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Bill Kirby Jr.: Keep your comments and questions coming because we’re here for you


You are our CityView TODAY subscribers and readers, and we say thank you and we enjoy hearing from you about our daily stories. We enjoy your take, and when you have comments and questions we’ll do our journalistic best to find answers for you.

Your turn: “I thought the parking lot was for private use, except for about 30 public spaces,” Pat Howell writes in an email about a March 9 column concerning the Hay Street Parking Garage that has no elevator. “Why in the heck are the taxpayers paying for an elevator … hotel or not! Excess money can go back for deficits in other areas of the city budget. Handicap parking on (the) first floor eliminates the need for an elevator I would hope. Heck, use the money for free parking on the streets, which is needed!”

My turn: There will be no hotel above the parking garage. Instead, plans are in the works to build 212 apartments, according to Jordan Jones with Prince Charles Holdings, the group that turned the old Prince Charles Hotel into condominiums. A parking garage needs an elevator, and that’s all there is to it. And City Manager Doug Hewett says an elevator is on the way. But if Prince Charles Holdings is building apartments above, seems to me Prince Charles Holdings should share in the cost of the elevator.

Your turn: “Bill, having known you all these years, I was aware there would be an after-life recognition of Earl R. Butler,” longtime radio newsman Jeff Thompson writes about our March 23 column on the retired Cumberland County sheriff who died Sunday at age 84. “I read it this Wednesday morning while working on CityView TODAY’s news reports. Your piece was thorough but most importantly poignant. Those of us who were fond of ‘Moose’ will cherish your opinion piece. Thank you for caring.”

My turn: You only had to witness the many who turned out Thursday for Sheriff Butler’s funeral to know how well thought of he was in this community. I recall years ago when my neighbor asked if I would call the sheriff to come to her home and settle down her husband who struggled with Alzheimer’s. Sheriff Butler dropped everything he was doing, came to her home and sat in the living room with her husband for almost two hours. You don’t forget men like Earl Ray “Moose” Butler. He was more than a sheriff. He was a man with a big heart for others.

Your turn: “I can’t believe that more of Fayetteville citizens are not up in arms about this issue,” George Turner says about a proposed Dismas Charities halfway house for transitional federal inmates on Cain Road. “I was in Van Story Hills recently on business and noticed a lot of people walking the neighborhood with strollers and maybe a small dog enjoying their neighborhood. Van Story Hills is a short 15-20 minute walk from the proposed Dismas site. Will it be safe for anyone to walk with a stroller in their neighborhood when 100 Dismas inmates are freed every morning? Skye Drive is even closer and a shorter walk for the inmates to walk to. By the time Fayetteville realizes the mistake that has been made, it will be too late. Federal Bureau of Prisons says that 54% of their inmates return to prison in five years from release. Not my numbers, but fact. This will become a dangerous place to be.”

My turn: The greater concern, Mr. Turner, is for residents of Greenwood Homes, Scotty Hills, Forest Hills, Eutaw Heights and the subdivisions near Cain Road. Van Story Hills and Skye Drive are a good distance from Cain Road. Most people are not against a second chance for those who have run afoul of the law, particularly when it is a minimal offense. But even a halfway house should not be considered in close proximity to neighborhoods.

Your turn: “Bill, thanks for your coverage of residents who live near the property where the so-called federal halfway house may be built,” Jeff Thompson writes about our March 11 column concerning residents attempting to thwart the Dismas Charities effort. “I live in Scotty Hills.”

My turn: You’re back again, Mr. Thompson, and always welcome. Like Ben Kuhn, the Raleigh lawyer fighting on behalf of the residents, says, it appears you have an uphill battle. I would not want a halfway house for federal inmates in my neighborhood, either.

Your turn: “Bill, I enjoyed your article about Billy,” Judge Mark Sternlicht writes in an email about our March 6 column on state Rep. Billy Richardson, the five-term member of the N.C. House of Representatives who did not seek another term. “I've known him since I was 10 years old and know most of the people mentioned in the article. You described him and his service to our community well.”

My turn: Rep. Richardson has been an outstanding voice for Cumberland County. He led our Cumberland County legislative delegation of Reps. John Szoka, Marvin Lucas, Diane Wheatley and Sens. Ben Clark and Kirk deViere in bringing back $413 million to this county and surrounding communities as part of the state budget for 2022-23. To say Richardson will be missed in Raleigh is an understatement. He’s only 67, and I believe he is leaving before his time.

Your turn: “Thank you for your wonderful article in City View Today,” Jan Carnahan writes about our March 16 coverage of the annual Scorecard Breakfast sponsored by the Women’s Giving Circle. “You have told our story well. As a result, two people joined March 15 and four more have committed to join. We’ll have even more funds to give next year. WGC is reaping many benefits from your wonderful article.”

My turn: Thank you back, Mrs. Carnahan. The Women’s Giving Circle gave out just shy of $60,000 on March 15 and made a difference in the lives of so many women, children and others with financial needs in this community.

Your turn: “I love CityViewToday and read it every day!” Carol Quigg says in an email.

My turn: And we are delighted to know that Mrs. Quigg, and to have you as a daily reader.

Your turn: “Bill, thank you so much for the outstanding article on Leonard Black, and now Coach K and Danny Highsmith,” Timothy Hinton writes about our recent columns on the late Leonard Black, Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and Danny Highsmith, former Duke basketball radio color man. “And thank you for staying in the game ... we sorely need it.”

My turn: Journalism has been in my blood since 1971, and telling the stories of people of this community has been a career joy.

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

Column, Bill Kirby Jr., Hay Street Parking Garage, elevator, Fayetteville, Cumberland County Sheriff Earl 'Moose' Butler, Dismas Charities, Cain Road, halfway house, Billy Richardson, Women's Giving Circle