• 06 GI BillThe number of people using the Post-9/11 GI Bill has fallen substantially for each of the past two fiscal years, federal data indicates. About 54,000 fewer people used the GI Bill in fiscal 2017 and 2018, a 7% decline both years, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Officials of veteran service organizations, and some of the schools that enroll the greatest numbers of GI Bill users, said they’re not overly concerned about the falling GI Bill usage — at least not yet. Fayetteville Technical Community College has been ranked No. 2 by Military Times in its “Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges.” Schools like FTCC, which have put the most thought and effort into tailoring programs and policies around veterans’ unique experiences, have experienced growth.

    Experts offered several possible explanations for declining enrollments, including more vets earning degrees, GI Bill rules that could be discouraging vets from using the benefit and the strong national economy. Meanwhile, public universities continued to account for most GI Bill students. “A lot more of the public and the not-for-profit private schools are offering distance education now,” said James Schmeling, executive vice president of Student Veterans of America.
    For years, the for-profit University of Phoenix has enrolled more GI Bill users than any other institution, but it has seen plummeting GI Bill enrollment recently. In fiscal year 2018, the school shed more than 5,940 Post-9/11 GI Bill students — about 21% — dropping to 22,428 such students. The school declined to answer questions about its falling GI Bill enrollment.

    The recent overall drops in GI Bill usage in fiscal 2018, among all universities, mirror a similar trend affecting military tuition assistance, which saw usage rates decline 6% from fiscal 2016 to 2017 and then go down another 2.5% from fiscal 2017 to 2018. The 7% declines charted in fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018 were calculated by adding all schools’ GI Bill populations and comparing year-on-year changes.

    Veterans Affairs did not respond to interview requests to discuss declining GI Bill usage.

    In addition to enrollment losses, the amount of money spent on GI Bill benefits decreased by nearly $287 million in fiscal 2018 to about $4.6 billion, a 5.9% drop.

    Officials offered a variety of theories to explain the falling numbers. “A reduction in beneficiaries may indicate more veterans successfully complete degrees and are moving into the workforce,” said John Aldrich, a vice president at the country’s fourth most popular GI Bill school, American Military University, a for-profit institution.

    Another possible explanation Aldrich offered is that students may be turning away from the GI Bill because it shrinks their housing stipends if they attend school entirely online.

    The Forever GI Bill, signed into law in August 2017, allowed anyone who left the military after January 2013 to use the GI Bill at any time in the future. Previously, all benefits had to be used within 15 years of separation. In addition, officials pointed to a common higher education trend: More people go to college to improve their job prospects in bad economies, while fewer go to school when the economy is strong.

  • 06 TONAPE Witnessing 2017 pastel on paper 19x19For anyone who sees the pastel drawings in this article, it’s obvious Vilas Tonape is an extraordinary artist in our community. A nationally and internationally known artist, Tonape is known for his masterful portraiture, still lifes, and non-representational paintings. Celebrated in his mother country of India since 1993, Tonape has returned to India each summer to teach workshops.

    This article will not only explore the strengths of Tonape’s works, but the end of the article will share information on how the public can attend an hour-and-a-half online portrait demonstration by Tonape in October, at no cost.

    Before the portrait demonstration, visitors to Rosenthal Gallery, on the campus of Fayetteville State University, will have the opportunity to see more than 25 works by Tonape in his one-person exhibit titled Ways of Knowing: Works by Vilas Tonape. The opening reception for Ways of Knowing is Sept. 23 from 6-8 p.m. If attending the public reception is not possible, visitors to the Rosenthal Gallery will be able to see the exhibit through Oct. 23.

    Tonape earned a B.F.A. in Painting at Sir JJ School of Art at the University of Bombay in Mumbai, India, and an M.F.A. in Painting at Texas Christian University at Fort Worth, Texas. Employed since 2015 at Methodist University in the Department of Art, other art related teaching positions include, but are not limited to, the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia., and a visiting artist at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

    Tonape’s exhibition record is extensive, his work is in many private and corporate collections, and he has received many honors and awards. In 2018, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, First Friday Forum, Government Museum and Art Gallery in Ghandigarh, India.

    Most recently, he was interviewed and published in a 6-page article titled "Celestial Color" by John A. Parks, Fall, 2021, Pastel Journal Magazine.

    Another highlight in Tonape’s career is when he received a call from President George W. Bush’s manager in 2018. Bush had seen one or more of Tonape’s 11 YouTube instructional videos and was enthralled with his process — a private teaching session was eventually scheduled between Bush and Tonape.

    Looking at Tonape’s images can cause different reactions. Many will admire his skill and the beauty of his images. Tonape masterfully understands how to recreate the representational around him in pastels, watercolor and painting.

    One argument against realism is why an artist in the 21st century would choose to replicate reality when a camera is sufficient. What is the relevance and relatability of realistic art in the digital age?

    A second argument is that artists learn how to control materials and work from observation; then the artist will leave the realism nest and move in a stylized direction.

    Among the diversity of styles, I argue that realism is still relevant in the 21st century. Tonape’s realism convinces us that what we are seeing is how it looks — yet he actually creates a type of hyperreality. One of his greatest gifts is being able to broaden our ways of knowing by recognizing the transcendent qualities of a still life or a portrait.

    One of Tonape’s earliest works presented in the exhibition is “Moments of Gloria” from 2002. The 22” x 17” gouache on paper was created after Tonape graduated with an M.F.A. in 1996, and the year before he was employed as a visiting artist at the Ringling College of Art and Design. In this work, he allows the sitter’s essence to emerge from observation while mixing realism with abstraction.

    This painting, perhaps, is a pivotal moment in time and reveals Tonape’s future journey of exploration and love for both the human form and nonobjective expression.

    Whether it is figurative or a nonobjective work of art, “Gloria” is an example of how Tonape creates the experience of time for the viewer. We are drawn in by the burst of shapes and brilliance of color, but also have spaces of rest in the mimicry of push and pull, activity and rest in the pictorial space.

    While Tonape’s pastel drawings convey the feeling of effortless spontaneity, his process is never random.

    Viewers will discover his masterful way of using a piece of pastel or a dab of paint into an expressive image.

    Tonape gives evidence to the idea that material is integral to the overall meaning when he shared the following: “I leave marks in the borders of the paper on a pastel portrait and include them in the framing of the portrait — they are evidence of the process.”

    Tonape creates a story in both his figurative and nonobjective works, objects and the figures are placed in the composition for viewers to ponder the story.

    The pastel drawing, titled “Witnessing,” is a good example of an intentional story-telling composition. Three portraits are included in the 19” x 19” pastel drawing. The luminous, warm skin of the seated figure contrasts with her cool, stare — we sense her guarded gaze. A photograph of Frida Kahlo, a well-known artist and woman activist, is on her right. Tonape has painted himself into the background as an onlooker.

    After our senses acknowledge the skill of the artist, we then wonder about the relationship of the three portraits. Tension in the work emerges, Tonape’s use of emotion, space and a well-known iconic image leave us with questions to answer about the meaning in Witnessing.

    In addition to Tonape’s overall approach to building a composition, the way he performs in a specific medium also influences how we experience each work.

    For example, a pastel drawing in the exhibit titled “Moments of Gloria,” is evidence of his performance or the act of making: broad sweeping strokes of color are the result of paint as it leaves the brush onto a surface. Later, in his pastel drawings, the performance become a specific, focused, repetitive act of adding a multitude of points of color on the surface of the paper. In the words of Tonape, “the large shapes across the surface of a portrait became a mosaic of shapes.”

    It's easy to see that color is very important to Tonape, but his response to shape is also highly relevant. Tonape responded: “Color is structure. Shape without color, for me, does not mean anything … I think of the shape of color. When color seems to take over, shape is always the underpinning.”

    At the end of the interview, I asked Tonape what some of his influences have been that helped to shape his work as an artist.

    Tonape was quick to say, “the biggest influence is Picasso’s dedication and engagement as an artist, three of my undergraduate teachers and two of my graduate professors, being in America for 27 years, seeing works of art in museums and galleries, and just being around people.”

    Visitors to Ways of Knowing will need to spend time in the gallery to study the large body of work being exhibited and become aware of Tonape’s subtle and underlying formal structure.

    The exhibition includes figurative and nonobjective works next to each other to reveal underlying sources and influences — a stark reminder of the artist’s diversified knowledge.

    Anyone interested is seeing Tonape do a portrait demonstration will need to mark their calendar for the free online demonstration that takes place towards the end of the exhibition. On Oct. 19, from 5–7 p.m., Tonape will be doing a live online demonstration from a model. (The surprise model is a well-known member of the community). Before the event, the public is invited to log onto Fayetteville State University’s Fine Art Series Live on Facebook.

    Rosenthal Gallery is located at 1200 Murchison Road on the campus of Fayetteville State University.

    Ways of Knowing is open from Sept. 23 – Oct. 23. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    For information on the exhibit or the call 910-672-1057 or 910-672-1571 or email smartin@uncfsu.edu

    Pictured above: "Witnessing" by Vilas Tonape

    Pictured below: Artist Vilas Tonape conducted a private teaching session with President George W. Bush in 2018, after the former president watched one of Tonape's YouTube insructional videos. 

    07 BUSHtonape7



  • 18UpComing• Oct. 1 Cruise – Into – Paradise at Paradise Acres, 1965 John McMillan Rd. Come out and bring your shiniest car, motorcycle, truck or even tractor to display while enjoying BBQ, fried chicken and the fixins. Kids will love the train ride, jumping castle and playground. Free admission, food prices ranging from $2-8. Details: www.paradiseacres.biz or  (910) 424-2779.

    • Oct. 5  Hope Meals Food Truck Rodeo Community Event from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at 5770 Rockfish Rd., featuring BaBann’s Southern Fried Chicken, Straight Drop Seafood, Big T’s and the Blind Pig. Music will be live streamed from an internet radio station.

    • Oct 7. Peace, Love and Walk 

    Meet at 3770 Rockfish Rd. Contact ALMS HOUSE at (910) 425-0902 for details.

    • Oct 9. Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon at 12:30 p.m. at Hope Mills Parks and Recreation, 5770 Rockfish Rd. $10 per guest.

    • Oct 13. Kiwanis BBQ Fundraiser in the grassy area between the Hope Mills Main Street Wal-Mart and Food Lion across from gas station.  10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monies raised will go toward ALMS House, Shop-with-a-Cop, Bicycle Presentation for Terrific Kids, Boys and Girls Club of Cumberland County, Boys and Girls Homes of Lake Waccamaw, and many other community services.  Call (910) 426-7256 for  more information.

    • Oct. 20-21 Ole Mill Days Festival 

    Celebrate the Mills Way! Ole Mills street dance from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20. Saturday, Oct. 21 runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Municipal Parks 1 and 2. Family fun to include: tractor pull, kids’ corner, movie night, food, vendors, craft vendors, and a Mills workers reunion.  Details: (910) 429-4109.

    • Oct 21. Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce’s Chili Cook-off as part of Hope Mills Ole Mills Days from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. in the Municipal Ball Park.

    • Nov. 4-12 Heroes Homecoming V at the Hope Mills Public Library. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 4 is the first day of a nine-day ceremonious event to honor veterans. On this day, the focus will be on Vietnam Veterans. Visit www.heroeshomecoming.com for more information. The event is free and open to the public.

    • Nov. 5 Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ceremony and Flag Display hosted by The Hope Mills Veterans Advisory Commission at the Hope Mills Veterans Memorial from 3-4:30 p.m. Special guest speaker will be retired Lt. COL Walt Brinker.  Free and open to the public.

  • 14GetEdHope Mills is a beautiful town. It has a beautiful recreation center and park. It has an awardwinning fire department. It has a police station that engages with the community through programs like “Shop with a Cop” for children. And the people — We have awesome people in our town. They are giving and supportive. Some of those people help maintain this wonderful town. The question is, how much do you know about our town leaders, fire department, police department, recreation center, etc?

    There is so much information, true.  But it is important to know about the town in which you reside.  The best way is through the Hope Mills Citizens Academy. It’s held every Thursday until Oct. 19. Classes begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Hall. 

    The Hope Mills Citizens Academy will teach you about its first responders and the infrastructure of the Hope Mills police and fire departments. You will also learn about the duties of our mayor, commissioners, town manager and town attorney. They all play vital roles that help maintain the safety and the growth plan of our town. They even make plans that affect details like how our traffic will flow. 

    The Citizens Academy also provides information about the local library and recreation center. Each one has different programs that pertain to all citizens. In addition to what I’ve mentioned, so much more about our town will be taught.

    This isn’t your ordinary Citizens Academy where you sit and listen and possibly get sleepy. Oh no. This one is interactive. Remember the field trips in school? That’s right. We get to go on field trips. We will go to the fire department and the recreation center, just to name two destinations on the list. Deputy Town Clerk Deborah Holland believes in hands-on learning and wants each student to remember what he or she learns by seeing it first-hand.

    It’s worth investing your time in this program. Hope Mills is a town of approximately 16,000.

    It’s important to know which organizations provide what programs that will benefit its citizens. It’s important to know who your government leaders are and what vital roles they play to help maintain our town. 

    Whether you have recently moved to Hope Mills or have been here your whole life, Hope Mills Citizens Academy will help you. For more information, visit www.townofhopemills.com.

  • 09 231473471 4449228905096548 1698743334211822553 nThe Gilbert Theater comes from humble beginnings. In 1994, Lynn Pryer started the theater in his backyard and basement in Haymount. The theater is now located at 116 Green St., above Fayetteville’s Children Museum. The entrance is on Bow Street.

    “COVID-19 forced us to lessen our capacity,” said Lawrence Carlisle, artistic director. “(The theater) holds 100 people. Since 2020, no more than 50 seats in the house.” Patrons, staff and, sometimes, performers wear masks. Temperature checks are conducted at the door.

    The Gilbert is featuring “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels — The Musical” Oct. 1-17. Two con men, a beautiful woman and the elite of the French Riviera collide in this sexy and irreverent farce.

    It is based on the 1988 movie by the same name starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine.

    In the exotic French Riviera, Lawrence Jameson makes his living by smooth talking rich, single women out of their money. He has been in the trade for many years and has got his technique down to a tee. But then he bumps into Freddy Benson. Freddy takes a humbler, more laid back approach, swindling women with emotional lies about his grandmother's failing health and his own economic struggles.

    The two men initially decide to form a double act but their egos soon clash and the French coast isn't big enough for the two of them. To settle their rivalry, they agree on a bet: the first to swindle $50,000 from the latest young heiress in town, Christine Colgate, can stay and the other must leave town. However, is Christine really all she seems? Hilarity and confusion ensue as the two men pull out all the steps to prove they are the best con man in town.

    Actors were selected by open auditions. Lawrence is played by Chris Walker, who Carlisle calls a talented singer and actor and comedically well-versed. Freddy is played by Dan Adams. “Dan just blew us out of the water,” Carlisle said. The female lead, Christine, is played by the very funny Megan Barnes. There are about 10 people in the show.

    Linda Flynn, assistant artistic director at the Gilbert Theater, is making her debut as director of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Flynn joined the theater in 2017 as an actor in the show, “Evil Dead the Musical,” and became an employee in February 2020. “I have always had a great passion for theater. In my position I have learned a lot about every aspect of the theater. I get to do every job there is in theater and I enjoy every aspect.”

    Having been both actor, and now, director, Flynn explains the difference. “Acting you don’t see everything that goes into a show. You focus on lines and blocking and how you are coming across to your audience. Directing, you focus on everything. Find ways to make the show look good. Everybody looks good and knows where they need to be and what they need to do.”

    “The most rewarding feeling directing ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels — The Musical’ is watching my vision come to life with this particular production,” Flynn said. “It is more than I hoped for and it makes me proud.”

    Carlisle hopes the audience will have fun at the show. “The goal for all shows is for the audience to have fun and come away thinking that was really funny. Let’s do it again.”

    The show runs from Oct.1 to Oct. 17. Shows are Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 with some discounts available.

    For more information call 910-678-7186 or visit www.Gilberttheater.com and www.facebook.com/gilberttheater.

  • 08 ws11WoofStock, Fayetteville Animal Protection Society’s pet fundraising event, is slated for Friday, Oct. 1 from 6 to 10:30 p.m. It will take place at Cape Fear Botanical Garden. There will be dinner, drinks, live bands, swag to take home and a few new surprises will be featured.

    Fayetteville Animal Protection Society, Inc., or FAPS, is the only Cumberland County no-kill, non-profit animal shelter supported by volunteers, grants and individual contributions. FAPS receives no state or federal funding to operate and relies solely on the community to support its mission in rescuing and successfully placing companion animals in their forever homes. Currently, there are 79 animals housed at the facility that need to be adopted.

    While stores, restaurants and businesses came to a halt due to COVID-19, there was still a need for safe havens for animals. Despite missing out on their normal fundraising efforts and major changes in operating protocols, FAPS has continued to give second chances to discarded and abandoned pets in our community. Jackie Peery, Executive Director of FAPS said, “2020 was a difficult year financially without our major fundraiser. WoofStock is very vital to FAPS’s mission.”

    In lieu of WoofStock, last year FAPS hosted an online silent auction. “We got a lot of stuff for the auction,” Peery said. “It was a great to have something of no value to you be something that someone else could use.”

    COVID-19 also affected people at the organization. FAPS was not open to the public and staff hours were reduced. Volunteers helped out.

    “This is WoofStock’s ninth year,” Peery said. “Five hundred people are expected at WoofStock this year.” Proceeds help FAPS to continue their mission to not only spay/neuter, vaccinate and microchip each pet, but also provide food, shelter and veterinary care while under the care of FAPS.

    The event is strictly for adults. As much as all involved love their pets, they will not be at the event. If you want to adopt an animal, the hours the facility is open to the public is Friday from 1-5 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. FAPS will operate by appointment Tuesday-Thursday.

    There will be a variety of food at the event. Little Taco will be making taco boxes. Also, hot dogs and sausages will be available. A baked potato bar will also feed attendees. Dirtbag Ales is a sponsor. They are donating 3 beers – Blood Orange Kolsch. Old-Brew Mocha Porter and Crispy Boiz Seltzer - included with the ticket price. It is an open bar, but tips are appreciated. There will be fun activities with lawn games such as corn hole and Jenga.
    There is no dress code. Some people wear tie-dye etc. Don’t have anything tie-dye? There will be a station where attendees can dye their own shirt.

    All CDC social guidelines will be followed. While there will be indoor seating, WoofStock will primarily be outside. Tables will sit four to six people and will be spaced out to meet social distancing guidelines. With its groovy attitude and laid-back atmosphere, WoofStock is an event with a cause which is to continue to help our community’s homeless animals find forever homes.

    Check out FAPS on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fapspet or on their website at www.fapspet.org for more information on WoofStock
    and FAPS.

    Pictured: The WoofStock fundraiser for FAPS is scheduled Oct. 1. (Photo courtesy FAPS)

  • 10 mask winnersTickets are on sale now for the 7th Annual Child Advocacy Center’s Pinwheel Masquerade Ball and Auction to Unmask Child Abuse. The event is scheduled for Oct. 2 from 7-11 p.m. at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens.

    The Pinwheel Masquerade Ball is one of the CAC's signature fundraising events and the public is invited to participate.

    The CAC was founded in 1993 by a group of concerned local professionals seeking to coordinate services provided to child abuse victims and their families. The CAC provides a safe and child-friendly environment where professionals from community agencies come together to interview, investigate and to provide support for abused children and their families.

    This results in a collaborative approach of professionals from Child Protective Services, the District Attorney’s office, law enforcement, Guardian ad Litem, Military Family Services, social workers, victim advocates as well as medical and mental health professionals to provide a coordinated, comprehensive response to victims and their caregivers.

    By having a collaborative approach, the CAC reduces the number of interviews for child victims of abuse by providing specially trained professionals to conduct forensic interviews in a centralized location. National research has determined that this type of coordinated approach can help alleviate trauma for children, increase the prosecution rate of perpetrators, and be fiscally beneficial to the community.

    CAC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization funded through the generosity of corporate, state, organization and foundation grants; corporate and individual donations; in-kind contributions; and event sponsorships. There is no charge for services provided to child victims of abuse referred to the CAC.

    Organizers for the Pinwheel Masquerade Ball invite everyone to don a mask and enjoy a gala evening of dancing and food and drinks from our culinary sponsors. Entertainment will include a DJ, dance demonstrations, photo booth fun, live and silent auctions for amazing prize packages, and mask contests.

    Standard pricing is $100 per person or $175 per couple, and reserved tables of 8 are $1200. Tickets and tables can be purchased in person at the CAC or order online at www.cacfaync.org/.

    If you are unable to join this year’s Pinwheel Masquerade Ball and Auction, you can still help to provide healing and hope to the children at the CAC. Donations are always welcome and very much appreciated and can be done online or in person at the CAC.

    Attendees at this year’s Ball are offered the chance to get a “Trip of a Lifetime.” It is a chance to give now and travel later as winners will have three years with no blackout dates to enjoy their prize.

    A sampling of this year’s trips include:
    The Wine, Wonder and Romance of France
    The excitement and beauty of Paris and the romantic chateaux and vineyards of the finest wine region of France.

    The Pleasures and Treasures of Tuscany
    For food, fun and laughter, there’s no better place than Tuscany where, on your seven-day trip, the two of you will see incomparable treasures and art in Florence and learn to be spectacular chefs during your cooking class in an authentic Tuscan kitchen.

    Sedona Spa Getaway
    Get away from it all, unwind and relax during your four-day, three-night spa retreat in breathtaking Sedona, Arizona. Along with your day trip to the Grand Canyon, this oasis of personal pampering will refresh your mind, body and spirit.

    Iceland — The Land of Fire and Ice
    Discover wild wonders in the land of the Vikings! Glistening glaciers, therapeutic hot springs, thundering waterfalls and amazing wildlife make Iceland the “Land of Fire and Ice.”

    The best of Spain — Barcelona a cultural hub — rich in history, fashion, architecture, food, music and dance. Then you are off to the island of Mallorca, known for its breathtaking landscapes, sun drenched beaches and exciting cultural experiences.

    Alaskan Cruise
    As America’s last frontier, exploring Alaska is an adventure you’ll treasure forever. Ten thousand-year-old glaciers, as well as whales and polar bears, are some of the sights and sounds of Alaska that will thrill you! Our winning couple will jet to Seattle where you’ll begin your cruise with a comfortable outside cabin, creating memories of an adventure as big as Alaska itself!

    This annual fundraiser for the CAC could not happen without the hard work and dedication of many people in the community. This year’s event is co-chaired by Jackie Davis and Julie Lee-Jacobs. Committee members include Jennifer Britt, Tim Edwards, Beth Lee, Chris Lee, Juelle McDonald, Robin Hurmence, Lucy Jones, Mary McCoy, Sharon Mozingo, Jennifer Taft and Christina Quantock. This energetic committee has been working diligently to ensure that this is a not-to-be-missed event.

    Organizers are thankful for all of the Pinwheel Masquerade Ball Event Sponsors, Culinary Sponsors and Corporate Benefactors as their support helps the CAC to continue to provide hope, help and healing to victims of child abuse.

    Platinum Sponsors: 5-Star Entertainment; Debbie Bender Designs; Healy Wholesale; A New Leaf Therapeutic Services PLLC

    Gold Sponsors: Up & Coming Weekly; Saam’s Party Tents, Inc.

    Silver Sponsors: The Law Office of Robin Weaver Hurmence

    Blue Sponsors: Berkshire Hathaway All American Homes; Callahan & Rice Insurance Group; Clerk of Superior Court-Lisa Scales; District Attorney Billy West; Gift of Dance & Photography; Firehouse Subs Glensford Drive; Healing Minds Therapeutic Services PLLC; James H. Cooke, Jr., Attorney at Law; TRP Sumner, PLLC; Valley Auto World; Valley Radiology; Valley Regional Imaging; Williams Printing & Office Supply

    Other sponsors include: Timothy D. Edwards, Attorney at Law; Hardin Law Firm PLLC; Beaver Courie Law Firm; Hatley Law Firm; Le Bleu Central Distributions; Keller Williams Realty; Movement Mortgage; Cape Fear Distillery; AmFund

    Culinary Sponsors include some of the best restaurants and shops in town: Aisha’s; The BarBQue Guy; Burney’s of Fayetteville; Carrabba’s Italian Grill; Dorothy’s Catering 2; Metro Diner; Elite Catering; Southern Coals; Bees and Boards Charcuterie Company; Nona Sushi Asia; Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux; Blue Pineapple Bakery; Harris Teeter; Luigi’s Italian Chophouse & Bar; Superior Bakery and The Sweet Palette

    For more information about CAC’s Pinwheel Masquerade Ball, to purchase tickets or become a sponsor visit www.cacfaync.org/.

    08 pinwheel ball09 Group 3

  • 14 rockn logo jpegThe next Rock’n On The River concert on Sept. 17 will feature Cool Heat and Bad, Inc. at Campbellton Landing (1122 Person St. behind Deep Creek Grill). The concert is free, but parking costs $5 per person. Parking begins at 5 p.m. and the music begins at 6 p.m.

    Cool Heat is a variety cover band playing rhythm and blues, soul, funk, beach and classics from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Members grew up listening to R & B which is prevalent in their music.

    Donnie Egan, a member of Cool Heat, says, “Old school music is the greatest era of music, and we love to keep old school going.”

    The local area band includes: Chris Imber on lead guitar; Richard Warren on percussion and trumpet; Allen Jones on bass and vocals; lead singer Ron Warren on keyboards; and Egan on drums.

    Bad, Inc. is known as the ultimate Bad Company tribute band. Based in Raleigh and composed of some of the state's most accomplished musicians, Bad, Inc. is a national touring act, wowing audiences up and down the east coast with their recreation of one of the most iconic British supergroups.

    The group is lead by Neil Wells on vocals, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Bad Company front man Paul Rodgers, both in sound and looks. For decades, Wells has been a successful lead singer with a passion for paying tribute to one of his singing idols.

    Members of Bad, Inc. — Kevin Segrist, Amy Hall, Jack Getz, LP Hitzigrath and Wells — have won musical awards, including "Best Tribute Band," and have performed on television.

    The band has opened for Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson, Scotty McCreery and Mother's Finest. The band has also played such prestigious venues as House of Blues, The Fillmore, Rams Head, Jannus Live, as well as festivals, weddings, private parties, and casinos from New York to Florida. For more information on the band visit their band at https://badincnc.com/.

    Rock’n On The River is a free live concert series sponsored by Healy Wholesale, Bob 96.5 FM radio and Up & Coming Weekly.

    Guests should bring chairs for lawn seating. Pets, coolers and outside food are prohibited at the event. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Healy Wholesale and Deep Creek Grill.

    The event is first come first serve, as the venue can only host 1200 to 1400 people. For more information, visit the Rock’n On The River’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rockn-On-The-River-271048666818630/

  • 11 Arianna Mclawhorn at gates Four Country ClubWhen the 53rd annual Cumberland County Golf Championship tees off in October, it will have a new look.

    A youth division for players in middle and high school has been added for the tournament at Gates Four Golf & Country Club.

    “The reason we created it is to grow and develop the champions of tomorrow,” said tournament director Bill Bowman.
    “I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. Everyone thinks it’s a great idea and they have been very supportive.”

    There will be divisions for boys and girls in age groups of 12 to 14 (middle school) and 15 to 18 (high school). The CCGC will be held Oct. 15-17 at Gates Four. The youths will play the final two days for a 36-hole event. The entry fee is $145 which includes the Champions Reception & Pairing Party, a practice round, range balls, food and on-course beverages and the CCGC Winners Reception.

    Billy West, an 8-time champion of the CCGC, first played in the tournament when he turned 16 and became eligible.

    “I am very excited to see the CCGC add a junior division,” he said, “When I was a junior golfer growing up in Cumberland County, I could not wait to turn 16 so I could compete in the CCGC. I admired and looked up to local golfers such as Gary Robinson Gene Howell, Mike Williford, Gary Moore and David Hinkamp. I dreamed of one day having my name on the CCGC trophy.”

    Bowman and West hope the addition of a Junior Division will develop players for the main CCGC tournament in the future.

    “I think the addition of a Junior Division will not only help grow junior golf in our area but also will help sustain the adult divisions for years to come,” West said.
    “We have many great junior players right now in Cumberland County who are some of the best players in the state and country in their age divisions. I hope they will compete in the CCGC Junior Division.”

    Bowman added “the talent is out there. We just need to groom it. I think the kids are going to have a good time. I think they can learn a lot by watching some of the veteran players we have signed up.”

    Anthony Carstarphen, the golf coach at South View High School and a teaching pro at Gates Four, is helping Bowman get the project off the ground. He believes interest in the Junior Division will be high.

    “I had kids trying to sign up before the site was even up,” he said. “So, we definitely have got the interest.”

    There are players in the county to tap into. Gates Four, Cypress Lakes, King’s Grant and Highland Country Club all have junior golf programs — not to mention the many high school golf teams in the county.

    “It’s going to give us players for the future,” Carstarphen said. “That’s what will allow this tournament to keep going.”

    Kevin Lavertu, the general manager at Gates Four, said he had discussed with Bowman about adding a junior division for a few years.

    “We thought we would take a shot at it,” Lavertu said.

    Bowman said he is limiting the Junior Division field to 30 players this year.

    “We have to be able to manage the field and get our hands around it,” Lavertu said. “We host U.S. Kids Golf here two times a year and we get 80 to 100 players. If it gets to that point, maybe we need to have a Cumberland County junior tournament that would take place in the summer when the kids are out of school.”

    The 53-year-old main CCGC tournament has struggled in recent years since losing its major sponsor. Bowman, the publisher of Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper, took up the mantle in 2017 and has led the effort trying to rebuild the event. With the support and encouragement of businesses like the Richardson Law Firm, Healy Wholesale, Fastsigns and dozens of other local businesses who realize how important it is to maintain this golfing tradition in Cumberland County for future generations.

    “We want to start the kids young in tournament play and hopefully build the county tournament back up,” Lavertu said. “It used to be 200-plus people playing multiple golf courses.”

    Junior players who are at least 16 years old can still choose to play in the main tournament instead of the Junior Division. Spencer Oxendine won the CCGC in 2018 when he was a senior at Jack Britt High School and Toni Blackwell won the women’s division in 2019 when she was a senior at Cape Fear.

    “This is kind of a test in the water and see what the interest level is,” Lavertu said. “We’ll evaluate it and assess it and see what makes sense moving forward.”

    If junior players need any encouragement to sign up, they can listen to West.

    “For me, there has been no greater honor in my golf career than winning my county’s golf championship,” he said. “I hope our local junior players will feel the same way about the CCGC. It is a special tournament and always has been the most important to me from the age of 16 to present.”

    Junior players must reside in Cumberland County and must sign up by Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. Players can register online at cumberlandcountygolfclassic.com or by returning an application to Kevin Lavertu at Gates Four Country Club. Application forms are available at all local golf courses. Players who register by Sept. 30 will receive a free round for a foursome at Gates Four, Baywood, Stryker and King’s Grant.

    James Sherrill local businessman and owner of sweetFrog premium frozen yogurt thinks this a great opportunity for developing young athletes, and has signed on to be the Title Sponsor for the CCGC Junior Division.

    Local businesses and organizations can support the Junior Division by sponsoring players. All sponsors are invited to the champion’s reception and pairings party and the awards and trophy presentations. They also will have their name and logo on youth commemorative shirts and promotional materials.

    To sponsor a child or for more information, contact Bill Bowman at 910-391-3859 or email bbowman@upandcomingweekly.com.

    Pictured above: Arianna Mclawhorn prepares to tee off on Hole #1 at Gates Four.

  • 13 USE in AD 014RS Live 08 8x12cAfter the 2020 COVID hiatus, venues around Fayetteville and Cumberland County have begun to rebound and the 2021 season of music and entertainment is off to a promising start.

    Last week, The Isley Brothers kicked off the 86th season of Community Concerts. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performers delivered a stellar show and set the tone for the rest of the season.

    “The goal of the Community Concerts program is to bring quality entertainment to the more than 400,000 residents of Cumberland County and neighboring counties of the Cape Fear Region,” said Bill Kirby Jr., the president of Community Concerts of Fayetteville.

    Jim Grafstrom, the general manager of the Crown Complex, calls the Community Concerts line-up a “great season.”

    Next up is Rick Springfield on Oct. 2 at the Crown Theatre.

    As a Grammy Award-winning songwriter, musician, actor and best-selling author, Springfield is a man of many talents. For many, he is the image of the 1980s rockstar. He has sold 25 million albums and scored 17 U.S. Top 40 hits including “Jessie’s Girl,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “An Affair of the Heart,” "I've Done Everything for You,” “Love Somebody,” and “Human Touch.”

    As an actor, Springfield has an impressive list of credits. Although he had several guest spots on American TV in the 1970s, Springfield’s acting career gained momentum in 1981 when he became Dr. Noah Drake on daytime television’s “General Hospital,” a role he has revisited over the years, much to the delight of fans of the show. More recently, his credits include starring opposite Meryl Streep in “Ricki and the Flash,” a performance as Dr. Pitlor in the HBO drama “True Detective,” a portrayal of Lucifer on the CW hit “Supernatural” and as Pastor Charles on “American Horror Story.”

    As if making music and performing for more than five decades isn’t enough, Springfield is also a New York Times best-selling author, and collaborates with his friend and fellow rocker Sammy Hagar in the rum business with Beach Bar Rum.
    Springfield is sure to deliver a high-energy show. The show starts at 7 p.m. The opening act for the Rick Springfield concert is Fayetteville-based band Rivermist.

    “Not every concert has an opening act, but Rivermist is a local group with talented musicians,” Kirby said. “We could not be more pleased that they will be a part of the Rick Springfield concert. It’s an added bonus for the concert.”

    Rivermist’s Greg Adair said the band is looking forward to the experience. “It will be our first time playing in the Crown Theatre,” Adair said. “It’s on our bucket list.”

    Fans of Rivermist know they do a good job on a few Springfield covers, but “it’s hard to find a local band that doesn’t play ‘Jessie’s Girl,’” Adair said.

    “I’ve always been a fan,” he said, adding that he saw Springfield in concert a few years ago in Raleigh.

    “We are looking forward to opening for him and his band,” Adair said. “We have eight songs in 35 minutes, we hope to make the whole show better.”

    Rivermist includes Adair, Doug Bass, Cliff Bender, Tony Harrison and Allen Pier.

    Tickets for Rick Springfield range from $40 to $100 and can be purchased on www.crowncomplexnc.com. Face coverings for staff and guests are required in the Crown Theatre.

    After the Rick Springfield show, Community Concerts will welcome Straight No Chaser on Nov. 4. Styx will perform on April 23, 2022. “Jersey Boys” is scheduled for April 28, 2022.

    The final show of the season will be the Oak Ridge Boys on May 13, 2022, a show rescheduled from last season.

    “The Oak Ridge Boys is the only repeat performance from the previous season, and we are grateful these musicians kept their promise to perform,” said Kirby.

    With such a variety of accomplished performers lined up for the 86th season, Kirby said he is pleased and grateful for all those who worked to make the season a reality.

    “I have to give credit to Cape Fear Valley Health and City View magazine as our new Master of Ceremonies lead sponsors,” Kirby said. “This 86th season likely would not have come to fruition without support from Mike Nagowski, chief

    executive officer of CFVH, and Tony Chavonne, our former city mayor and publisher of City View.”

    Kirby also thanked The Arts Council, the Riddle family, and the support of community leaders like Ralph and Linda Huff, Lonnie Player, Dr. Dave Dickerhoff, Dr. Gary Jones and many others.

    Kirby said the board of Community Concerts dedicates the 86th season to the late Tony Ragan, the Crown Complex production director, who died in April.

    “This difficult season took more than a village,” Kirby said, “This difficult season took a community.”

    2021-2022 Season
    Community Concerts will welcome Straight No Chaser on Nov. 4. The a cappella group makes music through the captivating sound of nine human voices, with a sense of humor. The group has sold more than 1.6 million albums and has made numerous national TV appearances. The audience can expect to enjoy a pitch perfect night of hits and Christmas favorites from the group that has become an a cappella world-wide sensation.

    Styx will perform on April 23, 2022. The American rock band from Chicago became famous for its albums released in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are best known for melding hard rock guitar balanced with acoustic guitar, synthesizers mixed with acoustic piano, upbeat tracks with power ballads, and incorporating elements of international musical theatre.

    The band established itself with a progressive rock sound in the 1970s, and began to incorporate pop rock and soft rock elements in the 1980s. Styx is best known for the hit songs “Lady,” “Come Sail Away,” “Babe,” “The Best of Times,” “Too Much Time on My Hands,” “Mr. Roboto” and “Don’t Let It End.”

    Styx has had 16 Top 40 singles in the U.S., eight of which hit the Top 10.

    “Jersey Boys” is scheduled for April 28, 2022. The Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical is directed by Des McAnuff. “Jersey Boys” is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.

    The musical is the behind-the-music story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard and the radio just couldn’t get enough of them. While their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story — a story that has made them an international sensation all over again.
    The show features all their hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.”

    The Oak Ridge Boys will perform on May 13, 2022. The group has one of the most distinctive sounds in the music industry. The four-part harmonies and upbeat songs have created dozens of country hits and a #1 pop smash. The group has earned Grammy, Dove, CMA and ACM awards and garnered a host of other industry and fan accolades.

    Their string of hits includes the pop chart-topper “Elvira,” as well as “Bobbie Sue,” “Thank God For Kids,” “American Made,” “I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes,” “Fancy Free,” “Gonna Take A Lot Of River,” and many others.
    The group has had more than a dozen national number one singles and more than 30 Top Ten hits. Having sold over 41 million albums, the Oak Ridge Boys were also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015, inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

    The Oak Ridge Boys have earned 5 Grammy Awards, 2 AMA Awards, 4 ACM Awards, 4 CMA Awards, 11 Dove Awards, 5 Billboard Awards, 8 Cashbox Awards, and many others.

  • 11 Picture1The 4th Annual Lumbee Film Festival returns with 18 new films directed by indigenous filmmakers screening over two days at the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub on Main Street in Pembroke. This year’s festival is scheduled for Sept. 17-18 and is presented by the North Carolina Museum of Art and includes live music, film, food and fellowship.

    “Each year the Lumbee Film Festival gets better and better,” said festival Founding Director Kim Pevia. “I am so excited about this year's line-up of short and feature films. Some are traditional and some have us thinking out of the box. Some are local and some are far away. Just like in real life. Something for everyone. Come join us. You will be glad you did."

    The festival witl begin with an outdoor screening of “RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” an electrifying look at the Native American influence in popular music despite attempts to ban, censor and erase Indian culture.

    The film reveals how early pioneers of the blues and jazz had Native American roots, and how artists like North Carolina’s own Link Wray helped to define its evolution and forever changed the trajectory of rock 'n' roll.

    Before the film, Robeson county native and Lumbee Tribe member Charly Lowry will perform a mix of her songs. Lowry appears in “RUMBLE” along with mentor Pura Fé and many other well-known Lumbee musicians. Lowry first gained international recognition as a semi-finalist on “American Idol” in 2004, but has since built a following for her energetic and captivating performances. She is also active as an advocate for Native rights and women’s rights.

    The festival is organized through a partnership between the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and the Cucalorus Film Foundation with the goal of showcasing films made by American Indians while raising awareness about the legacy of indigenous artists. The festival creates a platform for emerging Native artists, especially those working in the Southeastern United States.

    Three shorts blocks will screen at the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub on Sept. 18 at 2 p.m. with the “The Sun Shines, The Water Flows” shorts block which includes films by Lumbee youth like “Climate Change” made through the Unlocking Silent Histories project as well as films from the Wapikoni Mobile collective from Canada who use media to raise awareness about Indigenous cultures, issues and rights.

    The “Roots Run Deep” shorts block starts at 3:30 p.m. and includes the poetic and observational documentary “Concrete 49” by LFF Alum Justin Deegan. The short is a subtle and effective examination of the lives of indigenous people living in New York City. The “All My Relations” shorts block brings together five dramatic works to close out the afternoon’s survey of short form indigenous cinema.

    A special screening of “The Trancscenders,” a feature film by Montana Cypress (Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida) will be screened immediately following an awards ceremony at 8 p.m. on Sept.18 at the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub. The film follows the struggles of two brothers who find a remedy that promises to “transform their primitive behavior” as they transition from life in the city which differs greatly from their upbringing on the reservation.

    For tickets, passes and the full festival schedule visit www.cucalorus.org/lumbee-film-festival/.

  • 10 familyAs summer winds down and the kids head back to school, many families start thinking about the fall … cooler weather, football games and, of course, the Cumberland County Fair!

    The Cumberland County Fair has been a constant in the lives of many families in Cumberland County for several generations. Held at the Crown Coliseum Complex, this year’s theme is “Agriculture, Food and Rides! Oh My!” While many people visit the fair for the rides and the yummy fair food, it’s important to note that the Cumberland County Fair is rooted in the agricultural heritage of Cumberland County.

    That being said, one of the big draws to the fair annually, is the agricultural competitions that see kids of all ages vying for Blue Ribbons and accolades. According to organizers of the fair, there will be livestock shows and exhibits every day. If it’s been a while since you were in FFA (Future Farmers of America for those of you not in the know) or FHA (Future Home Makers of America), it’s not too late to pull your old blue corduroy jacket out of the closet or pull out your favorite recipe for pickles of jams and join in the fun.

    Of course, the fair is more than that. There are fun events like the interactive petting farm. Some of these animals are cute and cuddly and some are slippery and slimy. If you like to live dangerously, you can also check out the toddler driving school, which, if done correctly, could morph into a demolition derby! If that isn’t something that gets you excited, let’s be honest: Who doesn’t want to see the mayhem created by toddlers driving while hyped up on cotton candy?

    If toddlers crashing around isn’t your idea of fun — there is still more. Cumberland County citizens of all ages submit various works of art for the annual arts and crafts show. Beautiful baskets, paintings and pottery are just some of the works of arts you will see on display - and yes, the artist can win a ribbon! If you have a talent you would like to share, it is not too late to enter it into the show.

    The Cumberland County Fair is also known for great music, and this year promises to entertain. Music is on tap throughout the fair’s run, and includes a variety of musical genres.

    Reflections II band is a Fayetteville-based band that plays a variety of music that leaves their fans asking for more. Playing mostly cover tunes, one of the band’s fans noted, “Great guys … awesome talent, great set list. Top shelf entertainment.” You might want to do what one fan suggested — get on your dancing shoes and boogy on down at the fair.

    •The Throwback Collaboration Band plays the best of rhythm and blues, dance and old school music.

    •If you are a little bit country, the Steel County Express has something for you. The band plays modern country and some rock and roll.

    Rivermist, also a Fayetteville-based band, started its musical journey in 2014. Rivermist is a variety, party band that plays a little something for everyone. They have a great local following and a number of kudos such as several Up & Coming Weekly Best of Fayetteville awards.

    Another kind of talent will be on display at the Fair, and it includes some of the most beautiful people in the county. The Cumberland County Fair Pageant is Sept. 4. There are 10 pageant categories for contestants from birth to ages 20 and up.

    Of course, we saved the best for last: Rides, lots and lots of rides! Bumper cars, ferris wheels, scramblers, etc. Anything that spins, turns, goes upside down and back up again will on be center stage at the fair. so, grab your sweetie and lock into the ferris wheel and check out the view from the top — or get on a rollercoaster, and let your stomach drop.

    With all of the amazing things to do, you won’t want to miss it! So, review the schedule with daily specials listed below.

    Admission is $8 per person (adults and children ages 3 and up). Single ride tickets are $1.25; unlimited ride wristbands are $25. Residents can purchase tickets in advance at CapeFearTix.com, Fort Bragg Leisure Travel Services and in person at the Crown Complex Box Office. The fair schedule and special ticket prices are listed below:

    Sept. 3: Gates open at 5 p.m. Free admission for healthcare professionals. Children ages 3 - 12 get in for $5. Admission is $8 for all other individuals ages 13 and older.

    Sept. 4: Gates open at 1 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and children 3 years of age and older.

    Sept. 5: Gates open at 1 p.m. Day of Giving. Free admission with six non-perishable food items. One free ticket for every six items donated. Admission is $8 for adults and children 3 years of age and older.

    Sept. 6: Gates open at 1 p.m. Pay One Price Night $15 admission and rides are unlimited.

    Sept. 7- 9: Gates open at 5 p.m. Pay One Price Night $15 admission and rides are unlimited.

    Sept. 10: Gates open at 5 p.m. Free admission for school personnel with valid ID. Admission is $8 for all other individuals ages 13 and older.

    Sept. 11: Gates open at 1 p.m. Free admission for military and first responders with valid ID. Admission is $8 for all other individuals ages 13 and older.

    Sept. 12: Gates open at 1 p.m. Admission is $8 for all individuals ages 13 and older

    For all indoor events at the fair, masks must be worn.

    For more information about the Cumberland County Fair, including entertainment and exhibits, go to cumberlandcountyfair.org.

  • 09 DSC 0593Each September, The Lafayette Society and the City of Fayetteville celebrate the birthday of the Marquis de Lafayette, the city’s namesake. This year, focus will be on the popular French music concert and a ribbon-cutting and dedication of the new Lafayette Plaza East.

    The Lafayette Society’s Hank Parfitt said the annual celebration promotes the significance of Lafayette’s contributions to Fayetteville while educating and entertaining the public through music and the arts. The events are made possible mostly by the efforts of volunteers.

    “I am proud of our board, as well as our general membership, for their time, energy and enduring support of our mission as a civic as well as an historical organization,” Parfitt said.
    On Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Dr. Gail Morfesis and Friends will present “L’ensemble de la Famille: Musical Families and their Historical Significance” at Hay Street United Methodist Church in downtown Fayetteville.

    Morfesis has been organizing and performing in concerts as part of Lafayette celebrations since 2014. She organized this year’s concert with a grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts Council awarded to help promote music in the community.

    “The concert is basically performed in French,” she said, “we try to educate the audience about Lafayette and French musical traditions.” There will be translations and notes in the program.

    This year, Morfesis wanted to recall an era before electronic devices to highlight the tradition of families entertaining themselves with music — singing and playing instruments and “making music in
    their homes.”

    “I want to point out that during COVID, because families were at home together, we saw a resurgence of a tradition — families creating and entertaining themselves with music” Morfesis said.

    The concert will showcase the talents of professional musical artists from eastern North Carolina and will include married couples, a father-daughter duo, and two groups who are “just like family.”

    This lively, fast-paced concert will appeal to a broad audience, Morfesis said. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased at City Center Gallery & Books on Hay Street or online at www.lafayettesociety.org/events. CDC precautions will be observed with safe distancing in the sanctuary but attendees are asked to wear masks.

    On Sept. 12 at 2 p.m., the Lafayette Society will be joined by the Mayor and members of the City Council and County Board of Commissioners to dedicate the new Lafayette Plaza East. The existing brick plaza and stage with seating walls on the west side of the Lafayette statue was funded by the Society and dedicated in 2013.

    This past year, the Society’s Park and Statue Committee worked with the City to develop a performing stage on the east side of the statue with new landscaping. This created an outdoor amphitheater downtown suitable for concerts and other performances. It also made the entire park more attractive as a place for recreation and gathering.

    The Camp Flintlock Fife and Drum will be there to help Mayor Mitch Colvin, Commissioner Glenn Adams, and District 2 Councilwoman Shakeyla Ingram with the ribbon cutting. Lafayette himself will also make an appearance, thanks to re-enactor Stanley Seay.

    Pictured above: City officials will help The Lafayette Society dedicate the new Lafayette Plaza East on Sept. 12. (Photo by Dylan Hooker). The music concert will be Sept. 9 at Hay Street United Methodist Church.

  • 09082010pt.gifWe all know Americans are literally too big for our britches these days.

    We hear and see it all the time. We are too heavy and it is affecting our health.

    We eat too much processed food and not enough fresh. We eat restaurant and fast-food meals too often and the portions are too big. We sit at computer screens and TV sets too long and move our bodies too little. What is even worse is that our children are following our examples, and we are setting our own precious jewels up for a lifetime of weight-related problems, including social and health issues.

    It breaks this mother’s heart to see school age children who actually waddle because they cannot get their thighs together for all the fat.

    But who would have thunk it about Army recruits?

    For the first time, the Army acknowledges that chubby, less-thanfit recruits are an issue, and in true military style, they are on it.

    The Army screens out potential recruits who are obese or absolutely unfit, but they have other plans for those who still hold military promise but who have had too many burgers and fries, have played too many video games and have been offered too few school athletic activities.

    Faced with the reality of potential recruits who fail their physicals because of weight — up a flabbergasting 70 percent between 1995 and 2008, and an official report by retired brass entitled Too Fat to Fight, our Army has a plan.

    It is a new PT for a new recruit, one who has grown up with the less-thannutritious diet and sedentary activities of today and without the weight bearing work of past American generations. The New York Times reports that because an increasing number of young recruits were getting injured in traditional basic training PT, up alarmingly since just 2002, the Army has come up with a new PT program for its recruits, one heavier on stretching, core strengthening and balance and lighter on individual exercises like multiple sit-ups and the traditional long runs.

    In other words, it looks more like yoga and Pilates and less like your daddy’s basic training workout.

    Lt. General Mark Hertling, who heads the Army’s basic training program, says that weight is a national problem that has affected the Army as it has the rest of our culture and that the percentage of recruits who fail their physicals has risen 70 percent over the last two decades. More women recruits fail than men.

    The new PT program, almost 10 years in the making and now challenging some 145,000 recruits a year at the Army’s five basic-training posts, is an effort both to whip recruits into shape and to prepare them for the challenging realities of combat in terrain like that of Afghanistan.

    So what are our Army recruits doing in PT if not a bazillion sit ups and interminable runs?

    The two former gym teachers who developed the new PT program and who run the Army Physical Fitness School at Fort Jackson, S.C., looked at what soldiers actually do in their work like tossing grenades, dodging bullets and climbing, and designed exercises to develop those skills, including side twists, back bridges and rowing-like exercises.

    It is a multi-week course that increases in diffi culty as it unfolds.

    Says one of the developers, Frank Palkoska, “What we did in the morning had nothing to do with what we did the rest of the day.”

    And lest you think the Army has gone soft, First Lt. Tameeka Hayes, who leads a platoon of new recruits at Fort Jackson, says “It’s more whole body. No one who has done this routine says we’ve made it easier.”

    The program also has a mess-hall component involving color-coded food choices which translates into more fruits and vegetables and fewer fried chicken nuggets and sodas.

    I have never been through Army recruit PT, but I have been doing yoga for the last decade, and can promise you, it is not for sissies. My longtime yoga master, a former paratrooper and martial arts master, is someone you would not want to meet in a dark alley unless he is on your team, and I am convinced that the ongoing and life-long challenges of yoga will help me with strength and balance as I age.

    The new PT regimen is for recruits at this point, but indications are it will spread. Even though every unit’s commander is responsible for its exercise program and current commanders came up under the older system, the new policy has been distributed Army-wide, replacing a 1992 version. The idea is to keep all soldiers more fit, since evidence suggests many pack on the pounds during or immediately after deployments.

    In other words, can you say “hooah” and “om” at the same time?

  • UAC09292101Wow! For over two decades, our community newspaper has provided residents, visitors and guests insights into the people, businesses and organizations that invest extra time and effort into making our community unique.

    Our Best of Fayetteville survey is also unique. Our dedicated readers pride themselves on making sure they are the ones who define and determine who Fayetteville’s Best of the Best are. No nominations, no ballot stuffing. Only well-defined enforceable voting guidelines have elevated the honor and integrity of the Best of Fayetteville designation.

    However, the survey is not scientific. It is an informal survey, and we make no claims otherwise. However, it has proven to be highly accurate.

    Following a frustrating year of staying at home, social distancing, vaccine confusion, mask-wearing, and an overall lack of social interaction, we are slowly beginning to get our lives back to normalcy. So, now, let’s celebrate!

    As our faithful readers know, Up & Coming Weekly’s biggest celebration of the year is recognizing and honoring our community’s outstanding people, businesses and institutions. This year we are celebrating the occasion at the Crown Coliseum, one of our newest Best of Fayetteville sponsors.

    Here is where the Best of the Best will congregate to celebrate their achievements and contributions to our All-American City.

    Over the past 25 years, our community and our newspaper have changed immensely. However, the Best of Fayetteville readers survey has not. It continues to reflect the best aspects of the Fayetteville community. Annually, we receive thousands of ballots and painstakingly record the comments and sentiments of our readers.

    This process allows us to get to know who, what and why they value our community members. It is these people, businesses and organizations we want to showcase and introduce to Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County residents as they continue to work hard year after year to improve, impact and elevate our local quality of life.

    The Up & Coming Weekly Best of Fayetteville edition you are holding in your hands will serve you well throughout the year. It is a valuable visitor’s guide, service directory and cultural and event resource.

    Please share it with your friends. The format and guidelines for this sanctioned, time-tested survey have been designed and audited to provide residents, local businesses and organizations the recognition they deserve for their ethics, dedication and perseverance in their quest for excellence.

    Since the first ballots were counted more than two decades ago, Up & Coming Weekly has successfully told the Best of Fayetteville winners’ stories. With your votes and support, we are extremely proud to share this year’s Best of the Best winners with you. Please join me and the entire Up & Coming Weekly staff and all our 2021 Best of Fayetteville sponsors as we begin this yearlong celebration.

    For 24/7, 365-days-a-year access to the Best of Fayetteville winners, visit www.upandcomingweekly.com. While you’re there, sign up for our FREE electronic subscription and receive the Early Bird edition of Up & Coming Weekly every Tuesday

    I want to thank Mac Healy of Healy Wholesale and Jim Grafstrom of the Crown Coliseum for their help and support. I also want to thank Jimmy Keefe of the Trophy House for creating the beautiful Best of Fayetteville plaques they designed and his service as a Cumberland County Commissioner. Of course, every legitimate survey needs a competent CPA, and we have the best. Lee Utley has supported and partnered with us for nearly two decades, and his services have been invaluable.

    Again, we hope you enjoy this special edition of Up & Coming Weekly. Keep it handy and refer to it often.

    We sincerely thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly and supporting your only locally-owned community newspaper.

  • 02 Pitt IMG 8588Watching the news with its escalating daily death count from the ravages of the Rona got me to thinking about mortality.

    Dionne Warwick sang: “What’s it all about Alfie/ Is it just for the moment we live/ What’s it all about/ When you sort it out, Alfie.” Since Alfie is not available, I will explain one of the mysteries of life, the little matter of death.

    Class, open your laptop. This will be on the final exam. If you are reading this blot on world literature, by definition you are alive. However, at some point you will slip off this mortal coil and break on through to the Other Side. As the late Jim Morrison once said: “No one gets out of here alive.” It is unclear if Jim is aware he remains popular.

    Our version of human beings is called Homo Sapiens. Mr. Google reports that Homo Sapiens appeared about 50,000 years ago. The Population Reference Bureau estimates since the appearance of Homo Sapiens about 107 billion people have lived.

    Currently, the world population is estimated to be about 7.6 billion people. That means that roughly 100 billion people have already died giving us a ratio of 15 dead people for every living person today. So, death is pretty common. As Elaine once said to Jerry Seinfeld in another context, death has been done to death. We should not be surprised when it happens.

    Poets, philosophers and song writers have all grappled with the concept of death. Let’s take a look at some of the colorful ways four famous people have gotten into Charon’s boat and crossed the river Styx into the land of the dead. Why did Casper the Friendly Boy have to die to become Casper the Friendly Ghost? Some questions do not have answers.

    Our old friend and Greek playwright Aeschylus departed in a colorful manner. Aeschylus was a famous dude in his time. He was born around 525 BC. He is generally credited as being the father of Greek tragedy. He wrote about 80 plays with only seven of his plays surviving. An oracle told Aeschylus he was going to be killed by something falling out of the sky. Being a cautious sort, Aeschylus social distanced from the sky by mainly staying indoors. Fate will not be cheated. When your time is up, it’s up. One day in 456 B.C., Aeschylus broke his rule against being outside and went on a walkabout. Bad idea. Aeschylus was bald (another reason I like him, he is the godfather of all bald men). While he was out walking, an eagle flying overhead mistook his bald head for a rock. Ordinarily an eagle with presbyopia is not a danger to humanity. But this particular eagle was carrying a tortoise in his claws. Eagles have figured out how to get to the good stuff inside the tortoise shell by picking up the critter and dropping it on a rock below. The tortoise shell cracks open and voila! It’s tortoise tartar for the hungry eagle. The eagle dropped the tortoise on Aeschylus’ bald head. Lights out for the father of Greek tragedy.

    Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881 in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Various legends have grown up about Billy and the number of people he killed. His burial site has been vandalized so many times by souvenir hunters that a metal cage had to be built around it to keep the fans from destroying his tomb stone.

    Singer Dave Stamey sympathetically channels Billy’s ghost and sings an excellent song about Billy’s death called “The Skies of Lincoln County”. The chorus goes: “And the skies of Lincoln County were as blue as blue could be/ And the sun that shines on you, well it used to shine on me/ And I knew the smell of wood smoke and I liked the taste of beer/ The only difference now, is I’m not here/ I’m in New Mexico and it’s 1881.” I commend this song for your listening pleasure. We will all join Billy one day and miss the smell of wood smoke.

    The late great song writer Warren Zevon wrote a cheery little ditty called “Life’ll Kill You” in which he ponders the mystery of death. I saw Warren perform in Chapel Hill at the Cat’s Cradle when he was not well. He suggested to the audience that avoiding the doctor was not a good plan. His song included the lyrics: “From the President of the United States/ To the lowliest rock and roll star/ The doctor is in and he’ll see you now/ He don’t care who you are/ Some get the awful, awful diseases/ Some get the knife, some get the gun/ Some get to die in their sleep at the age of a hundred and one.”

    So what have we learned today? Life is fleeting. Enjoy it. Do you know what happens the day after you die? Everything. Politicians promise. Traffic jams. Lunch is eaten. Birds fly. People get married. Socks get lost. The only difference is you’re not there.

    Pictured: Aeschylus' time was up when an eagle flying overhead mistook his bald head for a rock.

  • Surfboarding penguins, a sunfl ower draped Iron Mike and a Jim Morrison-inspired cowboy are a just a few of the visual delights that await you when the doors to Wet Willie’s opens in early October.

    But as much as the new entertainment venue in historic downtown Fayetteville is a visual delight, its trademark daquiries are a tasty delight that Josh and Tonia Collins believe will help keep summer hanging on all year round.

    Years in the making, Wet Willie’s is the third restaurant the couple has opened in downtown Fayetteville, and if their past successes are any indicator, Wet Willie’s will soon become Fayetteville’s nightlife destination.

    The restaurant, part of a Wet Willie’s 17-store chain, is a natural progression for the folks at Huske. Collins recounts that their first foray into the restaurant world was at Blue Moon. When Huske Hardware came up for sale, Collins thought it was an opportunity not to be missed. But Tonia thought otherwise.09-21-11-wet-willies.jpg

    “I told Tonia I wanted to do Huske, and she said, ‘No, I want to do a Wet Willie’s,’” recounted Josh. “So I said let’s do Huske fi rst, and then we will do Wet Willie’s. That was the negotiation.”

    After getting Huske on a solid status. The duo and their partners began laying the ground work for Wet Willie’s, purchasing the franchise in 2007. As Huske took off in late 2008-2009, they started working harder on Wet Willie’s and then the economy crashed.

    “We were working through the small business loans, but money was hard to come by,” said Josh. “We were on our third bank, and our business was in a five inch binder before we got fi nal approval — and that was a nine-month process.”

    “Quite a few things were happening downtown at that time. Businesses were closing, but were were doing okay,” he said.

    When the Wet Willie’s executives came to town, the Collins’ took them to a variety of locations where they thought to put the restaurant. “We went all over the community, and the CEO wouldn’t even get out and look at some of the locations,” he said. “When we showed them Huske, the CEO said, ‘Son, this is a homerun.’”

    “And then he said, ‘If you don’t do it here, I am,’” added Tonia.

    The idea is that the two businesses, Huske and Wet Willie’s will complement each other, creating a nightlife destination for downtown.

    As mentioned earlier, Wet Willie’s is a daiqu09-21-11-wet-willies-2.jpgiri restaurant. It was originally started in 1988 by a small group of friends. The group began the research required to fuse the daiquiri concept with a casual, upbeat atmosphere, yielding the right mix of fl avor, fun and success. The goal was to exceed our guests’ expectation of a bar and a party, and to become an institution.

    The Collins’ hope to meet that goal in Fayetteville. “We will make the world’s greatest daiquiris,” said Josh.

    The restaurant serves a variety of exotic as well as classic frozen daiquiris with names like Attitude Improvement, Bahama Mama, Chocloate Thunder and the classic Call A Cab. It will also offer aclohol-free drinks known as Weak Willie’s

    .Along with the drinks, there will also be great food. The restaurant will feature some of the chain’s menu, but will also offer an expanded menu.

    “We are taking it up a notch,” he said.

    The same can be said of the nightlife. Just as Huske has become a destination for dancing and live music, Wet Willie’s will also offer quality night time entertainment in a safe and healthy environment.

    As construction is ongoing at the facility, adjacent to Huske, excitement is beginning to grow. Frequent hits to the establishment’s website, www.wetwillies.com/locations/fayetteville, have resulted in the still unopen restaurant being in the top three for VIP memberships within the chain.

    “We aren’t planning on a big grand opening, we think people have waited long enough,” said Tonia. “We just want to get the doors open and let the people enjoy it.”

  • 01 ManPointingGunHC1607 sourceNorth Carolinians were horrified by not one but two school shootings earlier this month — at least I hope
    we were.

    The first was in Wilmington where a 15-year-old student at New Hanover High School was charged with attempted murder in the wounding of another student in his leg. Officials released few details because of the accused’s age, but his mother said the boy was new to the school and that his family had been concerned about his safety in the new setting. She said she had spoken to school administrators about those concerns.

    Days later a student at Mount Tabor High School in Winston Salem was shot dead at the school, and a suspect, believed to have been a fellow student, was later apprehended.City and county authorities have been even less forthcoming with information about the second shooting in a single week, presumably because of the age of the person taken into custody.

    At a time when students are just returning to classrooms after more than a year of COVID shutdowns, these shootings are shocking and deeply disturbing. Questions that pop up immediately include these.

    Where did the guns involved come from and how did the shooters get their hands on them?

    How did they get them into schools, supposedly safe places for learning, both academically and socially?

    What should parents do when they fear their children are walking into unsafe situations when they are entrusted to others in charge of our schools?

    These are questions to which there are answers, whether we like them
    or not.

    We may find that the shooters took licensed weapons from another person without permission. We may find they smuggled them into school in backpacks, somehow bypassing school resource officers or even metal detectors. We may find that schools have procedures for parents to voice concerns and channels to pursue if they feel administrators are not listening to them. Law enforcement officials across the nation are voicing concerns about young people and guns, among them North Carolina’s Attorney General Josh Stein. Stein has contacted Facebook regarding gun sales on its platforms, including Instagram, especially to underage buyers.

    More difficult are the larger, less specific questions, these among them.

    How did we become a nation whose culture embraces firearms, with all their attendant dangers and losses? How did we become a nation where my right to own a gun supersedes your right to be safe in my presence? How much more gun violence among both adults and children are we willing to tolerate?

    When twenty 6- and 7-year-olds were gunned down nearly a decade ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, millions of Americans thought, “Surely, murdering kindergarteners will shock us into facing the magnitude of our gun violence problem, something no other developed nation on earth faces.”

    But that did not happen.

    The carnage, both small and large, continues in churches (Charleston, South Carolina), in concert venues (Las Vegas), in schools (far too numerous to enumerate), in businesses, in homes, on roadways and hiking trails. It happens to people of all ages, from infants to the elderly.

    Name a place in the United States, and odds are that someone has been shot there — or will be.

    Often the shooter is someone disaffected from his community and/or family, striking out at people he believes have wronged him somehow. Some times he is taking aim at strangers for reasons known only to himself.

    Whatever the situation, it is increasingly apparent that Americans have lost our capacity to be shocked by violence — that the lives lost and the people who took them are now part of the wallpaper of our culture, even when they are too young to have their names made public.

    My guess is we feel that way until it happens to someone we love.

  • Methodist University’s David McCune Art Gallery is showcasing the “Rembrandt: The Sign and the Light" exhibition through Nov. 18. The exhibition displays a series of 59 etchings by the well-known Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn and is a part of the gallery’s 10-year anniversary celebration.

    “One of the things that’s very attractive about this show is Rembrandt's way of storytelling,” Silvana Foti, Art Director and Curator of McCune Gallery said. “The way he captures human quality, almost seems like his subject matter was staged, they're extremely theatrical.”

    Rembrandt was a 17th-century Dutch artist who established himself as one of the greatest storytellers in art history through his ability to render people in his work. Rembrandt’s work is known to approach "real life" through theatrical transposition.

    Foti described the etchings to have a psychological emotional drama that's connected between the images when looking at them.

    The etchings on display offer a variety of subjects, including religious figures, scenes, portraits, figure studies and famous beggars from Rembrandt’s 35-year career. The name of the exhibit is derived from the technique used by Rembrandt in the etchings that are on display.

    “There will be some etchings that are very dark, and when you begin to examine them there will be sparks or light that will just illuminate,” Foti said. “A kind of technique used by Rembrandt known as Chiaroscuro, creating a strong contrast between light and dark.”

    Each visitor is provided with a magnifier to witness the details in Rembrandt's etchings.

    Most people think of Rembrandt as a painter and are surprised by his etchings that profoundly changed the course of art history, Foti said.

    “It would be an awful shame to not be able to see this exhibition in person, this is a once in a lifetime for many people,” she said.

    The David McCune Art Gallery is known to host two shows per year, a regional show and an international show. Shows are planned a year or two in advance. The different exhibits are selected based on things like familiarity with the artists' names, different time periods, different styles and likes, Foti said.

    "The Sign and the Light" exhibition is a part of the gallery’s 10-year anniversary celebration. The gallery has brought some well-renowned names like Picasso, Rodin and Chagall, among others, to exhibitions in the past.

    “I think we have been a pretty big gem here in Fayetteville, offering art not just to the university but community,” Foti said.

    The gallery has attracted many art lovers from across different states like New York, Georgia, Virginia and more who are surprised to see such shows come to a small university like Methodist University, she said.
    Senior graphic design major Tom Gore said that it was amazing for him to see these great pieces of art, right here at Methodist University, without having to travel to New York.

    “Methodist sets itself apart from other universities in many ways, but for a university to bring in master artist exhibits such as Picasso, Rodin, Chagall and Rembrandt year after year is just unheard of,” said Bradley Johnson, director of Marketing & Communications at Methodist University.

    He said he toured the exhibit with his wife last Friday, and there were visitors in the gallery from Nebraska.

    “With Methodist allowing in guests to see original, 17th-century works from Rembrandt at no charge, it is truly a gift to the Fayetteville community and beyond," Johnson said.

    The museum has attracted fewer visitors due to the pandemic. The ticketing and limitation rules in place may be the issue since people are usually more impromptu and didn’t have to commit to a time and date in the past, she said.

    Foti emphasized the importance of witnessing the exhibit in person and not just virtually to experience and understand the talent, details and technique of Rembrandt’s etchings.

    “The main thing is you’re going to be surprised by the etchings, the amount of detail and the way that Rembrandt has the ability to capture your human quality and the world around him,” Foti said.

    The exhibit is free to the public but with reserved days, times and face covering requirements due to COVID-19 restrictions. Visitors can go to https://davidmccunegallery.com to reserve a date and time and to access the free ticket.

    The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 4 p.m. The gallery will be closed Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.

    For more information about the gallery, exhibit and to access the free tickets, visit https://davidmccunegallery.com


    01 01 Aurie and Edward Parker of Wake Forest

    01 02 Debbie Stewart of Fayetteville








    Pictured: (Left) Aurie and Edward Parker of Wake Forest visit the Rembrandt exhibit at Methodist University's David McCune Art Gallery. (Right) Debbie Stewart of Fayetteville views an etching by Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn.


  • 11 N1502P37008HIt may not cross our minds, but balance is essential and a prerequisite for movement and motor skills. When new participants come to class and I ask what is important to you, I often hear I need to work on my balance. Balance is related to our overall mobility, and we need balance for activities which include movement such as walking, crawling, getting out of a chair or leaning over to pick up an object. Studies have shown that a sizable percentage of ER visits for seniors are due to falls and a substantial number admitted to the hospital. Other factors that can affect balance are vision, hearing, medication, injuries, neuropathy and chronic ailments. Although falls may result from age, they are not an inevitable part of aging, and you can do something about it.

    Balance training strengthens the muscles that help you keep up right and promote stability for your core. All muscles work together in balance training to promote joint stability. Training also improves your reaction time, agility, coordination and concentration. Balance exercises become embedded in your memory and could be the reason that you do not fall when that unexpected obstacle or unstable surface comes your way. Beneficial exercises for balance training include resistance training, core, legs, glutes and back. As you progress your confidence increases as you add more time, movement and unstable surfaces which all help your focus and concentration. Another factor that effects our balance is flexibility and strength in our ankles. A large majority of injuries for sprains and breaks are a result of inflexible and weak ankles. Foot exercises that include pronation, supination, dorsiflexion and plantar flexion are beneficial by improving flexibility, strength, stability and are an important addition to your training.

    An article caught my attention with a bold headline that read “Balance Test.” It began with a duration of a minute standing on one leg which I thought was a lofty challenge and could be discouraging for someone beginning to work on balance skills.

    Balance is not always about a pose or how long you hold it. It is how your body supports stability and movement in everyday activities.

    Working on your balance can begin in your home. A chair or counter offers stability to practice at any time and you can do it while you are brushing your teeth or working at the kitchen sink.

    Begin while standing on one foot and then the other. See how long you can hold it or begin by holding for five seconds and you may also notice that balance is better on one side than the other. Soon you will begin to see your time increasing, less need to hold on and confidence to practice on unstable surfaces, movement and direction. There are other opportunities to practice balance other than home or the fitness center. I have found that waiting in line at a store or the grocery store with the aid of a cart can be fun to do by standing on one leg and then the other.

    You can search for balance exercises online that include standing and seated and a good start for you to begin in your home. Fitness centers are another opportunity for balance classes with group fitness, personal training and classes such as yoga and tai chi. Balance training increases our awareness in how we move with more confidence. The bottom line is no one wants to fall and balance training along with exercise can help reduce the odds of falling and sustaining fall-related injuries.

  • 01 service pnp cwpbh 03100 03132vWell, who would have ever thought the U.S. Congress would take on the task of trying to rewrite history, or maybe I should say erase history. Yes, it's distressing to most Americans, but that doesn't seem to matter to the woke minority. Crazy as it may seem, we are living in a nation of gross "hypocrisy." Yes, our proud and mighty Fort Bragg, along with many other military installations that bear the names of Confederate heroes, has been mandated by Congress to be renamed. Look it up. The National Defense Authorization Act.

    Now they are authorizing and organizing virtual town meetings, asking the general public to comment, and making them feel that they are actually participating in the process of renaming the traditional and proud home of the 82nd Airborne Division and the U.S. Army's Special Operations Command. Again, the hypocrisy of this arrogant woke style of national thinking is frustrating and distressing to most Americans. That is if they are thinking at all.

    How do you declare a word like Confederacy taboo, socially unacceptable and obscene, not unlike the N-word or the C-word? Then we have to ask ourselves: Where does this end? Indeed, not just with military bases. There are literally thousands of institutions, schools, roads, businesses and organizations named after some aspect of the Confederacy. Here in our community of Fayetteville, Murchison Road was named in honor of a local wealthy plantation owner, Duncan Murchison. He not only owned slaves but had three sons that served in the Civil War. It gets better: Two of the Murchison boys, John R. and Kenneth, were commissioned officers in the Confederate Army. So, what we have here is a "twofer." The Murchison's were both slave owners and Confederate soldiers. So, as the NDAA mandate dictates, will they embrace Fayetteville's historical past or strip our community of the Murchison name that has meant so much to so many in our community and rename Murchison Road? I think not. And, I hope not.

    This newspaper is on the record advocating with Grilley Mitchell. Mitchell is a U.S. Army veteran, VFW member, program coordinator for ALMS House in Hope Mills, and candidate for the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners. Mitchell is a voice of reason representing the Cumberland County Veterans Council. They put forth their common sense recommendation: The installation should be renamed after Edward Bragg, Braxton Bragg's cousin, a Union officer in the Civil War. He put forth this recommendation on behalf of the CCVC, stating, "That's the decision that we also believe that belongs to the men and women that have served this nation, as well as their family members because they paid the price to have that choice to make that decision."

    There are numerous common sense reasons that Fort Bragg (and Murchison Road) should remain Fort Bragg. Trying to change history is futile. And, trying to change history selectively is divisive and destructive to our nation. Again, when and where does the canceled culture and hypocrisy end? When will America again start focusing on the real issues facing our country? It's idiocy to concentrate on changing streets signs when Americans are abandoned and being slain in Afghanistan. Why mandate vaccines and threaten American citizens with fines and punishment when 40 thousand illegal and unvaccinated immigrants cross into the U.S. every week? Hypocrisy and setting priorities — two of America's biggest challenges.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    Pictured above: Many are calling for Fort Bragg to be renamed Fort Bragg in honor of Union General Edward S. Bragg. (Photo courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)



  • 03 8d44b05a65200c0ac782d378c5491fb0America lost a great man this summer, a man who rivaled Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford in inventiveness: the incomparable Ron Popeil. Ron passed away in July leaving us alone and friendless. Readers of a certain attenuated age will recall his many contributions easing the way in which Americans encountered life’s vicissitudes in the last quarter of the 20th century. Ron was the King of late-night TV, the impresario and inventor of the Informercial, the founder of Ronco, the purveyor of gadgets to the masses. What was so rare as a Ron Popeil invention? Let me count the ways. Would a Kitchen Magician Food Slicer by any other name smell as sweet? Nay, a thousand times nay. I am not just saying that because I have been taking pumpkin spice Ivermectin to ward off the Rona. My personal physician, Dr. Mr. Ed the Talking Horse asked me to request both my readers not to buy ivermectin from the farm supply as the shortage of ivermectin is causing horses to walk around full of parasites. But I digress.

    Allow me to return to Ron Popeil. To misquote Marc Antony at Caesar’s funeral oration: “Friends, Romans, Cumberland County countrymen, lend me your ears and Visa cards, I come to bury Ron Popeil, not to praise him. The evil men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” Let not the great and good inventions left behind by Ron be forgotten. We should cherish them, honor them, and hold them up as a bright light against the darkness that currently enfolds us. Is it not better to use a Chop-O-Matic hand food processor than to cut off your thumb slicing tomatoes? Opposable thumbs are all that separate humans from banana slugs. We must preserve our opposable thumbs as well as our precious bodily fluids. Without opposable thumbs mankind and womankind, (note: gender sensitivity on display here) humans would be condemned to compete with banana slugs eating moldy bananas and be unable to text while driving. The horror, the horror as Colonel Kurtz would say.

    Consider some of the Ronco products which made life in the 1970’s more tolerable. The 70’s were a hard time for everyone. Disco was popular then creating a bleak time for anyone who had ears to hear. Ronco commercials were a light in the gloom of the post-midnight forest of television when only 3 channels were available. Who can forget the happiness that GLH-9 Hair Spray in a can brought to millions of bald men? Spray on hair was the bee’s knees. The GLH stood for Great Looking Hair. No one could tell your bald head was covered in black paint. The Chop-O-Matic begat the Bass-O-Matic on Saturday Night Live as sold by Dan Akroyd. Ponder the wonderful Electric Food Dehydrator from
    Ronco. To quote Sir Walter Scott: “Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own native Electric Food Dehydrator!” Wouldn’t it be great to dehydrate a rutabaga by merely dropping it into your Electric Food Dehydrator?

    If you give a man a fish, he can eat for one day. If you give a man a Ronco Pocket Fisherman he can eat for the rest of his life. He will always have a food source for an endless supply of Bass-O-Matic protein shakes. How many times have you been trying to crack an egg to scramble it only to have the egg shell splinter into tiny pieces in the frying pan? You futilely try to fish out the egg shells with a spoon only to have the slippery little devils evade capture. Ultimately you stick your fingers into the frying pan to get the shell out thereby burning your fingers and endangering your all-important opposable thumb. Ron knew of this silent kitchen tragedy and invented the Inside-the-Shell-Egg-Scrambler. The scrambler inserted a pin into the egg, swirled it around, thus producing a perfect scrambled egg every time. Ron must have shouted “Eureka” just as Archimedes did when he discovered buoyancy while bathing. After the invention of the Inside the Egg Scrambler, the yolk was on anyone who was foolish to try to scramble an egg the old-fashioned way.

    Ron brought us possibly the greatest invention since Turok the Caveman invented the wheel- the amazing Mr. Microphone. Mr. Microphone allowed teen age boys to drive around yelling sweet nothings at teen age girls. Who can forget the immortal lines from the commercial when a carload of boys uses Mr. Microphone to yell: “Hey Good Looking! I’ll be back to pick you up later.” According to the commercial this was a surefire way to pick up girls. Results may have varied in real life.

    As my readership becomes older and grip strength declines, who wouldn’t want the Cap Snaffler? Hard to open caps came off in a jiffy. It “snaffles caps off any size jug, bottle, or jar.” Who among us wouldn’t delight in spending an afternoon snaffling the caps of every container in the kitchen, including those jars of pimentos which have been sitting in the back of the cabinet since the first Bush Administration? Snaffle away America, your opposable thumbs will be safe.

    Have we learned anything today? Finally, the answer is yes. Ron Popeil was a great man. We shall not see his like again. As Marc Antony concluded: “Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Ron. And I must pause till it comes back to me.”

    Pictured: Ron Popeil was an inventor, pitchman and television star who popularized the phrase “But wait, there’s more!” He introduced Americans to the infomercial.

  • uac090413001.gif Have you been affected by cancer? Almost everyone has. Maybe a family member, friend, neighbor or someone at your church is dealing with cancer. Perhaps you are a survivor yourself.

    I lost my grandfather to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year. As I remember the struggles my family and I endured during his illness, it helps to know that there are organizations like Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation’s Friends of the Cancer Center to provide support to cancer patients, survivors and their family members.

    Members of the community can also show their support on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the 8th Annual Ribbon Walk & Ride, occurring at the Medical Arts Center in Downtown Fayetteville.

    The purpose of Friends of the Cancer Center is to alleviate some of the stress that is placed on cancer patients and their families. A cancer diagnosis can come as a shock to patients and their loved ones. Treatments and financial obligations can add to that stress.

    Fortunately, all proceeds from the Ribbon Walk & Ride go toward The Friends of the Cancer Center’s mission of helping cancer patients at Cape Fear Valley cope. This includes helping cancer victims with funds for cancer screenings, prescription medicines, wigs, hats, scarves, transportation, dietary supplements, utilities and even rent. It also involves offering emotional support and therapeutic outlets both for patients and their families.

    With funds raised by events such as the Ribbon Walk & Ride, Cape Fear Valley Cancer Treatment and CyberKnife® Center offers the Oasis Complimentary Medicine Program, which provides numerous therapeutic exercises for patients. Services concentrate on the mind, body and soul. Patients can receive a massage or reflexology for an exceptional price. Nutritional classes are also offered and patients may attend art therapy classes to therapeutically express any feelings of depression or anxiety they may be experiencing.

    A healthy soul heals, and the Oasis Complimentary Medicine Program is aimed at treating the areas that radiation and chemotherapy can’t reach.

    Tara Brisson Hinton, Friends of the Cancer Center Coordinator, would like to see these services continue to expand, in order to help even more patients through their journey with cancer. Doing so will require raising funds through events like the Ribbon Walk & Ride.

    One of the great things about participating in this special event is that you are helping patients right here at home, in your community.

    There are numerous ways you can support those who are fighting cancer. You can choose to walk by yourself, with a team or register as a survivor.

    Those up to the challenge created a team and recruited others to join. Some came up with a creative name or named their teams after someone they have lost to cancer.

    All teams must be registered by Friday, August 30, to be acknowledged on the team banner. The team who raises the most before Monday, September 30, will receive The Crystal Trophy, with their team name engraved on it. Additionally, the top 3 teams will receive:

    • A thank you letter from the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation’s Board of Directors and recognition at their annual meeting

    • Certificate of Appreciation09-04-13-ribbon-walk-and-ride.gif

    • Team name listed on the foundation’s donor wall panel for the year

    • Honored at a special reception at the Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center Treatment & Cyberknife Center on Oct. 17.

    A new element has been added this year. A school competition will be held for elementary, middle and high school teams participating in the walk. Students, staff, family and friends may join the school teams. First, second and third place teams will receive awards for the Most Money Raised and Most Registered Participants. Also, teams will receive their award at a special reception at the Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center Treatment & Cyberknife Center.

    Cancer survivors may register for the event for only $15 and receive an honorary Survivors T-shirt and a personal invitation to the Survivor’s Reception.

    The Second Annual Survivors Reception will be held at Sky View on Hay Street on Friday, Sept. 20 – the night before the Ribbon Walk & Ride — from 7 to 9 p.m.

    The 2012 reception was a wonderful success with more than 350 guests in attendance. Each survivor, regardless of where they received their treatment, may bring a guest if they register for the Ribbon Walk & Ride before Monday, Sept. 6.

    “This is a time to celebrate with all cancer survivors,” says Hinton. “We honor them and their fight against this horrible disease, as well as their caregiver as we start off a weekend of hope and support for our patient’s right here at home.”

    The reception will be elegant with delectable food, live music, prizes and an entertaining photo booth. Get silly and have fun with the photo booth accessories because you can have a print for a keepsake.

    On display the night of the reception will be an art showcase, featuring work by the artists of Cape Fear Valley’s Artful Reflections Program.

    Survivors are not required to walk in order to attend the reception. Don’t miss out on an enjoyable night of entertainment and laughter.

    More than 950 people participated in the 2012 Ribbon Walk & Ride, raising more than $79,000. Cape Fear Valley’s Friends of the Cancer Center is hoping to top that with a goal to raise $100,000 this year.

    At over halfway to the goal, I encourage everyone to participate in this year’s 8th Annual Ribbon Walk & Ride. For more information on how to register or donate to support cancer patients at Cape Fear Valley Cancer and Cyberknife Center, please call (910) 615-1434 or visit www.ribbonwalkforcancer.org.

    Photo: Local citizens take on cancer at the annual Ribbon Walk & Ride for Cancer.


  • 02 NC flagiconStatistics can be cold and clinical to the point that we put them aside.

    Not so for the stats coming out of the COVID-delayed 2020 U.S. Census. These numbers continue the fascinating story of a still relatively young nation as it grows and matures. The numbers are critical, because they determine how and where federal dollars are spent and how much representation communities have in Congress and in state legislatures.

    The U.S. Constitution requires a census, a count of our nation’s population, every decade and a census is now conducted in the years ending with a 0. The first census in 1790 was taken by U.S. Marshals, the young nation’s total population was estimated at just under 4 million people. Over the next two centuries-plus, census data has expanded so that we know more about the people who live in our nation than just how many of us there are.

    Here is some of what we know in 2021.

    We are now a nation of more than 331 million souls, more than 10 million of whom live in North Carolina. The U.S. population is more diverse than it has ever been, with large increases in people who identify themselves as Hispanic, Asian, and more than one race. People who identify as non-Hispanic white remain the largest demographic group, but that group has shrunk from 69% in 2010 to 58% in 2020. More and more Americans live in metropolitan areas, while our smaller, more rural areas are losing population. More and more of us live in the South and West, while there is less growth in the Northeast and Midwest. The United States does continue to grow, but our growth is now at its second slowest rate since counting began in 1790 because of less immigration and a declining birth rate.

    Here is what is happening in our neck of the woods.

    Fayetteville has grown since 2010, but not as dramatically as other cities. It has dropped from North Carolina’s 4th largest to 6th. Cumberland County grew by roughly 15,000 people. Charlotte, on the other hand, grew by nearly 20%. Raleigh grew as well, and Wilmington and Asheville are also booming.The metro areas surrounding cities are expanding, attracting younger and often highly educated people more likely to have births than deaths. Together the Charlotte and Raleigh metro areas account for almost 39% of our state's current residents.

    Rural areas have less happy news. Half of North Carolina’s 50 counties lost population over the decade, mostly in the eastern part of the state. Tyrell, Hyde and Northampton have each lost 20% or more of their residents since 2010. There has even been talk of combining several of those shrinking counties into one larger one. Jim Johnson, a demographer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says deaths exceeded births in 23 Tar Heel counties. Our neighbor, Bladen County, lost nearly 10% of its people over the same period. Our metro gains and rural losses mirror what is happening in many other states and are worrisome for all.

    On balance, the 2020 census looks like good news for North Carolina. Our state is now the 9th largest in the union, just behind Georgia and ahead of Michigan. Our gain of another Congressional seat — we will have 14 in the next redistricting cycle — means we will have more clout in Congress and in the Electoral College. And our size, thriving economy, educational, cultural and natural resources paint a portrait of a state not without problems but also poised for a successful, even thriving, decade ahead.


  • 01 Jackie Warner Hope Mills MayorThe following editorial is written for those who love living and working in Hope Mills. It reiterates the age-old adages "seeing is believing" and "believe in what you can see and not what you hear." The Town of Hope Mills is a model community in our state, and there are many good reasons for this. History has dictated that Marxists, Socialists, fascists and communists all object adamantly to the Free Press (newspapers), media in general and free speech concepts. The first thing one must determine if objecting to this editorial is which category do they fall into. Dissenting opinions are encouraged and welcomed — but only if the writer takes ownership of it. We do not acknowledge anonymous comments or points of view. We'll leave that to the unsavory Facebook trolls. Thank you and enjoy. — The Publisher

    Hope Mills' progress reflects the dedication and leadership of Mayor Jackie Warner.

    Being Mayor of Hope Mills is a full-time job and Jackie Warner will say it has been a blessing and the highlight of her career. Serving the residents of the Hope Mills community is a passion, honor and privilege and watching her hometown grow and prosper is anything but work for this dedicated public servant.

    Being Mayor of a thriving and growing community like Hope Mills is much more than showing up for public functions, networking and ribbon cuttings. It takes heartfelt dedication, organization, planning, forethought and teamwork to protect the interests of 17,000 residents. Warner is the catalyst for why Hope Mills is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in North Carolina.

    It takes hard work and full-time dedication to keep up with the ever-changing laws and regulations that impact residents. Many of these things take place behind the scenes outside Hope Mills proper and the general public's view. Warner's decade of involvement and leadership in organizations like the Mayor's Coalition has saved Hope Mills over one million dollars yearly after negotiating the Sales Tax Distribution agreement. More importantly, her leadership and Mayor Cliff Turpin of Falcon have all Cumberland County municipalities working together in solidarity and cooperation.

    Another example of the Mayor's investment in countless hours of study that benefited Hope Mills is her involvement in the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. She is also chairman of the Transportation Policy Board. Hope Mills benefited from the Multimodal Congestion Plan and governmental grants for community sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks. A joint resolution was signed by the Hope Mills Board and Fayetteville City Council to change the designation of Highway 59 to Main Street (Hope Mills Road), moving trucks and other commercial vehicles going from Raeford Road to Highway 162 as a by-pass. The new configuration of the Highway 59 bridge completion came sooner than expected, along with better access on and off-ramps to Business 95. Warner is a participant with state and national DOT's which have designed and planned significant road improvements in and around Hope Mills — two I-295 interchanges that will assist in alleviating traffic congestion.

    These are only a few of Mayor Jackie Warner's tireless but essential tasks in a working day. I could go on if I wanted to mention her involvement with:

    *Mid Carolina Area Agency Advisory Council as a Senior Tarheel Alternate Delegate that works to establish and advocate "Legislative Priorities" for seniors with the NC General

    *National League of Cities — Community and Economic Development Committee with discussions related to economic development and recovery after COVID

    *American Rescue Plan Act virtual meetings with Congressional representatives and Cumberland County Commissioners and Legislators. Warner appointed a Hope Mills Tier I Committee seeking funding for the town's most vulnerable populations, including seniors, veterans, youth and special needs residents. She spearheaded developing partnerships that will benefit the community like FTCC, YMCA, Cumberland County Schools, Cumberland County Commissioners, Advocacy Groups and the Department of Commerce, to name a few.

    Warner also serves on the Gateway Study Committee, Fayetteville Cumberland Economic Development Corporation, promotes arts and culture in Hope Mills by advocating and grant writing and working with the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Arts Council. Warner established the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council in 2015 with membership from Grays Creek, Jack Britt and Southview High Schools and received State Youth Council Charter in 2021.

    She actively supports our veterans and Hometown Heroes by working with the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitor's Bureau to support the Heroes Homecoming annual event. As a small business owner, she advocates for business and is involved with the Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce.

    As a wife, mother of two, grandmother of five, a former teacher and principal, Warner has made a heartfelt commitment to make Hope Mills a better town and community for future generations.

    The ever-improving environment, image and reputation of this former "sleepy" little town have the indelible fingerprints of Jackie Warner's relentless public service. The citizens of Hope Mills are the beneficiaries of Warner's outstanding leadership. She is a doer! Honesty, integrity and work ethic is her trifecta for success. Jackie Warner is an authentic "public servant," and Hope Mills is a better, safer and more prosperous community because of her.

    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

    Pictured above: Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner

  • 12 N1807P38007HMost of us can probably remember our first trip to the fair. Holding tightly to mom or dad's hand as the exciting sights and sounds swirled around us.

    Teenagers darted around the midway as carnival barkers beckoned them closer and food vendors offered meals and treats of every kind.

    I love to visit the place the fair holds in my memory. It's full of music and family and sweet aromas that remind me of a time when life was simpler.

    Now that I'm a father and a grandfather, I realize the fair is far more than the things that excited me as a kid.

    It's a celebration of farmers and artists, an opportunity to compete and recognize the accomplishments of our friends and neighbors, and even to
    reward those we all agree was the most impressive of all with a cherished blue ribbon.

    And most of all – above the nostalgia, the competition and the celebrations – the fair is about community.

    The Cumberland County Fair is only one of dozens of gatherings which went unmet in 2020. From concerts to holidays, church to business meetings, we were encouraged by those we put our collective trust in to stand a little further apart and, indoors or out, to keep our groups a little smaller.

    That's only part of what makes the return of the County Fair on September 3rd something worth celebrating.

    From Sept. 3-12 the grounds and buildings that comprise the Crown Coliseum Complex will turn into an exciting emporium of fun.

    You may be wondering “In a world filled with iPhones, X-Box, Facebook and Netflix, does a county fair still matter?”

    It does. Maybe now more than ever. Not for the games. Not for the rides, not for the exhibits or the pig races. But for community.

    If we've learned nothing else in the past 18 months, we've learned how important we are to one another.

    Leveling the ground around us and knocking down the walls between us is as important as it's ever been, and while it may be unfair to hang that much expectation on a County Fair, it's a great place to start.

    When we come together to celebrate the same things, we can begin to erase the things that keep us apart.

    And as we get close enough to smile and laugh together, we'll quickly find ourselves on the road to healing. As individuals, as families, as neighbors and as a community.

  • I09-17-14-nutritional-strategies.gifn the 1950s, autism was so rare that most people had never heard of it. Now 1 in every 50 American children has some form of autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Autistic symptoms vary but most often impact a child’s social communication skills

    — leaving him or her perpetually withdrawn, silent or physically difficult to control.

    Is the increase simply a matter of improved diagnostics? Not likely. Parents, teachers and physicians would not have missed such a clear behavioral disorder. Doctors have theorized about various causes, but parental, fetal and infant exposures to toxins (not just mercury) do seem related to risk.

    One bright spot: Nutritional therapies often reduce symptoms in autistic children. “Some supplements can improve brain chemistry, and vitamin B6 in particular may possibly reduce seizures,” said Stephen Edelson, Ph.D., executive director of the Autism Research Institute (ARI) in San Diego. Here are some promising approaches.

    Diet. A just-published study found a strong link between prenatal pesticide exposure and subsequent development of autism. So if you’re planning to have children, go organic to drastically reduce toxin intake and focus on healthy eating habits long before you or your spouse become pregnant. If you have a child with autism, a gluten- and casein-free diet often mitigates symptoms, according to an extensive parental survey in 2009 and a 2013 summary of more than 150 published studies. A candida-elimination (sugar-free) diet and the Feingold (additive-free) diet can also help, as does avoiding wheat, refined sugars and carbs, chocolate and eggs.

    Dose. To address general nutrient deficiencies, give your child a daily multivitamin—and take one yourself.

    Detox. According to ARI, liver detox regimens and medically supervised chelation therapy (which removes mercury and lead from the body) can also dramatically lessen autism symptoms. Lipoic acid, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and silymarin boost the liver’s ability to break down toxins.

    Dose. For small children, try one or two of these: 100 mg lipoic acid, 100 mg NAC, or 100 mg silymarin daily. For teens, double or triple the dose.

    B6, magnesium, DMG, zinc. Several studies by the late Bernard Rimland, PhD, who founded ARI, discovered that a combination of vitamin B6 and magnesium supplements led to significant improvements in autistic children’s behavior. More than 20 studies have since found these nutrients helpful. Edelson adds that dimethylglycine (DMG) and zinc might further reduce symptoms and improve learning. Take these supplements under the guidance of a nutritionally oriented doctor.

    Dose. 250–1,000 mg B6, 200–400 mg magnesium citrate, 125–250 mg DMG, and 15 mg zinc gluconate daily.

    Vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels during fetal development and infancy might predispose a child to autism, according to a growing body of research. Researchers at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California suggest that vitamin D supplements might prevent and lessen symptoms.

    Dose. 400 IU daily for infants, 600 IU for toddlers, and up to 2,000 IU daily for teens.

    Omega-3s. These nutrients, specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are essential for brain development and studies show that supplements improve children’s behavior and learning. In a new study, omega-3s led to significant neurological improvements in 8- to 12-year-old children.

    Dose. About 300–400 mg DHA and 100–200 mg EPA daily. You can safely double the dose.

    Probiotics. Studies have found that autistic children have a gut bacteria imbalance — and a more serious imbalance is related to more severe autism. Constipation or diarrhea plague up to 50 percent of children with autism.

    Dose. Look for a supplement containing 1 billion to 5 billion CFU of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria.

    Remember: It’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.

  • 04 IMG 8290Jack once said: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” t is possible that Jack came up with his admonition about the proper use of a club after hearing the nursery rhyme about Little Bunny Foo Foo. If you haven’t read “Call of the Wild” in the last 40 years, read it again. Excellent book filled with Alaskan gold rushers, city slickers falling into crevasses, mean dogs and wolves. Discover what Buck the Dog has been doing since 8th grade. Rumor has it that in the most recent edition Buck set sail on the Pequod with Ismael to chase Moby Dick. Maybe this time the whale will lose. Captain Ahab might win with the help of Buck.

    Now to refresh your recollection of Bunny Foo Foo. “Little Bunny Foo Foo/ Hopping through the forest/ Scooping up the field mice/ And bopping them on the head/ And down came the Good Fairy and said: / Little Bunny Foo Foo/ I don’t want to see you/ Scooping up the field mice/ And bopping them on the head/.” The Good Fairy then threatens to turn Bunny Foo Foo into a Goon. Undeterred, Bunny Foo Foo continues mice head-bopping behavior.

    What are we to make of this situation? A homicidal rabbit armed with Jack London’s club engaged in the serial killing of rodents. Why does the rabbit take this hideous action? What did the mice do to warrant such vengeance? Who appointed the Good Fairy as judge, jury and executioner of Ms. Foo? Why did generations of adults recite this murderous ode into the innocent ears of pre-school children? Ms. Foo gets her just comeuppance when she is transmogrified into a Goon. Given the choice between being a cute little homicidal bunny or a creepy goon, clearly the Good Fairy has imposed harsh punishment on Ms. Foo. This leads to the question of what is a Goon? Read on, MacDuff.

    Take Jack London’s club and head down another road less taken. Ride on Mr. Peabody’s Way Back Machine into the land of 1950’s cartoons. “Popeye” was the first cartoon character to take on the Goons. Attend to what Mr. Google has to say about Goons. Unsurprisingly, Goons live on an uncharted isle called Goon Island. The Goons originated on the moon but somehow came to Earth. The details of how they got here remain murky. Goons are tall, somewhat human in appearance, and have well developed chests like steroidal NFL players. Their arms and legs are quite thin. They have bald heads and fur covering their naughty bits. The Head Goon is a female named Alice who fought Popeye. Being a gentleman, Popeye stopped fighting her once he discovered Alice was female. It is lost in the mists of time whether Little Bunny Foo Foo and Alice the Goon are the same being.

    While pondering ancient cartoons let us consider a few more classics. The first cartoon I can recall was “Crusader Rabbit” and his pal, Rags the Tiger. Crusader wore a suit of armor and fought Dudley Nightshade and his evil helper Bilious Green. If you can personally remember Crusader Rabbit, then you probably should not drive at night. Another classic cartoon was Tom Terrific who appeared on the “Captain Kangaroo” show. Tom wore a funnel hat on his head. His faithful but dumb companion was Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog. The animation was primitive but Tom made up for it by fighting Crabby Appleton and singing a really fine theme song. “I’m Tom Terrific/ Greatest hero ever/ Terrific is the name for me/ Because I’m so clever/ … When there is trouble/ I’m there on the double/ From Atlantic to Pacific they know Tom Terrific/” This ear worm song will stick in the head of someone out there. You can thank me later.

    “Winky Dink” was an interactive cartoon. You sent off for a piece of plastic to stick to the TV screen and some magic crayons to write on it. When Mr. Dink came to a place he needed a ladder, you drew the ladder on the screen and he would climb up your ladder. Many kids got into trouble by drawing directly on the TV without the plastic cover. I deny doing this.

    Undoubtably, the creepiest cartoon of that period was “Clutch Cargo,” his boy side kick Spinner, and his dachshund Paddlefoot. Clutch was a pilot who fought a lot of pirates. The weird thing about Clutch was the cheapness of the animation. Most of the time the background didn’t move. When Clutch and the other characters talked, the animators just inserted real human mouths into the face of the characters. The moving lips in frozen faces was disturbing but not in a good way. Even Paddlefoot the dog had a human mouth.

    So, what have we learned today? Sadly, almost nothing. All this blot on world literature has produced is the regret of having wasted a few moments of your lives reliving useless information from decades ago.

    However, if you can now recite the “Ballad of Bunny Foo Foo” or sing the “Tom Terrific” song to irritate your significant other, then perhaps it is not a total loss. Blame Jack London. Or you can blame it on the Bossa Nova. Just don’t put the blame on Mame.


  • 01 USMA DVIDSI spent 33 years in Special Operations as both an active duty soldier and civil servant. My son also served in Special Operations and did five tours between Iraq and Afghanistan. I have been trying to follow the chaos and the situation changing hour by hour in Afghanistan. Folks, as of the writing, it is not good lucking for anyone. Therefore, Americans are angry, perplexed and confused about how our President, Vice President, the intelligence apparatus, the State Department and military leaders have made so many miscalculations.

    A few years ago, on Veterans Day, I was at Buffalo Wild Wings. I looked over and saw a veteran and his friends. They were drinking, eating and laughing. As I looked at this man, his legs were gone, scars and burns were noticeable on his hands and face. At that moment, my heart was happy because this veteran was being the best he could be, having a good time and enjoying every moment he could.

    On September 18, 2001, President George W. Bush signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF. It states: "That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

    December 2009: President Barack Obama spoke about Afghanistan, "As we know, these men belonged to al Qaeda a group of extremists who have distorted and defiled Islam … After the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden — we sent our troops into Afghanistan."

    May 2, 2011: Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by the U.S. military.

    December 2018: To deliver on his longtime pledge to exit from "endless wars," President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon to withdraw about half of the 14,000 U.S. troops currently deployed to Afghanistan. In November 2020, President Trump ordered the Pentagon to accelerate a drawdown of U.S. troops to 2,500.

    April 14, 2021: U.S. President Joe Biden announces that all troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
    He accelerated his timeline to August 31.

    May 4, 2021: The Taliban launches its first major offensive on the Afghan military in Helmand and surrounding provinces.

    July 2, 2021: The U.S. quietly withdraws soldiers from Bagram Air Base, which was their main military base throughout the war.

    August 13, 2021: The Taliban took Kandahar, Afghanistan's second largest city.

    August 14, 2021: U.S. President Joe Biden puts out a statement confirming the deployment of approximately 5,000 U.S. troops to help with the evacuation from Afghanistan.

    August 15, 2021: Kabul is seized by the Taliban. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani leaves the country. The U.S. embassy is evacuated.

    As the images of Afghan people hanging onto airplanes flooded the news, Americans realized that something was still happening in Afghanistan. For Fort Bragg, Fayetteville and hundreds of
    thousands of military personnel and their families, the wars for the past 20 years have been part of their lives.

    For many Americans, the decision to pull out of Afghanistan was way overdue. For most, it was not the pulling out of Afghanistan that has the world baffled; it was the stupidity of it.

    After the killing of Bin Laden, many thought that the authority under the AUMF was complete. Still, every president has used it to continue to neutralize bad people around the globe to keep terrorist groups from growing and bringing their terror here.

    President Biden left an estimated 10,000 – 50,000 Americans in that country to fend for themselves and the embassy. Didn't he learn anything about Benghazi (he was V.P. at the time)?

    Somewhere in the military, some Specialist is getting an Article 15 for losing a pocket watch, and we left C-130s, A-29s attack aircraft, UH-60 Black Hawks, and other helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. We left thousands of armored vehicles, HMMWVs, MRAPs, night vision goggles, and yes, we left drones. The State Department left their helicopter, for crying out loud. It appears that the only published report of any guidance came from a Washington Post article which reported that a leaked memo to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul read "destroy items which could be misused in propaganda efforts, which included American flags."

    I heard the President's speech about how they did not think the Taliban could take Kabul so quickly, but it did come out that they knew it would happen within a month or more. To be honest, it is hard to put a date on something when it is evident that people are just trying to spin a bad decision. Or was it a bad decision? If you knew the Taliban were already on the move, then why would you leave all the goodies unless you intended to give the Taliban a modernized army and air force.

    They knew the Taliban was going to be in power. Those reports came out under Trump's administration. We watched the Taliban leaders do a press conference announcing their place on the world stage as the new government of Afghanistan. We knew some of them because President Barack Obama released five of those leaders because they were Taliban commanders from the Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for American deserter Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014. At the time, President Obama assured the public that the dangerous enemy combatants would be transferred to Qatar and kept from causing any trouble in Afghanistan. They didn't know that much of the Taliban was hanging out in Pakistan. It has been the back door the whole time we have been in Afghanistan. With all of the intelligence services we have out there, yet no one knew that there was an offensive coming?

    It has been tough to comprehend this mess. I know that a lot of military and their families are mad as hell. I know a lot of civil service people are mad as hell. I know the families of their fallen soldiers and the contractors who have died there are mad as hell. As of April this year, 2,448 American service members have been killed in Afghanistan, and an additional 3,846 U.S. contractors also lost their lives." That is a total of 6,294 lost. It is hard to find out how many U.S. personnel have been wounded in Afghanistan, but it appears to be over a million when you count the post-war physical and mental issues, and sadly, the suicides.

    We do not account for the hardships on the families. The lonely nights. The single parent who is trying to keep things together. The joys, difficulties and emotional roller coaster ride when they return from war. For the fallen, the nightmare of the parents, spouses and children cannot be measured. Nothing can fill that void.

    So how do we comprehend this? For everyone mad as hell, you have every right to be mad as hell. For all of those who have friends or family left behind over there, you have every right to be mad as hell.

    You may question. Why? What was this for? What about all of those precious years wasted? What about all the lives and destruction? You have every right to ask those questions.

    But I would like to remind you of a few things. It was not you that threw the first punch. You joined the military and did your job. For 20 years, Americans and other countries provided a generation of people freedom from a tyrannical regime. You gave little kids a chance to grow up. You gave some people a chance to see a better life. You have let them see a different way of life. You gave them medicine and healed their sick. They heard the music they would have never heard. They have read books they would have never seen. You will be in their minds for their lifetime, and you gave them a vision of a better life. That is a lot to be proud of!

    For those still in the military, continue whatever your orders are and do it well. The American people still need you. We are proud of your service, your sacrifices and for always being on guard for us.

    Although it is tempting to be mad as hell, try to focus on your well-being, enjoy your family, your friends and your freedom. Please do not let this be an excuse to mess up your life. Be the best you can be, have a good time and enjoy every moment you can. From all of us, to all of you: thank you again for all that you do every day, and may God keep watch over you.

    Pictured above: U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, provide assistance at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 21. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla)

  •     Do you know what Esse Quam Videri means? Can you recite the state toast? And what’s so important about the Longleaf Pine? If you know the answers to those questions, you might be just who the Cape Fear Historical Complex is looking for.
        {mosimage}On Thursday, Sept. 25, The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex will sponsor the first annual North Carolina Quiz Bowl. The event designed to test your knowledge of North Carolina history will be held in the museum’s multipurpose room.
        “In the past the museum has done a Civil War Quiz Bowl which has been very popular,” said Catherine Beach, the curator of research for the museum. “There are a number of contestants, as well as their supporters, who participate in the event.”
        Beach explained that while the Civil War Quiz Bowl focuses solely on the Civil War, this event will focus on North Carolina history and trivia. She noted that many people may not think of trivia — like what is the state dog — as history, but she maintains it is. She explained it tells a story about our state and its people.
        “Somebody with a good knowledge of North Carolina history would be the ideal contestant,” she noted. “We want to get them excited and to test their knowledge. With the Civil War Quiz Bowl, we have had high school students who have been very sharp and accurate and who have done very well in the quiz bowl.”
        She added that if your knowledge of our state’s past isn’t up to par, you can come and cheer on the contestants and pick up some interesting knowledge along the way. “A lot of people watch Jeopardy just for the knowledge they get from the questions,” she said.
        The event, which begins at 7 p.m., is free for all contestants and spectators, and all ages are welcome to participate.
        The North Carolina Quiz Bowl is limited to 20 participants. If you are interested in participating, call at (910) 486-1330 to pre-register. Registration is also available at the door and will continue until all 20 slots are filled.
        Categories for the North Carolina Quiz Bowl will include Civil War history, sports, higher education and more. Prizes will be awarded to the top contestants. This event promises to be a family-friendly, educational evening about North Carolina history. For more information or to register, call Jim Brisson at (910) 486-1330.

  • uac091113001.gif Now that school is back in session it is time to start thinking about the fair and all the fun that comes with it! The Cumberland County Fair will be in town Sept. 12-22, and it is filled with rides, events, food and more…

    Hubert Bullard has helped organize the fair for the past 15 years and he is excited about what visitors will find there this year.

    “One of the things that kids enjoy most at the fair is the rides, and we have 12-14 of the best carnival rides in the state for school-age kids,” said Bullard. “For the low price of $10 a person can buy an advanced ticket and can ride all the rides any weekday.”

    This fair also has one of the largest petting zoos in the state, said Bullard. While sheep and goats are a lot of fun to check out up close, kids may want to keep their distance if they attend the One World Exotic Animal Show.

    “We’ve got lions and tigers coming to the exotic animal show,” said Bullard. “This is an exciting show out of Venice, Florida. We will have two shows per day during the week and three on the weekends. Another new attraction this year is the bungee trampoline and the rock climbing walls and pony rides.”

    Even the youngest family members will have things to do. Cumberland County Schools system is offering a toddler driving school at the Expo Center. Kids can use pedal cars to complete a course and will even receive a kiddie driver’s license at the end.

    Radio station Q98 is sponsoring another diaper derby this year. This is a fun competition for parents to do several baby related tasks as fast as they can. It is a lot of fun, both for the competitors and for the people watching.

    Friends of the Skateparks Foundation will sponsor the Valley VW Street Style Skateboarding Open on Saturday, Sept. 21. This is an amateur skateboarding contest and fundraiser. Money from this event will go to build free public skateparks. More than $5,000 in cash and prizes will be given away. Specials guests Keelan Dadd, Lenny Rivas and Boo Johnson will perform as well. The street-style course will contain obstacles like stairs, benches and picnic tables. There is a $5 spectator fee for this event, but it includes entry to the fair. For more information or to register, visit www.valleyvwstreetstyle2013.eventbee.com. Skateboarding fans should check out the DaVille Skate Team Show, which runs throughout the fair.

    Different theme nights keep things interesting while reaching out to specific groups in the community and supporting great causes.

    September 18 is FUN, FUN, FUN Student Night. Students receive $2 off admission with a school discount coupon. September 19 is A Fair Fight Against Breast Cancer night at the Fair, with $1 of all admissions going to the Cape Fear Valley Breast Care Center. On Sunday, Sept. 22, bring your church bulletin and receive $3 off admission. One bulletin per person is required for this discount.

    While some events run on specific days, there are many fun features that run daily throughout the fair. These include the interactive petting farm, Vintage World War II Halftrack Rides, helicopter rides, pedal car racing, the baby chick display, WKML with Larry K broadcasting, Fred Anderson Nissan Entertainment stage with continuous local entertainment, toddler driving school, chainsaw carving demonstrations and exhibits, farmer for a day expo, pony rides, eurobungy trampoline, home, craft and agricultural exhibits and the Goodness Grows in North Carolina contest and the Kidsville News! Truman Entertainment Stage. 09-11-13-fair-cover-story.gif

    Exhibits include arts and crafts, clothings, canned fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, perishables and baked goods and more.

    A fair just isn’t a fair without food and music, and there will be plenty of both this year. In fact, make sure you check out the Kidsville News! stage while you are there. Look for a variety of activities and performers including a Magic Show on Saturday, Sept. 14.

    If this all sounds like a great time, it is, but Bullard noted that a lot of work goes into putting an event like this together.

    “We have a lot of people and organizations involved in putting the fair together. One of my favorite things is working with all the people who make it happen, for the vendors to the attractions and rides to the local people at places like the Cumberland County Schools system and the Farm Bureau. There are a lot of people committed to making this event a success,” said Bullard. “By far, though, my favorite part of the fair is seeing it all fall into place and watching the 50,000 to 60,000 smiling faces that come through the fair and have a great time.

    The fair opens Sept. 12 and runs from 5-10 p.m.; on Sept. 13 and 20 it will be open from 5-10 p.m.; on Sept. 14 and 21 the hours are 1-10 p.m.; Sept. 15 and 22 the fair will be open from 1-9 p.m.; and Sept. 16 – 19, the hours are 5-10 p.m. The $12 admission price includes unlimited carnival rides and entertainment Monday-Thursday. Children under the age of 2 get in free. Admission at the gate is $5 Friday-Sunday. Wristbands are available. $10 advance tickets are available at the Crown Box Office and local Kangaroo stores. Find out more at Cumberlandcountyfair.org.

  • Every day, from the moment our feet hit the floor in the morning, we take steps and make moves toward goals. Sometimes these goals are minor. We move towards the post offi ce, the grocery store, towards the laundromat. Other times they are larger, more substantial goals, towards a higher education, a spiritual awakening, a closer relationship with someone we care about. And sometimes the steps that we take can help change the lives of our family, friends or someone we have never even met. 09-15-10-lupuswalkbanner.gif

    On Sunday, Sept. 19, the community of Fayetteville has an opportunity to progress towards a common goal in The Walk for Lupus, taking place in beautiful Festival Park. This is a great opportunity to get out and show your support for people suffering from this terrible disease, raise money for education and research, and show the 45,000 residents in North Carolina who struggle with this syndrome that they are not alone.

    Lupus is a chronic and potentially life threatening autoimmune disease. No cure is in sight and the effects can be devastating, not only for the people suffering but for their friends and families as well. Lynn Rogers, who was diagnosed in 2002, says that having Lupus has drastically changed her life. She has become more health conscious, more aware of the need of others when they become ill and has learned to closely follow the guidance of her physicians. Most importantly, she has learned not to take the simple things in life for granted.

    To the walkers, she sends her appreciation. “What they’re doing to raise money for Lupus sufferers is amazing and so selfl ess. Every dollar, every donation, every step is appreciated. It’s amazing what people will do in support of their friends and families, as well as strangers.”

    Her daughter, Taleah Grimmage, is standing nearby and chimes in “I think it’s important for the community to show our support for other Lupus sufferers, even if it doesn’t personally affect them. I first started walking when my mother was newly diagnosed, and although she’s doing better now, (Lynn received a replacement kidney in 2004), I know that there are others just like her that still need our help.”

    There are two different walks, for all types of physical ability levels. A one mile mini walk around historic downtown Fayetteville or a 5k stroll around the beautiful streets that surround it. If you are not able to physically walk, you can still participate with a Virtual Walker, where you can set up a personalized page to raise money and win prizes.

    To find out more visit http://walkforlupusnow.kintera.org/faf/ home/default.asp?ievent=419941.

  • 13 SMOKE LORE“You shouldn’t be so worried about the transition in the barbecue world.”

    Jim Auchmutey was trying to reassure John Shelton Reed and me about our loss of old-time barbecue restaurants, including Wilber’s in Goldsboro and Allen & Son in Chapel Hill.

    Auchmutey wrote for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for almost 30 years, specializing in stories about the South and its history and culture. His new book, “Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America,” is a must-read for barbecue fans and social history students. Retired UNC-Chapel Hill professor Reed is one of North Carolina’s barbecue gurus and co-author of “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue.”

    Auchmutey understands how we are grieving the loss of our barbecue icons, but he urged us to consider some positive developments. “Young people who have been on the barbecue contest circuit have learned the science of heating and cooking meats. They are better than some of the old masters, and they are opening up restaurants where the barbecue is more consistently good than some of the old masters.”

    He pointed out that the young restaurant owners are expanding their menus. And not just with ribs and beef briquettes. They are experimenting with wood-fired dishes from all over the world, adding opportunities for expanding the palate.
    Reed and I conceded that there are some fine new restaurants, such as Picnic in Durham, where young owners have delivered outstanding results, thanks to careful sourcing of the meats and consistent cooking methods.

    But, we told Auchmutey, there is a problem. The new places have to charge higher prices to cover the increased rent, new cooking equipment, loan payments and compliance with new construction and environmental requirements.

    Higher prices and fancier menus mean we do not get the same mix of construction workers, white collar people, students and folks of modest means. Reed held out Stamey’s in Greensboro as the ideal, where a simple barbecue sandwich with fixings can be within the lunch budget of almost everybody who works for a living.

    These newer places, Reed said, don’t give us a place where people from all walks of life can come together for a good meal at a modest price.

    Something like what is happening to barbecue restaurants here in North Carolina is happening to other diners across the country according to a story by Steven Kurutz in The New York Times last month.
    Kurutz describes the Oakhurst Diner in Millerton, New York, as “a living time capsule.”

    “Housed in the original 1950s Silk City dining car, it screams classic diner: crimped stainless-steel facade, Formica counter with stools, pink-and-blue neon sign, specials scrawled on chalkboards.”
    “But,” he writes, “the nods to midcentury nostalgia mostly end there.”
    He explains that the menu includes a bowl of seaweed and brown rice, kimchi, and a hamburger made from “grass-fed and grass-finished” beef. That fancy hamburger costs $16.

    It is the “same look and vibe as the classic steel original, but the food has been upgraded to reflect current tastes.”

    “And,” mourns Kurutz, “So was born the greasy spoon serving avocado toast and deconstructed chicken potpie.”

    Kurutz introduces and quotes Richard J.S. Gutman, author of “American Diner Then and Now,” who explains the current appeal of the old diners. “You feel at home in the diner whether you’ve been there dozens of times or it’s your first time. There’s a buzz inside. There’s a kind of energy when you’re sitting stool to stool, cheek by jowl, asking for the ketchup. That feeling, that place you’d go with your grandpa or your auntie, where is that anymore? There’s something so democratic about diners. They’re part of the community. I think that’s what people are craving.”

    It is also what Reed and I are craving and what we are missing as our old-time barbecue places bite the dust.

  • 11 01 Profile Series 9In contemporary art, the subject for an artist can range from the decorative to the political, the profane to the sublime, or stark minimalism to excessive detail. For local artist Cornell Jones, “the works are an extension of myself — a record, a reflection. Making new work answers questions for me and keeps me constantly in the mindset of observing the world around me.”

    In his one-person exhibition titled Small Things that Fit... Works by Cornell Jones, opening Oct. 1 at Gallery 208, visitors to the opening reception will preview a body of work that reveals Jones’ sensibilities to the world around him.
    Raised in Alabama, he attended Troy State University and then spent time in New York City, working in art organizations, social work agencies and community organizations after earning a Master of Fine Arts in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He later returned to our region and presently works as an elementary art teacher in Fayetteville and an adjunct member of the faculty at Fayetteville State University.

    Jones distinguishes himself as a Southerner and an American of African descent. He noted: “My cultural identity influences both my artwork and the process through which I create. It is extremely important to me that I reflect my community, experiences and beliefs in the work that I present.” What the artist does not state is how the idea of identity is the common thread throughout the works in the exhibit.

    Although Jones’ heritage is fixed, meaning in each work is fluid, and he leaves us room for interpretation. The exhibit conveys conditions for abstracted circumstance, change and influence. In most of the works, the figure is totally obscure or partially obscured, allowing the viewer to re-examine the identity in each work. Is the figure you, someone you know or a stranger?

    How the artist would like us to see something about his “community” is subtle and influenced by his history. Although we do not need to know influences on the work, knowing the influences does alter our perception of meaning, and we are able to connect to the artist; we are able to understand something about his “community” in the works.

    Jones described the influences from his childhood: “My process of exploring materials is directly inspired by the time I spent with my great-grandmother as she made patchwork quilts. Often, as a young boy, I found myself threading needles and sorting through her bags of colorful fabric scraps. I still enjoy searching, but the fabric has been replaced with hand-painted and found papers.”

    11 02 Profile SeriesKnowing his history of watching his great-grandmother select parts of fabric to create a whole, we can easily understand how according to  Jones, “discarded or fragmented pieces are assembled to create something new into my artistic practice, whether it be drawing, painting or collage. The traditions, rituals, landscape and memories of my Southern upbringing are deeply rooted in my process and product.”

    Within Jones’ busy schedule and his many responsibilities, he still finds time to be a practicing artist. A testament to the creative impulse within him, Jones noted he creates new works because he is curious. “I study things that I might have overlooked, and I enjoy the process of developing or growing an idea from a sketch to a finished piece to a body of work. As a teacher, I also find it necessary to continue creating so that I can talk to students from a place of current experience. I stay active in the creative process by making, learning new skills and researching the ways other artists perceive the world that are outside the way I think about it.”

    Jones is not only an excellent educator and a family man, but he continues to share his work with the public in exhibitions. His work has been included in exhibitions in New York and North Carolina. Most recently he was selected to exhibit in 2017 at the Arts Council in Fayetteville/Cumberland County for the 10:10:10 exhibit.  Jones’ works have also been exhibited at the Delta Arts Center in Winston-Salem, the Greenhill Center for North Carolina Art in Greensboro and Ellington White Contemporary Gallery in Fayetteville.

    For Jones, due to his professional and personal obligations, the greatest challenge is setting up a routine he can follow to create new works. Although his creative time is often interrupted, he noted how he still tries to be consistent and routinely returns to the studio to create new work.

    The routine of making time to continue to be an artist may have been influenced by his upbringing and watching his great-grandmother making quilts. One cannot imagine a clearer view of his creative impetus, he is still the innocent child at the table with his great-grandmother, exploring and assembling materials. For Jones, like his great-grandmother, the creative experience is “following ideas … artmaking is an exploration in materials and concepts. I reflect. I record. I draw. I paint. I cut. I assemble,” said Jones.

    Everyone is invited to meet Jones at the opening reception of his exhibit, “Small Things that Fit... Works by Cornell Jones,” Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Gallery 208, at 208 Rowan St. in Fayetteville, between the hours of 5:30-7 p.m. The artist will do a short presentation at 6 p.m. and share insight with everyone about his process and the content of the works in the exhibit.

    For anyone not attending the opening, the exhibit will remain up until Dec. 15. For information call 910-484-6200.
  • 09 paintingBeautiful art. Live music. Light bites and beverages. Home is Where the HeArt Is, an art auction fundraiser for Connections of Cumberland County, combines a fun evening out with support for a good cause. The event will be on Sept. 26 from 6 – 8:30 p.m. at Studio 215 in downtown Fayetteville. 

    Guests to this third-annual event will have the opportunity to bid on original works of art by local and regional artists during live and silent auctions. Art auction items will include paintings in acrylic, oil, pastel and plein-air, charcoal sketches, handmade jewelry, pottery, photography, basket weavings and mixed media. A live painting created at the scene will also be up for bid that night.

    A portraiture experience valued at over $5,000 donated by internationally recognized artist and Methodist University art departmentChairman Vilas Tonape will be a live auction exclusive. Other well-known local artists also contributing include Greg Hayes, Greg King, Shari Jackson Link, Stephanie Bostock, Suzanne Frank and Wick Smith.

    Jennifer Fincher, 2019 art auction chair and CCC board member, expects this year to exceed the totals in both ticket sales and donated art from last year’s event. The highly attended 2018 fundraiser saw 54 local and regional artists donate 86 items. According to Fincher, the event moved this year to a new venue to accommodate its growth and increasing popularity.

        “We look forward to this year’s event being bigger and better than ever,” Fincher said. “We are so grateful for all the support that sponsors, artists and patrons have given us in the past. The auction is the single fundraiser all year for Connections of Cumberland County and raises a large part of our annual budget. We invite everyone to come out to the event, have a glass of wine, mix and mingle, view some great art or buy a piece to take home, and support the mission of Connections of Cumberland County.”

        Connections of Cumberland County operates the only nonprofit day resource center for homeless women and children in Fayetteville. Its goal is to provide life-changing links though comprehensive case management services to women and children who are homeless or facing homelessness. The agency collaborates with other vital community resources to help clients become safe and self-sufficient.

        The nonprofit started from research conducted by the Women’s Giving Circle of Cumberland County on the basic needs of local women and children. When results revealed alarming statistics on homelessness, a committee was birthed from the Women’s Giving Circle to start Connections. The agency relies on proceeds raised from the art auction, grants, and community donors, as well as the service of volunteers. Connections celebrated five years of success in Cumberland County this year.

        Connections is accepting sponsors at five recognition levels. The 2019 presenting sponsor is Patty Collie, senior vice president and financial advisor with Morgan Stanley of Fayetteville. The auction committee will accept art through Sept. 11. Sponsors and artists interested in donating can call the agency office at 910-630-0106 for information. Reserve tickets at www.connectionsofcc.org for this HeArt-felt event.

    Pictured: one of the paintings that will be auctioned off at the Home is Where the HeArt Is art auction 

  • uac090314001.gif If you had your choice of sitting at home and watching TV or dancing and laughing and learning about one of the oldest cultures in the world, which would you choose? If you’re smart, you’ll choose the first option and head out to the 24th Annual Greek Fest at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, which organizers promises will be big-ger and better than before. So grab your keys and kin and be Greek For a weekend!

    The Greek Fest, a much awaited and loved event in Fayetteville, will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday Sept. 5 and will run through 6 p.m. on Sun-day, Sept. 7. For three fabulous day, you can soak yourself in the traditions and history of our Greek neighbors, and in case we haven’t mentioned it, you can all fill yourself to the brim with some of the best Greek food in town.

    For the Greek Community, the Greek Festival serves a two-fold purpose. First, it allow the com-munity to share the culture, history and heritage of their people through food, music and dancing, as well as their Greek Orthodox faith. Second, it raises funds to help numerous charities within the community. The Greek Community looks at it like being good neighbors.

    Not only are they good neighbors, they are also great hosts! John Batzolas, a mem-ber of the Greek Fest Committee, explained, “We are going to have Greek food, Greek dancing, a live Greek Band and a Greek marketplace.”

    He noted that the food, all lovingly made by the members of Sts. Constantine and Helen, is one of the biggest draws. Community residents flock to the church in droves to taste the succulent dishes, and of course, to get their hands on the fresh-baked pastries.

    Batzolas noted that the annual baking of the pastries is a community affair.

    “Most of the ladies from the church come together and pitch in to bake the goods before the event,” he said.

    The love and care they put into their baking is greatly appreciated by the people who line up to not only sample while they are there, but also to take it home.

    This year, as in year’s past, there are two food lines; one line offers a full, traditional Greek meal, while the other offers typical Greek snack food like gyros or pitas. (The baked goods are sold separately. ) Batzolas cautioned that Friday lunch will offer a limited menu; however, come Friday night, the festival is in full swing.

    In addition to the food, visitors will also have the opportunity to visit a Greek Marketplace, where they can find the typical things found in a Greek store. After you’ve shopped there, you can step over to the Greek grocery store, where you can purchase products found in Greece from olive oil to ouzo and from Greek wine to nuts, as well as water and soft drinks and Greek wine to comple-ment your food..09-03-14-greek-dancers.gif

    And while you are there, you can listen to the great Greek music provided by the Nick Trivelas Band, and, if the spirit moves you, join the Greek dancers for a dance or two.

    Batzolas added, “If you like to dance, join us!”And before you leave, make sure you by a Greek Fest Raffle ticket for only $5. You have a chance at winning at winning the grand prize of either $2,000 cash or two round trip airfares to Athens, Greece, a large screen televi-sion or some cold, hard cash.

    It’s important to note, as Batzolas explained, that the money raised by the festival and the raffle stays in the community, with some money stay in the church and the remainder going into the community to support various non-profit organizations like the Autism Society and the American Red Cross.

    Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church is located at 614 Oakridge Ave., in Haymount. Admission and parking are free. The festival runs Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m. For more information, call 910 484-2010, or visit the website at www.stsch.nc.goarch.org.

  • uac091014001.gif If the phrases, “I’m not dead yet,” “It’s a flesh wound” and “I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries,” leave you laughing and speaking in your worst English accent, then you are probably a pretty big fan of Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

    That being the case, you are definitely going to buy a ticket to the upcoming show at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre: Spamlot.

    Spamalot is a musical adaptation of the Holy Grail, which has left audiences in stitches all across the world. During the 2004-2005 Broad-way season, Spamalot had more than 1,500 performances during its initial run and was seen by more than 2 million people. The show garnered three Tony Awards, include Best Musical. All of which affirmed what Eric idle, one of the shows creator’s, said, “I like the title Spamlot, a lot. We tested it with audiences on my recent U.S. tour and they liked it as much as I did, which is gratifying. After all, they are the ones who will be paying Broadway prices to see the show. It comes from a line in the movie which goes: “We eat ham, we eat jam and Spam a lot.”

    The outtake from the movie for the title, is really what the show is comprised of — some of the funniest bits from the movie. But in the case of Spamalot, the outtakes are brilliantly woven together to not only tell a story, but also to end in a big Broadway finish, one that CFRT Artistic Director Tom Quaintance will not only leave his audience laughing, but keep them coming back for more.

    Quaintance recalls his first introduction to the show. “Someone gave me tickets to the show, and I went with-out any real expectations,” he recalled. “I just didn’t really think the show would be for me. I was wrong. I laughed so long and so hard. It really stuck with me because it is as broad as it can be. There’s great music, dancing and it is as funny as it can be.”

    With that in mind, Quaintance, along with the season selection board at the CFRT, decided to bring it to the stage.

    “This is a show that fits really well in this season and it fits really well with out community of actors,” said Quaintance. “In this show, all of the performers are regional, with all of them coming from within an hour of the Fayetteville. To bring a Tony Award play to stage with regional actors is something that we really want to do at the CFRT.

    When adding the show to the season lineup, Quaintance also weighed it against the other shows in the line up. The next show coming to the stage is The Bluest Eye, which is a pretty intense show. Adding a huge musical comedy like Spamalot to the lineup rounds out the season nicely.

    “This show is not heavy,” he said. “It is fun, fun, fun. There is something really important about bringing a community of people together to share a laugh.”

    While the entire cast of Spamalot is exceptional in Quaintance’s opinion, King Arthur played by veteran CFRT actor Ken Griggs and The Lady of the Lake, played by Raleigh actor Lisa Jolley, will leave the audi-ence in stitches.

    “Although these two have only worked together once before, they are a little like an old married couple, up on the stage” noted Quaintance. “They play very well off of each other.”

    As Quaintance makes his point, the two break into a side conversation on who is the better dancer and Griggs laughingly makes fun of Jolley’s phobias.

    “This show is curing all of my phobias,” confirmed Jolley. “I am afraid of heights, drops and movement. If they could add a roller coaster to the set I would be cured. This is good therapy for me.”

    “I was 10-years-old when I saw my first Monty Python sketch,” said Griggs. We didn’t have cable and all that stuf, so I had to wait for public TV to show it. The Holy Grail is wonderfully, hilariously, unrelentingly funny. I memorized every of every scene of every sketch. The chance to do this show is awesome.”

    For Jolley, the show is a bit of a change. “I’m not used to playing the girl,” she said. “I’m usually the old lady, the best friend, the table, the dog. So being the Lady of the Lake is a really different role for me. But I like it a lot.”

    In Spamalot, the Lady of the Knight sends King Arthur on his quest to find the Lady Grail. Throughout the performance, she makes ap-pearances with her Laker Girls to keep the quest on its way.

    And of course, big production numbers help keep the show moving.

    “It seems like there is a cast of thousands, but there are really only 18 people in the cast,” added Quaintance. “There’s a really big finish over and over again.

    “The hardest working people in the show are the ensemble,” he continued. “They have a 100 different parts and when they are not on stage, they are just off stage doing very quick costume changes.”

    In the ensemble, you will also see some familiar faces. Of particular note are the Knights of the Round Table played by Jeremy Fiebig, Jacob Barton, Matt Lamb and Bill Saunders.

    Griggs cautions that people shouldn’t come to the show expecting to see a remake of the movie.

    “We aren’t doing the movie or the Broadway show,” he explained. “We are doing our version, and I think we are making some pretty smart choices.”

    Previews for Spamalot are Thursday, Sept. 18 and Friday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the preview are $15. The show opens on Saturday, Sept. 20 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 12. All shows, with the exception of the Saturday and Sunday matinees start at 7:30 p.m. Matinees are at 2 p.m.

    For tickets and information, visit the CFRT website at ww.cfrt.org or call 323-4233 to buy tickets..

  • 09-24-14-cfbg.gifThough the weather may be cooling off, the fun-filled events at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden are showing no sign of slowing down. This fall, the garden is hosting a concert series that melds the magic of music with the gorgeous environment of the gardens. Sept. 26, brings a traditional jazz combo with the “Dave Brubeck Tribute.” Oct. 3, a brass quintet will perform show tunes in the concert “Pops in the Garden.” The final concert of the series is “Swing for the Stars” a jazz, swing, and big band music combination on Oct. 10.

    The Cape Fear Botanical Garden is a non-profit organization driven by a vision for excellence in both their gardens and their programs. They strive to provide a beautiful and engaging place for the community to come learn, enjoy, and grow. The Fall Concert Series is just one way that they achieve this. “By hosting the concert series we are opening doors to our community members, as the Garden and music both have the power to transform lives, as well as to inspire and entertain,” Meg Suraci, the Garden’s Director of Marketing said.

    This concert series is also unique in that it combines two cultural institutions from the community: The Cape Fear Botanical Gardens and the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. “The Fall Concert Series in the Garden featuring select musicians of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra encores for a 3rd annual season, offering four nights of outdoor ‘mini’ concerts. The natural beauty of Cape Fear Botanical Garden boasts unrivaled ambience and the Symphony is praised for its artistic excellence. Blending these two experiences is a collaborative effort and both organizations are committed to the cooperative success of this series,” Suraci said.

    In addition to the great atmosphere and music, there will also be delicious refreshments available at each concert, heightening the overall excellence of the event. “Pierro’s Catering will be on-site with tempting food and beverage selections available for purchase and guests will have the opportunity to dine outdoors surrounded by beautiful views. A cash bar will be open for wine and beer,” Suraci says.

    The intimacy with nature provided by the Cape Fear Botanical gardens for these concerts is unique and creates for an engaging and magical experience for a myriad of senses. That being said, seating will not be provided. Suraci explained that, “Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or a blanket – or both depending on the forecast, as we head into fall with shorter evening hours and cool temperatures. The Garden will have chairs available for rent, also.”

    The concerts are a rain or shine event. In case of inclement weather, they will be moved to the beautiful 6,685 square foot Orangery. No outside food, beverages, coolers, smoking, or pets are allowed in the garden. Admission is free for members. For non-members tickets are $10, $9 with military I.D., $5 for children from 6-12, and children under 5 are free. For more information call 486-0221 or visit www.capefearbg.org. The garden is located at 536 N Eastern Blvd. For all of the concerts the gates open at 6p.m. and performances begin at 7 p.m.

    Photo: CFBG pays tribute to Dave Brubek on Sept. 26.

  • Come out to Cypress Lakes Golf Course on Sept. 29 at 12:30 p.m. and watch the first tee-off at the 14th Annual Kiwanis Care for Kids Golf Tournament.09-21-11-kiwanis-golf.jpg

    “Fourteen years ago, we had a couple of members of our club who either had a child or a grandchild that was affected by brain tumors and we decided we were going to do a golf tournament to benefit pediatric brain tumor research,” said Gary Cooper, chairman of the Kiwanis Club Golf Tournament. “We did eight years for that particular cause, and the last six years we’ve been doing the tournament to benefi t the Child Advocacy Center.”

    Before the first tee off, at 12:15 p.m., the Army’s premier parachute team, The Golden Knights, will jump into the event.

    “It will be literally at 12:15 because that’s how good they are,” explained Cooper. “They will start jumping from the sky earlier than that and there will probably be a team of about 8. If you’ve never seen that you ought to come out and see it. It’s pretty cool!”

    Aside from The Golden Knights and the tournament itself, there will also be prizes raffl d off at the tournament.

    “Kiwanis is all about children,” said Cooper. “Whether it’s helping the abused, as in the case of the Child Advocacy Center, it’s providing funds for brain tumor research, or it’s reading at local schools and providing books and certifi cates to kids for being good students, everything we do revolvesaround children.”

    Aside from the adults who have volunteered to come participate in the golf tournament, the Kiwanis Club has also invited a foursome of wounded warriors to come out and play.

    While the Kiwanis Care for Kids Golf Tournament has always had a good turnout, Cooper is confi dent that this year will be no different.

    “The most we can have is 128 golfers, and we’ll have 128 golfers,” he said. The entry fee to play in the tournament is $100 player. If there is a team of four, the fee is $400, but if you are a hole sponsor the fee is $475.

    “Typically a whole sponsor will be $100, but because you have a team we lower the price,” said Cooper.

    In the previous five years that the Kiwanis Club has teamed up with the Child Advocacy Center, the golf tournament has donated an average of at least $15,000 a year, and this year promises to be even better.

    “We are very thankful for some of our biggest sponsors like Beasley Broadcast, who provides awareness of what we’re doing by bringing their WKML bus out every year and doing a remote while we’re all getting ready to play,” said Cooper. “Cape Fear Valley Hospital is also a platinum sponsor, and we have a lot of other very good corporate citizens, both locally-owned companies and national companies, that have participated year after year.”

  • 16 Amanda LockamyLinda Lockamy is gearing up to put on the 10th Tee It Up For MS Charity Golf Tournament. It will be held Friday, Oct. 11, at Cypress Lakes Golf Course.

    But Lockamy’s passion for the event is just as strong as it was at the first one in 2009.

    That’s because her commitment to raising money for the fight against multiple sclerosis is personal, starting 18 years ago when her daughter, Mandy Lockamy, was first diagnosed with the disease.

    Currently in remission, the younger Lockamy’s condition has been improved by an assortment of MS drugs, including an infusion of a new medication a few years ago that nearly halted the disease in its tracks.

    But as Linda Lockamy noted, while Mandy’s condition is improved, she’s not cured. She continues to take medication for headaches and fatigue related to the MS, and she takes a special medicine designed to help her walk.

    Many of her treatments have come from the research that money from events like the golf tournament have helped to fund. Since it was created, Linda Lockamy said the tournament has raised about $72,000 for the fight against the disease.

    For Linda Lockamy, it all started in 2002 when friends of Mandy told her about the local MS Walk. Linda formed a team and has participated in the walk ever since.

    But she wanted to do more, and she got her chance when she got a call from the former Beef O’Brady’s restaurant about sponsoring a charity golf tournament.

    The original plan was for the benefit to rotate among local charities, and MS would be the focal charity once every three or four years.

    While she appreciated the help, Lockamy soon realized one tournament every three or four years wasn’t enough.

    “There were so many people in that first golf tournament that knew people with MS, we said we can’t wait three or four years,’’ she said. “We need to do this every year.’’

    And that’s what happened, save for one year when Mandy Lockamy was undergoing treatments. Since the first tournament in 2009, save that one year, the MS golf tournament has been held every October at Cypress Lakes Golf Course.

    “We’ve got people that have played in every tournament,’’ Lockamy said. “I have people call me in late summer asking when the tournament is and do you have it scheduled yet.’’

    The cost of this year’s tournament is $300 for a four-man team. The entry fee includes lunch, a goody bag, beverages and a dinner.

    Registration opens at 11 a.m. the day of the tournament with a noon shotgun start.

    While the deadline for registering is one week before the tournament is held, Lockamy said individual players often show up the day of the tournament to see if they can get on a team and no one has been turned away.

    For those who don’t play golf, some companies have paid sponsorship fees for first responders, allowing them to play. Hole sponsorships are also available for $100 a hole. If a team in the tournament sponsors a hole, the cost of the sign is only $50.

    Registration forms are available at the Cypress Lakes clubhouse and on Lockamy’s Facebook page, Linda Swanson Lockamy. You can email her at swanlock74@aol.com or call 910-977-8662.

    Pictured: Amanda Lockamy 

  • Fall FamilyOle Mill Days, the annual Hope Mills community festival that celebrates the town’s rich history as a mill village with a wide variety of family-related activities, returns at the slightly earlier date this fall of Saturday, Oct. 5.

    Meghan Freeman, assistant director of programs and events for the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, said the change in the date was made to avoid a conflict with Fayetteville’s annual Dogwood Festival.

    “Historically it’s been toward the end of October,’’ Freeman said of Ole Mill Days. “We looked at the calendars for surrounding areas and it didn’t seem like there were any big, big events that would be a conflict.’’

    Freeman said the event is a way for families to enjoy the community and see the assortment of family-related activities the town has to offer that day.

    “There are a lot of activities for the kids as well as vendors and food trucks,’’ she said.

    Hours for most activities at Ole Mill Days will be from noon until 6:30 p.m. Interactive events for the children will be from noon until 4 p.m.

    One new feature of the event will be a 105-foot inflatable zipline. There will also be a bungee trampoline.

    The traditional petting zoo will also be featured. Provided by It’s A Zoo Life, the zoo typically includes a lemur, an alpaca, a kangaroo, a mini-horse, a goat, a sulcata or spurred tortoise, a capybara (the world’s largest rodent), a mara (a rabbit-like animal), a fennec fox (a small fox with big ears) or a llama. The selection of animals varies due to availability from week to week, Freeman said.

    Ole Mill Days will coincide with the town’s final monthly Good2Grow Farmer’s Market of the year, which will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

    For the adults, Dirtbag Ales will sponsor a beer garden.

    There will be two live bands performing, Upscale N Casual at 1:30 p.m. and Rivermist at 4:30 p.m. Upscale N Casual primarily features smooth jazz. Rivermist performs classic rock and is described as a variety party band.
    They have been voted Best Local Band for the last three years in Up & Coming Weekly’s Best of Fayetteville survey.

    An annual feature of Ole Mill Days will be the reunion for the millworkers from Hope Mills. It will be hosted at Town Hall from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.

    Primary parking areas for the event will be at Rockfish Elementary School across the street from the Town Hall and Municipal Park complexes, as well as behind Fields 4, 5 and 6 at Municipal Park, as well as the public library.
    Tables and chairs will be provided, but the public is welcome to bring its own portable chairs Freeman said.

    Those planning to attend should not bring coolers or alcoholic beverages. All of the activities will be free of charge, excluding the things being sold by the vendors and the food trucks.

    For any questions, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 910-426-4109.

  • 17 Deputy Chief Hank HarrisMost people begin to worry about hurricanes when the weather reports grow ominous as a major storm advances on the place that they live.

    But emergency personnel like Hank Harris, deputy chief of the Cotton Fire Department in Hope Mills, have to remain focused on storms throughout hurricane season — and not just ones that threaten our local communities.
    Cotton is part of a larger group known as Urban Search and Rescue Teams. They work together with the Fayetteville Fire and Police Departments and Cumberland County Emergency Medical Services.
    “There are seven teams like it across the state,’’ Harris said. “Most of them are in big municipalities. They’ve got equipment to shore up structurally collapsed buildings. We’ve got swift-water rescue stuff. They are self-sustainable for 72 hours.’’
    In past storms, local rescue personnel have been involved with sending swift-water rescue teams to storm-stricken areas.
    During Hurricane Dorian, the Fayetteville-area team sent a forklift to the Outer Banks to load supplies at hurricane-ravaged Ocracoke Island.
    Harris said the Fayetteville area team also has tents available that can be used to house team members when they are sent elsewhere to serve, or they can be sent to disaster areas to provide an emergency hospital or shelter to feed people displaced from their homes.
    In 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and southeast Texas, causing $125 billion in damage, mostly from flooding.
    Harris said the team from the Fayetteville area sent 90 people to Texas to help with relief during that storm.
    “We go everywhere,’’ he said.
    With the growing frequency of storms every fall in the United States, Harris said it’s a good idea for people to not wait to hear bad news on the weather and maintain a basic level of readiness whenever hurricane season arrives in the Southeast.
    “It’s always good to have a hurricane kit,’’ Harris said. You can visit ReadyNC.org on the internet or download the ReadyNC app to your smartphone and get a lot of valuable information there, Harris added.
    “It gives you a list of materials you need to keep on hand,’’ he said. “You know what happens to all the grocery stores. They start emptying the shelves. You can be a little bit ahead of the game by having some of that stuff already in place.’’
    Some basics to have on hand include bandaging material, water both to drink and to clean wounds with and enough food to sustain life for everyone in the home for several days.


    Harris said it’s also a good idea to be aware of what rescue personnel with the fire department can and can’t do when a storm hits.

    Harris said his agency normally won’t respond to situations like a tree falling on a house and simply causing physical damage to the building. They will come out for emergencies like people trapped in a home or car, for rising water and, in some cases, for downed power lines. They try to refer power line situations to the appropriate power company.
    “It keeps us from stretching our resources so thin,’’ he said, "in times when multiple calls might be coming in."
    Harris said the safety of rescue personnel also has to be factored in. “When the wind gets up, it’s not safe for us to respond,’’ he said. “If the winds are too high for us to respond and something happens to us, we’re not helping anybody.’’
    Pictured: Deputy Chief Hank Harris
  • 16 MatsThe Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department is in the third year of a program to make sleeping mats for the homeless from plastic bags.

    Anne Evanco, a program specialist for the Parks and Recreation Department, said the program has stockpiled plenty of raw material for the work, but it needs more helping hands to create the mats.
    The program started at the former senior center on Davis Street but has relocated to the Parks and Recreation building on Rockfish Road.
    Evanco estimates that the volunteers in the program have churned out roughly 300 mats since they started.
    They collect plastic bags from various local businesses and then bring them to the recreation center. There they are flattened, folded and cut into a material they call plarn, which means plastic yarn.
    Once the plarn has been made, it can be used in a variety of ways to create the sleeping mats. Evanco said they can be knitted, crocheted or weaved, depending on the preference of the person making the mat.
    She added it’s a simple process to learn and anyone can do it with minimal training.
    When people come out to take part in the program for the first time, Evanco said they are usually assigned to the process of making the plarn.
    “We want them to learn each step,’’ she said. “After you learn how to process the bags and make the plarn, it doesn’t take long to learn the weaving method.’’
    The process of making a mat can take from 10 to 30 hours Evanco said. A lot of that depends on the individual worker and how nimble their hands are. Some of the crocheted mats can take as long as 60 hours.
    The mat makers convene at the recreation center three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon until 4 p.m. each day.
    While the program was originally intended for senior citizens, Evanco said people of all ages are now welcome to take part.
    The mat-making room is somewhat crowded on Wednesday and Friday, Evanco said, but they could use some more volunteers who would like to work on mats on Mondays.
    The mat makers aren’t responsible for getting the mats into the hands of the homeless. The recreation center staff works with other organizations, especially Fayetteville Urban Ministry, to drop off the mats and have them put directly into the hands of the homeless.
    Evanco said she doesn’t have an idea on how long a mat will actually last, saying it varies from person to person and the type of surface they might be sleeping on, with mats used on grass surfaces standing up better than those used on concrete.
    Anyone interested in learning how to make the mats should just show up at one of the Monday, Wednesday or Friday sessions. “The people in this program are very welcoming,’’ Evanco said. “We’ll bring that person in and put them to work, show them the process.


    “It’s great to see someone who has never done anything like this before. There’s something for everyone in this program.’’

    Pictured: Paula Ray, center, a Hope Mills volunteer, delivers mats to staff at the Veterans Administration Stand Down Center last August

  • 17 Gilbert Theater Ad barefoot 092320 475X587 1 2Local actors are returning to the stage to deliver the fun and creative performances we’ve been missing since the pandemic closed curtains and theater doors in March.

    This month, the Gilbert Theater brings “Barefoot in the Park” to stage Oct. 2-18 with limited seating and social distancing in effect. There will only be 25 seats sold per performance, in order to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines for public gatherings.

    “‘Barefoot in the Park’ is a classic Neil Simon comedy,” said Larry Carlisle, the show’s director and the Artistic Director for the Gilbert. “It’s about two newlyweds who move into a tiny apartment in New York City and deal with being newlyweds, weird neighbors and mothers.”

    Simon, who died in 2018, was a playwright, screenwriter and author. In his lifetime, he received more combined Oscar and Tony award nominations than any other writer. Widely considered to be a Broadway icon, Simon wrote more than 30 plays, including “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Biloxi Blues” and “The Odd Couple.” Simon won the Pulitzer Prize for “Lost in Yonkers.”

    The “Barefoot in the Park” cast includes Tanisha Johnson and Gage Long as newlyweds Corie and Paul; Deannah Robinson as Corie’s mother; Gabe Terry as neighbor Mr. Velasco; and James Merkle as the telephone repairman. Carlisle will also have a small role as a deliveryman.

    Despite performing to a quarter of the theater’s capacity, Carlisle and the cast agree that producing the show is worth the effort.

    “Everyone’s gotten stir crazy,” Terry said about closures due to the pandemic. “The show’s a lot of fun to do.”

    Providing live entertainment is something the performers enjoy, no matter the crowd size, Carlisle said. With COVID-19 restrictions, the cast and crew have been able to explore some interesting ways to adapt their performances.

    “I’m just excited to get back to stage,” Robinson said. “Granted, it will be limited capacity.”

    Safety precautions in place will include masks for theater attendants, hand sanitizer stations, no-contact concessions, temperature checks upon entry and cleaning between performances.

    “For all the performances we’re asking all patrons to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” Carlisle said.

    Preparing for the masked performances has been a fun challenge for the cast.

    “It is interesting because there’s so much (in the story) that involves intimacy,” Terry said.

    Robinson added, “We’re working around it, having fun with it, even with the mask.”

    The team at the Gilbert is optimistic that the audience will attend and enjoy the show, if only for a short respite from the daily headlines.

    “It’s two hours to take your mind off your trouble, don’t worry about everything going on outside,” Carlisle said. “It’s a light breezy sitcom-esque

    Johnson added, “Come out and laugh, have a good time.”

    Recognizing that some patrons might not be comfortable even with all those precautions, Carlisle said there will be two performances where the actors will also wear masks. Those shows are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

    The Gilbert Theater is located at 116 Green St. in downtown Fayetteville. There are several discounts available including student, military and first responder. Contact the box office for more info on the show or to purchase tickets at boxoffice@gilberttheater.com.

  • 15 01 Police Chief Joel AcciardoThe town of Hope Mills scored the ultimate win-win for its police department last week as the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to add a specialized armored vehicle to the rolling stock of police chief Joel Acciardo’s department.
    The best news about the acquisition is the vehicle won’t cost the town a cent.
    The commissioners voted 5-0 to accept an Oshkosh M-ATV from the U.S. Military Law Enforcement Support Program. Estimated value of the vehicle is $767,360.
    “We are eligible to receive equipment from the federal government as long as it’s used for law enforcement purposes,’’ Acciardo said.
    In addition to being lightly armored, Acciardo said the M-ATV has what’s called deepwater fording capabilities. “We’ll be able to use it for deep water rescue operations,’’ he said.
    Acciardo said the town already experienced a situation where a vehicle like the M-ATV would have been helpful — during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Residents of the retirement center on Cameron Road had to be evacuated because of rising water there. “That pretty much cemented the usefulness of vehicles like that for us,’’ Acciardo said.
    But deepwater rescue isn’t the only thing the vehicle could help with, and Acciardo is hopeful it never has to be used for this purpose.
    15 02 MATV“One of the things we identified early on that we needed was a vehicle that would allow us to get closer to victims and place officers closer to where an active shooter is,’’ he said. “The M-ATV matches all those requirements. You have high ground clearance, deepwater fording capabilities and it’s lightly armored.
    “That kind of checks a whole bunch of blocks.’’
    Acciardo said there are other companies that make vehicles similar to the M-ATV, but they are extremely expensive and out of the price range for a smaller agency like the Hope Mills Police Department.
    With the donation of the M-ATV from the military, Acciardo said the only cost to Hope Mills will be to get it here, license it and paint it.
    While Hope Mills has mutual aid agreements with other local police departments and would get their cooperation in an active shooter situation, Acciardo said time is of the utmost importance, and having its own specialized vehicle here improves the Hope Mills police’s chances of responding quicker.
    Acciardo said the M-ATV the town is getting is about nine years old and has less than 60,000 miles on it.
    The vehicle’s cab has room for a driver and four passengers. The rear area of the vehicle can be used to carry either cargo or more people.
    A training program will be required for those who will operate the vehicle. He estimates anywhere from five to six senior police officers will be trained as drivers so the department can assign one driver per shift to be available if the vehicle is called into service.
    He estimated it’ll take about 90 days to be able to put the vehicle in service, hopefully by mid-November or mid-December.
    With proper care and maintenance, he estimates the town could get up to 20 years of service from the vehicle.
    “You won’t see it in a parade, you won’t see it at a demonstration, you won’t see it on patrol,’’ he said. “You’ll see it when there is a weather event, a natural disaster or, God forbid, an active shooter situation.
    “That’s the whole purpose of it, to have the resource and hope you never have to use it. You have to be prepared in today’s world.’’

    Picture 1: Chief Joel Acciardo 

    Picture 2: M-ATV similar to the one Hope Mills is getting 

  • 16 HOW day campHis Outreach Worldwide Ministry will host a BBQ Fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 3, to support the construction of a school building in Tamu, Myanmar. The barbecue will be held at the ministry's "log cabin," located at 2770 Breezewood Ave., from 1-5 p.m., for takeout or a picnic on the grounds. The food will be priced at $10 per plate.

    “We are praying we will have a huge turn out, we need at least $5,000 for the school, and it has to be finished by January,” said Lynne O’Quinn, president of H.O.W. “We are really needing this funding now and needing it quickly.”

    The barbecue will benefit over 100 children in the Tamu area attending His Outreach Worldwide School, the only government-licensed English-teaching school in the area.

    The event will offer great food by Hopkins Barbeque and great music on the patio by Currie Wayne Clayton Jr., O’Quinn said.

    The ministry is excited to have the accomplished musician Currie Wayne, who has played with the rock band Molly Hatchet in the past and has won many musical championships.

    O’Quinn said she believes the fundraiser will be a great event that will be outdoors, and a lot of people are looking forward to it, especially since the pandemic.

    “We'd love for people to come that day, purchase tickets, enjoy the entertainment and just have a great day,” she said.

    H.O.W., a Christian ministry, was founded in 2008 in Fayetteville by O’Quinn and supports several activities around the world, including providing funds, food, clothes and more. The faith-based organization is founded on prayer and God’s word.

    “In a nutshell, God woke me up one morning and wrote a book through me sharing Jesus to children around the world,” O’Quinn said. “That one little book is what founded this worldwide

    The barbecue is one of its many fundraising events, including an annual 5K, which was cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

    "We are praying for a great sunny, fall day and attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs to comply with social distancing and have a picnic on the grounds," O'Quinn said.

    “Bring your own chair, grab a plate of barbecue, sit here and have great entertainment and fellowship,” she added.

    For more information about H.O.W. or the BBQ, visit http://hisoutreachworldwide.org/

    Pictured: His Outreach Worldwide Ministry President Lynne O'Quinn entertains children at a H.O.W. project at a day camp in Brno, Czech Republic.

  • 14 emergency 1For the first time, the town of Hope Mills is offering CPR training to two groups of people who can really benefit from it, babysitters and new parents of small children and infants.

    Kasey Ivey of the Parks and Recreation Department said the idea was presented to her by Jamie Krusinski, a registered nurse and certified CPR instructor.

    In addition to basic CPR training, topics including clearing obstructed airways and working with AEDs will be covered.

     “There are a lot of similar things, but some are just geared toward the two different groups of people,’’ Ivey said. 

    Ivey said Krusinski will bring an AED to the training sessions to show both the babysitters and the parents how it works and how to operate it.

    An important part of the AED training is to teach everyone, especially the younger people, not to be afraid of the AED and to understand it can save a person’s life.

     Ivey said the entire program was designed by Krusinski. Each class will be limited to a maximum of nine participants. Each class is self-contained, not a series, so you only have to go to one to get the full effect of the training.

     “It’s the first time we are trying this so we will see how it goes,’’ Ivey said.

     She added it’s important for the town to offer this kind of training. “It’s a life skill,’’ she said. “It can be used in so many different settings. It’s an important thing to help strengthen the community with lifelong learning.’’

    Ivey said she’s been certified in CPR since 2006. “To have that basic knowledge and skill set between the time an incident occurs and before emergency personnel get there is critical time when you could save someone’s life, if you have the knowledge and skill,’’ she said.

    All those completing one of the programs will get a two-year certificate in CPR through the American Heart Association. They will have to repeat the training once the certificate expires to be certified again.

    A minimum of two people must sign up for a class to be held.

    For the new parent class the cost is $65 per person or $60 each if both parents or guardians attend. The cost for the babysitter class is $75 per person. There is an age limit of 11 and up for the baby sitter class.

    The babysitter classes will all be on Saturdays, Oct. 12, Oct. 19, Nov. 2 and Nov. 9 from 1-4 p.m. each day.

    New parent classes are the same days with hours from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

    For questions contact Ivey at Hope Mills Parks and Recreation, 910-426-4109.

  • 15 01 Old dam gatesCitizen input is crucial as the town of Hope Mills rolls out initial plans for the proposed Heritage Park. The meeting to get public input will be held Thursday, Sept. 26, at
    6 p.m. at the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Building

    The park is to be constructed on land near the current dam and stretch down to property where the former Episcopal Church is located. 

    The preliminary goal is to create a natural green space with hiking trails while also adding kiosks that will tell the story of the area near the dam. Ancient dam gates from years past, which are standing near the proposed entry to the park, will also be put on permanent display.

    Hope Mills town manager Melissa Adams said the town is using the same process it did to get input from citizens on what to do with the golf course property the town owns.

    “This is a kickoff meeting,’’ she said. “We are involving the Appearance Committee, the Parks and Recreation Committee, the Lake Advisory Committee and the Historic Preservation Commission, 15 02 ENTRY WAY along with the public.’’

    Adams said the purpose of the meeting is to gather information on what the public and the various committees would like to see in Heritage Park.

    There is a tentative plan for the park that was drawn up by people from North Carolina State.

    It calls for a green space with trails, kiosks with educational signage and the old dam gates. The goal is to connect the property entrance area on Lakeview Road with the Episcopal Church property on Main Street.

    The only difference between this meeting and the one involving plans for the golf course is there won’t be as many options to discuss with Heritage Park because it’s a much smaller space.

    Adams said the golf course has many more amenities over its some 90 acres while Heritage Park only takes up six or seven acres. “We can’t cram but so much in there,’’ Adams said.

    One thing that has been discussed is some kind of picnic area at Heritage Park, Adams said.

    She added that the trails designed for Heritage Park would not be a flat walking surface like the walk near town hall but are hilly and natural.

    “It’s extremely important for the public to come and give their input and take a look at everything,’’ Adams said. “This is just the beginning stages of it.

    “We’d like very much for as many people to come as possible.’’

    For questions prior to the meeting, Adams said people should contact Lamarco Morrison at

    Picture 1: Closeup of the old dam gates

    Picture 2: An entry way to the proposed Heritage Park

  • 15 electric car plugged inSustainable Sandhills will host its second annual "Drive Electric" event Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum.

    The event, which is a part of the National Drive Electric Week, will feature various opportunities for drivers to learn about electric vehicle options in the region.

    “The goal is to provide awareness to the community about electric vehicles and the benefits they have — like improving air quality, reducing our dependence on foreign petroleum, and just showing people that ‘EV’ can be very fun to drive,” said Joenelle Kimbrough, executive director of Sustainable Sandhills.

    There will be multiple Teslas available at the event for the public to test-drive. Visitors can sign up online for 15 minute test-drive slots and register at https://sustainablesandhills.org/driveelectric2020/.

    If anyone owns an electric vehicle, they are welcome to bring it to the car show and talk to people about the experience of driving an electric vehicle and the value of its ownership, Kimbrough said.

    The family-friendly event will see food trucks and activities for children like a "build your own car" craft and a book signing by local children’s book author Alison Paul Klakowicz, author of "Mommy’s Big Red Monster Truck."

    The "Drive Electric" show will comply with COVID-19 health precautions. The cars will be wiped and sanitized between each user, there will be mostly touch-free activities and children will each get their own set of crayons.

    “We would love to have you come out and learn about electric vehicles and benefits they offer our community — see how fun they are to drive,” Kimbrough said.

    The event will host community partners involved with "EV" infrastructure, incluuding the Fayetteville Public Works Commission, The Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Central Electric Membership Corporation, which will inform the attendees on where to find chargers for their electric cars, and of new technologies regarding "EV" that are out on the horizon, she said.

    All of these organizations have charging stations throughout the area or they have electric vehicles in their fleets.

    Kimbrough said the two-fold motivation behind the event was that Sustainable Sandhills is the “air quality program manager” for the region and the second being the national drive electric week.

    “Electric vehicles are important to air quality because they don't use gasoline; they help cut out on emissions which can help improve the area's air quality,” she said.

    Based in Fayetteville, Sustainable Sandhills started about 15 years ago with the mission of creating resilient environmental, economic and social resources. The organization has a nine-county reach, serving about 1 million people.

    “Our goal is to connect with people and help them understand how natural resources affect their lives and vice versa,” Kimbrough said. “We just want people to understand that we need to be responsible with our resource use now in order to have what we need for the future generations.”

    The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum is located at 325 Franklin St. in downtown Fayetteville. For more information about Sustainable Sandhills and the event, visit https://sustainablesandhills.org

  • 13 Hope Mills Shred LitterGet your unwanted documents together and dress for cleanup duty. The town of Hope Mills is holding its biannual shredding and litter sweep events. Stormwater supervisor Beth Brown said Sept. 21 has been designated as the day the town will offer free shredding of sensitive documents while inviting townspeople to volunteer to help spruce up neighboring streets by picking up litter.

    There will not be a hazardous household waste cleanup. That was held in the spring, and Brown said it’s too costly to do more than once a year. “That event is typically between $20,000-30,000,’’ she said.

    Not many people requested a repeat on the hazardous waste cleanup, Brown said, but they did on the shredding event. “We feel it’s easier to do in coordination with another event like the litter sweep,’’ she said.

    The goal of the shredding event is to provide the community with a chance to dispose of any kind of paper waste and get rid of it in a manner that is environmentally friendly and appropriate.

    Just about anything related to paper products is acceptable except large binder clips, Brown said. Paper clips and staples can be left in documents and will be shredded.

    The public can also bring computer disks, both CD and DVD types, along with the old-style floppy disks. “We did collect some of those during the spring,’’ she said of the floppy disks.

    One thing everyone bringing documents for shredding needs to know is the shredding will not take place on site when the materials are dropped off. Everything will be collected and placed in locked containers that will be locked in town hall over the weekend.

    The Monday following the shred event, the company doing the shredding will pick up all the material and transport it to Raleigh to be shredded. Brown said some people were upset last year when they were unable to watch their documents being shredded.

    “The service is as secure to use as if it was shredded on our site,’’ she said.

    While the shred event will be going on at town hall in the customer parking lot, the litter sweep will begin at the Parks and Recreation Department.

    Brown said maps will be available and volunteers can pick an area of town where they would like to clean up. They can choose a designated area or clean up anywhere within the town limits.

    The town will provide gloves, trash bags and tools to pick up the trash with along with safety vests. The vests and tools need to be returned when done. 

    Children are welcome to take part in the litter sweep, but any child under the age of 18 must be supervised by a parent or guardian as a safety precaution.

    Brown said this litter sweep is important because it will be the final one before Ole Mill Days on Saturday, Oct. 5, with major activities scheduled at town hall and municipal park.

    Anyone with questions about the shred event should call 910-424-4555. For questions about the litter sweep, call 910-426-4109.

  • 11 KindredKindred Ministries announces a partnership with Cape Fear Regional Theatre and its Passport Series, with the help of a grant of $2550 from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.

    "Kindred Ministries is so grateful to have received this grant from the Arts Council,” said Dr. Scott Cameron, founder of Kindred Ministries.

    “It will enable our community of adults with and without intellectual disabilities to access an incredible arts program at CFRT!"

    Kindred Ministries exists to create opportunities for adults of all abilities to grow in friendship, primarily through the avenue of a daytime program.

    A valuable component of that daytime program is the Passports Series with CFRT. Throughout the course of the Series, participants gather weekly to create, write and eventually perform an
    original story.

    The community is then invited to the performance, encountering a stage where people typically pushed to the margins are at the center.

    Much of what Kindred does is dependent upon the gracious support of grants and other outside funding sources.

    “The Arts Council is pleased to partner with Kindred Ministries in support of the partnership with CFRT for the Passport Series," said Bob Pinson, interim president and CEO of the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.

    “Project Support Grants for 2020-21 will help fund 20 projects facilitated by 15 nonprofit organizations.

    These projects help strengthen our communities through festivals and concerts, youth education programs, art exhibitions and workshops, and more.”

    Project Support Grants increase opportunities for access to arts, science, cultural and historical programming in Cumberland County.

    The grants are awarded to nonprofit agencies in Cumberland County that demonstrate financial and administrative stability.

    Kindred Ministries exists to create a community where our friends with disabilities are at the center and, as a result, everyone thrives.

    It is built on the foundation of mutuality: that we can help each other, that we can learn from each other, and that when you really get to know each other, you might just encounter a kindred spirit.
    The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County serves more than 330,000 residents of Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

    Since 1973, the Arts Council has ensured growth in our children’s education, our community’s cultural identity and our economic progress.

    The Arts Council’s grants, programs and services are funded in part by contributions from businesses and individuals and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

  • 16 FOOD TRUCK RODEOUPDATE 9/03/19: Due to the threat to Hope Mills posed by Hurricane Dorian, the Food Truck Rodeo has been moved to Thursday, Sept. 12, from 5-8 p.m.

    Hope Mills has taken its share of punishment from hurricanes in recent years, so town officials have scheduled an event to help citizens prepare for the worst should one or more strike again this season.

    As part of the Thursday, Sept. 5, Food Truck Rodeo in Hope Mills, a hurricane preparedness event has been arranged in cooperation with the local Community Emergency Response Team.

    The food truck rodeo will take place this Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the outdoor basketball courts at Hope Mills Municipal Park on Rockfish Road. 

    Nearly all of the vendors on hand for the event will be oriented toward dealing with issues involving hurricane awareness. 

    Chancer McLaughlin, development and planning administrator for the town, said many of the vendors will be able to provide citizens attending the event information on how to deal with issues they might encounter when a hurricane strikes.

    Here are some questions that the experts at the food truck rodeo will help answer.

    How much bleach is needed to purify water?

    What is a survival flash drive and where should you store it?

    How do you operate a generator?

    How do you stop bleeding?

    What smartphone apps are best to have in an emergency situation?

    What steps need to be taken during a water advisory?

    Other topics that will be covered include how to pack a so-called “go bag” along with on-site training in CPR.

    Vendors with specific information involving hurricane situations will include the American Red Cross, the Public Works Commission and the Salvation Army.

    As always, the food truck rodeo will be collecting nonperishable food items to support the ALMS HOUSE in Hope Mills.

    The event isn’t just about hurricane preparedness, it’s also about having a fun evening out with the family and enjoying the variety of eating options at the food trucks.

    Special musical guest for the evening will be a jazz band called Rah’s Illuminated 1’s.

    Miller Motte College will be on hand to share information about its programs and offer free massages.

    A wide assortment of food trucks will be present, including Doug’s NC Barbecue, Big T’s, Nannie’s Famous, Chef Glen, Food 4 the Soul, Noth’n Fancy, Elite Catering, Dogwood Java, East Coast Snowey and Lo Diferente.

    “The main purpose is to get the public some useful information,’’ McLaughlin said.

    There are two more food truck events scheduled this year, McLaughlin said, one in October and one in November on the first Thursday of each month.

    McLaughlin said no theme had been determined for the remaining two rodeos.

  • 09-04-13-ladies-power-lunch.gifWomen have been the heart and soul of society since its beginning. Whether it’s a mother who lovingly gives wisdom and direction for life’s journey or a wife who is a constant source of strength through trials, every successful man has a strong woman guiding him as he makes his mark on the world. Now, more and more, women are making their marks as well.

    Join the third annual Fayetteville Ladies’ Power Lunch on Sept. 12 and Dec. 12 at the Embassy Suites located at 4760 Lake Valley Drive in Fayetteville. This event is for every woman! If you own your own business, are a homemaker or selflessly give your time and energy to children with developmental disorders, you are cordially invited to be a part of this power lunch. The event organizers respectfully request that only women attend.

    The purpose of this event is to encourage every woman to continue making a positive difference in the lives of others and the city of Fayetteville. With 20 to 25 vendors on site, opportunities to network professionally and to shop will be provided. Mothers of children with developmental disorders will be honored, as well. These women are affectionately referred to as “SHeroes.” Being honored as well at the event will be a special selection of women known as the “Golden Girls.” This elite group will be comprised of those who have helped other women achieve success in life and represent all mothers. It is women like this that make this event possible.

    Driving this event is President of the Fayetteville Ladies’ Power Lunch and CEO of Fayetteville Hyperbarics, Denise Mercado. She conceived the idea of the lunch from one similarly done in the Triangle area.

    When speaking about the event, Mercado said, “It’s very unique and is sponsored by women, for women.”

    It is her belief that women have just as much to contribute to our economy as men. The value of women in our society is all too often understated and The Fayetteville Ladies’ Power Lunch hopes to help change that.

    Speaking at this event will be women of note. On Sept. 12, Denise Bennett will be the guest speaker. A highly sought after voice of influence throughout the state and beyond, Bennett is the author of Chosen Seed: from Mustard Seed to Abundance and is a member of the National Speakers Association and Triangle Commercial Real Estate Women Board of Directors. Her words promise to be enlightening and insightful for women of all walks of life.

    Speaking in December will be television personality and Fayetteville native, Nicole Carr. With experience from ABC 11’s Eyewitness team, WECT in Wilmington and WTVF in Nashville, Carr knows what it takes to be a successful woman in the public eye. She shares a strong passion for military families and described herself as an Army Brat.

    Come and join other successful women and celebrate the courage and entrepreneurial spirit of all local women at the Fayetteville Ladies’ PowerLunch. For more information, contact Karen Estep at (910) 920-1165.

    Photo: In September and December, Fayetteville women have the opportunity to celebrate their success at the  Women’s Power Lunch.

  •     The guy I’m dating is a high school graduate with a manual labor job. I have a master’s and a corporate career, and I’ll eventually make several times his salary. He’s a great guy, and does stuff like spontaneously buying me flowers at the farmers market and calling just to say goodnight. We talk sports, which I love, and he shares his work gossip, but I can’t talk to him the way I talk to my egghead friends. I use $5 words (my natural speech after years of schooling), and I can tell he sometimes has no idea what I just said. My friends seem put off by him and question whether we’ve got enough in common. I’m more concerned with how he feels around them (going silent, fumbling words, getting grumpy).     Is it reasonable to give up this sweet, attentive man for somebody married to his work, but who can match wits with anyone, anytime?

        Opposites might attract, but then they start talking. You say tomayto, he says tomahto, and you throw in a side order of antidisestablishmentarianism. (Man is from Mars, Woman is from Encyclopedia Britannica.)
        It’s amazing how you can be in a man’s arms and over his head at the very same time. In a way, this is a case of terrible timing. If you’d both been around during the Oklahoma Land Rush, he would’ve been a much wiser choice of boyfriend than some pointyhead who’d just read the collected works of Charles Darwin. But here you are in 2008, probably all cozy in some starter condo, feeling the constant grate of his intellectual incompatibility, especially at those smart people clambakes you’re always attending.
        While people will tell you money can’t buy happiness, if you make lots more than he does, you might end up feeling pretty miserable. There was this theory that women only wanted rich, powerful men because they couldn’t get money or power themselves. Studies by evolutionary psychologist David Buss and others actually show that rich, successful women tend to go for even richer, more successful men.
        As a woman who uses $5 words, can you be satisfied with a man who only has $2.75 or so to play around with? Most importantly, do you admire him? And will you — when he stretches his hand skyward and promises you the stars...without the faintest idea that he’s actually offering you a passing satellite?
  • The middle of September ushers in the unofficial beginning of fall, a time of year when many feel reenergized by cooler temperatures and are eager to spend more hours outdoors enjoying all the local area has to offer. Whether one is collecting leaves, picking pumpkins, exploring corn mazes, or biking one of the many trails, autumn is full of fun opportunities that can make the season that much more enjoyable.

    Fayetteville Cumberland Parks and Recreation offers a number of outdoor activities for the whole family, from a community garden, bike and jogging trails to the new skate park. Although COVID-19 restrictions have closed many facilities, all parks, trails and the Rowan Street Skate Park are open. Playgrounds reopened earlier this month. Basketball courts at all parks remain closed. Recreation centers remain closed. The pools and splash pads have been closed the entire summer due to COVID-19 restrictions.

    FCPR posts updates to hours and restrictions on its webpage and Facebook page. For more information on specific locations, visit www.fcpr.us/ or www.facebook.com/fcpr.us, or call the administrative office at 910-433-1547.
    Gardening can be a fun and educational activity for all ages and can be physically and mentally engaging. The potential benefits are endless.

    The Fayetteville Community Garden is a five-acre area with plots available for planting vegetables, flowers and herbs. Plots are raised beds about 20 feet by 20 feet. Patrons rent space, and FCPR supplies garden boxes, compost and water. The garden is organic in nature, therefore no chemicals or synthetic herbicides, insecticides, fungicides or fertilizers are allowed. Plots may be rented for $25. The garden is open year-round during daylight hours. The garden is located at the intersection of Vanstory and Mann Streets.

    Clark Park and its Nature Center join the Cape Fear River Trail and Moses Mathis “Bicycle Man” playground/trailhead to form a complex suited to hours of enjoyment and education. The city’s second largest regional park remains a natural area dedicated to preserving the environment, educating the public about nature, and providing the only camping in the area. The Nature Center's museum features displays and free viewing of live animals.

    Visitors can picnic overlooking the woods and one of the highest waterfalls east of the mountains. For those interested in walking or jogging, the park has its own set of unpaved trails and also serves as a trailhead for the paved CFRT. Well behaved, leashed pets are welcome on trails as long you clean up after them.

    Clark Park Nature Center offers nature and recreation programming for educators, groups, individuals and families. You must preregister for all programs. Contact the park office at 910-433-1579 for program information or visit www.facebook.com/fcprnature.

    The Cape Fear River Trail is a 10-foot-wide paved path for walkers, joggers and bicyclists. It winds for nearly 5.3 miles, one-way, through a beautiful blend of trees, plants and wildlife with views of the river. The terrain can be flat or slightly hilly. In addition to wooden bridges, including one covered bridge, there is more than 1,000 feet of boardwalk through the marsh and wetlands along the trail.

    Along the trail are signs explaining the wildlife and plant life found in the area. There are more than 700 species of plants and trees and 150 species of birds. Frogs, lizards and turtles are common sights, with an occasional deer. The River Trail area is home to an unusual combination and diversity of hardwood trees.

    The Cape Fear Mountain Bike Trail is a feature of the Cape Fear River Trail/Clark Park area with just under three miles of trail accessible off the CFRT. Access is located 1 mile north of Clark Park, traveling towards Methodist College (not far from the intersection with Eastwood Avenue). It consists of two sections on opposite sides of the trail. The first half mile is more technical with tighter turns and rollers, suitable for experienced riders. After crossing the CFRT it becomes a meandering woodland trail for beginners.

    The trails are open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk. Parking is available at Clark Park. Restrooms are located at the Jordan Soccer Complex and at the Clark Park Nature Center during Clark Park’s operating hours.

    For those interested in agritourism, Gillis Hill Farm is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

    The Gillis family has been farming the same land for nine generations, starting in the timber business, moving to traditional row crops and agritourism over the years.

    For the price of an ice cream (or a $3 ticket), visitors can go on a self-guided tour of the working farm.

    Gillis Hill also offers school and group tours that run twice daily at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday through Friday. Group tours consist of a "Farm Life" movie showing what it’s like as a kid growing up on the farm, a historic walking tour, a wagon ride, animal feeding and a seed kit to take home.

    The farm is located at 2701 Gillis Hill Rd. in Fayetteville. To schedule a tour or find additional information, call 910-867-2350 or visit https://ghfarm.square.site/.

    A visit to Gross Farms offers fun and entertainment for the whole family with sites and activities including a 10-acre corn maze, a pumpkin patch, hayrides, a play area and a picnic area. Visitors can purchase a combo ticket for access to everything or buy tickets for individual activities. Military and group discounts are available.

    Gross Farms is located at 1606 Pickett Road in Sandford. For information, call 919-498-6727 or visit www.grossfarms.com.

    Hubb’s Farm is another agritourism destination with activities to entertain the whole family, including a corn maze, pumpkin patch, animals and a long list of attractions. In addition to being a year-round venue to book parties and events, the farm offers school and group tours.

    In addition to regular farm activities, there are a number of seasonal events scheduled.

    Sunflowers Galore is scheduled to open today with opportunities Sept. 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25. Sunflower stems can be purchased and visitors can take photographs in the sunflower field.

    The Fall Drive-In Movie Series begins Sept. 26 and runs every Saturday in October. Gates open at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 8 p.m. Movie titles will be posted on the website.

    The corn maze and pumpkin patch will run Sept. 26 through Nov. 7 on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1–6 p.m. Weekday hours are yet to be set.

    The Flashlight Maze will be open 7-10 p.m. on Friday nights in October. Visitors can navigate the maze under the stars. Fire pits can be reserved.

    Hubb’s Farm is located at 10276 US Hwy 421 North in Clinton. For more information call 910-564-6709 or visit www.hubbsfarmnc.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/HubbsFarmNC/.

    18 01 hubbs farm sunflower

    18 02 Gillis Hill Farm Halloween from their Facebook18 03 CF Bike Trail


    Pictures left to right:

    Sunflowers Galore opens Sept. 16 at Hubb's Farm. For a small fee, visitors can pose for photos in the field, or purchase stems to take home.

    The Cape Fear Mountain Bike Trail is accessible off the Cape Fear River Trail. It offers areas for beginners and experienced riders.

    Gillis Hill Farm is open for self-guided walks or group tours through the farm.







  • 15 01 Catch drainHope Mills town officials are concerned about the recent increase in yard debris and the negative impact it could have if it’s allowed to block the town’s storm drain system.

    That’s why community officials are reaching out to citizens to do the best they can to make sure debris is cleared from their yards before a major storm hits the town again.

    Tyler Riddle, a stormwater technician for the town, said the major culprits among lawn debris include grass clippings, leaves and limbs, but it doesn’t stop there.

    “If it can be picked up by the water and possibly make it to a drain, it’s going to hinder the amount of water that can get in that catch basin,’’ he said.

    The catch basin is the structure you see with a metal grate at street level and a wide opening for the water to flow through into the storm drain.

    Problems mount when yard trash winds up in the street and is swept into the catch basins around the town.

    “Everything that’s in the street is going to run to that catch basin, even pine straw,’’ Riddle said. “It’s going to cover that grate on the catch basin and not allow water to come through.’’

    Worse, large amounts of yard waste can get into the catch basin and, from there, the storm drain pipe system. Over time, it accumulates to further hinder the flow of water though the pipes.

    Eventually, the pipe itself can get clogged, requiring cleaning with a pumping truck and a sewer jetter, a drain-cleaning machine that uses high-pressure water to knock the debris free.

    “That’s going to cost the taxpayers money,’’ Riddle said. “They’re the ones paying for it in the long run.’’

    Riddle said town staff does as much as it can to keep the streets clear of debris that could foul the storm drains, but with so many drains located all over Hope Mills, it’s an impossible job for the staff to complete alone.

    “Everybody who helps out, it’s not just helping the town, it’s helping yourself in the long run for your street not flooding and water not backing up in your yard,’’ Riddle said. “The cleaner you keep the streets, the better everything works.’’

    Some people may choose to mulch their yard waste and use it on a home garden if they have one, Riddle said. Otherwise it’s best to make sure all yard debris is left in a trash can to be collected by the town. 

    “If you rake it up and put it in a (garbage) container, that’s the best way to get rid of it,’’ Riddle said. “Once you put it in that container, it’s not going anywhere but in the truck.’’

    Pictured: A catch basin adjacent to Hope Mills Lake with the kind of debris that can be swept from yards and cause problems for the storm drain system

  • 02 02 VFNC groupThe Veteran’s Farm of North Carolina, Inc. will host its inaugural “Boots to Roots: A Farm Tasting” at the Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom in Hope Mills on Sunday, Sept. 20.

    After receiving a National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant in May from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the VFNC began organizing the launch of the Veterans Agricultural Training and Education Program.

    The VATEP is a new initiative designed to provide 60 military veterans with hands-on vocational training on a farm in the agricultural industry.

    VFNC Executive Director and Marine Corps veteran Robert Elliott will launch the organizations first VATEP class this fall, in a partnership with Fayetteville Technical Community College.

    "VFNC's ultimate goal is to train, network and equip veterans, allowing them to easily transition into the agricultural industry to further serve our country while experiencing a life of peace," Elliott said in a release announcing the upcoming farm tasting event.

    The VFNC is striving for program sustainability through efforts such as the “Boots to Roots” series of fundraiser events.

    The “Boots to Roots” events are collaborations with other veteran-owned businesses who will facilitate and host the farm-to-table tastings. The goal is to raise money to assist the VFNC with funding to support and expand its

    Transitioning from the military to civilian life can be challenging. The VFNC strives to assist veterans with training and networking while equipping them with a toolbox of skills needed to transition into the agricultural industry. North Carolina is home to many veteran-owned businesses, including veteran farmers. Creating a support network between these businesses and the general public is a win-win for the local community and veterans alike.

    Kicking off this VFNC series of events is veteran-owned favorite Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom, affectionately known as DBA to locals. This first “Farmer-Veteran Celebration” will be held under the DBA outdoor pavilion.

    Brewmaster Vernardo “Tito” Simmons-Valenzuela will serve up signature craft beer flights paired with the small plates created by Brian Graybill, veteran owner of the DBA on-site restaurant, Napkins.

    Graybill takes his inspiration for the fall-inspired tasting menu from the produce, meat, seafood and other products all grown, raised and produced on farmer-veteran farms in North Carolina.

    The menu includes fall bruschetta, autumn salad, empanadas de chorizo, catfish croquetas, lamb bulgogi, beef barbacoa and bisteca con chimichurri. Ingredients for the menu are being provided by Watson Sanders Farm, Pappy’s Urban Farm, CATHIS Farm, Cedar Creek Fish Farm, Purpose Driven Family Farm, Green-Eyed Farms and Spartan Tusk & Feather Livestock.

    Featured farmer-veterans will be located at various stations around the tent during the event. Each will serve attendees their featured small plate created by Napkins as attendees rotate from station to station.

    Ernesto Rivas, veteran and acoustic guitar player, will provide live music. Guests will have a chance to win harvest baskets donated by local veteran artisans and business owners in a 50/50 raffle.

    All staff and servers will wear masks and adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. Guests are asked to wear masks when not seated, drinking or eating.

    This farm-to-table event will be split into two seatings with the first from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and the second from 7-9 p.m.

    The cost is $65 per single ticket or $120 per pair, which covers food from Napkins, a flight of 5-ounce beers from DBA and live music.

    No refunds will be issued, but tickets may be transferred to others. The event is open to adults, 21 years and older. DBA is located at 5435 Corporation Drive in Hope Mills.

    For tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/boots-to-roots-a-farm-tasting-tickets-114750521900

    Pictured: The Veteran's Farm of NC, Inc. is a farm designed and dedicated to instructing and training servicemembers on all aspects of agriculture.

  • 14 01 Sidewalks 1The goal of making the town of Hope Mills more accessible to pedestrian traffic by adding sidewalks came a step closer to reality recently as the town was awarded another grant from the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

    “We typically get a grant every year through them called the transportation alternatives grant,’’ said Chancer McLaughlin, development and planning administrator for the town.

    Work is already underway on sidewalks in the area of Rockfish Road near the town’s municipal complex.

    The new grant, which is $445,540, will extend sidewalks the length of Main Street starting at the intersection of Johnson Street/Fountain Lane and Main Street down to the intersection of Trade Street with Lakeview Road and Main Street.

    The grant covers 80% of the sidewalk cost with the town providing the other 20%.

    14 02 CrosswalkThere are existing sidewalks on the side of Main Street closest to the lake, but on the opposite side they stop at Johnson Street just past the railroad trestle.

    In addition to the new sidewalks, the grant money will help cover the cost of adding a new
    crosswalk about halfway between the two intersections as well as enhancing the existing crosswalk at the Trade and Main intersection.

    McLaughlin said the new crosswalk will be a so-called raised mid-block structure made of brick.

    The existing crosswalk will be modified in a similar matter.

    He described it as a “traffic-calming” structure, similar to a speed bump, but a little more decorative with brick construction material.

    The ultimate goal of the new sidewalks is to follow the guidance of the Southwest Cumberland Land Use Plan, which has specific suggestions for adding sidewalks in the Hope Mills area.

    McLaughlin said this will continue the aim of connecting the Town Hall and Municipal Park area on Rockfish Road with the restored Hope Mills Lake on Main Street to make it a pedestrian-friendly zone.

    The long-term goal once all the sidewalks are completed is to give those people who are interested and able the ability to conveniently walk from the municipal complex to the lake, thus hopefully decreasing the need for cars in what is already a highly congested area.

    “There is not much public parking at the lake, so we are trying to create a better balance between vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic while keeping it safe,’’ McLaughlin said.

    While work continues on the Rockfish Road sidewalk and is yet to begin along Main Street, McLaughlin said it’s too early to establish a definite timetable on when the entire project will be finished.

    Picture 1: The stretch of Main Street opposite Hope Mills Lake where sidewalks will be extended

    Picture 2: Raised crosswalks, similar to this one, will be added on Main Street but will be constructed with brick to be more decorative. 

  • 15 fam friendly outdoorsChildren who spend a lot of time outdoors benefit from exposure to nature in myriad ways, some of which may surprise even the most devoted outdoorsmen.

    According to a study published in the journal Human Dimensions of Wildlife, fifth graders who attended school at a local prairie wetlands where lessons in science, math and writing were integrated in an experimental way had stronger reading and writing skills than peers who attended more traditional schools.

    Another study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that holding a class outdoors one day a week significantly improved the daily cortisol patterns of students, reducing their risk of stress and improving their ability to adapt to stress.

    In the era of coronavirus, outdoor adventures can offer a break for students and their parents.

    Parents who want their children to reap the rewards of being exposed to the great outdoors can encourage educators to incorporate nature into school curriculums and also embrace these family-friendly outdoor activities.

    Nature treasure hunt: A treasure hunt can keep kids engaged on family hiking excursions and provide an excellent opportunity for parents to teach children about the assortment of plants, birds and wildlife that live in the parks and along the trails near their home.

    Outdoor art class: Families don’t even need to leave their properties to spend quality time together outside. Pick a pleasant or mild afternoon and set up an outdoor painting station, encouraging everyone to paint what they see. Regular outdoor art sessions can add variety as each season can offer new landscapes and wildlife activity.

    Bonfire: Outdoor activities need not be limited to daylight hours. A post-dinner backyard bonfire can entice everyone outside, where families can tell scary stories as they make s’mores.

    Stargaze: Stargazing is another way families can spend time outdoors and learn a few things. Some blankets, a thermos and a chart of constellations can provide the perfect complement to a sky full of bright stars. If visibility is compromised in the backyard, find a local spot where everyone can get a clear view of the night sky.

    Fruit picking: Depending on the availability of farms in your area, fruit or vegetable picking can provide a fun and educational activity. Visit a local farm during its harvest season, teaching children about how the foods they love are grown and eventually make it to the family dinner table.

    Parents can expand on these ideas to offer outdoor learning even after students return to the traditional classroom.

  • 09-17-14-friends-of-children.gifLast year a fewer than 7,000 infants were born at Cape Fear Valley Health and close to 10 percent of those infants were premature so that is why the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation presents the 19th Annual Friends of Children Golf Classic on Thursday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 a.m. at Highland Country Club.

    “The purpose of this signature event is to help our Friends of Children which is one of our Friends’ groups under the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation,” said Tara Hinton, events development coordinator of Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation. “That group provides car seats, gas vouchers, toys, blankets, teddy bears, clothing and all types of programs and services for children and families in need while they are receiving care at our facility.”

    Hinton added that the golf tournament plays an integral role in providing the funds for these programs and services and in the past, the golf tournament has helped purchase the first state of the art giraffe bed for the hospital. The giraffe bed mimics the womb of the mother for premature infants. They have since purchased 17 or 18 more giraffe.

    “The past few years the golf classic has chosen a project for funding,” said Rachel Richardson, programming development coordinator of Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation. “This year one of the projects for funding is a neonatal transporter for our level three Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”

    Richardson added that Cape Fear Valley’s NICU currently has two transporters but there is great value in providing an additional transporter because if one transporter has any maintenance issue, their NICU team will still have two operating machines. It is also a great benefit when there are prematurely born triplets born at Cape Fear Valley and more often than not, sets of twins and triplets have a higher risk of being born prematurely. The transporter is mobile life support for premature infants and is how the babies are transported from labor and delivery to the NICU. The NICU serves 13 counties in the state of North Carolina.

    “With the current state of healthcare reform and the decreasing reimbursements, the foundation and this particular Friends of Golf Classic is able to provide to the children’s areas at Cape Fear Valley Health, which really helps bridge the gap for our hospital as far as needs for patients,” said Richardson.

    More than 60,000 children are seen as inpatients and outpatients a year at the Pediatric Emergency Department and the Children’s Center at Cape Fear Valley Health. The remaining portion of the proceeds is going to the Children’s Center renovations at the hospital. If your baby has been born at Cape Fear Valley Health, whether they have gone to the NICU or not, prior to discharge, and if they ever have to go back to the hospital again before they turn 18, they will receive care in the Children’s Center.

    “We just want to make sure that we are enhancing the patient environment for children so that they are not lost in the medical world while they are receiving treatment,” said Hinton.

    Sponsorship levels for the golf tournament range from $250 to $25,000. For more information and details, call Tara Hinton at 615-1434.

  • 07 Cumb Cty SchCumberland County Schools recently received the "Outstanding Website" award from the 2021 WebAwards.

    The webstie was evaluated based on its design, ease of use, copywriting, interactivity, use of technology, innovation and content. A judge lauded the website for excellence in every category.

    "The amount of diversity of the families within the school system (military market/federally connected) with 75 countries and 89 languages is a challenge to master... WELL DONE!"

    Since 1997, the WebAwards have been recognized as the premier industry-based Website Award program in the world.

    The WebAwards include sites from 97 industry categories which go head-to-head with other sites from their categories.

    Check out the district's award-winning website here: https://www.ccs.k12.nc.us/.

  • 06 Tobacco FieldCumberland County’s Tobacco Research Referendum will be held at the County Cooperative Extension Office Nov. 18 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    The office is located at the Charlie Rose Agri-Expo Center on E. Mountain Drive.

    The referendum is being held so tobacco farmers can decide if they wish to continue a self-assessment program of 10 cents per hundred pounds of flue-cured and burley tobacco produced in North Carolina.

    A two-thirds favorable vote by growers will mean they are willing to continue supporting tobacco research and education.

    The law requires updated referenda every six years. Extension professionals in all 100 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee provide educational programs specializing in agriculture, youth, health, and the environment, according to Lisa Childers, Cumberland County Extension Director.

    For more information on the referendum, please call 910-321-6880.

  • 05 CityOfFay Logo Slide WBCFayOrgThe City of Fayetteville has vacancies for some advisory boards and commissions including the Board of Advisors for the Woodpeckers Capital Reserve Account, the Fayetteville-Cumberland Economic Development Board, Joint City and County Appearance Commission and the Stormwater Advisory Board.

    Applications will be accepted through Oct. 13. All qualified applications will be presented to city council’s appointment committee.

    City Council is expected to approve new members at its meeting in November. Applications can be made at www.fayettevillenc.gov. Residents should click on city council, scroll down to boards and commissions, and click on vacancies.

  • 04 09 Chief Hawkins FPDFayetteville Police Chief Gina V. Hawkins presented 400 Nightlock® door lockdown devices to Cumberland County School Superintendent Marvin Connelly, Jr. earlier this month in support of Cumberland County schools’ safety and security project.

    CCS began installing the devices last year with money provided by the State of North Carolina.

    The donation from the FPD brings the total number of devices installed in local school classrooms to more than 3,400.

    “We all know, what's really important to us is our children, and making sure they're safe all the time," Chief Hawkins said.

    The police department used $20,000 of grant funds to purchase the door locks to assist in plans to respond to potential active shooter situations.

    “We appreciate Chief Hawkins and The Fayetteville Police Department for their continued support of Cumberland County Schools,” said Superintendent Connelly.

    For information about the CCS Safety & Security program visit their website- www.ccs.k12.nc.us/domain/1630.

  • 03 IMG 2909 Brave ClubMembers of Fayetteville Academy’s BRAVE (Bringing Real Adolescent Voices Empowerment) club recently held a book drive to benefit Connections of Cumberland County and the Fayetteville Police Department Foundation.

    Books for both children and adults were collected. The children’s books were donated to the Fayetteville Police Department Foundation and will be shared with the FPD Youth Services Unit. Some of the books will be given to children who are victims of abuse and some will be shared with the Human Trafficking Division for juvenile victims.

    The books for adults were donated to the single women’s Day Resource Center operated by Connections of Cumberland County.

    The BRAVE club has a service focus and works to spread kindness and acceptance among the Fayetteville Academy student body and the community with different activities throughout the year working to promote a welcoming and supportive environment while giving back to the community.

    Fayetteville Academy is an independent, college preparatory school that encourages students to achieve their full potential by offering exceptional opportunities in academics, fine arts and athletics.

    Pictured left to right are: Officer Sway Rivera, seventh grader Austin Taylor, Capt. Todd Joyce and Sgt. John Benazzi. (Photo courtesy Fayetteville Academy)

  • 05 FOrt Bragg signFort Bragg will be renamed and officials are seeking input from community stakeholders on recommendations for a new name. Officials are working to compile a list of possible new names that will be submitted to DOD for consideration.

    According to a release from the Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office, Congess is mandating the renaming and removal of all Department of Defense items that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily within the confederacy. Fort Bragg is one of ten Army posts identified as requiring a name change.

    The U.S. Army post Fort Bragg was first stood up as Camp Bragg on Sept. 4, 1918, as an artillery training center. Fort Bragg was named after Confederate General Braxton Bragg for his actions in the Mexican-American War.

    “We’re amplifying the opportunity for the community to be involved with the name-changing process,” said Col. Scott Pence, Fort Bragg Garrison Commander.

    “We are engaging the community to solicit their feedback on name recommendations. We want to ensure our stakeholders, soldiers, families, civilians and members of the community have the unique opportunity to provide a name recommendation for our installation.”

    Per the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, the other nine military installations set to be renamed are Camp Beauregard, Louisiana; Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia; Fort Lee, Virginia; Fort Pickett, Virginia; Fort Polk, Louisiana; and Fort Rucker, Alabama.

    Information about the base renaming is available on the following podcast episode.
    Podcast Link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-57-renaming-fort-bragg/id1547996961?i=1000534546046

    For more information about the Naming Commission or to provide your name recommendation, visit the following links:

    Fort Bragg Naming Commission Facts and name-recommendation survey: https://home.army.mil/bragg/index.php/fortbragg-renaming

    Naming Commission website:

    Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fbncgarrisoncmd (Note: Survey is pinned to the top.)

  • 04 teacher of year CCS facebook"One of my personal responsibilities as an educator is to never stop being a student," said Daniel Smith, the Cumberland County Schools' 2022 Teacher of the Year.

    When faced with the limitations of virtual learning, Smith seized the moment and opened the door to an entire world of opportunities for himself, his students and his peers, said a spokesman for the school district. Smith serves as chairman of the Social Studies Department at Westover High School.

    “I listen to my students; they often have more insight than we give them credit for,” Smith wrote in his nomination portfolio.

    The announcement of Smith as this year’s Teacher of the Year winner was made during the district’s virtual celebration event, themed: The Great Comeback: Defying All Odds to Educate Each Child. Smith started his teaching career with Cumberland County Schools in 2014 after graduating from State University of New York (SUNY) at Old Westbury.

    Pictured: Daniel Smith (center) from Westover High School, was named the 2022 Teacher of the Year. (Photo courtesy CCS)

  • 03 Social Media Posts 4Cape Fear Regional Theatre is resuming a near-normal schedule of activities in the 2021-2022 production year. Professional theatre performances and a variety of educational and outreach initiatives are programmed thanks in part to a $250,000 grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. Ticket sales account for less than 40% of CFRT’s funding.

    “We are deeply grateful to the Arts Council for its incredible financial support; this funding is essential to our operations and enables us to produce high-quality productions and enriching education programs,” said Ella Wrenn, CFRT’s Managing Director.

    CFRT is committed to presenting an annual series of plays, performances and special events. Marketing Director Ashley Nicholl Owen says since 1962, CFRT has strived to tell the stories that resonate with all members of our diverse community and be a place for the entire community to come together to laugh harder, think deeper, share experiences, and grow as a community.

    CFRT is a three-story complex in the heart of Haymount. It has a 300-seat main stage and contracts actors, writers and designers from throughout the country. CFRT’s six-show season and education programs serve over 49,000 audience members of all ages and varying socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds including nearly 22,000 school students.

    Mainstage productions will resume in the 2021-22 season in a new, fully renovated auditorium. Patrons will enjoy deeper rows of seats, wider chairs, improved accessibility, a custom sound system and a new, fresh-air heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

    The theatre’s 60th Anniversary will be highlighted in December with a production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” The season will also feature “The Wizard of Oz” in January of 2022, “Welcome to Arroyo’s” in March, “Clue” in April, and “The Color Purple” in May and June.

    “Since the onset of COVID-19, CFRT has adapted to the changing health landscape to create safe and innovative ways to serve our community,” added CFRT Artistic Director Mary Catherine Burke. “We look forward to another season of collaboration with the Arts Council as we continue to serve the community with award-winning productions and nationally recognized education initiatives.”
    CFRT notes that it made the most of unique and changing circumstances throughout the pandemic to include education programs and outdoor/open-air theatre productions. Enrollment in CFRT’s Winter Studio classes grew by 89% over the previous year.

    “Cultural Organization Resource Grants support the backbone art organizations of Cumberland County," said Bob Pinson, Interim President and CEO of the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. “The Arts Council is proud to partner with Cape Fear Regional Theatre as a C.O.R.E Grantee.”

    In the fiscal year 2020-21, the Arts Council distributed $1.1M in grant funds and allocations to Cumberland County arts and culture nonprofit organizations, artists and municipalities. The Arts Council’s grants, programs and services are funded in part through contributions from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the N.C. Arts Council.


  • 08 N1507P22019HCumberland County Public Libraries no longer charge late fees for overdue items like books and DVDs. The library will also not charge for long overdue or lost fees on these items. The goal is to increase access to library services for previously blocked customers, particularly young borrowers. The change does not include laptops, hotspots or Playaway Launchpads.

    The library system charged $.20 per day per item with a maximum of $5 per item charged. Borrowers were blocked from checking out materials if they had $10 in late fees. Approximately one-third of library card accounts are inactive, with fees preventing those cardholders from using library resources.

    Public Library Director Faith Phillips requested the change to the County Board of Commissioners, who approved dismissing charges in their August meeting. Phillips told the board that library systems that have gone late-fee free have experienced a huge return of customers, broken down barriers to access, increased the community members they serve, experienced a huge amount of good will within the community, ensured their practices meet industry standards and been fiscally responsible.

    Phillips estimated that late fees generate about $33,600 a year in revenue for the library system and that the County could recoup that funding by no longer paying a collection agency to recover lost materials and by seeking grant opportunities.
    September is National Library Card Sign Up Month and Cumberland County Public Library is inviting all residents to join the library. This card will give you access to technology, resources and services to help encourage expression, enlightenment and exploration.

    For more information about signing up for a library card, returning long overdue items, or in-person and virtual programs at the library, please visit cumberlandcountync.gov/library and follow them on social media.

  • 05 N1704P59004HCumberland County Animal Services is participating in the nationwide “Clear the Shelters” event from Sept. 13-18.

    During this week, adoption fees will be waived for all shelter pets.

    The shelter is located at 4704 Corporation Drive in Fayetteville and will be open for adoptions from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-5 p.m. on Saturday.

    Adopters must have a photo ID and be at least 18 years old.

    All adoptions will be on a first-come, first-served basis and up to two pets can be adopted per household.

  • 06 franThis month is the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Fran, the 3rd most powerful storm to strike North Carolina since record keeping began. In 1954, Hurricane Hazel set the standard by which others have been compared.

    Hurricane Fran formed from a tropical wave that emerged from the west coast of Africa in mid-August of 1996. In early September, the category 3 hurricane struck North Carolina near Cape Fear. The Tar Heel state got the worst of the storm, and therefore experienced the worst of the damage.

    The highest wind gust of 137 mph occurred at Wilmington. The Kure Beach Pier was destroyed along with the Emerald Isle fishing pier. Storm surge in North Topsail Beach created a 100-foot-wide inlet. Swansboro and New Bern experienced 10 feet of storm surge, causing many waterfront businesses to be destroyed.

    Fran remained at hurricane strength as it moved inland. The eye of the storm passed over Clinton, 30 miles east of Fayetteville. Raleigh and Fayetteville each reported wind gusts of up to 79 mph.

    According to Associated Press reports, Fran was responsible for 37 deaths. Most of the deaths were caused by flash flooding in the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Of those deaths, 21were in North Carolina. Wind damage and power outages were widespread. Rainfall exceeding 7 inches caused flooding along the Cape Fear River. Fran caused an estimated $2.4 billion in damage in 1996 dollars, or about $3.65 billion today.

  • 04 N2107P21007HAcross Cumberland County Schools there are more than 4,600 employees in the classroom who are dedicated to helping students succeed. To support teachers and help those who are interested in seeking leadership opportunities, CCS is beginning its third year of CCS Talent Pathways. The pathway, which is part of the district’s strategic plan, will offer fully licensed teachers an opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to assume leadership roles.

    Employees can choose to begin preparations to become assistant principals, instructional coaches, national board-certified instructors, or impact instruction through the Instructional Assistants Pathway.

    “We have an amazing staff in our district who are positively impacting our students every day,” said Dr. Theresa Perry, director of Professional Development. “Through this initiative, we are offering them a chance to reach beyond the classroom and impact even more students and educators throughout the district.”

  • 10 Red Cross Emergency KitThe American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina urges everyone to plan for emergencies by making preparedness a priority this September during National Preparedness Month. We have recently seen emergencies impacting people who don’t usually experience a major disaster or extreme weather, while other communities are going through the devastation of disasters multiple times a year.

    “Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime. We urge people to prepare now and be ready if an emergency occurs in their home or in our local community,” said Barry Porter, Regional CEO, American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina Region. “Helping people during disasters is at the heart of our mission. Help keep your loved ones safe — get Red Cross Ready today.”

    Help keep your family safe by taking three actions to 1) Get a Kit. 2) Make a Plan. 3) Be Informed.

    First, build your emergency kit with a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.

    Next, plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans. Don’t forget to include your pets. Know in advance which pet-friendly hotels are in your area, and where your pets can stay in an emergency situation.

    Finally, plan to stay informed by finding out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.

    Depending on your household’s needs, there might be additional considerations to take into account as part of your emergency planning. For example, older adults or people with mobility, hearing, learning or seeing disabilities may need to create a support network of people that can help during an emergency.The Red Cross recommends creating a plan that considers each person’s capabilities, any help they may need and who can provide it. This is especially important if evacuations are called for or if the power goes out for several days.

    Disasters can be scary for children. It’s important to talk with your kids about preparing for common emergencies, how to stay safe and what to expect before a disaster happens. The Red Cross has free programs and tools to help, visit redcross.org/youthprep for more information.

    National Preparedness Month is also a good time to take steps to help your community get prepared for emergencies of all sizes. By volunteering, donating blood or learning lifesaving skills, you can be ready to help your loved ones and neighbors when needed. Visit redcross.org to learn more.

    Red Cross volunteers play several critical roles in their local communities, including providing aid after disasters and educating people about home fire safety. People can also support local military members, veterans and their families, or volunteer as a blood donor ambassador or a blood transportation specialist to be the critical link between blood donors and recipients.

    Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps to save lives in an emergency. To help prepare your community, make an appointment to donate blood or platelets and help save lives.

    Learn lifesaving skills so you can help people in a crisis until medical professionals arrive. Sign up for a first aid, CPR or other classes available online or in-person.

    Pictured: Learn what to pack in an emergency kit at https://rdcrss.org/3tolVEv (Photo courtesy American Red Cross)

  • Football 01The annual Region 4 meeting of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association was held this past Monday at the Educational Resource Center here in Fayetteville.

    I’ll have a more detailed report on the meeting in next week’s print and online editions of Up & Coming Weekly, but I wanted to share one important piece of news here, especially for football fans.

    NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker and staff shared news of a growing crisis in the area of high school officials available to call games, particularly in the sport of football where the biggest number of officials is needed for a single contest.
    In some states like Tennessee, the official shortage has gotten so bad they’ve had to schedule football games on multiple nights of the week to have enough referees available to call games.
    Many officials are quitting because they are tired of the verbal and in some cases physical abuse heaped on them by coaches and fans.

    Yes, officials do make mistakes, but there are ways to register your objections through the proper channels instead of attacking officials personally while a game is going on.

    The average age of officials in the state of North Carolina is 59-60. It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to realize those folks don’t have a lot of active years left.

    So if you’re a former high school athlete or the parent of one who still has some pep in your step and a desire to help out, consider becoming an official in one of the many sports offered by the NCHSAA. 

    To get started calling games locally, contact the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association. Visit their website at saoanc.org or drop a letter to them at P.O. Box 41441, Fayetteville, NC, 28309.
    The record: 29-9
    I’m still performing at a respectable if not spectacular pace. Last week’s record was 6-2, running the count for the season to 29-9, 76.3 percent. 
    Overhills at Cape Fear - To paraphrase the song from the old TV show Hee Haw, if it weren’t for bad luck, Cape Fear would have no luck at all.
    The Colts are a far better team than their 1-2 record indicates. I think they’ll show signs of that Friday against Overhills.
    Cape Fear 24, Overhills 14.
    Douglas Byrd at Pine Forest - A couple of weeks ago this would have been an easy pick, but Pine Forest has been somewhat inconsistent this year and appears to have major problems on the defensive side of the football.
    That said, this still should be a win for the Trojans, but the final score might be closer than I would have originally thought.
    Pine Forest 21, Douglas Byrd 12.
    Gray’s Creek at E.E. Smith - A frustrating season continues for E.E. Smith against a Gray’s Creek team that had a solid rebound last Friday against Pine Forest.
    Gray’s Creek 31, E.E. Smith 6.
    Scotland at Jack Britt- The dress rehearsal is over for Britt. The Buccaneers have gotten off to a great start in Coach Brian Randolph’s bid to restore order for his program.
    But this is a chance for Britt to make a big statement in a home Sandhills Athletic Conference duel with Scotland and Coach Richard Bailey, the guy who built the Britt football program from scratch. 
    I said last week I was still drinking the Britt Kool-Aid that Randolph is serving. I haven’t given it up. 
    Jack Britt 14, Scotland 13.
    Seventy-First at Pinecrest - I haven’t seen Pinecrest but I’ve spoken to those who have, and they’re unanimous on one thing. They’re surprised the Patriots aren’t getting any attention in the Associated Press 4-A football poll. 
    Friday’s game with Seventy-First could change that. 
    Pinecrest 21, Seventy-First 14.
    Westover at South View- South View seems to have fully recovered from that season-opening overtime loss to undefeated Jack Britt.
    South View 24, Westover 6.
    Terry Sanford at Rolesville - This is what you call a trap game for the Bulldogs. They’re coming off a huge conference win against a big rival in Cape Fear. Rolesville is a team the Bulldogs have no history with and it would be easy for them to overlook this one.
    I think the Terry Sanford coaching staff will do everything it can to prevent that from happening. 
    Terry Sanford 28, Rolesville 14.
    Other games:Cary Christian 22, Fayetteville Christian 20; Trinity Christian 27, Ravenscroft 12.
  • 08 PONDEROSA2Residents of the new Ponderosa community off Bonanza Drive and city leaders were on hand for a neighborhood ribbon-cutting last month.

    Residents, officials of the city’s Economic and Community Development Department and Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation worked to refurbish the community entryway. The program fosters neighborhood pride in moderate income communities by providing funding for erection of neighborhood signs, landscaping and placemaking.

    The objective is to create quality neighborhoods. Residents interested in learning more about the Neighborhood Beautification Program should contact the Economic and Community Development Department at 910-433-1590. Additional information: www.fayettevillenc.gov/city-services/economic-community-development/neighborhood-resources.

  • 20 01 Marissa Morris copyMarissa Morris
    Terry Sanford• Cross country, track • Junior
    Morris has a weighted GPA of 4.375. This is her third year on the varsity cross country and track teams. Her activities include National Honor Society, Tri Chi and Key Club. She attends dance practice and is in her 11th year of dance. When she is not running or dancing she likes to hang out with friends.
    20 02 Morgan WilliamsMorgan Williams
    Terry Sanford• Volleyball, track• Junior
    Williams has a weighted GPA of 4.235. This is her first year on the varsity volleyball team and will be her second year on the varsity track team.  She is the junior class secretary, member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and in the global studies program. She aspires to be a Kentucky Wildcat.
  • 09 cleanupOn Sept. 18, community cleanups will take place in Fayetteville, Hope Mills, Spring Lake and unincorporated areas of Cumberland County. The goal is to combat health, environmental and economic harm caused by litter.

    At the Fayetteville Beautiful cleanup, volunteers will be given free t-shirts and other giveaways. You can choose to clean around your school, street, church or other faith organization, or right in front of your home. Cleanup teams can enter a photo contest for a chance to win milkshakes for every team member, donated by Duck Donuts.

    Fayetteville Beautiful is organized by the city of Fayetteville and the nonprofit Sustainable Sandhills. It is a bi-annual city-wide cleanup, held to raise awareness about litter prevention and help residents take pride in their city and neighborhoods. In Fayetteville, litter has been measured at a 14-year high, and litter crews pick up more than two tons of litter each week.

    Litter is not only harmful to wildlife, but it is costly for businesses and city litter crews to clean up. It can also lower property values by around 7%. Wind and rain can also wash litter into and pollute waterways such as the Cape Fear River, which is a source for drinking water.

    On Sept. 18, Fayetteville Beautiful volunteer team leaders can pick up supplies in front of Segra Stadium between 8 and 10 a.m., and then join their team to clean up the area they are registered for. Volunteer registration and more details are available at fayettevillebeautiful.com. All cleanup supplies will be provided.

    Fayetteville City Council Member Yvonne Kinston is one of the event organizers. “Sign up online now to participate in this wonderful event,” Kinston said. “Clean up with friends and relatives or do this yourself to show that you care about the place we call home. The big win is that we’re helping ourselves, our futures and the earth. I challenge you to show up in a big way.”

    "We want to go beyond cleaning up litter, and also convince people not to litter in the first place," says Jonelle Kimbrough, executive director of Sustainable Sandhills.

    Kimbrough hopes that large community cleanups like Fayetteville Beautiful can help bring awareness to the problem and reach people with the message to not litter.

    "Reducing disposables is also part of the solution," says Kimbrough. "That's why it's so important to use reusable water bottles, coffee cups, and grocery bags."

    Fayetteville Beautiful partners include Duck Donuts, Beasley Media, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, the Rotary Club of Fayetteville, 4imprint, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Dunkin' Donuts, Biscuitville, Starbucks, Lidl and Navy Federal.

    Pictured above: Volunteer registration and details on how to sign up for the Sept. 18 cleanup event in Cumberland County are available at fayettevillebeautiful.com. (Photo of previous cleanup courtesy Sustainable Sandhills)

  • 19 Jimmy TeagueThe Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas announced rosters for this year’s game last week, a move that caught some people by surprise. In past years, the announcement has been held until closer to the end of football season.
    Ronnie Blount, who is general chairman of the game and lives in Cumberland County, said there was logic behind the decision to move the announcement date up a month.

    Nominations were opened on July 15 this season and closed on Labor Day he said.

    The main reason for the advance was because of challenges getting football uniforms to fit an assortment of players. This year’s Shrine rosters have players as short at 5-foot-9 and as tall as 6-foot-7.

    Blount said the Shriners had encountered problems getting equipment delivered in time with the late announcement date. The vendor who provides the uniforms needs 90 days to turn the orders around he said.

    Another plus of moving the date up was that coaches had some free time over the summer to work on nominations, resulting in more nominations than in past years.

    This year’s game is scheduled Saturday, Dec. 21, at 1 p.m. at Wofford College’s Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C.

    The head coach for the North Carolina team has Cumberland County ties. Jimmy Teague, veteran coach at Reidsville High School, is a former assistant coach at Pine Forest High School.
    • Lacrosse continues to grow in Cumberland County and the region. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has announced the new conferences for boys and girls lacrosse and county schools will no longer be in the same league with teams from the Raleigh area.

    The new league for boys includes Jack Britt, Cape Fear, Pinecrest and Terry Sanford.

    For girls, the league members are the same four schools plus Union Pines.

    Lacrosse practice begins Feb. 12, 2020, with the first matches on March 2.
    • The next Region 4 Emergency Fund Golf Tournament will be held Sunday, Oct. 13, at Gates Four Golf and Country Club. Rain date is Oct. 20.

    The tournament raises money for the coaches and officials emergency fund, which provides monetary support to individuals and families in the area during a time of crisis.
    There are slots for as many as 32 teams in the fall tournament.

    Those registering before Oct. 6 pay $75 per golfer. After Oct. 6, the cost rises to $85 per golfer.

    For more information on the tournament, including how to register, visit www.regionfour.org.

    Pictured: L-R Former Pine Forest assistant football coach Jimmy Teague, Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas general chairman Ronnie Blount and Dean Boyd of York Comprehensive High School in York, South Carolina announce this year's Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas teams live on Facebook. Teague is head coach at Reidsville High School and North Carolina head coach this year. Boyd is the South Carolina head coach.



  • 06 MilitaryGravesHC1405 sourceThe attack last week at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, claimed the lives of 13 service members including 11 Marines, a Navy corpsman and an Army soldier assigned to a unit from Fort Bragg.

    Several Marines were wounded in the attack, said Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger. The attack was one of the deadliest of U.S. forces in the 20-year history of the war in Afghanistan.

    “Freedom comes at a cost,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said while visiting Camp Lejeune, N.C. “I think the best that we can do from where we sit here in North Carolina is send them our prayers,” Berger added. “These fallen heroes answered the call to go into harm’s way to do the honorable work of helping others. We are proud of their service and deeply saddened by their loss.”

    There were more than 2,000 Marines in Kabul, Afghanistan. They had been rushed to the airport to aid in the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghans attempting to flee the country. They mostly came from the Central Command’s 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force.

  • 18 01 TaurienneWestover linebacker Taurienne Freeman was the only Cumberland County football player chosen to this year’s Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

    The annual all-star football game, the oldest of its kind in the United States, is scheduled Saturday, Dec. 21, at Wofford College’s Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

    The game annually pits the top senior football players from North Carolina and South Carolina to benefit the Shriners Hospitals for burned and crippled children.

    Freeman, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior, is being recruited by numerous major and mid-major colleges according to Westover head coach Ernest King. He has yet to make a commitment to play for any school.

    King called Freeman both a hard-working player and a good student in the classroom. As far as his playing style, King said Freeman is an old-school, downhill type of player who reminds him of stars he coached at E.E. Smith High School like Aaron Curry and Jordan Stocks.

    18 02 Ernest King“He’s very aggressive, doesn’t take any plays off,’’ King said. King coached in the Shrine Bowl last year as an assistant coach and said it’s an honor to have Freeman representing Westover High School, Cumberland County and the state of North Carolina in this year’s game.

    Freeman said he was shocked at first to hear he had been chosen for the North Carolina team but said he is ready to compete for a chance to start and play in the game as one of seven linebackers chosen. “I know how to compete,’’ he said. “I can read the offensive line. I feel I can get the starting spot if I work hard enough.’’

    Freeman said he may try to add a little weight before the game in December and continue eating healthy and keeping in top shape.
    “It’s a big honor for me,’’ he said. “I know I’ll represent the area well.’’

    King said he was surprised Freeman was the only player from Cumberland County picked for the game.
    “We have a lot of talent in this county,’’ he said. “I think it’s kind of being overlooked.’

    Pictured from top to bottom: Taurienne Freeman, Ernest King 

  • 05 SSG Ryan KnaussStaff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, a soldier assigned to Fort Bragg’s 9th Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) died as a result of wounds sustained from an attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, where he was supporting non-combatant evacuation operations Aug. 26 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    “We share in the tremendous grief over the loss of Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, and we stand in support of his wife and entire family during this tragic time,” said Col. Jeremy Mushtare, commander of 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne). “Ryan was the embodiment of an Army Special Operations Forces soldier, a testament to the professionalism of the non-commissioned officer corps, and a steadfast husband and teammate. His loss is devastating to our formation and Army family.”

    Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tenn., joined the Army in May 2016. Following Initial Entry Training and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., Knauss was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2017 as an infantryman. Upon returning home he attended and completed the Psychological Operations Assessment and Selection Course and the Psychological Operations Qualification Course. Upon graduation, Knauss was assigned to 9th Battalion, 8th POG (Airborne).

    Staff Sgt. Knauss’s military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, Basic Leader Course, Advanced Leader Course, Psychological Operations Assessment and Selection Course, Psychological Operations Qualification Course, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course (Level C).

    His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Action Badge, and the Army Basic Parachutist Badge.

    U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), Fort Bragg's Congressman, released a statement Saturday that read "Renee and I join our country in praying for the family of Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, including his wife in Pinebluff and his extended family in Tennessee and Florida. His loss is felt by our entire Fort Bragg community and our nation will never forget his sacrifice, as well as that of all of our fallen service members. They put their lives on the line to save our fellow citizens and allies in harm's way. They are heroes."

    Pictured: Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss (Photo courtesy 1st Special Forces Command)

  • 17 Que TuckerReprinted with permission from The Stanly News & Press

    The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has put the North Stanly High School cheerleaders on probation for the rest of the football season for their part in holding up a Trump banner during the Aug. 30 game against Piedmont.

    The Aug. 30 incident happened before the game began, when some of the North cheerleaders and a couple other individuals gathered for a photo. A cheerleader and a young male held up a banner that read “Trump 2020 ‘Make America Great Again.'” The photo circulated on Facebook after a North teacher posted it.

    After talking with the central office, and since the incident appeared on social media and caused people to feel uncomfortable, the NCHSAA took a greater look at it.

    “One of the rules we have is that every contest should be conducted in a wholesome, athletic environment,” North Carolina High School Athletic Association Commissioner Que Tucker said. “We take that to mean that it’s in an environment where good sportsmanship is shown, where people feel safe … that respect for all people participating is being shown.”

    Due to the fact the incident caused concern for many and helped create a negative athletic environment, according to Tucker, the NCHSAA decided to reprimand the cheerleaders by putting them on probation.

    Superintendent Dr. Jeff James said Dean Shatley, of Shatley and Campbell law firm, reviewed the NCHSAA’s decision and felt it was appropriate.

    James said the school system did not discipline any of the students because there were no violations of the student code of conduct. He said school officials will likely update the code to include rules against political campaigning on school campuses during sporting events.

    Following multiple media reports about the North Stanly incident and a letter sent to the NCHSAA from Congressman Richard Hudson regarding the matter, Que Tucker, NCHSAA Commissioner, released the following clarification:
    While the NCHSAA does not have a specific policy prohibiting the display of political advertisements at athletic events, the behavior was contrary to the NCHSAA’s “Philosophy of Cheerleading” in the NCHSAA Handbook. This philosophy emphasizes the cheerleader’s important role in representing the school to its fans and others in attendance in a positive manner, while eliciting appropriate support for their team in accordance with the spirit and letter of NCHSAA and local school policies and expectations.

    It is our understanding that Stanly County Schools has a policy against political advertisements on campus or at school events. It is also our understanding that Stanly County Schools does not make political endorsements. As the district officials related in their release yesterday, ‘Because the cheerleaders were in uniform and were acting as representatives of the school, the display of the sign could be perceived as the school or school system endorsing a political campaign."

    NCHSAA probation, in and of itself, is not a punishment. It serves as a notice of behavior or action that is against NCHSAA Handbook Policy or contrary to expectations of sportsmanship and proper behavior. Should infractions occur during a probation period at a member school or within a team at a member school, additional sanctions such as fines or suspensions could be implemented. In the aforementioned instance, opportunities for participation were neither eliminated nor limited.

     The decision to place the cheerleaders on probation was made to highlight the NCHSAA’s philosophy of cheerleading as well as Stanly County Schools’ local district policy on political endorsements by individuals representing the school. The NCHSAA has no comment on the letter released by Representative Hudson.”

    Editor's Note: Late Friday afternoon, the Stanly County Schools announced that because of new safety concerns in the wake of the school’s cheerleaders being placed on probation, Friday’s Sept. 20 home football game with China Grove Carson was postponed to Saturday morning, Sept. 21.

    Pictured: Que Tucker

  • earl vaughan srForgive me for a personal indulgence today, but it’s a milestone moment in the life of someone extremely special to me.
    I’d like to take a few moments to wish a happy 90th birthday to my father, the Rev. Earl Vaughan Sr. There is not enough space in all the databanks everywhere to thank him for everything he’s done for me through the years.
    The United States Army brought him to Fort Bragg from his native Missouri. During his Army days he met and eventually married my mother, the late Peggy Blount Vaughan, a hometown Fayetteville girl. I joined the party in 1954 and nine years later dad decided to enter the ministry. He earned his ministerial credentials at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. We returned to North Carolina where he served pastorates in Bryson City, Cleveland, Leland and Warsaw before retiring and moving back to Fayetteville with mom.
    He’s still preaching every so often and loves finding bargains, interacting with people and doing the Lord’s work.
    Thank you dad for being there for me everyday I’ve been on this earth. Have a super birthday.
    The record: 23-7
    I survived Friday the 13th with a 5-2 record, which is far better than it could have been given the difficulty of the predictions. The season total is 23-7, 76.7 percent. 
    Cape Fear at Terry Sanford- The Battle of the Blues is a big Patriot Athletic Conference matchup for both teams. I’m worried about Cape Fear being a little rusty. The Colts are coming off an open date and have only played two games this year since their opener with Clinton was canceled by the weather.
    But Terry Sanford lost to Jack Britt and had a tough time with E.E. Smith after an open date the previous Friday.
    This will be the first “home” game for the Bulldogs as they move to their temporary headquarters at Reid Ross Classical High School’s John Daskal Stadium. I’ll be interested to see just how homey things are for the team and its fans.
    Cape Fear 21, Terry Sanford 20.
    South View at Douglas Byrd- The Eagles got a big win against Westover last week but they will face a stiff test from the versatile South View offense Friday night. 
    South View 28, Douglas Byrd 14.
    E.E. Smith at Overhills - The Golden Bulls came close against Terry Sanford last week but weren’t able to seal the win.
    I’m worried about an emotional letdown against Overhills this week after getting up for a big rival like the Bulldogs.
    Overhills 22, E.E. Smith 17.
    Pine Forest at Gray’s Creek - The big concern here is which Pine Forest team is going to show up. The Trojans have been a little inconsistent early in the season and defense has been a problem. Gray’s Creek is much improved, but I think the Bears will have a tough time containing Pine Forest’s offense.
    Pine Forest 24, Gray’s Creek 18.
    Goldsboro at Westover - Here’s hoping home field will give Westover enough of a boost to get its first win of the season.
    Westover 22, Goldsboro 20.
    Jack Britt at New Hanover - Call me crazy, but after three weeks Brian Randolph had me drinking that purple Jack Britt Kool-Aid. I think the Buccaneers are for real and they’ve got a chance to make a statement Friday against a solid New Hanover team.
    Jack Britt 28, New Hanover 27.
    Open date: Seventy-First.
    Other games: Fayetteville Christian 14, Rocky Mount Academy 12; Trinity Christian 21, Metrolina Christian 14.
  • 21 01 Courtney CyganCourtney Cygan

    Gray's Creek • Junior
    Cygan has a weighted grade point average of 4.3125. She competes in tennis, softball and swimming. She is active in Future Business Leaders of America, yearbook and National Honor Society.
    Garrett Harbison

    Gray's Creek • Senior
    21 02 Garret Harbison
    Harbison has a weighted grade point average of 4.33. He was a regional qualifier in cross country last year and a state qualifier in track. He is the senior class vice president and is active in Future Farmers of America, yearbook, Academy of Scholars and National Honor Society.
  • 20 toolsA Friday night high school football stadium packed with fans watching two teams battle has the potential for disaster if bad weather should suddenly develop.

    Fortunately for fans at North Carolina High School Athletic Association events, procedures are in place to make sure there is a coordinated plan for getting athletes and spectators to safety.
    The NCHSAA has something called the Pregame Emergency Action Plan Report. It’s put together by the athletic trainer for the home team and provides an assortment of critical information to help guide game personnel through the needed steps to ensure everyone’s safety.
    Sheri Squire, who has been an athletic trainer at Terry Sanford for the past seven years, said the report is designed to provide specific information about the location where the game is being played that can be shared with both the visiting team and the officials who are calling the game.
    “It’s basically so we know exactly what’s going on at that site during that event so we have an emergency plan in place,’’ Squire said.
    Emergency plans are typically posted at schools, but this one is more specific since it deals with the exact venue of the athletic event and is shared in person with those who need the information.
    The report includes contact information for the game-day administrator, the athletic trainers or first responders of both teams along with the name of the head of the officiating crew and the names of any medical personnel who might be attending the game.
    For outdoor events, there is additional information on where the safe shelter is located and what the route to get there is.


    Aname is also provided for the person who is monitoring weather conditions, including lightning and the wet bulb temperature, which determines whether it’s too hot for play to continue.

    Squire uses a handheld device called a Kestrel Heat Stress Tracker to find the wet bulb temperature before the game starts and record it on the form. If it’s 88.9 degrees at kickoff special precautions have to be taken. If it’s 92 or above, the game may have to be stopped or suspended until it gets cooler.

    A lightning detector is usually monitored by the game administrator or someone else to make sure the stadium is cleared before lightning gets too close to the field to strike someone.
    In addition to the form, Squire and other athletic trainers have a badge provided by the NCHSAA that includes a checklist for things to watch out for at all events and especially outdoor events.
    “I like the fact it’s all in one place,’’ Squire said. “You ask the important questions. Now it’s going to make everybody be on the same page. It helps you keep your I’s dotted and T’s crossed.’’

    Pictured: A copy of the pregame emergency report rests beneath the Kestrel heat stress device and the NCHSAA pre-game checklist badge. 

  • 19 BrittThroughout the preseason, Jack Britt head football coach Brian Randolph has preached a two-word motto to his team.

    Restore order.
    To Randolph, the message to players and coaches alike is for everyone associated with the Buccaneers to be on the same track and in the same frame of mind of being from Jack Britt, a place people respect and a team that other schools don’t want to face.
    “They know when they play us, it’s going to be a tough match,’’ Randolph said. “It’s not going to be an easy game. It’s something you have to prepare for and work for in order to get a victory.’’
    As the Buccaneers headed into their open date last week, they were sporting a 3-0 record, all three wins coming against the top three teams in last year’s Patriot Athletic Conference standings: champion Pine Forest and runners up South View and Terry Sanford.
    Randolph said in all honesty, he didn’t see his team going 3-0, but he knew it was possible and he’s happy to be here.
    One of the biggest reasons for the Buccaneers’ early success is the passing combination of quarterback Kevin Sentell and wide receiver Anthony Fiffie.
    Through three games, Sentell leads the Cumberland County Schools with 564 passing yards and eight touchdowns. He’s completed 39 of 66 passes with only two interceptions.
    Fiffie is the leading receiver with 15 receptions for 303 yards and five scores.
    During a film session last week, Randolph told him Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Rothlisberger will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day because of his ability to extend plays.
    Randolph said Sentell has the same skill. “It’s really hard to guard someone for six or seven seconds,’’ Randolph said. “That’s what Kevin Does really well. He gets his feet separated, keeps his eyes down the field, just looking for that big play.’’
    Randolph added that Sentell is smart and makes plays instead of mistakes.
    For his part, Randolph said Fiffie is a great route-runner with excellent body control who seems to be able to slow things down when the ball is near him so he can focus on making the catch.
    “He does a great job of embracing contact,’’ Randolph said. “He’s not the fastest guy in the world, but if you get close to him, he’s able to position his body in a way that if the ball is near him he’s going to catch it or make a good play on it.’’
    Sentell said he and Fiffie have excellent chemistry and have been working together for five years.
    “He runs great routes and gets open most of the time,’’ Sentell said. “It makes my job easy.’’
    Fiffie said he’s playing with more confidence this year and has greater confidence in his teammates.
    He credits much of his success with Sentell to the numerous offseason workouts they’ve had.
    “We practice working on routes, catching the ball and getting our timing down,’’ Fiffie said. “I believe we caught people off guard, really turned their heads.’’
    While Britt’s recent return to winning may be something new to the current players in the program, Randolph has vivid memories of getting off to fast starts during his days playing for Bob Paroli and Mike Paroli at Douglas Byrd High School.
    That’s helped him take a measured look at what Britt’s 3-0 record means as he reflects on lessons learned from the Parolis.
    “It’s one game at a time, one play at a time,’’ he said. “You think you’ve arrived somewhere and that’s when you set yourself up.’’
    Bob Paroli had a favorite saying about that. He called it dropping your candy in the sand.
    “We have our candy in our hand right now,’’ Randolph said, “but we could easily drop it in the sand and mess up everything we worked for so far.
    “This off week we’re going to work on fundamentals and getting back to basics. Just focus on one play at a time.’’
    Pictured from L-R: Anthony Fiffie, Kevin Sentell
  • 18 RefInappropriate adult behavior at high school athletic events throughout the country has reached epidemic proportions.

    When more than 2,000 high school athletic directors were asked in a recent national survey what they like least about their job, 62.3% said it was “dealing with aggressive parents and adult fans.”
    And the men and women who wear the black and white stripes agree. In fact, almost 80% of officials quit after the first two years on the job and unruly parents are cited as the reason why. As a result, there is a growing shortage of high school officials nationwide, and in some sports like wrestling, swimming, and track and field, the shortage is severe. No officials means no more games.
    If you are a parent attending a high school athletic event this fall, you can help by following these six guidelines.
    Act your age. You are, after all, an adult. Act in a way that makes your family and school proud.
    Don’t live your life vicariously through your children. High school sports are for them, not you. Your family’s reputation is not determined by how well your children perform on the field of play.
    Let your children talk to the coach instead of you doing it for them. High school athletes learn how to become more confident, independent and capable—but only when their parents don’t jump in and solve their problems for them.
    Stay in your own lane. No coaching or officiating from the sidelines. Your role is to be a responsible, supportive parent — not a coach or official.
    Remember, participating in a high school sport is not about getting a college scholarship. According to the NCAA, only about two percent of all high school athletes are awarded a sports scholarship, and the total value of the scholarship is only about $18,000.
    Make sure your children know you love watching them play. Do not critique your child’s performance on the car ride home. Participating in high school sports is about character development, learning and having fun — not winning and losing.
    Purchasing a ticket to a high school athletic event does not give you the right to be rude, disrespectful or verbally abusive. Cheer loud and be proud, but be responsible and respectful. The future of high school sports in our nation is dependent on you.
  • The first Associated Press state high school football rankings came out earlier this week. The news was not good for Cumberland County. With potential to have teams ranked in either the 4-A or 3-A polls, not one team from the county got a mention, not even in the teams receiving votes category. Our best candidates for ranking were the 3-0 teams, Gray’s Creek in 3-A and Jack Britt and Seventy-First in 4-A. Not a vote for any of them.
    There were some Cape Fear region teams mentioned. In 4-A, Richmond Senior, coached by former Terry Sanford and Cape Fear coach Bryan Till, is No. 3 and got two first-place votes.
    Former Jack Britt coach Richard Bailey has his Scotland team ranked sixth. Lee County, which has already handed losses to E.E. Smith and Douglas Byrd, is No. 6 in the 3-A poll.
    Clinton, which had its game with Cape Fear canceled the first week of the season, is No. 8 in 2-A. 
    Rankings of course mean absolutely nothing when it comes to determining state playoff berths or state champions, but they are a valuable barometer of how the rest of the state feels about the status of football in your area.
    We’ll keep watching as the weeks pass and see if any of our teams get some love.
    The record: 18-5
    I had my best week of the young season, going 7-1 to improve the total for the year to 18-5, 78.2 percent.
    Now let’s brace for a scary batch of projections for this Friday the 13th.
    Douglas Byrd at Westover - This is one of those dreaded coin flip games. I’ll give Westover a slight edge because they’re playing at home.
    Westover 18, Douglas Byrd 16.
    Terry Sanford at E.E. Smith - Coming off a loss to Jack Britt and an open date, look for Terry Sanford to make a point in this annual battle of old city rivals.
    Terry Sanford 28, E.E. Smith 12.
    Gray’s Creek at South View - Another coin flip game. I’m leaning toward South View for a couple of reasons. The Tigers have played a tougher schedule than the Bears and I think their offense is more balanced. Home field also counts for something in this annual Battle for the Bridge.
    South View 20, Gray’s Creek 18.
    Overhills at Pine Forest - I know Overhills is unbeaten, but I have a hard time seeing Pine Forest lose three in a row. This is the Trojans’ first Patriot Athletic Conference game, so I expect D.J. Jones back in the lineup after being held out as a precaution for the last two weeks. 
    Pine Forest 20, Overhills 13.
    Southern Durham at Seventy-First - This is Seventy-First’s final non conference game before an open date and the start of Sandhills Athletic Conference play at Pinecrest. It’s important for the Falcons not to get complacent after a 3-0 start to the season.
    Seventy-First 21, Southern Durham 14.
    Open dates- Cape Fear, Jack Britt.
    Other games: Trinity Christian 30, Harrells Christian 8; Grace Christian 20, Fayetteville Christian 12.
  • 19 01 Susan BradySusan Brady is in her first year as girls tennis coach at Terry Sanford High School. Even though she hasn’t been there long, she appreciates the school’s rich tradition in the sport, with multiple singles, doubles and state team champions.

    “There’s always pressure,’’ said Brady, a veteran of United States Tennis Association league play through Highland Country Club where she’s competed for state titles and beyond over the last 12 years.

    But her biggest concern is making sure she can handle the basics of coaching with this team when it’s needed, teaching players who need structure or help with groundstrokes or other shots.

    Fortunately for Brady this team is pretty sound fundamentally, as it earned the No. 7 ranking statewide in the North Carolina High School Tennis Coaches Association first 3-A poll of the season.

    Playing No. 1 singles is senior Katy Beasley, who is also a captain. Brady calls her steady and a motivator for her teammates. “One of the things I love about her is she doesn’t give up,’’ Brady said. “She digs deep no matter what. She has this fight in her that’s essential on the court.’’

    Beasley feels her strong points are a slice that catches a lot of her opponents off guard and her ability to move her opponents around the court. As for her being labeled a fighter on the court, Beasley thinks that comes from her refusal to accept a match is ever over. “You can turn it around at any point,’’ she said. “I think that’s a good part of how I play. I play for the point rather than the whole match.’’

    19 02 Katy BeasleyAt No. 2 singles is MaryAnna Stiles, a sophomore. While Brady called Stiles one of the sweetest young women she’s ever met, she said she brings an intimidating game face to the court and never loses her cool. “She’s incredibly consistent and fun to watch,’’ Brady said.

    No. 3 is Lauren McDonough. McDonough’s game is marked by great groundstrokes and good placement. “She is a good tennis thinker,’’ Brady said. “I can see her setting up shots. Her goal is she wants to win her match and be the first one off the court.’’

    The No. 4 player is Caroline Beasley. Brady calls her the life of the tennis party with her bubbly personality. “She keeps us laughing and on our toes,’’ Brady said. But on the court, Beasley takes no prisoners, Brady said. “Her groundstrokes are some of the hardest I’ve ever seen,’’ she said. 

    At No. 5 singles is Emily Stone. Brady said you can tell from watching Stone she played tennis from a young age. “Her strokes are great and she’s very solid,’’ Brady said. “She brings a lot to the court.’’

    The Bulldogs are 3-0 this season through Tuesday, Sept. 3. 

    Pictured from top to bottom: Susan Brady, Katy Beasley

  • 18 01McKayla DaffinIt only took Jack Britt’s Daffin sisters, McKenzie and McKayla, two seasons of varsity golf to place among the top 25 players in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s state 4-A golf championship.

    As they enter their third season with the Buccaneers, the duo is aiming even higher.

    “I have no doubt come the end of the season both of them are going to be in contention,’’ said Ray Musselwhite, girls golf coach at Jack Britt. “They are working hard to improve their games everyday.’’

    That work includes the tough competition the sisters face in the Sandhills Athletic Conference. “Week in, week out, we face such a tough opponent in Pinecrest,’’ he said.

    The Moore County school just a stone’s throw from national golf capital Pinehurst has long been known for producing top high school players.

    “I’m not afraid to put these two young ladies against their best two any day of the week,’’ Musselwhite said.

    18 02McKenzie DaffinAt this point in their development, Musselwhite said neither sister has a lot of weaknesses. “They would both probably tell you their iron play is something they continually want to improve,’’ he said. “Off the tee and around the greens they are solid.’’

    A key for both players, he said, is managing emotions and the mental side of the game. “I think we are going to be familiar with the courses we have to play in the regionals and states and so on,’’ he said. “It’s a matter of laying out a game plan and executing.’’

    McKayla said the two help each other in practice and on the course. “Sometimes if I have trouble hitting a shot she’ll help me out and kind of give me some advice,’’ McKayla said. “If she’s struggling with a different part of her swing or a certain club, I’ll tell her what helps with my swing, especially our wedge play.’’

    Both sisters think they have a shot at the state title this year, but McKayla said she doesn’t want to put pressure on herself. “That just makes you play worse,’’ she said. “Mostly I’m trying to shoot lower scores and keep practicing.’’

    McKenzie’s big concern is consistency. “I’ve had plenty of tournaments where I’ve been under a couple on one nine and over a couple on another nine,’’ she said. “I’m trying to stay consistent and focus on one shot at a time.’’

    McKayla agrees with McKenzie on the importance of focus. “I think as long as our mental game is strong, we should be okay,’’ she said. “The skill is definitely there. As long as you can keep your cool, keep your head in the game and don’t stress ourselves, I think we’ll be okay.’’

    Pictured: McKayla Daffin, McKenzie Daffin

  • 09-12-12-fantasticks.gifThe world’s longest running musical is coming to Fayetteville. The Fantasticks is on stage at the Gilbert Theater from Sept. 20 through Oct. 7. Show times are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

    This 1960s musical tells the moving story of two young lovers whose fathers plot to trick them into falling in love. They discover the deception and go their own ways, only to find love with each other once the bumps and bruises of life mature their notions of love.

    This well known musical, with music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics and book by Tom Jones, has been performed more than 17,000 times in the last 42 years. The score includes familiar songs such as “Try to Remember,” “Soon It’s Gonna Rain,” and “Much More.” It is played with a small cast, a two to three-person orchestra and minimalist set design.

    This will be the first show for Robyne Parrish, new artistic director for the Gilbert Theater. Says Parrish, “I saw the show when I was 16-years-old in New York City with my father. It is the longest running musical in the world for a reason. This is the kind of magic the Gilbert has, and what better way of carrying on the tradition than having the Fantasticks be my first show as Artistic Director here at the Gilbert.”

    The Gilbert Theater was founded in 1994 in the basement of Lynn Pryer’s home, and over the years operated in several locations around Fayetteville. The theater’s current home is 116 Green Street. On the corner of Green and Bow streets located near the Market House, the theater’s entrance is on the Bow Street side of the building.

    The Gilbert Theater is a semi-professional, community-oriented theatre company and conservatory serving Fayetteville, and the surrounding area. The theater produces up to six plays and musicals per year as well as a full slate of theater-oriented classes for students of all ages in its Gilbert Conservatory and Gilbert Glee initiatives. The theater prides itself on committing itself to the continuous improvement of its community of local artists through training, collaboration with professionals in the field and meaningful production experience.

    An exciting first for the Gilbert Theater, the cast will be joined by union actor, Patrick Riviere from Los Angeles. He will spend five weeks in Fayetteville just to play the lead part of El Gallo.

    “The theater is very proud to be evolving in such a way that hiring a professional Equity guest artist seemed like the next step in raising the stature of the theatre — a theater that prides itself on quality presentations,” said Parrish.

    Tickets cost $15 for all shows, with discounts available for large groups, military members and students. Call the box office for more information. Tickets can be purchased online at www.gilberttheater.com. For reservations, call (910) 678-7186 or e-mail the box office at boxoffice@gilberttheater.com. Doors and box office open one hour before start of show, although seating is not guaranteed without reservations.

  • 17 01 Trojan Challenge MedalThe second annual Trojan Challenge to raise money for college scholarships on behalf of the Gary Weller Foundation is scheduled for Oct. 12 at the Sturtz Family Farm in Linden.

    Last year’s event was successful enough to allow the foundation to award two $1,500 scholarships to students from Pine Forest High School.

    The scholarships go to Pine Forest students who have overcome some kind of challenge in their lives and have gone on to excel not only in their chosen sport but in the community at large. Nominations are made by coaches at Pine Forest High School and a special committee picks the winners.

    Cumberland County Commissioner Jimmy Keefe, a Pine Forest alumnus, said the challenge draws its inspiration from former Pine Forest football coach Gary Weller, whom the foundation is named for.

    Weller was the victim of a horrific accident years ago, when the driver of a stolen vehicle ran him over multiple times while Weller was out running. Weller battled back through numerous surgeries and remains active both in local 17 02 Trojan Challenge Posterbusiness and athletic circles.

    Keefe said the challenge is a tribute to Weller’s resilience. “When Gary had his incident, he had to overcome a lot of obstacles,’’ he said. “We want to challenge others to overcome obstacles that they may have and be successful.’’

    Keefe said this year’s challenge will feature a tier-one obstacle course with 20 to 22 different obstacles. 

    There will also be a Trojan in Training challenge, a scaled-down course for younger participants and older ones who don’t feel up to the full-scale obstacle course.

    The event will begin at
    9 a.m. and will end around noon.

    Keefe said the field would be limited to 200 participants. The cost to compete in the Trojan Challenge is $65 per entrant. The fee for the Trojan in Training course is $40. General admission to watch the event is $5.

    The deadline for entries will be a week before the event is held.

    Children are welcome to take in the challenge, but those age six or younger need to be accompanied by an adult supervisor.

     In addition to the obstacle course, the event will feature food, drinks and music with the assistance of the Pine Forest High School Booster Club.

    For further information on the challenge or to sign up for this year’s event, visit

  • 16 01 CHIP BISHOPA pair of familiar faces to the Fayetteville Academy family will become the two newest members of the school’s athletic hall of fame.

    Athletic director and coach Chip Bishop and longtime booster club president Emily Schaefer will be honored at an induction ceremony the night of the school’s annual J.L. Dawkins Alumni basketball games Tuesday, Nov. 26.

    Bishop and Schaefer were selected for induction by a special committee that includes representatives of the school from various areas.

    Head of school Ray Quesnel said as the Academy celebrates its 50th year, the school couldn’t have two better honorees joining the hall of fame.

    Bishop had been nominated some years ago but declined to be considered for induction until this year.

    “With him, it was obviously not a question of if but when,’’ Quesnel said. “He’s been at the Academy for over 30 years.’’ During that time the Eagles have won numerous state and conference titles in a variety of sports. Quesnel said Bishop is respected within the school as well as at the state and local levels.

    16 02Emily Schaefer“He means so much to his former players who come back and see him all the time,’’ Quesnel said. In addition to his work at Fayetteville Academy, Bishop has been a football official for the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association and NCAA Division III. For years, he volunteered at the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.

    While at the Academy, he won two North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association boys basketball championships.

    Bishop said he delayed being considered for induction because he wanted to make sure two architects of much of the school’s success in soccer, Andrew McCarthy and Jimmy Maher, were named to the hall before him.

    “This is a special place as far as I’m concerned,’’ Bishop said. “It’s a great honor for me to go in. It’s an honor to be associated with these types of people.’’

     Schaefer was chosen to the hall of fame in the recently-added category of booster. Quesnel said she has served as booster club president for seven of the last eight years. “She’s the glue that holds it all together,’’ Quesnel said. “She organizes all the chairs of the booster organization, makes schedules and leads people.

    “She does so much in a humble way and she doesn’t do it for credit. She just does it because she knows it needs to be done.’’

    Schaefer called her induction an honor and said it was touching for people to realize all the things behind the scenes that she took care of. She called the hall of fame an elite group she felt honored to be part of.

  • Hurricanes would be bad news during any season of the year, but they are an annual plague on high school football coaches and fans during the fall in North Carolina.
    Even before Hurricane Dorian’s arrival in the state, Cumberland County Schools officials took the wise precaution of closing school Thursday and Friday and postponing all athletic events both days, including Friday night high school football. The big concern for everyone is avoiding serious damage to life and property as the result of high winds, heavy rain and potential flooding.
    For football coaches, once the weather has finally cleared, there are a host of concerns. First, they need to check on all of their athletes and their families to make sure everyone got through the storm all right.
    Then comes the challenge of rescheduling games. Was your field or the field of your opponent rendered unplayable? What’s your schedule for next week? Often at this stage of the season teams are moving into conference play. No coach wants to move a Friday game to Monday in a week when they’ve already got a conference game set on the next Friday.
    The perfect situation, which rarely happens, is when both teams have an open date at the same time later in the season and can move the game there. Cramming games too close together cuts down on recovery time and increases the risk of players being injured. I wish we could will hurricanes to a time of the year when they would be less a problem for everybody, but I guess that time truly doesn’t exist.
    Here’s praying everyone in our area comes through our latest stormy encounter with the least possible harm and things return to order as quickly as they can.
    The record: 11-4
    Another decent week with a 5-2 record, pushing the season count to 11-4, 73.3 percent.
    Cape Fear at Lumberton - Talk about mixed messages. Cape Fear opens its season a week late and loses a nail-biter to a strong Seventy-First team. Meanwhile, Lumberton gets routed by Terry Sanford in a game that included a running clock, then turns around and stuns defending Patriot Athletic Conference champion Pine Forest on its home field.
    I’m thinking the Lumberton win was an aberration since Pine Forest was without University of North Carolina commit D.J. Jones.
    I’m going to lean toward Cape Fear in this one.
    Cape Fear 28, Lumberton 14.
    Lee County at Douglas Byrd - A good night is not likely for Byrd against Lee County, one of the strongest teams in the Cape Fear region this year.
    Lee County 35, Douglas Byrd 12.
    Seventy-First at E.E. Smith - Duran McLaurin brings his Falcons to his former place of employment and gets Seventy-First’s third win of the young season.
    Seventy-First 32, E.E. Smith 6.
    West Johnston at Gray’s Creek - The Bears look to get their third win ahead of next week’s Battle of the Bridge with South View.
    Gray’s Creek 34, West Johnston 6.
    Pine Forest at Jack Britt - Every season there’s one team I seem to have trouble picking correctly. So far this year, it’s Jack Britt. I’m 0-2 calling the outcome of Buccaneer games. Last week’s win over Terry Sanford has made me a believer, so I’m going with Britt in a big match with Pine Forest this week.
    Jack Britt 21, Pine Forest 20.
    South View at Purnell Swett - South View didn’t want to play Monday and face two games in one week as the Tigers open Patriot Athletic Conference play next Friday against rival Gray’s Creek. Unfortunately with the threat from Hurricane Dorian options were few.
    The day the game is played won’t influence my prediction. I’m going with South View.
    South View 28, Purnell Swett 14.
    Hoke County at Westover - This is one of those dreaded coin flip games that could go either way. I’m leaning toward Hoke because they seem to be playing a little better, plus Westover is coming off an open date and it’s sometimes tough for teams to regain playing rhythm after a break.
    Hoke County 14, Westover 13.
    Open dates: Terry Sanford.
    Other games: Trinity Christian 31, Sandhills Titans 14; John Paul II Catholic 31, Fayetteville Christian 6.
  • 20 01 Jonathan WoodJonathan Wood got a nice present as he took over the Pine Forest tennis team as head coach this year. 

    His returning squad includes Kelcie Farmer, who was the Patriot Athletic Conference tennis player of the year last season and winner of the 4-A half of the league’s singles title.

    Wood is in his first year coaching tennis, but it hasn’t taken him long to be impressed with Farmer’s tenacity and work ethic.

    “I know she gets a lot of private lessons,’’ he said. “She gets to travel around and see a lot of pro events. She learns from what she watches.’’

    Wood called Farmer a dynamic and powerful player in her ground game and with her strokes. “She’s an all-around great player and great teacher to the other girls,’’ he said.

    As returning conference player of the year, expectations are obviously high for Farmer, but Wood said she’s not burdened by the pressure of dealing with that.

    20 02 Kelcie Farmer“She knows her abilities and skills,’’ he said. “I think it’s just a pressure she’s naturally born to conquer no matter what. I don’t think it’s a pressure to her. She hasn’t dropped a game yet.’’

    Wood said the key this season is for Farmer to focus on what she needs to bring to the court to help her teammates. “She’s our No. 1 for the fourth year in a row,’’ Wood said. “She can’t get too ahead of herself, just keep a humble mind and continue to live off the skills she’s been able to produce over the last three years.’’

    Farmer feels she’s grown into a leadership role on the Pine Forest team and can help her teammates out.

    She feels her serve has gotten stronger over the last few years but is still a work in progress.

    “I’m making sure I’m getting more first serves in play,’’ she said. “That’s what starts your points. Without a good serve, it’s kind of hard to get into groundstrokes and volleys. Everything starts with the serve.’’

    Farmer thinks the Trojan team is in a rebuilding year as many players from last season either graduated or are attending school elsewhere.

    “We look at each game as if it’s going to be a state championship,’’ she said. “We’re going to try our hardest and have fun at the end of the day.’’

    Pictured from top to bottom: Jonathan Wood, Kelcie Farmer

  • 19 01 Bruce McClellandForgive the Terry Sanford football team if it foregoes the nickname Bulldogs this season and opts for Road Warriors instead. They’re doing it with good reason.

    Because the school’s aging football stadium was demolished earlier this year in preparation for construction of a new one for the 2020 season, Coach Bruce McClelland and his team won’t play a single game on their campus.

    They will be moving to Reid Ross Classical High School’s John Daskal Stadium on Ramsey Street, which hasn’t hosted high school regular season games since Ross was closed as a traditional senior high school in the mid-1980s.

    McClelland said the group he feels is making the biggest sacrifice are the seniors on this team and their parents. “They’ve spent so much time giving to the program, and it’s their senior year and it’s kind of like you’ve been displaced,’’ he said.

    That’s where the Road Warrior mindset kicks in. “We’ve taken that Road Warrior mentality, tried to pump them up with that,’’ McClelland said.

    This year, Terry Sanford was scheduled to play five home games and six on the road. They elected to flip the 19 02 John Daskal Stadiumhome-and-home arrangement with Jack Britt to allow as much time as possible to get the Reid Ross field up to date.

    The Bulldogs won’t play their first varsity game at Ross until Sept. 20 when they host Cape Fear. They got in a trial run last week as they were scheduled to play a junior varsity game with Britt at Ross.

    McClelland said the current plan is for the Terry Sanford staff to take care of lining and painting the Ross field for varsity games.

    He’s also enlisted the help of baseball coach Sam Guy to make sure the surface of the field at Ross is in the best shape possible.

    “Sam has been real instrumental in taking good care of the field over here,’’ he said. “His baseball field looks so good.’’

    McClelland said Terry Sanford plans to treat each visit to Ross much like it would a road trip to neighboring E.E. Smith High School.

    The players will eat a pre-game meal at Terry Sanford, dress and go through their walk-through on Friday before taking the short bus ride to Reid Ross.

    The home stands will be the set of bleachers closest to Ramsey Street.

    One good thing about Reid Ross is it has press boxes on both sides of the field, so the Bulldogs should have no trouble finding space for print and electronic media to have seats along with the crews from both schools that videotape the game. 

    There should actually be more on campus parking than at Terry Sanford. McClelland said the school hopes to make some money off that by selling season-long parking passes for $30, which will come down to $10 per each of the three home games that will be played at Reid Ross.

    Terry Sanford’s final home game with Pine Forest will be at Fayetteville State’s Jeralds Stadium when the Bulldogs will celebrate Senior Night.

    In addition to the parking in front of the school, there is a rear parking lot behind the visitors stands that can be accessed by a residential street at the end of the stadium furthest from the school itself.

    Tickets will be sold on both sides of the stadium.

    McClelland hopes Terry Sanford will be able to visit the stadium Thursdays and have a brief practice on the game field to get used to it.

    The tentative plan is for the team to enter the field through a small group of trees outside the rear entrance to the gymnasium at the main school building.

    The schools plans a major outreach to alumni and boosters in the next couple of weeks to
    make sure everyone knows where to go and where to park. 

    “Safety of the kids is the most important thing to me,’’ McClelland said. “All the other stuff is luxury. My responsibility is to the parents and the kids and their safety.

    “That playing surface is the No. 1 thing.’’

    Picture 1: Bruce McClelland

    Picture 2: A view of what will be the home bleachers when Terry Sanford plays its varsity and junior varsity football games at John Daskal Stadium at Reid Ross Classical High School this season

  • 18 01 Que TuckerAlthough we’re a few weeks into the 2019-20 high school year, it’s not too late to hear some words of wisdom shared by Que Tucker, commissioner of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. Tucker and several members of her staff visited Fayetteville in August to attend the annual Cumberland County Schools Football Jamboree banquet held at Gray’s Creek High School.

    I spoke with her briefly and asked if there were any hot-button issues facing the NCHSAA as the school year opened. She said there weren’t, but added there are some topics that never go out of style with the NCHSAA.

    “It’s always just about sportsmanship and behavior,’’ she said. “We want our young people to recognize the importance of good sportsmanship, winning with class, being victorious and excited about winning but respecting the fact the other team did lose and practiced and prepared just as hard.’’

    Health and safety are always big issues for the NCHSAA, especially in the game of football where the concern of how concussions are handled remains paramount.

    Tucker said the NCHSAA continues to stress to schools the need for preseason meetings that deal with topics like where the automated external defibri18 02 Cynthia Miller Jenkinsllator is kept, who the game day administrator is or who’s in charge if a thunderstorm hits during a game.

    In the end, it’s all about the student-athletes. “It’s all about educating our young people to be good citizens,’’ Tucker said. “If we can do those things, I think we will have accomplished much.’’

     • Speaking of Que Tucker, she and members of the NCHSAA staff will be back in Fayetteville on Monday, Sept. 23, at 8:30 a.m., for the annual meeting of school officials from the NCHSAA’s Region 4, which includes schools from Fayetteville, Cumberland County and surrounding counties. The meeting will be held at the Educational Resource Center.

    Last year’s regional meeting was canceled because of Hurricane Florence.

    The regional meeting gives the NCHSAA staff a chance to have face time with local school officials and to share news about important topics statewide.

    Cumberland County will have a larger than normal contingent on the NCHSAA Board of Directors for the next few years.

    Brian Edkins, who joined the board as principal at Scotland High School, is now at Cape Fear High School and continues to represent Region 4 until 2022.

    Gray’s Creek High School athletic director Troy Lindsey is new to the board from Region 4 and will serve until 2023. 

    Also new to the board is Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools. He joins the board as an affiliate member representing the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association for an unspecified term.

     • Cynthia Miller-Jenkins has been named the varsity girls basketball coach at Riverside Christian Academy in Stedman. The announcement was made by Riverside superintendent Dr. Lin Wheeler.

    Riverside is a member of the Carolina Athletic Association of Schools of Choice and played for state titles in 2017 and 2018.

    Jenkins was head coach at Northwood Temple Academy from 2005-15, winning three conference titles and one North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association state title.

    Her career record there was 106-73. Last year she was an assistant coach at Methodist University.

    Pictured from top to bottom: Que Tucker, Cynthia Miller-Jenkins

  • 17 01 Toni BlackwellCape Fear golf coach Todd Edge said it seems like yesterday when senior golfer Toni Blackwell began her career on the Colt team.

    “Time flies when you’re having fun,’’ Edge said, and Blackwell’s performance has definitely made coaching her and the Cape Fear team plenty of that for Edge.

    Blackwell has b een a three-time conference player of the year in golf and was the medalist in last year’s 3-A regional tournament.

    Blackwell hasn’t rested on her laurels over the last few years, Edge said, using practice to improve her overall game.

    “She’s played a lot of tournaments and is tournament golf ready,’’ he said. “She hits the ball further than she did three years ago. She’s improved her chipping and putting and her scores have improved because of that.’’

    Blackwell’s improvement hasn’t gone unnot17 02 Todd Edgeiced by people outside Cape Fear. She’s committed to play college golf at UNC-Pembroke.

    Edge said Coach David Synan will be getting a player who will fit in well with the players he’s already recruited.

    But Blackwell has one more high school season to go, and she and teammate Gaby Bynum, who placed third in the final Patriot Athletic Conference individual standings a year ago, return to lead an otherwise young Cape Fear team on the course this season.

    Edge expects Blackwell and Bynum will again lead Cape Fear in scoring, while the pressure to produce a third competitive score in the weekly matches will fall on one of the untested new players on the team.

    As for the rest of the conference, Edge isn’t sure where the main competition in the Patriot Athletic Conference will come from until Cape Fear plays its first match this season.

    “We take every team very seriously and we are going to try and play to the best of our abilities every time we go out,’’ he said.

    The Colts got off to a good start in last week’s first Patriot Athletic Conference first regular-season match at Stryker Golf Course at Fort Bragg. They fired a 266 as a team to win the match, with Blackwell taking medalist honors with a 75.

    Blackwell said she’s been working on hitting more greens in regulation and trying to stay consistent with her game after winning the Patriot Conference regular-season title with a 79.3 average last season. She was the only player in the conference to break 80 for the season.

    She hopes to motivate her younger teammates while bracing for the unknown against conference opposition.

    “I’m just trying to work on staying focused, not getting distracted and making smart plays,’’ she said. “I want to win regionals again and I want to win a state championship, keep around an even par average.’’

    She placed seventh in last year’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A state meet. She’s fully recovered from a broken middle finger on her right hand that forced her to play with a splint over the summer months.

    “I couldn’t grip with it and didn’t play my best all summer,’’ she said.

    Edge feels Blackwell has the potential to be among the top two or three golfers in the state this year.

    The key he said is putting together back-to-back good days at the two-day state tournament. “You can’t lose any strokes,’’ he said. “The double bogey is the big thing she’s got to eliminate. If she plays her par-birdie golf, maybe a bogey once in awhile, I think she’ll be there.

    “That’s her goal.’’

    Pictured from top to bottom: Toni Blackwell, Todd Edge

  • 09-21-11-harley-davidson.jpgBy now it is no secret that bikers have big hearts — especially our local bikers. On Oct. 8, come out to Cape Fear Harley-Davidson and help support Harley’s Heroes, an event sponsored by the Harley Davidson Foundation and the Disabled American Veterans.

    The connection between the two groups makes perfect sense when you take into consideration the number of military members who ride. Throw in the fact that Harley’s are about as American as apple pie and the flag that our service men and women so selflessly protect, and it’s a no-brainer. In 2010 a $1 million grant was made by the Harley-Davidson n Foundation to the DAV.

    Via a mobile service office, Harley’s Heroes brings benefits, education and counseling to veterans across the country. The mobile offices are able to visit thousands of locations each year and provide counseling and assis-tance to veterans and their families.

    The organization helps make sure that these veteran’s are receiv-ing benefits owed to them by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Department of Defense and other agencies.

    “The MSOs are staffed by highly trained professional DAV counselors who are skilled experts in developing and prosecuting veterans’ claims,” said Duke Durham, event spokesman.

    “Both Harley-Davidson and DAV have a rich history and long legacy of working with our nation’s military and veterans,” he continued.

    Harley-Davidson’s commitment to the U.S. military dates back almost 100 years. After use in the Mexican Expedition, the U.S. military commis-sioned nearly one-third of all Harley-Davidson motorcycles produced in 1917 to support efforts during World War I, and nearly half of the motor company’s production in 1918.

    Proceeds raised throughout the day will benefit Harley’s Heroes. The day will be packed with fun events including a ride and an auction. There will also be a raffle of lap blankets made from Harley-Davidson T-shirts. Stick around for the free cook-out and enjoy some food and fellwoship. Local veterans are invited to come and speak with the DAV representatives who will be at the event, too.

    The event begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Find out more at the Harley’s Heroes website www.dav.org/HarleysHeroes or the Cape Fear Harley site www.capefearhd.com

  • 08 Sweet TEa Those who have been to Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s quirky, musical shows are familiar with the usual setup on the grounds of the 1897 Poe House. But the company’s got another trick up its sleeve that pops out once per season – the venue-traversing LIT show. LIT plays off the word “literature” and the millennial term “lit,” which refers to having fun and/ or getting drunk. For 2018-19, it’s “OthelLIT,” a show that’s as irreverent as it is true to Shakespeare’s classic tragedy “Othello.” The show opens Oct. 4 and runs through the 30th. 

    “We do the original ‘Othello’ text but cut it down,” said director Marie Lowe. “It’s really just the essential plotlines. To that, we then add drinking games, improv comedy, ’80s and ’90s novelty pop songs. We add fun.

    “I particularly enjoy doing this with a tragedy. I think it’s funnier doing it with a tragedy.”

    For LIT, STS chooses well-known works so that most audience mem-bers will walk in already having a basic knowledge of the story. Past LIT shows include “HamLIT” and “As You Like LIT.” 

    “But what they don’t know, with the LIT series, is exactly how we’re going to turn it on its ear,” said “OthelLIT” actress Tohry Petty. “How are we going to light it up?” 

    She said acting in a LIT show is “like going to the best game night ever at your friend’s house.”

    Petty performs two primary roles in the show. As the host, she helps audience members follow the shenanigan-filled narrative. As an actress, she doubles as Emilia – maidservant to Othello’s wife and wife to Othello’s traitorous ensign, Iago – and the Duke of Venice. Taj Allen plays Othello, and Nathan Pearce plays Iago. A few other company members, with a little help from the audience, create the rest of the story’s characters. 

    “Audience members are able to volunteer for minor roles,” Lowe said. “Night to night, it makes the show entirely different, depending on who the audience members are and what they bring to it. You could see a LIT show four or five or six times and really get a different experience every time.” 

    Stage manager Hanna Lafko will guide everyone through their many opportunities to participate in the fun. 

    “I think it’s always good for the audience to know that there is some-one who’s there specifically to help them know what to do,” Lowe said. “You have to volunteer, and then we take very good care of you. And if you don’t want to be on the stage, you won’t be. If you don’t want to drink, you don’t have to. It’s a lot of fun, and we want the experience to be great for everyone.”

    Getting a show LIT also involves shaking up the venue. “OthelLIT” will play locally at Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom, Paddy’s Irish Pub, and the Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County. The boisterous troupe will also travel to Hugger Mugger Brewing Company in Sanford and Fainting Goat Brewing Company in Fuquay-Varina.

    Tickets cost $17.50 in advance, with military, senior and student discounts available, or $25 at the door. For a list of dates and locations, and to purchase tickets, visit www.sweetteashakespeare.com.

  • 07 fso For more than 60 years, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra has educated, entertained and inspired the Sandhills with great music, fun events and educational and outreach opportunities. As the organization heads into the 2018-19 season, it shows no sign of slowing down. The first concert of the season, “The Music of John Williams,” is set for Saturday, Oct. 6.

    His name may not sound familiar, but chances are you know Williams’ work. With an extensive list of film scores and compositions stretching back to the 1950s, some of his well-known pieces are featured in “Gidget goes to Rome,” “The Rare Breed,” “Valley of the Dolls,” “Heidi,” “The Poseidon Adventure,” “Jaws,” the Star Wars movies – includ-ing “Star Wars: Episode IX” to be released in 2019 – “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Superman,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T.,” “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” “Jurassic Park,” “Schindler’s List,” several of the Harry Potter movies and “The BFG.”

    “He is one of the greatest living composers,” said Christine Kastner, FSO president and CEO. “He is so well-known you easily recognize his music. He’s had such a long career. We try to open the season with a family friendly concert. I am sure the Music Nerd (Joshua Busman, who speaks at the beginning of FSO concerts) will have lots to talk about; there is so much on this variety in the music.” 

    Symphonic music can seem intimidating to some. The FSO works hard on many levels to make its performances engaging and fun for everyone. From preconcert chats with the Music Nerd to interactive experiences and free concerts, every interaction is designed with the audience in mind. For example, at the Oct. 6 concert, the Star Wars reenactors of the 501st Legion Carolina Garrison are scheduled to attend. The 501st Legion is an all-volunteer fan-based Star Wars costuming organization. The Legion celebrates the saga through costumes and props, especially ones from the Galactic Empire. 

    “We do have a commitment from them,” Kastner said. “Hopefully, Hurricane Florence will not change those plans.”

    This season, the concerts are vast and varied. “We have something for everyone,” Kastner said. “One of the things we want people to realize is that we play a variety of music. Even if you don’t like certain things, there is something we do that you will enjoy. We go from John Williams to Brandenburg (Nov. 15).... When we did a couple (of those) concertos a few years ago, we sold out the church we were playing in. Then, we go to a holiday swing/big band concert performance (Dec. 1). We have a New York City jazz vocalist and songwriter coming for that. 

    “I think it will be fun season.” 

    “Magical Mozart” continues the season Jan. 17, 2019, followed by “Love is in the Air” Feb. 9. A trib-ute to the armed forces, “FSO, March!” takes place March 9, and the season concludes with “Ode to Joy” April 13.

    Special events this year include Bachtoberfest on Oct. 18. It will feature tastings of 10 craft beers, games and tasty food, including German potato salad and bratwurst. Nov. 9, the FSO will host Friendsgiving Brewery Tour with Bright Light 

    Brewing Co., Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom, Mash House Brewing Company, World of Beer and Paddy’s Irish Pub. 

    “The Music of John Williams” takes place Oct. 6 at Fayetteville State University’s Seabrook Auditorium. The preconcert Music Nerd chat starts at 6:45 p.m., and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org for tickets and information.

  • 01 coverSome people simply love going to the movies. Others dream of making films themselves. Many in both camps want to explore stories and genres they can’t find at mainstream theaters. Fayetteville has its own film festival that creators Pat Wright and Jan Johnson debuted in 2016 for just these reasons. Indigo Moon Film Festival returns to downtown Fayetteville Oct. 12-14, offering a chance to meet many of the filmmakers responsible for the more than 70 films that will be shown. The films represent local, regional, national and international talent. 

    The festival kicks off Friday, Oct. 12, with the opening night film and reception. Watch Susan Kucera’s docu-mentary “Living in the Future’s Past” at Cameo Art House Theatre from 7-9 p.m. Narrated and produced by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges, “Living in the Future’s Past” explores concepts about humankind and Earth’s inhabitants in relation to the past, present and future. Then, stroll over to SkyView on Hay to mingle with filmmakers and enthusi-asts while enjoying drinks, light fare and live music. 

    Saturday is the longest and fullest day of the festival. Over the course of about 13 hours, 70-plus films will be shown at various locations in downtown Fayetteville. The films range from 2 minutes to 2 hours long and include a wide range of genres. Categories are narrative feature or narrative short, documentary feature or documentary short, student and animation. 

    “It was very difficult this year because we had so many great submissions,” Wright said. “We got (submissions) from around the world: the Russian Federation, (former) Yugoslavia, India, Greece, Romania.”

    Films at the festival from North Carolina-based creatives include “27 West,” “Almost Cured,” “Birds of the Sky,” “Calcutta Mercy,” “Facing Navassa,” “Ground Zero Goldsboro,” “Introduction,” “Learning Man,” “Robeson Rises,” “The Maestro,” “This Time It’s Shopping” and “Lens Flare.” Many of these films involve state-specific stories, themes, social issues and locations. 

    Directors of many of the films will be present for 30-minute Q&A sessions following the screenings. “That’s one of the cool things about a film festival; you’ve got the filmmakers on-site talking about why they made the decisions or how they got that shot or what their motivation was,” Wright said. “You can ask any question you want.” Nearly all the North Carolina-based filmmakers are planning to be present for the Q&A sessions, along with others who will travel from out of state and out of country. 

    “Last year,” Johnson said, “We had 44 filmmakers come and had only built in 15 minutes for Q&A. People were wanting to stay and ask more and more questions. And we felt like this was the really special thing about film festivals, so we wanted to add more time.” 

    She and Wright won’t be sure of how many directors will attend this year until about 2 weeks before the festival, but she added that films’ editors, cinematographers and actors sometimes attend as well.

    In addition to the Q&A sessions, festival-goers and casual passersby alike are invited to attend free “Out Takes” on Saturday, half-hour sessions where film industry professionals share insight on various topics. At Revolutionary Coworking (the Sustainable Sandhills office) is “How to Change the World Through Film” from 12:15-12:45 p.m. and “Coal Ash” from 5:45-6:15 p.m. 

    At SkyView on Hay is “Doing Distribution” from 12:15-12:45 p.m. and “Why Every Director Needs a Producer” from 5:45-6:15 p.m.

    All festival venues are within easy walking distance of each other, inviting attendees to make a day of it and browse downtown’s shops and eateries in between viewings. Wright and Johnson said they’re proud of the event’s walkability. “We’ve become a certified Green Festival,” Johnson said, referring to a designation given by the NC GreenTravel Initiative. “It’s really critical in this day and age that we all do everything we possibly can to reduce our carbon footprint.” She added that the opening night film “is all about what we all can do to save our beautiful planet.” 

    The festival, which partnered with PWC and Sustain-able Sandhills in going green, will rely on recycling and composting for waste disposal. There will also be a Green Demonstration Area adjacent to Revolutionary Coworking, the film’s “Green Venue” that will specifically host films relating to environmental concerns. Visit the Green Demonstration Area to get information and freebies from environmental groups across the region. 

    Sunday, come back to celebrate and reflect at the Awards BBQ Banquet. At 11:30 a.m., at SkyView on Hay, enjoy a barbecue meal with vegan-friendly options, then watch the presentation of audience awards and jury awards for each film category. Audience awards come with a $200 cash prize. Juried award winners receive a beautifully designed trophy along with the coveted laurel leaves. Laurel leaves are visual markers on trailers and posters for award-winning indie films. Throughout the rest of the day, three encore screenings at the Cameo will include the juried winning entries along with the opening night film. 

    It’s not too early to start planning to submit for next year’s festival. This year’s submission period ran from March-May 2018 and into July for late and extended deadlines. Notification of acceptance went out at the end of August. 

    “More support by local filmmakers makes a better festival,” Johnson said. Her and Wright’s efforts represent just one example of local visionaries helping to build a community that brings creatives in rather than forcing them to seek opportunities and growth elsewhere.

    IMFF film screening venues are the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County at 301 Hay St.; Cameo Art House Theatre and The Loge at 225 Hay St.; Hay Street United Methodist Church at 320 Hay St.; and the Sustainable Sandhills office at Revolutionary Coworking at 100 Hay St. Parking is free in the Franklin Street Parking Deck or in the Maiden Lane lot across from Cumberland County Public Library Headquarters Branch. Street parking is also free after 5 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. 

    The Rainbow Room at 223 Hay St. serves as box office, logo merchandise sales and volunteer check-in. For $100 ($90 for military, student or senior), the VIP All-Access Pass grants entry to all the festival’s films and events. Tickets to the opening night film and party are $25. Individual tickets to any film or shorts block except the opening night film cost $10 ($9 for military, student or senior). Tickets to the Awards BBQ Banquet are $15. 

    Purchase tickets online at https://squareup.com/ store/indigomoonff. Click “Shop” and “Tickets & Festival Events.” Pick up online purchases during box office hours of Oct. 11, noon-6 p.m.; Oct. 12, noon-7 p.m.; Oct. 13, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Oct. 14, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Passes and tickets are non-refundable. 

    Visit www.indigomoonfilmfestival.com for a full list of films and showtimes and for more information.

  • 11 godspellKicking off the Gilbert Theater’s 25th season, “Godspell” the musical tells the story of Jesus Christ as portrayed through the New Testament, with a few twists. 

    “The (play) is about the book of Matthew and this group of people who use creative ways to tell parable stories,” said Artistic Director Matthew Overturf. The story is told through a collection of diverse tunes, dances and games, with a healthy dose of comedy. Despite its playful tone, the life of Christ is por­trayed in a reverent manner. 

    “It may come off as satirical, but it’s not intended to be,” said Overturf. “The play … really does take a respectful take on the stories, but it is always done in a creative way, with a lot of creative, funny ways of telling the stories.” 

    The lighthearted nature of “Godspell” emphasizes the human nature of biblical characters. “This is a show that talks about a group of people that … learned how to become a community. They learned how to love each other,” said Overturf. 

    Overturf spoke of the jovial relationship portrayed between Christ and his followers: “He’s very fun … not a stoic Jesus.” More than that, the production recognizes love and grace, even in its darker themes. Overturf, who plays both Judas and John the Baptist in the production, commented on the relationship between Jesus and Judas: “Everyone thinks Judas was the great villain of history. For me, it’s finding the heart of who he is and trying to understand what his motivation might’ve been.” 

    One of the most powerful aspects of the produc­tion is the way it will immediately draw viewers into the story, according to Overturf. Most of the show’s actors use their real names dur­ing the performance to encourage a real-life connection to the audience. Overturf commented on this practice: “It bridges the gap between old and new – we can still learn something from these stories.” 

    Overturf emphasized the accessibility of the play, saying that anyone can relate to the plot and the characters and find some truth in the story. “We live in a world where love isn’t necessarily number one on people’s mind, and this is a show that asks how can we help people try to love other people a little better.” 

    With this kind of love, “you can legiti­mately change the world a little bit,” added Overturf. The cast look forward to inviting the audience into their own lov­ing community. 

    “Godspell” runs Sept. 21-Oct. 7. Tickets are $16. For more information or to order tickets, email the Gilbert Theater at boxoffice@gilberttheater.com, call 910-678-7186, or order online at https://gilberttheater.com.

  • 09 music citySept. 19 through Oct. 7, Cape Fear Regional Theatre debuts the world premiere of “Music City.” CFRT has enlisted the talents of a dazzling cast and crew, whose passion for the project brings the story to life. 

    “Music City,” written by Peter Zinn, is an authentic imagining of the perseverance it takes to fulfill one’s destiny. Featuring five No. 1 Country Billboard hits written by J.T. Harding, the show intimately investigates the journeys of three songwriters as they navigate the difficult choices one makes while pursuing success. 

    CFRT Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke directs the musical story of harsh realities and dreams realized. “The American dream is that, if I work hard, I can improve my circumstances,” Burke said, regarding the struggles of the main characters and the relevance of the show. Burke continued, “We want people to know it’s of the now; it’s set in 2000, but it feels very palpable to the issues of today.” 

    Much of the story’s action is set in the Wicked Tickle, a chaotic country bar where our leads find each other. Choreographer Tyce Diorio said he strove to emphasize the integrity of storytelling with authenticity. His effort to make the story tangible by finding the story’s heartbeat created an atmosphere of honesty that reverberates throughout the entire program. Diorio is an American dancer and choreographer best known for his work on the hit television show “So You Think You Can Dance.” 

    To further enhance the experience of attendees, CFRT has removed the theater’s first several rows of seats, put tables, chairs and sofas in their stead and will be having live music before the show. 

    “When you walk into the theater, we want you to have an experience,” Burke said. “It’s like you’re going to be entering this little snow globe of Nashville… and you’re going to be able to come into the theater an hour before showtime and get a drink from the bar onstage.” 

    It’s details like these that create “Music City’s” cohesive vision that has come to fruition right here in Fayetteville. Jonathan Judge-Russo, who plays Drew, one of the lead musicians, shared, “The most humbling thing about being... in Fayetteville is (that) we are in a town … devoted to service. This is a place where people … serve a higher purpose. They’re doing something profoundly important and maybe, just for a couple hours, we get to serve them.” 

    “Music City” encourages audience members not to get in their own way and to be bold. Kaylyn Marie Scardefield, who plays a young singer named 23, said of her character, “This character is calling me to be someone I want to be – someone who is more courageous. … I feel like I’ve been given a huge invitation to be a more courageous extension of myself.” 

    The brilliant cast and crew invite Fayetteville to join them in exploring what it means to be brave. “Music City” opens for previews Sept. 19-Sept. 21 at $17 a ticket and will continue to run through Oct. 7, with tickets ranging from $25-$32. To learn more, visit www.cfrt.org or call 910-323-4233. 

  • 10 Three MusketeersGivens Performing Arts Center will open its 2018-19 season with “The Three Musketeers” Thursday, Sept. 20, and Friday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. The show is sponsored in part by Wesley Pines Retirement Center of Lumberton and is directed by Jonathan Drahos, director of theater at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. 

    “The Three Musketeers” follows D’Artagnan, who travels to Paris in hopes of becoming a musketeer, one of the French king’s elite bodyguards. He discovers the corps have been disbanded by conniving Cardinal Richelieu, who secretly hopes to seize the throne. 

    Athos, Porthos and Aramis continue to protect their king and refuse to lay down their weapons. D’Artagnan joins the rogues to expose Richelieu’s plot against the crown. 

    The play will feature sword fights, romance, dancing, rolling-in-the-aisles comedy and high adventure. 

    “This production has an epic spirit – sword fights, romance, dancing, rolling-in-the-isles comedy and high adventure!” said Drahos. “It’s going to be a fun night in a great space.”

    The second performance of GPAC’s season, “Jessica Jane & Niels Duinker’s Magic Show,” is Friday, Sept. 28, at 8 p.m. The show is sponsored in part by the Pembroke Activity Council, a division of Campus Engagement and Leadership, and is part of UNC Pembroke’s Family Weekend Events. The duo entertains audiences with juggling acts, grand illusions, dangerous escapes and more. 

    “We are excited to present a magic show with such high caliber performers as Jessica and Niels,” said James Bass, director of GPAC. “If you like high-energy shows that keep you on the edge of your seat, you’ll love this show.”

    Jessica was born into and grew up in the world of magic. Her mother was a magician’s assistant for several illusionists, and her father designed magic tricks. At the age of 12, Jessica was being cut in half as a stage assistant. Her first real job was as a roving magician, and she has performed in Europe and around America. She has appeared on Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us” TV show. She currently lives in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where she regularly performs “Jessica Jane’s Magic, Comedy and Variety Hour.” 

    Niels Duinker holds seven Guinness World Records for juggling. He is a three-time winner of the International Magician’s Society Award, a three-time National Juggling Champion in The Netherlands and a Gold Medal Winner of the 2009 Taiwan Circus Festival. He has worked all over Europe and Asia. He was voted Best Corporate Entertainer 2018 by Corporate Vision magazine and has appeared at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, Harrah’s Hotels and Casinos and on several cruise ships. 

    GPAC is located at 1 University Dr. on the UNCP campus. Tickets for “The Three Musketeers” cost $21 and $26 for adults and $5 for children and students. 

    Tickets for the magic show cost $16 for adults and $5 for children and students. 

    For more information, call 910-521-6361. 

  • 09-11-13-rent.gifAs in the 1934 hit song, “What a difference a day makes,” we have witnessed the growth and transformation of the Gilbert Theater. The Gilbert has been a part of the thriving Fayetteville arts community since Lynn Pryer allowed the first patron to visit his Brandts Lane basement theater in 1994.

    The Gilbert has grown from a 40-seat home theater into a 99-seat, semi-professional black box in the heart of downtown. Now the theater is preparing to open its 20th anniversary season with the musical Rent on September 20.

    The Gilbert was built on a dream made possible by local artistic talent, which was allowed to blossom and grow during those early years. One such talent inspired by the theater, honed to perfection and still delighting us today, is seen in our own Fayetteville local favorite, Joyce Lipe.

    “I first heard of Lynn Pryer’s theater from fellow actor, George Roraback about 20 years ago. Shortly after, Lynn asked me to audition for a show he was directing, An Evening of One Acts. I performed a monologue from Quilters and have been a regular at the Gilbert Theater ever since. My fondest memories involve Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, which I narrated for six consecutive seasons. My husband and I took part in the Fayetteville Arts Council Dickens Holiday each year dressing in costumes of that period and as we strolled along Hay Street getting caught up in the beauty of candlelight and Christmas decorations, I thought what a perfect time for the Gilbert Theater to present A Christmas Carol. Chuck agreed and I presented the idea to Lynn and the show took off from there, every year being a bit different with lots of rewrites and new cast members and a tradition was established.

    “Over the years, I have performed in close to 20 shows, each a different aspect of theater from monologue to large cast, comedy to drama but always directed and rehearsed to the best that each cast had to offer,” she continued. “All shows were cast from open auditions allowing anyone with a desire to appear on stage to give it a try. Consequently, the Gilbert has been a proving ground for new actors and an opportunity for seasoned actors to hone their skills. New playwrites are also encouraged to submit their work. The Gilbert Theater has established itself as a theater of excellence where, as Lynn so beautifully stated it, “Story telling takes center stage.”

    Artistic Director Robyne Parrish is beginning her second season with the Gilbert and has tried to stimulate the Gilbert’s growth by bringing in talented colleagues to direct and star in many of last season’s productions. This 20th season will begin with the musical Rent by Jonathan Larson. This modern musical, roughly based on the opera La Boheme, will carry on the tradition of the Gilbert to pursue theatrical experiences that are somewhat outside of the mainstream. Rentwas not considered the usual Broadway fare when it opened in 1996 but still speaks to issues that, even now, we only discuss behind closed doors. “Rent is a musical about a hip young group of artists in NYC in the 1990s coping with love loss and happiness while learning to live for today!” Parrish continued, “We are blessed with an ethnically diverse cast that truly captures the world of Rent and the New York City that is in all of our hearts.”

    The show is directed by Ruth Crews, stage director, and Leanne Valcarcel, musical director, both of whom will make their directing debuts at the Gilbert.

    Rent opens Sept. 20 and runs through Oct. 6 Friday-Sunday with 8 p.m. performances on Friday and Saturday nights and 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15 and $13 for military, students and seniors. Reserve at www.gilberttheater.com 910 678 7186

    The season continues with the annual favorite, A Christmas Carol followed by new works to complete the roster including Pan (the true story of Peter Pan) adapted for the Gilbert, Sherlock Holmes: The Sleeping Detective a brand new, sleepy Sherlock tale, Macbeth and A Company of Wayward Saints.

  • 09-05-12-ribbit.jpgLast year the Cape Fear Botanical Garden was invaded by larger-than-life bugs for sev