A garden café is also open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.

    For more information, visit the website at www.capefearbg.org.

  • 09 bookoflongingsDid Jesus find a wife in North Carolina?

    The answer is yes.

    But the story is fictional, and the North Carolina connection is complicated.

    Sue Monk Kidd is the best-selling author of “The Secret Life of Bees” and other popular books. Her latest, “The Book of Longings,” came out on
    April 21. It tells the story of Ana and her marriage to a young carpenter and stonemason from Nazareth.

    The North Carolina connection?

    A short article in the May 17 issue of The New York Times headlined “Did Jesus Ever Tie the Knot? A New Novel Considers the Question” reported that Kidd, despite her deep connections to Georgia, wrote the new book in Chapel Hill, where she now lives.

    Although the book is set in the Middle East of 2,000 years ago, the coming together of Jesus and Ana was framed in North Carolina.

    The story begins in the year 16 A.D. Ana is the teen-aged daughter of the head scribe of Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, and, subject to the Roman overlords, the ruler of Galilee. Ana and her mother, father, aunt and servants live near Antipas’s palace in Sepphoris, a thriving town. Ana’s cousin and adopted brother, Judas, has left home to join with zealots fighting against the Roman occupation. Nearby Sepphoris is the poor village of Nazareth, where Jesus lives in a less-than-modest hovel with his widowed mother, Mary, and his siblings.

    Unlike most other women of the times, Ana is well educated and writes stories of women heroes of the Bible. Although she cherishes her unmarried status, her parents arrange for her betrothal to an elderly wealthy man. When he dies before the wedding, they push her to become Antipas’s concubine.

    Meanwhile, she has encountered Jesus, who walks each day from Nazareth to Sepphoris to work on a massive construction project for Antipas. The spark is immediate. She appreciates his deep connection to God, or as Jesus calls him when he prays, Abba or father. He appreciates her education and aspirations to write and promote the place of women.

      Their marriage transforms her privileged life into hand-to-mouth poverty in the crowded house in Nazareth, where Ana does not get the warmest of
    welcomes.

    Kidd describes the smells and the constant chores of cooking, milking, feeding, sewing, petty jealousies and resentments that fill the lives of the struggling poor. Jesus is often gone for long periods to work on projects in other parts of Galilee, sometimes even going as far as the Sea of Galilee to work with fishermen.

    Jesus’s search for God leads him to the preaching of John the Baptist. He becomes a follower, and then when John is arrested by Antipas, Jesus becomes a leader, leaving Ana alone with his family in Nazareth.

    Ana herself offends Antipas and becomes another of his targets. For safety, Ana’s aunt takes her to Egypt, where she encounters another set of conflicts and challenges in a totally different environment in the great library city of Alexandria.

    Ana is finally called to return from Egypt. She arrives in Bethany near Jerusalem just in time for a Passover dinner with Mary, Martha, Lazarus and Jesus, but Jesus is not there. The next day in Jerusalem, Ana watches as Jesus is carrying the cross towards the execution site. He collapses. Ana rushes to comfort him and say goodbye.

    Then Kidd reconstructs the crucifixion experience in a way more horrible and poignant than any of the four gospels. She also offers a surprising explanation of why Judas betrayed Jesus.

    That Ana’s story continues after Jesus’s death emphasizes Kidd’s and Ana’s belief that the exclusion and minimization of the role of women in the days of Jesus and today has been a tragic mistake.

    Whether Kidd’s readers are true believers or skeptical inquirers, “The Book of Longings” will be an enriching and challenging read.

  • 08 cfrtlogoThe 2019-2020 play season at Cape Fear Regional Theatre experienced an unplanned intermission due to the coronavirus. When the governor presented social distancing guidelines in midMarch, CFRT cancelled the rest of its 2019-2020 season, which opened with a bang with “Mamma Mia!” and closed prematurely with “Murder for Two.”  Nevertheless, the staff of the theater has worked tirelessly to provide the arts to locals in a social-distancing-friendly way.

    The journey started with the theater hosting a free offering for a couple months that was open to the public. Staff at the theater and artists who worked with the theater in the past would emphasize something different every day, from song-writing to dance to writing monologues. On average there were 10-20 attendees per class. That’s when the staff at the theater saw how virtual meetings were taking off.

    When schools closed, the staff launched Virtual Edutainment. “We thought, What can we do to keep the theater going and (to keep) the kids engaged who we would normally have doing studio classes or coming to the theater?” said Marc de la Concha, the director of education at the CFRT.

    The staff had all hands on deck to brainstorm, and landed on offering online, week-long classes that had a different focus each day. 

    “It would kind of take care of what students were doing in school in terms of art and music and physical education,” said de la Concha. Some weeks were generic and some weeks had themes like Harry Potter, Lego and Dr. Seuss, to name a few. The program ran for nine weeks.

    People outside Cumberland County and even outside of the state tuned into the lessons.

    The launch was a success. Offering classes for two K-2nd grade sessions a day and two 3rd-5th grade sessions per day, the teachers had about 15 kids in each class on average, and they were able to give individual attention to the children.

    Around the same time as the Virtual Edutainment launch, the Spring Break Bootcamp was supposed to take place. To help all the students who signed up for it to reap its benefits, they moved the boot camp online, where it had 50-60 participants.

    CFRT is no novice when it comes to community outreach. Over the past few years, the theater has also reached out to the military community through its Passport series.
    “(The series) is basically a playwriting workshop that takes place over eight weeks, and it’s for military children. They were offering it on post at the Throckmorton Library for two years, and it’s grown so much that this past year we worked with the library in Hope Mills and Rick’s Place and had our program out at those locations as well,” de la Concha explained.

    The program is free, and as time has gone on, it has gained momentum. In the first year, the program filled up in a day. In the second year, the program sold out in a couple hours. “This past year, it’s been minutes,” said de la Concha. “We’ll tell the parents, ‘It’ll open up on this day at this time,’ and within minutes, it’s full.”

    For the first time this year, CFRT attempted to offer a program called Act Fast for the military and military-adjacent adults with funding provided by The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. The production was going to be called “Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind,” a collection of 30 short plays, all performed in 60 minutes. With performance dates initially scheduled for mid-July, the performances had to be canceled due to the extension of Phase 2 social distancing, as well as the amount of participants who were PCSing.

    Even so, Mary Kate Burke, artistic director at the theater, sees the attempt as a success because it brought part of the military community together. Because of the newfound friendships that were built during rehearsals, the participants were grateful for the experience, and many of them had a virtual Easter dinner together. The theater hopes to have Act Fast again next year.

    “(The military) is always on the move, and it’s important for them to feel like there’s a place where they can gather together with people who are going through the same things that they are … The plays they write are really extraordinary, and it comes from a different place,” said de la Concha.

    “It’s been an opportunity for them to get involved, whether they’re new to the area, they’ve been here a while, or they’re homeschooled or they go to one of the Cumberland County schools, it’s a great opportunity to get together with peers that are like them.”

    Summer camps have always been popular at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, and this year is no different. As summer goes on, the theater will host programs for several ages. So far, CFRT has hosted one of its camps for the production “Kids Rock The World” for ages 6-9. There are two more camps for the production coming up in July and August that are almost completely sold out. For ages 10-14, a camp with a production of “Frozen” is being offered. One of them has already happened. A sold out camp is happening in July, and an  in-person camp  is being offered from July 27-Aug. 8 with some availability. From July 27-Aug. 15, CFRT is offering a camp with a production of “Puffs” for ages 15-19.

    Kids do wear masks in the productions while the theater also emphasizes sanitization to ensure the safety of the children. The theater also has been careful to follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.

    One of the benefits of the CDC’s guidelines is that the children who participate in the camps are separated into three different groups. For example, one of the “Frozen” camps was split into three different groups, each of which did their own production. “We’ll have three Elsas, three Annas, three Olafs in each company. That’s great because … we’ve seen kids that have come here for years who feel like, ‘Yes, this is my summer,’” said de la Concha.

    In a tumultuous time, the arts’ provision of creativity and joy is a much-needed constant. “I think everybody needs the arts, especially at a time like now,” said de la Concha. “We’re working very hard to make sure we can continue to make that happen.

    Visit www.cfrt.org to find out more about what Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

  • 09 terryhinrechsYou will know someone or will have seen someone that is being exhibited at Gallery 208 in the new exhibit titled “Where the Winds Never Stops: The Hildreth Project.” How is that possible when you have probably never been to Hildreth, Nebraska? The photographer, Shane Booth, in a series of photographs, has captured the essence of part of an iconic Americana. I could go on and on about his extensive professional resume. Still, to understand how a photograph moves from a good photograph to a great photograph, I would like to share insight into his 16-year personal back story.

    The portrait photographs in “Where the Winds Never Stops: The Hildreth Project” are of rural white America (it’s Nebraska!), but you can be of any ethnicity and see someone you think you may have met or have seen before … that is the genius of this body of work and has been the artist’s oeuvre for the past 20 years – to capture the essence of something beyond an individual’s identity, instead, the spirit of the many in a single portrait.
    In comparison, Cindy Sherman, a historically significant contemporary photographer, has created thousands of photographs of herself, dressed in disguise, to portray an iconic American female “type” that most people, in America, would recognize — a movie star, a homemaker, a sun-burned beachgoer. Booth has done the opposite of Sherman. He has photographed a real individual who evokes the essence of a familiar type.
    A powerful incentive to see the exhibit, visitors to Gallery 208 will immediately experience a sense of peacefulness and quietude as you scan the exhibit. Yet, upon closer inspection, some of the out-of-focus elements in the photograph are eerily disconcerting. The experience of calm is not by accident. It is the result of his professional history but also little-known facts about his past.

    In 2002, while a graduate student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Booth found the 1867 camera at an antique store during a visit home to Nebraska. In 2004, he graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with an MFA in photography. He began commuting, for a short time, from Savannah, Georgia, to teach “one” art survey class at Fayetteville Community College. Booth eventually moved to Fayetteville, worked several jobs in restaurants and a frame shop to survive. In 2005, he was hired to teach as an adjunct art instructor at Fayetteville State University. He became a full-time art faculty at FSU in 2007.

    In 2013, Booth received a North Carolina Arts Council grant to have the 1867 large format camera restored. He has been using it ever since to create bodies of work. Although the camera equipment Booth uses changed, the idea of portraiture and the essence of what it means to portray an individual is not new.

    The photographs in “Where the Winds Never Stops: The Hildreth Project” are the direct result of Booth’s knowledge of the art and craft of photography, his experience as an artist and an 1867-barrel lens camera he has restored. But the heart of Booth’s work as a mature artist lingers as a result of his 2004 MFA thesis exhibit. That year, Booth’s MFA thesis dissertation and exhibit focused on social photography; the title of his exhibition was “Pigeonhole.”

    For Booth, coming from Nebraska to Savannah, Georgia, he is the first to admit he was a very naïve young man. “Savannah was not like Nebraska. I always felt oddly different. I was naïve about the racism I experienced for the first time, the stereotyping of people — even crime. For the thesis exhibit “Pigeonhole,” I did a series for portraits — combining my love of vintage things with the idea of how people are stereotyped.”

    Unknowingly and indirectly, the heart of Booth’s work in this exhibition, and for most of his work since the 2004 MFA thesis, has always been about the essence of what it means to portray an individual. Even when Booth returns home each summer to photograph the Nebraska landscape, his landscapes are about the idea of portraiture and identity — what it means to grow up in rural Nebraska.
    When you visit “Where the Winds Never Stops: The Hildreth Project,” you are seeing the work of an artist whose goal is to photograph every person living in Hildreth. When asked why, Booth said, “For five generations my family has called Hildreth, Nebraska, home. I return to the town every summer looking for familiar faces that make up my memories and the heart of this small farming community. As memories fade, people pass on, and younger generations want to live a more updated life, I feel it is important to document the members who remain in this small village. For me, they represent the identity of a group of people that are slowly being lost, a group that is defined by their strong generational connection to (their) environment.”

    The exhibit will be up for three months, and the opening reception, to meet the artist and hear the artist talk about his work, was moved until August. Before August, when you visit Gallery 208, here is insight into how Booth can create the essence of the exhibition you will experience and how he interfaces with the subjects to take their portraits. “I wanted to document the spirit of Hildreth through portraiture,” said Booth. “I place the subject in their environment, which usually consists of their barn or home. … I do not direct the subject or pose them in a particular way. I simply allow them to sit in front of the camera and form a relationship with the lens. Sometimes that relationship is an easy one, and at other times it can be a bit anxious looking. Each image has a 10-second development time due to the 1867-barrel lens I use on my 8x10 studio camera. Because of this long exposure, movement and blurring of the subject or background become part of the photograph. In a land where the wind never stops blowing, it is part of their story.”

    Booth’s backstory has been shared, but it’s also important to highlight a few of his many achievements. Some of his most recent exhibitions include: “Open Call,” Southeast Center for Photography, Columbia, South Carolina, in 2017; “Bridges: Sharing our Past to Enrich the Future,” Hildegard Center for the Arts, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2017; “Collective Experiences,” Chiang Mai University Art Museum, Chiang Mail Thailand, 2017; “The Abandoned Landscape,” Southeast Center for Photography, Greenville, South Carolina., 2016; and “Looking Glass: Exploring Self Portraiture,” Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, Indiana, 2015.

    Presentations include but are not limited to: “Catherland Project 1,” Willa Cather Foundation, Red Cloud, Nebraska, 2016; Musikhjalpen Oskarshamn, “HIV,” Sweden, Oskarshamn Sweden, 2014 Society of Photographic Education South East, “Vulnerabilities Groom,” Society of Photographic Education, Greenville, North Carolina, 2014.

    Some of the grants he received include the following: “Portraiture with 1867 Camera,” sponsored by Minden Opera House, 2108; “Shane Booth and the Personal Photography of a Life with HIV,” sponsored by Department of State, Federal, $7,000.00, 2018; “Artist in Residence,” sponsored by Willa Cather Foundation, 2016; and “Regional Artists Grant,” Sponsored by United Arts Council (North Carolina Arts Council), 2013.
    There will be plenty of social distancing for visitors to “Where the Winds Never Stops: The Hildreth Project at Gallery 208 until August 2020. There will be an opening reception in August. Gallery 208 is located at 208 Rowan St. The gallery hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday. For information call 910- 484-6200.

     

  • 06-04-14-shakespear.gifThe classic works of William Shakespeare have entertained audiences for centuries and are regarded by many as timeless masterpieces. Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, and many others have been adapted into almost every spoken language on the planet and performed countless times around the world.

    This summer, The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, The Museum of the Cape Fear and Fayetteville State University sponsor the third season of a local group that performs works of William Shakespeare in our area, Sweet Tea Shakespeare.

    Sweet Tea Shakespeare was founded in 2012 at Fayetteville State University by Jeremy Fiebig, who is an Assistant Professor of Theatre. He says he founded the group because he wanted to, “dig back into work with Shakespeare... I wanted to get Fayetteville interested in Shakespeare, too.”

    To perform, Fiebig has assembled a cast of actors that he describes as, “a mix of local professionals, some of my students, students from Methodist University, recent alumni from FSU and Methodist, Campbell University and students at FTCC … We have actors who have worked with us before, who have worked at Gilbert Theatre, Cape Fear Regional Theatre and the university theatres in the area. People will recognize them from other work in the community. That is one of the things that we pride ourselves on, these people on stage are known.”

    The group is set to perform two shows; one series in June and another in July. Love’s Labour’s Lost runs June 18-22, and is directed by Jeremy Fiebig. The Taming of the Shrew, the second show of the season, runs July 16-20, and is directed by Greg Fiebig, who is a Professor of Communication and Theatre at Indiana-Wesleyan University, and the father of Jeremy Fiebig.

    Both shows begin at 7 p.m., and are performed outdoors on the grounds of the Poe House at the Museum of the Cape Fear on Arsenal Avenue. Fieberg has chosen to perform outdoors because, “doing any type of theatre is about making magic and there are a lot of ways to go about getting that magic; the play itself, the scenery, costumes, lighting, the effects, actors, music. For Sweet Tea, much of that magic comes from the beautiful environment of Southeast North Carolina. We are about beautiful spaces and beautiful words; we selected the Poe House because it is a beautiful environment. It adds to the magic of the play, the magic we bring as actors, musicians and artists.

    “Sweet tea is something everybody has in common around here, it is everywhere, and it is something everyone can enjoy. Shakespeare can be, and is, all of those things, too. We want to be the best party in town. A lot of Sweet Tea Shakespeare is built around the idea of community and an event. When you come to Sweet Tea Shakespeare, you are getting a great production of a play but you are also going to get the opportunity to hang out with other people. We want Shakespeare to be at the center of that party. But that party doesn’t happen unless the community is there.”

    Find out more about Sweet Tea Shakespeare at www.sweetteashakespeare.com.

  • Continued attention to National Safety Awareness Month in June al-lows us to focus again on senior safety.

    Nearly 90 percent of seniors say they want to stay in their home. Doing so gives them a wonderful sense of continued independence.

    But having mom or dad live alone can be a source of worry for their adult children. The, ”What if?” sce-narios can often overwhelm the mind. “What if she falls down?” “What if he forgets something on the stove?” “What if she doesn’t tell me it’s get-ting harder for her to get around?”

    If you feel like this, you’re not alone. In 2007, the AARP surveyed Boomer women and found that two-thirds are concerned about their par-ents’ ability to live independently.

    Vast amounts of information are available at your fingertips withthe internet.

    Available on www.caregiverstress.com is the following:

    Answering the Call features a senior emergency kit, which includes work-sheets and checklists which were developed by Humana Points of Caregiving. It is designed to help family caregivers gather details about a senio06-22-11-senior-corner.jpgr’s doctors, pharmacy and insurance company, medications and dosages, as well as aller-gies. Power of attorney and other important information.

    This toolkit will provide you with all the important information you need in a centrally located file so you are ready for a crisis, day or night. The toolkit materials are available for download on www.caregiverstress.com.

    Other topics available at the same location are:

    • Senior Depression

    • Senior Scams

    • Senior Driving an Individual Issue

    • Look and See Signs of Aging

    • Threat of Natural Disasters Calls for Preparedness Plan to Protect

    Seniors

    • When it’s Time to go to the Doctor … Here’s What to Ask

    • Senior Holiday Checklist• Senior Safety Checklist

    • 10 Signs a Senior May Be in Trouble

    Photo: Nearly 90 percent of seniors say they want to stay in their home. Doing so gives them a wonderful sense of continued indepen-dence.

  • Ignite the Referral Cycle

    The best way to grow your business is through referrals. We’ve all heard this but few of us take the time to analyze what motivates one customer to refer another and how we can cause that to happen more often.

    Regardless of what you sell or to whom you sell it, your happiest customers sometimes refer other customers. The referred customers cost nothing (or next to nothing) to get, have high initial feelings of loyalty toward the business and are in turn more likely to refer others. This is called the Referral Cycle. The cycle is difficult to get started but once initiated, no advertising campaign can come close to it in efficiency or longevity.

    Starting a referral cycle begins with happy customers. Does your business give good service and/or a quality product for a fair price? I did not say low price because your price could be higher than a competitor’s yet be a better value if the quality is higher or the service is better. Is every customer greeted with a smile and made to feel welcome and appreciated? Are problems solved quickly and with the same smile? Do you follow up after the sale to ensure that the customer is fully satisfied? Do you reward customers with gifts that show appreciation for their business and support the referral process? In short, are you satisfying your customers or are you impressing them? It is the impressed customer who is most likely to become a referral machine.

    06-26-13-business.gifWhen I need a reminder of how an impressed customer looks, I remember my days as a Domino’s Pizza Manager. The franchise I worked for had an aggressive policy for handling customers who were unhappy with their pizza. We would immediately send a driver with a replacement pizza and a full refund of the original order in cash — plus a gift certificate for another identical pizza to be ordered later. So the customer now has three pizzas (the bad one, a good one and a certificate for the next one) and all of their money still in their pocket. I happened to personally deliver one of these replacement pizzas and I’ll never forget the look on the woman’s face when I explained the deal — total shock, which quickly turned to outright giddiness. We wanted to guarantee that this formerly unhappy customer was turned into not just a happy customer but a referral machine. Our thinking (and our sales growth supported it) was that there is no more highly-motivated spokesperson for your product than one who has been taken from sorely disappointed to deeply impressed in less than thirty minutes. Thankfully, these occasions were relatively rare so the cost was negligible, but the impact was powerful.

    Once you have impressed a customer, they need as many opportunities as possible to bring up your company’s name and talk about the great service they received. An effective catalyst for conversation is a small handy gift on the customer’s refrigerator or desk. Not only does the gift say, “Thank you” to the customer but whenever your industry’s product or service is mentioned anywhere in sight of the gift, then the recipient can easily point to it and say, “Call these guys, they’re great!”

    A study by Georgia Southern University shows that recipients of promotional products had a significantly more positive image of a company than those who did not.

    Ignite your own referral cyle. Give great service. Offer a quality product at a fair price. Treat mistakes as an opportunity! Give your happy customers every excuse and opportunity to refer their friends and associates. And watch your sales grow.

    Photo: Providing excellent customer service can lead to referrals, which leads to more business.

  • 16 Fort Bragg Fourth of JulyFort Bragg will host its annual Independence Day celebration with a return to a pre-pandemic line-up that includes music, demonstrations, food and lots of family-friendly fun. The event was streamlined last year due to COVID-19 restrictions but returns with a full afternoon of entertainment leading up to headliner Foreigner before the evening culminates with a fireworks display.

    “We know the community is excited to get out and celebrate together,” said Theresa Smith, Fort Bragg’s Special Events Coordinator. “The Fourth of July celebration has always been a popular event, and we expect this year will be no different.”

    The celebration begins at 3 p.m. on the Main Post Parade Field. The event is free and open to Department of Defense ID card holders and guests with a visitor pass, which can be obtained at the All American Visitor Center, Smith said.

    There will be food and drink vendors on site with an assortment of items available for purchase to include barbecue, ice cream, funnel cakes, Philly cheesesteaks and more.

    Guests will enjoy a parachute demonstration by the Golden Knights. Returning this year is the popular Flag Ceremony, a long-standing tradition that highlights the nation’s states and territories, as well as the units that call Fort Bragg home, Smith said.

    The musical line-up includes the 82nd Rock Band, local band The Fifth and Foreigner.

    Local rock band The Fifth was formed in 2001 by former Cold Sweat vocalist Roy Cathey. The band has since built a strong and feverish following by touring the east coast and giving fans exactly what they want — a great show and a good time, every time. The band has enjoyed a string of successes including music featured in television ads for Dodge Ram and television promo ads for “The Voice” and “Grey's Anatomy.” The Fifth has seen a two-week tour in Japan, a Top 10 single ("The Gift") on WVRK-FM Rock 103 in Columbus, Georgia, and a Monster Energy sponsorship. Cathey said the group will release a new album later this year. You can find their music on https://www.reverbnation.com/thefifth. For more information of the band visit www.facebook.com/thefifthmusic.

    The Fifth kicks off their set at 6:45 p.m. and Foreigner is scheduled to take the stage at 8:15 p.m.

    Hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world, Foreigner has a musical arsenal that continues to propel sold-out tours and album sales.

    Foreigner is responsible for some of rock and roll’s most enduring anthems including “Feels Like The First Time,” “Urgent,” “Head Games,” “Cold As Ice,” “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” “Hot Blooded,” “Juke Box Hero” and the worldwide #1 hit “I Want To Know What Love Is.” Foreigner has 10 multi-platinum albums and 16 U.S. Billboard Top 30 hits.

    The group continues their success more than 40 years in the business with massive airplay and continued Billboard Top 200 album success. Audio and video streams of Foreigner’s hits are over 15 million per week.

    Foreigner is Mick Jones (guitar), Kelly Hansen (lead vocals), Jeff Pilson (bass, vocals), Michael Bluestein (keyboards, vocals), Bruce Watson (guitar, vocals), Chris Frazier (drums) and Luis Carlos Maldonado (guitar, vocals).

    Group founder and Songwriters Hall of Fame member Jones is the maestro whose songwriting, indelible guitar hooks and multi-layered talents continue to escalate Foreigner’s influence and guide the band to new horizons.

    “Live music is at the heart of what we do and I’m thrilled to be back on the road and visiting so many places over the next year. Looking forward to seeing you all out there,” Jones says.

    Lead singer Hansen says "I am so looking forward to getting our feet back on stage and the crowd in front of us! I have read and heard so much about how people want to get back to live music. It’s such a part of the fabric of who we are and we can’t wait to get out there and reclaim this piece of our lives. Can’t wait to rock it out!"

    In June, Foreigner announced a year-long, 123-date concert tour across 16 countries. The Greatest Hits of Foreigner Tour takes the band to 72 cities in 42 U.S. states, including their Fourth of July concert on Fort Bragg.

    “We will, of course, end the night with our fireworks display at 9:45 p.m.,” Smith said. “Fort Bragg is notorious for having the largest fireworks display in the area, and this year will be no different. We expect approximately 15 minutes of a vibrant fireworks display with an assortment of sizes.”

    The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program is bringing back tent city this year for those who want shade. Reservations are required and will be on a first-come basis. You must be a DOD ID card holder to rent space. A space costs $20 and a space and tent rental is $40.

    Pets, glass bottles, grills are not allowed at the event. For a full list of prohibited items visit https://bragg.armymwr.com/application/files/9315/6105/4803/brgg-special_events-Prohibited_Items_Bag_Policy-4th_of_July.pdf

    Guests are encouraged to arrive early and plan for heavy traffic flow. Parking is available with general and handicap parking designated. A parking map is available on the website.

    “People can look forward to celebrating Fourth of July together with live music, local food vendors, beer, and unique Fort Bragg traditions,” Smith said.

    For more information about the event visit, https://bragg.armymwr.com/calendar/event/july-4th-celebration/5184435/23521

    Pictured below:

    Foreigner (left) and local band The Fifth (right) will perform at the Fourth of July celebration on Fort Bragg. (The Fifth photo by Raul Rubiera)

    30 Foreigner group photo31 the fifth courtesy facebook

  • 12 N1905P37003H CopyFort Bragg’s Child and Youth Services is offering free summer sports clinics to military affiliated children.

    The clinics will offer four different sports: football (ages 6–12), soccer (ages 5–14),
    basketball (ages 5–14) and baseball (ages 6–12). A current sports physical and CYS registration is required for participants.

    “There will be three clinics per sport and a capacity of up to 10 children per class,” said Evelyn Eggins-Alston, program operations specialist for CYS.

    The clinics will take place at the Polo Field for football and soccer; baseball will be at Armstead Field; and basketball will be at Tolson Youth Center located on Fort Bragg from Monday through Thursday 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.

    “The summer sports clinics taking place this summer offer an opportunity for our military families to involve their CYS-registered children to do outdoor athletic activities,” said Elvia Kelly, Fort Bragg Garrison spokeswoman.

    “During the pandemic last year, many services were closed or cancelled, including the sports clinics. The goal this year is to help our youth get involved with our sports program as an avenue to learn or improve new skills and, ultimately, for the children to have fun in the process.”

    Although June clinics have commenced, the July schedule offers football and soccer clinics July12-15, and basketball and baseball clinics July 19-22.

    “This year we decided to conduct a free clinic so that our families would be reintroduced to our sports program,” Eggins-Alston said.

    The Youth Sports Program will provide 12 coaches in total for the clinics. As per new guidelines, masks will not be required while actively participating and equipment will be sanitized between classes.

    For more information, please contact the Youth Sports & Fitness Office at 910-396-5437.

    “While the Child Youth Services sports clinics are held during the summer, military-connected families can involve their children in upcoming sports or other activities throughout the year,” Kelly said.

    Parents can learn about current programs offered by the Youth Sports & Fitness program by calling 910-907-5832, visiting the website https://bragg.armymwr.com/programs/cys-services-sports-fitness or by visiting the Tolson Youth Activities Center on Fort Bragg.

    The registration deadline for clinics is noon on the Friday prior to the start of the clinic.

  • 14 DW 8Local entrepreneur Dr. Fred Surgeon, and wife Anita, have once again created a vision for an entertainment venue that caters to the adventurous and focuses on customer service. As the owners of Sweet Valley Ranch, the Surgeons recently opened their latest and perhaps most exciting venture yet — Dinosaur World. The prehistoric adventure awaits visitors of all ages, and like Sweet Valley Ranch itself, has been years in the making.

    Sweet Valley Ranch was established in September 2016 when the Surgeons purchased the land off of Sunnyside School Road. At the time they purchased 186 acres of raw land, for a few horses and goats. However, Dr. Surgeon saw potential with the land layout and knew that this could really become a place to share with the community. The ranch now consists of 300 acres.

    Sweet Valley Ranch is more than just a business to the Surgeon’s, it is also a place that calls back to Dr. Surgeon’s own upbringing and he hopes it will eventually be their legacy.

    “Sweet Valley Ranch is hands down, out of all the businesses, is one we had to do everything from
    the ground up,” said Dr. Surgeon, owner of Sweet Valley Ranch.

    After about 12 months of owning Sweet Valley Ranch, they decided to expand their animal collection with rabbits and peacocks. “When you said you want that animal, you have to understand the certain care and living situation for that animal,” said Dr. Surgeon. About six months after the rabbits and peacocks they expanded with introducing cows and horses.

    Now the farm has around 350 animals of different types, from cows and horses, to peacocks and reptiles. The possibilities with the lay of the land were endless, and Dr. Surgeon knew that owning and running this farm in this location was an opportunity to give back to the community.

    “Every business I own relates back to some part of my past. Sweet Valley Ranch is no different. Growing up my family lived on a farm, and I can remember times that we would be waiting on the chickens to lay eggs, so we could eat them for breakfast,” said Dr. Surgeon.

    At Sweet Valley Ranch there is a 1954 Farmall tractor that belonged to his grandfather. This tractor is the most valuable possession to him on the farm, reminding him of his childhood and growing up
    on a farm.

    In 2017, the vice president of the company mentioned doing Christmas lights on the farm. So, Dr. Surgeon joined a display company out of Missouri. Once everything came in and the team looked at the extent of the project, they realized they needed more time to plan it through. Fast forward to 2020 and the COVID pandemic - the Surgeon’s realized that they could bring the joy of Christmas to the people of the community and give them something other places couldn’t — animals. With hard work and attention to detail, they were able to bring a Christmas light display to the community. The success proved to be incentive for the planning and development of Dinosaur World.

    Now in 2021, Sweet Valley Ranch has opened its gates once again for Dinosaur World. It is a perfect place for the family to experience adventure and see many of the different species of Dinosaurs that now rule over Sweet Valley Ranch.

    Different Ticket Options include:

    Regular admission includes access to the Dinosaur World Trail, Abandoned Research Lab, Reptile House, Fossil Dig and Farm Animals

    Regular admission with Farm Tour includes Dino World Trail, Abandon Research Lab, Reptile House, Fossil Museum, Fossil Dig, and a 30-minute guided tour to experience all Sweet Valley Ranch has to offer. Guests will be riding in a covered wagon pulled by a tractor.

    Regular admission with Rescue Mission includes all mentioned above with an Interactive two-hour nighttime attraction that begins on Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. Participants are tasked with the mission of locating missing staff members who were involved with the creation of Sweet Valley Ranch’s Dinosaur World. Beware of “Big Rex” and his friends because they are hunting, too. Guests will also be riding through the farm to experience the lights and farm animals.

    Regular admission with Farm Tour and Rescue Mission includes all mentioned above.

    The Sweet Valley Ranch also has additional excursions that can be purchased onsite such as the Go-Kart Nature Trail Tour, Bouncy Castles, Fishing at the Ranch and Dino-playland.

    The trail is a paved trail in the woods, and it offers over 25 animatronic dinosaurs. This experience is one that will take guests back in time to when dinosaurs ran the world. It is not only a fun interactive experience, but an educational one as well.

    Sweet Valley Ranch also has concession areas, a produce stand and a gift shop with something for all price ranges. While Dinosaur World is sure to continue to be a summer success, fall will bring the return of the 10-acre Corn Maze, Haunted Hallows of Cedar Creek and the Festival of Lights.

    “We don’t have to have the biggest and best at the farm, because we do our best to make it about the customer and their experience. Customer services is a big part of the farm,” said Dr. Surgeon.

    Over 30% of the animals homed on Sweet Valley Ranch are rescues, providing them a safe, caring environment to grow and prosper. Sweet Valley Ranch does not only support local businesses but has also created job opportunities for many people within the community.

    Sweet Valley Ranch is located at 2990 Sunnyside School Road in Fayetteville. For more information on tickets and events visit www.sweetvalleyranchnc.com/.

  • 12 British Invaders picSummertime is the perfect season to have outdoor, family-friendly events. That’s exactly what Gates Four is offering with their Summer Concert Series. On June 26, the British Invaders band will be performing at the Gates Four Golf & Country Club Pavilion. The band 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.

    The Beatles formed in the 1960s and when they hit the scene in the United Kingdom, their fan base exploded. The Beatles were dominating the music scene in 1963, with women, men and young people of all ages going crazy over them. The term “Beatlemania” was coined by the press to describe the scene at Beatles concerts, and even during their travels. The Beatlemania was so strong, that during their concerts people couldn’t even hear the music being performed, due to all of the loud screaming fans. So, in 1966 the Beatles decided it was best for them to remain a studio-only group.

    The Summer Concert Series will allow those in attendance to step back into what is remembered by many as one of the greatest musical eras. The British Invaders have been known for their striking resemblance to the Beatles band which is one of the many reasons they were selected to play this year’s Gates Four Summer concert series.

    “Getting people out after 2020 and bringing the music they want to listen to, and bring something appealing to all ages, was the goal in putting together this line-up,” said Greg Adair, coordinator for Gates Four Summer Concert Series.

    Tickets for all concert dates are available for purchase online at www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com. Tickets are $60 per person and include the concert, food and lawn seating (bring your chairs). Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with food (included with ticket price) served from 6 to 7:30 p.m. A complete line of beverages will be available at three convenient full-service cash bars serving Healy Wholesale beer, 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.

    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.

  • FAY COMICCONComic Con is returning to Fayetteville’s Crown Complex Convention Center June 19-20. This is a family event, where everyone can come and enjoy their favorite comics, video games and more.

    Among celebrities scheduled to appear include John Turk, Kerri Hoskins and Lia Montelongo (“Mortal Kombat”); Gigi Edgely (“Farscape”); Megan Hollingshead (“Yu-Gi-Oh!”); wrestlers Magnum T.A., Caprice Coleman and Lex Luger; and many other actors, artists and writers in the industry.

    There will be much to see and do, like take part in a cosplay contest where the winner will take home $500. Vendors will be selling your favorite video game and comic character merchandise. There will also be four food trucks, with Italian ice and kettle corn. The Crown will also be serving concessions. The lines are expected to be long for same-day ticket purchase, so organizers are also bringing some Comic Con outside to entertain guests to keep spirits up outside the building.

    While the Crown has returned to full capacity, to help with overcrowding at certain vendor booths, the event coordinators decided not to run the American Tattoo Society tattoo alley this year. The tattoo alley will return to Comicon in 2022.
    One of the biggest changes Comicon has faced coming back after a year of pandemic life is ticket sales. Due to the box offices at the Crown not being in operation, it has challenged the coordinators in how to get tickets out to the public. However, if there is a will, there is a way! Tickets can be purchased from the Comic Con website https://fayettevillecomiccon.com/, at the comic shop in Fayetteville called Dragon’s Lair, or on the Crown Coliseum website. Tickets for a single day will cost $15 and a weekend pass will cost $25 per person.

    Comic Con of Fayetteville has been around for 5 years, and each year producing two events. Due to the COVID pandemic in 2020, they were not able to hold the event, but that did not stop coordinators from planning for 2021. The sponsors for June 2021 Comicon are the American Tattoo Society and Fayetteville State E-Sports.

    For more information on Comic Con visit https://fayettevillecomiccon.com/. For panel and main stage schedules, visit the website or www.facebook.com/fayettevillecomiccon for information.

     

  • 15 2019 4The month of June has been observed as LGBTQ+ Pride Month since 1970 to honor the Stonewall Uprising in 1969. According to the Library of Congress, the commemorative month’s purpose is to recognize and honor the impact of the LGBTQ+ community on history locally, nationally and internationally.

    “It does have a lot of significance for me personally, obviously,” Fayetteville Pride Board President Sam DuBois said. “The amount of friends and families of LGBTQ+ community that have come out and supported us really shows me how far we’ve come over the years.”

    Fayetteville Pride was established in 2017 and focuses on instilling pride, celebrating unity and embracing diversity and inclusion while providing education and support within the LGBTQ+ community.

    For more information on the organization visit www.FayettevillePRIDE.org/

    DuBois said he used to think of Fayetteville as an uber-conservative area and expected pushback when the organization first started.

    “But at the end of the night we were flabbergasted by the positive response from people attending the event,” he mentioned. “It has been extraordinarily welcoming
    to Pride.”

    Due to the pandemic the Pride Fest 2021 is postponed until further notice.

    “We have hopefully reached a satisfactory substitute with Cool Springs Downtown District, and we will be setting up an info table at their weekly Summer Markets downtown and there will be part of the field dedicated to the Pride Community Picnic on June 24 from 4-8 p.m.,” DuBois said.

    The Summer District Markets are held on Thursdays and will feature live entertainment, food trucks and games.

    “Everyone is welcome, come with that attitude and we are happy to have you,” he said.

    There are a number of other Pride events scheduled this month.

    There will be a free online chat event June 20 from 8-9 p.m. The Free Mom Hugs Social Happy Hour is hosted by the Free Mom Hugs Fayetteville/Sandhills chapter. For more information visit, https://freemomhugs.org

    The NC VA Coastal Health Care System invites all LGBTQ+ veterans and allies to participate in the 2021 Pride Car Parade & Drive-Thru from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on June 21. The event will take place at the Fayetteville VA Health Care Center at 7300 S. Raeford Road. Participants are encouraged to decorate their cars for the free event.

    The Rainbow Reunion, a business mixer for LGBTQ+ community to network and connect, will be held Jun. 26 and 27 at Hampton Inn & Suites located at 2065 Cedar Creek Road. The event will have a happy hour mixer from 4-6 p.m., a kickback from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and a night swim from 8-10 p.m. The hotel will have limited rooms and those interested can book by calling 910-635-3200

    Cool Spring Downtown District will host Drag Me Downtown on June 25 from 5-9 p.m. on Maxwell Street featuring performances by local drag queens, and a cabaret headlined by Miss Minnie Bouveé. Tickets are available for purchase on their Facebook page, $25 general admission and $125 for a VIP Table seating up to 6 people.

    Drag Me to Designer BINGO will take place at Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom from 6-9 p.m. on June 30. The event will feature Tatianna Matthews. Tickets are $40 with a portion of the proceeds going to Fayetteville Pride. Dirtbag Ales is located at 5435 Corporation Drive in Hope Mills.
    For more information about Pride events, follow @fayncpride on Facebook.

    Pictured above: Although the Pride Fest 2021 was postponed, there are a number of local events scheduled in June to celebrate diversity in support of pride month. (Photo Courtesy of Fayetteville Pride). 

    18 2019 6Pictured bottom left: Morgan Richards preforms at an event 2019.

    Pictured bottom right: Friends come together to enjoy an event celebrating diversity and inclusion. 19 2G6A0204

  • 08 ReflectionsTrialByFiredoubleWith the beginning of summer and people looking for outdoor entertainment, the Rock’n On The River summer concert series is the perfect opportunity to hang out with friends, enjoy food and drinks, and dance the evening away.

    On June 18, all are invited for live, free entertainment from local Fayetteville band Reflections II and North Carolina band Trial by Fire.

    Reflections II is a widely known local Fayetteville band of three professional musicians. Bringing a variety of music to the table from pop to Motown and the oldies. Known for their entertaining performances, the band will kick off the evening at 6:00 p.m. and it is sure to be a show you won’t want to miss.

    At 8:15 p.m., headliner Trial by Fire takes the stage. The tribute band is named for Journey’s album of the same name released in 1996. Back in the day, after an injury suffered by lead singer Steve Perry, Journey was unable to tour and promote the album “Trial by Fire.” Now, five seasoned musicians from North Carolina are bringing the tour to life with area audiences — recreating the glory days of the Journey era to their fans.

    Rock’n on the River is a free live concert, sponsored by Healy Wholesale, Bob 96.5 FM radio, and Up & Coming Weekly. The event will have beverages sold by Healy and food exclusive to Deep Creek Grill. Coolers and outside food are prohibited at this event. Pets are also not allowed onto the concert grounds. There is a $5 parking fee per person.
    The event is first come first serve, as the venue can only host 1200 to 1400 people.

    “Bringing a well-rounded live concert series to get people out after lockdowns in 2020, and having something they will enjoy listening to is the goal,” said Greg Adair, event coordinator.

    Each monthly concert showcases a different genre of music, bringing together different crowds of people for a good time with friends and family.

    Rock’n On The River is located at 1122 Person St. in Fayetteville (behind Deep Creek Grill). Parking for the event will begin at 5:00 p.m.

    For information on the concert series, visit https://www.facebook.com/Rockn-On-The-River-271048666818630

    07 rockn logo jpeg

  • 01 UrineTown0005 2The Broadway musical “Urinetown” opened at the Gilbert Theater to sold-out shows, an indication that audiences are willing to overlook the odd title in exchange for an evening of hysterical entertainment.

    Set in a dystopia where the masses are suffering from a drought, one giant corporation has monopolized bathroom usage. Citizens are forced into a pay-per-use urinal by law, with the ultimate punishment of being sent to Urinetown. The musical addresses important social issues and freedoms while keeping it fun with music.

    The show is narrated by Officer Lockstock (played by Zech Williams) and Little Sally (played by Hannah Smith) who win the audience’s heart with their mesmerizing performances. Smith does a terrific job with her vocals and acting in her debut show at the Gilbert.

    “Urinetown” is a satirical comedy written by Greg Kotis and directed at the Gilbert by Robyne Parrish. The show draws in the audience for a night filled with many laughs.

    The first act reflects on the injustices done by the Urine Good Company and its president, Mr. Cladwell (played by Bill Saunders) — a shrewd, selfish man. The lead Bobby Strong (played by Tim Zimmerman) begins to light the fire of revolution and justice amongst the people after his father, Old Man Strong (played by Gabe Terry) breaks the law and uses the urine facility without paying and is sent to the ultimate mysterious bad place – Urinetown.

    Hope Cladwell (played by Linda Flynn) is the naive, kind daughter of Mr. Cladwell, who falls in love with Bobby Strong, leading to a series of humorous interactions and drama.

    “There is the star-crossed lover’s aspect,” said actor Jacquelyn Kessler (who plays McQueen).

    While the lead urges the masses to uproot governmental control and tyranny, the urine facility’s supervisor Penelope Pennywise (played by Jennifer Newman), Lockstock, and rest of law enforcement and UGC’s employees resist their advances.

    Newman, also in her debut at the Gilbert, deserves a special shoutout for her performance of Penelope Pennywise.

    With musical delight, the show encompasses a classic class struggle between the rich and poor, the have and have nots and sends the audience for a spin to question different social constructs like the legal system, capitalism, corporations, corporate mismanagement and bureaucracy.

    The latter half of the show focuses on the masses kidnapping Bobby Strong’s love interest and leading lady Hope, to get her father and villain to agree to their terms. The corrupt old man then refuses to save his daughter and has Strong arrested and sent to Urinetown.

    What happens next reflects strongly on misuse of power and authority by the rich and law enforcement, as Urinetown is a violent death to anyone who disagrees with the authority. The production’s last bit shows Hope leading the masses against her father. The show, however, doesn’t necessarily end in happiness for all as many lose their lives or move away due to lack of water after their freedom led to overuse of the resources, as Lockstock narrates. Overall, the production delivers a fantastic time with great actors, band and a successful execution by the crew.

    “It has all the things you want to see in the musical, it’s got love, heartbreak, death and fantastic characters, so any big Broadway musical lover is going to love this show,” Parrish said.

    For tickets or more information call 910-678-7186 or visit www.gilberttheater.com

    Above photo: The cast of "Urinetown" delivers an entertaining performance at the Gilbert Theater. (Photo by Tori Barker)

  • 09 20210516 Dinner Theater Promotion 010The 2021 Fayetteville Dinner Theatre will present “Beyond Broadway: Music of Our Time” June 17-19 at the Gates Four Golf & Country Club. Tim Zimmerman and Linda Flynn will headline the show with special guest Tyler Tew.

    Zimmerman and Flynn will perform popular Broadway musical hits for the audience.

    “Tim used to work on cruise ships, and this is a show he did,” Flynn said.

    “He included me in this and I helped him with the backstage stuff. It’s Broadway shows rockified cause that's Tim’s whole style, he makes Broadway rock ’n’ roll.”

    The musical will focus on duets with mild banter in between by Flynn and Zimmerman, including mashups, medleys and hits from shows such as “Phantom of the Opera,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Les Miserables” and more.

    Written by Zimmerman and directed by Up & Coming Weekly Publisher Bill Bowman, the dinner theatre will commence at 6 p.m. with a welcome reception and wine tasting followed by a dinner and the performance at 7 p.m.

    “I think we have got something like 13 to 14 numbers in the show, the first act is 45 minutes long and the second act is 30 minutes long,” Zimmerman said.
    “This is going to be a night of all your Broadway favorites, Broadway tunes from classic and modern as well.”

    There will be three performances. The June 17 show will be a dessert preview which includes the welcome reception and dessert (no dinner). Tickets are $40 per person.
    Tickets for performances on June 18 and 19 will be $75 for general admission or $95 for VIP seating. The dinner theatre offers senior (age 65 and up) and active duty military discount tickets for $65.

    Although a wine tasting is part of the welcome reception, wine will also be available for purchase. All wine sales will be donated to The CARE Clinic, which provides free quality health care to eligible uninsured, low income adults who live in Cumberland County and surrounding areas. The CARE Clinic relies entirely on the generosity of donors, grants from foundations and fundraising events.

    Tickets for all shows can be purchased at www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com

    “We are excited because COVID has restricted everything and not everyone can plan a trip to New York City, so we are bringing Broadway to them,” Bowman said.

    “Beyond Broadway” will be a more refined version of the headliner show Zimmerman performed on cruise ships, Bowman said.
    The dinner theatre will also showcase local musician Tyler Tew.

    “I was trying to get some music out and when the opportunity came up with the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre for me to come out as a special guest and perform, I thought it was great,” Tew said. “It's strictly country music, growing up hunting, fishing, my family listened to country and that’s something I relate to.”

    Tew, a singer-songwriter and guitar player, will perform a half-hour set. He said he is excited for people to hear his music.

    “One of the things that the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre aims to do is showcase local talent and give young people a chance to perform while maintaining a quality performance for the audience,” Bowman said.

    So far, audiences approve. The last Fayetteville Dinner Theatre show “A Sinister Cabaret” in April sold out both performances and prompted Bowman to offer a third performance this time around.

    Bowman said he is expecting a similar response for “Beyond Broadway.”

    “It's definitely a great dinner theatre show, and Gates Four is the perfect venue,” Bowman said. “We know that there is definitely demand for this kind of entertainment.”

    “We’ve got good theatre here with Cape Fear and the Gilbert but we didn't have a dinner theatre,” said Bowman who resurrected the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre a few years ago.

    “People had to go to Greensboro, Raleigh or Charlotte for dinner theatre," he said. "We really found the right niche to be able to pull all this talent together to perform. It has been very rewarding.”

  • 09Alice Osborn2There’s a longstanding opportunity to engage with this community’s arts and culture scene: Fayetteville’s monthly 4th Friday, sponsored by Cool Spring Downtown District. This month’s event, as usual, takes place in idyllic downtown Fayetteville. Set for June 28 from 6-10 p.m., its theme is “Love Local.”

    “Love local” is an easy mandate to follow, as downtown is bursting with both longtime and new galleries, bookstores, bistros and shops to explore.

    Cape Fear Studios and Gallery, located at 148- 1 Maxwell St., will hold an opening reception for its 2019 Nellie Allen Smith National Pottery Competition. The reception will last from 6-8 p.m., and the show will be up through July 23. CFS has hosted this competition for more than 20 years. The initial goal was to give local clay artists an opportunity to compete with their peers. The show has now grown to provide a nationally competitive stage, with entries coming in from across the U.S. To learn more, visit www. capefearstudios.com/monthly-exhibits or call 910-433-2986.

    The Fayetteville Area Transportation & Local History Museum will hold a special 4th Friday celebration highlighting its current exhibit, “Baseball in Fayetteville.” This fun and educational exhibit focuses on the nearly 150 years of baseball history in this community — including the fact that Babe Ruth hit his first professional baseball home run here. It was also here that he picked up the nickname “Babe.”

    The Market House, at the roundabout of Person, Hay, Green and Gillespie Streets, will open a new temporary exhibit, “Centennial of Pope Army Airfield,” from 6-9 p.m. The Market House’s permanent exhibit, “A View from the Square: A History of Downtown Fayetteville,” will also be open.

    There’s also live music to enjoy. Alice Osborn, a Piedmont-area performer whose music and lyrics are rooted in folk Americana and the New South, will perform at Bright Light Brewing Company, 444 W Russell St. From 7-10 p.m., Osborn will play tunes that are upbeat and informed by her identity as both an accomplished poet and an American history buff. She is the president of the North Carolina Songwriters Coop and lives in Raleigh with her family. She also plays Celtic fiddle and bluegrass banjo. Visit www.aliceosborn.com to learn more about her, and call Bright Light at 910-339-0464 to learn more about her show in Fayetteville.

    These are just a few of the many events and activities happening downtown June 28. For more information about 4th Friday, visit www.theartscouncil.com or call Cool Spring Downtown District at 910-223-1089.

    Photo: Alice Osborn

  • 06 71779616 10156368551201969 3438027097455460352 nThe Dogwood Festival’s mini-fest which was postponed earlier this year is being held June 11-12 at Festival Park off Ray Ave. Live music from the Throwback Collaboration Band and On The Border will be staged on day one. The second day features a car and motorcycle show, as well as scaled-down collections of arts and crafts. Food vendors will provide snacks. "We're all very excited for this opportunity," said Sarahgrace Snipes, who was recently named Dogwood Festival Executive Director. The scaled down mini-fest is among the first events being held at Festival Park since the COVID-19 pandemic began early last year. The festival runs from 5-11 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. Donations are being accepted.

  • 11CrawdadsNorth Carolina likes to be No. 1 — at everything.

    We declare ourselves to be “First in Flight.” But it took a couple of Ohio boys to make that happen.

    We declare ourselves to be “First in Freedom” based on the May 20, 1775, Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, a controversial claim that many historians dispute.

    We also love it when books written by North Carolinians or set in our state become No. 1 best-sellers on The New York Times list.

    So this year we are bragging about “Where the Crawdads Sing,” a book set in the fictional eastern North Carolina town of Barkley Cove, and the surrounding marshes, coves and ocean waters.

    This book by Delia Owens has been on the Times’ list, usually at No. 1, for 35 weeks.

    But there is a problem. We will get to that in a moment, after we consider a few things about the book that explain why it has already sold more than 2 million copies.

    “Crawdads” is literary fiction with strong writing and lovely descriptions of nature’s plants and creatures. A compelling murder mystery with an unexpected ending gives readers a superior entertainment experience.

    Owens is a fan of “A Sand County Almanac,” a book of nature-themed essays by Aldo Leopold. She wanted to write a book with a similar nature focus, but one that also has a strong storyline.

    “Crawdads” is the result. Its success demonstrates that the combination of good writing, a solid story and interesting information about serious topics can be a commercial success.

    The book’s central character, Catherine Clark or “Kya,” lives by herself in a shack in the marshes, miles away from town. People in Barkley Cove think she is weird, keep their distance, and call her “the Marsh Girl.” She spent only one day in school and cannot read or write. However, because she is smart and diligent, she learns about the nature of the marshes.

    She meets Tate Walker, a young man from Barkley Cove. He senses her strengths and shares her love of plants and animals. He teaches her to read and write, and falls in love with her.

    When Tate leaves Kya behind to study science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, she is devastated. But she rebounds to the seductive charms of Chase Andrews, a town football hero and big shot. Their secret affair is interrupted by Chase’s marriage to another woman, and Kya is again distraught.

    Overcoming these disappointments, Kya leverages her reading, writing and self-taught artistic talents to record the nature world that surrounds her. When Tate, now a scientist, returns to her life, he persuades her to submit her work for publication. That book is a great success, and she writes and illustrates several more.

    All this is background for the story that begins on the first pages of the book. Chase is found dead at the bottom of an old fire tower. Kya is a suspect and is ultimately charged, arrested, put in prison and tried for Chase’s murder.

    The author’s deftness in setting up this situation, and resolving it smoothly, has helped make it a best-seller. “Crawdads” gained the attention of beloved actress Reese Witherspoon. Fox 2000 has acquired film rights and plans for Witherspoon to be the producer.

    We can hope that the movie will be shot in North Carolina. But here, the book’s problem jumps up. The geography described in the book, with palmettos and deep marshes adjoining ocean coves, seems to fit South Carolina or Georgia coastal landscapes better than North Carolina’s coastlands.

    Nevertheless, whatever the moviemakers decide, North Carolinians can bask in the reflected glory of a No. 1 best-seller that claims our state for its setting.

  • 06 CAP02810 1 CroppedLegends Pub will host their 24th annual Spring Fling the weekend of June 4-6. Known to many locals for its welcoming and altruistic nature, the pub, located at 4624 Bragg Blvd # 1, has hosted the event since owner Holly Whitley purchased it about 25 years ago.

    “We take care of our own in our own community, we feel as though our own community needs this more than anything,” Whitley said. “It’s quite phenomenal for a little biker bar on the boulevard.”

    Spring Fling began way before Whitley owned the pub. She and a group of friends would host parties at Whitley’s house and called it the Gypsy Women Spring Fling.

    “It was just a get-together of friends and then when we bought the bar we thought of having it there and at that time one of our friends had had a motorcycle accident and they needed our help so we decided to turn the party into a benefit,” she said. “And that’s how we all started as a group and Spring Fling is now our largest benefit of the year.”

    Whitley, in Fayetteville since 1979, bought the pub in the 90’s. Ever since, each year the Spring Fling has raised money for many different individuals and causes in Cumberland County.

    “We’ve been around for 25 years and I have got a good, solid base of people that have been with me for many years, supported our benefits and each other, and they knew if hard times came, we would be there to support them as well,” she said.

    This year's Spring Fling will benefit the local non-profit Seth’s Wish, a charity helping those affected by homelessness and food insecurity.

    “We had a space in Fayetteville for three years and last year a drunk driver drove their car through our building, which is why Holly is doing the Spring Fling this year to help us get into a new building,” said Seth’s Wish Founder and Executive Director Lindsey Wofford.

    The non-profit offered hot meals and a place for the homeless to relax during the day. At their old site they also had a clothes closet, food pantry, hygiene closet as well as hot showers for people to use.

    “With COVID and the car hitting our building we are really depending on the Spring Fling to move towards our goal of getting into a new space, since all our funds are being constantly exhausted,” Wofford said. “We help house families as well, helping with electric bills, helping people with hotel rooms during winter nights, so it's constantly a game of keep up.”

    Whitley said she has helped Seth’s Wish before and has since gotten to know Wofford and how she works.

    The 2021 Spring Fling will be a free event for all with the kick off on Friday, June 4 with free pizza and a pool tournament starting at 8 p.m. People are encouraged to bring donation items for the raffle and auction, as well as gallon sized canned food items or small pop-top canned food and personal hygiene items.

    Saturday will feature the Scott Sather Memorial Poker Run, a motorcycle ride where participants stop at designated locations to pick up cards and build the best poker hand. The event will begin at 1 p.m. and end by 4 p.m. before the auction.

    “We do the Scott Sather Memorial Poker Run in honor of Scott Sather, a regular at our bar, he was killed in Iraq in 2001, and we always have a toast for him,” Whitley said. “He was a part of our family.”

    Raffle tickets will be available for purchase for $20 each or $100 for 10 tickets.

    “One of our bigger raffle prizes this year is a 70-inch TV among other things,” Whitley said.

    The event will feature the live-band Bone Deep from Raleigh after the auction at the end of the night.

    On the last day of the Spring Fling, there will be a Bike Show, from 1 to 4 p.m.

    “After the show, we usually have a lunch of hotdogs and barbecue sandwiches,” Whitley said. “I don’t ask people to pay for the food because I love people to eat at the bar, just come on down and join us.”

    The competitions will feature different awards and prizes, she said.

    The 2020 Spring Fling was cancelled due to the pandemic but the pub reopened with a remodel and was revamped.

    “My staff has been with me for a long time, they all stuck with me through the pandemic and came back, so I didn't have an employment issue coming back,” Whitley said. “I had a lot of support from the community in being able to pay my rent and
    utilities.”

    Over the last 25 years, Legends Pub has raised over $50,000 each year.

    “The Spring Fling is our biggest event, but we do other events throughout the year as well,” Whitley said. “Over the last 25 years or so I would say we may have raised about a million dollars or so for our community. “We never know when someone has the need, so God forbid something happens.”

    Wofford hopes with the help of the money raised with Spring Fling, Seth’s Wish can be back in a building space by this fall before the weather starts getting cold.

    “I chose this community to be where I raised my children, and they’ve grown up and become successful here,” Whitley said tearing up. “I just feel like you have to build on your own community. As much strife as we've had in our community this last year, it’s been so hard on all of us, my daddy used to always say, we got to take care of our own, never forget our own.”

    Pictured Above: The 2021 Legends Pub Spring Fling will benefit Sth's Wish, a local charity helping those affected by homelessness and food insecurity. (Photos by Christy Alphin)

  • 10LumbeesIn 2013, Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s founding director, Bo Thorp, produced a play called “The Dames You Thought You Knew.” It featured Thorp and four other prominent local women. Darlene Ransom saw the play with Laverne Oxendine and another friend, and it sparked an idea. “During intermission,” Ransom said, “I poked Laverne and said, ‘I would like to do this with Lumbee women.’”

    “Well, then I am sure you will do it,” Oxendine replied. Six years later and a year in the making, “lumBEES: Women of the Dark Water” runs June 21, 22, 28 and 29 at CFRT.

    “lumBEES: Women of the Dark Water” shines a light on the life stories of women from the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina. Attendees will meet Roberta Bullard Brown, Dolores Jones, Jinnie Lowery, Dr. Jo Ann Chavis Lowery, Della Maynor and Darlene Holmes Ransom — six extraordinary Lumbee women who tell their stories of growing up as American Indians in southeastern North Carolina.

    “There is tremendous pride in each of these women — in being a Lumbee,” said Thorp. “And when they first started as young people, it was not easy being a Lumbee.”

    This production is about more than simply six women telling their stories, although that’s also exactly what it is about. And it’s about why stories and lives matter and how they can change people, families, systems and cultures.

    “I think it is important for people within the state to see us and to hear our stories because there are so many misconceptions about who we are as a people,” said Jinnie. “We have never been confused about it, but other people sometimes are. Everyone in this play came through the Jim Crow South. We are the product of the segregated system. We get to tell that story. We arethe products of all-Indian schools. It  is important to understand what our ancestors went through and how that shapes the lives we get to live today.”

    Jo Ann added, “If you want to raise awareness, this production will do that. … By knowing these things, it helps overcome prejudicial fears.”

    As they share their stories and their lives, the Women of the Dark Water may just change yours, too. “This is a story that has long-needed to be told,” said Thorp. “They talk about their families and who and where they came from and what they love, and some of what they hated as they were growing up; they loved swimming in the Lumbee River, and they hated farming.”

    Just as it is a big part of the Lumbee culture, music is integral to this production and features talented local Lumbee musicians The Carters, Lorna McNeill Ricotta, Alexis Jones, and John Oxendine. “The music makes it a lot of fun,” said Thorp. “When you hear it put together, it shows perfectly how they are wonderful people who grew up in this place and how they are important to this place.”

    All proceeds from the play will be divided between CFRT and the new children’s area in the Museum of the Southeast American Indian at UNC Pembroke. 

    Tickets are available at the CFRT box office at 1209 Hay St., online at cfrt.org, or by phone at 910-323-4233. Ticket prices are: Friday, June 21, $15, preview; Saturday, June 22, $30, gathering with the BEES; Friday, June 28, $20; and Saturday, June 29, $20. The June 22 ticket includes a pre-show meal provided by Fullers Old Fashioned BBQ and beverages from Healy Wholesale.

  • 12 DSC 0593 ClarkAfter a year of being masked, isolated and vaccinated, the sun is shining — literally and figuratively — and it is finally time to venture back into the great outdoors. 

    There are a number of local area sites and activities that offer a chance to see and experience the wonders of nature. You don’t have to go far or spend much money if you look to our own Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation.
     
    “There is something for everyone at Clark Park,” said Jennifer Smith, Ranger Supervisor at Clark Park Nature Center. “The city’s second largest regional park remains a natural area dedicated to preserving the environment and educating the public about nature.”
     
    About 27,000 people per year enjoy programs and the Nature Center. Thousands more enjoy the playground and park trails. Spring, summer and fall are all busy seasons, Smith said.
     
    “The Nature Center offers programming for educators, groups, individuals and families plus self- guided experiences,” Smith said. “You can attend a class on fall fungi or take a Star Wars-themed archery class. The Nature Center features 23 live animals including eight species of turtles native to North Carolina.”
     
    The Nature Center also has museum exhibits and displays on natural history, and all of them have interactive elements. You can search for 38 of North Carolina's smallest frogs, toads, snakes, salamanders, lizards and turtles in an exhibit created by wildlife artist Joe Morgan. 
     
    Morgan hails from Liberty, North Carolina, and his work has been featured in museums around the world such as the Smithsonian Institute and also in film and TV. You can get rewards for finding the creatures with some prizes and take home your own set of baseball-style animal fact cards.
     
    There are self-guided activities to get you moving and exercising out on the trails, Smith said.
     
    StoryWalks break the notion that reading only happens within libraries and that parks are only for exercise and recreation. Visitors can stroll along the River Trail with a story to guide their way. The stroller-friendly paved trail is less than 1/2 mile in total. 
     
    Stories change about four times per year. The project is a partnership between the Cumberland County Public Library and Information Center and Fayetteville Cumberland Parks and Recreation.  It was funded by a grant from the Women's Giving Circle of Cumberland County, through the Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc. 
     
    The Great Pinecone Scavenger Hunt is a themed activity that gets visitors to explore the unpaved, woodland trails of the park. They search for large golden pinecones hidden along the trail as they experience topics such as tree bark, spring flowers and winter buds. Sheets for the hunt are outside the Center.
     
    “We have three park rangers that do the majority of our programming, plus two ranger supervisors who do most of the administration,” Smith said.  
     
    “One of our rangers actually majored in recreation, but the rest of our staff are all science nerds. Two studied biology and two studied wildlife. They love doing in-depth programs on plants and animals, and all are involved in monitoring local populations of birds, frogs and toads, moths and other creatures. Our recreation ranger is amazingly creative at coming up with fun programs that really engage his audience. He has a following of regular customers.”
     
    Most popular activities at the park are the public animal feedings, campfires with storytelling and archery programs, Smith said. 
     
    “This is because they appeal to a wide age range,” she said. “Families with young kids enjoy watching the animals eat, and the older kids enjoy the thrill of gathering around a fire at night or learning how to fire an arrow.”
     
    Park visitors ages 5 and up should be prepared to don their masks while in the Nature Center and practice social distancing guidelines. All visitors should also sign in at the front desk.
     
    Nature Center hours during COVID are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For the latest programming information and learn more about the park visit www.fcpr.us/parks-trails/parks/clark-park
     
    “The most valuable thing we do is to create and maintain awareness of the wonders of nature, especially in the young, and to maintain a place where people can go and still have the chance to see something amazing, like a tiny Cope’s gray tree frog curled in the knot of a tree,” Smith said.  “Clark Park is an island of diversity, preserving some species that have resided here since the time of the last ice age. The rangers have to keep awareness of that flowing out into the community, in order to keep the park and its biology valued and intact.”
     
    There are a number of activities available at Clark Park and Lake Rim Park for visitors of all ages and abilities. Most activities are free or charge a minimal fee to cover expenses, such as $3 to build a bee house or $5 for archery targets. 
     
    A schedule of activities is updated monthly on www.fcpr.us/parks-trails/parks or call Clark Park at 910-433-1579 and Lake Rim Park at 910-433-1018.
     
  • 01UAC061219Three artists, with backgrounds in three different art concentrations, found themselves together in a small-enrollment printmaking class. The new exhibition at Gallery 208, “The Art of Possibility: Three Artists Explore Printmaking,” is the result of a year of comradery and exploration, each artist discovering an opportunity to refigure meaning in their work through printmaking materials and techniques. The public is invited to attend the opening reception Tuesday, June 18, from 5:30- 7 p.m. at Gallery 208.

    Visitors to the exhibition will see traditional and unexpected ways each artist approaches the printmaking medium. For example, the background for two of Angela Stouts’ monoprints have been goldleafed or silver-leafed by the artist on large sheets of printmaking paper. Jade Robin incorporates a piece of stained mulberry paper, the result of the last big hurricane, in a chine-collé process, combined with the process of using a box cutter to scratch across a pronto plate before printing. Both artists contrast with the seemingly effortless minimal prints by Maria Anglero. Her pristine patterns, referencing nature, float across an off-white paper surface.

    Knowing the backstory of each artist will help to unfold the whole story: How the works of three emerging artists from different medium preferences — a printmaker, a painter and a ceramicist — resulted in a printmaking exhibition at Gallery 208.

    Robin, an undergraduate student in printmaking at Fayetteville State University, knew she wanted to become proficient in printmaking during her first class in that subject. Since that introductory class, Robin has systematically investigated the technical rigors of each category under the printmaking umbrella — relief, intaglio, serigraphy and lithography. While practicing the many techniques in each category simultaneously, Robin had to come to terms with meaning in her work. For Robin, she was enrolled in one of the printmaking courses in her degree track when the backstory begins.

    Stout, a highly talented painter, is in the process of completing her last several semesters as an undergraduate student in art education with a painting concentration. She needed to complete a required printmaking course, was ready to take a short break from painting and found herself in the same printmaking class with Robin.

    Then we add Anglero to the mix. Anglero, who is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in ceramics, had room in her schedule to add an elective. She decided to take an advanced printmaking class. All three end up together in Robin’s printmaking world: Practice new assigned techniques, become proficient in those assigned techniques, and experiment with unconventional techniques. And while you’re at it, bring personal meaning to a body of work.

    Anglero had already completed an introductory printmaking class at Fayetteville Technical Community College, so early in the year, she felt comfortable practicing several advanced relief printing techniques. Robin’s printmaking experience was helpful to the group, and for Stout, it was all new.

    Everyone brought advanced experiences from a different degree concentration. Each had already created a body of work in their concentration. All three were enamored with the printmaking processes.

    The successes that resulted in an exhibition were also the result of each artist’s confidence in themselves and their shared philosophy about image- or object-making. There is no one way, no one culture, no right or wrong meaning. There is simply the power of material and compositional unity to express personal meaning.

    For all three artists, printmaking has informed their art across disciplines. It is not required for visitors to Gallery 208, but understanding the value and influence of printmaking on the artists’ work has the potential to enrich an appreciation of the individual works in the exhibit.

    Of the ways the processes in printmaking influence meaning in her work, Robin said, “From the very beginning, I liked that there are so many steps in printmaking — sketching, making the matrixes, color selections, proofing, then printing the edition or doing a series of monoprints.

    “With each step, you have a different direction you can go. For me, each option has the potential to create new meaning. I love the open-ended possibilities of processes; even a mistake can take your image in a new direction.

    “As an artist, I am presently preoccupied with the idea of identity. As I develop ideas about identity, process can influence new meaning for me, so (having) variations in the process is important to me. Variations in process inspire variations of feeling as well as distinctions in meaning and content.”

    In comparison, ceramicist Anglero noted how she likes the physicality of the printmaking medium. “In ceramics, I use tools, and I include my hands as tools, to shape form. So I immediately responded to the act of using gouges to carve a block for a relief print.

    “My love of nature, trees in particular, is reflected in my ceramic vessels. Bringing the idea of nature’s surfaces to printmaking opened up new ways of seeing the potential of patterns across disciplines. Although I began to use the silk-screening process with ceramic slips on three-dimensional forms, my greatest lesson was not separating the two mediums as completely distinct — both processes inform the other.

    “For me, printmaking is a way to explore ideas about surface and meaning in new ways that always has the potential of continuing to influence my love of ceramics.”

    As a painter, Stout immediately discovered the potential of printmaking to explore new meaning in her work. Stout stated, “As soon as I let go of the idea of a preconceived end-result and allowed myself to see the potential of new techniques and experimentation to inform content, I was liberated and comfortable to think about painting in a new way. Using paper, exploring new techniques, experimenting with new color combinations — I was working in an environment of trying multiple ideas and multiple techniques in ways that I would have not approached on canvas.

    “Like painting, printmaking has become a neverending search on ways for me to express my core intent of expressing unity in opposition.”

    “The Art of Possibility: Three Artists Explore Printmaking” is the result of three very different artists experiencing the difficulties and successes of printmaking processes. The value of informal dialogue with each other, sharing approaches to creative problem-solving, and ultimately understanding how all artists wrestle with personal meaning and content also underlie this show.

    The public is invited to see the exhibit and meet the artists during the opening reception June 18 from 5:30-7 p.m. The exhibit will stay hanging in Gallery 208 until mid-August 2019. Gallery 208 is located at Up & Coming Weekly, 208 Rowan St. There is plenty of parking behind the building. For more information, call 910-484-6200.

  • 11 The District Summer Market Logo light in dark out 1The Cool Spring Downtown District will launch The District Summer Market in June at Festival Park. This farmers-and-makers market is scheduled to be open to the public from 4-8 p.m.every Thursday starting June 3 through Aug. 26. The exception will by July 1, when the market will be closed.

    About 25 vendors will be selling their products each week, and they include a variety of farmers, ranchers, artists and artisans.

    Saira Meneses, co-owner of Purpose Driven Family Farm, expressed her own excitement: “We’re thrilled to be part of The District Summer Market this year; it's going to be, without a doubt, a great addition to downtown Fayetteville, and my husband, AJ, and I are looking forward to introducing our farm and unique products to attendees.”

    Purpose Driven Family Farm raises its livestock using organic/non-GMO methods and sustainability practices on a 10-acre farm in Parkton. Owners AJ and Saira Meneses believe in raising thier animals humanely and with integrity, love and respect, because they know that happy, healthy animals mean better products for their community. Learn more at www.purposedrivenfamilyfarm.com/

    As a part of its ongoing objective to position downtown as a viable arts-and-entertainment district, Cool Spring’s Chief Executive Officer, Bianca Shoneman, continues to seek opportunities to create and/or host family-friendly activities that bring people downtown to shop, eat and play, safely.

    “We simply recognized the fact people are looking for more opportunities to intentionally spend their money on locally produced food, art, etc. in 2021,” Shoneman said, “and thanks to the support of the city of Fayetteville, The District Summer Market will be a fantastic opportunity for downtown’s visitors to shop local while enjoying a fun, family-friendly outing in our lovely Festival Park.”

    Cool Spring Downtown District is planning to invite local food trucks and musicians to participate in the market once restrictions are lifted. Additionally, a variety of games such as cornhole, Connect 4, and ladder ball will be available for groups to enjoy playing on Festival Park’s spacious lawn.

    “We’re extremely excited for the grand opening of The District Summer Market and are looking forward to serving folks through our pasture-raised and nutrient-dense pork, beef, chicken and eggs,” an owner of Spartan Tusk and Feather Livestock said. “We believe this market will change the way people look at the food they’re consuming.”

    Spartan Tusk and Feather Livestock is a veteran-owned-and-operated family farm, located on 60 acres in Shannon, that produces antibiotic-free, hormone-free, and humanely raised food products. Owners Adam and Tiffany Jeter pride themselves on providing sustainable, healthy foods for their community. Learn more at facebook.com/SpartanTuskandFeatherLivestock

    Cool Spring Downtown District is inviting the public to apply to be a vendor for one or more of the 12 markets being planned over the summer. Email marketmanager@coolspringfay.org for more information. Additionally, if a company is interested in sponsoring one or more of the markets, email bianca@coolspringfay.org.

    The public may follow all market plans and happenings on Cool Spring Downtown District’s website https://visitdowntownfa

  • POW banner 01 4 14 V2 03The Airborne and Special Operations Museum opened a new exhibit May 7 to honor American prisoners of war. Victory From Within: The American Prisoner of War Experience explores the POW experience through sections titled Capture, Prison Life, Those Who Wait and Freedom.

    The exhibit includes artifacts from James “Nick” Rowe, a Special Forces Lieutenant and POW held by the Viet Cong; Raymond Schrump, also a POW in the Vietnam War; and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael Durant. The ASOM supplements the exhibit with POW artifacts from its own collection from World War II, Vietnam and Operation GOTHIC SERPANT, along with related artifacts from the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum.

    Director of the museum Jim Bartlinski said, “I hope this exhibit brings a better understanding of the sacrifices our military men and women give for us to have our freedom.”

    Rowe was captured by Vietcong communist guerillas on October 29, 1963, and spent five years in captivity moving between POW camps in South Vietnam. In December of 1968, Rowe escaped when he overpowered his guard and flagged down an American helicopter.

    Schrump was a Special Forces Major assigned to Tay Ninh Province in southern Vietnam. He was taken prisoner by the Viet Cong on May 23, 1968, and held captive for close to five years.

    Durant was taken captive during operation GOTHIC SERPENT in October of 1993, when the Black Hawk helicopter he was flying in Mogadishu was shot down by Somali militants. He was held captive for 11 days.

    “It is an honor and a privilege to bring these stories to the public and those within the military community,” Bartlinski said. “I hope this exhibit will bring inspiration to those about to leave or returning from SERE training.”

    SERE stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. SERE training is required for military personnel whose assignment makes them vulnerable to capture by the enemy or terrorists. SERE training prepares troops to resist the enemy’s attempts at exploitation, to escape from captivity and to return home with honor. Rowe is credited with developing the course. After his retirement from service, Schrump was a speaker during the SERE course.

    This exhibit runs until September 26. It is offered in partnership with the Andersonville (Ga.) National Historic Site National Prisoner of War Museum. Admission to the museum is free. For more information on the ASOM and their upcoming events visit www.asomf.org/.

  •     On Monday, June 9, Dr. William C. Harrison, superintendent of Cumberland County Schools, was named the eighth recipient of the Jay Robinson Leadership Award given by the Public School Forum of North Carolina. The award honors the extraordinary leadership and service of Dr. Jay Robinson, former school superintendent, vice president of the University System and Chair of the State Board of Education.
        {mosimage}Dr. Harrison has served as a public school educator in North Carolina for more than 30 years. State Board of Education Chair Howard Lee said of Dr. Harrison in his endorsement letter, "Dr. Harrison’s dedication to education has extended beyond the school setting and into professional organizations, universities and public service. His service to each of these settings has been in the best interest of the rights of all children to a quality education. He has had a very public opportunity to demonstrate his courage while serving as superintendent of Hoke County Schools by supporting the filing of the now famous Leandro case (originally known as the Hoke County Lawsuit). Knowing the implications of such a suit regardless of the outcome, he never backed down from the position that all children need a level playing field to have an equal chance at success." Dr. Randy Bridges, nominator, worked under Bill Harrison in two school systems and said of him, "Dr. Harrison is dedicated to all students and is a man of integrity and commitment."
        Former Representative Gene Arnold, chair of the Jay Robinson Leadership Award Committee, commented that Dr. Harrison, like Jay Robinson, was deeply committed to helping all children achieve higher levels of performance. He said of Dr. Harrison, "Bill has persevered as Jay would have done to see that all children have equal opportunities and that resources, both instructional and financial, are provided to assist them as they strive to do their best. Having served as a mentor to Bill, Jay would have been very proud of him."
        Outgoing Chair of the Forum Board, Senator Katie Dorsett added, "Dr. Harrison has remained singly focused on very ambitious instructional goals for all students in every district that he has been in. He has also been a role model and mentor to numerous other educators on their leadership journeys."
        In addition to Dr. Harrison, the other finalists for this year’s award were William R. McNeal Jr., and William A. Shore. McNeal is currently executive director of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators. Prior to this position, McNeal was Wake County Schools Superintendent and the Regional, State, and National Superintendent of the Year. Under his leadership, Wake County became known as a school system of exceptionally high standards. William A. Shore, director of U.S. Community Partnerships for GlaxoSmithKline, was for many years the manager of administrative services with the company. The award was created to honor Dr. Jay Robinson, a distinguished educator, University of North Carolina vice-president, and former chairman of the State Board of Education, best remembered as the architect of the state’s ABCs accountability plan. Previous award winners include Laura Bilbro-Berry, 2000 N.C. Teacher of the Year, a N.C. Teaching Fellow and currently coordinator of the Northeast Consortium for the Wachovia Partnership East at East Carolina University; Dr. Tom McNeel, former superintendent of Caldwell County Schools, now retired; Dr. Jim Causby, former superintendent of Johnston County Schools, executive director of the NCASA and currently executive director of the N.C .School Superintendents’ Association; Dr. Bob Bridges, former superintendent of Wake County Schools and former chair of the Closing the Achievement Gap Commission, now retired; Judge Howard E. Manning, Jr., Wake County Superior Court Judge presiding over the Leandro case; Dr. Ann Denlinger, former superintendent of Durham Public Schools, now president of the Wake Education Partnership; and Phillip J. Kirk Jr., former president of NCCBI and now vice-president for External Relations for Catawba College.

  • uac062911001.jpg On Monday, July 4, North Carolinians from all walks of life will make their way to the intersection of Bragg Boulevard and Hay Street. There, they will celebrate the completion of Phase One of the North Carolina Veterans Park, a project that has been two and half years in design and construction and more than three decades in the making.

    The park, a project of the City of Fayetteville, was first suggested by the N.C. General Assembly almost three decades ago. There was a competition between a number of areas at that time, but Cumberland County won the bid to build the park. That was before Hurricane Fran and Hurricane Floyd wreaked havoc on our state. Staring down the face of two natural disasters, the legislature pulled back funding and the park was put on hold.

    Fast foward to 2008-2009, and the project began to gain some traction. At that time, former N.C. Senator Tony Rand was considering how much longer he was going to remain in the N.C. Senate. Rand, a proponent of the park and its placement within the confines of Cumberland County, brought the issues back up and was successful in getting an appropriation for the park. But, rather than the money going to the county, it went to the City of Fayetteville, which has taken the ball and run with it. Like Rand, city leaders saw the creation of the park adjacent to the Airborne and Special Operations Museum a win/win for the city’s historic downtown and the veterans who will make their way here for a visit.

    According to Craig Hampton, who works on special projects for the city, the placement downtown is “dynamic.” Hampton noted that as the park grows, it will eventually connect to the ASOM, Festival Park and Freedom Memorial park via walkways and bridges.

    The initial phase of construction will open during a special ceremony on Monday, July 4, that will feature participation by national, state and local veterans organizations, representatives from all five branches of the military and politcos, including N.C. Gov. Beverly Perdue; Joe Riojas, assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Mayor Tony Chavonne, City of Fayetteville. A special guest at the event will be Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, who is currently in Iraq. Helmick will take part in the event via VTC. In keeping with the patriotic theme of the event, the 82nd Airborne Division Ceremonial Band and the All American Chorus will perform in the new N.C. Veterans Park Amphitheatre.

    Following the dedication of the park at 10 a.m., the public will be invited into the park. Organizers are going a long way to make sure the day is one to remember and will provide free hotdogs, ice cream, lemonade and cake to those in attendance. And while the food is an added bonus, the majority of those in attendance will come to marvel at the park and the way it has transformed, yet again, the city center.

    Phase 1 of the park consists of 4.5 acres on the southside of Cross Creek. It showcases 10 water features, a visitor’s center, amphitheatre and boardwalk.06-29-11-ncvp-logo.jpg

    According to Hampton, “It has lots of architectural elements in it. The elements convey what the story line says: Respect, honor and pride that the people have in their veterans.”

    Hampton said the park is intended to be an “urban oasis,” that allows visitors to reflect, relax, enjoy and bond with their fellow veterans. It is a place where they can share their stories and their experiences, and it invites them to take pride in their service, and allows the community to honor them for it.

    One of the unique elements of the park is the vast use of public art.

    “Public art — in this case — has a broad defi nition,” explained Hampton. “Almost all of the things in the park have been designed to be appealing and have meaning — in short, the whole thing is public art.”

    Of particular note is the Oath of Service Wall, where the casted hands of veterans from all 100 counties will be on display. This project, under the oversight of the Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County, and in particular, Fayetteville artist Soni Martin, truly defi nes what the park is all about.

    On the wall, there are the hands of 100 N.C. veterans, who range in age from 20 to over 100. Each hand is raised, much as it would have been when the veteran took his oath of service. There are 99 right hands on the wall, and one left hand. As Martin, explained, “The one man didn’t have a right hand, or a leg for that matter, he lost it in defense of our nation.”

    For more on the park, visit the website at www.ncveteranspark.org and look in next week’s edition for more on the art, artists and opening.

  • 14BoatequipmentIt’s been a little less than 10 years since the Gary Sinise Foundation lent a helping hand to the Cotton Volunteer Fire Department. The charitable organization was founded by Sinise, the actor known for roles in "Forrest Gump," "The Green Mile" and "Apollo 13." Now, the foundation has once again come to the aid of the Hope Mills fire station to help upgrade its equipment and ability to perform a wider variety of rescue operations.

    Cotton Deputy Chief Hank Harris said the Sinise Foundation helped Cotton obtain a new inflatable boat for water rescue operations, along with an assortment of other rescue equipment.

    Cotton’s first encounter with the Sinise Foundation took place about seven years ago following a tragic triple fatality fire. Harris said the foundation learned about the fire and reached out to the Cotton Fire Department to see if they could donate some equipment to help out.

    “They were more than generous,’’ Harris said.

    The latest help from the foundation is the result of Cotton Fire Department's growing need for a better ability to handle water rescues.

    Harris said this need has grown because of an increase in localized flooding from heavy rain. Another factor has been the threat of widespread flooding in the area spawned by hurricanes.

    The new rescue boat is a small model that can be quickly inflated and used in areas that are hard to access. Larger boats that need to be carried on a trailer, Harris said, don't work for tight spaces. He cited farm ponds as an example.

    Among the additional equipment obtained thanks to the Sinise Foundation was a rope gun, which can be used over long distances like a flooded river or creek. The rope gun allows firemen to set up lines to help bring people to safety.

    The remainder of the new equipment includes personal protective equipment for the firefighters who have to get in the water. Items like dry suits, thermal suit liners, helmets, gloves, boots and personal flotation devices are all part of that gear.

    Harris said Cotton Fire Department got a list of prices for the assorted gear from their vendor. The Sinise Foundation paid the vendor directly, and the equipment was then shipped to the fire department.

    Most of the firefighters are already trained in the use of the new equipment, Harris said. The few that aren’t will get in-house training and certification training at a later time when it’s available.

    Harris said there aren’t a lot of resources of this nature in county firefighting stations. “We’re trying to up our game a little bit where our resources and equipment need to be,’’ he said. He added that Cotton would have eventually been able to purchase the equipment with its own money, but there would have been a considerable wait.

    “It would have been a little bit here, a little bit there,’’ he said. Harris praised the work of Sinise and his foundation. “The foundation itself means a lot to first responders,’’ Harris said.

    In addition to first responders, Harris said Sinise strongly supports military groups and builds houses for veterans. “He’s an amazing guy,’’ Harris said.

  • Meetings

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

    • Veterans Affairs Committee Thursday, June 27, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    • CANCELED: Festival Committee Monday, July 1, 6 p.m., Town Hall, Front Conference Room

    CANCELED: Board of Commissioners Monday, July 1, 7 p.m.

    • Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday, July 10, 5 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    • Board of Commissioners Monday, July 15, 7 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall

    • Lake Advisory Committee Tuesday, July 16, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    • Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Monday, July 22, 6:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Activities

    • Independence Day Parade and Celebration Thursday, July 4. Parade starts at 10 a.m. near Rockfish Elementary School. Celebration runs from 4-10 p.m. at Hope Mills Municipal Park.

    • Good2Grow Farmers Market Saturday, July 6, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., between Town Hall and Parks and Recreation Building.

    • 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.

  • 13Venturing Crew 32Venturing Crew 32, representing the Boy Scouts of America Venturing program, made a clean sweep of the major awards handed out at the state level recently. The crew represents Hope Mills American Legion Post 32 and won for Venturing Unit of the Year; Venturing Advisor of the Year, Michele Harling; and High Adventure Boy Scout of the Year, Duncan Harling.

    Michele Harling, the Advisor of the Year winner, is the adult leader of Venturing Crew 32. The Venturing program evolved from what used to be known as the Explorer level of scouting.

    “When they started to go into niche careers, they took the kids that like to do outdoor activities and turned it into venturing,’’ Michele said. That happened in 1998.

    Venturing Crew 32 has been around for about 10 years and has always been a coed group with a focus and a purpose. For this group, the emphasis has been on scuba diving, hunting, climbing and supporting veterans because of its relationship with American Legion Post 32.

    A major reason for Venturing Crew 32’s win this year was its involvement in community service projects. One was the Governor’s Day of Service. From April 1 through June 30 last year, the crew took part in 1,400 community service hours.

    The group members dealt with problems related to last year’s hurricanes and also cleaned up Cross Creek Pistol and Rifle Club, which is the crew’s venue for shooting sports. The crew also put in time helping disabled veterans with hurricane cleanup of their yards.

    The High Adventure scouting award went to Michele’s son, Duncan. He earned a pair of scholarships to visit a High Adventure base.

    Michele explained that the goal of venturing is to get involved in activities that are considered high adventure. There are alumni from Crew 32 who are divemasters, rescue divers and open water divers.

    Duncan called his reception of the award humbling. “I figured I was not alone in doing all these really cool things (and) going out and helping other people,’’ he said. “I thought that was just what a scout did. The fact I got an award for it was a complete blindside.’’

    The Advisor of the Year award for Michele was the latest in a string of honors she’s won. Others include the district award of merit along with leader badges and a trainer’s key.

    “I get to advise them as the kids put together adventures,’’ Michele said. “My crew has put together some fabulous adventures.’’

    She said the most important part of the process for her is the success her scouts have enjoyed beyond their time with the crew. “I have several that have gone to college, several that have gone into trades, several that have gone into the armed forces,’’ Michele said.

    This summer, she has about a half-dozen crew members working at day camp at the John D. Fuller Recreation Center on Bunce Road.

    “We like being helpful,’’ she said. “We’re living up to the scout law. I’m probably proudest of the fact they keep doing it with them in front, me behind.

    “They determine what we do. They set the schedule. They put things together. It’s been great.’’

    Photo:  L to R: Venturing Crew 32 President Connor Coplen, Natsuko George, Evan Novak, Duncan Harling, Charlie Thoele, Michele Harling, unknown American legion boy scout committee member (hat in background), American Legion outgoing Commander Evan Thompson, Bryant Cunningham

  • 14MidnightBasketballThe Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department recently held the first installment of its new Friday Night Lights basketball program for the younger generation in town. By all accounts, it was a tremendous hit. 

    Stephen Kessinger has been working with the recreation department for about 10 months and, along with new recreation department head Lamorco Morrison, was one of the people behind the idea of the Friday night basketball program. The current plan is to hold the sessions each Friday, starting with the initial one held on June 7 and continuing until July 12.

    The target group is boys and girls ages 14-20. Kessinger said registration for the first session started about a month ago. The plan was to cut it off at 30 participants, but they decided to let signups continue past that number and ended up with 44 young people for the first one.

    After opening remarks from recreation department staff, the participants were divided into three-player teams. The court was split in half, and two full-court games with a total of 12 players on the floor were held at one time.

    Each game consisted of four four-minute quarters with a two-minute halftime. No score was kept. About halfway through the evening, a 10-minute intermission took place.

    While the event was planned to be coed, Kessinger said the vast majority of participants in the first one were boys, mostly middle schoolers. Most of the girls in attendance were there as spectators or came with family and friends, he said.

    While the games were being played inside the recreation center, two food trucks were set up in the parking lot outside.

    Signup for the next session of Friday Night Lights Out started anew at the first session. Kessinger said 25 of the original participants already signed up for round two, which was held June 14.

    Kessinger said it was decided not to allow people just to sign up one time and permanently leave their name on the list, in case they didn’t show up and kept someone new from taking part in the event. “We decided to let them sign up each week,’’ he said.

    The initial plan was to involve representatives from the Hope Mills Police Department in the event, either just to be present to interact with the participants or to actually play in some of the games. Kessinger said that didn’t happen at the first one but they will continue to work to involve the police.

    One thing they definitely plan to add for future versions of the event is a music element, most likely a live DJ playing songs and sound effects and adding commentary.

    Another potential change for younger people who were there as spectators would be to add some events for them outdoors, like cornhole boards, in addition to the food trucks, to give them some additional activities of their own.

    Kessinger stressed the entire event was free to everyone who took part, and it will remain free for the future no matter what additional things are added to it. The best thing about the first one, he said, was the conduct of the participants.

    “We didn’t have a single issue,” Kessinger said. “We didn’t have the first dispute.’’ In addition to two staff members who were working the games, Kessinger said he and Morrison were on hand getting feedback from participants and spectators.

    He estimated all in attendance got to play in at least eight games each during the three hours.

    “Everyone out there had an opportunity to play everyone out there,’’ he said.

  • Meetings

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

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

    Appearance Commission Tuesday, June 25, Parks and Recreation Center

    Veterans Affairs Committee Thursday, June 27, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    CANCELED: Festival Committee Monday, July 1, 6 p.m., Town Hall, Front Conference Room

    CANCELED: Board of Commissioners Monday, July 1, 7 p.m.

    Historic Preservation Commission July 10, 5 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building

    Board of Commissioners Monday, July 15, 7 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall

    Lake Advisory Committee Tuesday, July 16, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Activities

    Independence Day Parade and Celebration Thursday, July 4. Parade starts at 10 a.m. near Rockfish Elementary School. Celebration runs from 4-10 p.m. at Hope Mills Municipal Park.

    Good2Grow Farmers Market Saturday, July 6, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., between Town Hall and Parks and Recreation Building.

    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.

  • 13ReeceNunny Reece has been open during her two-year battle with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. She has shared regular posts on Facebook about her journey and her crusade to increase treatment options for people like her who are suffering with the advanced stage of the disease.

    A new treatment she is undergoing has pushed her to another challenge in her battle: the loss of her hair. But like everything else she’s endured with battling cancer, Reece decided to take control of the issue.

    Instead of waiting for her hair to fall out in clumps, she attacked it head-on. She invited some family and friends to join her, drove herself to a Hope Mills barber shop, and had everyone watch as Victor Fontanez shaved her head bald.

    It was an emotional decision for Reece, who has for years seen her purple-colored locks as a statement of who she is. She said getting her hair done is something that makes her feel pretty.

    She asked Fontanez to shave her head because he had been a longtime friend of Reece’s sons when they attended school together in the South View district. “He was really, really great making me go through this transition,’’ Reece said.

    Nine members of her family came out for the event, including her three sons. She was surprised by one cousin who drove all the way from Greensboro to take part.

    Moving forward, Reece is leaning toward remaining bald and not wearing a wig or any other covering for her head. Her first plan was to wear a purple wig made by friends because she feared that her 9-year-old son might be scared seeing his mother with no hair.

    Reece said she was afraid he might think the treatment she was getting wasn’t working and that was why she went bald. “I had to explain with this new medication it’s going to bring mommy’s hair out but it’s going to help mommy live,’’ she said.

    If she does wear a wig, it will be to special events, like next February, when she plans to renew her wedding vows with her husband.

    “We’re hoping by then my hair will grow back,’’ she said. “If it doesn’t, I will wear one for the wedding.’’

    Reece said the message she’s trying to send to women like herself is it’s OK to go through the emotional side of things, to cry and to be upset. “It’s our truth,’’ she said. “It’s something we have to deal with, something we have to go through.’’

    She’s also sending a message to families of women who are dealing with breast cancer. “I hope other family members understand and try to be supportive,’’ she said.

    “I just want to enjoy in the blessing that I’m still here with my family and my friends, that I still have life.’’

    Picture:  Nunny Reece at First Impressions barber shop with her sons: Tylan (top left), Ryan (lower left) and Tavon (upper right).

  • 15BrettHamAnyone longing for the days when the fireworks on the Fourth of July were launched from the bridge on the dam at Hope Mills Lake is going to have to keep on longing.

    Changes to the local fire code over the years make it unlikely that the fireworks display will be moving back to the lake from its current home at the Hope Mills Municipal Park athletic fields on Rockfish Road.

    Brett Ham is the fire marshal for the Hope Mills area. He handles fire safety inspections as well as fire investigations and fire safety education.

    Ham, who’s been in the fire safety business for 22 years, said the protocol on handling fireworks has gotten stricter in recent years, resulting in tighter regulations.

    “Technically what has happened is (that) the higher a (fireworks) shell flies in the air, the farther you have to extend the safety distance for spectators,’’ Ham said.

    Because of that, the size of the shells used has to be adjusted to decrease the amount of a safety distance required. For example, at Municipal Park, the largest shell they can use to stay within safety limits is a three-inch shell.

    It would seem the lake would be a perfect location to launch fireworks with all of that water for them to land in and extinguish them. But landing’s not the problem. It’s providing a safe place for the people handling the fireworks to launch them.

    Ham said there are multiple issues that make the lake a difficult place for launching fireworks because of the code restrictions.

    One of the biggest is that if they are launched from the bridge, the people doing the launching don’t have enough options for where they can escape if something goes wrong.

    “They don’t want to jump off the bridge, and that’s what they’d have to do,’’ Ham said.  

    Shooting fireworks from the bridge would also block access for emergency vehicles answering fire, public safety and medical calls, he said.

    “You can’t have a vehicle near that stuff,’’ Ham said. “That cuts us off from the other side of the lake.’’

    Another common-sense problem at the lake is a lack of parking. People would have to walk too far to get close enough to see the fireworks.

    For people planning to stage their own fireworks displays in their backyards or on private property, Ham offered some advice.

    Don’t cross the border into South Carolina and come back with a carload of aerial fireworks. They are illegal. “Private citizens are not supposed to be launching those in North Carolina,’’ he said. “Nothing that flies.’’

    Ham said the fireworks you see sold in temporary locations around Cumberland County are legal as long as they don’t fly. “My best safety tip is to follow the laws,’’ he said.

    Even if you are following the laws, there are still some precautions to keep everyone out of danger in the backyard.

    It’s a good idea to have a bucket or other large container of water around to throw on even smaller fireworks that might misfire or otherwise get out of hand.

    Ham urges parents to supervise children with fireworks closely, even simple things like sparklers and firecrackers.

    “Most of the injuries are with children,’’ he said. “Parents lose track of them. You can get a thirddegree burn from a sparkler.’’

    Adults also need to be careful and keep fireworks away from things like propane gas cylinders or cans of gasoline for lawnmowers. Stay away from piles of brush and other things that are highly combustible.

    “They have to be aware of their surroundings,’’ Ham said. “If you or your children catch something on fire, you’re responsible for it.’’

    Photo: Brett Ham

  • 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, 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

    Veterans Affairs Committee Thursday, June 27, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    Festival Committee Monday, July 1, 6 p.m., Town Hall, Front Conference Room

    CANCELED: Board of Commissioners Monday, July 1, 7 p.m.

    Historic Preservation Commission July 10, 5 p.m., Parks and Recreation Building 

    Activities

    • Independence Day Parade and Celebration Thursday, July 4. Parade starts at 10 a.m. near Rockfish Elementary School. Celebration runs from 4-10 p.m. at Hope Mills Municipal Park.

    • Good2Grow Farmers Market Saturday, July 6, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., between Town Hall and Parks and Recreation Building.

    Hope Mills AreaKiwanis 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.

  • 14DogJune has barely arrived, and Hope Mills and Fayetteville have already experienced temperatures over 100 degrees. That has veterinarians like Dr. Kent Dean of Southern Oaks Animal Hospital in Hope Mills concerned about heat dangers for outdoor pets.

    “Over the summer we’ll see from five to 10 heat strokes,’’ Dean said. Normally, those occur in older and heavier dogs, but as hot as it’s been already, Dean thinks all pet owners need to take precautions to make sure their animals are safe from the heat.

    Most of the preparations involve common sense, like making sure the dogs have access to shade and fresh water to drink when outside. When the thermometer reaches 100 degrees or more, Dean said it’s best to bring the animals inside to make sure they stay cool.

    Another precaution to keep them from getting injured is to be careful where and at what time of day the dogs get out for a walk. “We see people walking dogs on asphalt,’’ Dean said. “It will burn the pads on their feet. If it were me, I’d walk my dog early in the morning or late in the evening instead of at midday.’’

    One of the biggest mistakes a dog owner can make is leaving their dog inside a closed car when making a quick stop while out shopping or running errands. Dean said that’s a terrible idea, even when it appears to be a reasonable outdoor temperature as low as 80 degrees. “Even when it’s 80 degrees, it can get pretty hot in a car,’’ Dean said. “A lot of people can get in trouble for that.’’

    North Carolina law prohibits confining a dog, cat or other small animal in a motor vehicle where its health could be endangered by temperature or lack of food.

    If a dog is exposed to excessive heat for too long a period of time, Dean said it’s critical to get the animal’s temperature down as quickly as possible. If the animal can’t be immediately transported to an emergency clinic, one possible aid would be to put the animal in a child’s wading pool filled with cool water.

    Dean said symptoms of heat illness in dogs include passing out, vomiting and diarrhea. Too much exposure to excessive heat can cause neurological problems that the dogs won’t be able to recover from.

    If possible, the best remedy is to transport the dog to an emergency animal clinic so it can have intravenous fluids administered to both lower the temperature and rehydrate them.

    Dean also suggested some dogs with medical issues need to be checked out before hot weather arrives. “If they have any kind of heart issues or respiratory issues, they need to be extra careful,’’

    Dean said. “They get to where they are breathing too hard or can’t breathe. They start panting and the temperature starts to rise.’’ Dean said when he conducts annual vaccinations he gives dogs a full physical to check for those problems. He suggests that all dogs more than 7 years old should have blood chemistry work done to see if there are any underlying problems with their kidney, liver or heart that the owner needs to be aware of.

    For those with additional questions about heat safety for dogs, or any other concerns, Dean’s office can be reached by calling 910-424-3011 or visiting www.southernoaksanimalhospital.com. The Facebook page is Southern Oaks Animal Hospital.

  • 18FireworkTime is running out to apply to be either a parade participant or a vendor in this year’s morning Hope Mills Fourth of July Parade and evening Independence Day celebration.

    The separate forms for both parade participants and vendors are available on the town website, www.townofhopemills.com, by clicking on the links to Departments, Parks and Recreation and then Special Events. Both applications are due at the parks and recreation offices off Rockfish Road by June 14. The parade and the evening celebration are both on Thursday, July 4.

    Meghan Freeman, who is coordinating the parade and the celebration, said both entry forms and the packets that come with them include specific rules about do’s and don’ts for both parade entries and vendors.

    Any questions about what works and what doesn’t can be directed to her via her email at mhawkins@townofhopemills.com.

    There will be one major change to the traditional parade route. For years, it has started at Hope Mills Middle School on Cameron Road, wound its way down Main Street, then finished up on Rockfish Road near Town Hall and Municipal Park.

    For multiple reasons, this year’s parade route will be reversed. Parade entries will assemble near Rockfish Elementary School on Rockfish Road, then the parade will head in reverse back down Rockfish Road, under the railroad trestle and through downtown Hope Mills, ending at Hope Mills Middle School.

    Freeman said a major reason for changing the route involved the schedule of Fourth of July events. The parade begins at 10 a.m., and when it ends there is a long delay until 4 p.m., when the celebration begins at Municipal Park.

    With the new route, the area around the park will be cleared as soon as the parade has passed. There won’t be a crowd milling around waiting for the 4 p.m. activities to begin, and vendors will have plenty of time to get set up once the parade is over.

    Spectators won’t notice another major benefit from the change, but high school bands and other walking units in the parade definitely will. Now that the parade is headed in the opposite direction, people on foot won’t have to walk up two imposing hills. The first hill comes up from the railroad trestle and the second is the gradual incline from Main Street up Rockfish Road to the Town Hall and Municipal Park area.

    Freeman said although the bands didn’t complain, they weren’t terribly excited about the old route for that reason.

    Freeman said the Fourth of July parade usually draws about 65-70 entries and 30-40 vendors at the park. The annual Christmas parade is usually a bigger draw, she said, with up to 90 entries. It’s not that one is more popular than the other, she said, noting that the season of the year has a lot to do with it.

    “Christmas is usually bigger because it’s on Saturday and school is still in,’’ Freeman said. “There are more people here.’’

    A long list of rules is included in the form for the parade, but Freeman hit on a few of the bigger  ones.

    Businesses and organizations taking part in the parade can’t throw candy to the crowd from the floats. There is too much danger of people being injured scrambling for it. Any group that wants to give something out during the parade must actually hand it directly to spectators.

    No profanity or alcoholic beverages are allowed on floats.

    All parade entries who are mounted on horses have to provide for their own cleanup.

    All motorcycle riders in the parade must wear a helmet.

    The hours for the Independence Day celebration will be 4-10 p.m. and will include the traditional fireworks show.

    Several other activities, aside from the planned vendors, will be held at the celebration at Municipal Park. They include pony rides, a petting zoo, a 28-foot rock-climbing wall, a foam pit and a mechanical shark ride. Freeman said in the past the petting zoo has included a lemur, alpaca, kangaroo, llama and a miniature horse.

    She described the foam pit as being similar to soap suds. The mechanical shark is similar to a mechanical bull.

    Musical groups scheduled to perform at the celebration include Open Road and the Guy Unger Band.

  • 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, 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

    • Veterans Affairs Committee Thursday, June 27, 6 p.m., Parks and Recreation Center

    • Festival Committee Monday, July 1, 6 p.m., Town Hall, Front Conference Room

    • Board of Commissioners Monday, July 1, 7 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall

    Activities

    • Independence Day Parade and Celebration Thursday, July 4. Parade starts at 10 a.m. near Rockfish Elementary School. Celebration runs from 4-10 p.m. at Hope Mills Municipal Park.

    • Good2Grow Farmers Market Saturday, July 6, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., between Town Hall and Parks and Recreation Building.

    • 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.

  • 17BubbleDomeNo one is more disappointed than Vernon Aldridge that the town of Hope Mills recently dropped its pursuit of building an indoor swimming facility at the old town golf course property. Aldridge was a member of the town’s recently-disbanded aquatics committee that was exploring a possible cooperation between the town, Hope Mills YMCA and other entities to bring an indoor pool to the community.

    As student activities director for Cumberland County Schools, Aldridge knows there’s a definite need for a public indoor swimming facility in Cumberland County to help continue the growth of high school swimming at the county’s senior high schools.

    “Swimming is probably the largest growing sport in Cumberland County right now,’’ he said. In just the past two years, he estimates the number of swimming participants in the county school system has doubled.

    He said there are currently about 250 high school swimmers in the county, representing every senior high school that has athletic teams. While some schools have small teams of just a few swimmers, he said there are multiple teams at the high school level with 20 or more swimmers. The sport has risen from minimal participation when it first started a little over a decade ago in the county, Aldridge said.

    The growth of the sport is more impressive when the burdens local swimmers have to endure to both practice and compete are factored in. Fayetteville State University has the only local indoor swimming facility that swimmers and their coaches can access for practice and competition. It is typically only available for practice sessions from 5:30-7:30 a.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m.

    The Christmas break has been a major problem for swimmers and coaches for years as the Fayetteville State pool completely shuts down for a three- to four-week period, meaning the athletes can’t practice at all there.

    One thing that has helped the local swimming program recently is the addition of so-called bubble domes, or coverings, at outdoor recreation department pools at Westover High School and College Lakes Recreation Center. Aldridge said a third outdoor bubble-domed pool is in the works at Lake Rim.

    An indoor swimming facility would not only benefit Cumberland County swimmers but would likely attract swimmers from neighboring counties, Aldridge said. Robeson County Schools swim at the pool at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, while schools in the Sandhills Athletic Conference that includes Seventy-First and Jack Britt hold their meets at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg.

    Aldridge appreciates the cost of an indoor pool, which is why he was glad the Hope Mills YMCA wanted to partner with the town to pursue an indoor pool there.

    While Aldridge could not make any promises the county schools would be willing to get involved financially in the project, he said they more than likely would be a regular customer if an indoor pool is constructed locally.

    “We have a growing need for aquatic space,’’ Aldridge said. “We have a number of kids who are just swimmers, but we have a huge number of our teams with kids who are athletes in other sports. I think it’s a great way for those kids to stay in shape.’’

    He said the Johnston County Schools have partnered with Smithfield Parks and Recreation and are opening a pool on land owned by Smithfield-Selma High School. He’s also heard Harnett County is working on an indoor pool at the former Wayside Furniture building.

    “Whether (local) parks and recreation or Hope Mills or anyone is interested in opening that type of center (in Cumberland County), we’d definitely be interested in listening to what they have to offer,’’ Aldridge said.

  • The City of Fayetteville has made a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) manual available that focuses on developers and the administrative process. The manual is available on the city’s website at www.cityoffayetteville.org by clicking on “New UDO Zoning” under “Most Visited Areas.”

    The UDO regulations, which replace Chapters 25-Subdivisions and 30-Zoning in the City Code, govern the use and development of land in Fayetteville. After July 1, both new regulations and a zoning map are expected to be in effect.

    The manual is not required but was developed to help make the UDO more user-friendly. The document facilitates the application of the UDO and related application processes.

    Everyone should check the new zoning district defi nitions for their property and surrounding properties. The proposed zoning map, answers to most questions, and how to get more information is available in the public libraries, at City Hall (433 Hay St.), and at www.cityoffayetteville.org by clicking on “New UDO Zoning” under “Most Visited Areas” at the left of the page. You may call 433-1FAY (1329) if you do not have web access.

    There is one UDO public hearing left and it focuses on the 390 properties remaining to be translated to the new zoning district that is the closest match. The hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 27 at 7 p.m. during a City Council Meeting, being held at City Hall Council Chamber, 433 Hay St.

  • 20 Danny GokeyShout for joy! With summer fully upon us the social horizon is beginning to look better than it did at the beginning of 2021. Canceled shows and concerts from last year are finding their way back to local venues, outdoor (and most indoor) attractions are up and running.

    As exciting as that is, recent conversations with a couple of recording artists suggest the (cringe!) new normal will be a little different. Danny Gokey, who many know from his top 3 slot on American Idol alongside Adam Lambert and winner Kris Allen a dozen years ago, opened up recently about life and touring after the pandemic.

    Danny is a devoted family man, and enjoys time with his wife, Leyicet, and their four children. When the shutdowns punched the music industry right in its touring gut last year, he found himself able to spend more consecutive days at home than he has since he walked off the Idol stage in 2009. And he liked it. In the last year, he's collaborated on recordings with several top artists including Koryn Hawthorne, Belonging Company and bilingual recordings with Evan Craft and Christine D'Clario.

    Known for amazing dancing during his shows, when I caught up with him in early March last year, he was out of breath from rehearsing for his Spring tour. However, before the tour could even launch, it was canceled as venues around the country closed their doors. More recently, a decidedly more composed man sat down with me for a few minutes as we talked about his abbreviated Spring 2021 tour which stopped in Dunn, North Carolina.

    When I asked Danny what he thought about touring life going forward, he didn't hesitate. “I'm not going to do as many shows,” he said. “I was doing 120 dates a year, and I'm not going to do that any more.” As a Gospel Music Association Dove Award Winner with at least three Grammy nominations, I asked Danny how he planned to make up the difference from his previous level of touring income. “I don't think it's about making it up,” he quickly answered. “It's about deciding what's most important,” and indicated connecting with fans is important, but family takes priority over that.

    The sentiment was echoed by Colton Dixon, another American Idol alumnus, who became a father to twin girls Dior and Athens during the pandemic-related shutdowns. Colton recently missed a local tour date due to a COVID outbreak among tour crew, and seemed almost relieved about it when we spoke just before Father's Day. Going forward he says, “I'll be more selective about what dates I agree to.”

    While you might not see Colton nearby this summer, you can catch a performance of his latest single, “Made To Fly” on ABC's “Good Morning America” on July 9. The song begins with a nod to his own father, who he says was a strong and positive influence in his life. And as we begin to see less of him and other favorites in concert in the near future, we can likely count on the fact that's what's happening in their homes. As fathers, mothers, husbands and wives, the artists we know and love are having more and better influence in their own homes.

    21 Colton Dixon 2020 cr Jimmy Fontaine billboard 1548 compressed Pictured Above: Danny Gokey (Photo Coutesy www.facebook.com/DannyGokeyOffical/)

    Pictured Left: Colton Dixion (Photo Coutesy www.billboard.com

  • 03 Richard Hudson with veteransThank you, President Biden.

    That’s not something I say often — but last week, the President was in North Carolina to discuss COIVD-19 vaccines. While we do not agree on many issues, I appreciate the President coming to our state and highlighting our role in the success of Operation Warp Speed to make vaccines available to anyone who wants them.

    I believe issues like recovering from the pandemic should always be bipartisan and focused on helping you and your family.
    Another bipartisan issue should always be caring for our troops, their families and veterans.

    I say it a lot, but being Fort Bragg’s Congressman is truly an incredible honor that I take very seriously. Our men and women in uniform, as well as their families, sacrifice for our freedoms every day. In Congress, I am working to make sure our troops have the support and resources they deserve and made real progress on several fronts in recent weeks.

    First, the U.S. Department of Defense issued a final rule to allow service members to pursue medical malpractice claims in the military. This is thanks to my Rich Stayskal Act which was signed into law in 2019. I am thrilled to see this rule issued after more than 3 years of work on behalf of soldiers like Rich.

    I first met Sgt. 1st Class Rich Stayskal, a Green Beret and Purple Heart recipient from Pinehurst, in 2018 after his stage 4 lung cancer had been misdiagnosed by the military. Unfortunately, due to an outdated law, Rich and other service members were not able to have access to medical malpractice claims like other Americans.

    While we were successful in changing the law in 2019, it took the Defense Department until this month to issue this rule. Now with $400 million of funding, claims can begin to be processed by the Department as early as next month.

    Nothing can right wrongs that were made, but this law is a huge step toward providing relief to heroes who deserve it. And I pray the deterrent effect will prevent medical malpractice in the future.

    Also last week, I introduced the Vanessa Guillén Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act. As Fort Bragg’s Congressman, I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan legislation that seeks to end sexual assault in the military, hold violators accountable and support survivors.

    Sexual assault is an affront to the values of our military and the nation it defends. We must accept that what we have tried in the past has not worked — as in the tragic case of Spc.Vanessa Guillén who was sexually assaulted and murdered at Fort Hood in Texas last year.

    We owe it to victims like Vanessa and their families to do everything we can to end sexual assaults in the military. Our men and women in uniform sacrifice every day to keep us safe and we have a responsibility to ensure all service members are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

    Finally, another bill I introduced to help families at Fort Bragg also made a big step forward last week. After hearing from many of you about the inconvenience and hardship of having to travel several hours to have court cases heard, I joined with Congresswoman Deborah Ross and Senators Burr and Tillis to introduce a bipartisan bill to allow all court cases stemming from Fort Bragg to be heard in the Eastern District's courthouse in nearby Fayetteville.

    Last week, the bill passed both the Senate and the House and headed to President Biden’s desk for his signature. This common sense bill is a good example of how government should work — we saw a problem, found a solution and Republicans and Democrats worked together to pass a new law.

    Pictured Above: Congresman Richard Hudson talks with veterans at Memorial Day event (Photo courtesy https://husdon.house.gov)

    While I wish we could get Republicans and Democrats together to solve problems more often, I am committed to bipartisanship and continuing to stay focused on the issues that matter to you.

    We have a lot of work to do to grow our economy, slow inflation and out-of-control spending, address rising crime, secure our border, and defend our Second Amendment and the right to life. As I work on common sense solutions, rest assured I will always show up to work for you.

  • 02 line of babiesLooking for just the facts? Here they are.

    The United States is facing an accelerating downward trend in our national birth rate, resulting in the slowest population growth since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The recent Great Recession of the 2000s made the decline even more pronounced, with the birth rate for women in their 20s falling 28% since 2007. It is rising among women in their 30s and 40s, but not enough to offset babies not being born to 20-somethings whose fertility is generally the highest. Our birth rate is below replacement level for native-born Americans.

    North Carolina is not immune to this trend. Our birth rate’s most recent peak was in 2007 when 131,000 bundles of joy arrived to North Carolina families. Post Great Recession in 2013, only 119,000 babes arrived, a 9% decline. According to Carolina Demography at UNC-CH, that is about 20 fewer births each year for every 1000 women under 30.

    Several western European nations including Spain, Italy, Greece and Luxembourg have birth rates well under 2 per woman of childbearing age, well below the replacement rate. Asian nations including China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan are also facing declining birth rates. The implications for all of them, and increasingly for us, as well are clear and stark. The United States is now an “aging economy,” with more people 65 and older than people younger than 15. Senior benefits such as Social Security and Medicare pose significant financial burdens on workers, generally younger people, who will struggle to meet senior needs. In addition, seniors consume fewer goods, which limits growth in domestic markets. And since wealth is more concentrated among older people, wealth disparity also grows.

    So, what is causing slowing birth rates?

    Every woman has her own story, of course, but there are trends, made possible by reliable contraception available for less than a century. Increasingly, women are delaying motherhood until they complete their educations and are settled in careers, often meaning well in to their 30s and sometimes 40s. This has been true for decades for upper middle class and highly educated women, and it is now the case for women throughout the nation, especially in urban areas with employment opportunities and thriving economies.

    Young women also worry about affording children, a kind of parental sticker shock. They report concerns about the high costs of housing and child care, sometimes piled atop existing student debt. They also acknowledge that children, however wanted and loved, can and do derail careers that have taken years to prepare for and build. They understand that this happens to mothers far more often than it happens to fathers.

    Other declining birth rate nations are approaching the problem with various financial incentives — one-time payments for a new baby — a so-called baby bonus, monthly stipends for children, free school lunches, generous maternal and paternal leaves, subsidized day care and tax incentives. Hungary exempts women with 4 or more children from paying incomes taxes for their lifetimes. Some of this may be helping, but no European country has reached a replacement birth rate. The only nations that have are emerging economies, many in Africa.

    The United States sports a poor record of family support, both financially and in safety net services. Our attitude has been “these are your children, so care for them yourselves.” That is true, of course, but we maintain that stance at considerable risk to all of us. Like European countries and some Asian nations, we must find ways to support young families, lest we find ourselves with too few of them to drive and maintain our economic health.

  • 01 Welcome to Spring LakeThere are rising local concerns over the lack of media coverage and traditional news reporting in our Fayetteville and Cumberland County communities.

    We have few journalists in our community dedicated to being purveyors of truth. History has proven without a doubt that any community, city, state or nation that lacks accurate and honest news media coverage cannot maintain freedom or democracy.

    News journalists and the media are true protectors of democracy. Without media watchdogs and transparency in government, we invite and nurture gross mismanagement and cultivate a culture of corruption that ultimately leads to devastating consequences for citizens.

    For a recent and unfortunate example of this, one needs to look no further than the Town of Spring Lake. Last week, Mayor Larry Dobbins and the Spring Lake Board of Aldermen received a notification warning from the Local Government Commission that the town's fiscal management was suspect. It noted that the town was in violation of the General Statutes of North Carolina and ran a risk of being taken over by the state if they cannot come into compliance.

    For over a decade, several honest and frustrated Spring Lake citizens saw this coming. They looked on helplessly as they witnessed firsthand the town's management incompetence and irresponsible behavior of its self-serving elected officials. Spring Lake residents experienced firsthand the consequences of not having a voice in government or news media oversight that could have uncovered and reported on the town's business, policies and procedures. Or lack of. Without constant oversight, monitoring and reporting of their actions and policies, local government officials will always constitute a lack of transparency to local citizens, giving government staff and elected officials free rein to use and abuse their authority. They are confident their actions will never be divulged, nor will they be held accountable. This creates a frightening "culture of corruption" and a significant threat to democracy and fundamental freedoms.

    The situation in Spring Lake did not develop overnight. It took years for town officials to get confident and comfortable knowing that the news media void could keep the general public from knowing what was going on inside the town hall. Spring Lake leadership took advantage of this situation to the town's detriment. The scary thing about it was they were all in concert with the negligence. Local media and dedicated and honest leadership at all local government levels could have prevented this.

    I love Spring Lake, and I know many good, decent and honest people who live there, have businesses there, and have tried relentlessly to make Spring Lake the proud gateway to Fort Bragg it once was. However, without a news media outlet and local government transparency and accountability, it cannot happen.

    Perhaps some of our readers are thinking, "why doesn't Up & Coming Weekly create a newspaper in Spring Lake." Well, we did. And, it had a talented editor and was successful. Perhaps too successful. The Spring Lake Beacon was delivered every two weeks in U&CW. It lasted about two years until the Town of Spring Lake decided not to support it. This caused the Chamber of Commerce (which was closely affiliated with the town and located in the Town Hall) to not support it. This lack of endorsement discouraged the local businesses from supporting it.

    At that time, we tried to make a difference by providing Spring Lake businesses and citizens with local news and views while advocating for open government and transparency. We were rebuffed. We hope the current situation in Spring Lake will be resolved quickly, amicably, and result in honest, caring, and dedicated people stepping up to rebuild Spring Lakes' reputation and take its rightful and respectable place in the leadership of Cumberland County. We also hope that this unfortunate and dire situation in Spring Lake serves as a subtle warning to Fayetteville, Hope Mills and other communities of the consequences when no local newspaper or reputable media keeps the public informed of what is going on in their government.

    It should also make all citizens skeptical of any elected county commissioner, city mayor or councilperson, town commissioner, or local government staffer who is opposed to the free press, news media, open meetings or the concept of transparency in government. The media, sometimes referred to as the "Fourth Estate," is America's watchdog of democracy at all levels of government.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 26 women walking outdoorsI often hear, I need to start exercising. That is an opportunity to talk about fitness, but the decision to begin any type of change that involves lifestyle and fitness is a personal decision.

    There are five stages of health behaviors that assess a person’s readiness to change with a new and healthier behavior, according to the Transtheoretical Model.

    Precontemplation — In this stage there is little or no interest in starting an activity and the person feels it is irrelevant to their life.

    Contemplation — The person is still inactive but is becoming interested in beginning an activity and starts to realize the importance in relation to their lifestyle and health but not ready to make that start to
    a change.

    Preparation — You are ready to become engaged in an activity. The importance of being active becomes relevant and it may begin with short walks, occasional visits to the gym but still inconsistent.

    Action — Engagement is regular physical activity becoming consistent and begins to develop into a routine. The activity is becoming an important part of your life and you find yourself beginning to set a pattern as the months roll by! Six months of continuing your schedule indicates that you are becoming confident in your regimen and results.

    Maintenance — You are excited and feel confident with your accomplishments. Mentally and physically, you see and feel a difference and beginning to advance to other goals and challenges!

    You have been consistent at keeping your goals for more than six months. You are making a continued commitment and are engaging in a lifestyle.

    It is not always easy to get to this stage and many times, the start of an activity will become faced with obstacles and the person can become discouraged before they have gotten started. As an example, Rita has decided to walk three days a week and is doing great with her plan and things come up that interrupt her walking.

    What happens is that she begins to put off something that she is enjoying until the next day or the next and a great start has stopped before it developed into something that would have been beneficial.

    A SMART goal which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound is an excellent format to follow for goals.

    If Rita had a SMART Goal continuing with walking may have helped her focus on a walking regimen. A SMART Goal for Rita: I will begin walking on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 a.m. for twenty minutes each day to improve my stamina for one month.

    In this scenario Rita established a time, duration and reason for her exercise which was attainable. Making the decision to be begin a fitness regimen after an illness, injury or being inactive can be rewarding and challenging.

    Be kind to yourself with expectations, approach with a slow start because some apprehension is normal. Surround yourself with friends, groups and social media groups that have similar or the same goals. Select an activity that you like and read articles on the benefits. Place your clothes out the night before as a gentle reminder.

    Reward yourself for reaching your goals and add new goals as you progress and see results of a new you!

  • 25 on barbeque REEDWhy would John Shelton Reed write another book about barbecue?

    After all, he is a co-author of the recently revised classic, “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue” and in 2016, author of “Barbecue” in the UNC Press’s “Savor the South” Cookbook series.

    The retired Kenan professor of sociology at UNC-Chapel Hill is the author of more than 20 books. He likes to write books and articles and other commentary that connect readers to their culture.

    His new book, “On Barbecue,” is a compilation of writings about barbecue.

    Barbecue means different things to different people. Just remember how many ways the term is spelled: barbecue, barbeque, bar-b-que, and so on. Reed explains how the term probably came about.

    He writes, “the word came into English only some 500 years ago. In the first decades of the 1500s Spanish explorers in the Caribbean found the locals using frameworks of sticks to support meat cooking over fires. They did this either to slow-cook it or to cure it and preserve it (as we do with country hams and jerky today.”

    This apparatus was called something that the Spaniards heard as barbacoa, which soon became a Spanish word and then an English word that referred to the cooking device or method, not the resulting cooked meat.

    Only in the 1800s did the term begin to be used to mean the cooked meat. As late as 1894, when the Statesville Landmark wrote about barbecue being served at an event, “the paper put the noun in quotation marks, suggesting that the usage remained colloquial. Still, by then, everyone seems to have known that it meant something you could put on a plate or in a sandwich. Once that was understood, Southerners began the eternal argument about what barbecue is.”

    Reed writes, “whole hog in eastern North Carolina, mustard sauce in parts of South Carolina, mutton in Owensboro, Ky., ‘dry ribs’ in Memphis, beef brisket in Texas and so forth.”

    Reed celebrates these differences, writing that he would order Memphis ribs in Memphis, but would pass it by if it were offered in North Carolina or elsewhere.

    He mourns the development of “mass barbecue” chains that he calls “IHOB” or International House of Barbecue with menus, “where you can pile Texas brisket, Memphis ribs, and Carolina chopped pork all on one plate.”

    However, Reed has no doubt. “All understand that cooking with hardwood makes the difference between barbecue and roast meat.”

    He describes the world championship barbecue cooking contest in Memphis where barbecue is defined as “pork meat only... prepared on a wood or charcoal fire.”

    He recognizes that many so-called barbecue restaurants “serve slow roasted meat untouched by even the bottled kind of woodsmoke and call it barbecue.”

    Reed asserts this product is not barbecue and calls it instead “faux ‘que.”

    “You see the problem. We start with barbecue cooked in a pit over live coals, or with heat and smoke from a stick burning firebox, and we end up with a Boston butt in a crock pot. Somewhere along the way we've crossed the line between True ‘Cue and faux ‘que. We do not intend to draw that line, just to point out that there is a hierarchy here, and the purveyors of faux ‘que are at the bottom of it.”

    “Why do we care? Because we believe that real barbecue is rooted in three things increasingly lacking in today's world: taste, tradition, and a sense of place. Because we think the world will be a better place with more real barbecue in it.”

    You do not have to agree with Reed’s hardline stance about the necessity of cooking with wood coals to learn from and enjoy his great storytelling gifts about one of our favorite foods—true or faux.

  • 04 PITT IMG 7324What is so rare as a wedding in northern Virginia? Love is once again in bloom as the Rona mostly fades into the rearview mirror. Postponed nuptials spring forth unabated. We took our first big road trip since the Rona to attend the splendid wedding of my brother’s granddaughter.

    The festivities were held in a Mega Church with 300 of the wedding party’s closest friends. Having never been in an Mega Church we did not know what to expect. The Mega Church is doing something right as the congregation consisted mostly of Millennials and their kids. Many mainstream churches have aging congregation syndrome. They tend to have as John Prine once sang, “Hearing aids in every pew.” The bride’s relationship to me is that of great niece once removed or something like that. It puts me in a demographic that emphasizes the effects of calendar creep — e.g., older than dirt.

    The ceremony was upbeat and filled with laughter. Although the bride and groom were no longer teenagers, to quote Chuck Berry’s song “You Never Can Tell” — “You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle.” The vows were interesting. The bride promised to joyfully and/or meekly submit to the leadership of the husband. My wife, who is a lawyer, seemed a bit surprised by this section of the vows. Personally, I thought it was a great idea. Unfortunately, I have had absolutely no luck convincing her to either meekly or joyfully submit to me. Knowing my great niece is not a pushover by any means, all I can say is good luck to the groom on that part of the vows. But as Mr. Berry said, “C’est la vie, say the old folks, It goes to show you never can tell.” We wished them well.

    In my last column I whined about the lack of Cicadas in Fayetteville. I got my wish for an insect chorus in Virginia. The motel where we stayed was surrounded by trees featuring an abundance of Cicadas in lust. The love song of thousands of horny Cicadas sounded like Martian spaceships. It was beyond loud. It was colossal. Stupendous. The 17-year wait was worth it. Them bugs can belt out a love song better than J. Alfred Prufrock.

    We headed into the District of Cicadas after the wedding for a fact-finding mission to see how our nation’s capital has survived the Rona. We had reservations at The Churchill, our favorite D.C. hotel in the Dupont Circle area. Having stayed there many times I did not read the fine print on the emailed confirmation. Oops, large mistake. In the interim since our last stay, The Churchill had decided to add what they euphemistically call a “Resort Fee” of $100 a night. That is on top of the room rate. Woody Guthrie warned about Resort Fees in his song “Pretty Boy Floyd”— “I’ve seen lots of funny men/ Some will rob you with a six-gun/ And some with a fountain pen.” It was my error by not reading the fine print so it was my fault. However, to both of my Gentle Readers, study the fine print to look for the words “Resort Fee” before you confirm your reservation. You will be glad you did. Do as I say. Not as I did.

    D.C. is still pretty much in the depths of the Rona lockdown. Many stores have closed. People on the streets are wearing masks. Even the Starbucks only has take-out caffeine. Traffic is actually very tolerable as there ain’t much. We were in walking distance of Obama’s D.C. residence so we walked over to pay our respects. We got as close as the end of his street where a D.C. cop was parked. Uh oh. That did not look encouraging. I walked over to the car as non-threateningly as I could. “Any chance we can go see the house?” I asked. “Not a chance” he replied. But I had to ask anyway. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    We had more luck with the museums. Most of the Smithsonian museums have not reopened. The ones that are open use free timed tickets to keep crowds controlled. We spent five hours in the National Gallery of Art which gave us hope that the Rona closings are actually going to end at some point. After being booted out at closing time, we attempted to get an Uber ride back to our hotel. No luck. We had never been anywhere that Uber wasn’t available. The Rona struck again. Plan B involved going back on the Metro. My wife is not a fan of subways but the alternative was to sleep on the street so away we walked.

    As we walked, a very nice lady carrying her painting of Saint Lucy approached us. Out of the blue she asked us how long we had been married. I told her 45 years. She then told us we were “cute.” This officially marked the line where we went from the north end of middle aged to the elderly “cute.” I have certainly been called worse things than cute. In fact, this was the first time I had ever been called cute. I wasn’t even cute as a baby.

    When we reached the Metro it was rush hour. No crowds. Lots of empty seats. The Rona still lives in D.C. Get vaccinated. The life you save may be my own.

  • 03 WIlmington Lie coverThousands of people and families have cycled through our community over the years, some for a weekend, some for a few years and many with the military. Relatively few of us, however, have spent our formative years here, and even fewer of us have excelled on national and international stages like David Zucchino and Chris Hondros. Both are graduates of Terry Sanford High School, though decades apart, and both went on to become legends in their respective fields. They knew of each other but
    never met.

    David Zucchino, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, recently received his second Pulitzer Prize for “Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy.” It is an examination of the only overthrow of an elected government in United States history. Blessedly, a more recent attempt, the January 6th insurrection in Washington, failed. Zucchino lays bare this heretofore little-known and shameful moment in our state and nation’s history. His first Pulitzer award came in 1989 for his series “Being Black in South Africa,” published in the Philadelphia Enquirer. I asked the author how growing up in our community shaped him, if it did at all, and he very kindly responded.

    “I went to high school in Fayetteville after my father, a U.S. Army First Sergeant, was transferred to Fort Bragg. As a high school student, I spent several fascinating evenings trolling along Hay Street and taking in the heady mixture of strip clubs, juke joints, saloons, hookers, fistfights and drug dealers. People from all over the world were drawn to Fayetteville at the time, with the Vietnam War in full swing and the Army sending troops back and forth. For reasons that are still obscure, even to me, my exposure to that tawdry scene motivated me to travel the world and seek adventures in faraway places.”

    I would love to have asked the same question of Chris Hondros, but he was killed in Syria in 2011. He was barely 41. An accomplished photographer from his teenage years on, Hondros became a war photojournalist who covered conflicts the world over, including in Liberia, Iraq, Kosovo, Angola, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. He and a British filmmaker died in a mortar attack by Syrian government troops. His war photography graced the covers of Newsweek and The Economist, as well as the front pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Some local residents remember Hondros as a photographer for the Fayetteville Observer in the late 1990s, but he was destined for the world theater. He remains on the world stage today in a riveting documentary, “Hondros,” currently available on Netflix, and in an exhibit of some of his photographs currently at the Gregg Museum of Art at NC State, Hondros’ alma mater. The photographs, given to the museum by Hondros’ employer, Getty Images, are both arresting and haunting as they record human behavior and its consequences. Several are familiar even if we did not know who took them. The centerpiece is Hondros’ photograph of a young Liberian government fighter leaping in jubilation as his troops prevail in battle. This well-known photo is one of two Hondros works that received Pulitzer nominations.

    Every community has sons in whom it takes pride, but few have nurtured sons whose work has meaning to people they will never know which sheds light on people, events and issues that shape us and the world around us.

    David Zucchino and Chris Hondros have both achieved that, and we are better for their work.

    02 CHondros Agromeck1992 Pictured Left: Chris Honros Self-portrait for the 1992 agromeck, NC State University.

  • 01 AAL8L9IIt was a beautiful warm summer day at Arsenal Park last week when residents, state dignitaries and local officials gathered to break ground for the North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center's History Village.

    The ceremony marked the beginning of the next stage of development of the statewide Civil War History Center. The ceremony was an impressive "who's who" of those who genuinely care about North Carolina's history, heritage and Fayetteville's future. These are the people who understand the importance of embracing history as it pertains to human rights and the freedoms we enjoy today as Americans, but, unfortunately, many times, we take for granted.

    The keynote speaker was Clemson University history professor Orville Vernon Burton. Burton is an award-winning author of the book "The Age of Lincoln."

    In addition, former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt was in attendance and currently serves as the honorary chairman of the history center. However, locally and for over a decade, the hard work, dedication, perseverance and leadership for bringing the NCCWHC to Fayetteville is the History Center's Foundation Chairman Mac Healy and long-time resident and Fayetteville advocate Co-Chair Mary Lynn Bryan. Together, they represent a tour de force of spirit, enthusiasm and heart for what constitutes a healthy and robust community. They understand that American history cannot be changed or altered — only studied, appreciated and understood as it pertains to humanity.

    This $80 million center will be part of the North Carolina state museum system. It is a godsend to the Fayetteville community, and we should be proud and grateful that the state has chosen our community for this honor. We, as citizens, should be Fayetteville proud that over $30 million in private funding has been secured for this Fayetteville and Cumberland County project. And, everyone should be overly excited about the economic impact this facility will have on our community in terms of consumer spending, creating new jobs and increasing tourism. These are all the things you would think our local mayor and city council would embrace.

    Well, unfortunately, Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin's absence at the groundbreaking was conspicuously noticeable.

    This once-in-a-lifetime Herculean accomplishment could be the pinnacle and highlight of Colvin's mayoral career. After all, being an integral part of bringing an $80 million state-supported museum to the Fayetteville community would be a pretty impressive accomplishment when pursuing a political career. However, to make that happen, one must set self-serving politics aside, and all city residents' welfare must become a priority. And that takes cooperation, communication and flawless leadership.

    The mayor and our city and county leadership will never again have a more opportune time to showcase their leadership skills or demonstrate their love of this community than by providing this museum. Everyone would be proud of an institution that would provide valuable learning and educational experiences for future generations. They, the mayor and city officials, have the power to make it happen.

    In closing, history is history. It cannot be changed, altered or modified. Thank goodness that telling the truth has never been a bad thing. That being said, this is Fayetteville's chance to make history! Let's do it!

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • uac060513001.gif Fayetteville is full of venues for outside events, and Campbellton Landing is just one of many great choices for an outdoor concert. On Saturday,June 22, head to The First Annual Safe Havens River Fest. The day will be filled with music, fun, food and more.

    Beginning at 2 p.m., four local bands are set to entertain the crowds, all for a great cause, and best of all — it is free. A staple at local festivals, Fahrenheit opens the festivities. The band has performed at many popular venues around town including the Dogwood Festival and business openings as well as local watering holes. If Tom Petty and the Eagles are on your playlist, don’t miss Fahrenheit.

    Next up, ‘80s Unplugged pays homage to Rubik’s Cube, Swatch Watches and Members Only jackets with hits straight from the decade of big hair and skinny ties. While the band hails from Southern Pines, it is not unusual to find it performing in Fayetteville at places like Carolina Ale House and Luigi’s Italian Restaurant. Seal the Deal follows and Radio Boxx ends the show with funk, jazz and R&B.

    In addition to a day of great entertainment, River Fest includes a motorcycle show.

    “The Wingmen of Fayetteville Motorcycle Club are doing a bike show for us,” said Bobbi Hair, the event coordinator who serves as a case manager for family court.

    There is a $25 entry fee to enter the bike show. Trophies will be awarded for first and second place for American stock, sportster stock, big twin, custom sportster, custom big twin, bagger and Metric sport bike ,bagger, chopper, rat and best of show. Registration starts at 2 p.m., on the day of the event. Call 910-484-2936 or email www.9339mc.com for more information about the bike show.

    Stick around for the 50/50 raffle at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 per entry or $20 for five tickets. Participants must be present to win.

    There will be vendors on hand as well. So far, there are more than 20 vendors that will be there selling everything from jewelry and make-up to food and other homemade items.

    What is a day of festivities without great food? “We will have food vendors serving fare that is similar to what is served at other big festivals in town throughout the year,” said Hair. “Huske Hardware will be there selling BBQ sandwiches and other things and we will have a big selection of festival food including funnel cakes and things like that.”

    Proceeds for the event benefit Safe Havens. Safe Havens has grown from an organization that served eight families when it opened in 2004, to a service that serves about 130 families in Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Cumberland and Hoke counties on a regular basis. The court-run program has survived on grants until recently when an operating grant was not renewed. This put the organization at risk, along with the families that benefit from the organization’s services. Safe Havens acts as an intermediary for families that are torn apart. The agency facilitates visitation and works to resolve custody issues.

    “The reason for Safe Havens is when a judge hears a custody case, if they see that domestic violence is a problem or is alleged, or if there is substance abuse or the mom or dad has not been in the child’s life for several years, rather than let the absent parent visit unsupervised, they let the parent visit at Safe Havens,” explained Hair.06-05-13-riverfest.gif

    The parents do not have to interact. The facility provides visitation rooms with various themes, including a Hawaiian theme and solar system theme. The rooms are soothing, and Safe Havens provides toys and games. Social workers come into the center, and depending on the situation, they monitor the visits. When the child is brought in to the visiting parent, the social workers are trained to watch the body language of the child during the conversations and make notes.

    The notes are then submitted to the judge to review so the court can gauge how the visits are going and act in the best interest of the family.

    In addition to social workers, Safe Havens visits are supported by security services so that parents, social workers and kids are all safe during the visits and drop-offs/pick-ups.

    “It is just a wonderful agency,” said Hair. “It breaks my heart that it is possibly going to end.”

    Hair noted that there are several other grants that the organization has applied for, but so far the staff has not heard back from any of the benefactors. As things stand now, Safe Havens will close its doors on June 30, leaving about 130 families without service in Cumberland and surrounding counties.

    River Fest is a great way to raise funds and have a fun time, while making a difference in the community.

    While admittance is free, organizers anticipate the crowd will want to buy food and make purchases from the local vendors.

    “We are looking forward to everyone coming out and having a good time,” said Hair. “I am especially looking forward to getting exposure for Safe Havens. A lot of people don’t know what Safe Havens is and how well it serves the community. While this event may not raise the funding we need to stay open indefi nitely, we do hope to raise enough to keep the doors open while we pursue other funding avenues.”

    To volunteer at River Fest, or to learn more about Safe Havens, call 910.475.3225. The gates open at 2 p.m.

    Photo: Campbellton Landing, a popular venue for music events, is set to host the first annual Safe Havens River Fest on Saturday June 22. 

  • 22 dad son grandson pics in picsWoven into the fabric of who and what we've become, we all have threads of regret muting the bold colors of success in our lives. There's not much I'd change about the path I've walked thus far, because to change any one of them would be to alter the outcome. Some of life's highest pinnacles rise from the low ground of pain and defeat. It seems somewhat apropos at this time of year to realize my single greatest regret is that I didn't have my dad to share most of the highs and lows with.

    A veteran of World War II, Billy DeBruler was a high school track athlete raised in western Kansas. His adoptive family owned a local pharmacy and had always intended that he join the family business, which was perhaps the furthest thing from his mind during high school. After invading Poland, Hitler had become the scorn of the western world, and as the Allied nations got increasingly involved, the boys in dad's small town were becoming men and volunteering to ship off and right this great wrong.

    By volunteering as a Navy harmacist Mate, my dad was able to get his parents' signatures to join before his 18th birthday, and was soon on his way to Navy Boot Camp, followed by a trip to Hawaii. Not the paradise Hawaii, the naval base Hawaii. The unfortunate twist in the story is that Pharmacist Mates were not as great a necessity in the war raging in the Pacific as were medics to accompany the Marines as they roamed the tropical jungles. So began his career as a Combat Medic.

    He carried fond memories of the friends he made, and had mementos from Hawaii around the house, but the haunting memories of the rigors and horrors of combat were a silent and driving force behind much of his adult life. The same kid who made the local paper for both his athletic and academic abilities in high school and earned medals on the local track and remote jungles, saw his first marriage collapse from what we now commonly know and treat as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    I don't remember seeing any uniformed men walk up to the door, but I remember my dad holding a letter and weeping at the table after receiving the news his first-born son had died in the jungles of Vietnam. I recall him pouring all that he missed from that relationship into my brother and I — the two children from his second marriage. I have fond memories of building lopsided projects in his little workshop in the basement, the cold and smell of the meat locker in the store where he worked as a butcher, and the trips to the lake on Independence Day because you couldn't use fireworks in town.

    Dad traveled to see us just after our first son was born. I have a single photo of the two of them together in the driveway of our southern Arizona home in 1980. He died less than a year later, succumbing to the effects of cancer brought on by the habit he picked up while he was in the Navy. He had truly been-there-and-done-that, and could have steered me through and maybe even around some of life's hardest moments.

    And there it is — the thread of regret. If your dad is still living, go to him. If you have children, open up to and listen to them. Let the shared experiences become a beautiful part of the tapestry of your life.

  • 06-19-13-littlemermaiud.gifSince 1837, the story of a young mermaid giving up her tail and life in the sea to be a human and find the love of a human prince has entertained millions. This classic fairy tale written by Hans Christian Anderson has seen many adaptations from musical theatre to animated film. The most famous version of this tale however is the 1989 Disney version called The Little Mermaid.

    This animated film version of the fairy tale was also adapted for the stage, and was performed on Broadway in 2008. This year the magic of The Little Mermaid, that has captured the imagination of audiences of all ages for years, will be coming to the Fayetteville community through the eyes of children.

    The Cape Fear Regional Theatre encourages an appreciation for theatre in all ages. All year long they provide the community with a creative outlet. During their regular season they create captivating performances for all to enjoy, and also offer creative outlets for performers in the community. In the summer the CFRT brings children into the theatre through their summer camps.

    This year the talented staff of the CFRT is pulling out the stops offering three summer camps for various ages. Children from ages 6 to 8 will be working with CFRT to create Disney’s The Jungle Book for Kids. There will not be public performances of this show, but it shows that a passion for theatre can begin at any age. Children ages 9 to 14 will bring to life Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr. There are two camps for this production, one is being held in June and one in July. Both of these camps will have public performances. Older kids, ages 13 to 18 will work to create Side Ways Stories From Way Side School. This is a stage adaptation of a very popular book series written by Louis Sachar. The structure of this book is unique as each of the 30 chapters is a separate story that complements the others.

    For the June Little Mermaid camp performances are scheduled on June 28 and 29. The July campers will have their performances on July 19 and 20. The performances are at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, which is located at 1209 Hay St.

    Tickets can be purchased through the CFRT Box Office, online, by phone or in person. To purchase tickets online, visit the website www.cft.org/tickets.php. The phone number for the box office is 323-4233. The box office is closed on Mondays. Tuesdays through Saturdays hours are from 2 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. On Sundays it is only open from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, visit the Cape Fear Regional Theatre website cfrt.org.

  • We often read reviews of movies, books, music that is from someone else’s point of view. Well this week in The Buzz, we’re going to read what Christian artists have to say about their a few of their new songs … in their own words.

    Chris August shares — “Center Of It” “

    My song ‘Center Of It’ speaks about how God is there from the beginning to the end. I know at times it’s easy to feel alone at your weakest moments, but it’s good to remember that Christ is always there. No matter the situation, good or bad, he never leaves us alone. Romans 5:8 says that in the midst of our sin, Chris died for us. This shows us that God wants us to come as we are. Whether you are rising or falling he wants to be there with you in the CENTER OF IT.”

    Citizen Way’s Ben Calhoun — “Should’ve Been Me”

    “’Should’ve Been Me’ is one of those songs that was already written before I wrote it. I was leading worship at a summer camp and the leader asked the students to sum up what they learned that week. One of the students said ‘Well, basically I learned that..., it should’ve been me.’ A melody and lyrics hit me like a freight train and I sang this song for everyone 20 minutes later. It’s a reminder of what the Lord has done, and what he is doing in all of us whether we recognize it or not. It still humbles me and continues to change my heart.”

    Kari Jobe — “Steady My Heart” 06-06-12-the-buzz.jpg

    “Psalm 55:22 says ‘Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be moved.’ The little season there, writing ‘Steady My Heart’ was one of those moments of life where I had a lot of questions and was asking God why some of the things have to be hard in our lives. I had found out some news that was pretty shaking for me. I was finding myself praying a lot, ‘God, hold my heart because this is so hard. I don’t know how to really make it through this.’ And he’s so faithful to do that. So whatever you’re walking through, whatever this season looks like for you — I pray that you would just know that he’s near to you. That he will sustain you and give you strength. And that he’ll steady your heart.” Some thoughts on a few new Christian songs from the artists who wrote them.

    Photo: Kari Jobe.

  • 02 taxesNo one — I repeat, no one, enjoys paying taxes. I can almost feel my blood pressure rise when income taxes come due. That said, we all want safe and accessible roads, high quality public education for our young people, and the same quality health care for Americans of all backgrounds and ages. The reality is that our taxes support those goals.

    The ongoing American myth has been that we all pay our fair share, like it or not, and that wealthy individuals pay more.

    ProPublica exploded that myth last week as part of its ongoing analysis of our tax system. The non-profit investigative journalism organization which exposes abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust released secretly obtained IRS documents confirming what millions of Americans have long suspected. The richest of the rich are not paying their fair share of income taxes at all, much less more than the rest of us. In fact, several of the 25 wealthiest Americans as defined by Forbes magazine managed to pay no income taxes at all! These include such household names as Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Elon Musk (Tesla), Bill Gates (Microsoft), and the grandfatherly Warren Buffet (all manner of investments), all of whom have more money than they could ever spend.

    Moral considerations aside, there are no allegations that any of these people did anything illegal by paying a miniscule percentage of their wealth in income taxes or none at all. They simply took advantage of existing federal and state laws that treat “wealth” differently than “income.” Mere mortals earning a paycheck from which taxes are deducted cannot take advantage of these laws, which generally require the services of high-dollar attorneys and accountants to navigate.

    Here is the situation. The average American has an income of roughly $70,000 and pays income taxes of about 14-percent, usually deducted by the employer. The wealthiest Americans do not earn much in salaries. Instead, they make money on their assets — dividends on stocks, for example, and their tax bills come due when they sell assets. They are also able to take offsetting losses on their investments, thereby lowering their earnings, in some cases, to zero. According to ProPublica, while Joe Blow pays 14-percent on his salaried income, the 25 richest Americans paid a true tax rate of only 3.4-percent on what they took in between 2014 and 2018.
    Is this legal? Yes. Is it fair? Most Americans do not think so.

    The wealth gap in our country, often referred to as wealth inequity, has grown significantly in recent decades. It has become not only a starkly divisive issue among Americans across the wealth spectrum but a political issue. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and other leftish political figures have raised the issue in public debate, and they are right to do so. Congress is beginning to talk about tax code reform, albeit tentatively, and President Biden is cheering on that conversation.

    In a democratic republic, fairness is the underlying concept. Our system will work only as long as we believe it is fair. We all want to believe that we will be treated fairly by our legal system. We all want to believe that we have access to quality health care and that our children will be able to get educations that will make them productive adults. We all want to believe that we have a shot at upward mobility. It is sometimes hard to believe any of that.

    Paying taxes is a necessary reality. Most of us recognize that and are willing to pay our fair share, but we want everyone else to do so as well. We do not want to feel like schmucks as asset-heavy folks zoom past us in their Teslas.

  • 06-26-13-nc-symphony.gifSit back in your chair and relax as you listen to the beautiful patriotic sounds of the North Carolina Symphony during the Independence Day concert on Monday, July 1 at 8 p.m.

    The symphony presented eight free outdoor concerts in communities across North Carolina. The first part of the series began May 31 and ran through June 13 with programs featuring famous and best-loved music from the movies.

    Now they are taking on the Independence Day concerts; all of these summer performances are part of the Concerts in Your Community series, too. “This is a great program of red, white and blue performances,” said Joe Newberry, director of communications for the symphony.

    Arlie Honeycutt, Miss North Carolina of 2012, of Garner, will open the program by singing the National Anthem and narrating a piece called “Liberty for All.” Favorite pieces by John Sousa are on tap and all songs were selected to honor the United States on its birthday. Newberry explains what will make this concert a huge hit.

    “North Carolina, especially Fayetteville, has a big military presence. It’s a good way to honor and serve those who protect our freedom on our nation’s birthday. And the music just brings people together,” Newberry said.

    Other projects they have worked on include the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration featuring vocalist and guitarist Warren Haynes. Haynes is a former member of the Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule and The Dead. The night celebrated Haynes’s talent and the music of the symphony. It was a tribute to Garcia’s original music and celebrated his impact.

    The symphony is also big on volunteering. “Local volunteers love helping out the North Carolina Symphony. We really couldn’t do it without them —they are fantastic.” Newberry said.

    The symphony needs volunteer help with:

    CONCERTS
    • Volunteering at Will Call
    • Welcoming arriving patrons at Meymandi Concert Hall and other performance venues
    • Assist with “Support Your Symphony” or season ticket sales tables
    • Assist with pre-concert lectures

    OFFICE ASSISTANCE
    Work with staff to help with...
    • Mailings
    • Filing and organization
    • Photocopying

     

    AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT
    • Serving as a neighborhood, civic or social group liaison
    • Representing the Symphony at community festivals, fairs and fundraisers

     

    EDUCATION PROGRAMS
    • Registering participants at the Teacher Workshop
    • Guiding students at the Youth Concerto Competition
    • Helping children at the Instrument Zoo prior to each Young People’s Concert

    The music has had a great impact on everyone who listens. Newberry has lived in North Carolina for quite some time and his kids have grown up listening to the symphony. “I love the fact that it lives up to its name — all concerts are in the state; and in Fayetteville, it’s a great community to have families come and have a good time. There is nothing greater than hearing a full orchestra. Everyone is massively talented, and that’s what I love.”

    Find out more about the N.C. Symphony at www.ncsymphony.org.

    Photo:  As part of the Concerts in Your Community series, the N.C. Symphony will perform in Festival Park on July 1. William Henry Curry, above, conducts a concert.

  • 06-27-12-luminaries.jpgIn a town of people, most of whom have military connections, it is only fitting that the local service organizations take action to honor them. On July 1, the Fayetteville Pilot Club, a global international organization of executives, businesses and professional leaders working together to improve the quality of life in local communities and throughout the world, will salute the men and women who serve in the armed forces by lining Ray Avenue with Liberty Luminaries following a performance of patriotic music by the North Carolina Symphony and a finale of fireworks.

    Nettie McQueen, a member of the Pilot Club, explains the inspiration for the event as the club has been doing it for the past few years.

    “For a long time we were looking for different ways to honor the military, to celebrate all they’ve done for us,” said McQueen. “It sort of evolved from one project to another. We just borrowed ideas from other pilot clubs around the state. Many of them do luminaries for different things and we just decided it would be a good way to do our project for them, and it kind of grew.”

    As with any event, the fi rst attempt did not go smoothly. McQueen recalls the first Liberty Luminaries the Pilot Club held in honor of Memorial Day.

    “It was small at first, and our first one was down by the Airborne Museum. We barely got them lit and we had a huge thunderstorm,” she recalled.

    In a stroke of serendipity, the misfortune of the Memorial Day weather that continually befell the program lead to a partnership that improved the event. “One (Liberty Luminaries) we had to postpone. We started out on Memorial Day and again the weather was a real problem so we ended up closer to July, and then we found out the symphony does a patriotic concert down at Festival Park, and they do fireworks afterwards and it just seemed like a perfect combination. A good way to end the evening with a silent tribute after all the music and fireworks,” said McQueen.

    As a whole, the luminaries stretch out across the park in a beautiful and often touching display of light, but each individual luminary also contains the symbolism of the celebration. McQueen explains, “…the light inside the luminaries refl ects the gratitude we feel towards the military for giving us the freedoms that we have. We wouldn’t have a birthday if we didn’t have people who fought for it. The red, white and blue ribbons at the top of the luminaries represent their service to our country.”

    The Pilot Club also allows people to honor specifi c individuals by purchasing a luminary in their name for $5, which is the most touching part of the event McQueen says. “It will be a wonderful silent tribute that will end a lovely evening.”

    Forms to purchase luminaries are available at www. pilotclubfayetteville.org. The event will be held on July 1, on Ray Avenue from 8:30 to 10 p.m., following a performance by The North Carolina Symphony and a fi reworks display.

    Photo: On July 1, Liberty Luminaries will line Ray Avenue.

  • 01 Tisha Waddell Dis 3This week Publisher Bill Bowman yields his space to Fayetteville City Councilwoman Tisha Waddell who sets the record straight and combats the rumors and innuendo that have undermined her effectiveness as a public servant. Thank you, Councilwoman Waddell, for serving our community.

    To my Fayetteville constituents:

    I am not running for re-election, and I am also NOT running for Mayor. I appreciate all the support I have received and even the naysayers, as you have each helped me grow. I am also grateful to the handful of people I shared my decision with before submitting this article that completely understands why this is my choice.

    There was a marked difference between the first two years I served as an elected official and what will be my last. I was fortunate to serve with councilmen like Ted Mohn, Bill Crisp and Jim Arp. These legislators weren't perfect, but they researched, were more consistent in policy application, and were not afraid to challenge the status quo. It was demanding but rewarding. I learned quickly and was complete in my decision-making. I earned a stable reputation as one who weighs the facts and makes decisions based on what's in the community's best interest, whether it was popular with the political bullies or not.

    I regret that those new to their positions have not benefited from serving under different conditions and hope the tide shifts for them and all of us represented by them.

    Had my first two years been anything like my last two, there wouldn't have been a second term. It is difficult to accept the amount of hypocrisy and fear in our local government and even more so that it is excused as expected. We should not expect our leaders, at any level, to be ego-driven or inconsistent in process and policy.

    Disagreements should not be allowed to become flashpoints, and unstable agitators should not be permitted to pull focus away from our legislator's actual responsibilities. The abusive mishandling by members of the Council or members in the community of our leaders should not be tolerated. Whether we like them or not, they were elected by a majority of the people who voted and belong precisely where they are.

    Initially, I only promised to do my part to communicate and make sound decisions. Focusing on sharing the tools needed to guide their elected's choices for this city and removing barriers to access between them and their representative has hopefully helped District Three understand their power.

    When looking back, I hope the things people remember are that I supported legislation that seeks to increase transparency in how the Council makes decisions. I've called for undeviating policy practices in the hopes that we could level the playing field for future council members to be able to do their job.

    I've helped the Council shift its focus from implementing fee increases to more meaningful investments into our neighborhoods through street resurfacing and stormwater investments. There have been measurable successes in some regards, and in others, the needle has barely moved.

    I respect each of my peers on Council and recognize where we have worked well and where there is room for improvement. It was my great pleasure to work in this capacity, and I will always be fond of how God chose to use me in this season.

    I have learned that it isn't one person's job to change leadership, directly or indirectly. That is the job of all the citizens in this city who are of voting age. So, as some celebrate the announcement of my departure from the Fayetteville City Council and others are saddened to lose me as one of their champions for common sense in governing, the takeaway for all should be to register to vote, VOTE, and then hold your elected accountable by staying involved. Your city is counting on YOU!

  • 03 IMG 7268 cicadaStart your day with a misquote from Pete Seeger: “Where have all the Cicadas gone? Long time passing? Long time ago?” The rest of America is crawling with lovelorn Cicadas of Brood X. As of the delivering of this column to Up & Coming Weekly for deposit into the dust bin of literary history, eastern North Carolina seems to be a Cicada-free zone. Cicadas ignoring the Sandhills is yet another unwarranted indignity visited upon Fayetteville. One can only hope that when this column appears, we will be enjoying the return of the 17-year locusts. Perhaps if we face the rising sun, bend the knee to them, and address them by their official name Pharaoh Cicada they will grace us with their presence and sing us a happy tune.

    Until the Cicadas return, let us ponder the world their parents left in 2004 and their grandparents left in 1987. Hop on board Mr. Peabody’s Way Back Machine. It’s time to see what the world looked like when the Cicada’s parents visited us by in 2004. George W. Bush was President. The first major infestation of the internet occurred in February when Mark Zuckerberg’s cyber version of “Rosemary’s Baby” was born as Facebook in his Harvard dorm room. Ever since Facebook’s birth, all has been sweetness and light as the polite and reasoned discussions on Facebook have brought Americans closer together. Facebook has his father’s eyes.

    The last episode of the TV show “Friends” aired on NBC in 2004. The fact a reunion show of “Friends” is airing on HBO Max 17 years after the series finale leads me to believe that the stars of “Friends” are not human. They are very large Cicadas wearing human shells. Expect to see Jennifer Anniston shed her exoskeleton on national TV revealing a large but very attractive insect selling beauty products.

    Ken Jennings won 74 straight Jeopardy games in 2004. His return as a possible host to replace Alex Trebek 17 years later means Ken also is a giant Cicada in human form.

    In 2004, the Russian tanker Tropical Brilliance got stuck in the Suez Canal for 3 days. Seventeen years later in 2021, the tanker Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal. The Ever Given is yet another giant aquatic Mother Bug Cicada teeming with pupae.

    The year 2004 saw Yasser Arafat fading out ultimately crossing the Great Divide into the land of 70 virgins. These virgins turned out to be Catholic Nuns armed with rulers. Yasser was condemned to fail to learn his multiplication tables resulting in his knuckles being rapped for eternity.

    In an attempt to jump start a fading career, Janet Jackson experienced a half time wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl between New England and the Carolina Panthers.
    From the 2004 Crime Desk, Martha Stewart was sentenced to 5 months in prison for lying to the Feds. Lance Armstrong won the Tour De France but was disqualified later for doping.

    Edvard Munch’s most famous painting “The Scream” was stolen from an Oslo Museum. It was recovered and went on to appear on coffee cups, key chains, tee shirts and pillowcases to enlighten art lovers everywhere.

    What did the grandparents of Brood X see when they were riding the “Love Boat” of insect ecstasy back in 1987? Let us count the ways. All kinds of colorful stuff was happening. President Ronald Reagan dared Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. The Dow Jones average closed above 2000 for the first time. Michael Jordan scored a Chicago Bulls record of 58 points in a single game. Mike Tyson beat James “Bonecrusher” Smith in 12 rounds for the Heavyweight Championship. The Teflon Don John Gotti was found not guilty of racketeering. Jim Bakker resigned from PTL over accusations from his secretary Jessica Hahn.

    Austrian Chancellor Kurt Waldheim forgot he was a Nazi. The U.S. Justice Department remembered and barred him from the U.S.

    Gary Hart dropped out of the race for President after sailing on the good ship Monkey Business with Donna Rice. Michael Jackson tried unsuccessfully to buy the skeleton of the Elephant Man. The movie “Fatal Attraction” is released setting off a rush for boiled bunny recipes. Out west in Midland, Texas, Baby Jessica fell into a well and was rescued in a rare feel-good moment for America. Unwilling to allow the good feeling to last, 3 days later the Dow Jones average fell into a financial well, dropping 22% in one day.

    Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court fell into a legal well never to be seen again. His replacement nominee Douglas Ginsburg admitted to smoking pot and withdrew his nomination. Third choice Anthony Kennedy got the consolation appointment to the Supreme Court.

    Sonny & Cher performed with each other for the last time singing “I Got You Babe” on Letterman proving irony was dead. In December, Manson follower Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford, escaped from prison and was captured 2 days later, proving it’s always something.

    So Brood X, if you are out there, we need you. Make your parents and Grand Daddy Pharaoh Cicada proud of you.

    Don’t leave us waiting at the Cicada Alter. All is forgiven. Please come home.

  • 02 group work from homePlenty of politicians, planners and business folks think they know what North Carolina’s post-pandemic economy will look like. But few seem entirely sure. They are noticeably hedging their predictions, which I consider to be a wise precaution. They ought to be hedging their bets, as well.

    There are unanswered questions across multiple economic sectors and time frames. For many decisionmakers, however, perhaps the single most important questions involve the fate of hybrids.

    I’m not talking about motor vehicles. I’m talking about work schedules. With so many North Carolinians having experienced months of doing their jobs from home, will they want to come back to the office full-time? If so, there won’t be meaningful changes in traffic patterns, consumer behavior, and the market for commercial and residential real estate.

    However, if a significant share asks employers to stay remote indefinitely — or, more likely, to split their workweeks between office and home — the result could be disruptive. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. But even net-positive innovations have transition and transaction costs.

    The early signals are noisy. Some workers are clearly desperate to get back to the office. They found being at home distracting, even without school-aged children needing frequent attention, and embrace the rigid separation of worktime and personal time that a physical commute can reinforce. Others quite enjoyed doing their jobs remotely. It saved them the time and expense of commuting, and of dressing up. They embrace the intersection of work and home for its flexibility.

    As for employers, some found remote work fairly easy to inspire, manage and evaluate. Others felt their teams, dispersed by geography and otherwise out of sync, became less productive. This sentiment appears to be widespread in occupations such as banking, finance and law. American Enterprise Institute analyst Brent Orrell calls it “a move that appears to be driven by a mix of tradition and a concern for new hires who need regular coaching on work practices and expectations.”

    Of course the smart money will be wagered on some kind of midpoint. Many workers will resume a regular schedule. But not all. One recent academic paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research projects that home-based work will account for 20% of full workdays in the United States, up from 5% before the COVID crisis. Amanda Mull, a staff writer for The Atlantic, predicts that many professionals will ask for hybrid schedules: three days a week in the office, two at home.

    Such developments would have major consequences. The NBER paper estimated that if a fifth of workdays happened at home, consumer spending in major city centers would decline by as much as 10%. Think fewer workers parking their cars in decks, eating out for lunch, or running errands on the way home. Think major employers shrinking their footprints the next time they renew their leases.

    Now consider what’s happening with urban transit across the country. Ridership across all categories fell dramatically during the crisis, but declines in rail use were especially large, in part because the very professionals most likely to be able to do their jobs from home also make up a disproportionate share of rail users.

    The only relevant case in North Carolina is Charlotte — and it’s a revealing one. Bus ridership in the Queen City is down by about 49% year-to-year. Light rail ridership is down 71%, and isn’t bouncing back as fast as bus usage is.

    I confess that I’ve been a rail-transit skeptic for a long time. I already thought the Triangle area was wise not to pursue a long-proposed rail line. That decision looks even better in retrospect.

    If more jobs move to hybrid schedules, many North Carolinians will likely move further away from central cities, to exurbs and low-density counties. They’ll consume public services, of course, but not the same ones, from the same jurisdictions. And they’ll likely vote differently than their rural neighbors do.

    Hybrids could be the wave of the future.
    Who knew?

  • 01 DW 3It’s time to shed the gloom, the doom and the masks! Fayetteville is emerging from the restraints and restrictions of COVID and coming alive again with the traditional summer sights and sounds of our diverse All America City. Truly international in scope, Cumberland County is home to people and organizations dedicated to supporting and nurturing the local traditions that define and enhance our unique community. Spring and summer are when Fayetteville comes alive with activities and events to entertain and excite the entire family. There is something for everyone.

    The Dogwood Festival is one familiar venue to bring the family outdoors to enjoy local music, food and artists. It’s finally back with a Mini Festival scheduled for June 11-12 at Festival Park. Smaller in scale this year, but just the beginning of returning our community back into the vibrant entertainment hub we’ve come to
    appreciate.

    What would summer be without music? Our local residents don’t have to answer that because there are multiple concert series already in full swing in our area. The Rock’n On The River series returns to Deep Creek on June 16 with Reflections II and Trial By Fire — two bands that are sure to have you singing along, dancing and enjoying time with friends.

    The new music venue, the Pavilion at Gates Four Golf & Country Club, hosts Beatlemania on June 26. With concerts lined up through September, there’s sure to be something to please fans of all music genres.

    The newest and most exciting outdoor family entertainment attraction developing in eastern North Carolina is right here in Fayetteville east of the river on Sapona Road — Sweet Valley Ranch.

    If you haven't heard about it by now, you will in the near future. Sweet Valley Ranch opened last year to over 17 thousand visitors who came to view and enjoy their drive-thru Christmas light display, the Festival of Lights. Beginning today, June 9, Sweet Valley Ranch is opening Dinosaur World.

    Dinosaur World is the latest attraction on the 300 acre working farm that takes visitors on an adventure through a nature trail inhabited by the prehistoric creatures. Visitors of all ages are in for a unique experience.

    It is only the beginning of what we predict will become Fayetteville and Cumberland County’s #1 family fun, educational and entertainment destination. Up & Coming Weekly will be showcasing this multi-dimensional enterprise and it's entrepreneurial owners, Fred and Anita Surgeon, and the major economic impact it will have on our community.

    Stay tuned and be careful: the Dinosaurs are coming!

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  • 14 N1707P32006HI was sitting at a stoplight on a calm Sunday morning near the end of May. It was 7:30 in the morning, and traffic was light because not much is open is that time of morning. As I waited for the light to turn, a couple pulled up next to me. I looked over, and they were both wearing masks. Suddenly all the craziness of the last 15-months came flooding back in. The shut downs, the lines, new terms like social distancing, essential worker, and North Carolina's own Wait, Wash and... whatever the other W was.

    Then my mind casually wandered over to the social games of follow the leader we played. I think toilet paper was first. The object was to buy and store as much toilet paper as you could. Bonus points if you could balance a stack 4-feet higher than the top of your shopping cart on the way to the checkout.

    It started to look like a late snow was predicted when bottled water came in as a close second in the game. Disinfecting wipes changed my mind. Those were not traditionally a weather-related buyout item. Nor were hand sanitizer, webcams or 2x4's.

    As America settled into her 'new normal' though, a new series of shortages began to emerge: used cars. Then houses. Followed by jobs for blue collar and food service workers and recreational vehicles for remote-working urban couples.

    I could have gone on, but the light turned green. As I drove, my gas gauge reading near-full, I was reminded of the actions of friends and neighbors during the recent and short-lived gas shortage. That's when it all came full circle. The shortages, the anger, the frustration and even desperation were all driven by the same things: greed and discontent.

    I'm reminded of a Bible passage written by the Apostle Paul from 1 Timothy 6 which begins, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

    As we were clearing store shelves of one item and then the next, following the lead of neighbors, friends and family, we made even the most nonsensical items our top purchase priority and getting our share before it was gone.

    The Bible passage continues at 1 Timothy 6:9 saying, “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.”

    That brings me back around to today. And I wonder about our collective tomorrow. Many think the Bible is an archaic document filled with idealistic stories, but look around. There's an amazing wealth of knowledge and understanding of what drives people hundreds of generations and later. When the Bible is as close as it is on humans and their behavior, it makes it that much easier to believe when it talks about God.

    And that's the story in a nutshell — the story of God and the human race. Open it. Read it. When you see yourself, look closer and you'll see the God who has been trying to reach us since the dawn of time.

  • flag on fenceline 01We Americans just marked a special day in our nation’s official calendar.

    On Memorial Day we honor those who have sacrificed in military service to our country, particularly those who have given their lives to protect the rest of us. It is and should be a day of reflection and remembrance for those of us fortunate enough to live in our free nation.

    While we are a great nation, we are not a perfect nation, and among our imperfections is that we seem to have lost the concept of service to others in many areas of our common lives. We talk the talk about service to our country, but we do not walk the walk with respect to members of our armed services. Some of them live in actual poverty as many in our Cumberland County community know well. I cringe when I see public service announcements begging for funding for various veterans’ projects, not because the projects are not worthy but because caring for our veterans is a public responsibility to be borne by their follow Americans, not only those who choose and are able to donate.

    Public service workers, government employees and others who jobs are to serve the American public are routinely both overworked and underpaid at the same time they are denigrated as “bureaucrats” and people who feed at the public trough. Elected officials are considered impotent and incompetent, sometimes outright corrupt, and competent, capable and honest people decline to run for critical elective offices because of it. Important civil service jobs in both federal and state governments go unfilled because of low pay and low public esteem.

    It is hard to know when public service became a negative, even dangerous, calling. Ronald Reagan, an icon to many, gave voice to the sentiment when he said in an August 1986, press conference, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” It would be an amusing remark if it were not so insulting. Yes, government is cumbersome, slow and frustrating, but it tackles problems, issues and emergencies that the private sector does not. The private sector does not fund the highway system, educate the vast majority of Americans, or provide health care for people who cannot afford our outstanding but wildly expensive medical system.

    We all see where public service ranks on the career status ladder — almost the bottom rung. It has been camped out there for decades. What has also become apparent relatively recently is that public service is actually dangerous. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a medical doctor who has devoted his entire professional life to American public health has personal security. Members of Congress are escorted around the U.S. Capitol by armed National Guard troops and Capitol Police. Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head 10 years ago, and Reagan’s own press secretary James Brady was disabled for the rest of his life by a bullet intended for his boss, the President.

    John Kennedy’s take on government service was the opposite of Reagan’s. In his inaugural address, Kennedy famously called for Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” We have come a long way since then but in the wrong direction.

    In an autocratic government, one person or a small group is in charge, and the people have little or no input. In a democracy, we the people are the government.

    It is time that we both respect and reward those among us who keep the wheels of government turning for all the rest of us. This includes all who serve from the highest to the lowest, and especially those who serve us in the U.S. military.

  • 04 IMG 7043 PittWatching Lynne Cheney get booted out of her House Congressional Republican leadership position for failing to worship the Former Guy got me thinking about Greek mythology. Lynne got her head chopped off because she refused to kiss the Former Guy’s nethermost region of his rather expansive anatomy. Either one of my Gentle Readers might rightly ask by what bizarre stretch of logic does the Former Guy fit into Greek mythology? No person could rationally compare the Former Guy to mythological characters. “Au contraire” as a snail-eating Frenchman might say. Recall Otter in “Animal House” who once said: “I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.” And as Bluto almost replied: “I’m just the guy to do it.” Jules in the movie “Pulp Fiction” once said in a slightly different context, “Allow me to retort.”

    So I shall retort.

    The Former Guy has been diagnosed from afar as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This begs three questions: 1. Who was Narcissus? 2. What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder? 3. If the diagnostic shoe fits, does the Former Guy wear it?

    Let’s begin with Narcissus. Narky, as his buddies called him, was what was known back in the Grecian Formula days as a Pretty Boy. He was even prettier than the Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Narky did not care about other people’s feelings as he was too superior to associate with people or even Gods.

    One day Narky was out hunting in the deep forest when he was spotted by a lovely mountain nymph named Echo. Nymphs were beautiful young female spirits. Zeus would frequently make whoopee with nymphs except for Echo. Echo’s job was to keep Zeus’ wife Hera busy by talking to Hera while Zeus was out sporting with other nymphs. Eventually Hera found out Zeus was tom catting around. She blamed Echo for covering up for him. Hera laid a curse on Echo that caused Echo to only repeat what someone had said to her. This made Echo both a boring and irritating conversationalist.

    It was love at first sight for Echo when she got a gander at Narky. Narky called out: “Who is there?” Unfortunately, Echo could only repeat what Narky said. Her limited conversational style irritated Narky mightily. He angrily rejected the lovesick Echo leaving her in the woods to pine away for him. Echo’s love sickness caused her body to fade away into the ether. Only her voice remained which could only repeat words yelled into a canyon. That is why echoes were named for poor Echo.

    Things did not end much better for Narcissus. He left Echo to go sit by a pool of water to get a drink. When he looked into the pool he caught his first glimpse of his beautiful self. Apparently, mirrors had not yet been invented. Having never seen himself before, he fell immediately in love with his own reflection. Narky was pretty but he was not too bright. He thought there was a beautiful young man in the pool not realizing it was just his reflection. When Narky reached into the pool to touch his beloved self, the ripples made his reflection disappear. Narky was so smitten by his own image that he could not leave the pool. He sat there falling in love with himself while forgetting to eat. He withered away, dying by the pool admiring his own reflection. There may be a moral hidden somewhere in this story. See if you can find it. Psychiatrists have stolen the story for their own purposes.

    Psychiatrists have a handy book of psychiatric disorders called the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” which they use to assign patients into neat little categories of mental woes. The nutshell description of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is the patient is described as arrogant, self-centered, demanding and “often have high self-esteem and may believe they are superior or special compared to other people. However, they seem to need excessive praise and admiration, and they may react poorly to perceived criticism.”

    The Shrinks will diagnose a patient with NPD if five of the following criteria are met: “A grandiose sense of self-importance; preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty; belief that the patient is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high status individuals; a need for excessive admiration; a sense of entitlement; interpersonally exploitive behavior; a lack of empathy; envy of others or belief others are envious of him; or a demonstration of arrogant and haughty behavior.”

    Gentle Reader, I leave it to you to decide if the Former Guy meets five of these delightful character traits to warrant a sidewalk diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. One clue is that the Former Guy spent an inordinate amount of time and taxpayer dollars on his golf courses. Golf courses are known to have water hazards into which the Former Guy could have spent many hours staring lovingly at his own reflection. His cult followers mimic Echo by consistently repeating his false charges. Barry Goldwater once campaigned for President with the slogan “A Choice Not an Echo.” The Former Guy flipped Barry’s slogan to “An Echo not a Choice.” It was off with her head for Ms. Cheney who chose not to be an Echo.

    Love is a many splendored thing.

  • 03 Covid vaccine car windowPart of being human is the desire to organize our knowledge to understand it better, and Americans seem quite adept at this. Marketers have long since categorized us by our shared beliefs, and now a researcher has applied this technique to Americans who have not been vaccinated. We have known since COVID-19 vaccines became available that certain groups of people are getting vaccinated at lower rates than their fellow Americans, among them Republicans, people of color and rural residents. Harvard public health assistant professor Dr. Sema K. Sgaier is grouping us not by our demographic characteristics but by our shared beliefs.

    Before we look at the holdouts against herd immunity, there is clearly a vast category that the Times dubs Enthusiasts, of which I am a happy member. These are folks thrilled to be vaccinated. I was so relieved to stick my arm out the driver’s side window for my jab at a vaccination site that my neighbor whose arm was out the passenger window feared my giddiness would make me hyperventilate. Most Americans fall into this category now that 60% of us have had at least
    one shot.

    So, who is holding out against herd immunity in our nation? Writing in The New York Times, Sgaier posits four different categories for those who remain doggedly unvaccinated.

    Eight percent of them she calls Watchful. These are folks who are waiting to see what happens next. Did my cousin have side effects? What about the fellow around the corner? They are likely mask wearers and may eventually get vaccinated to protect themselves and others. They make up 8% of the unvaccinated nationally.

    Then we have the Cost Anxious. The federal government has made vaccinations free for virtually all of us, but these folks are concerned about the time involved to leave work or home. Making vaccinations convenient is most important to those group, which makes up about 9% of the unvaccinated.

    As always, in a free society, we have System Distrusters. They believe the system, and in this instance the health care system, treats them unfairly. They may believe the system targets people “like them” or that vaccines will secretly change their DNA. They might respond to a trusted friend or adviser to set them straight, but in the meantime, they make up about 4% of the no-vaccine-for-me crowd.

    And, finally, Sgaier labels the COVID Skeptics. These folks believe COVID-19 is no big deal, perhaps even a pandemic engineered to manipulate people around the world, particularly Americans. They cite their aunt, cousin, next-door-neighbor who had COVID and is “just fine.” They make up about 14% of the unvaccinated, and will likely not take the jab, as one Skeptic told me, until “I am damn well ready.”

    So how does North Carolina’s unvaccinated break down in Sgaier’s system?

    Most of our unvaccinated folks are indeed stubborn Skeptics, doing their own thing no matter how it puts others at risk. Then comes our Cost Anxious crowd, who do not want to miss work or something else important for a shot. The Anxious are followed by the Watchful, many of whom will ultimately get vaccinated once they feel confident about their friends and family who have done so. And, finally the System Distrusters come in at 2.5%.

    Sgaier’s research, especially when reviewed state by state, reveals a patchwork of reasons why the national vaccination rates are slowing down despite no-cost availability. Some states are all in, and some barely so. The CDC puts North Carolina at 38th in the nation for adults having at least one dose.

    Americans do have the right to choose for ourselves, but vaccine hesitancy is a real thing that is affecting all of us. No one should be forced to get vaccinated, but we should all think not only of ourselves but of the greater good. The Bible puts it this way — Love thy neighbor as thyself.

  • 02 Dogwood FestivalWell, from where I sit it looks like Fayetteville is starting to come alive again after being stymied for nearly two years dealing with the COVID pandemic. We see more and more people venturing out eating, shopping and actively searching out events, activities and things to do outside the confines of their own home. Art, cultural and recreational events that were so bountiful prior to the pandemic are starting to make a comeback.

    I recently received a call from Sarahgrace Snipes, the new Executive Director of the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival. She was very excited and eager to tell me that the City of Fayetteville has finally given them permission to use Festival Park for this year’s Dogwood Mini Fest. This event was previously scheduled to be held in April at Westwood Shopping Center, but again COVID-19 ended up being Dogwood’s party pooper. Since arriving in Fayetteville from Wilmington, Sarahgrace has literally “hit the ground running." And, standing up the Dogwood Festival’s Mini Festival at Festival Park on such short notice will be a major accomplishment. One that will be very much appreciated by this community. The Dogwood Festival is free to the public and will feature many of their traditional events like the car & motorcycle show, art and craft displays, local vendors and entertainers, and, of course, great food and a live music concert. Everyone needs to support this event on June 11 & 12.

    Speaking of music concerts, Fayette-ville residents eager to be outside in the fresh air are turning out in huge numbers to the many musical concerts scheduled for the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Gates Four Golf & Country Club launched their Summer Concert Series on May 16 with a Beach Music Bash at The Pavilion. Their musical series of five monthly concerts will present award winning musical talent and entertainment ranging from classic Carolina Beach music to the Beatles and hits from the 60s. On July 17 they will present a Retro 80’s Rock Concert & Party. The Series is produced by the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre in conjunction with Gates Four and the public is invited. All the concerts are ticketed events but with a twist: all food, beer and wine are included in the ticket price. For the list of concert times and dates go to www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com.

    Another great outdoor music concert series was launched last week when Rock’n On The River showcased two great bands on the banks of the Cape Fear River at Deep Creek Outfitters. Hundreds of rock music enthusiasts turned out to see, hear and experience Mostley Crue and Shoot to Thrill. They did not disappoint. This concert series is produced and engineered by local Fayetteville resident Greg Adair with Healy Whlse., Up & Coming Weekly, 96.5 Bob FM and The River 106.5, and the support of dozens of local businesses. Their next event is on June 18 featuring Reflections II and the Journey tribute band Trail by Fire. Follow Rock’n On The River on Facebook for details.

    Yes, Fayetteville is coming alive again. The sights and sounds of the joyful outdoors are everywhere. Seek them out, enjoy and support them. Here’s a few suggestions: Clark Park, Cape Fear Botanical Garden, Veterans Memorial Park, Lake Rim Park, Cape Fear Trail, the Rose Garden at FTCC and one of my very favorites, Fayetteville’s newest and most exciting destinations, the Sweet Valley Ranch and Dinosaur World.

    So, whether you are into attending a local festival, enjoying a music concert on the river, or smelling the pretty flowers, Fayetteville and Cumberland County have a never-ending array of wonderful outdoor places for you to go, see, enjoy, relax and de-stress.

    Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    Caption: The Dog Wood Mini Fesival is schedued for June 11-12 at Festival Park. Musical entertainment, food and vendors are planned. (Photos of previous events courtesy of Fayetteville Dog Wood Festivals) 

  • Cho S2 press image 3 1 06Positivity with a ponytail. The music, the message and the motorcycle. These are just a couple of the taglines someone recently suggested for the daily radio show I have the pleasure of hosting on WCLN.

    Ultimately, I'll probably not use either of them, but it's nice to know people take time to notice. That's something our sorely disconnected world needs a little more of: People noticing one another.

    Over the past several months my wife and I have begun watching the independent video series, “The Chosen” from director Dallas Jenkins. None of us can comment with surety on how accurately the personalities of any of the Biblical figures is depicted, but the series has gone a long way to making them all more understandable.

    “The Chosen” walks viewers through the early days of Jesus' time in ministry, offering backstories of the people we often reduce to supporting actors as we read the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament.

    The more we learn about the environment in which these people and their stories were birthed, the better we understand the counter cultural message of the Gospel.

    I think too often we conjure the image of Jesus wandering from lame to leper in a white robe with His hands held just so, speaking in language too haughty for most to comprehend.

    That's probably far removed from the truth. Jesus was born into a gritty world, and a land which was dominated and occupied by Rome — an invading nation bent on ruling
    the world.

    As Jesus’ ministry unfolds in the first four books of the New Testament, what I see is someone who noticed. He noticed pain. He noticed suffering. He identified with those who were poor and hungry, weary from the weight of the oppressive occupation, and anxiously hoping for a heroic figure to swoop in and save them all. Ultimately that's what they got, but they simply missed it.

    The Jewish people of that day had crafted a military hero from hundreds of years of stories. A hero who would defeat all the enemies of Israel, based on their current situation.

    The hero who showed up, however, was a kind, understanding man who worked with common people to help them better relate to God and the people around them.

    He taught them to love one another, and to treat even their greatest enemy with compassion.

    Jesus taught us to do what we need to do more of to move this world and any situation toward a more peaceful resolution in every way: He taught us to notice.

    When we truly notice those around us we begin to understand. We identify with their pain, we identify we their suffering, and when we notice those around us who are hungry and poor in any number of ways, we find the same hope that Jesus offered. That hope promises there is more in this world than our situation, and many ways to live a full life regardless of it.

    Pictured above: "The Chosen" is the first ever multi-season series about the life of Christ. (Photo courtesy Angel Studios)   

  • 10 N1907P23004CThe Fourth of July in the Sandhills usually involves big crowds, free concerts, fireworks and more. This year, public safety concerns over COVID-19 have changed that. The sounds of the symphony orchestra won’t resound in Festival Park. Instead of Fort Bragg’s Parade Field filled with first-rate music and a salute to the flags from each state, the field will be empty. Fireworks may still be on the schedule, though. Learn more about the plans for Fort Bragg’s Independence Day celebration at https://bragg.armymwr.com/calendar/event/4th-july-celebration/3832248/23521.

    Hope Mills Municipal Park won’t host its annual fireworks display this year until Ole Mill Days in October. In lieu of the Fourth of July event, the town is celebrating Independence Day with a Porch Parade from June 30-July 5. Residents and businesses are invited to decorate their porches and storefronts with their favorite red, white and blue décor. To sign up to be part of the Porch Parade, visit https://www.townofhopemills.com/349/July-4th-Celebration.

    Celebrations will likely be smaller — more along the lines of intimate backyard barbeques. Perhaps as you’re firing up the grill, consider our nation’s beginnings. And try a tasty new burger recipe as well.

    The history of America’s Independence Day

    Few summertime holidays elicit as much excitement as the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day in the United States. Each year, family, friends and revelers anticipate the arrival of the holiday so they can host barbecues, enjoy the sun, listen to their favorite summertime tunes and commemorate the freedoms afforded by the monumental events that led to the holiday’s establishment.

     Independence Day became a federal holiday in 1941, but July 4th has stood as the birth of American independence for much longer. July 4th marks a pivotal moment in the American Revolution. According to PBS, the colonies were forced to pay taxes to England’s King George III despite having no representation in the British Parliament. “Taxation without representation” became a battle cry and was one of several grievances colonists had with Great Britain.

     Conflict between the colonies had been going on for at least a year before the colonies convened a Continental Congress in Philadelphia in June of 1776, says Military.com. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from England. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence.

    The Declaration of Independence is an historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was considered the strongest and most eloquent writer of the declaration writing committee charged with putting the colonies’ sentiments into words. Richard Henry Lee of Virginia was one of the first people to present a resolution for American independence, and his commentary was the impetus for the formal Declaration of Independence. A total of 86 changes were made to Jefferson’s original draft until the final version was adopted. The signing of the document helped to solidify independence, and eventually lead to the formation of the United States of America.

    A total of 56 delegates signed the document. Although John Hancock’s signature is the largest, it did not hold more weight than the other signatures. Rather, rumor has it, Hancock signed it so large so that the “fat, old King could read it without his spectacles.” However, the National Archives said it was also customary that, since Hancock was the president of the Continental Congress, he be the first person to sign the document centered below the text.

    The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence on July 6, 1776. The first public readings of the Declaration were held in Philadelphia’s Independence Square on July 8, 1776.

    Take your Fourth of July burgers up a notch

    The year 2020 is one few people will soon forget. Life changed dramatically and perhaps forever in 2020, when the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 forced billions of people across the globe to make sacrifices to prevent the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

    The sacrifices made in response to COVID-19 are perhaps most noticeable on holidays, when people accustomed to gathering with family and friends were unable to do so, or only able to do so on limited terms.

    Despite those restrictions, people continued to celebrate on holidays like Easter and Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July does not figure to be any different. Fourth of July celebrations often take place in the backyard by the grill, and this year marks a perfect opportunity to expand your culinary repertoire. This recipe for “Best Burger With Blue Cheese Butter,” courtesy of Eric Treuille and Birgit Erath’s “Grilling” (DK Publishing) offers a new take on a backyard barbecue staple.

    Best Burger With Blue Cheese Butter
    Serves 4
    1 pound ground chuck steak
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    4 1-inch slices blue cheese butter (see below)
    4 sesame hamburger buns, halved

    Combine ground steak with salt and pepper. Divide into four equal-sized pieces and gently shape into four burgers about 1-inch-thick. Grill burgers and warm buns according to instructions below. Top burgers with butter and serve hot in sesame buns.

     Outdoor cooking: Grill over hot coals for three minutes per side for rare, four minutes per side for medium-rare, or five minutes per side for well done. Place buns cut-side down on grill until warm and lightly golden, 1 minute.

     Indoor cooking: Preheat a ridged cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Cook for three minutes per side for rare, four minutes per side for medium-rare, or five minutes per side for well done. Place buns cut-side down on grill pan until warm lightly golden, 1 minute.

    Blue-Cheese Butter
    Makes 15 servings
    16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    4 ounces (1 cup crumbled) blue cheese
    2 teaspoons black pepper

    Place ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until well blended. Wrap in foil. Place in the freezer until hard, about 45 minutes.

    To serve, roll back foil and cut into 1-inch slices. When slicing from frozen, warm the knife under hot water first. After slicing, always tightly rewrap the unused flavored butter roll in the foil before returning to the refrigerator or freezer.

    Best Burger Variations

    Herbed Burger: Add 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 crushed garlic clove and 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion to the ground steak.

    Spicy Burger: Add 1-2 teaspoon tabasco, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard to the ground steak.

    Think ahead: Shape burgers up to one day in advance. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    Cook’s Note: Overhandling the meat when shaping will result in a tough, dry burger. To guarantee a juicy burger, handle the meat as little as possible.  
  • 09 01 sizemattersIt might seem like the world has come to a standstill the past few months, but the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County has not. As more and more businesses and organizations open in the coming months, look for new exhibits and happenings downtown. In the meantime, the online energy is strong here, and the Arts Council continues to provide first-rate art and entertainment options. Currently, two programs that have met with much success are the online exhibit, “Size Matters: Works that Push the Scale of Dimensions,” and the Hay Street Live performance series.

    Hay Street Live is a weekly event that typically includes a host/hostess — sometimes more than one — and a performer. The earlier versions of the event also included a local mixologist to showcase his or her signature drink. “Our viewers have spoken, and they love the music,” said Scott. “We’ve received several requests to extend the show from viewers who can’t get enough of this virtual jam session. So, we’ve elected to extend the musicians playtime by removing the mixology section. Now it’s all about the arts. The performer will have more time to share their artistry with their virtual fans.”

    09 02 hay street liveJune 19, don’t miss the Hay Street Live performance of Dan 64. This is a returning band from one of the earlier shows in April. The host will be Sweet Tea, host of “The Sweet Tea Show” found on Carolina Country 100.1 FM and Carolina Country 93.9 FM.

    The June 26 band will be a Fayetteville favorite — 80s Unplugged. The band celebrates all the goodness and quirkiness of the 1980s, including Rubic’s cube, Swatch watches, Members Only jackets, skinny ties, Vans checkerboard shoes, guys with mullets and girls with Camaro hair, but especially the music.

    Goldy of WFNC 640 AM’s “Good Morning Fayettevillle” will host the show.

    Starting in July, Hay Street Live will move to Thursdays. Whiskey Pines Band will perform July 2. The Arts Council’s Metoya Scott will host the event.

    “Size Matters” opened on April 24 and remains accessible online through June 25. “Size Matters,” as the name implies, is all about scale. The exhibition encourage(s) artists to experiment with scale. The artwork represents recognizable objects that have undergone a disorientating shift in size. The show was originally set to open April 24 and was shifted to an online event due to COVID-19 restrictions on group gatherings.

    The exhibit, gives visitors an opportunity to experience a virtual version of the show. Additionally, all 44 pieces, which represent the works of 31 artists, are available for purchase.

    It includes artists with followings that span the globe. “My viewership is all over the world,” said pictorial artists David Pickett. “With this exhibition, I’ll gain 10 times the exposure and have greater visibility. My friends and family that are out of state can’t always visit the gallery. Now they all can.” Pickett, a resident of Shallotte, North Carolina, has two pieces featured in the exhibition.

    Another feature of the exhibition is “Palette Talk.” “’Palette Talk’ was an intimate, authentic, unguarded conversation that occurred between two artists featured in our ‘Size Matters’ exhibition and facilitated by myself,” said Metoya Scott, public relations manager for the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. “During the show, I encourage viewers to ask the artists questions and acknowledge them for their contribution to enhancing visual arts experiences not only in Cumberland County but worldwide through our virtual exhibition. … I had the opportunity to speak with the artists one on one about how they fell in love with art, what inspires them to create, and why they submitted to our exhibition. Artists hailed from Miami, Florida, to Iowa City, Iowa, and, of course, sprinkled all across the Carolinas.”

    One of Fayetteville’s best-loved perennial exhibits follows “Size Matters.” Celebrating its 15th year, the “Public Works” Exhibition Aug. 28 and runs through Oct. 17 at the Arts Council. This really is the people’s exhibit. There is no jury.

    “’Public Works’ is a communitywide art exhibit sponsored by the Fayetteville Public Works Commission,” said Scott. “This is an opportunity for all artists of all ages to have their work exhibited … at the Arts Council.

    “Who’s eligible? You are, if you live in Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, and Scotland Counties or Fort Bragg or Pope Field.

    “Bring your artwork to The Arts Council, 301 Hay St., between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, August 14, or on Saturday, August 15, between noon to 4 pm.”

    There will be a People’s Choice award.

    August 28-31 the public is invited to vote for their favorites. The artwork with the most votes be featured on the Arts Council’s Facebook page for a Virtual Vote. A photographer will be present the day of Art in-take to capture the artwork; each entry will be uploaded to the “Public Works” Exhibition App, managed by the Arts Council. Voting will be available via the app. Winners will enjoy a prize pack full of unique items from downtown businesses, according to the Arts council website. Winners of the online Virtual Vote will get an Arts Council goody bag.

    Find out more about these and the many other initiatives at the Arts Council at theartscouncil.com.

     

  • 06-12-13-pryer-awards.gifWhether you are a supporter of community theater, a blossoming thesbian or just a lover of silent auctions, food and fun, the Gilbert theater’s First Annual Pryer Awards will provide a wonderful evening of entertainment. The fundraiser will take place June 24 from 6 until 9 p.m. at the Gilbert Theater on Bow Street in Fayetteville. The event will begin with appetizers and drinks with a cabaret show starting at 7 p.m. The show will feature well-known local performers and will be followed by the announcement of awards for Best Actor and Best Actress, Best Supporting Performers, Best Play or Musical, Best Costume, Scenic and Lighting Design and a special volunteer award.

    The awards were voted on throughout the season by theater patrons and will be presented by local directors and friends of the Gilbert, Jeremy Feibig, Marcella Casals, and Gail Morfesis to name a few. Silent auction prizes will be announced at 8:30 p.m. by Robyne Parrish, acting artistic director of the Gilbert. Some highlights of the silent auction include art and book packages, jewelry, electronics and date night packages including dinners at Pierro’s and Circa, as well as theater tickets to Cape Fear Regional Theatre and Temple theater in Sanford.

    The awards were created to honor the founding artistic director Lynn Pryer, who hosted the Gilbert Theater in the basement of his home on Brandt Lanes starting in 1994. At its inception, the Gilbert shows were open and free to the public and took place in his small black-box theater. During shows of William Shakespeare’s works the productions spilled out into his lovely and theatrically lit back garden. It provided an acting outlet for many talented local artists and students.

    Later the theater was moved to the Arts Council building on Hay Street in Downtown Fayetteville before settling into its current home on the corner of Green and Bow Streets located near the Market House. The Gilbert Theater is named in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette. It is now located on the second floor of the Fascinate-U Children’s Museum at 116 Green street in historic downtown Fayetteville.

    Many well-known local actors are included in the nominations. James Dean, who has fascinated local theater audiences through his portrayal of characters at the Gilbert as well as Cape Fear Regional Theater, was nominated for not only best actor but also best supporting actor for his work as Henry The Fantastics character. Other best acting nominations include: Best Actress: Joyce Lipe, Amanda Lerner, Tracey Hinton, Carrie Carroll, Best Supporting Actress: Lindsay Myers, Carrie Carroll, Jordan Ballentine, Ruth Crews, Best Actor: James Dean, Patrick Riviere, Best Supporting Actor: James Dean, Philip Gilfus.

    While speaking to Lynn Pryer, he stated that he is deeply honored by the inception of these annual awards and hopes the community will continue to focus on excellence in the theater arts. Don’t miss this opportunity to support the local theater arts scene. Find out more at www.gilberttheater.com.

    Photo: Gilbert Theater’s First Annual Pryer Awards scheduled for June 24 are named for Lynn Pryer, the founder of Gilbert Theater.  

  •  Bumbledoo: Downtown’s One-Stop Baby Supply Shop

    Downtown Fayetteville is filled with dynamic establishments run by passionate risk-takers who are devoted to the community. Our View from the Market House showcases the businesses and entrepreneurs that make downtown shine.

    06-26-13-bumbledoo.gifRaising a baby is a joy. Between all the crying and the diaper changing, seeing your own flesh and blood grow exponentially larger as times goes by really pays off. Bumbledoo, the downtown area’s organic baby store, offers a wide variety of baby products to ease the troubles of child raising by offering a wide range of services to mothers all across Fayetteville.

    Malia Kalua Allen, owner of Bumbledoo, began pursuing her passion while raising her own children in Durham. Her hobby of making products for her children turned into a business when she realized the interest she was receiving from other young moms. Allen wanted to offer products that were organic, earth-friendly and affordable. After great success at her booth at the Dogwood Festival, Allen saw an opportunity to own a store when she noticed the vacant spot while driving through Downtown Fayetteville; thus, Bumbledoo was born.

    Starting her own shop was no easy feat. “I barely had enough money to fill the shelves with cloth diapers,” Allen said. After a difficult start, Bumbledoo soon became a respectable name within the downtown community. The store is known for its excellent customer service and dedicated employees who want nothing more than to relieve the stress on new mothers. Her hard work and dedication earned her a spot in the Fayetteville Observer’s 40 Under 40for her outstanding work in making Bumbledoo possible

    .In addition to selling premium products, Bumbledoo also offers special classes for mothers. “We do free classes for cloth diapers and weaning,” Allen said. “We also host a breastfeeding cafe every third Thursday each month at Marquis Market.” Allen also stressed the importance of keeping up-to-date with mothering practices as they evolve generation after generation. “Other baby stores are old-world,” she said. “They’re not in touch with new-age moms.” Green products are becoming more popular with parents as advances in science show the harmful effects some traditional products may have on a child’s health.

    One of the many specialties of Bumbledoo is its cloth diaper service. Much different than their expensive, one-time-use counterparts, cloth diapers are reusable and contain no harmful chemicals. Additionally, disposable diapers make-up a staggering amount of landfill waste, approximately 4 percent. Using disposable diapers not only litters landfills, but also litters our bills with hidden trash disposal costs too. Allen also stressed how inexpensive cloth diapers are compared to disposable ones. “Providing diapers for one child alone costs thousands of dollars,” she said. “Cloth diapers cover multiple children for only $500.”Allen is proud of her shop and believes it offers something special that big stores cannot. “My store is specialized in selling green products while being knowledgeable of them — unlike big stores,” Allen said.

    Bumbledoo will soon relocate to its new store location at 417 Hay Street to accommodate its expanding business. The new store will have much more room and allow Allen to better service her customers with a more thorough selection of products.

    “I don’t want to leave downtown, I believe in downtown,” Allen said. Bumbledoo is one of many great shopping locations in Downtown Fayetteville that boasts a unique and tailored store with a ton of personality and charm. While browsing what Bumbledoo has to offer, don’t forget to check out many of the other wonderful small businesses that call Downtown Fayetteville home.

    Photo: Malia Kalua Allen, owner of Bumbledoo.

  • 18TSWork has finally started on demolishing the home football grandstand at Terry Sanford High School. The structure beneath the bleachers had reached a point where it could no longer be repaired. For the 2019-20 school year, the Bulldog football, soccer and lacrosse teams will play home games at Reid Ross Classical High School's John Daskal Stadium. Plans are to return to the rebuilt Terry Sanford stadium in the fall of 2020.

  • Grab your favorite lawn chair and get ready, Fayetteville. Big Rick & The Bombers will hit the stage for Fayetteville After 5 on June 20. The theme this month is Funk and the line up is sure to deliver a rockin’ good time.

    Based out of Raleigh, Big Rick & The Bombers have been together more than 16 years. They began as a blues band, but needed to start making money, so they began playing Top 40 hits. The group was nominated as best wedding band by The Knot magazine from 2008 — 2013. They have played at weddings all over the country including Boston, Key West and San Francisco.

    The band’s musical style can be described as everything from Top 40 to beach to R&B, rock, jazz and everything in between. Concert goers can expect a well-executed performance with some twists and turns.

    The group’s name comes from the World War II airplane, the B52 bomber. “We are just dropping musical bombs all over the place,” said band member Rick Nunez.

    After Fayetteville After 5, look for Big Rick & The Bombers at some of their favorite Raleigh spots, including 42nd Street Oyster Bar, Tony’s Oyster Bar, The Big Easy and Yancy’s.

    Nunez said, “I want to thank everyone out there for the continued support throughout the years. We love you guys.”

    For more information on Big Rick & The Bombers, or to purchase one of their cds, please visit06-11-14-fay-after-5.gifwww.bigricksoul.com.

    The June 20 show also features the band, Liquid Pleasure. Liquid Pleasure plays a mix of beach, rap, rock, standards and Top 40. For more information, visit www.liquidpleasureband.com.

    Gates open at 5 p.m. Acts begin performing at either 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. with the sounds of the summer carrying until around 10:30 p.m. No outside food or beverages are allowed within the park. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival.

    This event is presented in partnership with R.A. Jefferies — local distribut0r of Budweiser products.

    Don’t forget to register for your chance to win Jason Aldean tickets for the Sept. 6 show at the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh. To qualify, you must attend three of the five Fayetteville After 5 events and get your card qualified. Cards can be picked up at the WKML table during the Fayetteville After 5events. You must be 21 or older to enter.

    Don’t miss the remaining Fayetteville After 5 shows this summer. The July 18 show features Captain & the Keels, Yacht Rock — 70s and 80s Hits and Heart Brigade, Heart tribute band, while the Aug. 15 show features On the Boarder, an Eagles tribute band and Tuesday’s Gone, a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band.

    For more information about Fayetteville After 5, please visit www.faydogwoodfestival.com.

    Photo: Fayetteville After Five is a family-friendly event that offers a fun-filled evening for people of all ages.

  • 17Caleb KringsEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

    Cape Fear High School continued the most successful era of football in school history last season with a 7-5 record. It included a trip to the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-AA football playoffs.

    But for that tradition to continue, head coach Jake Thomas is going to have to fill some significant gaps caused by graduation.

    “Obviously we lost some really good linebackers,’’ Thomas said. “We also lost some good running backs. That’s the main focus of the guys we’ve got to replace from last season.’’

    The good news for Thomas is he’s got a few skilled players back this year, among them quarterback Ki’mani Britton and running back Cayden McKeithan.

    Britton completed 70 of 138 passes for 613 yards and five touchdowns.

    McKeithan rushed 89 times for 289 yards and scored five touchdowns.

    Thomas said Britton has progressed well from his freshman season last year and showed positive signs during the spring.

    The Colts’ leading receiver from 2018 is back, Taiquan Gamble. He had 33 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns.

    One of the most experienced Cape Fear returnees is offensive lineman Caleb Krings.

    Krings said the Colts have a new team and a new beginning as they head into summer and fall workouts. “In the offensive line we’ve got half of us coming back,’’ he said.

    On the defensive side of the football, Thomas will be counting heavily on cornerbacks Micah Nelson and Lamon Lock to anchor the pass defense, along with versatile athlete Nick Minacapelli.

    There is one returner in the linebacking corps, Donta Autry. Thomas said he has put in a lot of hard work in the offseason.

    Most of the spring, Cape Fear has focused on getting its base defensive package installed so the team can immediately react to any offensive formation or motion it sees in a game.

    Offensively, the team stressed learning three or four base plays with the ability to run a counter play and a pass play off each one.

    Photo: Caleb Krings

  • uac062514001.gif The Fourth of July is one of the happiest holidays of the year. From watermelon and BBQ in the bright summer day to the incredible fireworks at night, the entire day is a joyous celebration. It is a chance to reflect on the nation’s history and revel in the freedoms our country offers. The day becomes all the more interesting with the many events happening in the area.

    There is nothing like starting the day with a brisk run through the city. Starting this year, there is a race for those who enjoy a run. In fact, there are two different runs to choose from. Firstly, beginning at 7 a.m. on July 4, is the Firecracker 4 Miler. Online registration closes on July 1, and will be an additional $5 at packet pick up, which is on July 3. Friendly dogs are welcome at this race, and there will be water dishes along the route. All dogs must be on leashes and owners must pick up waste. Runners are also advised to bring their own water bottles. To encourage the reduction of plastic water bottle waste there will be coolers and not individual water bottles at water stations. The race begins at the North Carolina Veterans Park at 300 Bragg. Blvd. The course winds through lovely downtown Fayetteville. This run is sponsored by the Fayetteville Runners Club as a fundraiser to help promote running in the community. It is the inaugural race. To register or for more information visit http://www.active.com/fayetteville-nc/running/races/firecracker-4-miler-2014.

    The second run is also an inaugural run and takes place on July 3. It is the Freedom Run. This event takes place at 7 p.m. and begins at the Medical Arts Center at 101 Robeson St. This 5 k also weaves though historic downtown. This is the first event of its kind in the area. It is a fundraiser for Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County. This group provides a valuable service to the community by providing free confidential services for any one who has been affected by sexual violence. The free services provided include a 24-houre rape hotline, counseling, support groups, courtroom advocacy and emergency room responders. Running this race not only benefits the runners bodies, it benefits the entire community. To register is $30, but children ten and under are $10. Registration closes at 6 p.m. on race day and online registration closes June 30. To register online or for more information visit the following site: http://www.active.com/fayetteville-nc/running/distance-running-races/rcvcc-freedom-5k-run-2014 or http://www.cincodemayo10k.org/Freedom_Run.php.

    The music associated with American Independence day is unique to the occasion. The patriotism, spirit, and excitement infused into the songs are palpable and it translates into a powerful performance. On July 1, the North Carolina Symphony performs, free to the public, in celebration of Independence Day. Their performance features old-fashioned patriotic classics. The concert opens with the National Anthem and Miss North Carolina 2012 Arlie Honeycutt will narrate “Liberty for All.” The concert is held at Festival Park at 225 Ray Ave and begins at 8 p.m. For more information visit http://www.ncsymphony.org/events/index.cfm?view=details&viewref=calendar&detailid=1130&eid=2019&sdate=7/1/2014.

    Modern music can also capture the spirit and excitement of Independence Day in enjoyable and relatable ways. This year the famous and greatly anticipated Fort Bragg July 4th Celebration features Josh Turner and .38 Special. Josh Turner is a double-platinum selling country singer. His style is heavily influenced by Bluegrass and he is known for his engaging and warm entertaining style. He is set to perform from 6:30 p.m. until 7:45 p.m. The other musical guest, .38 Special, is an American rock band originally formed in Florida. Their musical style has been described as arena-style rock with roots in southern rock. Their scheduled performance time is 5-6 p.m. This combination of performers is sure to provide a little something for everyone. 

    Music is not the only great thing happening at the Fort Bragg July 4th Celebration, however. Starting at 3 p.m. Kiddieland, which features such fun as bouncy houses and food vendors, opens. From 6-6:30 p.m. The Black Daggers Parachute Demonstration Team will enthrall the crowds with feats of bravery and agility in the skies. From 7:45 p.m. until 7:58 p.m. the Garrison Commander will give his remarks followed by the National Anthem and Flag Ceremony. Both of these powerful symbols lie at the very heart of American history and culture. To provide an extra dash of rousing classic patriotism, the 82nd division All American Band will also perform from 8:42 p.m. until 9:42 p.m. One of the favorites that they will play is the 1812 Overture. The final event of he evening is the most spectacular, the fireworks. From 9:42 p.m. until 10 p.m. the skies above Fort Bragg will be ablaze color. This event is open to the public, but it is advised that participants arrive early. There is a designated tent area with spaces for rent. It is $15 for spaces or $35 for an MWR tent and space. Rentals must be made in advance and can be done at www.fortbraggmwr.com. No pets, glass bottles, cans or grills are allowed at the event. The Main Post Parade Field, where the event is held, is located across from Womack Hospital on Reilly Rd. For more information visit the following website http://www.fortbraggmwr.com/july4th/.06-25-14-josh-turner.gif

    For the Town of Hope Mills, the annual 4th of July Celebration begins at 10 a.m. Bright colors, smiling marchers and the upbeat festive calls of marching bands will flood the streets for the traditional 4th of July Parade. From noon until 9 p.m., there will be all manner of celebration in the streets. Parade bands perform all day long, providing a festive atmosphere. There will also be food vendors, arts and crafts. children’s activities, and inflatables. Starting at 9:15 he fireworks display will begin. For more information call 423-4314 or visit http://www.hopemillschamber.org/index.php/component/k2/item/14-town-of-hope-mills-4th-of-july-parade.

    Main Street in Spring Lake will also be a center of celebration for Independence Day. Beginning at noon, Main Street will have activities for the entire family. All day long there will be live entertainment and bands performing a variety of music. There will be something for everyone to enjoy. To help stay cool in the summer heat there will be water activities and in celebration of American industrial prowess, don’t miss the car show. Lining the street will be food and craft vendors as well. For the younger crowd, there is also a Kid Zone full of activities intended for children. 9 p.m. brings the end of the celebration, but like any great festival it ends with a bang. The final event of the day is the fireworks display. For more information visit http://events.fayobserver.com/spring_lake_nc/events/show/370719801-4th-of-july-festival-on-main-street or call 497-8821.

    Photo:  Country music star, Josh Turner is set to perform at Fort Bragg’s 4th of July celebration.

  • 16Russell HewettEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

    The winning tradition established under Duran McLaurin continued at his alma mater, Seventy- First, last fall. The Falcons made the deepest run in the state football playoffs of any of the Cumberland County Schools, reaching the 4-A Eastern Regional finals before falling to Sandhills Athletic Conference rival Scotland. They finished the season with an 11-4 record.

    To make a similar run this season, McLaurin will have to improve the Falcons’ depth and fill a big loss at quarterback caused by the graduation of multi-talented Kyler Davis.

    McLaurin will coach Davis one last time next month. The two are scheduled to take part in the annual North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star football game in Grimsley High School’s Jamieson Stadium in Greensboro.

    “Losing Kyler is going to be a big area of concern for us,’’ McLaurin said. “We’re going to have to replace Kyler’s production at several positions.’’ McLaurin indicated the Falcons will need to get more offensive production from their running backs and receiver corps to offset Davis’ exit.

    One player McLaurin is counting on is receiver Jermaine Johnson, who had 29 catches and two touchdowns last fall. There will also be some younger prospects joining the varsity from the Falcons’ last two successful junior varsity teams.

    “Seventy-First has a winning tradition,’’ McLaurin said. “That’s what we do over here, and we’re going to try to continue that.’’

    One key to that this season will be the play of two-way lineman Russell Hewett, who will again see action on the offensive and defensive fronts.

    “We are depending on his veteran experience and leadership on both sides of the ball,’’ McLaurin said of Hewett. “He’s very important where it counts, in the trenches on the offensive and defensive lines. He’s one of our toughest players. We’re expecting a whole lot from him.’’

    Hewett said the focus of Seventy-First’s spring workouts was to get better than the day before. “We just keep working so we can be successful this season and make it to the championship,’’ he said.

    Whoever winds up playing quarterback for Seventy-First this year, Hewett said the pressure is on the offensive line to protect him. “We need to block for our quarterback,’’ he said. “Our key is just to block for them, and they’ll take us to the championships.’’

    Photo: Russell Hewett

  • 15Kayla PlessKayla Pless has been named the new varsity girls basketball coach at Pine Forest High School. The announcement was made last week by Trojan athletic director Jason Norton.

    Pless replaces David May, who will be stepping down as the girls basketball coach but will continue to work at the school, his alma mater. His new position will be as assistant boys basketball coach and girls golf coach.

    May will represent Pine Forest as girls basketball coach one last time at next month’s North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star basketball game at the Greensboro Coliseum.

    Cumberland County players who will be on the East team include Pine Forest’s Kendal Moore, E.E. Smith’s Alex Scruggs and Terry Sanford’s Kate Perko.

    Pless is a 2012 graduate of Topsail High School in Hampstead, North Carolina. She played college basketball at Methodist University, graduating in 2016 with a bachelor of science in sports management.

    She coached youth basketball in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for two years and was a junior varsity coach at Terry Sanford High School last season. She also coached a 16-and-under Amateur Athletic Union team from Durham.

    Pless is currently working on a master's of education at Methodist with a concentration in coaching and athletic administration.

    Photo: Kayla Pless

  • Screen Shot 2019 06 17 at 100855 PMThe Hope Mills Boosters American Legion baseball team solved a nagging problem while also paying tribute to a beloved supporter who recently died.

    Getting to road baseball games each summer was a challenge for the boosters as coaches and team members had to find their own transportation to and from games. 

    That problem was solved thanks to the support of the Massey Hill Lions Club and one of its members, Fred McFayden. With their help, the Boosters bought an old Cumberland County school bus and converted it into an activity bus.

    They used it for the first time last month. 

    “The bus was bought for safety reasons at the conclusion of last season,’’ said Mark Kahlenberg, coach of the Boosters team. “The Massey Hill Lions Club has been a great support system for our program. Fred was the biggest reason the bus was purchased, and he’s always been there for us.’’ 

    Tragically, McFayden died unexpectedly this April, at the age of 64, before the 2019 American Legion baseball season began.

    “The club thought it would be fitting to name (the bus) in honor of Fred as an enduring testament to his love for Legion baseball and his dedication to keep it alive in Hope Mills,’’ Kahlenberg said.

  • 19JoshTownsendEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

    Brian Randolph was an assistant coach under former Jack Britt football head coach Richard Bailey during the period when Buccaneer football enjoyed consistent success. Randolph has been working hard to return the Buccaneer program to that same level of winning. Last year’s 5-7 record, which included a trip to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A state playoffs, was a step in that direction.

    Randolph hopes to keep the march to championship contention going in the season ahead.

    “I want to set a standard of excellence that’s been here since the school was open,’’ Randolph said. “Nobody is going to be perfect, but we can all reach for that higher level in whatever we’re doing, whether it’s football or academics. That’s what restoring order is all about this year.’’

    Britt rebounded from a 0-3 start last season to go 4-3 in the Sandhills Conference, including a win against 4-A Eastern finalist Seventy-First.

    “We were within one game of finishing second in the conference,’’ Randolph said. “The mantra last year was don’t quit, regardless of what happens. They did not quit.’’

    But the Buccaneers did suffer substantial graduation losses on both sides of the football, especially defensively, where the entire linebacker corps was wiped out.

    The good news on offense is almost the entire line will return, but Randolph will have to replace veteran quarterback Brennan Shortridge.

    “I think there are pieces in place to be successful,’’ Randolph said. “But as you know, the conference we play in is difficult.’’

    The Buccaneers open with a brutal non-conference slate that includes South View, Pine Forest and Terry Sanford. Pine Forest was the Patriot Athletic Conference regular season title. That trio combined for 31 wins in 2018, and all reached the third round of the state playoffs.

    Pass defense will be critical for the Buccaneers as Randolph hopes his team can play a lot of man-to-man coverage. “That frees us up to do more things up front, especially with the loss of linebackers and defensive line,’’ he said. He said Britt needs to find ways to put pressure on the ball and create what he calls havoc plays.

    A player who figures to be central in making that happen is cornerback Josh Townsend, who will be a senior this fall.

    Townsend said last season the Buccaneers weren’t entirely in the same flow. The focus so far for 2019 is to get everyone doing their job and knowing what that job is on the field.

    “Younger guys have got to step up,’’ Townsend said. “Older people have to lead them there, teach them to do it the right way.’’

    Townsend expects some familiar teams to be in the hunt for this year’s Sandhills Athletic Conference championship.

    “Seventy-First always gives us a good run,’’ he said. “Richmond Senior was really good last year. They had a great team.’’

    Randolph is working to get Jack Britt included in the discussion when the subject is conference championship.

    “People in this building understand there’s a standard of excellence you have to attain to,’’ he said. “We’re following that same mantra on the football field.’’

    Photo: Josh Townsend

  • 15ChadBarbourPinecrest High School won the Wells Fargo Cup for the Sandhills 4-A Athletic Conference, according to a press release from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

    The cup is awarded to the conference school with the best overall athletic program as determined by points awarded for order of finish in each official conference sport.

    Pinecrest capped its championship this year with a strong showing in the spring, taking conference titles in boys and girls track and baseball.

    Jack Britt placed second in the chase for the cup. The Buccaneers won boys tennis and placed second in softball this spring.

    Richmond Senior placed third with a title in softball and second place in baseball.

    Here are the point totals for each school: Pinecrest 138.5, Jack Britt 118.5, Richmond Senior 103.5, Lumberton 73, Scotland 73, Hoke County 64.5, Purnell Swett 48.5, Seventy-First 43.

    • Some people were a little surprised to see the name of Pine Forest’s Isaiah Bennett during the closing rounds of the recent Major League Baseball draft. A pitcher for the Trojans, Bennett has seen little action for more than a year as he’s been recuperating from Tommy John surgery.

    Bennett had already committed to play baseball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when the San Diego Padres took him in the 36th round of the draft.

    The East Village Times said Bennett is the thirdranked player overall in the state of North Carolina despite his injury problems. They called him an athletic right-handed pitcher with a high upside. They said his fastball is between 89 and 91 mph, sometimes hitting 92 or 93.

    Multiple sources indicate Bennett will likely decide to decline the draft opportunity with the Padres and enroll at North Carolina to play for the Tar Heels.

    • Two players from Terry Sanford were named to the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association 3-A All-State team earlier this month: Davidjohn Herz and Justin Ebert.

    Herz decided to forgo playing with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, signing a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs last week. He is awaiting assignment to a Cubs rookie league team, most likely in Arizona. Ebert is committed to play baseball at High Point University in the fall.

    • At the most recent meeting of the Cumberland County Board of Education, South View High School’s Isaiah Fultz was recognized for his accomplishments in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A track and field meet.

    Fultz became the first wheelchair-bound athlete from Cumberland County to both compete and win in the state 4-A track meet. He took the championship in the wheelchair 100-meter competition with a time of 21.91 at the state meet at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro.

    South View athletic director Chad Barbour said as far as he’s been able to determine, Fultz is the first wheelchair athlete from Cumberland County to compete in track and field at the state level.

    Photo: Isaiah Fultz, left, is the first wheelchair-bound athlete from Cumberland County to both compete and win in the state 4-A track meet. To his right is South View athletic director Chad Barbour

  • 19DavidMayKendalMooreThis summer’s East All-Star girls basketball team will have a strong Cumberland County flavor. The head coach and three players on the team hail from Fayetteville.

    Pine Forest’s David May will serve as head coach for the East team in the annual East- West All-Star game. It will be played Monday, July 15, at the Greensboro Coliseum.

    The girls will play at 6:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 8:30 p.m.

    Joining May as members of his East girls team will be Alex Scruggs of E.E. Smith, Kendal Moore of Pine Forest and Kate Perko of Terry Sanford.

    Scruggs was the Player of the Year in the Patriot Athletic Conference while Moore made first team all-conference. Scruggs is going to Wake Forest, and Moore is headed for North Carolina State.

    Perko was a second team All-Patriot Athletic Conference selection. She will be playing for Meredith College.

    The East All-Star boys basketball roster was announced earlier, and there is one Cumberland County player on the squad. Brion McLaurin of Seventy-First, Player of the Year in the Sandhills Athletic Conference, will perform for the East squad.

    L to R: David May and Kendal Moore

  • 18MatthewPembertonEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

    Rodney Brewington was a player on the 1991 South View High School football team that won the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A state championship. Last year, his Tigers got a taste of that kind of success as they finished in a tie for second place in the Patriot Athletic Conference, one game back of regular-season champion Pine Forest.

    But Brewington has a big rebuild to do on offense, and it involves replacing his son, four-year Tiger quarterback Donovan Brewington.

    “The biggest thing we are looking for now is guys who have to step up and lead,’’ Brewington said.

    They’ll also need to replace his son’s favorite target, Emery Simmons, one of the best deep threats in Cumberland County, who’s now playing for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

    One player who will be counted on heavily is running back Matthew Pemberton, the secondleading rusher in Cumberland County Schools last season with 1,667 yards and 23 touchdowns, the latter the most in the county. “Matthew Pemberton is going to carry a heavy load,’’ Brewington said.

    On the defensive side of the ball, Brewington thinks the Tigers have players who can fill the positions, they just need to step up and show what they can do to make big plays.

    Offensively, Brewington thinks this will be the year of the running back in Cumberland County. Nearly every school will have a talented runner in the backfield who can take the ball the distance whenever it is handed to them, he said.

    South View’s best, Pemberton, is hoping to get a lot of college looks while doing all he can to help his teammates be winners.

    “We have the players this year to do the same or better than we did last year,’’ Pemberton said. “We just have to be disciplined and listen to coach.’’

    Pemberton said he expects to be called on to do more things to fill some of the void left by the departed seniors. “I have to do more to help the younger kids understand what they need to do in game situations,’’ he said.

    Photo: Matthew  Pemberton

  • 17KendallEvansEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

    A big senior class entering a football season is a plus, but when that year is over, it can be a major liability. Gray’s Creek football coach David Lovette is dealing with that harsh reality as his Bears lost 20 players who played a variety of key roles last season.

    The good news is there were a lot of youth in the offensive line. Most of them return this year, along with the quarterback, who just happens to be Lovette’s son Ben. Ben threw for 729 yards in the Bears’ runoriented Wing-T offense.

    Another key player returning is promising running back Jerry Garcia, who saw a lot of playing time last season and rolled up 529 yards and five touchdowns.

    “It’s not like the cupboard is bare,’’ Lovette said of the graduation losses. “We’ll miss those guys, but a lot of them (the returners) have seen playing time.’’

    Garcia has been timed electronically at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. “He’s one of those kids that if the weight room is open, he’s there,’’ Lovette said. “He’s a hard worker.’’

    The Bears used much of the spring to put in a few changes to their system. “We’re doing the same things, just doing them differently,’’ Lovette said. Some changes are being made in the defense, and Lovette is still searching for a punter to complete the special teams.

    One of the top defensive players back for the Bears is defensive end Kendall Evans. At 6-foot- 3 and 240 pounds, he’s being recruited by such schools as Wake Forest, North Carolina A&T, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State.

    “I just want to work on my technique, my speed and my strength,’’ Evans said of the summer and fall workouts.

    He feels the Bears need to focus on working together better as a team. “I think we did a lot better last year than we did previous years,’’ he said. “We didn’t have anyone selfish on our team. We were selling out for each other.’’

    Last season the Bears were 7-5 and lost to Northern Durham in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A state playoffs.

    Photo: Kendall Evans

  • 16DJHerzSince his earliest days playing any sport, Terry Sanford baseball standout D.J. Herz has always played at the highest level. Now that he’s been drafted by the Chicago Cubs to play Major League Baseball, his father, John Herz said, that’s likely to continue. 

    While a final decision hasn’t been reached, the senior Herz, who is also representing his son in negotiations with the Cubs, said both are leaning toward signing a contract and starting D.J.’s professional career in the minor leagues as soon as possible.

    D.J. was the 252nd player chosen in the draft, going to the Cubs in the eighth round.

    “He’s really ready to get started,’’ the elder Herz said of his son. “That’s just D.J.’s makeup. He’s always played up, always played with the best. He’s ready to continue that trend.’’

    D.J. was a three-sport athlete during the majority of his high school career at Terry Sanford, starting at quarterback in football, playing guard in basketball, and pitching and playing in the field for the baseball team.

    This past season, the young Herz was voted Player of the Year in the Patriot Athletic Conference. He led Terry Sanford to the regular-season title, a 24-3 record and the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs. For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs were eliminated by the eventual state champion, New Hanover.

    On the mound, Herz was 8-1 with a 0.51 earned run average and a Cumberland County Schools best of 106 strikeouts in 56.1 innings. At the plate, he batted .419 and drove in 26 runs. He had a county-best 13 doubles and tied for the lead in home runs with four. He also shared the lead in triples with three.

    Herz’s father said the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursued his son hard and was still hopeful of getting him to play for the Tar Heels this fall.

    But the senior Herz indicated the preference is to focus on professional baseball and forego a college career.

    Once D.J. makes a final decision to sign, he will likely be assigned to one of Chicago’s rookie league teams, which are located in Arizona.

  • Here is the Sandhills Athletic Conference softball team as chosen by the league’s head coaches.

    Pitcher of the year: Morgan Britt, Lumberton and Greyson Way, Richmond Senior

    Player of the year: Carlie Myrtle, Jack Britt

    Coach of the year: Wendy Wallace, Richmond Senior

    First team:

    • Richmond Senior — Savannah Lampley, Taylor Parrish, Aliyah Swiney, Payton Chappell, Kayla Hawkins

    • Jack Britt — Jessica McRae, Alyssa Brown, Catie McGrath

    • Lumberton — Madison Canada, Ashley Prevatte, Kasey West

    • Purnell Swett — JaiLeana Deese, Chandra Locklear, Katlyn Jones, Trinity Locklear

    • Scotland — Olivia Hyatt, Taylor Whitley

    • Hoke County — Ina Womack, Kiya Locklear

    • Pinecrest — Katelyn Chisholm, Hannah Spinali

    • Seventy-First — Lacey Henry

    Photo: Carlie Myrtle

  • 24AlexReynaHere is the Sandhills Athletic Conference baseball team as chosen by the league’s head coaches.

    Player of the year: Bryce Calcutt, Pinecrest

    Pitcher of the year: Hunter Parris, Richmond Senior

    Coach of the year: Jeff Hewitt, Pinecrest

    First team:

    • Pinecrest — Elliot Embler, Nick Phantom, Jacob Zimmerman, Davis Wilson, Pres Ostert

    • Jack Britt — Chase Jernigan, Alex Reyna, Kevin Sentell

    • Purnell Swett — Zachary Carter, Jalyn McIntyre, Jeremiah Locklear

    • Lumberton — Parks Ledwell

    • Richmond Senior — Cameron Carraway, Jake Ransom, Tyler Bass, Brett Young, Garet Weigman

    • Scotland — Stewart Evans, Matt Sellers, Michael Johnson, Nic Callahan

    • Hoke County — Liam Miller

    Photo: Alex Reyna

    • Seventy-First — Jamiese Alston

  • The Gilbert Theater presents the Second Annual Pryer Awards on June 23, from 6-9 p.m. This annual celebration of theater and thespians was begun to commemorate the work of Gilbert founder, Lynn Pryer.06-18-14-lynne-pryer.gif

    Fayetteville audiences might recall the article published in Our State Magazine announcing Pryer’s retirement as artistic director of the Gilbert in 2012. The article chronicled Pryer’s theatrical experience, which began in the garage of his childhood home in Fortuna, Calif., in the early 1940s, where he used a burlap curtain and charged the neighborhood children 10 cents to see a show.

    Pryer moved to Fayetteville after retiring from his job as a children’s librarian and founded The Gilbert in 1994 in the basement of his home. In 2001, zoning complications prompted the theater to relocate — first to the Arts Council building on Hay Street, then to its current location on the corner of Green and Bow streets. Pryer reigned as artistic director at The Gilbert for 18 seasons and 100 plays, thus the creation of the annual Pryer Awards to celebrate his work.

    “The Pryer Awards were a great success last year. Some wonderful local artists were honored: James Dean, Joyce Lipe and Matt Lamb among them. This year we welcome the talents of the Rent cast to entertain us as well as local favorites, Dr. Gail Morfesis, Laurel Flom, Tyler Pow and Sara Beth Short (local Gilbert actors who worked in shows this season and last). The silent auction will boast beautiful art and pottery pieces, jewelry, electronics and more,” said Robyne Parrish, current artistic director. “There will be food, door prizes and drink. Everyone in the community who supports the Gilbert Theater and the arts should attend this fundraiser. It is a tribute to our actors, designers and volunteers who work tirelessly to make the arts community in Fayetteville what it is — fantastic!”

    The awards are set at the end of each season like the Tony or Oscar awards and the nominees are determined by audience votes, which are gathered at the conclusion of each performance. The shows, casts and crews in the running for this season are from the performances of the musical Rent, A Christmas Carol, Pan, Sherlock Holmes, The Sleeping Detective and A Company of Wayward Saints. It will be an evening packed with entertainment, food, beverages and fun.

    Since its creation, The Gilbert has provided an artistic home for many area thespians, directors and writers. Fayetteville playwright, Stephen Miles, described The Gilbert’s artistic mission by saying, “I think the big draw is the diversity of presentation. There is no place [in Fayetteville] that anyone can go, outside of the Gilbert, to see some of these new, innovative plays. The theater covers about everything.”

    The theater’s mission promotes fresh, local talent, whether it is a playwright, director or actor. Several of this season’s shows were debuts of works by local playwrights including Pan, written by Jeremy Fiebig and Sherlock Holmes, The Sleeping Detective from the pen of James Dean. The multitalented Dean won the best actor award last year and is on this year’s roster of nominees.

    Don’t miss this opportunity to support local art and artists. Tickets are $40 dollars and are available while they last through the Gilbert website (www.gilberttheater.com) or by calling the box office at (910) 678-7186.

    Photo: The Pryer Awards, named in honor of Lynn Pryer (center), founding director of The Gilbert Theater, honors local thespians.

  • 22AllyssaRancourAfter being in operation for less than two years, the Gary Weller Foundation has enjoyed rapid growth that allowed it to triple the amount of money it awarded in its annual scholarships. After presenting two $500 scholarships a year ago, the foundation awarded a pair of $1,500 scholarships to students at Pine Forest High School this year.

    The winners were Allyssa Rancour of the girls soccer team and Tanner Hendricks of the boys soccer team. The award is presented to student-athletes at Pine Forest who had to overcome adversity, befitting of a scholarship presented in honor of Weller, the former Pine Forest football coach. Weller sustained multiple serious injuries some years ago when he was run over by a driver in a stolen vehicle.

    Cumberland County Commissioner Jimmy Keefe is a Pine Forest graduate and one of the organizers of the Gary Weller Foundation. He said the foundation was able to dramatically increase the amount of the scholarship awarded this year because of a highly successful Trojan Challenge obstacle course competition that was held last fall. “We’re hoping to increase it next year, hopefully with a second annual Trojan Challenge,’’ Keefe said.

    23TannerHendrickKeefe said much of the credit for the success of the foundation has to go to Weller, his story and the positive attitude that has carried him through adversity. “Gary has made a lot of friends in this community and has always been an advocate for young people,’’ Keefe said. “He continued on after his coaching days, supporting the community and the young. It’s more Gary than me or anybody else on the committee.’’

    In addition to another Trojan Challenge, Keefe said the committee is looking at other ways to raise money for future scholarships.

    They’ve floated an idea of holding a coaching clinic for local high school, middle school and recreation league coaches, possibly using veteran coaches from the area as clinicians or speakers.

    “We’d have a symposium and questions and answers,’’ Keefe said. “If we did that, we might be doing it during the summer, another way to keep the Gary Weller Foundation in the public eye as we go throughout the year.’’

    There are several ways to contact the Weller Foundation about making a contribution or learning more about the organization. Email info@trojanchallenge.org, visit the website at www.trojanchallenge.org, or visit the Facebook page, The Gary Weller Foundation.

    Photo: Allysa Rancour and Tanner Hendricks

  • 15Strike2“Strike at the Wind!” – a play beloved by generations – returns to Givens Performing Arts Center for two shows as part of the 50th anniversary of Lumbee Homecoming.

    The iconic drama, which tells the local story of the Lowrie War in 1865, will be performed Saturday, June 30, and Sunday, July 1.

    “Strike at the Wind!” returned in 2017 after a 10-year hiatus, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and the Lumbee Tribe.

    The play ran from 1976 to 1996 and was staged at the Adolph Dial Amphitheater at the Lumbee Tribal Cultural Center. It returned in 1999 and again in 2007.

    Jonathan Drahos, who is directing the play, said 95 percent of the 2017 cast is back, including Matthew Jacobs and Wynona Oxendine, who play the lead roles of Henry Berry Lowrie and his wife, Rhoda Strong.

    “Everyone is excited to be back again this year,” said Drahos, director of UNCP Theatre. “The fact that most of the cast is back is a real positive step in the right direction. They were inspired last year by the spirit of the play and the audience response.”

    The play chronicles the life of Lowrie, who led a band of men in a seven-year battle against those he believed killed his father and brother.

    “The play celebrates the heroic effort of a culture of people,” Drahos said. “This story is one example of the enduring spirit of the Lumbee people and how much their culture has changed history.

    “Henry Berry was someone who was able to move the conversation forward toward equality and justice, and that, to me, is the most important aspect of the play. His gang had Native Americans, whites and blacks – people of all races – fighting together for one cause. We need important causes like that in order to progress.”

    This year, the play will feature live musical performances by local artists, including Charly Lowry, Mark McKinney & Company, Lakota John, Alexis Jones and Kirk Blue. They will be performing the play’s original songs composed by the late Willie French Lowery.

    “Live music, I think, is going to be a major shift from what the audience saw last year,” Drahos said. “It adds a new element. It’s going to be exciting.”

    Wynona Oxendine, a graduate of UNCP’s theatre program, teaches drama at Seventy-First High School.

    “This play tells such a legendary story,” she said. “This year, the audience is in for another high energy, epic production. We are all super excited!”

    The June 30 show begins at 8 p.m. and the July 1 at 5 p.m. Tickets prices for the evening shows are $15. Call 910-521-6361 or visit www.uncp.edu/gpactickets to purchase tickets.

  • 06-25-14-farmers-market.gifCumberland County Commissioner Jimmy Keefe took exception to last week’s publisher’s notes penned by Up & Coming Weekly Publisher Bill Bowman. The topic was whether or not the Franklin Street parking deck is the right place to set up the farmers market. Bowman thinks not. Keefe begs to differ.

    To truly understand the argument, it helps to know what makes the members of the Fayetteville Farmers Market Association, and the entity itself, unique – what sets it apart from the City Market and the private enterprises in the area that sell produce. The Fayetteville Farmers Market Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping local farmers bring fresh healthy produce to the community. Members of the organization sign an agreement that mandates that they grow at least 80 percent of what they sell through the association. The organization partners with the N.C. Cooperative Extension to bring resources and training to the members and to advocate on behalf of the farmers. This makes things like the Good Agricultural Practices Certification more accessible and affordable for the farmers, allowing them to sell to schools, hospitals and other systems. The Fayetteville FMA works with public health agencies to assure that fresh healthy produce is available to everyone, including low-income groups that use nutrition cards to buy food. Members of the FMA are local residents with a stake in the community.

    By following the mandates and guidelines of the organization, Keefe noted there are several sources of funds that could come available once the market is up and running. “There are community transformation grants and monies through the N.C. Department of Agriculture that we don’t have access to because we don’t have a workable plan right now. There are Golden Leaf funds from tobacco settlements that are used to promote healthy communities that we want to apply for. There are monies earmarked for public health, which include farmers markets, but you have to have a plan and be able to measure success. This kind of financial support would benefit the community and farmers.” And yet, the FMA still struggles to find a home.

    “If you’ve ever been to a thriving farmers market, you know there is a vibe there. It becomes a social event,” said Keefe. “There is a sense of community at well-run farmers markets and an atmosphere that promotes healthy living and healthy lifestyles. I believe putting the farmers market in the parking deck will work. It will provide cover for the farmers and customers. It will add foot traffic to the downtown area and enhance the culture of downtown and in addition to bringing fresh, healthy food to the community.”

    Keefe added that he hopes for a day when local restaurants will shop for ingredients at the farmers market and that hosting it in the parking deck would make it that much more convenient for them.

    Some arguments against using the parking deck include the fact that the facility has no water, no bathrooms and no room to grow. Keefe notes that several previous locations did not have water or bathrooms and still had plenty of customers. Besides, the parking deck was designed for retail on the ground floor and has hookups for these facilities that could be used at a later date. And yes, Keefe said. There is room to grow. “We are not asking for a monopoly on selling produce or to make the farmers market a competitor with other local markets. We want to coexist side by side so that we can all prosper and work together to benefit the community.”

    While the powers that be struggle to work out the details — or not — the Fayetteville Farmers Market Association is moving forward. If it’s not going to be the Franklin Street parking deck, the organization is committed to setting up in other locations around town. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks…

  • 21ColeHumphreyThe Cole Humphrey Memorial Foundation recently made its annual donation to the football and baseball programs at the Cape Fear spring athletic banquet. The foundation is named for former Cape Fear multi-sport athlete Cole Humphrey, who died in an automobile accident. Accepting for the football team is assistant coach Chris Hall, far left, and for the baseball team head coach Wendell Smith, far right. Also present, from left, are Larry Ellis, Jana Humphrey, McRae Humphrey, Cape Fear athletic director Matt McLean and Ann Ellis.

    This year’s donation is $2,000, which brings the total donated since 2014 to $12,000.

  • 09GreenTeaWhether due to personal passion or well-meaning parents, most adults can remember participating in a summer camp skit or school play at some point in his or her childhood. As a tree, as a star, as part of the warbling chorus, performing as a young person is usually an indelible experience. Sweet Tea Shakespeare, a local theater company known for its whimsy, creativity and live music, recently introduced a new opportunity for performers ages 12-17: Green Tea.

    “Green Tea is not merely a class or camp activity, but over time will be closely integrated in the company as a way of fostering new talent,” said Jeremy Fiebig, STS artistic director and president.

    Green Tea, which kicked off this March, is headed by Jennifer Pommerenke, STS general manager. She’s the previous assistant program director for Camp Kahdalea in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and she’s worked for Carnival Cruise Lines’ youth department. She said Green Tea is a program in which young people learn to create their own acting process and then perform in a show to put what they’ve learned into practice.

    “Since the company and ensemble’s structure is such a vital component to Sweet Tea Shakespeare, we wanted to create a mini version of that (with Green Tea),” she said.

    STS’ structure is similar to a medieval craft guild. It’s composed of committed members who contribute in a variety of ways, giving each other feedback and learning from each other’s strengths and mistakes.

    Pommerenke said building friendships is an important part of Green Tea, too. At the start of each monthly two-hour session, she said, everyone warms up with improvisation games.

    “At this pivotal point in their lives, this helps them learn how to listen to each other,” she said. “They’re games with no lines, no direction, no text. They really have to listen to one another to build a story that makes sense.” Next, they read chunks of Shakespearean text with the goal of processing and understanding the words together. The session ends with an acting lesson.

    “I take what the kids want to learn and where they are at in the process and build it off of that,” Pommerenke said. “I am catering it (to) who they are and what they enjoy. I can see... what gives them life, joy and delight and say that’s what I want to do next class.”

    Various STS company members and visiting artists also come in and teach classes.

    Green Tea’s first production will be a shortened adaptation of “Twelfth Night,” Shakespeare’s romantic comedy about twins separated in a shipwreck. Pommerenke said the show will open some
    time after Christmas.

    “We are hoping a couple Masters can come in and take some small parts,” Pommerenke said, referring to high-level STS company members who often play leading roles in STS productions. “That lets Green Tea know they are part of the company.”

    She said “Twelfth Night” will also feature a version of STS’ pre-show, a chance for actors to sing or dance in the half hour leading up to the start of the play.

    Registration for Green Tea is rolling, and interested students can drop in for a free trial class prior to joining. Green Tea meets one Sunday per month at the Capitol Encore Academy, 126 Hay St. Ages 12-14 meet 1-3 p.m. Ages 15-17 meet 3:30-5:30 p.m. Students sign up for one year at a time.

    For more information, email Pommerenke at gm@sweetteashakespeare.com or visit www.sweetteashakespeare.com/green-tea. To learn more about Sweet Tea Shakespeare and its 2018-19 season, visit www.sweetteashakespeare.com.

     

    PHOTO CREDIT: Megan Dohm, Thistle and Sun Photography

  • 20DeeHardyE.E. Smith High School’s Dee Major Hardy has received a number of significant honors in her long coaching career, but few will top the one she got at the school’s recent spring reunion. During the weekend ceremonies, the school announced that the basketball court in E.E. Smith’s D.S. Kelly Gymnasium had been named in Hardy’s honor, as the Dee Major Hardy Court.

    Hardy was a high school basketball star at Smith before enrolling at what was then Pembroke State and is now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. During her years there, she was second team National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All- American in basketball in 1985 and two-time All-District player in volleyball in 1982 and 1983.

    She finished her college basketball career with 1,555 points.

    She joined the faculty at E.E. Smith after graduating Pembroke and has coached volleyball and basketball at the school. She’s led her teams to multiple conference titles in both volleyball and basketball.

    In 2011, she was inducted into the Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame.

    She was the District 4 basketball Coach of the Year in 2018 and 2019. She won the 2011 North Carolina High School Athletic Association Doris Howard Female Coach of the Year Award and was a 2016 winner of the NCHSAA Homer Thompson Memorial Eight Who Make A Difference Award from Region 4.

    Hardy joins Cape Fear’s Howard and Douglas Byrd’s Robin Long as the only Cumberland County female coaches to have a gym, court or field named for them. The softball field at Cape Fear High School bears Howard’s name while the softball field at Byrd is named for Long.

    This past season was one of Hardy’s most successful as basketball coach at E.E. Smith. Her team compiled a 30-2 record, winning the Patriot Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles along with the Gene Arrington bracket of the annual Holiday Classic basketball tournament.

    The Smith girls advanced to the NCHSAA 3-A Eastern Regional title game before falling 62-59 to Eastern Guilford.

    Photo: Dee Major Hardy

  • 12joseph robinsonCan the experience of worldrenowned musician and North Carolina native Joseph Robinson contribute to North Carolina’s ongoing dialogue about the purpose and value of higher education?

    You be the judge.

    Robinson’s recent memoir, “Long Winded: An Oboist’s Incredible Journey to the New York Philharmonic,” asks: How did a small-town boy who never attended conservatory persuade one of the world’s greatest conductors, Zubin Mehta, to give him a chance at one of the world’s most coveted positions in one of the world’s greatest orchestras?

    Robinson grew up in Lenoir, finished Davidson College, spent a year in Germany on a Fulbright fellowship and did graduate study at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. Without the  focused, intensive conservatory training that is a usual prerequisite to a high-level performing career, his effort to build a life around his passion for the oboe was a struggle. He moved through a series of journeyman teaching and performing positions at the Atlanta Symphony, the North Carolina School of the Arts and the University of Maryland before he broke through to the top

    Growing up in a small North Carolina town might not be the best background for an aspiring classical musician. But the mountain furniture community of Lenoir had the best high school band in the state. When Robinson was drafted to fill an empty oboe slot, his course was set.

    He loved the oboe so much that his Davidson classmates called him “Oboe Joe.” But Davidson’s musical program lacked the professional music training that Robinson craved. He almost  transferred to Oberlin where there were more opportunities. Instead, he stayed at Davidson and majored in English, economics and the liberal arts, focusing on writing and expression

    His success at Davidson led to a Fulbright grant and the opportunity to meet Marcel Tabuteau, whom Robinson says was the greatest player and oboe pedagogue of the 20th century. When Tabuteau learned that Robinson was an English major and a good writer who could help write his book on oboe theory, he agreed to give him oboe instruction. Those five weeks with Tabuteau, Robinson says, “more than compensated for the conservatory training I did not receive.”

    Years later, Robinson still had not achieved his aspiration to land a first oboe chair in a major orchestra when Harold Gomberg, the acclaimed lead oboe of the New York Philharmonic, retired.

    Audaciously, Robinson applied, and when finally granted an audition, he prepared endlessly. He was ready for the hour and 20 minutes of paces the audition committee demanded. Afterwards, he was confident that he had done very well.

    But Philharmonic’s personnel manager, James Chambers, after saying how well the audition went, reported that music director Mehta judged Robinson’s tone “too strong” for the Philharmonic. He was not to be one of the two players who were finalists.

    That should have been the end of it, but Robinson writes, “I knew that winning a once-in-a-lifetime position like principal oboe of the New York Philharmonic was like winning the lottery.”

    At 3 a.m., he wrote Chambers explaining why his tone might have seemed too strong and, “You will not make a mistake by choosing Eric or Joe, but you might by excluding me if tone is really the issue.”

    When Chambers read the letter to Mehta, they agreed that it could not have been “more persuasive or fortuitous.”

    Chambers reported that Mehta said, “If you believe in yourself that much, he will hear you again.”

    Robinson’s final audition was successful. “His winning lottery ticket,” he writes, “had Davidson College written all over it.”

    How does Robinson’s experiences contribute to our higher education debate? Simply put, while training for jobs and careers is critical, liberal arts are the keys to special lifetime opportunities like Robinson’s “winning lottery ticket.”

     

    PHOTO: Joseph Robinson

  • 11CaribbeanThe Caribbean American Connection of Fayetteville, will host its 8th Annual Heritage Caribbean Festival Sunday, June 24, from 12-9 p.m. in Festival Park.

    “This is our festival where we give back to the community so they can learn about our culture,” said Sheron Baker, coordinator of the event.

    The festival will feature authentic foods, arts and crafts, local performers, African dancers, Salsa singers, games for the children, face painting, Reggae singers, clothing, vendors and more.

    “We have a lot of fun stuff we will be doing with the kids, and we will teach them about our culture,” said Baker.

    In 2006, President George W. Bush issued an annual proclamation recognizing June as Caribbean American Heritage Month. “The month is designed to let the community know what the culture is about and all about the Caribbean,” said Baker. “We share our culture, food, dance and the customs we did before we got here.”

    Baker added that the event continues to grow bigger each year, which is why it is being held in Festival Park.

    The Caribbean’s rich culture has historically been influenced by that of African, European, Amerindian and Asian traditions. “We have a lot of different tastes and types of food that we eat, and we wear certain ethnic clothing,” said Baker. “We listen to Reggae, Salsa and steel band music, and we love to dance.”

    The nonprofit organization also volunteers to help a local school. “We adopted a local school, and every Thanksgiving we provide to the school,” said Baker. “We also help with back-to-school drives, help flood victims, assist the Salvation Army with feeding the homeless, support the International Folk Festival and take part in Fayetteville State University’s International Culture Day.”

    Baker also noted that “We have fundraisers to raise money in order to make this event successful. We have local restaurants who sponsor us to help make this event great. We look forward to the community coming out to support our event.”

    Admission is free. For more information, call 910-261-6910

  • 13DiscoveringHere is a present for you from a column several years ago – a few quotes about North Carolina.

    “North Carolina is, I believe, the poorest state in the Union: the part of it though which we traveled should seem to indicate as much... The few detached houses on the road were mean and beggarly in their appearance, and the people whom we saw when the coach stopped had a squalid, and at the same time fierce air, which at once bore witness to the unfortunate influences of their existence.” From the journal of Frances Anne Kemble, traveling through the state in 1838. As bad as things sometimes seem today, we’ve come a long way in the last 180 years.

    “A short time of conflict & the day is ours – ours for Freedom, for Right, for Self Government! They can never overcome, never conquer us, for we fight for our Birthright – Freedom!” An entry dated April 24, 1861, from the diary of Catherine Ann Devereaux Edmondston of Halifax County. Are we always so confident of quick victory at the beginning of a “just war?”

    “Between the lines (the South Carolina and Virginia borders)...was left an area which for years on end rejoiced in the generalization that it was a vale of humility between two mountains of conceit. The generalization is useful, as most generalizations are. A modicum of truth lies in it, a persisting modicum, borne out in the report of a modern North Carolinian that among his State’s neighbors there were only two classes of people, those who never had worn shoes and those who made you feel that you never had....(I)n a North Carolina (that is) recently more proud than humble, (there is) a continuing conviction that one man is as good as another and that if you don’t believe it he’ll show you he’s a damn sight better....” Jonathan Daniels, writing in the 1930s.

    “Daniel Boone... grew to manhood in the Yadkin River Valley near Statesville. He spent nearly half of his life here, and in fact did not settle west of the mountains until he was 41.” Joe Knox, in the Greensboro Daily News in 1976.

    “This, Mr. Chairman, is perhaps the Negro’s temporary farewell to the American Congress; but let me say, Phoenix-like, he will rise up some day and come again. These parting words are in behalf of an outraged, heartbroken, bruised, and bleeding, but God-fearing people, faithful, industrious, loyal people – rising people, full of potential force.” George White, North Carolina’s last black Congressman, in 1901, giving his farewell speech to Congress, after being defeated in a re-election bid.

    “I am, by nature, very conservative, but I am firm in my convictions.. I want to blaze a trail for other women. I know that years from now there will be many other women in politics, but you have to start a thing.” Lillian Exum Clement of Asheville, in 1920 or 1921, after becoming the first woman to be elected to the North Carolina General Assembly.

    “I shall continue to stand against wastefulness and extravagance in any activity. But there is a point, even in economy, beyond which self-respecting government cannot go. For to do so means not merely an abdication of its function but social bankruptcy.” Governor J. C. B. Ehringhaus, in 1933, justifying a new tax to support education. What would he advise in today?

    Want more? I stole all these quotes from a book that the UNC Press published 25 years ago. “Discovering North Carolina: A Tar Heel Reader” was edited by Jack Claiborne and William Price.
    Charles Kuralt said about it, “The most interesting book about North Carolina I’ve ever read.”

    If you’ve read the column this far, you’ll want to read this book too.

  • 08TheTempest‘The Tempest’

    Over the years, Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s outdoor performances have become a summer staple in Fayetteville. This summer is no different as the company is in the middle of a two-week repertory run of two classic Shakespearean works: “The Tempest” and “Pericles.” June 6 saw the proverbial curtain rise on “The Tempest,” the story of Prospero – the rightful Duke of Milan who has learned magical powers from years of intense study – and his daughter, Miranda, who have been stranded on a mysterious island for 12 years. The island is also home to Ariel, a spirit enslaved by Prospero, and Caliban, a native inhabitant of the island who has also been enslaved by Prospero. As Duke of Milan, Prospero was overthrown by his brother Antonio.

    Antonio, along with King Alonso of Naples and a slew of other characters, are shipwrecked on the island due to a storm created by Prospero. Once Prospero has all of his enemies together, he sets about separating them from one another in order to exact his revenge and regain his position as Duke of Milan.

    STS often uses a technique called cross-gender casting, which means that men are often used in the roles of women and vice versa. “The Tempest” sees this practice employed to great effect as most of the main male characters are played by incredibly talented women – including the lead role of Prospero, which is helmed here by the impressive Duana Burby.

    Additionally, Tohry Petty’s portrayal of Ariel, the magical spirit, is infectious. She brings a physical and dramatic energy with her any time she steps onstage. The issue here, of course, is that the cast is much too large to mention everyone, especially when there are so many standout performances.

    With “The Tempest,” STS’ creativity and ambition are on full display. From the opening moments, the audience is transported into the world of magic that the piece presents. The opening scene’s shipwreck is imaginative and spellbinding. The production’s color palette and costume design are both striking and complimentary to the action unfolding. “The Tempest,” like all STS
    shows, is presented in an arena format with the audience able to choose their own seats anywhere on three sides around the performance space, which makes potential second viewings a completely new experience.

    “The Tempest” continues in rotation with Shakespeare’s “Pericles” until June 21 on the grounds of the 1897 Poe House at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex, 801 Arsenal Ave. Remaining show dates for “The Tempest” are June 14, 16, 18, and 20. Remaining dates for “Pericles” are June 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21. Shows begin each evening at 7:30 p.m. with a musical preshow at 6:45 p.m. General admission tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Senior citizen and military tickets are $13 in advance and $18 at the door. Admission for students and children ages 6-12 costs $8 in advance and $13 at the door. Children under five are admitted for free.

    For more information or to order tickets, visit www.sweetteashakespeare.com. STS can also be reached via phone at 910-420-4383.

    09Pericles2‘Pericles’

    “Pericles” was written by William Shakespeare and possibly one other collaborator in the early 1600s. It tells a fastpaced story of the Prince of Tyre’s adventures throughout ancient Greece, hitting many emotional notes along the way. Fear, passion, loyalty, loss, love – it’s all there, along with a healthy dose of comedy. STS’ quirky approach to theater shines in its production of this story, which runs through June 21.

    A hallmark of STS is its musicality. The term speaks to the live music woven throughout its shows, but “musical” is also a good descriptor for the way STS uses basic elements to invite the audience’s imagination out to play. “Pericles” showcases smart decisions by Director Jeremy Fiebig that maximize this invitation. Water and its doings – storms, waves, near-drownings – are a big part of Pericles’ story. In one scene, Pericles’ ship wrecks, and he is cast into the sea. We watch actor Richard Adlam’s form rise and fall and gasp and reach as company members swirl swaths of blue fabrics around him. One member holds a long, thin pole with dangling paper-cut fish above Adlam’s head. Another cast member paces around the grounds with a giant, round instrument that sounds like it’s filled with rice or beads.

    STS’ form lets you see exactly how the magic of scenes is created, but this doesn’t detract from the effect. If anything, audience members are invited to suspend disbelief like they really mean it – to lean into their role as a necessary component to creating the wonder of the production. Compared to more traditional theater, it’s both a more demanding and yet more childlike charge that yields great reward.

    The other elements of the show strike a nice balance between guiding the audience and leaving some things to simple, felt emotion. As in every STS show, a program provided at the beginning includes a brief, bullet-point synopsis of what happens in the play. These bullet points are a smart move, as Shakespeare can get pretty convoluted. For this show, each cast member also wears variations of a grey T-shirt with their character’s name written on it in clear, elegant type. In a story with names like Thaisa, Helicanus, Dionyza and Thaliard woven among Shakespeare’s intricate dialogue, these shirts are funny in their frankness and effective in their utility.

    The makeup is equally simple yet effective, the most notable being large silver tears that make permanent residence on Pericles’ cheeks. When he’s happy, they sparkle with joy; when he’s sad, they accentuate the grief in his eyes. In between, they give him an intense, otherwordly look. It works.

    This production also does an excellent job showcasing the beauty of Shakespeare’s wordsmithing. There’s a reason he’s considered one of the greatest writers of the English language, and it’s a delight to hear his lines in the fantastical, silly and heartfelt world STS creates.

    Adlam, last seen as Mr. Rochester in STS’ production of “Jane Eyre,” plays a solid Pericles and delivers his lines with clarity, fluidity and passion. Sarah Chapman stands out as Pericles’ daughter Marina, the weight and grace she brings to her character anchoring every scene she’s in. Tohry Petty is enjoyable to watch as Helicanus, Pericles’ most loyal subject and friend. Petty has a noticeably confident and mature stage presence and can be both earnest and hilarious. Jessica Osnoe is doe-eyed, gentle and regal as Pericles’ wife, Thaisa. Duana Burby keeps the story moving with affable expertise as Gower, the narrator of the tale.

    The rest of the cast operates like a wellmade batch of playdough, at times splitting off into individual roles, other times morphing into whatever form is needed to serve the story and the main characters’ adventures and emotions. They carry chests, march with fire, twirl poles with ribbons and change T-shirts and roles, and whatever they’re doing, it’s fun to watch. Traycie Kuhn-Zapata and Austin Hendricks are two who particularly shine.

    For a show that’s so boisterous, “Pericles” still manages to hit the deep tones of grief that come with the hero’s adventures. Pericles, dealing with the loss of a loved one, cries out to the sky: “O you gods! Why do you make us love your goodly gifts, and snatch them straight away?” I unexpectedly teared up. Any show that can sneak-attack me with tears after making me chuckle out loud a few minutes prior is a winner in my book.

     

    PHOTOS: TOP: ‘The Tempest’ - Duana Burby leads as Prospero, who’s learned magical powers from years of study. Photo courtesy Joseph Bloomer for Meraki Creative Agency. BOTTOM: ‘Pericles’ - Richard Adlam, center, as Pericles. Photo courtesy Thistle and Sun Photography.

  • 14concertGilbert1When Dr. Gerald Ellison approached Dr. Menno Pennink about ways he could help support the Gilbert Theater in downtown Fayetteville, Pennink was quick to suggest a classical concert fundraiser in his private music room on Person Street. With that, the seed that would become the Gilbert Theater’s Matinée and Fundraiser was planted. The afternoon of Sunday, June 10, the music room will open to a small number of ticket-holders for an intimate night of classical music.

    Pennink, a now-retired neurosurgeon, has been involved with many important ventures in Fayetteville since moving to the city in 1974. He was responsible for bringing the first computed tomography scan machine to the Fayetteville area in 1975. Pennink said, “Surgery was my profession, but I have been heavily involved in the revitalization of the downtown area.”

    Pennink has long been a believer in downtown Fayetteville as well as the arts and culture in the area. He is an accomplished concert violinist and began playing in the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra when he first moved to the area. He later bought and renovated the space on Person Street that would become his personal, private music room – The Capitol Room. Inside The Capitol Room, the floors shine beneath the overhead lights, and the space is graced by the presence of a Steinway & Sons concert grand piano.

    “The music room is sort of a hidden treasure,” Pennink said. “People don’t know about it. It’s not advertised.”

    The collaboration between Pennink, with his background in the arts and his long-term investments in downtown Fayetteville, and the Gilbert Theater makes sense. The program for the evening
    includes performances by Pennink as well as other classically trained musicians from the surrounding areas, including the renowned violinist Olesya Dashkevych of Winston-Salem. Musical selections to be featured include arrangements of classical chamber-music pieces by Beethoven, Schubert, Medtner and Massenet.

    All proceeds from the performance benefit the Gilbert Theater, which is preparing to enter its 25th season of providing the Fayetteville area with quality theater.

    The 2018-19 season opens in September with “Godspell.” The silver anniversary season will also include productions of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Doubt,” “The Laramie Project” and a stage adaptation of the classic C.S. Lewis novel “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

    The money raised from tickets to the matinée event will help the theater produce these shows and fund its many educational initiatives, including camps and classes for school-aged children. The Gilbert runs after-school classes for ages 8-15, a summer acting camp for ages 6-17, and glee/acting classes for ages 6-16. For those ages 16 and up, the Gilbert offers the Gilbert Actor Theatre Ensemble, G.A.T.E.

    The Gilbert Theater’s Matinée and Fundraiser will take place on June 10 at 3:30 p.m. at The Capitol Room, 134 Person St., in downtown Fayetteville. Admission is $30, and 50 tickets are available. Tickets can be purchased online at www.gilberttheater.com. For more information, contact the Gilbert Theater at 910-678-7186.

  • 13Cat GilbertSave the drama for ya momma, they say. But what if the drama is with your mom, your dad, your siblings, your partner – everybody? Well, then, you get a Tennessee Williams play. The last show of the Gilbert Theater’s 2017-18 season is Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Emotions and temperatures ran high on the small stage of the Gilbert, along with a warning to the audience
    about a broken air conditioning system. Fortunately, the heat works in the play’s favor. You feel like a devil sweating your sins out in a packed Sunday church. And there’s plenty of sin to go around.

    One summer day in the South, a rich, dysfunctional family gathers to celebrate a birthday but disintegrates under the weight of their hate. Their lies. Money. Sex. You name it, they fight about it. Who is sleeping with whom? Who is getting the inheritance?  What is not being said? Questions swirl until you are stifled and exhausted.

    The play opens with a voyeuristic view of our main characters, husband and wife Brick (James Hartley) and Maggie (Nicki Hart). Shadow silhouettes behind white screens entrance us as they
    shower and ready themselves for Big Daddy’s birthday. Given the size and limitations of a theater like the Gilbert, it’s always so special and invitational when brilliant flairs of set design like this are executed.

    In this opening scene, Brick and Maggie are already arguing. Maggie wants sex. Brick wants silence – and his whisky. But this is merely the façade of their marital problems.

    Brick is interrogated incessantly about his drinking problem. Big Mama (Rhonda Brocki) fusses. Maggie alternates between seducing and blackmailing him out of drinking. Meanwhile, Big Daddy insists Brick stops “passing the buck.” You gotta love the tenacity of family sometimes, right?

    James Dean (of modern times) as Big Daddy is transfixing. Trained at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles, Dean’s acting chops are light years above the mark. The green stage lighting
    on him as he contemplates old memories and confronts impending death gives eerie homage to scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo.”

    Overall, though, the production succeeds best at capturing how appearances are never what they seem to be.

    Brick and Maggie are a couple so clearly divided, there might as well be a 20-foot concrete wall, complete with batteries, trenches and moat between them. The instinct is to empathize for a spark plug like Maggie, settling for a husband who merely tolerates her presence. One gets the same feeling for Big Mama, who is berated by the misogynistic and cruel Big Daddy.

    But there’s sympathy to be had for Brick, too. He struggles with the confusion and homophobia that surrounds his friendship with the late Skipper.

    A claustrophobic time bomb of a tale, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” articulates how difficult it is to communicate, even with family, about our most deeply personal fears and issues. The play could be
    summed up entirely when Maggie says, “Lean on me,” and Brick replies, “I don’t want to lean on you. I want my crutch.”

    We can try to talk it out, but sometimes people aren’t ready to dissect and understand and fit each missing piece with another corresponding piece. They’d rather be a cat on a hot tin roof: do what is easy and avoid the conversation altogether.

    Some of the other standout performances of the night are from side characters like Mae (Staci Graybill) and the Reverend (Larry Carlisle). They manage to serve their characters while also alleviating enormous tension with understated hilarity.

    The Gilbert is closing out a season fraught with the caged hearts of those aching to be free. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is tense punctuation mark to that end. Shows will run until June 10. For tickets and information, visit www.gilberttheater.com.

  • 01coverUAC0060618001The plotlines of William Shakespeare’s most famous works, like “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet,” are almost universally known. Less common, though, is knowledge of how Shakespeare’s theaters actually operated and how his plays were performed in relation to their time. Sweet Tea Shakespeare, currently housed in the 1897 Poe House on Arsenal Avenue in downtown Fayetteville, puts on shows born from an organization that reflects Shakespeare’s ideologies and methods.

    That doesn’t mean STS is not contemporary – in fact, quite the opposite. Jeremy Fiebig, STS artistic director and president, founded the company in 2012 after moving to Fayetteville to teach theater at Fayetteville State University. He brought with him experience as an assistant director, stage manager and understudy at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia, three years’ experience teaching theater at Waldorf University in Forest City, Iowa, and a love for the spirit of Shakespeare. That spirit, he said, is rooted in accessibility.

    He explained that, “One hundred years before Shakespeare became Shakespeare,” the printing press created a fast-growing separation between those who could read and those who could not. “Shakespeare was writing pieces of literature that were read out loud,” Fiebig said. “He was playing with the language in the same way they were doing in print, but it was accessible to a whole group of people who maybe hadn’t been educated in the same way he had. That was the kindling that caused him to catch fire.”

    STS performs more than just plays written by Shakespeare, but Fiebig said that, no matter the source material, “We try to be accessible to all audiences, regardless of background. That makes us do what we do in a certain style that’s... like a combination of musical theater and children’s theater.” At the same time, he said, those who know the original texts will still find STS shows true to the essence of the language.

    Associate artistic directors Jessica Osnoe and Marie Lowe added that STS aims to inspire wonder and delight, not just in the stories but in demonstrating creative solutions for how to tell those stories with basic materials like Shakespeare would have used – fabric, light, wood, live music.

    “Jeremy has one of the best visual senses of anyone I’ve ever worked with,” Lowe said. “So many things in Shakespearean plays... are difficult to produce: ships, castles, harpies, magic, storms. Jeremy finds truly delightful ways of invoking these things without actually building a castle or crafting a ship.

    “That visual wonder … That’s one thing I think every audience comes away from our shows (talking about).”

    This wonder is homegrown by committed company members performing a variety of roles, both administrative and performative, rather than a cast that rotates with every show. “We organize ourselves in the way medieval and renaissance companies would have,” Fiebig said. “That structure is responsible for turning us into what we are today.”

    Osnoe explained that eight STS “masters” operate in a structure like a craftsman’s guild, each overseeing an “area of responsibility and apprenticeship with and for other company members known as ‘fellows’ and ‘wrights.’ The company comprises nearly 40 members, all with varying backgrounds, training and theatrical experience.”

    This structure, she explained, allows different members to take turns hosting different responsibilities, contributing his or her strengths and in turn receiving feedback and guidance for growth that will benefit not just them but the entire company. Entrylevel company members – the “wrights” and “fellows” – have the opportunity to move up as they continue to dedicate their time and talents to the larger body.

    Fiebig added that actors who do not wish to commit to company membership are still welcome to audition and that STS shows usually feature a mixture of company members and one-time performers.

    STS also includes a youth company, Green Tea, which offers young adults ages 12-17 monthly classes and the chance to perform.

    The next opportunities to see STS at work are “Pericles” and “The Tempest,” which are running in repertoire every other night June 5-21, except for June 18. These shows will conclude the company’s 2017-18 season.

    Fiebig is directing both shows, with the help of codirector Jessica Schiermeister for “Pericles.” “Pericles” follows the adventures of the Prince of Tyre, a character Fiebig described as “a great, regular old hero, like Jesus or, you know, D’Artagnan. A guy to whom things happen. Like Harry Potter.”

    Pericles, who will be played by Richard Adlam, charges around various locations in ancient Greece, experiencing shipwrecks, pirates, a murder plot, incest and romance – not necessarily in that order. With a 35-person cast playing a total of over 60 roles, it’s the largest number of people STS has ever involved in a production.

    “The Tempest” tells the story of, in Fiebig’s words, “this guy who in part feels like he screwed up his life with his approach to the world. He’s a loner. He feels like the last 12-15 years of his life, he’s been suffering the consequences.”

    The guy, Prospero, is a sorcerer and the rightful Duke of Milan. The consequences are that he’s been stranded on a desert island with his daughter, Miranda, for over a decade. The story that unfolds introduces us to, in addition to Prospero and Miranda, a captive spirit, a bitter monster, a scheming brother, a lovesick prince and a wise counselor, among others. “(The story) is ultimately about forgiveness,” Fiebig said. Prospero will be played by Ana Burby.

    STS 2018-19 season

    The new season kicks off in August and winds down next June. It will feature:

    • “The Comedy of Errors,” a story about a set of twins separated and the sweet, confusing, satisfying chaos and reunions that follow.

    • “OthelLIT,” a uniquely light-dark and boozy spoof on “Othello,” the tragic tale of love, deception and revenge.

    • “Behold,” a folk Christmas cantata that joyfully blends the new and the traditional.

    • “Sweeney Todd,” to be performed at Fayetteville Pie Company in the Westwood Shopping Center. The story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is deliciously adapted with rich, saucy danger, despair and … a cat.

    • “Maid Marian,” a new adaptation of “Robin Hood” by Osnoe. Get to know a new voice in the narrative. “I think it will mostly be bittersweet,” Osnoe said.

    • “Richard III” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in repertory. The first features one of Shakespeare’s most infamous villains and is a twisted tale of manipulation as a malcontent rises to power. Fiebig said it will feature electric guitars for a bluesy, rock feel. “The Merry Wives” is, in Fiebig’s words, “a great comedy while we’re still in the honeymoon phase of Megan and Harry,” referring to the recent royal wedding. “It has to do with who’s married to whom and who would like to be married whom.”

    Fiebig reflected on his future goals for STS, saying, “We want to grow our relationship with Fayetteville and its businesses, organizations, families and individuals. I think for a city to work, actors and directors and designers are as critical as police and firemen and EMS workers. It’s so important to us that we aren’t just making art, but making art for here and making artists who will make a life here.”

    For showtimes, tickets and more information, visit www.sweetteashakespeare.com.

  •     Could you forgive a person who murdered your family? Could you live with them in the same neighborhood? This is the question faced by the survivors of the brutal 1994 Rwandan genocide. 
        The Church of Apostles in Hope Mills will host the film As We Forgive on Wednesday, June 11 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the Cameo Art House Theatre in downtown Fayetteville. The 54-minute documentary is a 2008 finalist in the Student Academy Awards and is narrated by Mia Farrow. The film’s mission is to expose people across America to the untold story of Africa with the intention of inspiring a wider discussion of the need for reconciliation in our personal lives, institutions and government.  
        {mosimage}The movie revolves around the journey of two women whose families were murdered in the 1994 genocide. The prison systems in Rwanda were overcrowded and there were so many cases that the government chose to release more than 50,000 prisoners back into the community. The women were forced to live in the village with the people who were responsible for killing their families.       
        “The documentary tracks their stories of forgiveness and reconciliation,” said Leigh Ross, director of mission development at The Church of The Apostles. “One woman’s killer really tries to show his remorse by helping build her a home.”
    Ross added that the film captures how the people are trying to live after the genocide.
        The filmmaker, Laura Waters Hinson, was engaged in a conversation with Anglican Bishop John Rucyahana and he described a project that seemed unreal.
        “Wilson’s interest was peaked as she imagined a film that could capture the profound message communicated by genocide survivors and perpetrators who are reconciling and living together as neighbors,” said Ross. “Wilson returned to Rwanda with a small crew of student filmmakers and friends to witness the claim that reconciliation was happening.”
        Ross added that Hinson interviewed women and families in the community. 
        Rwanda is a very poor country located in east-central Africa. In 1994, more than 1 million people were killed during a 100-day rampage. Throughout the genocide, Tutsi women were often mutilated, raped and tortured before they were murdered. The genocide created a generation of orphans. 
        The film is free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. Fair trade Rwandan coffee will be sold during the event as a means to stimulate the Rwandan economy.  
        “We invite everyone to come and view the documentary,” said Ross. 
        For information, call 425-2561.

    Contact Shanessa Fenner at editor@upandcomingweekly.com
  •     {mosimage}In preparation for the thousands of troops making their way to Fort Bragg due to BRAC reassignment, Fayetteville/Cumberland County is demonstrating its commitment to the military by creating an army of volunteer civilians known as the Army’s Army. The Army’s Army is the world’s only volunteer organization of citizens and businesses who’ve pledged their moral, physical and spiritual support to those in the military. Specifically, they’ll do everything they can to make soldiers and their families feel welcome, appreciated and safe in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.
    {mosimage}As part of a Memorial Day celebration launching the initiative, Brig. Gen. Arthur Bartell thanked the citizens who volunteered for the Army’s Army. "They stay here because you open your hearts to the soldiers and family members of Fort Bragg and also Pope Air Force Base," said Bartell. "We call that, in the Army, selfless service."
        As members of the Army’s Army, volunteers will act as ambassadors to military families around the globe. Members can participate in various activities, such as answering e-mails and phone calls from soldiers and their families interested in finding out more about the community. Participating businesses, such as restaurants, may offer special discounts or have a table reserved at all times for the military. Bumper stickers on cars and posters in local community windows will serve as a constant reminder that the citizens of Fayetteville/Cumberland County support, appreciate and welcome soldiers.
        For more information about the Army’s Army, visit the Web site at www.armysarmy.com.

    Breastfeeding Coalition seeks info
        The Breastfeeding Coalition of Cumberland County is requesting nominations for “breastfeeding friendly” places of business, restaurants, public facilities or faith-based organizations. This could be a workplace that provides time and a place for a breastfeeding employee to pump and store expressed milk, it could be a business with a written breastfeeding policy, a restaurant or store that is accommodating to breastfeeding moms, or any business, faith-based or public facility that has welcomed a mother and her nursing baby.
    Nomination forms may be requested by calling (910) 484-8570 or via email to  HYPERLINK mailto:BfCoalitionofCC@gmail.com BfCoalitionofCC@gmail.com. Deadline for submissions is July 15, 2008.
        Presentation of certificates of recognition to selected establishments will be during World Breastfeeding Week, the first week in August.

    Cape Fear Valley Call for Art
        Calling all artists! Cape Fear Valley Health System will host a juried art exhibit to acquire original works of art by talented local and regional artists.
        The art exhibit will be during Fourth Friday on July 25 at the Arts Council headquarters in downtown Fayetteville. Up to 15-20 of the winning entries will be purchased by Cape Fear Valley Health System and displayed inside the new Valley Pavilion at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.
        The competition is open to all artists 18 years and older from North and South Carolina. A maximum of four, two-dimensional original works are allowed per entrant and must be submitted electronically by Wednesday, June 18. Initial judging of all entries will be done through JPEG submissions submitted on CD, DVD or USB jump drive. There is a $20 entry fee ($15 for Arts Council members) for two entries and $5 for each additional entry.
    Works chosen for the juried exhibition will be accepted Monday, July 14, through Thursday, July 17, and on Saturday, July 19, at the Arts Council headquarters. The Fourth Friday juried exhibition and reception is Friday, July 25, from 7-9 p.m.
        To download an entry form visit the Web site HYPERLINK “http://www.theartscouncil.com/” www.theartscouncil.com. Then get your creative juices flowing.

  • 06-29-11-fort-bragg-4th.jpgIf, after reaching this point in the newspaper, you still aren’t sure what to do on the 4th of July, we have a couple of more suggestions for you.

    You may want to drop into Fort Bragg and take in the festivities that ranked #16 on Parade Magazine’s America’s Bucket List.

    The entry on #16 reads: Seek out the best 4th of July fireworks within 50 miles of your home. One of the biggest shows is in New York City, where up to six barges detonate simultaneous displays, but every state has spectacular options, like Disneyland Resort’s patriotic explosions in Anaheim, Calif., or the celebration at Fort Bragg in N.C., which includes a thrilling parachuting exhibition.

    The event was also named one of the Top 20 events in the southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. It seems that the rest of America has fi nally clued in on what those of us who live in the region have known all along — if you want to celebrate your freedom, there’s no better place to do so than with the men and women who protect it every day. The Fort Bragg 4th of July Celebration has always been a show stopper and this year, it looks to be even better than before.

    The annual celebration is held at the Main Post Parade Field, right in the heart of Fort Bragg. Events kick off at 3 p.m. on Monday, July 4, and run throughout the evening, concluding with one of the area’s most inspiring fi reworks displays.

    Throughout the afternoon, attendees can watch breathtaking parachute freefall demonstrations; observe the grandeur of the popular flag ceremony; the shock and awe of the fireworks; and take part in what has to be one of America’s largest picnics as thousands of people unfold their blankets, break out their picnic baskets or take advantage of the wide variety of food and beverages that will be available from vendors throughout the evening.

    While the Fort Bragg event is known for its patriotic flavor, it’s also known for its musical guests. Each year Fort Bragg welcomes some of the nation’s most popular performers to the stage to delight the community.

    In recent years, there has been a decidedly country flavor to the event, and that remains true this year, as the post welcomes Charlie Daniels and Little Big Town to the stage.

    Daniels, a native of Wilmington, N.C., is best known for his fiddle playing and his hit songs “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and “In America.”

    In recent years, he has made headlines for his support of the military and his views on politics. In 2003, Daniels published an Open Letter to the Hollywood Bunch in defense of President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy. His 2003 book Ain’t No Rag: Freedom, Family, and the Flag contains this letter as well as many other personal statements.

    Daniels will be joined at the celebration by Little Big Town, a band that is known for its love of music and love of harmony. The band has sold more than 1.5 million records and garnered three Grammy nominations, including The Road to Here’s nomination for album of the year.

    Come early and take in all the events and then keep your eyes on the skies for the fireworks show that is sure to please everyone in your family!If you’ve never been to Bragg’s 4th of July activities, the sheer size of the event and the number of people who come may seem overwhelming; however, the post has this event down to a science and if you follow a few simple rules, everything will run smoothly. A complete listing of access points, parking areas and prohibited areas is listed on the Fort Bragg MWR website. While the entire community is welcome, please keep in mind that persons entering the post must have ID and your vehicles are subject to search. No pets or glass bottles are permitted on the parade field, and shelters and umbrellas are allowed only in designated areas.

    For more information, visit www. fortbraggmwr.com/sportsrec/specialevents/4thsoe.pdf.

  • 06-22-11-boomer-article.jpgEven for those of us who have grown up Googling, Yahooing and Binging our way to solutions for life’s many questions and challenges, it can sometimes be tough finding the answers we are looking for. For the generations who have come before us, and haven’t necessarily embraced the technologies of today, an Internet search can be nonproductive and frustrating.

    On Thursday, June 30, at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, the Boomer and Caregiver Expo is seeking to answer your questions, whether you are a 20-something, a 50-something or a 100-and-something.

    The organizers see this event as the fi rst of its kind in our community, and although there is a wealth of information aimed at Baby Boomers, event spokesperson Dineen Morton sees this as a must attend event for people of all ages. When people hear the words “Boomer” and “caregiver” they think this is something for older adults, and while there is plenty for older adults at the Boomer & Caregiver Expo, there is plenty for young people too, according to Morton.

    “We have a lot of Boomers in our community. At the same time, we have a lot of young people who work with Boomers and we really felt it was necessary — especially with the economy the way it is — for us to know how to work together so that our community can still thrive,” said Morton. “Because Boomers and the new generations think so differently, we just felt this would be a good way to incorporate everyone together but at the same time to acknowledge the Boomers and to educate them and those who work with them, live with them and love them.”

    The event will include more than 40 vendors ranging from entertainment and technology to home-based businesses and medical resources. Not only will there be informational displays, but Morton has lined up several speakers, too.

    “We have a presentation on the generations — the 20-somethings, the 30-somethings, the 40-somethings and the 50-somethings and how we all think and why we tick the way we tick,” said Morton. “The speaker will talk about the different generations and how we can work together so that we can better understand each other. We also have some folks who will talk about financial literacy and help us to be better stewards of our money.”

    In addition to the presentations in the main area, there will be smaller, more intimate break-out sessions every 15 minutes throughout the day, covering a wide range of topics.

    The goal is to not only educate, but to empower and encourage attendees as well to connect them to resources that are available in the community — and it is free and open to the public. There will be free food and hourly door prizes, too.

    “For young people, it can be encouraging to know that somebody who has walked in their shoes can help them to grow and be successful. We all need mentors, and as a young person this is a place that I would want to be if I were wanting to grow or to learn about where my future could be,” said Morton. “It will be helpful for them to see and hear about where they could be headed and maybe establish the relationship of a lifetime … find that mentor.”

    Call Dineen Morton at 486-5001 to find out more about the event.

  • 06-13-12-ralphie-may.jpgFans of Ralphie May are in for a treat. On June 17, the funny man is scheduled to perform at Sports U.S.A. The audience can let off some steam and watch him do what he loves best. “My favorite thing in the world is making people laugh,” said May. “To get on stage and tell a joke and then see the audience laughing and smiling is awesome.”

    A strong supporter of the military, May performs for the troops whenever he gets a chance. “It is a big thing for me to perform for the troops,” said May. “I benefit from having freedom of speech and it is an honor to entertain the people who give that gift to me.”

    The entertainer is great at cracking jokes, but he is serious about his dedication to military members and their families. May’s father was a sniper in Korea and his grandfather died in France in WWI.

    “When soldiers volunteer to serve they volunteer their famlies too, and these people didn’t sign up,” said May. “But they have to endure an empty chair at the table on Thanksgiving, an empty place in the bed for months at a time and the sad faces of their kids when mom or dad misses a birthday or school award ceremony.”

    Like other families who face separation, May does his best to squeeze in family time when he can. “Its tough when I am away from my family, my favorite thing in the world is just getting back to see them — or bringing them to see me. It’s hard being away from them.”

    Born in Chattanooga, Tenn., and raised in Clarksville, Ark., May is about as far away from the “you might be a redneck,” humor that people associate with the south as you can get. In fact, he started his professional career at the age of 17, opening for Sam Kinison. Encouraged by Kinison, May packed up and moved to Houston, Texas. May’s next stop was Los Angeles, Calif., where he scored a spot in Last Comic Standing as the show premiered. He finished in second place, and then moved on to shows like The Wayne Brady Show and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

    May’s current tour is titled Too Big to Ignore. He pulls no punches as he highlights society’s hypocrisies. May covers a lot of ground in Too Big to Ignore … The children’s show Dora the Explorer, Chaz Bono and bongs are a few of the things May finds to poke fun at.

    Tickets are available at Sports U.S.A. and Leisure Travel Services. The show is for those 18 and older. Tickets cost $25 if purchased in advance and $35 at the door.

    Photo: Ralphie May is set to perform at Sports U.S.A on June 17.

  • uac062712001.jpg The North Carolina Symphony will present classic American favorites to celebrate Independence Day and the 250th anniversary of Fayetteville on July 1 at Festival Park.

    The celebration begins at 8 p.m., with a special posting of the colors by the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry. Mayor Anthony G. Chavonne and elected offi cials will read a 250th anniversary proclamation.

    “The Fayetteville 250th celebration is an opportunity for our citizens to celebrate and commemorate our 250 years as a city, which is an exciting occasion for the community,” Mayor Tony Chavonne said. “Starting July 1 with the N.C. Symphony event, the community can participate in events that not only celebrate and commemorate the city’s sestercentennial, but educate residents about Fayetteville’s history. The sale of commemorative edition Fayetteville 250th coins offers citizens the ability to purchase a keepsake to forever remember this special time in Fayetteville’s history.”

    The purpose of the 250th anniversary celebration is to celebrate, educate and commemorate. Fayetteville is planning a series of events between July 1 and November 3 that will allow citizens to come together and celebrate, to take advantage of the various historical tours designed to educate the citizens on Fayetteville’s rich history and occasions for the community to come together and commemorate this milestone. There will be events to spark the wide range of interest of the community such as architectural tours. The Independence Day concert is one of many events to come.

    “The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County is proud to partner with the City of Fayetteville and Reed-Lallier Chevrolet to present this community’s Independence Day celebration. The North Carolina Symphony will perform patriotic music in Festival Park followed by glorious fi reworks. It promises to be an exciting evening for the whole family!” said Mary Kinney, marketing director, Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.

    The Indepedence Day concert will present a good, old-fashioned salute to the red, white and blue with patriotic favorites and high-spirited classics honoring the U.S.A. on its birthday. Eager concertgoers will have the best seats for some of the state’s biggest Fourth of July firework displays. This concert is part of the Concerts in Your Community, a gift to the people of North Carolina to launch the Symphony’s 80th year of service to the state. With 80 years of experience, the N.C. Symphony knows how to put on a show.

    Music Director Grant Llewellyn is known throughout the world as a musician of great talent, versatility and passion. Llewellyn has brought “transcendent performances” with his “graceful and expressive direction.”

    This free concert celebration will include patriotic and tried and true American favorites. The line up includes: “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “Semper Fidelis March”, “South Pacifi c: Symphonic Scenario”, “American Eagle Waltz”, “Superman March”, “Hymn to the Fallen” from Saving Private Ryan, “Servicemen on Parade”, “Olympic Fanfare”, “The Dam Busters March”, “A Trumpeter’s Lullaby”, “American Fantasie” and “Sing Along, America!”

    The performance of these songs are sure to spark a note within the hearts of Fayetteville’s community and instill a stronger pride to be American. Enjoy the light-hearted beats and powerful songs that were the anthems this great country was built on. Not only can the community take pride in being American this Independence Day, citizens can also take pride in living in Fayetteville. Fayetteville is a unique place with a rich history all it’s own.06-27-12-coin.jpg

    In 1775, a group of 55 local patriots met in Cross Creek, present day Fayetteville, to sign what has commonly become known as the Liberty Resolves, a document, which pledged their lives and fortunes in the furtherance of American Independence.

    Fayetteville was the birth place of many history-making decisions. During the convention of 1789 held in Fayetteville, leaders ratified the U.S. Constitution, chartered the first public university and ceded her western lands to form the state of Tennessee.

    The history of Fayetteville is a complex one. Cumberland County was formed in 1754 from Bladen County and the first courthouse was established in present day Linden. In 1756, John Newberry built a gristmill near present day Green Street and Maiden Lane. The mill became a genesis for the village of Cross Creek, which developed in the area of present day downtown Fayetteville. Although Cross Creek was never officially chartered, in 1762 the colonial general assembly charters land on the west side of the Cape Fear River and named the 100 acres Campbellton. By virtue of this official charter in 1762, Fayetteville is celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2012. The town of Fayetteville received its name later. In 1778, Cross Creek and Campbellton combined as Upper and Lower Campbellton. Finally, in 1783 Upper and Lower Campbellton were joined to create Fayetteville.

    To celebrate this momentous occasion, numbered, limited-edition 250th anniversary coins will be sold. One side bears the city seal in the center surrounded by the words “Fayetteville 1762-2012 Sestercentennial” The reverse side features ripples, symbolic of the Cape Fear River and a long leaf pine, both pivotal resources in the development of Fayetteville.

    Each coin is numbered 1- 250 and is displayed in a special wood presentation box with the 250th anniversary logo on the lid. The coin comes with a certifi cate of authenticity signed by the mayor. Reservations to purchase the coins can be made beginning July 1 at the N.C. Symphony concert. The coins sell for $75. The money raised from the coins will go to fund a lasting tribute to the 250th anniversary.
    After July 1, the 250th anniversary coins can be purchased at the Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum located at 325 Franklin St. in downtown Fayetteville. Citizens are asked to call before coming to the museum to purchase a coin. The museum staff can be reached by calling 433-1457, 433-1458 or 433-1944.

    Be a part of this historical celebration by attending the Independence Day concert brought to you by the N.C. Symphony and be on the look out for events to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Fayetteville.

    Photo: Reservations for this 250th Anniversay commemorative coin can be made July 1, during the Symphony concert.

  • 06-06-12-ftcc.jpgIn these difficult economic times, it is reassuring to know that Fayetteville Technical Community College is still providing a quality and affordable education to the public. For more than 50 years, FTCC has helped develop the skills and build upon the talents of our student population. With more than 150 degrees, diplomas and certificate programs, FTCC offers the opportunity for you to realize your goals with the completion of one of our certificate, diploma or degree programs and serves as a launch-pad to your dreams through our college-transfer degrees.

    For many potential students, money to pay for college can be a problem, but this does not have to interfere with your aspirations. Tuition at FTCC is extremely affordable; in fact, FTCC and the North Carolina Community College System have some of the most affordable college tuitions in the nation. For those who may need assistance, our Financial Aid Office is ready and able to help students apply for federal, state and local funding. Additionally, FTCC has a number of internal and program specific scholarships for qualified students. For our veteran and military-dependant populations, our Veterans Administration Office is ready to assist you in receiving your military-education benefits and help aid your transition to college life.

    We live within a fast-paced culture with an ever increasing global presence. Fayetteville Technical Community College understands these challenges and has sought solutions. For students who desire a traditional approach to their studies, FTCC has a beautiful campus with the infrastructure present to meet the demands of any student. Students desiring a non-traditional path can take advantage of our night, weekend, web-assisted hybrid courses or our fully online Internet-based courses offered through Blackboard. Additionally, students can attend classes offered at our Spring Lake Campus or our Horticulture Educational Center, located in downtown Fayetteville. Military students and dependents can take advantage of our course offerings at a convenient location on Fort Bragg, the Bragg Soldier Development Center. FTCC is recognized as a military-friendly college.

    For students who aspire to obtain a four-year university degree, allow FTCC to provide the solid foundation for these plans with one of our college transferable, two-year associate degrees. We offer the Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and Associate in Fine Arts, all of which are accredited and covered by the North Carolina Comprehensive Articulation Agreement for smooth transition to a University of North Carolina System school. Take the core classes you need in an environment where the focus is on teaching and the class size is deliberately kept small to foster interaction and learning. As our graduates can attest, in our local community, nation and now internationally, FTCC provides education for life.

    Photo: Faytteville Technical Community College offers more than 150 degrees, diplomas and certificate programs.

  • 06-13-12-dr,-pickney.jpgWhether you have attended Fayetteville State University, have a child enrolled in one of the surrounding schools or has needed a helping hand by an organization in Fayetteville, Dr. Teresa Pickney has affected your life. Pickney has worked more than 16 years in the nonprofi t sector in Fayetteville. The long list of organizations she is involved with include organizations like Fayetteville Urban Ministries, Fayetteville-N.C. Business Chamber, N.C. Center for Nonprofi ts, Fayetteville Young Professionals and Boy and Girls Club of America, as well as national organizations.

    Pickney moved to Fayetteville more than 16 years ago with her husband, who is in the military. Recently, he retired from the military. However, for Pickney and her family, Fayetteville is home and they aren’t planning to go anywhere.

    Pickney is the Director of the Office of College Access Programs at Fayetteville State University as well as President and Executive Consultant of T. Pinckney & Associates.

    She has raised more than $7.8 million in-kind contributions for education and the needs of the community. Pickney has always been involved in the community no matter where she lived, however her passion for education came while she was in college studying criminal justice.

    “While studying criminal justice and researching statistics I realized education is the key out of poverty. What I learned from the criminal justice system is to make an impact you must start with kids,” Pickney explained.

    She has had the opportunity to encourage low income and first generation college students since 1994. “My greatest joy is seeing my students and them telling me they have graduated college and are productive citizens,” Pickney said.

    Pickney still remembers the first person she helped get into college. Years later she still has the letter that student sent thanking her. Now, Pickney has helped a thousand kids get into college with the same excitment.

    “I think it’s important to empower students with the knowledge to make the decision to go to college. It’s about opportunity.” Pickney said.

    Being a supervisor and consultant to many programs, Pickney is involved in giving many students the opportunity to go to college. It’s heart-warming for her to be able to reach out and help so my people.

    “My reach is very broad, seeing my impact is much bigger then I think it is,” Pickney said.

    However, Pickney not only aids in the development of educational outreach, she supports many nonprofit organizations though strategic planning and evaluation at little or no cost to the organization.

    “To continue to do the great work these organizations do in the community, strategic planning ensures success by allowing the organization to function effectively,” Pickney said.

    One of the ways Pickney has chosen to give back to the community is by founding the 2nd Annual Back-to-School Teen Explosion Conference for students ages 13-18. The event will be held on July 27, at Westover Recreation Center and provides critical skills for teens about education, career options and individual empowerment.

    “It’s an exciting day to motivate students,” Pickney said. “I think it’s important we empower students and give them the knowledge and the opportunity to go and be successful in college.”

    Pinkney often tells her two children, “knowledge is power, if you know something that can never be taken away.”

    For more information about the conference or to register visit www.teenexplosionconference.com or check out the event on Facebook.

  • Quick Action Needed06-20-12-senior-corner.jpg

    You thought this could never happen: You or a senior loved one has been the victim of a scam.

    You need to get help now, before another dollar trickles away and your credit score takes a big hit.

    Here are some key steps, according to legal experts:

    • Contact the police. File a report with the police department in the area where the crime was committed.

    • Get a copy of the police report. If you are unable to obtain a copy of the police report, be sure to get the report number.

    • Close your accounts. If you notice any accounts under your name that have been tampered with or opened without your con-sent, close them immediately. Call each bank or company and then follow up in writing. If there are fraudulent charges or debts on your account or if a new account has been opened, you should immedi-ately file a fraud report with your bank’s fraud department. If you close an existing bank account and open a new one, be sure to cre-