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Bill Kirby Jr.: Emergency City Council meeting, and 3 members fail to show


Council members Shakeyla Ingram, Courtney Banks-McLaughlin and Brenda McNair did not attend an emergency meeting of the Fayetteville City Council on Sept. 2 to discuss Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons’ ruling to place the Vote Yes Fayetteville initiative on the Nov. 8 election ballot.

The council voted 4-3 to appeal the judge’s ruling to the N.C. Court of Appeals, with Mayor Mitch Colvin, veteran Councilman D.J. Haire and freshmen Councilmen Mario Benavente and Derrick Thompson in favor of the appeal. Council members Kathy Keefe-Jensen, Johnny Dawkins and freshman Councilman Deno Hondros voted to follow the judge’s order.

The Vote Yes initiative would change the council makeup from nine district seats to five single-district seats and four members elected at large. The mayor would still be elected at large.

Ingram says she was not given enough advance notice about the meeting from Colvin, and she told him so. “I did not have enough notice, as the mayor did not reach out to me to see if I would be available,” Ingram told CityView TODAY in an email on Tuesday. “The mayor responded saying I could ‘call in.’ However, even if I was available to call in, because of council policy, I could not take part (listen) in the closed-session discussion so it would only leave me with them coming out of closed session to hear 2% of the information presented, which would not make up an educated vote.”

McNair says she already had committed to delivering a eulogy for a family member at Wiseman Funeral Home.

Banks-McLaughlin did not respond to an email inquiry about why she did not attend, although the District 8 councilwoman has made it clear previously she is not in favor of the Vote Yes Fayetteville initiative.


The recent decision by the Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County to end A Dickens Holiday downtown in favor of “Holidays on Hay … A Season of Light” is a topic of conversation just about everywhere you go these days. “I think it is important to understand how hard Deborah Mintz worked to make ADH inclusive,” Hank Parfitt, a member of the Downtown Alliance, says about Mintz, the former director of the Arts Council and a co-founder of A Dickens Holiday 22 years ago. “Think about this,” Parfitt says. “We see plays like ‘Hamilton‘ or a movie like last year’s ‘Macbeth,’ where Black actors are cast in the roles of historical figures, who were white men, in order to strip away racial stereotyping. Deborah Mintz did that 20 years ago. But she did it because she wanted everyone to feel welcome and enjoy the message of 'A Christmas Carol’ acted out in real time in downtown Fayetteville.” The Arts Council says the decision is about driving holiday season economics for downtown business owners, not about race. Some of us say the Arts Council could have had both and avoided all of this.


“Bill, I may be wrong, but I've always thought that once a facility is memorialized it becomes a permanent designation,” longtime radio host Jeff Thompson says about what once was known as the Cumberland County Memorial Arena. “The Crown Complex is the name for the various entertainment entities including the Cumberland County Memorial Arena. When it's closed and/or torn down, that will end the dispute over what to call it. I'll bet somewhere in the complex there's a plaque that reads 'Memorial Arena.'” New management comes along, Mr. Thompson, with not much knowledge or concern about the past. But I agree that it should carry the name "memorial," aka the Crown Memorial Theatre-Arena. But as you say, Mr. Thompson, it’s coming down in 2025.


“I have had the pleasure of being a close friend of Mr. Lovett for maybe eight years now,” Calvin Denson of Chipley, Florida, writes in an email about an April 28 CityView TODAY column on the induction of Marshall Lovett into the Campbell University Athletic Hall of Fame at the recent reunion of Seventy-First High School, classes of 1971 and 1972. “I used to live in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Mr. Lovett and myself attended the same church. What a guy!! He's really been an inspiration to me, and I was truly blessed by the wonderful article you did.” A standout football, basketball, and track-and-field athlete at the Cumberland County school, Lovett later starred in basketball and the high jump at Campbell University. He lost his sight in 2000 to meningitis. Lovett was a great athlete and today is a humble man who puts others before himself.


“Loved the column on the fair,” Carol Quigg writes about our Sept. 1 column on the Cumberland County Fair that runs through Sept. 11 at the Crown Complex. “Had totally forgotten Jack Kochman, and also saw The Captain and Toni Tennille. Allene Williams had taken all of our kids to the fair. I adored the fair all of my life. The cotton candy and the candy apples — oh my goodness! How wonderful they were. Then I graduated from going with my friends to going with the Lewis family and eating hot dogs. Also loved the article on the blind gentleman who was inducted into his school's hall of fame.” Yes, Mrs. Quigg, what is a community without a county fair?


Cindy Iuliucci Collins remembers Brenda Heath Wilson, Miss Fayetteville 1966. “She had gorgeous legs, and Brenda was always ladylike,” says Collins, who succeeded Wilson as Miss Fayetteville 1967. “She and Pam Zollars (Miss Fayetteville 1969) had been in a lot of pageants. Brenda took me under her wing. And she told me, ‘I know you are going to win.” Brenda Wilson died at age 75 on Aug. 29.


You can find out what films will be shown at the Indigo Moon Film Fest during the reveal scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Rainbow Room downtown, according to Jan Johnson and Pat Wright of the fest. They also will reveal the nonprofit that will be the beneficiary of this year’s film fest, which is scheduled for Oct. 7-9 at the Cameo Art House Theatre, the theater Loge and the Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County.

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

Column, Bill Kirby Jr., Fayetteville, City Council, Vote Yes Fayetteville, A Dickens Holiday, Cumberland County Fair