03NewsDigestDr. Frank Till Jr. Is Out

The Cumberland County Board of Education voted unanimously to buy out Superintendent Dr. Frank Till Jr.’s contract, effective immediately. “He had indicated that he wasn’t coming back at the end of 2018, next June, and the board didn’t want to wait … and be in limbo for a year,” school board chairman Greg West said in an interview. Associate Superintendent Tim Kinlaw will serve as the interim superintendent. Till will be paid his annual $271,000, West said. Till served as superintendent since 2009. A search for a successor will begin at once, said West. 

The Cumberland County school system is the fifth largest in North Carolina. It operates 87 schools and serves 51,480 students in grades K-12. 

Tokay Center Opening Soon

The City of Fayetteville now says the popular Tokay Senior Fitness Center operated by the Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation Department will reopen within 30 days. 

It’s been closed since March 27 when the building sustained extensive smoke damage during an electrical fire. 

District One City Councilwoman Kathy Jensen said she has been assured the senior center is scheduled to reopen next month. The City said in May, “there are too many variables to predict a reopening date.” The popular older adult fitness center has workout equipment including treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines and Nautilus equipment. Seniors use the facility for physical rehabilitation and regular fitness regimens often as prescribed by physicians. 

Modern Gateway Signs Go Up

New Fayetteville gateway signs are going up along the city’s main corridors. They’re designed to give motorists a fresher look of the city and provide consistent branding. 

New signs have already been installed on Raeford Road at Hoke Loop Road, Ramsey Street near I-295, Bragg Boulevard at I-295 and Murchison Road near I-295. “We want our city to feel welcoming to residents and others who are visiting,” said Mayor Pro Tem Mitch Colvin. “This is just the first of many more visible steps we’ve made to improve our gateways,” he added. All locations will also be landscaped with lighting. 

Hospital Wins Reaccreditation

Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Hospital Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval is a symbol of quality that reflects the organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care. 

“Womack is pleased to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” said Col. Lance Raney, Medical Center Commander. 

Womack underwent a thorough, unannounced on-site survey March 13 through 17. The team of Joint Commission auditors evaluated compliance with hospital standards related to several areas, including emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management. 

New Off-Post Exchange

The Linden Oaks Community of Spout Springs north of Spring Lake in Harnett County continues to take on the identity of a growing town. Linden Oaks is a unique Fort Bragg satellite residential neighborhood. 

It’s home to about 6,000 soldiers and their families. Now it has its own post exchange. Business is booming along the two-mile stretch of NC 24/87 where restaurants, stores, auto parts businesses, medical offices and a Wal-Mart have developed. The most recent addition is a Post Exchange Express, located at 513 Hilltopper St. “We are very happy that we can offer our services now in Linden Oaks,” said Alex Dewberry, supervisor of the Fort Bragg Exchange. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays. 

Replacement Bridges Planned

The State DOT continues to replace old bridges in rural North Carolina. Bridges in Cumberland, Harnett and Columbus counties are scheduled to be replaced as the result of a contract awarded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. 

In Cumberland County, the bridge on Polly Island Road over the South River near Autryville is among them. The existing bridge has weight restrictions limiting the kind of vehicles that can use it. 

DOT will also replace the bridge on Marshbanks Street over the East Buies Creek northeast of Lillington. In Columbus County, the bridge on North Carolina 214 over Green Swamp is being replaced. Work on the $5.4 million contract is expected to begin in mid-July and to wrap up by November. 

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