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The Kirby File: Fayetteville has a new fire chief in homegrown Kevin Dove


Kevin Dove is the new chief of the Fayetteville Fire Department. “I am overwhelmingly humbled at the opportunity to lead this world-class organization into the future,” said Dove, 44, who was selected by City Manager Douglas Hewett on March 4 to succeed the retired Mike Hill. “The members of the organization that have preceded me have laid an impenetrable foundation that we can build upon with the sky being the limit.”

Dove has been with the department since 1999 and has been chief of operations prior to being selected out of 28 applicants, according to the FFD. Dove holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership, Fire/Rescue Executive Leadership from Waldorf University, a B.S. from Fayetteville State University in Fire Service Management and is a graduate of South View High School in Hope Mills.


Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Keefe Jensen and fellow Fayetteville City Council members Malik Davis, Mario Benavente, Lynne Bissette Greene, Derrick Thompson, Brenda McNair, Courtney Banks-McLaughlin and Deno Hondros will be attending the Congressional City Conference scheduled Monday through Wednesday at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington, D.C. They’ll be meeting with members of the Congressional delegation and others to advocate for city interests of concern.


Out of 213,473 registered county voters, only 36,804 cared enough to vote in Tuesday’s primary election, according to the Cumberland County Board of Elections website tracking. That’s 17.24%, including early-voting and absentee voting.

“We have 148 provisional ballots, which will be researched and considered for approval at our 5 p.m. meeting on March 14,” said Linda Devore, a member of the Cumberland County Board of Elections. “Also, a small number of civilian absentees and possibly military and overseas absentee ballots, which can be received through today. The military and overseas can be accepted until canvass under some circumstances.” Still, based on the “unofficial” tallies, that tells you more than 82% of registered county voters just don’t care.


“Calling for a runoff,” said Dave Boliek, the Fayetteville lawyer who isn’t giving up on his bid to become state auditor. Boliek came up short in Tuesday’s unofficial returns, according to the N.C. Board of Elections website. Fellow Republican Jack Clark led the votes with 197,976 unofficial votes, or 23.24%. Boliek was second in the six-candidate race with 188,398 unofficial votes, or 22.12%. He led the way in the county with 4,855 unofficial votes, or 34.66%, according to the Cumberland County Board of Elections, with Clark following with 3,099, or 21.48%. It’s a steep climb, but Boliek isn’t giving up.


“We are very proud to receive this award,” said Gail Riddle, chairwoman of the Cumberland Community Foundation’s board of directors, in a news release about the foundation being honored on Jan. 30 as the 2024 Nonprofit of the Year at the annual Greater Fayetteville Chamber awards banquet at The Carolina Barn in Spring Lake. “At the same time, we would like to celebrate the many nonprofit organizations that serve our community. Nonprofits are economic drivers, presenting the arts, serving the hungry, helping our seniors, investing in our youth and preserving special land, just to name of few of their many contributions. Remember, everyone can help improve the quality of life for every member of our community.”


Angelo Aldoph, an eighth grader at Max Abbott Middle School, is the Cumberland County Schools Spelling Bee Champion for a second consecutive year. After 44 rounds of competition, Aldoph correctly spelled “emollient” for the title held March 1 at the William “Bill” Harrison Educational Resource Center. Ashna Upreti, an eighth grader from John Griffin Middle School, took second place. Emily Staneata, an eighth grader at St. Patrick's Catholic School, was third. Aldoph, according to Cumberland County Schools, will compete in the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee scheduled for May 28-30 in Washington, D.C.


Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Marvin Connelly Jr. was recently honored by Gov. Roy Cooper and the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh for Connelly’s contributions in the field of education.


Kudos to members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity from Spring Lake for recently taking time to mentor members of the Ambush Club at South View High School in social customs and courtesies of how to properly shake hands with others, look people in the eye when conversing and other social skills.


The Great French-American Yard Sale scheduled from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at 121 Devane St. in Haymount has been postponed until the same hours on March 16.

“The weather prediction for this Saturday looks awful, so we have made the decision to shift to our March 16 rain date for the yard sale,” said Kris Johnson, president of the Fayetteville-Saint-Avold Friendship Alliance, an independent organization that manages the Sister City program for Fayetteville. The Heritage Square Historical Society is assisting in the sale.


“Bill, really appreciated and enjoyed your story about ‘Election Central’ at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux,” Jeff Andrulonis, founder and president of Colonial Radio Group, writes in an email about The Kirby File's Tuesday column about when candidates, politicians, politicos and the community would gather at the old Holiday Inn Bordeaux Conference Center to await elections results. “I came to Fayetteville in 1995, so I guess my introduction to that night must have been either primary or general election night 1996. It was something to behold, so thanks for the memories.”

WFAY 1230 A.M. in Fayetteville is part of the Colonial Radio Group.


“Hey Bill, any idea what became of your namesake, ‘Kirby the elephant,’ that was at the Putt-Putt course on Bragg Blvd?” Phil Barnard writes in an email about the decorative animal attractions of the late Don Clayton, founder in 1954 of the miniature golf franchise that went international. “And also ‘Jeremy the giraffe’? I know the giraffe ended up at Owen’s Nursery on Cliffdale Road but was moved somewhere after that business closed as well.”

Come now, old friend, I found those lost Elvis photos for you from the rock ‘n roll legend’s 1976 performances at the old county arena. As for the elephant and the giraffe, it beats me. No telling what happened to them.


Early risers should be in for some straight talk when the Greater Fayetteville Chamber Coffee Club convenes at 7:30 a.m. on March 21 at the AEVEX Lounge of Segra Stadium, where guest speakers scheduled are Clarence Grier, the county manager; Devin Heath, the new president and chief executive officer for DistiNCtly Fayetteville; and Bob Pinson, executive director for the Fayetteville Cumberland County Arts Council. They’re grounded leaders, and Grier, Heath and Pinson will tell it like it is over the morning coffee.

Next: Deja vu along Rock Avenue

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

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fayetteville, fire chief, kevin dove