Eagle, by Mitch Capel, for not only carrying on the work of his father but improving upon it. Capel earlier this summer renovated and reopened Cardinal Park in Pinebluff.
Established in the early 1960s by the late Felton Capel Sr. and his wife, Jean, the privately run park offered lake swimming, fishing and vast picnic areas where local African-American families were welcome to gather.
“I feel close to my father when I am here. I feel his presence a lot,” said Mitch Capel. “It is a beautiful park.”
The park off U.S. 1 is a treasured part of family history, but it belongs to Moore County’s history as well. Family and friends pitched in to make it all happen. Today it is open to all to enjoy the white sand, lake and recreational amenities.
“It consumed all of my time,” he said, “but it was also the greatest thing I could have ever done.”
Birdie, by those who see the potential of Southern Pines’ South Broad Street and are investing in its restoration. Once the domain of Bill Smith Ford-Lincoln and later the Crossroads Ford dealership, the area along business U.S. 1 from Morganton to U.S. 1 is full of potential.
Along has come Aaron Cooper, who owns Cooper Ford in Carthage, to invest in the dealership for a new lot; Fidelity Bank, which plans soon to break ground on a new two-story branch; and a still-unknown investor reported to be seriously interested in renovating the former grocery store across from Sly Fox.
This is an underused, highly visible part of Southern Pines desperately in need of time and attention. Finally that seems to be coming.
Birdie, by Pat Molamphy, the Pinehurst businessman who recently completed a four-year term on the state Board of Transportation. Of all the state boards in Raleigh, this is one that enjoys immense visibility, since its decisions affect road construction and traffic.
Although he was officially the representative of multiple counties, Molamphy often acted as a convener between local officials and the DOT on controversial subjects such as Midland Road changes and pending work to U.S. 1 and 15-501.
Other work, such as the upcoming widening of N.C. 211 through West End, has moved up, and several other big jobs now have full DOT attention.
Most of us now take for granted the traffic signal on Morganton Road at the town soccer complex and use it as a safe way to cross the busy thoroughfare. That wasn’t there until an elderly couple were hit by a car in 2015. Several others were hurt in similar accidents and one person was killed. Molamphy in short order got the DOT to find money for the signal. That’s the kind of action we salute and we’ll miss.
Birdie, by David Lambert the town manager of Robbins who, even though he resigned back in May, has stayed on while the small town tries to find a replacement.
Last week, Lambert leapt to his little town’s defense with a positive Facebook video after a critical letter to the editor in The Pilot about Robbins. The same letter, critical of Nature’s Own in Southern Pines, spurred Lambert to send the business flowers as well.
In the lead-up to his video, Lambert wrote: “Why don’t we take some time to share some positive comments of Robbins. To all of our hard-working, community loving people out there. If you will take the time, please share some of your positive experiences of Robbins and why you call it home.” His video garnered more than 10,000 views and hundreds of comments.
This from a native son who, elected to the town Board of Commissioners, gave up his seat a few years ago to take the town manager job. They don’t make committed, passionate public servants like this anymore.