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Bill Kirby Jr.: Now is the time to become engaged in your community

Residents of Fayetteville face important choices with the Nov. 8 election and issues before the City Council.
Residents of Fayetteville face important choices with the Nov. 8 election and issues before the City Council.
Photo by Tony Wooten
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Seems like everything is coming at us all at once in this autumn season, with decisions to be made from political choices on Nov. 8 about bond initiatives for public safety, $60 million; streets, sidewalks and infrastructure, $25 million; and housing issues, $12 million, to changing the structure of the Fayetteville City Council representation with the Vote Yes Fayetteville plan, to whether or not the City Council will keep its promise to approve funding for a proposed N.C. Civil War & Reconstruction History Center. No time for sitting back. Now is the time to become engaged in the community.

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“It has been a long, difficult struggle to get this far with the project only to fail at the very end,” says Mary Lynn Bryan, vice chairwoman of the N.C. Civil War & Reconstruction History Center foundation board, which is hoping to bring the proposed $80 million history center to Fayetteville. “So, I hope it can be worked out between the state and the mayor, and we can move on without having to spend our time in constant wait-and-see mode. Mac Healy and I still have money to raise, and if the city comes through, we will now have a better idea of what we need to do. So, the ‘doing is not yet over.” The foundation is waiting to hear if the City Council will vote to give $6.6 million to the project.

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“Bill, your Oct. 5 column is excellent,” the Rev. Jay Coker, retired pastor at First Presbyterian Church, says about the column regarding whether or not the city will provide $6.6 million toward funding the $80 million N.C. Civil War & Reconstruction History Center proposed for Arsenal Avenue and Branson Street at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex. “I am pretty sure that it will fall on some ‘deaf ears.’ But there are people who value greatly the possibility of the project, the hard work of the History Center committee, and your clear reporting about the council. Thanks for your continued good work.”

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“Bill, I just read the article about the local breast cancer awareness effort,” Kelvin Draughon of Draughon Brothers Inc. writes in an email about our Sept. 28 column about Glady Hill’s sixth year with the Light Up Fayetteville Pink initiative. Mrs. Hill hopes to raise $10,000 for the Cancer Centers of Cape Fear Valley Health as part of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She is selling pink light bulbs for $5 each and also wants the city to light the Market House in pink.It should be loudly noted that Mark Pezzella of Five Star Entertainment is the mastermind behind lighting the Market House pink. He deserves accolades and much respect for his effort on this project.” Pezzella did indeed light up the Market House in pink around 2015 or 2016. Sadly, the city won’t even place $5 pink light bulbs in the Market House windows this year.

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“How do we get in touch with Mrs. Hill to purchase the pink light bulbs?” Kassie Wiggins writes in an email. You may purchase the pink light bulbs at Mid-South Lighting, 3633 Sycamore Dairy Road, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The telephone number is 910-867-1600.

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Volunteers will be out in numbers as part of Cumberland Clean litter pickup that will coincide with the Fayetteville Beautiful citywide cleanup from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. To volunteer, visit cumberlandcountync.gov/cumberlandclean or email Tim Middleton at tmiddleton@cumberlandcountync.gov You can pick up trash collection supplies from 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. at the Cumberland County Courthouse.

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Cool Spring Downtown District has been recognized with the Downtown Achievement Award by the International Downtown Association for Night Circus, the 2021-22 New Year’s Eve celebration at Festival Park. “Being recognized on an international scale for our efforts is truly an honor,” says Bianco Shoneman, president and chief executive officer of the downtown booster agency. “We love to bring positive recognition to our deserving city.” Night Circus included an 18-foot multicolored star with more than 150 LED lights that ascended into the air at midnight. The celebration was held in partnership with the city of Fayetteville.

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The Exchange Club of Greater Fayetteville is staging the Stephen Roy Parker Memorial Celebration from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at Highland Country Club, with entertainment featuring Classic Soul and Chairmen of the Board. “For decades in our city, as well as his adopted home of Myrtle Beach, Steve Parker was an icon both as a bigger-than-life character and successful businessman,” says Steve Smith, a longtime member of the Exchange Club. “For over 30 years, he served as the social chairman for the Exchange Club of Greater Fayetteville. The parties and oyster roasts he orchestrated weren't just gatherings; they were events. If you attended one of these festivities, you couldn't wait for the next. Whether in costume or shagging to the likes of the Embers or Punch, Steve meticulously planned a memorable affair, sparing no expense.”  No one, Exchange Club members will tell you, enjoyed a party more than Steve Parker, and that’s the undisputed truth if ever the truth was told. He loved fast cars, motorcycles, pretty women, traveling, and hosting parties, and he always was the life of every party. “The only thing missing,” Smith says, “will be Steve's infectious smile and trademark laugh.” Tickets are $50 and can be purchased on the Eventbrite website. Steven Roy Parker died at age 68 on June 26 after a courageous battle with dementia.

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

Bill Kirby Jr., Fayetteville, election, City Council, Civil War center

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