Mitchell makes motion to demolish Saleeby House, Historic Commission blames mayor

This post popped up today on the Hope Mills Historical Information FaceBook page.  The post, which shows photos of the Saleeby Home being demolished, was shared from the Hope Mills Historical Society, Inc. Facebook page. The Historical Information page made a point to announce they aren’t associated with either the Historical Preservation Commission or the […]

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Signs, signs, everywhere signs

My little blog was recently dubbed…’hate fiction’ by one of the half dozen citizens who spoke in public comments about the removal of political signs.  Ironically, the woman who coined the phrase…didn’t actually have any signs removed from her lawn. In fact, FOUR of the ardent protestors didn’t have signs removed from their lawns in […]

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For thee but not for me?

Today I yield my blog to Sue Moody.  Sue has been a resident of Hope Mills for more than 30 years and is a retired educator.  This is the statement Sue read to the Board of Commissioners during the October 7th meeting. 483 years ago today, William Tyndale was strangled with an iron chain and […]

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Mayoral candidate Mitchell hides behind lies and accusations

This is the email I sent to Melissa Adams August 7, 2018…requesting “A list of all non-profit organizations who contacted Mike Mitchell between the dates of July 24, 2018 and August 2, 2018 inquiring about purchasing any piece of land owned by the town of Hope Mills.” This was in response to an August 2 […]

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Board votes to condone racist remarks

Tonight we attended the Board of Commissioners meeting.  They addressed the naming of the Golf Course walking trail and town manager Melissa Adams emphasized, twice, that she added it to the agenda, not for nefarious reasons, but for safety.  She’s concerned someone will have an emergency while walking the trail and won’t know how to […]

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What’s going on in Hope Mills?

A good question with no simple answer. However, better days are on the horizon. The Hope Mills political discourse is just a mini reflection of the crazy leadership style germinating in Washington, D.C., and negatively influencing governments at all levels. It’s the trickle-down effect from the nation’s capital to North Carolina to Fayetteville and yes, […]

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The beater of dead horses strikes again

September 4th Larson requested her public record request be added to the agenda for the September 9 meeting.  Anyone want to hazard a guess as to why? My theory is she’s already written a censure of Mayor Warner.  She won’t present it herself.  She’s a coward.  She’ll hand it off to one of her flunky’s […]

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Retelling a lie doesn’t make it true

Edit: There are some distinct differences between the article I wrote and the one published by Up & Coming Weekly.  All references to Goldy were added in post-editing.  Goldy didn’t know this and assumed I’d launched a full-frontal attack on him when he read the paper Wednesday morning. Which is why he launched an attack […]

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Board repeats same mistakes…and so does Collins

During the April 1st meeting, the board discussed the never-ending struggle to transform the golf cart path into a walking trail.  During the 40+ minute conversation they heard an update from Public Works Director Don Sisko indicating DOT was taking 30-40 days to review site plans.  The site plan was for the proposed parking lot […]

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Larson shows her true colors Pt. III

“The town should have begun renovations on the historic parish hall that was donated to the town five years ago and has declined due to lack of preventative maintenance, Larson said. She also said the work at the lake park should have been completed by now, and would have been if the design plans had […]

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Larson shows her true colors Pt. II

Today we’re going to take a look at some of Larson’s statements in the Waring article. “There are so many things that this board should have done that didn’t get done during these past two years,” Larson said. She attributes it to the many clashes that have often been observed between Mayor Jackie Warner and […]

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Larson shows her true colors Pt. I

On July 19th Commissioner Larson announced in the private group known as The Chatter she wouldn’t be seeking reelection, but would be supporting Commissioner Mitchell in his bid for the mayor’s seat.  On July 23rd the first article appeared, authored by her good friend Lisa Waring, slandering Mayor Jackie Warner. For those following the situation, […]

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Up & Coming Weekly addresses the investigation and results

Today marks the one year anniversary of the closed session and LSF’s meeting with the Board of Commissioners.  And while a lot has changed, too much remains the same.  In the past week supporters of Larson and Mitchell have launched a campaign to discredit Cauley and his investigation.  As recently as yesterday Larson used social […]

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May 20th Meeting Recap

– The Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau produced this amazing Visitors Guide for Hope Mills.   FACVB did a tremendous amount of research for the books and paid for them so they didn’t cost the tax payers anything.  And they’re really beautifully done.  They should be popping up all over town very soon, if they […]

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Have we moved forward???

Up & Coming Weekly has dedicated next week’s issue to the Hope Mills investigation.  Jeff Thompson, Earl Vaughan Jr. and I have each written an article to cover the investigation. However, this has become a developing story. Wednesday night James Cauley presented the results of his investigation to the Board of Commissioners.   He began by […]

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Up & Coming – their red herring

  The above graphics are from June 2017, when the Board initially heard the proposal from Bill Bowman, and from July 2017 when the Board voted unanimously to accept the proposal.  But what exactly was the proposal? What was presented as the Hope Mills Initiative (HMI) was really a collaborative effort between the Hope Mills […]

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Creative place making Pt. II

As the creative place making initiative weaves its way across the country, big and small communities are finding unique opportunities to incorporate art into our environment.  The idea of making every-day objects decorative was a natural leap. These are examples of art covering storm drains.  They’re not only artful, but they’re an opportunity to remind […]

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Government overreach in Hope Mills

    On March 17th (Sunday) a local resident began removing trees from his private property…the property is adjacent to Heritage Park.  Several people saw this and thought the town was removing trees from municipal property.  Residents began to call Commissioners, who then called town manager Melissa Adams at home. Adams called the resident and […]

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Full disclosure

How much influence does Lisa Waring wield over the Board of Commissioners and specifically, over Commissioner Larson? Once again, a source has provided screen captures from inside Hope Mills Chatter, the private Facebook group owned and operated by Lisa Waring.  This conversation took place March 19…six days prior to the special meeting held by the […]

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There are two sides to every story

1 – Whereas the Hope Mills Town Board appreciates and supports the cultural arts within our community. 2 – Whereas the Hope Mills Town Board believes it is important for elected officials to act in an honest, ethical and transparent manner for the citizens we serve. 3 – Whereas it is important for our citizens […]

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Guerilla marketing meets economic development

The face of retail has changed considerably since 2009 when the national recession began.  Large and small retail companies had to reevaluate their investment, and in too many cases they determined the cost of staying open far outweighed the potential revenue. With so many closures, communities of every size are facing an abundance of empty […]

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The Creative Sector: A Proven Economic Catalyst for Rural America

Today’s post is from www.medium.com It reinforces some of the ideas we’ve been discussing on the site this week, about the role art plays in a community and the effect art has on our economy. NGA   The National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors. Follow NGA at @NatlGovsAssoc Rural regions […]

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Creative place making – Pt. I

The world is but a canvas to our imagination.  -Henry David Thoreau Today we’re going to continue our discussion of creative place making and bringing art into our community.  These are all ideas I’ve been stashing away for years, and to be honest, since most of the Board of Commissioners isn’t too fond of me […]

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The nice things we can’t have…

For nearly eight months I’ve talked about the Board of Commissioners…specifically about certain commissioners…and how their personal agendas and vendettas prevent the entire board from moving forward.  They are the reason we can’t have nice things.  I think I even used that as a title on an article.  But…what are the nice things we can’t […]

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Where is Hope Mills’ history????

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the Board of Commissioners met February 13th to discuss the Christ Episcopal Church Parish House on South Main Street.  Last March the board voted unanimously to destroy the house at a cost of $11,000. “I question why our commission was never informed of their decision to demolish the building,” […]

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The board uses lies and half-truths to justify bad behavior

During the February 18th meeting, the Commissioners spent a great deal of time discussing veteran issues.  Again.  Specifically Commissioner Mike Mitchell addressed my February 7th article ‘Mitchell launches new attack on veterans’.  (Link) MM – “I take exception to this article.  Never at any point did I separate any discussion on the veteran committee.  I […]

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What good shall I do this day?

I’ve never gotten to say this before…but the Board of Commissioners impressed me tonight.  They held a special workshop meeting to discuss…for the third time…changes to the sign ordinance. All of the board members were polite to one another, they asked great questions, they sometimes contradicted one another but not in a mean spirited way.  […]

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Laws are the sovereigns of sovereigns

‘It was more of an introduction of interest”  Larson During the February 4th meeting the board addressed my questions regarding ordinance 2018-9 and whether or not they’d violated that ordinance. Commissioner Larson said, “I wanna address the ordinance with our attorney because there were three commissioners that were present at the meeting – but there […]

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Pot, kettle…black!

During the Board of Commissioners meeting on July 23rd, Commissioner Larson accused Mayor Warner of having prior knowledge of Lone Survivor Foundation’s June 4th presentation.  Mayor Warner clarified she knew there would be a presentation, but not what the presentation was about.  Larson’s continued suspicion spawned a formal investigation. It also spawned Ordinance 2018-9 “Whereas […]

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The wheels of justice turn slowly

ACLU Responds – In July 2018, Commissioner Mike Mitchell blocked me from his social media.  I contacted the North Carolina branch of the ACLU for guidance.  This very issue was being heard by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals who only recently rendered a decision. It IS unconstitutional for elected officials to block the public […]

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Hope Mills deserves better leadership

  Editor’s note: On occasion, Publisher Bill Bowman yields this space to allow others to discuss relevant local topics. This week’s Publisher’s Pen is by HopeMills.net founder Elizabeth Blevins. “If you want an amazing downtown, it must start with rock stars leading the way. Board members who understand their commitment.” MainStreetAmerica.org Where are the rock stars in Hope Mills? Where’s the dedication and […]

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Who’s ‘wrongdoing’ what?

As a rule I try not to name private citizens.  Elected officials are subject to scrutiny but private citizens are not.  Likewise, I don’t reference personal issues.   But when private citizens use social media to accuse their fellow citizens and respected organizations of serious crimes, they forfeit that privacy.  They become the news. Last week […]

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Larson lashes out

December 17th the board met for a regular meeting.  One hour and five minutes into the meeting, Commissioner Larson deviates from protocol and launches a one-sided attack…against me.  Larson spent 15 minutes reading from various articles I’d written and posed questions to Adams.  Adams, who seemed to know what questions were going to be asked, […]

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Up & Coming Weekly – Golf Course Article

On December 3rd the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners voted to approve a plan for Phase II of the lake bed project.  The engineering firm, Fleming & Associates, has been presenting revised site plans to this board for a year, at a cost of $50,000. Monday night the board was told federal regulations have changed […]

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When there are no consequences…

“When there are no consequences, being wrong is simply a diversion.”  Ian McEwan Once again, this is the video of the December 3rd Board of Commissioners meeting. 2:08:34. The Mayor opens public comments and Elizabeth Cooper addresses the board.  She speaks briefly about the new signs ordinance, then her remarks turn to the board’s actions. […]

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The reason we can’t have nice things…

    This is the video of the December 3rd meeting, posted by the Town of Hope Mills.  There are many relevant points and I’ll be posting about those at a later date.  For now, We’re going to focus on 2 key issues. Issue 1 – Roughly 11 minutes into the video, Mayor Warner announces […]

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The evolution of the blog

Not long after the July 23rd meeting, Commissioner Mitchell wrote a post for his official Facebook page, in which he accused the mayor of ‘going rogue’ in facilitating the sale of 19 acres to Lone Survivor Foundation.  His post, which you can read for yourself, implied that Jackie Warner conspired with her son, Teddy Warner, […]

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Hope Mills Board of Commissioners lacks oversight

  In late September of 2013, the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners voted to remove Commissioner Tonzie Collins from his elected position by way of an amotion hearing.  It was a politically charged decision and detractors were quick to point out the exorbitant expense ($33,000) and poor timing; Collins was already a registered candidate and […]

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Larson leads board down rabbit hole

During the November 5 board meeting, Commissioner Larson suggested the town re-open the golf course, which has been closed to the public since spring 2014, as walking trails.  “It would give the citizens another place to walk during the day other than Municipal Park,” Larson said. Commissioner Larson was among the handful of people who […]

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Alex Warner takes hard stance against Board of Commissioners

    Alex Warner is a political shark.  After two terms on the Cumberland County School Board he ran a record-breaking campaign for the North Carolina House of Representatives. He served nine terms representing District 45.   In person, Mr. Warner is modest about his political prowess. But when he speaks it’s evident his tenure […]

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Election 2019 – Begins Now

In June of 2019 a dozen citizens will make the pilgrimage to the Cumberland County Board of Elections and announce their candidacy by registering.  But they won’t be legitimate candidates. Every other June we’re faced with the same plague of people who suddenly and inexplicably feel a deep abiding love for this town.  They’re compelled […]

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Point of order…

The November 5 Board meeting began with several proclamations regarding Veteran’s Day.  I planned to post both of them here as a tribute to our veterans, but they weren’t included in the agenda. During Public Comments Grilley Mitchell, co-founder of the Hope Mills Citizens for Change (HMCFC) Political Action Committee (PAC),  addressed the board.  He […]

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Parks and Recreation Committee meeting recap

Written by Elizabeth Cooper, Co-founder of Hope Mills Citizens for Change The October 29th, 2018 Parks and Recreation Committee meeting.  The meeting was attended by Sally Bailey, Chairperson, Sandra Ebron, Winnie Golden, Tiffany Horne (arrived late), Mike Seals, Linda Sumners, Maxie Dove(Liaison for HM PR), Meg Larson (Liaison for HM BOC), and Bruce Armstrong (Liaison […]

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Hope Mills Board bullies Mayor

During Monday night’s meeting, Commissioner Larson made a presentation:  she’s drafted an ordinance which states all five board members must be present for any presentation/request to buy or lease municipal property.  No member of the board can discuss the buying or leasing of land unless all five are present. Her ordinance does not include the mayor, […]

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Board blunders through baseball offer

  The October 22nd meeting began with a presentation from Jeremy Aagard, the General manager for the Fayetteville Swampdogs.  They’re proposing a partnership with Hope Mills wherein they would lease 5 acres of golf course property, plus enough for a parking lot.  They want to build a $12-15 million-dollar multi-use facility for recreation.  They’re asking […]

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Board’s actions spawn political action committee

In the twilight hours of October 21, members of Hope Mills Citizens for Change (HMCC) a new Political Action Committee (PAC) distributed signs at intersections and on major roadways.  The PAC officially formed within the last few weeks but they’ve wasted no time establishing their agenda:  Vote NO to 4-year terms. The 4-year referendum was suggested […]

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The evolution of a referendum

At a February meeting, Commissioner Mike Mitchell suggested 4-year staggered terms for the entire board.  Mitchell said other municipalities in North Carolina have already switched and to great success.  A motion was made for the town attorney to research the process, and the board voted unanimously to approve it. Attorney Dan Hartzog addressed the board […]

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Hope Mills board votes denies LSF’s final offer

“We’re very disappointed with the actions of the board.  I made plans to attend the November meeting and was hoping to discuss our offer with them in person.  Of all the people I’ve spoken to, only a half dozen indicated they were opposed to this partnership, and three of them were the board members who […]

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Vote NO to 4-year terms

Written by: Elizabeth Blevins   On November 6 the town of Hope Mills will vote on a referendum which could extend the board’s terms to 4 years.  In an effort to better understand what this board has, or hasn’t accomplished, I audited the last 10 months of meetings.  I encourage you to read them for […]

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Board wants extended term limits

In the Spring of this year Hope Mills Commissioner Mike Mitchell proposed making a drastic change to the town’s charter, suggesting the Commissioners serve 4-year staggered terms instead of the current 2-year terms.  After prolonged discussions it was agreed to put the issue on the November ballot and let the citizens of Hope Mills make […]

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Mitchell Adds Insult to Injury

August 17th I posted about this email from Commissioner Mitchell to the staff and Board.  The email looks like a violation of N.C. General Statute 160A-169   Not even two weeks later, on August 30, Commissioner Mitchell posted this graphic on his Facebook page..showing that he actually attended the John Szoka meet and greet he […]

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Hope Mills Wins Award, Loses Respect

Written by: Elizabeth Blevins From the August 29 issue of Up & Coming Weekly – During the August 20 Board of Commissioner’s meeting, Hope Mills received a plaque from the City-County Joint Appearance Commission, who recognized the dam at the 10th Annual Community Appearance Awards. On September 10, Town Manager, Melissa Adams, will travel to […]

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Mitchell & Larson live on talk radio

  Audio clip  The clip above is to the 20+ minute interview of Commissioners Meg Larson and Mike Mitchell by Goldy.  To make things easier I’m going to use abbreviations for their names. I’m also going to give you time stamps so you can zero in on exact parts of the conversation. 0:48 – Goldy- […]

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Reckoning & Retraction

Last night’s Commissioner’s meeting was…disappointing.  Commissioners Mitchell and Larson were not censured for operating outside the scope of their responsibilities by the remaining Board members.  Mitchell never referenced violating staff rights…he didn’t even issue a public apology.  He did find a way to mention his business…again But more disappointing than that, was news Commissioner Larson […]

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The Conflicted Commissioner Larson

Late Friday night I was sent a text message with a link.  The link was to the minutes of the October 2, 2007 Cumberland County Planing and Inspection Board meeting. Of interest, is item A on the agenda… P07-47: REZONING OF TWO PORTIONS OF A 20.26 ACRE TRACT, CONSISTING OF 9.43 ACRES AND 4.20 ACRES […]

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Mitchell urges staff to avoid political meeting

Earlier today, an aid for John Szoka sent invitations to Town Hall, inviting the elected to a meet & greet for the Representative.  Mitchell reacted very strongly to the invitations, sending a message indicating he found the idea ‘inappropriate’. North Carolina General Statute 160A-169 clearly states employees shall not be restricted from attending political meetings […]

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Commissioner Mitchell wanted to sell the land

The public is aware Lone Survivor Foundation made a presentation to the Board on June 4th in a closed session.  They’re aware the Board voted on June 18th to reject that offer and end negotiations. Our Board is bound by confidentiality during a closed session, they can’t discuss with the public what was said or […]

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Interview with Terry Jung, Executive Director Lone Survivor Foundation

  “Mourning is in every household, desolation written in broad characters across the whole face of their country, cities in ashes and fields laid waste, their commerce gone”  General Sherman In March of 1865, General Sherman stormed through our small town, burning the mills around which we’d built a community.  His intention was to bring […]

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No Conflict, No Interest

  This is from a post on Commissioner Mitchell’s Facebook page this weekend.   The email seems to indicate Lake Bed #2 was never part of the properties being assessed by the McAdams Group as potential recreation areas. Commissioner Larson made a motion, during the August 1st Special Meeting, to cancel the Public Hearing scheduled for […]

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Commissioner Mitchell Goes Rogue!

  There was a flurry of activity on Commissioner Mitchell’s social media this weekend…including this gem.  In his post, Mitchell admits to excluding the Board from the decision making process when he was approached by several organizations interested in purchasing property.  In lieu of presenting the offers to the Board and letting them consider each […]

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Predictably, Commissioner Larson Moves to Cancel Public Hearing

  Minutes into last night’s Special Meeting, Commissioner Larson made a motion to cancel the August 20th Public Hearing.  The Board voted 4-1 to approve the motion, then disappeared into an hour-long closed session. Terry Jung, Executive Director of Lone Survivor Foundation, took the opportunity to poll the crowd, asking if we wanted him to […]

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Are Commissioners Using Delays to Manipulate the Public?

During the July 23rd Board meeting, the Commissioners voted to hold a Public Hearing on August 20th at 7pm, to give the public an opportunity to express their opinion about the sale or lease of town property to the Lone Survivor Foundation.  The town is obligated to advertise public hearings for 30 days prior to […]

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Commissioner Mitchell Violates the U.S. Constitution

I posted this graphic with a comment on Commissioner Mitchell’s official Facebook page at 11 AM. The comment said, “This is a lie.  You knew within ten minutes of leaving the July 23rd Board meeting that Mayor Warner was unavailable August 1-5.  You and Commissioner Larson specifically CHOSE to schedule the meeting that night.  In […]

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Board of Commissioners Offend Veterans’ Organization

  Commissioner Mike Mitchell posted a very-one sided and misleading diatribe about the Commissioner’s meeting that was held July 23rd.  Commissioner Mitchell accused Teddy Warner, Director of Business Development for the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation of soliciting the Lone Survivor Foundation (LSF) to purchase property in Hope Mills.  He further claimed the Board […]

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