The Rant Monthly | April 2020

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The Rant y l h t Mon April 2020


We'll get through this.

2 | April 2020


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y The Rant l h t on M April 2020 | Sanford, North Carolina A product of LPH Media, LLC Vol. 2 | Issue 4

Editorial Gordon Anderson | Billy Liggett | Jonathan Owens |

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The Rant Monthly April 2020


We'll get through this.

ABOUT THE COVER A global epidemic flipped life as we know it upside down (and it remains "flipped" as we enter April). COVID-19 shut down our restaurants and hair salons (plus much of our retail). It closed our schools and colleges — moving all learning to online classrooms. It forced an entire nation (and much of the world) to simply remain home and stock up on toilet paper, of all things (hence, our cover). This edition of TRM tries to recap it all (locally, of course). Hang on to this one and show your grandkids some day. Or if it gets worse out there, keep it as a backup TP supply.

The Rant Monthly is located in beautiful Sanford, North Carolina. Please address all correspondence to LPH Media LLC, 3096 South Horner Boulevard #126, Sanford, NC, 27332. Editorial email: or Advertising: The Rant Monthly is published monthly (obvs). The Rant Monthly is wholly owned and operated by LPH Media LLC, a North Carolina corporation. Submissions of all kinds are welcome. This publication is free — one per reader, please. Removal of this newspaper from any distribution point for purposes other than reading it constitutes theft, and violators are subject to public flogging. Printed by SunBelt Press in Dunn, North Carolina. Copyright 2020, LPH Media LLC, all rights reserved.

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4 | April 2020



TEMPLE ANNOUNCES ITS 2020-2021 LINEUP COVID-19 halted Temple Theatre's production of "Steel Magnolias" barely a week into its run, and the future of "Mama Mia" is in question, as there's no end is sight to when social distancing to fight the spread of the virus will come to an end. But Temple's staff showed optimism that all will be well by the fall by announcing their 2020-2021 lineup in March (virtually). With diversity and equality in mind — as suggested by the North Carolina Arts Council — Temple Theatre announced the following shows beginning in the fall: •

Hello, Dolly

Blood Done Sign My Name

A Christmas Carol

Driving Miss Daisy

My Way — A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra

Church Basement Ladies — A Mighty Fortress

La Cage Aux Folles

It wasn't the best of years for Roy Williams and his UNC Tar Heels, and Williams' luck didn't get much better when his car broke down on U.S. 1 in Sanford on March 11. Luckily, the good men and women from the Tramway Fire Department and Paradise Towing were there to help him out.

SIX PANDEMIC MOVIES TO STREAM Many of us are stuck indoors anyway for the next few weeks (at least). Check out some movies that kinda predicted our predicament.

LPH Media and The Rant were to celebrate one full year of The Rant Monthly publications with an open-to-the-public karaoke party at Local Joe's in downtown Sanford on April 4. Yet, something about filling a bar full of people and sharing a karaoke microphone seemed a bit, let's say, "out of touch" with the current state of the world.

Outbreak Netflix

Contagion Hulu

28 Days Later Hulu

FUN WITH FACTS The popular internet abbreviation OMG originated in a letter Winston Churchill in 1917. British Navy Admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher wrote to Churchill about rumors of new titles that would soon be bestowed. "I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis," he wrote. "O.M.G. (Oh! My God!) — Shower it on the Admiralty!"


The Flu

Amazon & iTunes

The Stand Vudu (rent)

World War Z Hulu

So the party has been postponed, but rest assured, dear friends, it will happen. Our DJ has been confirmed, and when the party does happen, fine establishments like Joe's could sure use the business. "Rest assured, when this thing does happen, we'll have even more reason to celebrate coming together," said Rant co-founder and squirrel taxidermist Billy Liggett. "When it feels like it's safe enough to get a crowd together in a crowded room again, we'll drink, sing horribly and have a great time." A list of songs available for karaoke can be found online at

The Rant Monthly | 5

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6 | April 2020



The best way to take cancer head on is to get screened. April is Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Month.

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The Rant Monthly | 7

There's good to be found in these difficult times By Billy Liggett


here were 20 cars lined up along the street in my neighborhood on March 26 — balloons and streamers tied to side mirrors, posters taped to the doors and “happy birthday” wishes shoe polished on the windshields. Inside several of the cars — families I’ve known since I moved to Sanford nearly 13 years ago. Families whose children have grown up with my children. And in other cars — people I barely know, but who know (and love) Henry, my youngest who turned 6 on that day. Henry’s sixth birthday fell on Week 3 of a global pandemic. We originally had plans to invite him and a gaggle of friends to celebrate in a gymnastics facility. Three weeks ago, there was nothing wrong with such an idea. A lot has happened in three weeks. But you don’t need me to tell you that. Henry’s birthday was spent at home with

“I believe when it's all said and done, we'll be better because of all of this. We'll appreciate birthday parties, restaurants and even hugs.” his parents and two siblings. It featured three separate songs from his classmates, his sister’s classmates and his family delivered via Facebook messenger and Google Classroom. And best of all, it featured a parade. A 20-car parade, led by a Lee County Sheriff’s deputy and featuring close friends, neighbors and teachers. They honked horns, they tossed beads and candy and one family even pulled over to perform for my son on instruments (from a safe distance, of course). When it ended, my son was beaming and couldn’t believe something like that came together “just for me.” I’ve seen several silver linings in these extremely cloudy last few weeks. I see them when my kids’ teachers conduct their online

classes or when they’ve led their own parades through the neighborhoods they educate for. I see them in the men and women handing out meals at our schools to families who are grateful for them. Or in the health care professionals working overtime and risking themselves for the greater good. I see them in all of us who are taking this “social distancing” thing to heart. We’re a nation full of people sacrificing their way of life and their income to not only protect ourselves, but our loved ones and complete strangers as well. We could all use these silver linings. The scientists and doctors out there — those we should be listening to, by the way — say we’ve yet to peak when it comes to cases and

deaths. Those who seem to know less are pushing us to hurry back to “normal” for the economy’s sake. These are scary, uncertain times, and the light at the end of this tunnel isn’t in focus yet. But I believe when it’s all said and done, and we’re back at work or at our favorite social hubs, we’ll be better because of this. In the short term, at least, we’ll appreciate more things like birthday parties, restaurants and even hugs from friends. I’ll look back on this unique time in my life and remember my wife taking over and homeschooling my children or the creative ways we entertained ourselves while stuck inside. And most of all, I’ll remember that parade. And that smile. I wish those kind of moments on all of us. o Billy Liggett is stuck at home for the foreseeable future. Email him at if you’d like to be distantly social.

8 | April 2020



Greenwood names Chaney as its next principal Christian Chaney, a current assistant principal at Greenwood Elementary, has been named the school’s new principal. Chaney will replace Aimee Petrarca, who was named the new principal at W.B. Wicker Elementary School in February. Petrarca took the top job at Wicker after its first principal, Wendy Carlyle, moved into the district’s Central Office following the departure of Rob Dietrich, director of accountability, testing and records and director of technology. Schools, of course, remain closed for students and staff for the time being while the state and nation deal with the coronavirus pandemic, making it unclear when exactly Chaney will transition into his new role.

Valenti's restaurant still eyes location in Sanford Adam Valenti, the owner of Valenti’s in Vass, still plans to build a new restaurant location on Main Street in Sanford behind the South Horner Boulevard Piggly Wiggly. The Rant reported last Spring that the Sanford City Council voted to rezone a plot of land at the location for the restaurant. At that time the owner stated that he hoped to start construction in July. Valenti said he still plans to build the restaurant, but has had some setbacks. He hopes to start construction this spring, he said.

Photo by Sara Coffin


Farmers Market returns to downtown April 11 with 'social distance' changes By Billy Liggett With our farmers and their goods deemed “essential” during this month of social distancing, the Sanford Farmers Market is eyeing a return to downtown on April 11. Market manager Josh Hodge said the market is more important than ever as shoppers locally and nationally are finding bare shelves and communities are becoming more food insecure in these tough economic times. “The farmers markets around the country are likely going to be the one of the only ways for people to purchase fresh, locally grown produce at a time when grocery stores may be lean, especially for WIC users, which we accept,” Hodge said. “It’s a two-way street as well, because the vendors at the market are also experiencing these times and relying on events like this to get their products out and support themselves.” Hodge said the COVID-19 epidemic will

certainly change the way the local market runs. Social distancing will be mandated — only one person in the vendors booth at a time and one customer at a booth at a time. Food displays will be minimal to keep contact down, vendors will wear gloves and will have hand sanitizer available, and table cloths will not be allowed at the booths. “We are still exploring what this will look like when we reopen and also seeing what other markets have done that have made the experience safer,” Hodge said. “We are in a transition period with the market and looking to make this a fixture of the Sanford/Lee county area. We know people have options on a Saturday, and other markets they can visit may be a bit more robust, but I believe we can get our market to that point where this becomes a huge draw for the community.” The farmers market returns to downtown Sanford, as last year’s location — the Ruby McSwain Extension Education and Agricul-

ture Center — is closed until further notice. The market will operate in the parking lot of the Buggy Building, with the hopes that could be a long-term switch. “We are so excited about this and the hope it may bring our community to have an open-air market to purchase fresh, local produce during this time,” said Kelli Laudate, director of Downtown Sanford Inc. Joni Martin, owner of Progressive Contracting Company Inc. and the Buggy Building property, echoed Laudate’s enthusiasm for the market’s downtown return. “It’s such a draw for our farmers, and, in turn, it gets people downtown to go to restaurants (to pick up food) and see what we have to offer,” Martin said. “We realize these are difficult times, but it will provide another resource in the meantime and an opportunity to grow our market in the future.”

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10 | April 2020

@therant905 RANDOM THOUGHT


My wife asked me to pick up a to-go order from Food Lion this week when I mentioned I was heading to a local drive-thru restaurant for lunch. I was put off by her request, only because it meant I had to put on real pants (instead of the flannel pajama pants I'd worn two days straight). That's where we are these days. — Billy Liggett

Stay home, but take out


his is a message you've seen more than a few times already, but we're going to repeat it here: Stay at home, but keep eating out.

The dine in option hasn't been available for a while, and it doesn't look like it will be for maybe an even longer while. But there are so, so many restaurants everywhere who remain open for takeout and even delivery. Utilize those services while all of this is going on — the financial survival of your local restaurants, and the people who staff them, literally depends on it. And the experts are all saying it's largely safe, noting that “there is no current indication that takeout or drive-thru meals will increase illness,” and calling the option “a good risk management choice.” That's per a CDC fact sheet distributed by N.C. State University in March. You still need to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly and make sure you're practicing your social distancing, but there's no reason for panic. You can and should still enjoy most of your local favorites. If you're reading this, you've probably already been making sure to get takeout when possible, as we've partnered with a number of local restaurants this month to distribute our product with takeout orders. With so many places closed during the current pandemic, this was the best way we could think of to get The Rant Monthly into as many hands as possible and encourage folks to keep the local economy moving as much as possible. We're in debt to our partners for helping us distribute our papers this month, and our thank you to them is our advice to you — patronize them as much as you can. And, look. If you're sick, stay home at all times. Get treated. But if you're not sick, a quick car trip to pick up a meal can not only boost your spirits and fill your belly — it also helps your friends and neighbors keep their businesses afloat.

In response to May Hemmer's guest column in March on burlesque dancing, diversity and acceptance in Sanford: I truly believe Sanford is headed in the right direction. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. There are organizations in town that are working hard to expose and educate our community to the cultural diversity. For example, El Refugio just put together an awesome International Culture Night where many from the community came

together not only to participate but also came to educate themselves and enjoy a great time. As a Latina born and raised in this community, I promise you this town is not what it was growing up as a child. Yanira Scott Excellent and timely piece with a lot of valuable insight. Here’s hoping that as our great town grows and becomes more diverse, our capacity for empathy, tolerance, and positive coexistence grows, too. Thomas Mierisch

A bit of comfort in revisiting Stephen King's 'The Stand' By Gordon Anderson


ecent events had me thinking the other day back to a night in the spring of 1994.

I'd just finished watching the first episode of the television adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand. That episode ended — and this isn't much of a spoiler alert for those of you who haven't seen it — with most of the world's population dead after a couple weeks from a 99.4 percent infectious superflu, and the few survivors navigating a world that was somehow made more dangerous and deadly by the fact that it was totally empty.

life Coronavirus pandemic was actually kind of comforting these 26 years after my initial exposure to the idea of a worldwide plague. In The Stand, the Captain Trips superflu got its world-ending work done in about two weeks, and by the time I'm typing this we're already several weeks in, with several more to go. I guess it's sort of backwards to find comfort in the idea that we're still probably closer to the beginning of this than the end, but at least this thing doesn't seem likely to wipe society entirely off the map. At least we've got that, right? I was texting with that friend from 1994 the other night and reminded him of that time I laid on his parents' couch all night in total fear that I was gonna catch the bug (or worse, survive it) and we had a good laugh. That laugh felt good too.

Maybe all those other plague movies offer some level of comfort as well. I don't know. I was staying over at a friend's house, and when he went to bed I crashed on the couch and “The comparison of King's vision to the real-life promptly stayed wide awake until coronavirus was actually kind of comforting 26 dawn thanks to years after my exposure to the idea of a plague.” the complete terror of finding myself in that Like I said, I haven't seen them. And I don't situation. It was far scarier than any zombie have anything particularly wise to say about or Freddy Krueger scenario because, well, how to deal with everything that's going on viruses are real. Zombies and the reanimated right now. But I do know it's important to spirits of dead serial killers who haunt the escape every now and then — especially now dream world aren't (although the idea that Freddy could be real did do a number on me that we're all cooped up for the foreseeable future. So if you haven't seen The Stand (or years before that). read the book, which I of course did shortly Plague movies, I'm sure, are on a lot of after the miniseries aired, and which of people's playlists right now. I'm not necescourse ignited an even greater panic in my 14 sarily a huge fan of the genre or anything year old brain) it's a great way to kill a few — I've just loved Stephen King for a long hours that you'll probably definitely have on time — so I can't say I know any of the big your hands here shortly. If you're into that ones people are talking about right now. But my wife and I did take the opportunity to do sort of thing. Whatever floats your boat. a rewatch over several nights in mid March because, well, what else was going on?

Why do people do stuff like this, at times like this? I can't speak for anybody else, but for me, the comparison of King's vision to the real

o Gordon Anderson caught the swine flu in 2009 (for real!) and as such is an expert on global pandemics. Email any questions you might have to, and he will promptly forward them to someone who knows the answer.

The Rant Monthly | 11 READER RESPONSE Fear of COVID-19 goes deeper than contracting it Social distancing, COVID-19 and REM’s greatest hit. As a single mother with six kids and a full-time job, it’s no freakin’ joke. And I really like jokes. Like, a lot. I’ve got a pretty good game face, but I’m not going to lie, it’s a mask that hides a very real, almost guttural fear. My life is forever changed because of this, and my children’s lives won’t ever look the same either. I stand now not knowing whether or not this change will be for better or worse. I have a child with epilepsy, among other pre existing conditions. How might this affect her? I have bills like everyone else, so how long can I “float” and hope for people to start buying houses again? And what in the actual f--k is the world going to throw at us next? I am privileged in all of this, believe it or not. I have a consistent and strong support group, from my parents to my employer and everyone in between. I know there’s a safety net in place to catch me if and when the need arises. As stubborn as I am, if I ever needed to ask for help, I could. There’s a whole city out there, literally right outside of my door that doesn’t have the luxury of such a strong network. Mothers struggling to feed their babies, getting laid off left and right, having their hours reduced, cut back or slashed to nothing but bones. Fathers who have worked for years to build up a small amount of savings watching it dwindle down to the very last penny and still trying to figure out where the money for diapers, snacks and gasoline is going to come from. I fear the change for myself and my children. I ache for the present reality for my neighbors. And I loathe the thought of just how much worse it’s going to get for them. COVID-19 is the smelly onion no one wants to dice open. The layers are endless and stinky. It will make your eyes burn, and it isn’t going to taste good. Someone, something, is serving it up to us anyways. We are elbow deep in this meal and I f--king hate onions.

Darla Shoults Sanford

The March 2020 cover story of The Rant reported on Sanford's attempt to bring passenger rail back to the city. Many of our readers loved the idea: This is very cool. I’ve noticed a fair amount of joking on social media about Sanford being a Nowheresville fit only for hicks and drugs, and in the few years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen there’s so much more to the city than that. It’s been encouraging to see city leadership make civic improvements, because it shows they’re taking Sanford seriously. And this push for a train stop does the same. Well done. Joel Selby If it comes, everyone should try it out to show that is a viable option. If we have commuter rail, it can create commuters coming into Sanford as well as going to Raleigh. The Temple Theatre, restaurants and shops in downtown Sanford will be a great draw for visitors spending their money here. Samuel Gaskins

I work in downtown Raleigh, and the train station there is only four blocks from my office. I would love to be able to take the train. Angela Maynard Be proactive. If planned out correctly, with accompanying infrastructure, it would be a great way to get to the Triangle and back. Jayne Loo A stop in Sanford would be super awesome. In Europe, it’s convenient to get around because of the rail system. I wish we had a fraction of what Germany has. Tauna Schachle

YOUR RANT If we’re anything, we’re pretty good listeners. All we ask is that you keep it clean, don’t get personal with your fellow citizens and keep it short. Email us (addresses on Page 3) or send a message to our Facebook page.

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12 | April 2020




What do we really know about this little bug that’s turned our lives upside-down? Quite a bit, actually.

What is a coronavirus?

Where did it come from?

First off, let’s clarify our terms. We’ve all been calling this thing the coronavirus, but actually, coronavirus is a type of virus. It’s called that because the little spiky things protruding from the virus reminded researchers of a crown. “Corona” is Latin for crown, or halo.

The short answer: Researchers don’t know just yet. Early research in the U.K. suggested the COVID-19 virus is similar to one found in horseshoe bats. That’s not so far-fetched as its sounds: SARS spread from bats to cats to humans. And MERS originated in bats and spread to camels before the first human was infected.

You may remember SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) from 2003 and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) from 2012. Both of those were caused by coronaviruses. For a while, folks were calling this one “the novel coronavirus,” meaning it was new. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prefer the name COVID-19 for the disease caused by SARS-COV-2. Coronaviruses affect only birds and mammals.

The first human cases of COVID-19 were detected in early December in the Wuhan Province of China. The CDC says the first cases of COVID-19 were linked to a live animal market there. The Chinese government has said they now think the very first case may have been a 55-year-old man who fell ill on Nov. 17 of last year. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES

From there, the COVID-19 spread around the world.

How does the virus work? Like all viruses, this one has just one purpose in life: to reproduce. This only becomes a problem when the human body detects the virus and then goes into overdrive to try to rid itself of the virus. Most of the respiratory symptoms a patient suffers are actually brought on by the body’s immune system. Once it’s in the lungs, the virus uses protrusions made of spike proteins to latch onto a receptor on a lung cell. Researchers have noted that the COVID-19 virus seems to be “stickier” than, say, the SARS virus. Which may be one reason this strain has spread more quickly. Sources: Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization, U.S. National Library of Medicine, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control,, NBC News,,,, Encyclopedia Britannica. COVID-19 numbers as of 9 a.m., Thursday, March 26, 2020.

Which may be one reason this strain has spread more quickly.

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The virus then transfers its RNA into the lung cell and hijacks the cell’s reproduction machinery. Copies of the virus emerge from the host cells and go out in search of new host cells where they repeat the process.


How does the virus spread? COVID-19 can damage the lungs. But how does the coronavirus gain access to the lungs?

For the most part, COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. An infected person can cough or sneeze, spreading the virus through tiny droplets that are too small to see.

COVID-19 can also live for a period of time outside the body. So these drops can come to rest on a table or counter that can be touched by someone else who comes along later.

COVID-19 compared to other pandemics and epidemics


One-fifth of the world’s population and one-quarter of the U.S. population came down with the virus. In one year, the average life-expectancy in the U.S. dropped 12 years.

“Asian Flu”

Originated in Singapore, spread to Hong Kong and then to coastal cities of the U.S. Numbers settled down for a while but then resurged in 1958, particularly in the U.S.


“Hong Kong Flu”

Was thought to be caused by a mutated strain of the Asian Flu virus from a decade before. Spread quickly across Southeast Asia to U.S. soldiers returning home.




Originated in China and spread quickly among health care workers before it was identified. Major cities like Beijing and Singapore restricted travel and closed schools.




“Swine Flu”

Originated in Mexico, where it was thought to have mutated from a virus found in pigs. It had a resurgence in India in 2015, killing 1,841 people. Is thought to have originated in camels in Saudi Arabia. Another outbreak took place in South Korea in 2015 and then again in Saudi Arabia in 2018.


Was first identified in Africa in 1976 but a major outbreak in West Africa in 2014 caused the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency.


First cases were identified in China in December 2019 but last Friday, the World Health Organization declared Europe the new epicenter of the pandemic.


This is why we’ve been advised to not touch our mouths, noses and faces. Cells in our mouth and nasal tissues also have receptors for the spike protein. We can get droplets on our fingers that then multiply and spread to our own respiratory systems.




500 million 50 million 25 million 675,000

“Spanish Flu”




This electron microscope image shows COVID-19 viruses as they emerge from the surface of host cells in a lab culture taken in February from a patient in the U.S.

1.1 million 1 million

Unknown Unknown

116,000 100,000

8,096 774 27 0 6.7 million 19,654 113,690 3,433 2,506 862 27,000 11,300

2 4

0 2

593,688 27,216 101,866 1,590

Sources: Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization, U.S. National Library of Medicine, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control,, NBC News,,,, Encyclopedia Britannica

COVID-19 numbers as of 9 a.m. EDT, Thursday, March 26

14 | April 2020


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LIFE CHANGER Our stores are closed. Our schools are all online. We can't dine in anymore. Toilet paper and meat are in demand. We're working from home (or not working). Oh ... and there's this deadly virus that continues to spread. By Billy Liggett, Gordon Anderson, Jonathan Owens and Charles Petty


s difficult, frustrating, frightening, uncertain, inspiring and life-changing as the past 20 days have been, we’re only getting started as a state and as a nation in getting through this COVID-19 global pandemic. So here’s where we are as we enter Month 2 of our socially isolated new world ...

On March 27, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced a 30-day “stay-at-home” executive order that began on 5 p.m. on March 30 and will run through all of April. The directive pretty much locks down the state, following the lead of other states that have been hit harder by the virus. People who work in a number of exempted fields (such as health care, law enforcement and food and grocery service) will still be allowed travel to work, and everybody else will be allowed to leave their homes for essential products, as long as they remain socially distant from others (a six-foot barrier). But what it means in the grand scheme is North Carolinians still have another month (at least) of staying away from dine-in restaurants and movie theaters and another month of homeschooling their children, meeting with co-workers via Zoom and singing songs while washing their hands. “These are tough directives,” Cooper said at his press conference announcing the executive order. “But I need you to take them seriously. Although we’re physically apart, we must take these steps together in spirit. Our state will be stretched to capacity if we’re unable to contain this disease."

Volunteers and staff pass out food to families outside of W.B. Wicker Elementary School on March 25. Schools in the city have continued to provide meals to children and their families who rely on them during the school year. Photo by Billy Liggett

16 | April 2020


Breaking down the gov's executive order North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order on March 27 ordered North Carolinians to stay at home 30 days beginning at 5 p.m. on March 30. The important takeaways from Cooper’s directive: •

How “stay at home” is defined: North Carolina citizens have been ordered to stay in their homes or place of residence, permitted to leave only for a long list of “essential activities” or to work in places deemed “essential businesses and operations” in his order. The state’s homeless are urged to obtain shelters that meet social distancing requirements.

Travel rules: Only travel for “essential activities” is permitted. And if that means needing the use of public transportation, six-foot social distancing is required (you get that entire aisle to yourself, in other words).

Leaving for “essential activities” means you’re permitted to leave for: health and safety (hospital and urgent care visits or to obtain needed medicine or supplies); obtaining necessary services or supplies such as groceries, household products, car supplies and products necessary for safety and sanitation at home. You’re can still go outside: The executive order allows for walking, hiking, running, golfing and biking or any other activity that can be performed with social distance requirements. There’s a long list of businesses allowed to remain open and have employees travel to and from work. A few of them include: Hospitals and health care facilities, human service operations, essential infrastructure operations, essential government operations, stores that sell groceries and medicine, food and beverage production, charitable and service organizations, religious entities, schools, gas stations, the media and more.

A familiar scene for much of the United States over the last three weeks. The fresh meat shelves at Lowes Foods in Sanford have been bar or sparsely populated since March 12. Fresh chicken has become a precious commodity. Photo by Billy Liggett

“Because no one is immune [and] because there is no vaccination, the best scientific tool we have to control the spread is keeping our social distance and staying at home.” As of March 27, at least 831 people in North Carolina — making up 61 of the state’s 100 counties — tested positive for the coronavirus. Three of those residents, including a Harnett County man in his late 30s, have died from the virus. Lee County had two positive tests through March 27. North Carolina has fared better than many states. The United States as a whole crossed the 100,000-infected mark in late March and stood at 100,514 on March 27. Of those, the CDC reported 1,546 deaths. New York was home to the most cases, by far, with more than 44,800 positive tests and 519 deaths. New Jersey was nearing 9,000 cases, California more than 4,500, and Michigan, Massachusetts, Washington and Illinois had each surpassed 3,000 confirmed cases. Globally, more than 600,000 people have contracted COVID-19, and more

than 27,000 of those people have died. For the vast majority of Americans, the coronavirus’ effect on them has been completely on their way of life. It’s not different in Lee County, which reported its first case on March 20 and its second six days later. Life began to change locally on March 12, when Lee County Schools, the county’s private schools and Central Carolina Community College began sending emails and letters home to parents advising them they were monitoring news on the virus and preparing minor changes in classes — such as increased hand washing — to deal with it. CCCC that day banned all

non-essential travel for the short term and banned outside groups from utilizing the campus. Later that day, the North Carolina High School Athletics Association canceled its state basketball tournament, and the Sanford Area Soccer League suspended all practices and games. That night, Lee County Schools added to its list by canceling all field trips, all conferences, all sports practices and games and all visitors from campus. The snowball only got bigger from there: •

March 14: Gov. Cooper issued an executive order to stop mass gatherings of more than 100 people statewide and directed all K-12 public schools

The Rant Monthly | 17

rants in Lee County have since taken a hit, but have recouped some of the losses through drive-thru, delivery and takeout services. Soon after Cooper’s directive, Lee County Government that night declared a state of emergency and activated a COVID-19 hotline at (919) 352-3360.

across the state to close for students the following Monday (at the time, for just two weeks). That same day, Harnett County announced its first confirmed case — The Fayetteville Observer later reported the man to be Jeff Hensley of Bunnlevel, who told the paper on March 27, that he spent several days in the intensive care unit of Central Harnett Hospital in Lillington after he had difficulty breathing. Hensley told the paper he had been four days without a fever when he was interviewed, and pleaded with people in the area to “take it seriously.” •

March 16: The Lee County Health Department reported that three individuals who were tested for COVID-19 all returned negative. Lee County at the time had no confirmed cases, and North Carolina was only at 34 confirmed cases. County offices and services began making major changes on this day with the library enforcing a “check-in/check-out” policy, and Parks and Rec suspending programs. Temple Theatre announced the cancellation of its “Steel Mag-

The Beer Den at Lowes Foods in Sanford closed its bar after the U.S. urged citizens to stop all gatherings of 10 or more people to help "flatten the curve" of COVID-19. Bars and restaurants throughout Sanford closed their doors on March 17, except for takeout and delivery services. Photo by Billy Liggett

nolias” production after originally limiting audiences to 85 people after Gov. Cooper’s initial executive order. And Chick-fil-A in Sanford became one of the first restaurants in the city to ban inside dining.

March 17: Gov. Cooper made the decision easier for all restaurants to follow Chick-fil-A’s lead when he ordered that all bars and restaurants in North Carolina to close, except for takeout and delivery services. Most restau-

March 18: CCCC announced an employee had been self quarantined after presenting symptoms. That employee would test negative. Lee County Schools opened its child nutrition hubs at a number of its schools to provide meals to students and families who needed them. The Town of Broadway announced its popular April event Broadway Our Way could be canceled.

March 19: March 19: Central Carolina Community College announced it was closing its campus “until further notice” and moving most in-person classes to an online format. “In these challenging times our college is striving to best protect the health and well-being of our students, employees and our communities, while still doing everything we can

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“What’s the worst part? Feeling stuck at home. I miss my friends, church and co-workers.”

to maintain our services to our students,” said college President Lisa Chapman. In Moore County, an OB/GYN in Southern Pines announced he tested positive for the virus. And just days after Cooper’s restaurant order, La Dolce Vita in downtown Sanford became the first restaurant to announce it was shuttering its doors for an undisclosed amount of time. •

March 20: Lee County announced its first confirmed case of coronavirus. Later that day, the City of Sanford announced it was closing all municipal parks to protect the public and employees and to slow the spread of the virus. The county also announced it was closing county parks and “additional facilities” to the public — including the recently renovated Kiwanis Family Park. That same day, Campbell University announced its move to online classes would last throughout the spring semester, and the school announced it was postponing spring commencement ceremonies. March 23: Gov. Cooper announced all public schools in North Carolina would

adjusting to having their family of four at home all day. Scott says he’s thankful that his job as a senior insurance claims adjuster hasn’t been affected too terribly — he’s travelling much less, of course, but his company now has 95 percent of its 35,000 employees nationwide working from home for the time being.

— Melissa Caddick, mother of four working from home •

remain closed through May 15.

goggles and disposable gowns.

March 26: The Lee County Health Department announced a second confirmed positive case. The county also announced it had tested 12 people in all, and four tests were still pending.

As for the local economy, the timing couldn’t have been worse for Lee County to face a potential recession. As reported in The Rant often in the last year, the county was riding a wave of new industries, hundreds of new high-paying jobs and new housing developments to help projected housing shortage in the area. It’s still too early to speculate how these executive orders will negatively affect local retail, restaurants, construction and industries — and it’s too early to tell how the government’s $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package will help.

While local hospitals aren’t dealing with the sheer numbers of cases and potential cases as larger counties like Wake and Mecklenburg, they have reported supply shortages. First Health of the Carolinas has been accepting donations of sewn masks and has urged people in the region to donate blood. Central Carolina Hospital in Sanford announced on March 24 that it was bracing for shortages of N95 masks, surgical masks, face shields,

But Jennifer, who also began working from home recently, might not be as fortunate, as work orders at the company she works for have all but stopped. Their two boys, Ty and Seth, have enjoyed “campouts” on the back porch and have adjusted to their new schedules well, but when Tramway Elementary resumes its year-round schedule online in April, Scott says he’s unsure how his 6-year-old will take to web conferencing and working online.

What can be reported, however, is that the past three weeks have changed lives drastically.

“I’m not sure how they’re supposed to do that,” Scott says. “How are parents who are also expected to work from home able to handle it? I delivered meals for Backpack Pals to two trailer parks in town [recently], and I do not see those kids having internet access nor a computer to work on — even with the ones the county loaned out. It’s tough times for the school system employees to work these details out.”

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The Rant Monthly | 19 adjustment has also been learning to work from home while making sure her four children are doing their assignments and taking care of the “daily normal tasks” at home … all while not being able to socialize outside of the four walls of her home. “What’s the worst part? Feeling stuck at home,” Caddick said. “I miss my friends, church and co-workers. I fear that my high school senior who has worked hard will not be able to walk at a graduation ceremony.” For Lindsay Tipton of Sanford, working from home and keeping her three children going with school work has taken multi-tasking to a whole new level, she says. “I know they don’t have to be doing schoolwork, and so many people say to give yourself a break,” Tipton says. “But if they aren’t doing that, it’s almost harder for me to get work done.” But Tipton has found positives in the experience. She says she’s thankful for the recent beautiful weather and time spent outside. And she’s thankful for technology that’s kept her connected with friends and family. “It certainly doesn’t replace face-to-face interaction, but it’s something,” she says. “And I appreciate new comforts. Coffee. Good smells. A good cry. My family. I appreciate the food I have to eat more than ever. I just miss my people and hugs.” Caddick says the experience has made her more thankful, too. “I am thankful for the home I have, the job that gives me the ability to work from home and continue being paid, the food in my belly, the kids who get on my nerves daily, the teachers who have proven time after time they are here for my children and will do whatever we need to help them, and, lastly, for my health because I am staying home.” Scott and Jennifer Phillips miss their boys’ soccer on Wednesdays and Saturdays, church on Sundays, Boy Scouts activities and everything else that made their lives busy and productive. “It’s been a nice break, but part of me feels off,” he says. “There is a great deal about not being able to feed the people we used to feed every Sunday afternoon downtown. Our church had been delivering 100-plus meals every Sunday for over a year and a half. For many, that was the only meal they got that day or during the whole weekend, particularly for the kids. Due to the risk to those we were helping and those serving we had to suddenly stop.”



The immune system is the final link to stop the virus. Older adults and people with severe medical conditions seem to be at higher risk.

Break the chain: ● Support your immune system (ie: sleep well, drink lots of water, exercise, eat healthy foods, manage stress.)


The coronavirus. CoVID 19 is the illness caused by the virus.

The virus thrives in our (For more information, visit the CDC, WHO, and NIH* websites.) respiratory tract, but it can survive on surfaces Break the chain: outside the body for three ● Prevention, not panic. Take calm, decisive action. hours to three days. Infected ● Kill the virus with proper hand washing. Don’t people can be contagious touch your face with unwashed hands, before symptoms present practice social distancing, and disinfect themselves or without ever personal surfaces frequently touched. experiencing symptoms.

Break the chain: ● Treat everyone as though they have the virus. ● Take precautions to reduce transmission (read on).

● If caring for someone with the disease, take precautions to minimize your exposure to the virus.



The virus exits the body in infected droplets spewed into the air by coughing, sneezing or talking and can

If you break any of these links it can prevent you from getting sick or infecting others.


The virus can enter the human host through the respiratory system (nose, mouth), and eyes.

Break the chain: ● Assume everyone is infected and maintain a safe distance of at least 6 feet. ● Do not touch your face unless 4. TRANSMISSION your hands The virus spreads to a new host are clean. through direct or indirect contact.

contaminate surfaces touched by unwashed hands.

Break the chain: ● Cough/sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue, not your hands. (Virus can spread by shaking hands and touching public surfaces such ascredit cards, money, gas pumps, keyboards, store products, etc.)

● Wash your hands for 20+ seconds after blowing nose, coughing, sneezing or after touching surfaces in public.

● Throw used tissues directly into the trash. ● Do not shake hands or hug. ● Wash hands thoroughly ● Avoid inhaling infected droplets from ● Never touch eyes, nose, and mouth as soon as you get home. someone coughing, sneezing or talking in with unwashed hands. ● Self isolate. Avoid your face. ● Disinfect surfaces you touch daily.*** crowds. (social (Infected droplets are thought to survive for up to 3 (ie: phone, steering wheel, toilet and fridge distancing) hours in a closed space.**) handles, kitchen counter, faucets, TV remote, ● Stay at least ● Stay at home. doorknobs, etc.) 6-feet away *CDC: Centers for Disease Control; WHO: World Health **Study pending ***You can make disinfectants. Visit Consumer Reports article, “These from others.

Break the chain:

Organization; NIH: National Institutes of Health.

peer review.

Sources: CDC; WHO; APIC; Dr. Theresa Bernardo; Dr. Frances Downes

But like Tipton and Caddick, the Phillips have found positives in this social distancing experience. “The best part of all this is the extra family time we get,” Scott says. “Playing board games and card games in the evenings as a family

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has been a blast. I read something about the perception of this event and how kids will remember it. I believe it is true that most will have fond memories of this time. More time to just be kids, more family time, camping out on the porch every night, having more

campfires and less of the hustle and bustle that generally rules our lives. “Plus, I have not had to travel for three weeks now. My kids do not like it when I am gone.”

20 | April 2020




ee County, up until the arrival of COVID-19, had been seeing an influx in new businesses such as restaurants, shops, breweries and more, and the pandemic has been a gut-punch to those who had been enjoying the recent economic boom. Simply put, while there's never a good time for a pandemic, coronavirus definitely picked a bad one locally. For those small businesses who are concerned about the sudden change in the landscape when it comes to reaching customers and getting out orders, the Sanford Chamber of Commerce has been working on solutions to alleviate some of the tension. Meg Moss, the Chamber's director, said a tool kit with information on topics ranging from working at home to Small Business Administration loans is now available at the Sanford Area Growth Alliance's website ( “We put together a list of our restaurants and the specials they created for this takeout period and hours that were modified and we posted it on Facebook to get people realizing that local eateries are getting creative — from

delivery and these special menus,” Moss said. “We also feel that the tool kit we have created for these local businesses will help guide them in the unknown future ahead of all of us.” Moss said the Chamber is also encouraging small businesses to call their local banker to check on loans, to keep records of financial transactions during this period of the virus, and notify the Chamber of Commerce how they're weathering the storm. But officials are also frank that the pandemic will hurt a local economy that's made great strides in recent years. “No question we'll be hurt by this virus, so it is vital that we continue to support our local businesses in this time of particular need,” said Bob Joyce, director of economic development for the Sanford Area Growth Alliance.

"Non-essential" stores are taking a massive hit over the next month with Gov. Roy Cooper's 30-day "stay home" executive order" announced on March 27. The impact COVID-19 will have on small businesses remains to be seen.

Joyce also noted examples of businesses “getting creative” in order to stay afloat, citing as an example Harris and Company Insurance doing review meetings via teleconferencing, and with quite a bit of success.

the pandemic's aftermath from an economic perspective, thanks in no small part to the work SAGA and others have been doing in the last several years – as well as the work being done at all levels of government.

That said, Joyce expressed optimism about

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versities in the area have responded to having their teachers’, support staff and students’ lives flipped upside down in such a short period of time has been nothing short of incredible.

On March 23, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all schools in the state to remain closed through May 15, effectively wiping out two months of the school calendar.

Take Lee County Schools for example. In the first week following Cooper’s March 23 order, the district issued nearly 2,000 laptops for students in the third grade and up to bring home, sent out nearly 1,800 instructional packets to pre-K through second-grade students and prepared more than 11,000 meals served to children and their families that have relied on school meals for their daily nutritional needs during the school year.

he schools were among the last holdouts when sweeping COVID-19 mandates and executive orders were beginning across North Carolina and the U.S. But the order finally came down on March 14 that Lee County Schools would be closed for two weeks.

Two months of learning. Two months of socializing with friends. Two months of a senior year of high school. And nobody is certain it will all end then. While the situation isn’t as dire as the hits the nation’s health care and economy are taking at this time, the nation’s education system certainly ranks near the top in terms of institutions altered the most by the COVID-19 epidemic. And the way K-12 public school districts, private schools, community colleges and uni-

Lexie Brown and dozens of other teachers from W.B. Wicker Elementary School participated in a parade through local neighborhoods to say hello to the students they're now teaching online. Several schools in Lee County have participated in these mini-parades to keep spirits up during the state's "stay-at-home" order. Photo by Billy Liggett

tary, Greenwood Elementary, Bragg Street Academy and Warren Williams Elementary Alternative School so families can pull into those parking lots and access filtered internet access from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily (and the district is looking to expand those locations).

Teachers at several schools have even coordinated makeshift parades to wave and greet their students in their neighborhoods from a safe distance. It’s a lot of work in a very short period of time. But Superintendent Andy Bryan says

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On March 26 alone, the district reported it had connected with more than 11,800 students through online student-teacher interactions using Google Meet, Google Classroom and Canvas software. Guidance counselors and social workers have worked to remain in contact with students to check on their well-being and academic needs. The district has even launched WiFi hotspots at B.T. Bullock Elementary, Deep River Elemen-

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The Rant Monthly | 23 relationships with our kids is a cornerstone of teaching. I’ve struggled with that, as well as the adjustments to video conferencing. I miss them tremendously, and it is the highlight of my week when I see them on my computer screen.”

they’ve only begun adjusting to this new reality. “Although a lot has been accomplished, there is more work to be done,” Bryan said in a letter to parents on March 28. “Our teachers are doing a great job conducting virtual classrooms. However, it is a transition that will take time to perfect and expand. Our teachers are working with each other to share ideas and improve instruction in a virtual world.”

Braren said she has received much-needed support from the school district, and she commended teachers across LCS for their work in gathering instructional materials for all grade levels (the materials are there to supplement the work that has been assigned. She said teachers have also been given the opportunity to attend technology training sessions to better learn their various online teaching platforms.

For educators like Amy Braren, an eighthgrade science teacher at SanLee Middle School, the adjustments were sudden, life-changing and even emotional. Braren has gone from a hands-on, dedicated classroom instructor to a teacher who now video conferences with her students twice a week, assigning activities and mini-lessons, virtual field trips, video demonstrations and other assignments daily on her classroom page.

“I have been teaching for over 20 years, so I am not ‘great’ with the technology,” Braren said. “The first week was frustrating for me, but I am learning it and getting better at it with each assignment I give and each video lesson I teach. When I have questions, I rely on my fellow teachers and tech people, and we figure stuff out together. It’s just what teachers do — problem solving and teamwork.”

“I never thought in a million years that when we left school on March 13, that I would see my kids [in person] for another two months,” Braren said. “No one was expecting it then, especially our kids. Kids may say they don’t like school, but most really do. No seeing or interacting with my students has been the toughest part for me. Building

Central Carolina Community College has also moved the majority of its courses online, and educators like social sciences lead instructor Bianka Stumpf have also had to adjust and


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24 | April 2020


adapt on the fly over the past few weeks. “Even as I understand and embrace the necessity [of social distancing], as a teacher, I am still saddened not to have some of the on-campus experiences I had planned for my students in the coming weeks,” Stumpf said. “We had some history lessons that will be difficult to translate online even with video conferencing and others like a field trip to Temple Theatre that now cannot happen. Good teaching, though, always has an element of improvisation, too.” Stumpf said the faculty at CCCC were mostly prepared for the online transition because many of their university transfer instructors, like her, have already either taught some of their courses online or at least used some online elements in their on-campus instruction. She said she has relied on Blackboard Collaborate for video conferencing, as well as text message reminders, email and phone calls to stay connected to her 125 students. These are all technologies, she said, that her students are very familiar with, too. And for those students who cannot access the internet from their homes, CCCC, like Lee County Schools, is

“Good teaching always has an element of improvisation.” — Bianka Stumpf, CCCC instructor establishing hot spots in the campus parking lots to help.

those concerns — that role of “counselor” just as important as her role as educator.

“Ultimately, what makes a teacher's connection to a student is the personal relationship,” Stumpf added. “Since CCCC had to pause on-campus instruction, I first required students to reach out to me about a standing research project but also to answer how they are personally and academically, given all this uncertainty. I sought this response from them that I might be an encourager and connect my students to community and college resources.”

“I have had several say that the best comfort has been this dialogue,” she said. “While I am not a Luddite by any means, instructional technology will only be as successful in the coming weeks as the teacher on his or her sofa using it is at communicating compassion, flexibility and enthusiasm.”

Stumpf said she has received calls, emails and texts from many of her students, many of them expressing anxiety about their courses, their employment and other missed opportunities. She has responded to all of

The changes have been difficult for teachers at all levels, but parents have also taken on the burden of coordinating their children’s online instruction time and making sure assignments are complete (and proofed). Many of those parents are also juggling full-time jobs, now working from home — and vice versa, many of those teachers are dealing with caring for their

children at home while also trying to reach hundreds of students. Lives have changed. But there’s comfort in knowing this won’t last forever. For Braren, the experience has made her appreciate the “little things” in life much more. “Hopefully we won't take these things for granted anymore — like education, teachers and many of the other things we have grown to miss over the past few weeks,” she said. “I just keep focusing on when all of this is over and how big of a celebration it will be. What joy we will all feel when we can finally be together again.” ___________________ Visit Lee County Schools website at www. for updates from the superintendet, access to learning materials, locations for meal handouts and other information regarding COVID-19 and local education. Visit for updates on online learning, announcements and other information regarding COVID-19 and secondary education.

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The Rant Monthly | 25 COVID-19 & THE FRONTLINES


ike everyone else, Dan Cranston is waiting to see what happens next.

But Cranston, who owns a security company in Sanford as well as a company which makes grilling accessories, has multiple family connections which have given him a perhaps unique insight into multiple aspects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Cranston’s oldest son, Nick, works for the Moses Cone hospital network as the director of outpatient surgery. His middle son, Alex, works for a company in Hickory which has consulted for a number of textile company projects, including the production of specialized safety masks. And his wife, Leslie, works as a respiratory therapist in Sanford and Siler City. “There are lots of Sanford connections in this story,” Cranston said. Cranston’s son Alex works for the Hickory-based Manufacturing Solutions Center, which has helped to prototype a specialized safety mask containing extremely tiny copper filaments with antimicrobial properties. Cranston said he was fascinated by the thought that one of his sons was involved in the production

of an essential item that will most likely be supplied to both his wife and his other son during the crisis. He also said his two family members in the medical field have offered glimpses into the mindset of what healthcare workers are dealing with, even as the pandemic hasn’t exploded locally so far. “My wife was issued one N95 mask that she’s supposed to keep and clean after use,” he said. “That’s highly unusual. Usually they throw them away. It’s been tough for all of the workers, I’m sure. They all seem to kind of be bracing for the volume to pick up. And my wife’s been worried every day that when she comes home, she’s going to bring the virus home with her.” Still, Cranston said there’s a level of comfort in knowing his family is working against the pandemic. He said he also takes some pride in the fact that both of his sons got a good education locally and are now putting it to good use. “Both of my sons went to Lee Senior, and they both got a really good education,” he said. “I don’t take a lot of credit for it. They’ve worked hard. And I hope someone from Lee Senior can see what they’re doing and know that the school played a part in it.”


United Way of Lee County opens COVID-19 relief fund United Way of Lee County is opening the Community COVID-19 Response Fund to provide assistance to local agencies that are helping clients with urgent needs in Lee and Harnett Counties resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Visit to contribute via a secure online portal. Checks may be mailed to United Way of Lee County, 507 N. Steele St., Sanford, NC 27330. Local 501(c)(3) human service organizations providing services related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Lee and/or Harnett Counties may apply for grants from this fund by visiting Full information for interested agencies is available on the website. “Our local United Way is proud to be able to respond to the needs that have been expressed to us from our local partners who are on the front lines of an evolving situation,” says Will Harris, chairman of the United Way of Lee County Board of Directors. “As has always been the case with United Way of Lee County, funds donated here remain here to help our neighbors. Now that we are also serving Harnett County, we are happy to be able to meet needs in both communities in our local service area.” The fund has a goal of raising $50,000 to support both immediate and longer-term needs. All money contributed will be distributed directly back to the community, and distributions to agencies are expected to begin as soon as the fund reaches $5,000.

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26 | April 2020




ighty to 90 percent. That’s the amount of business essentially all of the restaurant owners and staffers The Rant spoke to for this told us they’ve lost since Gov. Roy Cooper ordered dine in service suspended while the state and nation deals with the coronavirus pandemic. The silver lining is that many of these restaurants are still able to offer take out and delivery while much of the rest of the state is locked down. But it’s not enough, and virtually all restaurateurs in the area told The Rant that they don’t know how long this can go on. “We’re literally 90 percent down,” said Brian Moser, head chef at Cooper’s Restaurant and Wine Room, which opened on Steele Street in downtown Sanford in 2019. “We’re struggling.” Moser and the rest of the staff at Cooper’s have had to think outside the box for ways to fight back. In addition to offering family style takeout meals that aren’t typically on the restaurant’s regular fine dining menu,

Moser said he’s started ordering individually packaged items like ground beef, chicken, pork, and even toilet paper that he can sell to customers who might have trouble finding those things at the grocery store. “It came out of a brainstorming session,” Moser said. “What could we do to keep up?” Orders for prepackaged items need to be placed in adavcnce. Cooper’s can be reached at (919) 292-1505 or at www.facebook. com/cooperswineroom. Dean Papageorgiou owns Bay Breeze Seafood on North Horner Boulevard and said he’s seen similar numbers to Cooper’s, although he noted that the final week of March had been “a little better.” Still, he’s had to change his hours, opening only at night during the week, and he’s gone so far as to not take a salary so he can continue paying his staff. Asked if he wonders how long he can sustain business under those conditions, he

Restaurants and bars like Local Joe's in downtown Sanford are relying solely on take-out, delivery and to-go orders during this period of social distancing. Joe's employees have seen their income drop dramatically since Gov. Cooper's executive order in March.

said he didn’t know. “It’s new to us. This has never happened before,” he said. “And we’re not really hearing anything from the government. It’s

just what I see on the news. We don’t know whether it’s like what Trump said, where things will be back by Easter, or if it’s going to go on for months.”

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The Rant Monthly | 27 Jeff Towson, who owns downtown’s Smoke and Barrel, said his numbers are in line with what others are reporting. “We’ve had days where we’re doing $200 — that ain’t gonna cut it,” Towson said. “I said to myself at the beginning of this that if I could do 40 percent of what I’d been doing, it could be worth it. But I don’t want to end up in a position where I order $1,000 worth of food that’s just going to sit in the fridge for a month.” Towson, like others, has gotten creative, offering family style and bulk takeout, as well as growler fills of the craft beers he keeps on tap, which hadn’t been part of his business before. But for now, he’s taking things day to day and seeing what happens. “”I don’t think I’ve noticed a pattern yet,” he said. “One day we’ll do $200, and the next day it might be $500.” Not everyone’s been able to weather the storm. On the first day of Cooper’s order, La Dolce Vita Pizzeria announced via Facebook that “it is painfully clear we cannot sustain on takeout only” and that they would be closing until further notice. Golden Corral followed not long after that, laying off 45 employees and shutting down. The latest announcement as of this writing came from Davison’s Steaks, which said via Facebook on March 25 that closing “is the best thing to do to keep our staff and our

family safe.” Those closings are part of the reason Katherine Klish feels lucky, even as she’s watched her income drop dramatically. Klish is a server at Local Joe’s on Steele Street who makes just $2.13 an hour and has to rely on tips for the rest of her income. “We’ve definitely had cut hours,” she said. “I’ve never been here when we’ve closed at 9, and that’s the way it’s been since all this started.” Klish, who has a child to support along with bills just like everyone else, said she’s beyond grateful for regular customers who have stepped up to help out, maybe making a small order and then adding a $200 gift card, or ordering nothing at all and bringing her and other servers a $20 bill or even $100. But she said that given her line of work, she doesn’t know whether to be more scared of catching Coronavirus or going broke. “I haven’t talked to a lot of (other servers), but the great thing about social media is you can kind of see how things are affecting people, and right now everybody’s scared,” she said. “And I love my job. I’ve always loved coming to work, and — everybody’s calling it social distancing, but I call it social disruption — I just really miss the sound of a full bar.”

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Many restaurants like Smoke and Barrel in downtown Sanford have begun bulk takeout orders and to-go growlers of beer to get through this time of not having full dining areas like the above picture from last October.

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ife’s changed a lot for most people in the last few weeks with the Coronavirus pandemic essentially shutting down most facets of life. For local law enforcement, though, things have pretty much stayed the same. “We’re watching what’s going on across the state, and paying attention to what other agencies are doing,” Sanford Police Chief Ronnie Yarborough said. “And we’re seeing some steps taken in bigger departments. But we haven’t had any major changes since this all came on.” There have been some minor changes — dispatchers in the 911 call center are now asking questions about where callers have been in recent weeks so they can best notify emergency responders about exactly what they’re responding to — and Yarborough said that as the pandemic worsens, there are steps he could see taking that would change operations in more dramatic way. “Some of your cities are starting to restrict vacation time and off duty work, and that’s something to ensure that you have the availabil-

ity of officers in case you need it,” he said. “But we have not seen it come to that.” Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter said the major change in his operations is the availability of school resource officers to work in other areas since schools are closed until at least May 15. But even with extra deputies on the road, Carter said he’s not seeing any kind of increase in crime or other activity. “We still want to take care of our kids, and so some of those officers are helping with Backpack Pals and giving out meals at the schools,” he said. “But we have the option to have them on the road if needed, which is always a help. We’re actually seeing a little bit of a decrease in activity, which is because so many people are staying home.” Yarborough said likewise, his officers aren’t seeing much of a change in the type of calls they have to respond to daily. “I don’t know of anything as far as disorder in stores or anything like that,” he said. “At this point in time, it appears the help is there for people who need it. But that could change if

“At this point in time, it appears the help is there for people who need it. But that could change if it gets worse.” — Sanford Police Chief Ronnie Yarborough it gets worse. If people are out of work, out of income, you could see things change. We hope it does not come to that.” Carter said law enforcement personnel typically have a lot of compassion for the people in the communities they serve, and as such understand that any trying times — not to mention a pandemic — are stressful for everyone. “I get a paycheck, but what about all those people that work in restaurants, in grocery stores? There may be a point in about eight weeks where we have to ask ourselves ‘what are we going to do?’” he said. “I know the stimulus is going to help some, but what happens after that?” And while a good many people are staying home, with kids out of school officers are prepared to see more young people out and about,

regardless of what the government says. So far it hasn’t been a problem for either department. “We always worry about that when school is out, but hopefully some of these young people can take advantage of the situation,” Carter said. “I know restaurants are hurting, but there might be a grocery store or a factory or a gas station out there that would hire these 16 and 17 and 18 year olds. We’re all challenged to think outside the box.” At the end of the day, even with protocols for proper hygiene and guidelines on how close they should get to community members, law enforcement has a job to do. And that job is risky anyway, pandemics aside. “We’ve got to respond to our calls. This is just an added danger of the job these guys have,” Yarborough said.

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The Rant Monthly | 29 COVID-19 & HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL


outhern Lee baseball coach David Lee knew from the end of last season that the 2020 Cavaliers had a chance to be special.

With 10 seniors returning from a third-round playoff team in 2019, the Cavaliers were in the conversation among the top 3A teams in the state. An offseason of hard work only solidified that sentiment. The season got off to a strong start, with the team giving up just two unearned runs in convincing wins over three conference opponents -- Western Harnett, Triton and Harnett Central. Then, like much of life all over the world, the season came to a screeching halt. The COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis put the Cavs’ dreams of the school’s first state championship as well as the school year on ice, and in jeopardy of total cancellation. “In 24 years of baseball at the high school and college level, this is the hardest working group of players I’ve ever had,” Coach Lee said on March 26. “It’s disappointing to say the least.” Thomas Harrington, the team’s senior shortstop and pitcher who has signed to play next year at Campbell University, said the news that the season was on hold was a shock to all his teammates. “We worked so hard this winter,” Harrington said. “We knew this year we had a chance to be special.” His coach tempered the state title talk by saying it’s a tough feat to accomplish. But even he admits it was in his team’s sights. “I would be lying if I said we never discussed (a state title),” Lee said. “That was certainly one of our goals, and I feel we had a not unrealistic chance to win it.” Along with Harrington, three other senior Cavaliers plan to play in college. Luke Craig is headed to UNC-Wilmington, Caleb Cross will

play for UNC-Asheville and Drew Bryan plans to play for the University of Chicago. Sophomore Brad Gregory has also verbally committed to play at North Carolina.

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“We have great senior leadership,” Harrington said. “We have tons of pitching and our bats were coming around. We were built to make a run.” “Our seniors were truly looking forward to just being together one more year,” Lee said. Senior first baseman Carson Grant has a different take than some of his teammates. He said he may have played his last baseball game and didn’t even realize it. “I’m not going to play in college,” he said. “I don’t want my career to end like that.” “It’s guys like Carson that we really want to get back and play for,” Harrington added. “You only get a limited time to play this game. We don’t want it to end for him like that.” The season has not totally been called off yet. The NCHSAA, which sanctions high school sports here, has left the door open, even though schools have been closed through May 15. For now, the Cavalier seniors are hanging out, waiting for the call to play ball again.

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“We have a lot more free time now,” Cross joked. “We try to read everything we can,” Harrington said. We watch (Gov.) Cooper’s press conferences and everything. We’re just trying to have hope.” Lee said speculation among those he talks to in high school sports is that if a season occurs, it will be an abbreviated one. He’s holding out hope. “It’s a disappointing set of circumstances,” Lee said, “but the season is not over yet. They haven’t canceled anything yet. Anything can happen.”

More COVID-19 coverage online See our list of restaurants and bars providing take-out, curbside, to-go and delivery service this month, read submitted stories from readers and view more reader-submitted "stay home" photos online at The Rant will continue to provide free content and updates to state and local regulations regarding the COVID-19 epidemic. To send us your news, letters or submitted articles regarding the current "state of things," email or, and we'll consider your entries for our May 2020 edition. Thank you, and stay safe!

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30 | April 2020 COVID-19 & SOCIAL DISTANCING


he Rant asked readers in March to send us photos of making the best of their "stay at home" order. As always, the didn't disappont. See more photos at our website,, and keep sending those photos for the next edition.


The Rant Monthly | 31

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MUSICAL MAGICIAN ENTERTAINMENT Want to include your upcoming events (if we're still having upcoming events) in our monthly entertainment calendar? Email gordon@rantnc. com and let us know the event, the date, the time, the location and any other pertinent information you want to include. Get even more noticed by including a high-resolution photo. _____________________________ NETFLIX

April 1 - 30 | Your Couch | 24 hours per day | $8.99 - $15.99 mo. Netflix has all those shows and movies, and you’ve got plenty of time while the virus fire rages outside your windows. Also, if you’re looking for somewhere to park your stock money, you could probably do a lot worse than streaming services. ATTEMPT TO COOK

April 1 - 30 | Your Kitchen | Any time, but meal hours work best | Prices vary You might as well scratch that inner culinary itch and try making that duck pastrami you’ve always wanted to. Assuming you have an internet connection, YouTube probably has countless lessons for whatever it is you’re trying to make. And if you screw it up, tomorrow is probably wide open for another attempt. CONNECT WITH YOUR LOVED ONES

April 1 - 30 | Most Rooms In Your House, Possibly A Back Yard | Waking hours | At What Cost? Make small talk with those people who live in your house. They’re experiencing all of the same anxieties you are, most likely, and if they aren’t, what better gift is there for you to give to them? Live alone? Conjure up an imaginary friend.

Durham artist can play several instruments, but it's the theremin that sets him apart (Editor’s note: It’s very likely this event may not occur, as Hugger Mugger has canceled all events indefinitely until the coronavirus crisis passes. We still liked this story, and hope that if the show doesn’t take place, Dave Yarwood and Hugger Mugger make plans to reschedule) By Corbie Hill Dave Yarwood can never remember how many instruments he can play. This Hillsborough musician plays in the band Exit Mice and is a co-founder of Durham people's choir Flash Chorus, but there's not really one instrument he identifies with. He’s humble and unassuming about it — this is the kind of thing you have to ask — but once you do so, he rattles off a respectable list. Guitar, drums, timpani, other percussion; synthesizers on occasion. He knows his way around a piano. There’s a trombone in his closet he can kind of play. There’s bassoon, which he studied in college, and its woodwind cousins, the clarinet and the tenor sax. While not an instrument itself, this software engineer-by-day created ALDA, a text-based format for music composition. And then there’s the instrument that looks like a skinny box with two antennae and knobs along one side. When you move your hands magician-like above it, this electronic instrument sounds like a flying saucer. “I think the theremin is probably the hardest instrument that I know how to play,” Yarwood confesses. The theremin is an early electronic instrument invented by Léon Theremin (the anglicized version of Russian inventor Lev Termen’s name), and its otherworldly voice has made it a favorite of forward-thinking musicians since its 1920 creation. It’s the only instrument that one plays by not touching, but by interrupting the electromagnetic field

Dave Yarwood, of the Hillsborough-based band Exit Mice and co-founder of Durham's Flash Chorus, was scheduled to play Hugger Mugger on May 1. That may or may not happen, considering things.

it emits. Its horizontal antenna controls volume, while the vertical controls pitch, and the musician moves their hands in the proximity of each antenna. On May 1, Yarwood brings his theremin to Hugger Mugger Brewing for an evening of music from — and geeking out on – this foundational piece of musical technology. And while the theremin’s modern niche is squarely in the experimental fringe, Yarwood explains, that wasn’t Léon Theremin's initial intent. “He intended for it to be a musical instrument, and there have been people in the early and mid-20th century who've learned the theremin as if they're classically trained musicians learning an instrument,” he says, mentioning pioneering theremin virtuoso

Clara Rockmore. Léon Theremin's life was a Venn diagram of musical experimentation, espionage, meteoric romance and political exile, which inspired Canadian author Sean Michaels’ 2014 liberally fictionalized historical biography Us Conductors. When Michaels came to Durham’s Regulator Bookshop in summer 2014 in support of this book, the author tapped Yarwood to play theremin at the end of the reading. “By the time it was time for me to play, the audience was like, 'All right, I want to hear some damn theremin,’” Yarwood says with one of his easy laughs. So he took a page from Rockmore’s book and treated it like a classical instrument. “I did an excerpt of this piece called ‘Le Cygne, the Swan,’ by Saint-Saens

The Rant Monthly | 33 on the theremin. It went great.” Yarwood bought his first theremin, a Moog Etherwave, during college, though electronic instruments have appealed to him since middle and high school. As Yarwood describes it, he's drawn to the way synthesizers seep into the cracks of a rock song and fill out the sound. As a multi-instrumentalist, Yarwood's never shy to try out a new noisemaker. So he took on the theremin, his first electronic instrument, and pieced together a technique. He stumbled, then he walked. Yarwood has the benefit of perfect pitch, he says with the same matter-of-factness as someone would say "I have ten fingers." For a theremin player, this is huge. Yarwood knows what a G sounds like, he says, giving an example, yet he has to find that note in the air around his instrument rather than on a fingerboard or trombone slide. "Usually I’m off by a little bit because I'm trying to remember in my muscle memory


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where that G is in the air," he says. "It's not right and I have to adjust it really quick." Then again, the theremin is a forgiving instrument — to a degree — and there are a few cheats. By shaking your hand, Yarwood says, one can create vibrato. And by wobbling between notes thusly, Yarwood can disguise the fact that he's zeroing in on the note he really wants in real time. It's a challenge, yeah, but also tremendously fun to play — especially once you know this oddball instrument's quirks. "If you get as close as possible to the pitch antenna, so the very highest pitch possible, and then you tap it, you physically put your finger on the antenna, it jumps from a really high note to an extremely high note," Yarwood explains, perpetually jazzed by the properties of this hundred-year-old synthesizer. "You can do it in fast succession. It almost sounds like a bird tweeting."


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Wilrik judgment granted LOCAL MATTERS

Future hearing will determine remedy in lawsuit against group that owns historic hotel By Gordon Anderson A Superior Court judge has granted the city of Sanford’s motion for default judgment in a lawsuit against the nonprofit which owns downtown’s Wilrik Hotel, but stayed the ruling until another hearing can be held to determine what remedy is appropriate in the case.

Sheriff's Office closes McNeill murder case with three arrests in March Three young men were charged with murder in early March, the culmination of a nearly three year investigation into an August 2017 killing in the Deep River area. Deputies with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Rayshaad Smith, 23, of Durham on March 3, and brothers Andrew Leron Cash, 24, and Aubrey Jamal Cash, 22, on March 6. They face counts of murder, robbery, and conspiracy in connection with the death of Brennan McNeill, who was found killed in the early morning hours of Aug. 4, 2017 at 220 Oak Hollow Road. Authorities haven’t said much about what connection the suspects had to McNeill. Smith shows a Durham address, while Andrew and Aubrey Cash are from Semora, North Carolina. Both Cash brothers appear to have played football at Shaw University in Raleigh in recent years. The sheriff’s office had offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. The Sanford Herald reported in the aftermath of the arrests that the reward would go uncollected. All three suspects remain in the Lee County Jail without bond. With most court proceedings on hold until the coronavirus crisis passes, it’s unclear how and when their cases will go forward.

The city had filed suit against the Sanford Affordable Housing Development Corporation, a nonprofit which oversees the rental of the Wilrik’s units as low income housing, in late 2019, claiming that under the leadership of Robert Woods and Ben Gardner it had “seized” control of the building and “effectively converted (it) to private use.” The lawsuit seeks financial damages and to return the building to city control, possibly through the reformation of the SAHDC in such a way that it would be again answerable to the Sanford Housing Authority. City and county officials had forgiven a combined half million dollar loan on the property back in 2013 in exchange for a promise that the building’s units would eventually be renovated for use as high end condominiums after a number of years. At that time, local government apparently believed the SAHDC was a privately-controlled arm of the federally-funded Sanford Housing Authority, controlled by its members “as an organizational vehicle to hold property for affordable housing.” But through a series of resignations and other maneuvers the city’s lawsuit said amounted to “an unfair and deceptive trade practice,” as well as the 2016 dissolution of a management contract between the SHA and the SAHDC, the nonprofit’s leadership was apparently able to gain full control of the building and eliminate any public oversight.

In the absence of a reply to the lawsuit from the SAHDC (other than a note from Gardner to the judge that he would be unable to attend a hearing in February because of a doctor’s appointment), attorneys for the city had asked for a default judgement. That request was granted on Feb. 25, but Superior Court Judge Andrew Heath wrote in his order that he was staying the ruling until an evidentiary hearing can be held “to investigate the appropriateness of additional remedies including but not limited to the appointment of a receiver and reformation

of (the SAHDC’s) bylaws.” That evidentiary hearing was initially scheduled for the April 13 session of civil Superior Court in Lee County, according to documents on file with the clerk of court. Most court proceedings in North Carolina, however, have been suspended until the coronavirus crisis passes. Meanwhile, Woods, who left the SAHDC sometime in 2017, faces a charge of embezzling $100,000 from the nonprofit. His next court appearance was postponed due to the epidemic.

The Rant Monthly | 35

Michael McClure tapped to lead Southern Lee's football program Michael McClure will join the staff at Southern Lee High School as a visual arts teacher and its head football coach in the spring, according to a press release from the school. McClure attended Rock Hill High School in South Carolina before going on to play for four years at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. The Chanticleers won three conference championships during McClure’s time there, and he was named twice to the AllBig South Team. He served as the linebackers coach at Richmond Senior High School in North Carolina, and helped lead the team to two regional championships. At Swansea High School in South Carolina, McClure served as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator. Most recently, he served as the defensive coordinator and co-special teams coordinator at Lower Richland High School in Hopkins, South Carolina. While there, the team was named the state’s regional 4A conference champions. Southern Lee Principal Molly Poston said

she’s excited because “Coach McClure is committed to not just leading a football team; he looks forward to leading a football program with victories both on and off the field.” McClure said he’s excited for the opportunity to “teach valuable lessons about character that will help (students) be successful in whatever path they take in life.” “You don’t have to wear a jersey to be a part of the team,” said McClure.

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Rant co-founder named Elks Lodge Citizen of Year By Billy Liggett The Rant’s very own Gordon Anderson was named Citizen of the Year by the Sanford Elks Lodge #1679 in March. Anderson was to learn of the honor at the lodge’s March event, but since we’re not having “events” at this time, he had to find out from a socially safe distance. Past recipients of the Elks Lodge Citizen of the Year have included Sanford mayors, city council members, police chiefs and outstanding business owners who go above and beyond the call of service to their community, according to Nathan Cochrane, exalted ruler for Lodge #1679. “Our Elks Citizen of the Year award is the most revered award we can give at the local level,” Cochrane said. “Gordon Anderson has been a staple at our Elks Lodge and within the community, and many people don't know who he is and what he does. Gordon is not a man who seeks recognition or accolades, which is one of the many traits

the group’s board of directors and asked Anderson to serve with him for the year, but Anderson declined.

The Rant,” Cochrane said of this very publication. “Many people, including myself, use The Rant solely for local news and updates.”

“I asked him why he wouldn't serve on the board, and he told me he will absolutely help me in any way, but he is a ‘behind the scenes’ guy. He doesn't want to be a figurehead,” he said. “He was more concerned in helping me and the lodge be successful than he was in having a position of leadership.”

He also touted Anderson’s work with political campaigns, his service on two City of Sanford committees (the Board of Adjustments and the Housing Appeals Board) and his support of local businesses. “Gordon is a firm supporter of local business, and he uses his platform with The Rant to push for them on a regular basis.”

Cochrane noted that Anderson has helped by supporting and pushing the group’s initiatives, and they like having him around for his culinary abilities as well — he’s cooked a whole hog and gumbos at Elks Lodge events, and he’s quick to help advertise and push community events. Photo by Jordan Anderson

that makes him a perfect candidate for this award.” Cochrane said before he began his year head of the lodge in 2019, he worked on

“As Gordon does these countless tasks, he has never asked for recognition for any of it,” Cochrane added. But it’s Anderson’s work in the community that stood out most for the award. “The foremost of these is his work with

Cochrane added: “Gordon is a top notch citizen of Sanford, and I am truly blessed to call him a fellow Elk, fellow Sanford citizen and most importantly a friend. It is truly my honor to award him our highest local award, and it is my opinion he deserves this and so much more.” “I can’t believe Nathan and the Elks Lodge thought of me as worthy of any kind of award,” Anderson said. “But of course, I’m flattered and honored, and I don’t really know what else to say other than ‘thank you.’”

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Ground broken on major t.l.c. home expansion Rita Oglesbee, t.l.c.'s executive director, has been with t.l.c. for 13 years. She said she was happy that community leaders were present for the groundbreaking and that construction was moving ahead.

By Charles Petty Sanford's t.l.c. home is getting a new addition its facility – more rooms. On March 4, the organization's board of directors broke ground on a bedroom wing to be added to the home which has been serving the special needs population of Lee County for over 30 years. t.l.c. is an intermediate care facility for developmental and intellectual disabilities, so it is crucial the organization have not just enough housing space, but also adequate conference and office space, and storage access for medical supplies and home health care needs. The building which at present stands at 1775 Hawkins Ave. was originally built to focus on housing children who had mental disabilities and needed round the clock medical care and attention. Since its opening in 1987, it transitioned into a home for adults who live with learning and intellectual disabilities. Currently, 10 adults

“Our clients are total needs individuals, with the majority being non-verbal, so building a space with extra bedrooms and room for our patients and care givers to move more freely will help a great a deal,” she said.

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live at t.l.c. home full-time. There are four bedrooms at the facility, so the new addition allows for full privacy for all its residents. Along with the residents of the facility, a team of nurses, psychologists, care-givers, and specialists work around the clock to provide the intense care needed for the

patients. Since there is limited office space in the current t.l.c. site, the new wing will bring some more space for care givers to have for offices and additional conference centers to be created. This will allow the medical and office staff at t.l.c. to have more work space.

Members of t.l.c.'s board met at the construction site to ceremonially begin work on the project. A giant mound of dirt was placed next to foundation of the new building with shovels sticking out. Also present were Tim Sherman, the architect of the facility, and representatives from Carolina Commercial Contractors, who are doing the work. “We are hopeful that the building will be completed by the middle or end of May, and we are really optimistic about what lies ahead here at the t.l.c. House,” Oglesbee said.

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@therant905 Lee County Republican vote, compared to 93.52 percent statewide.

Lee's primary votes mostly mirror statewide totals In almost all major statewide races, Lee County’s vote in the 2020 primaries closely mirrored that of the total vote across the state. Lee County Democrats went for Joe Biden as their presidential nominee with 44.71 percent, closely tracking the former vice president’s nearly 43 percent total statewide. Behind him were Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former New York City Mike Bloomberg, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. On the Republican side, President Donald Trump earned 95.38 percent of the

One notable exception to the “as Lee goes, so goes the state” rule that appeared to be at play on Super Tuesday was former Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Dunn Republican who represented Lee County in Congress for two terms beginning in 2010. Ellmers, who was seeking the Republican nomination for North Carolina Lieutenant Governor, finished in fifth place statewide with 6.82 percent of the vote, but had nearly double that support locally with 13.79 percent.

A member of Sanford city government’s commission on the opioid abuse epidemic resigned from the board after a March arrest on charges of possessing and trafficking opioids. Armunda Gene Hancock was charged on March 12 with trafficking opiates by possession, trafficking opiates by transportation, possession with intent to sell and distribute opiates, and other drug charges, according to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office. According to a spokesman for the department, “a Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy was working U.S. 1 Southbound,

There were only two local primaries on Super Tuesday, both on the Republican side. Republican Suzanne Matthews bested challenger Nicolle Phair to win the GOP nomination for District Attorney of Lee and Harnett counties, and Terry Rose won a District Court judgeship over Charlene Nelson.

near Old U.S. 1, on March 13, at around 6 p.m., when he noticed a white Cadillac with dark tinted windows. He made a routine vehicle stop, because the driver/ owner had a suspended driver’s license. Upon further investigation, deputies later determined that the subject … was in possession of Oxycontin, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. He was arrested without incident. The street value of the opiates is $6,100.” Hancock has served as a member of the city’s Opioid Abuse Epidemic Commission since its formation in the summer of 2019 on an appointment set to last through 2021. A website indicates that Connecticut native Hancock has a “gospel TV network” and has worked with a number of well known gospel artists from across the country.

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Brian Mathis, CFP® Financial Advisor FAP-1942M-A-AD


In the races for U.S. Senate, local Republicans gave incumbent Thom Tillis 75 percent of the vote, compared to 78 percent statewide. On the Democratic side, former state lawmaker Cal Cunningham took 62 percent of the vote in Lee County, overperforming the 57 percent he won with statewide.

Sanford Opioid Commission member resigns after arrest on trafficking charges

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