Up & Coming Weekly

June 04, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1125688

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Page 4 of 32

4 UCW JUNE 5-11, 2019 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM HIGH 94 LOW 73 HIGH 94 LOW 72 HIGH 94 HIGH 92 HIGH 91 LOW 73 LOW 72 LOW 71 JUNE 10 JUNE 9 JUNE 7 JUNE 8 JUNE 11 PM Thunderstorms Scattered Thunderstorms Scattered Thunderstorms PM Thunderstorms Scattered Thunderstorms Scattered Thunderstorms JUNE 6 HIGH 96 LOW 74 STAFF PUBLISHER Bill Bowman Bill@upandcomingweekly.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ EDITOR Stephanie Crider editor@upandcomingweekly.com OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Paulette Naylor accounting@upandcomingweekly. com ASSISTANT EDITOR Leslie Pyo leslie@upandcomingweekly.com SENIOR SPORTS EDITOR Earl Vaughan Jr. EarlUCWSports@gmail.com REPORTER Jeff Thompson news@upandcomingweekly.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Elizabeth Long art@upandcomingweekly.com MARKETING ASSOCIATE Linda McAlister Brown linda@upandcomingweekly.com DISTRIBUTION MANAGER/ SALES ADMINISTRATOR Laurel Handforth laurel@upandcomingweekly.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS D.G. Martin, Pitt Dickey, Margaret Dickson, Karl Merritt, John Hood, Jim Jones, Shanessa Fenner, Prudence Mainor, Avery Powers, Elizabeth Blevins ––––––––––– Up & Coming Weekly www.upandcomingweekly.com 208 Rowan St. P.O. Box 53461 Fayetteville, NC 28305 PHONE: 910-484-6200 FAX: 910-484-9218 Cover photos credit: Parade, top right: www.visitfayettevillenc.com Lake, top right: Trey Snipes Food truck, top left: www.gofayetteville.com Up & Coming Weekly is a "Quality of Life" publication with local features, news and information on what's happening in and around the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Up & Coming Weekly is published weekly on Wednesdays. Up & Coming Weekly welcomes manuscripts, photographs and artwork for publication consideration, but assumes no responsibility for them. We cannot accept responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts or material. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the pub- lisher. The publisher reserves the right to edit or reject copy submitted for publication. Up & Coming Weekly is free of charge and distributed at indoor and outdoor locations throughout Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base, Hope Mills and Spring Lake. Readers are limited to one copy per person. © 2019 by F&B Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertisements without permission is strictly prohibited. Various ads with art graphics designed with elements from: vecteezy.com and freepik.com. Hope Mills commissioners just spent $26,000 on an investigation that concluded what most of Hope Mills already knew: Mayor Jackie Warner did nothing wrong. The $26,000 question — was it worth it, Hope Mills? by BILL BOWMAN PUBLISHER'S PEN No. at's the consensus of most Hope Mills residents. ey think not. And, there is a reason for that: It was their money the Hope Mills commissioners so recklessly spent on a frivolous investi- gation that netted the same conclusions Hopemills.net and Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper have been reporting for nearly four months. Everything we reported and editorialized about, including Lone Survi- vor Foundation, alleged improprieties of Mayor Jackie Warner, art sculp- tures, the Hope Mills Lake bulkheads, Teddy Warner, the Cumberland County Economic Development Corpora- tion, closed sessions — all of it has been proven and brought to a vindicated conclu- sion. Last Wednesday, May 29, was the day of reckoning when Hope Mills Commissioners Jerry Legge, Meg Larson, Jessie Bellflowers and Mike Mitchell received the results of an investigation they initiated to try and expose improprieties and wrongdoings by Warner. ey voted to hire a Raleigh law firm to conduct an impartial investigation for a whopping $26,000 of Hope Mills taxpayers' money. Even more alarming and disap- pointing to the residents of Hope Mills is that they paid that exorbitant fee for infor- mation and verification that we, as a local media source, have been providing Hope Mills for free all along. So, even with the $26,000 price tag and complete exoneration of any wrongdoing by Warner, the town of Hope Mills staff or Warner's family members, the question remains: Is it over? Really over? Will Legge, Larson, Mitchell and Bellflowers relinquish their pursuit to discredit Warner, impede her progress and keep her from performing her duties and responsibilities as the mayor of Hope Mills? Will they focus their attention on coopera- tion and pursuits that will move Hope Mills forward? I posed the question, "Is it over?" in writing to Larson, Mitchell and Bellflowers and asked them to respond with a statement of assurance. I let them know that once received, I would print their responses, verbatim, in this article or provide them their own space in Up & Coming Weekly to state their position. As of June 2, only Bellflow- ers responded. Here is what he wrote: "e findings of the inves- tigation have been presented, and in my opinion, any further investigation(s) and all the finger pointing needs to end here. While I am sure not everyone agrees with the findings, the bottom line is there are no winners here! Should the LSF proposal been handled and presented in a more professional matter — you bet. Lessons learned. Going forward, we need to develop and approve ef- fective protocols regarding the purchase/sale/ lease of any town-owned, municipal property areas. My hope is, perhaps ... just perhaps … we can ALL move on from this investigation and use our positive energy — collectively — to engage on completion of the most needed projects our community citizens expect and deserve from their Town Board and Staff lead- ers. Our citizens deserve no less!" Our newspaper always strives to inform the Hope Mills community, providing news, insights and information they can trust and encouraging them to get involved in all those things that affect their business, family or quality of life. We have covered the town's elected officials for months, including conflicts over art sculp- tures, Lone Survivor Foundation and false allegations and charges against the mayor and her family. Our blanket coverage of this ordeal from start to finish is the near perfect example of why Bellflowers, Mitchell, Larson and Legge voted to cancel the Hope Mills Initiative with our newspaper. It had nothing to do with the $28,000 cost. It was about greed, selfish- ness and obsession with power. Knowledge and information are power. ey wanted to control the governing narrative by restricting media access to the citizens of Hope Mills — especially when it came to important issues. e objective was no transparency. ey wanted to keep residents uninformed about town issues by limiting residents' ac- cess to an independent media source they could not control. e board's uncontained outrage, disdain and hostility toward Up & Coming Weekly came as a result of us not go- ing away after they canceled our contract. It was unsettling to them that we continued to do our job of reporting the truth, advocating for the welfare of the citizens. I will end with this suggestion for ev- eryone in Hope Mills. You are a commu- nity of nearly 17,000 residents. at's a 17,000-strong voting bloc. It's much larger and much more influential than these dis- tractors. Shut them down by ditching their negative propaganda on social media. Don't tune in. at includes the Hope Mills Chatter. It also consists of the postings of the Hope Mills Bee and Hope Mills Outpost. Together, they represent only hundreds, not thousands, of Hope Mills residents — and therefore votes. Who cares what they say or print? ey lack credibility. If they had any credibility, they would own their words and not hide behind anonymity. e media is the natural enemy of those with intentions that are less than honorable. e previous board of Hope Mills commissioners understood this. is board, not so much. ank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly. We're not going anywhere! BILL BOWMAN, Publisher, UP & COMING WEEKLY. COM- MENTS? BILL@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

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