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Support veterans by choosing veteran-owned businesses

11While there are several veteran-owned businesses in Fayetteville, and we certainly cannot fit them all here, there are some that definitely stand out. Support local veterans by supporting their local businesses.

Boone Trail Fit Body Boot Camp: Owner Dinah Goodman has a love for fitness and helping people reach their fitness goals. Goodman joined the Army at the age of 17, where she learned she could do more than she thought she was physically capable of doing. Boone Trail Fit Body Boot Camp offers high-powered 30-minute classes. Every workout is professionally designed and led by nationally certified coaches who are driven to help you get the results you want. This fitness center has been voted as Up & Coming Weekly’s Best Veteran-Owned Business of 2022. They are located at 3039 Boone Trail #100.

Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom: The Dirtbag Ales legend began several years ago while its founders were serving in the U.S. Army. One of Dirtbag Ales’ founders, Tito, traded the promise of free beer for life in exchange for a friend’s home-brew kit. There were many long nights of stove-top brews, which led to a homemade all-grain brewing system founded in Tito’s garage. Brew after successful brew led to a new calling for Tito and the preliminary beginnings of Dirtbag Ales Brewery. This staple in Hope Mills has been named Up & Coming Weekly’s Best Venue, Club for Live Music, Bar for Craft Beers, and Best Brew House. They are located at 5435 Corporation Drive.

Heritage Jewelers: This veteran-owned jewelry store is known for military custom jewelry, like the Special Forces Ring. They are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. They are located at 114 Westwood Shopping Center.

Meraki Creative Agency: At Meraki Creative Agency, joy, happiness and color are their passion. This veteran-owned company dedicates their creative efforts to impact and stimulate the local community. They thrive on helping to design and develop joyful experiences for your personal celebrations, businesses and corporate events. Karoll Echeverri, veteran, and Brittany Cobb, Army spouse, are the ladies behind the business doing the best they can to find joy every day and help your celebrations, large and small, become even more beautiful. To look at their services, go to www.yourlittlejoyshop.com or visit their physical location at 1009 Marlborough Road.

Pressed — A Creative Space: This store sells clothing, crystals and other items of interest for those who see things differently. They are a veteran-owned business in downtown Fayetteville. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. They are located at 120 Hay Street.

The Virtual Call Center, Inc: This call center provides a wide range of professional support services to hundreds of U.S. Virtual Agents, Freelancers, Sole Proprietors, Client Support Professionals and Independent Contracting Agents, who are certified to deliver high-quality services for a wide range of growing enterprises, national brands and Fortune 500 companies. The work from home movement continues to gain momentum daily. Virtual technology has transformed the way we work. With so many work-from-home opportunities available nationwide, it's important that people decide if the opportunity is reputable and creates work-life balance for their family. This local business is owned by veteran Toya Collins-Younger. To learn more, go to www.jt-virtual.com/.

Triangle Rock Club — Fayetteville: The Triangle Rock Club is a premiere indoor rock climbing center and gym. Their new, state-of-the-art facility offers both lead and top rope climbing, bouldering and a comprehensive fitness center. Don't dread that mundane workout at your ‘average’ fitness center, come to Triangle Rock Club to put some excitement back into your life. This gym is located at 5213 Raeford Road.

The ‘Last’ serve as inspiration for all Americans on Veterans Day

4The 11th hour has become synonymous with Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, in recognition of the document signed at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.
In reality, the Armistice ending the war to end all wars was signed around 5 a.m. on November 11th. Over the course of the next 6 hours, nearly 3,000 men would lose their lives in the final hours of a war that had already claimed the lives of 20 million military personnel.

The final death of WWI came at 10:59 a.m. one minute before the guns of war would fall silent.

Private Henry Gunther was a German-American drafted in the fall of 1917. Most accounts state that his final actions were motivated by Gunther’s need to demonstrate that he was “courageous and all-American.” A chaplain from Gunther’s unit recounted, “As 11 a.m. approached, Gunther suddenly rose with his rifle and ran through thick fog. His men shouted for him to stop. So did the Germans. But Gunther kept running and firing. One machine gun blast later, he was dead. His death was recorded at 10:59 a.m.

In every conflict, inevitably a final service member pays the ultimate sacrifice.

In the closing days of World War II, Private Charley Havlat, the son of Czech immigrants, found himself liberating his parents’ former homeland. During a reconnaissance patrol near the town of Volary on May 7, 1945, enemy fire from a woodline hit the patrol, wounding several and killing Havlat. Word of the cease-fire reached Havlat’s position minutes after he was killed.

Officially, the U.S. has never declared a final casualty in the Korean War. Since the armistice was signed, nearly 100 U.S. soldiers have been killed in combat on the Korean peninsula.
On April 29, 1975, Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge were two of a small number of Marines tasked with safeguarding the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. McMahon had been in Saigon only 11 days, and was 11 days shy of his 22nd birthday. Judge, 19, had arrived in early March. They were killed in a rocket attack. The U.S. would complete the process of withdrawing from Saigon the following day. Initial reports said their bodies had been evacuated. In fact, they were left behind. McMahon and Judge were repatriated Feb. 22, 1976, following diplomatic efforts led by Senator Edward Kennedy.

Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss was among the last of the 2,461 service members who died in Afghanistan. Knauss and 12 of his comrades were killed when suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds at Hamid Karzai International Airport during the withdrawal from Kabul. Assigned to the 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, Knauss was supporting the noncombatant evacuation operation. He had previously served in Afghanistan as an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division.

In every war, there is always one that must fill the dignified but dubious role in history as being the last to give the full measure of devotion. Each year on the 11th day of the 11th month as a nation we pause, not only to honor those that have given their lives, but for all those who believed so deeply in American exceptionalism that they were willing to risk their lives to defend it.

For most Americans, talking about war is conceptual, something learned through history books, news reports and movies — those who have served do not know that luxury.
Not only should we remember that the democratic principles we hold so dear have been defended by generations of Americans whom we honor on Veterans Day, but more importantly, we should take inspiration from that sacrifice. Our country, despite all our self-imposed differences, needs to look to our veterans and see that there are no divisions in a foxhole — there are only those who stand in defense of democracy and those who stand against it.

While we may only celebrate Veterans Day with a few moments of silence each year, we have an opportunity to use those moments to find our own way to serve as part of our commitment to living up to the legacy of our veterans.

When the Armistice was signed in 1918, when the Japanese surrendered, and when the last flights departed Saigon and Kabul — these were not simply endings, they were new beginnings. We honor those who serve by recommitting ourselves to making the sacrifices necessary to preserve our way of life.
As Adlai Stevenson once stated, “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” Let this Veterans Day be a new beginning. Go forth and find a way to serve our nation, our communities and each other — we owe it to our veterans.

Editor’s Note: Joseph Reagan served eight years as an active duty officer in the U.S. Army, including two tours to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division. He is a graduate of Norwich University, the oldest private military college in the country.
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission — Remember, Honor, Teach — is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. For more information or to sponsor a wreath please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

Voting Yes or No on Charter Referendum depends on what is important to you

vecteezy 3d rendering 3d illustration right and wrong button check 7426547 763Their reaction to the City Charter referendum looks like the Fayetteville City Council is scared of this vote. For those who need help understanding, some people want to change the City Council's structure by converting four council seats from district seats to citywide seats. Currently, the 10-person council has nine district seats plus the Mayor, who is elected citywide. "Citywide" means "at-large." So, the citizens of Fayetteville would get a total of six votes. One for Mayor, one for their district, and four additional representatives who can live anywhere within the city.

The Mayor's position is an "at-large" position, and if that works for the Mayor, then why wouldn't it work for City Council? Wait, are we saying that the Mayor's position does not or cannot represent the whole city? I don't think we are, but if you interpret this one way, then you have to ask that question to the other. If memory serves, someone gathered a petition of 5,000 signatures which was required to put it on the November ballot. However, the City Council voted not to allow it on the ballot. It went to court, and a judge ordered it on the ballot.

Ask yourself why the Council would refuse it. I have heard this is a Democrat and Republican thing, but that cannot be because the City Council members are supposed to be nonpartisan representatives. The talk on the street is that this is a matter of race. Has anyone looked at the makeup of the City Council? There are representatives of multiple races. Now, let us look at the last Mayoral and City Council election in July. In a city of 210,000 people, only 14,800 voted, with 4,000+ done by mail-in or early voting. Here are a few statistics from a Spectrum News 1 article on July 27 about the City Council election. "The District 7 race between Brenda McNair and incumbent Larry Wright was very close. McNair has 679 votes, 23 more than Wright. The margin in District 3 is even closer. Mario Benavente has 1,012 votes, just six more than incumbent Antonio Jones." In two seats, the total count difference was 29 votes.

For those who can vote and are not happy with the direction of Fayetteville, then change the rules because you have nothing to lose if you want more choices. Change the rules; you have nothing to lose. If you want more representation, then change the rules. You have nothing to lose.

If the City Council had a record of doing good - ensuring low crime, providing a safer place city, better job opportunities, fewer taxes and lowering the homeless rate - then why should they worry about their positions? If the City Council made it their priority to make it easy to make a living, start a business, or keep a business going, then why should they worry about a referendum? If the city focused on making Fayetteville a city with a great reputation, then why should the City Council worry about the referendum?

What is important to you is why you should Vote Yes or Vote No.

Voters want an economy that’s strong

METRO WashingtonDollarHC1102 source “It’s the economy, stupid.”

This famous tagline, coined by then-Governor Bill Clinton-advisor James Carville, defined the 1992 election. Now, 30 years later, we face another election that is a referendum on the economic policies of the party in power.

You can feel it. Biden-Inflation has had the effect of cutting your pay equal to a month’s salary. Too many families are digging into their savings, delaying retirement, and cutting back to try to make ends meet. Just over the last year, fuel prices are up 58% and energy is up 20%. Food at home costs 13% more, as essentials like gallons of milk are up 15.2% and eggs are up 30.5%. In North Carolina, inflation is costing families an additional $660 every single month, or nearly $8,000 per year. Even Halloween couldn’t escape, as parents were paying exponentially more for candy this year compared to last.

Washington Democrats’ reckless spending has damaged our economy across the board. But rather than taking real steps to address these issues, Washington Democrats have doubled-down on their inflation-worsening, progressive agenda. This includes measures like their so-called “Inflation Reduction Act.” This $740 billion bill will raise your taxes, grow federal bureaucracy, and make inflation worse. Additionally, President Biden's reckless student loan plan will unfairly force you to pay others' debts.

Worse still, Washington Democrats have failed to strengthen America’s supply chains or energy production. In addition to gas prices, this winter folks can expect home heating costs to be the highest they have been in years. Furthermore, people across the country continue to reel from shortages, including of critical products like baby formula. Despite this, Washington Democrats continue to stifle domestic energy production and neglect efforts to shore up our supply chain. Instead, President Biden has moved to drain our Strategic Petroleum Reserve and turn to foreign, often hostile, entities like Communist China, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia for fuel and critical materials.

You and your family will continue to suffer from the economic missteps coming out of Washington. The Left doesn’t have a plan to fix them. Yet House Republicans have a plan to change our nation’s trajectory and create an economy that’s strong.

To get our economy back on track, Republicans will lower reckless, inflation-causing spending and build an economic environment that fosters growth and reduces costs. Additionally, we will unleash energy independence by utilizing an all-of-the-above approach to energy development and maximizing production of American-made energy. Giving producers confidence for the future will immediately help drive down prices. We will also end our dangerous reliance on foreign nations for critical supplies by moving supply chains away from places like China and creating manufacturing jobs here in the U.S.

I know our country’s economic situation is dire right now. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You should not have to pay the price for Washington Democrats’ economic mismanagement. That’s why our plan, the “Commitment to America,” offers you a new direction to create an environment that nourishes growth, prosperity, and the pursuit of the American Dream. Fixing the economy is the number one issue I’m focused on as your Congressman because that’s what families tell me they are concerned about most. You and James Carville get it.

Loss of a loved one can draw us closer to God

19 Today I want to express my condolences, care and compassion to Fayetteville City Councilwoman Courtney Banks-McLaughlin and her family. It is an effort to ecourage you beyond the long days you’ve already endured, the highs and lows of the road ahead, and for the weight of emotions you’re under on this very day.

As a resident of the district you serve, we’re neighbors. As a veteran family, we share a patriotic bond. And as members of a society which we never wished to join, we share an indelible mark on our souls.
As I’m certain you’ve already experienced, emotions following a tragedy of this magnitude run the gamut. From anger to compassion, hope to despair, and peace to anxiety beyond belief to those who have not walked the road you’re on.

All of this is only compounded and multiplied by the thousands of eyes to which your grief is visible.
As a morning radio host at the time of our son’s murder, my perception of the weight of expectations made it difficult to talk about.

Public figures like you and I often try to appear to be above the personal impact. Our actions one way or the other are perceived by many to be the barometer by which they may respond.
For me, I laid low. I needed to be okay. I wanted to be okay. And I’m fairly sure you want to be okay. And you will be. Until you’re not.
Don’t fight the emotions. God made us in His image. As such, we are at once compassionate and logical, we can reason and be angry, we can celebrate that which is good, and we can forgive what is not.

Above all, we can love. We can even choose to love those who have done unthinkable wrong to us — directly or indirectly — to the extent that we forgive them for it.
That’s where we find our peace. That’s where we become more like the creatures God created us to be. When we forgive. When we realize the most hurtful thing ever done to us could have been done by us. Or by our son. Our daughter. Or husband or wife. And in that illogical moment, we begin to see the same situation through the eyes of mercy.

No amount of anger or outrage will bring our children back.
No rethinking of the days or weeks that led to our tragedies will change the outcome.

And no words of condolence can heal a wound which cuts so deeply as this.
So I want to encourage you to embrace the memories. Kindle the love and pride you have for your daughter and know that the God of this universe loved you enough that He willingly went through what you’re going through to give you hope. To give us life beyond the few years we inhabit these bodies on earth. Sacrificing His own son, God showed us what love looks like.

Ours is to recognize what He has given us as an opportunity to show love and compassion to others.
I will commit to praying for you and your family, and I know others have and will as well. You’re not alone. You never were.

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