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Riding basics part 1

14T CLOCKTire clock, get it? It is the beginning of riding season. You see motorcycles out swarming the town like bees, and you are ready to ride. You, my friend, are ready to ride. But before you jump on that bike, take 10 minutes and make sure your bike is safe and ready to be ridden.

Check your personal safety equipment. Make sure you have your helmet, preferably a full-face one. I know that is touchy subject, but if you’d seen some of friends’ faces after accidents, you might feel differently. If you are not sure if a full-face helmet is for you, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Aren’t I worth it”?

Continuing on. Make sure you have good eye protection, a padded motorcycle jacket, gloves, pants (padded or leather) and motorcycle boots.

I know these things are not cool, but if you can afford a bike, you can afford good safety gear that will provide plenty of protection and airflow.

Now it’s time to check the actual bike. To help make sure you remember what to do, some smarty-pants came up with the acronym of T-CLOCK.

“T” is for TIRES & WHEELS. Check their condition and air pressure. During the winter, air molecules compress and air leaks out of tires. You do not want to have a blowout because you missed a 10-minute stop at a gas station. If your tires are worn, cracked or dry-rotted, then get new tires before you ride. Motorcycle tires are not cheap, but that little bit of rubber is the only thing that keeps you from hitting the pavement.

“C” is for CONTROLS. Check levers, cable, hoses and throttle. On the throttle, check its condition and look at the pivot points. For the rest, check the condition and routing of each. Make sure everything moves freely, has no interference and does not pull when you turn the handlebars.

“L” is for LIGHTS. The battery should be in good condition (no acid), held down and fully charged. If you have a vent tube, make sure it is not clogged. The terminals should be clean and tight, and electrolyte levels should be full.

Check the lights and reflector lenses. Make sure they are clean, that the bulbs are working and that the wires are not frayed or chafed. Check the routing of your wiring, too. This will help prevent a short in the electrical system. Check the headlamp; look at the aim of the light and adjust if needed.

“O” is for OIL. Check the engine oil and fluid levels. The bike should be warm when you do this. Be sure you are on your center stand and/or make sure the bike is level. This may require a friend. Check the hypoid gear oil. This includes transmission, drive and shaft fluids. Check the hydraulic fluid. This includes your brakes and clutch. You can see this in their perspective reservoir and sight glass. Check your owner’s manual to make sure you change as things recommended. Check for leaks on all. Look at the ground. If you see where something has leaked, check the gaskets, housings, seals, master cylinders, calipers, tanks, pipes, lines, fuel taps and carbs.

“C” is for CHASIS. Look at the frame’s condition. Check for cracks at gussets or accessory mounts and look for paint lifting. Check the steering head bearings and swing arm. Check the suspension, forks and shock(s). Make sure they have a smooth travel, equal air pressure/damping settings and that the linkage moves freely and is lubricated. Check your chain and belt. Check for tension at the tightest point and lubrication (note: DO NOT lubricate belts). Check the sprockets. Make sure the teeth are in good shape and mounted securely. Check all fasteners, clips and cotter pins. Make sure they are tight. Check for missing or broken bolts, nuts, and cotter pins.

“K” is for KICKSTAND. If you have a center stand, make sure there are no cracks and that it’s not bent. The retention springs should be in place and working correctly. For a side stand, make sure there are no cracks and that it’s not bent. Make sure the safety cut-off switch or pad, if so equipped, is working properly.

One way to help ensure you see all of this is to clean your bike. I like to use Honda’s High Performance Spray Cleaner and Polish. This lets me put my hands on every spot on the bike. I check for any loose bolts and give my bike a great look.

Be safe and enjoy your ride.

If there is a topic you would like to discuss, email me at this address: motorcycle4fun@aol.com.

RIDE SAFE!

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FTCC: Committed to serving veterans

12veteransMilitary Friendly is a company that assesses quality for military-related issues. VIQTORY is a company that creates resources for people exiting military service. The two companies announced in January that Fayetteville Technical Community College ranked No. 1 in the Top 10 Gold Category College Award for large community colleges for 2019-2020.

FTCC’s All American Veterans Center, located on Fort Bragg Road on the Fayetteville campus, and its new dedicated staff are working around the clock to ensure that veterans who wish to use educational benefits receive positive experiences at FTCC.

The full-time and part-time staff at the AAVC works hard for veteran students by providing oneon- one support to help them maneuver the multistep enrollment process. The staff is committed to helping students accomplish this enrollment as efficiently as possible.

The center’s staff includes school certifying officials, or SCOs, and is comprised of a diverse group that includes those who have served our country in the Air Force, Army and Navy, as well as civilians.

SCOs audit students’ courses and information to submit information to Veterans Affairs for processing benefits. FTCC proudly has more than 2,000 students using some form of VA benefits to complete associate degree, certificate and diploma programs of study.

Another recent change at FTCC and in the Veterans Services Office involves a new online system for electronically filing student documents. Students submitting paperwork to FTCC can now do so via the school’s website, www.faytechcc.edu.

This means veteran students can now submit the new Veteran Student Intake Form online along with other important documents, such as the DD-214, commonly known as a Certificate of Eligibility.

Students can receive help submitting the form at Thompson Library. They can also submit the online 

Students also enjoy an open-door policy at FTCC and at the AAVC, providing veterans quick, easy, on-the-spot access to an SCO who can assist with questions.

The AAVC provides students with a place to study, to conduct research and to interact with fellow veteran students. The Student Veteran Association holds monthly meetings at the center and invites students to express concerns and share experiences with fellow veteran students and staff members.

Students can even enjoy coffee or tea in a relaxed environment while they complete school assignments at the AAVC.

FTCC invites veterans who are interested in attending college to visit the AAVC, email vso@faytechcc.edu, or call 910-678-8395. It is an honor for the AAVC staff to serve our veterans and respond to their questions and needs to make a positive difference for them.

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PWC’s Power & Water Expo offers conservation tools, information

10PWCWhen the power bill arrives every month, most people don’t think about what PWC, Fayetteville’s hometown utility provider, does not just for its customers but for the community and for the environment, too. Now is the time to find out. Friday, March 22, from noon-9 p.m., and Saturday, March 23, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., PWC will host its 5th Annual Power & Water Expo at SkyView on Hay.

Upon arrival, the first 500 visitors will receive a reusable tote. Carolyn Justice-Hinson, PWC spokeswoman, said that by the time people leave, their totes are filled with educational and useful items. These include fat-trappers, tree seedlings, LED energysaving light bulbs and other energy and water conservation tools. Attendees can register to win a $100 bill credit, too.

There will also be a drawing for a smart thermostat, which Hinson said is one of the best tools available to help manage utility bills.

The expo is also an excellent time to learn about upcoming billing changes. “Because we are going to change to time-of-use electric rates in May, this is a great time for customers who want to learn more about how it works and how they can take advantage of the lowest rates,” Hinson said.

Hinson sees this as a great opportunity for the community to get to know PWC and the people who work so diligently to keep Fayetteville’s lights on. She invites the community to come and get answers to their questions about all aspects of PWC.

“The cool thing is that we have employees from all over the company that volunteer to come to this, and they know the basic information about conservation and our programs,” Hinson said. “And they really enjoy interacting with people.”

There will be PWC representatives from the customer service department as well as conservation specialists, utility workers with equipment to show off, system protection employees, engineers and field service workers. This gives attendees the opportunity to learn about almost every aspect of PWC and its reach. Hinson encourages people to chat with the representatives and ask questions.

Several other organizations will be represented as well, including Sustainable Sandhills, the city of Fayetteville’s Stormwater program, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

“The idea behind that was looking at organizations that we work with and that offer value to our customers,” said Hinson. “When they come, it gives them a place to interact with the public, and it showcases our partnerships we have year-round.”

Action Pathways will also be at the expo to talk about its weatherization program and how it can have a significant impact on home utility bills. Cape Fear Botanical Garden will be at the expo, too. “They have a waterwise garden,” said Hinson. “We’ve partnered with them for 20 years.”

Radio stations Bob FM, Sunny, WKML, and Old School Jamz will be on-site throughout the event.

PWC has a long reach, to include Fayetteville Technical Community College, which will also participate in the expo. “We will be promoting in partnership with FTCC its new line worker program,” said Hinson. “(We want to) help promote that as a career opportunity. Additionally, people will be able to talk to line workers.

“As we continue to expand, there are always different types of jobs in the utility industry we will be looking to fill.”

While the event is free, Hinson suggests paying it forward and bringing a nonperishable food donation for the Second Harvest Food Bank food drive.

This is a family-friendly event, so bring the children. For more information, visit www.faypwc.com/pwcexpo.

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Master Gardeners host fifth annual spring symposium

11gardenThe Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association of Cumberland County presents its fifth annual spring symposium this month. The event has sold out the past two years and as a result has moved to the Ramada Plaza on Owen Drive. It takes place Saturday, March 23, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

This year’s speakers, Tony Avent and Carol Reese, are at the top of the East Coast horticulture circuit.

Avent is the Indiana Jones of horticulture. He’s a curator, breeder, columnist and creator of Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden, both in Raleigh. His talks are titled “Hot Plants in Cold Places” and “Our Fine Textured Friends — The Magical World of Ornamental Grasses.”

Reese, a nationally known speaker, columnist and extension horticulture specialist at the University of Tennessee, blends gardening with her quirky humor. She’s offering talks titled “Beyond Azaleas” and “Sex in the Garden.” Yes, you read that correctly.

Come to the Ramada Plaza to hear these speakers and enjoy visiting vendors and gathering information. Avent will end with a brief but exciting auction of some interesting plants he grows.

This event raises scholarship funds for horticulture students at Fayetteville Technical Community College. It also supports the North Carolina/Cumberland County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers in their effort to educate residents in state-approved horticulture practices.

Registration, which is currently in its “late” phase, costs $60. To register, visit Eventbrite.com and search “Master Gardener Spring Symposium 2019” in Fayetteville. Or, make a check out to CCEMGVA and send it to Lynne Grates, Treasurer, 301 East Mountain Dr., Fayetteville, NC, 28306.

For further information, call 910-261-1091 and ask for Judy Dewar.

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Fayetteville’s Ultimate Lip Sync Showdown benefits local victims of child abuse

01coverUAC031319001The Child Advocacy Center, a charitable nonprofit organization that serves local victims of child abuse and their families, is gearing up for the Third Annual Fayetteville’s Ultimate Lip Sync Showdown. This spring fundraising event, held at the Crown Center Ballroom, takes place Saturday, March 23.

The 2017 and 2018 shows both sold out, bringing in nearly $40,000 each year. Those proceeds assisted in the various education and prevention programs offered by the CAC in partnership with other community resources. In fiscal year 2018, the CAC served 686 children.

For the Ultimate Lip Sync Showdown, 14 teams of local law enforcement, business owners, health care workers, school system employees and interested community members put together their best acts and give the audience a show like no other.

Julia Adkins, chairperson for the event, said the medleys and group act mash-ups are the most popular. “There were some great acts,” she said of the past two years. “The Michael Jackson mash-up and ‘Pitch Perfect’ tribute were phenomenal. The law enforcement group had props in their performance, and it was fantastic.”

Each year, the acts have evolved into bigger performances, and team slots have filled up faster. Seventyfive percent of the teams in 2018 were returning teams from 2017.

The teams compete to be crowned Top Fundraiser, People’s Choice and Fayetteville’s Ultimate Lip Sync Stars.

Twenty-year radio announcer Gayle Nelson and Cape Fear Regional Theatre Public Relations Director Michael Thrash will emcee this year’s show. Local actress Nicki Hart, local attorney Tim Edwards, District 12 judge Toni King and local singersongwriter and producer Kyng Bea will serve as judges.

Funds are raised via ticket sales, pay-to-vote and raffle tickets. Standard table tickets cost $50, and VIP table tickets cost $75. Both options grant access to a social hour at 6 p.m., which includes hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. The show starts at 7 p.m. and includes an intermission with desserts.

The VIP ticket additionally includes wine at the table, one vote ticket and one raffle ticket. Purchase tickets online at capefeartix.com or in person at the Crown Center Box Office, 1960 Coliseum Dr.

At the show or in advance online, audience members can vote for their favorite act for $1 per vote. Raffle tickets are also available for purchase prior to the show or in person; they are one for $5 or five for $20. This year’s prizes include a 50-inch Smart LED TV, an Apple watch with GPS, a karaoke machine and more.

To learn more about this event and the CAC, or to purchase votes or raffle tickets early, visit www.CACFayNC.org.

You can help

Here is a brief list of ways you can volunteer your time at the Child Advocacy Center, located at 222 Rowan St. in downtown Fayetteville. Applications for volunteer slots will open in late April. To see a longer list or to learn more, visit www.CACFayNC.org.

A CAC wish list follows.

Office:

• Answer phones

• Put information packets together for families

• Prepare educational workshop materials

• Help send out mass mailings

• Help with the Therapy Dog Program

• Get trained to lead prevention workshops

• Adopt the flower pots in front of the building

Development:

• Participate in fundraising events

• Increase opportunities for financial giving to the CAC

Marketing:

• Get trained to join the Speaker’s Bureau and share about the CAC at presentations to community civic groups, church groups, etc.

• Seek opportunities for publicity for the CAC in our community Community Coalition:

• Serve alongside other concerned citizens to find ways to promote child abuse awareness and prevention in our community

CAC wish list:

Therapy dogs, washable dry erase markers, sharpie markers in various colors, juice boxes, individually wrapped snack items for children, comfort blankets, children’s magazines, paper rolls for easel, canned soda, powdered creamer, sugar, coffee, hot and cold drink cups, paper plates, gift cards to grocery stores or office supply stores, 8 1/2 x 11” copy paper, parent magazines, Lysol spray, air freshener

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