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Bill Kirby Jr.: City Council vote on Civil War history center project is near

So is the Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club Country Buffet and Bazaar, the Holly Day Fair and the Cape Fear Regional Theatre is preparing for another play

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You can only talk about something for so long, and it’s time for Mayor Mitch Colvin and the City Council to make a decision on whether the municipal body will approve $6.6 million for the proposed $80 million N.C. History Center on the Civil War, Emancipation & Reconstruction project to be built along Arsenal Avenue in Haymount. “It is a very worthwhile project,’’ says Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Dawkins, “which will pay dividends for Fayetteville for decades to come.” Look for the city vote on Nov. 14 or thereabout.

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“I think we're all pretty much in agreement that the Airborne and Special Ops Museum is one of the best things that’s happened here,” Michael Ruff told the City Council during its public comments period Monday evening. A retired oral surgeon, Ruff was there urging the city to support the N.C. History Center on the Civil War, Emancipation & Reconstruction project. “It is first class and attracts visitors from far and wide who come here and spend millions of dollars and benefits our business community,” Ruff said about the Airborne & Special Operations Museum. “The history center will do the same thing … I do ask for your vote to prime the pump so we don't lose the $60 million appropriation from the General Assembly. One day there'll be 500,000 people living here in Fayetteville, and the airborne museum and history center will still be attracting visitors who spend millions of dollars that directly benefit our businessmen and businesswomen.”

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“Ronna Garrett is a true civil servant and leader,” Fayetteville City Councilwoman Kathy Keefe Jensen from District 1 in north Fayetteville says about Garrett, who recently was elected chairwoman for the city-owned Fayetteville Public Works Commission board. “She is an asset to our city and community.” Garrett is director of client development for a company in Fairfax, Virginia, and Jensen trumpets Garrett’s business acumen.

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You gotta love Ralph and Linda Huff, who always give generously for the betterment of this community. They have given $7,000 to the Downtown Alliance in support of A Dickens Holiday, which is scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving in downtown Fayetteville. The couple’s former Dreamfinders builders gave $5,000, Coldwell Banker $1,000, and the Huffs threw in another personal $1,000. “Just didn’t want to say no totally,” Ralph Huff says about the alliance of downtown merchants, “and because they wanted to put it on in spite of the Arts Council’s poor judgment” to end A Dickens Holiday after 22 years. Good for Ralph and Linda Huff.

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If you are looking for some good country food, you might want to be at the Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club County Buffett and Bazaar from 11. a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 20 at 3024 School Road in Hope Mills. “We’ve got lots of food,” says Joy Cannady, chairwoman of the event, “and two pretty quilts for raffle and auction.” The buffet has been around since 1973 with those ladies serving everything from fried chicken, country ham, chicken n’ pastry and vegetables galore to field peas, butterbeans, fried okra, collards, corn, green beans, candied yams, and don’t forget the cakes and pies. Have lunch at the club or you can do take-out. With Election Day on Nov. 8, you can be sure the political candidates will be there, too, hawking your votes. Tickets are $12 each.

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“Making Spirits Bright” is the theme for the 54th annual Holly Day Fair scheduled for Nov. 3-6 at the Crown Expo. “Proceeds from the Holly Day Fair benefit the Junior League of Fayetteville and its programs targeting homelessness and food insecurities,” Juelle McDonald, the fair chairwoman, says in a release from the sponsoring Junior League of Fayetteville. “The grants and community programs funded by the proceeds from the Holly Day Fair have a substantial and lasting impact in our community. We provide an awesome experience for our shoppers. The Junior League of Fayetteville’s contributions to our community would not be possible without the success of our sole fundraiser, the Holly Day Fair.” The Holly Day Fair is a one-stop, holiday shopping extravaganza, where you will find everything from children’s toys, clothing, handmade crafts, jewelry, gadgets and holiday decorations, and replete with a food court. The event annually draws more than 150 vendors and more than 20,000 holiday shoppers. Tickets are on sale now at the Crown box office, The Pilgrim Gifts in Westwood Shopping Center, Jernigan’s in Dunn and Lumberton or at Ticketmaster.com.

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“It was such a fantastic kick-off to our season,” Mary Kate Burke, artistic director, says about “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” that concluded Sunday at Cape Fear Regional Theatre. “And one of the things that I think people don't always realize is that these shows all come together in only three weeks. Those 22 actors didn't know each other in August and look what an amazing thing they did and made together. It’s why I love my job so much. Humans' creativity is an awesome force, and it amazes me every time. The other thing about CFRT is our shows are so good, people think they are touring shows. They don't realize that everything is designed and built and directed right here in Fayetteville with love for our audiences. We had a tour bus full of people get rerouted from Florida because of the weather, and they saw our show here and couldn't believe it, and that company will book with us again. We are so excited about ‘The Odd Couple.’ It only runs for 11 performances,” Burke says of the play that runs Nov. 3-13. “It’s going to be hilarious.” The theatre is a treasure in this community.

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“Bill, does the city not want to purchase the lightbulbs and/or have staff put them in the windows of the Market House?’’ Blue dePrater writes in an email about Gladys Hill’s hopes to light the downtown structure as part of her annual Light Up Fayetteville Pink during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “How many bulbs do they need and can anyone install them?” I tried, Miss dePrater, to see how the city felt about lighting the Market House. I sent emails to all four Fayetteville city councilwomen, and only Councilwoman Kathy Keefe Jensen was supportive. Councilwomen Shakeyla Ingram, Courtney Banks-McLaughlin and Brenda McNair ignored my email. The lightbulbs are $5 each, and at four in each Market House center window, it would have cost the city $20. It’s about, for heaven’s sake, breast cancer awareness. It’s about, for heaven’s sake, a $5 pink lightbulb.

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Cumberland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Glenn Adams is joining with Dr. Jennifer Green and the Cumberland County Department of Public Health in urging women to have mammogram screenings as part of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. "As someone with a wife, two daughters and a daughter-in-law,” Adams says in a news release, “it’s incredibly important to me that we highlight the importance of being proactive in screening for breast cancer and provide the opportunities and encouragement women in our county need to protect themselves.” Or give a listen to Green, the county health director. “We see differences across the state in breast cancer-related deaths depending on race and ethnicity. Enhancing prevention efforts and providing increased screening and treatment opportunities for those who are uninsured are important to reducing these disparities.”

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Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.

Column, Bill Kirby Jr., Fayetteville City Council, N.C. History Center on the Civil War, Emancipation & Reconstruction, Gray’s Creek Woman’s Club County Buffett and Bazaar, Holly Day Fair

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