Local News

Social distancing, virtual togetherness and community support

07 N1205P65006CThere’s an old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And so, Fayetteville, here we go. Things seem pretty bleak. As COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the healthcare system, the economy and the nation’s morale, not surprisingly, this community’s generosity and ingenuity have kicked into high gear. You don’t have to look far to see examples of goodness and selflessness. Read on for inspiration, ways you can help and resources to stay informed.

Lend a hand if you can

Small businesses are pulling out all the stops to continue serving their customers. If you are able, consider supporting them by purchasing gift cards, ordering products online, using curbside services or leaving a positive review online.

Nonprofits and arts organizations are struggling as well. If you have a season ticket or pass, consider donating the balance for the remainder of this season. Purchase tickets for next season, support their online efforts, make a donation or leave an online review. 

Call or text your neighbors and loved ones to check on them.

Do your part to stop the spread. Stay home if you can. Wash your hands thoroughly and often.

Social distancing … together

It’s hard to support your favorite downtown establishments when it’s not clear what is open and/or in what capacity. Downtownfaystrong.com provides an extensive list of downtown businesses that offer online services, curbside pick/takeout and delivery. The site includes phone numbers. A few phone calls and voila — a date night/an intimate family brunch becomes as easy as a jaunt downtown.

The site also offers space for businesses to register to be included on the list. It also includes links to several organizations that support small businesses, including the Small Business Association, the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program, the Golden Rule Charity and more.

It’s spring. The warm weather usually comes with a flurry of fun activities and gatherings. With schools and many businesses closed, we are urged to hunker down at home and practice social distancing. It might mean stay home, but it doesn’t mean disengage. Several local organizations are taking their programs online or introducing “to go” versions of longstanding programs. Here are a few.

Kidsville News! is a local educational resource for grades K-6. Visit kidsvillenews.com to view the flagship edition.

Cape Fear Regional Theatre has temporarily closed its doors to in-house performances through the end of this season while ramping up its online offerings. Virtual weekday “edutainment” classes offer online courses for students in grades K-5. Classes begin March 30 and include music, interactive storytelling, theatre, art and more.

The Virtual Spring Passport Series for military children uses Zoom Meetings to provide an introduction to theater and playwriting. There are several sessions available.
Every weekday from 3-4 p.m., join free classes, via Zoom Video Conferencing, as CFRT artists for classes on a variety of topics, including acting, dance, voice and more.
Visit http://www.cfrt.org/ to learn more about CFRT and its many programs.

Cape Fear Botanical Garden has started a video series called “The Garden Minute.” The series features a peek at springtime in the Garden along with tips, virtual tour, gardening how-tos and education. The Garden is currently closed for visitors through March 31. Find out more at https://www.capefearbg.org/.

The Downtown Alliance has created a Social Distancing Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. Visit https://betsymacdesignco.app.box.com/v/SocialDistancingScavengerHunt?fbclid=IwAR06AfBK_IpxBmSwEoGBWpyVbKsnKgqBL5Pxb-i7xYbpHz7w4Etn3fX0_YU to download the graphic.

Downtown’s go-to paint-your-own-pottery store, Greg’s Pottery, offers premade Kits-To-Go. Visit the Facebook page to see what’s available and how it all works. Pick up your kit (on Wednesdays only) via curbside service. No substitutions. The kit includes seven glaze colors.

A long-time resource for parents, Fascinate-U Children’s Museum has taken to Facebook to offer a plethora of activities for children. From screen-free ideas to crafts, fun recipes and science experiments, the museum offers parents of young children plenty of ideas for staying busy at home.

Kidcreate Studio in Westwood Shopping Center has at-home art kids with online instructional videos available for pick up. According to its Eventbrite “Kidcreate Art Kits” post, each kit is good for one art project and contains an easy to follow lesson plan, a link to a correlating online instructional video taught by a Kidcreate Studio art teacher, all the art materials needed to create a fridge-worthy masterpiece and additional suggestions for online learning opportunities for your child that relate to the art lesson.

4-H offers several initiatives to engage young minds and bodies. The 4-H Pen Friends program invites youth to put pencil to paper and write letters to other 4-Hers from a different county or an older person in a nursing home. If at least six letters are exchanged, it counts as a communication project. Sign up at https://tinyurl/w8gqjdc.

The N.C. 4-H Mystery Challenge takes place each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Participants have 24 hours to complete the challenge and post It on social media. The challenges are critiqued, and a winner will be announced on social media as well. 4-H members across North Carolina are invited to take part. Email srwiley@ncat.edu for more information.

Online learning and entertainment aren’t just for kids, and the sources are practically unlimited. Artists, entertainers and organizations are reaching out to the public with incredible resources and heartfelt performances. Check your favorite bands to see if they are one of the many streaming concerts for free. The Google Arts & Culture project has assembled links to more than 2,500 spaces from across the globe. Many of them offer virtual tours, including MoMA, New York; Musee d’Orsay, Paris; Uffizi Gallery, Florence; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Here’s a link https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en. Many Museums also have free downloadable coloring pages. Use the hashtag #ColorOurCollections on social media to find and browse your favorite pieces to download and color. Several Ivy League institutions offer free classes online. From poetry to Constitutional interpretation to the science of well-being. Find out more about these courses and how to register at https://www.classcentral.com/collection/ivy-league-moocs. Sites like udemy.com and thegreatcourses.com offer reasonably priced online courses on a variety of topics as well. Many fitness centers are streaming their workout classes right now, too.

There is still a lot to be said for the simple pleasures in life, too. Play board games. Get outside and play catch or shoot a few baskets with your kids. Take a walk or a bike ride. Prepare a meal together. Read a book. Paint, or draw. Write a letter. Meditate. Go on a picnic. Sit on the porch and watch the world go by. Finish your to-do list. Plant a garden. Take a hike. Bird watch.

Stay informed

Reliable information is paramount in troubled times and vital for good mental health. Here are a few websites with up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the community:

Globally The World Health Organization who.int 
 Nationally The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cdc.gov; The White House whitehouse.gov or coronavirus.gov
Statewide The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services ncdhhs.gov
Locally Cumberland County http://www.co.cumberland.nc.us/; City of Fayetteville https://fayettevillenc.gov/

First Cumberland County homicides of 2020

Cumberland County Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Hope Mills man in connection with the triple shooting March 21 that left two people dead and a third injured. Sterling J. Straughter, 20, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. The incident occurred near the intersection of Ajax Dr. and Tower Dr. in Grays Creek.  Th victims were identified as 21-year-old Franklin Monroe of Hope Mills, and 16-year-old Cameron Emery of Fayetteville. Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Sean Swain said a teenaged girl was hospitalized at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Deputies responded to the Short Stop at 4946 NC Hwy 87 S., at the intersection of Sandhills Rd. and found two young men with fatal gunshot wounds. They apparently had been driven to a nearby fire station across the street to seek help.

Cumberland County jail closed … sort of

The onset of COVID-19 in the Fayetteville community has resulted in certain governmental changes not noticeable by the general public. For instance, don’t try to enter the Cumberland County Detention Center. It has been locked down — to visitors. “We have stopped walk-in visitations at the detention center, but you can still do a video visit via the internet,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Sean Swain. The local jail is one of the largest in North Carolina, housing more than 800 detainees.

First responders are taking care

Fayetteville Police emergency dispatchers are asking additional questions when callers dial 911: Is it possible for you to meet the officer outside the residence? Is anyone inside the residence experiencing flu-like symptoms or fever? Has anyone been exposed or been in contact with anyone exposed to COVID-19? 

“These questions will not slow officer response,” said Sgt. Jeremy Glass, FPD spokesman. “Officers have been reminded of the importance of using (personal protection equipment) — they are also reminded to wash their hands as often as possible whenever a handwashing station is available.”

This line of work sometimes requires close contact to either arrest, assist or provide life-saving measures to someone, Glass noted. “Officers continue to uphold their duty ... but also practice social distancing when close contact is not required, Sgt. Glass added.

Emergency care behind the scenes

The Fayetteville Fire Department has also modified its daily practices. “We follow guidance of our contagion policy much the same as we do during flu season,” said Fire Chief Mike Hill. “Fascinate-U Children’s Museum We have suspended participation in most all activities except emergency response.”

Hill said more aggressive cleaning and disinfecting of fire stations and equipment is routine. The department has minimized the number of firefighters providing patient care and, at times, first responders place surgical facemasks on patients. “Fortunately, our force is still going strong and we have experienced no degradation of service,” Hill added.

Blood in short supply

Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center continues to need blood donors because of an increased blood shortage partially caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Blood donor centers nationwide face similar shortages as canceled blood drives, travel restrictions and social distancing measures take effect. The center supplies all blood products to Cape Fear Valley Health hospitals in Cumberland, Bladen, Hoke and Harnett counties. The Blood Donor Center is located in Bordeaux Shopping Center, at 3357 Village Dr., and is open for appointments. To make an appointment to donate blood, call 910-615-LIFE or email savingliveslocally@capefearvalley.com.
Some DMV offices closed

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles has consolidated customer services to offices large enough to maintain social distancing. The DMV closed 60 branches that were too small for members of the public to remain 6 feet apart from one another. One Cumberland County office is closed on Clinton Road in Stedman. DMV offices on U.S. 301S, in Eutaw Village Shopping Center, Hope Mills and Spring Lake remain open for business by appointment.

“The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority,” said DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup. Road tests are no longer being conducted except for commercial driver licensees and medical reassessments. Many DMV services can be accomplished online, including license and registration renewals and ordering duplicate licenses and registration cards. Visit www.ncdot.gov/dmv to review available services. Appointments can be made by calling the DMV customer center at 919-715-7000.

Army recruiting stations closed

The Army is the first military service to announce it is shutting down its recruiting stations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Gen. James McConville, chief of staff of the Army, told Pentagon reporters the service will move to “virtual” recruiting through a variety of social media sites and other online activities. The Navy and Marine Corps said that they are keeping their recruiting stations open, but the services will follow state guidelines. The Air Force has not publicly indicated its intention. The move comes as the Army works to recover from recruiting shortfalls and struggles in recent years, prompting leaders to develop more programs to reach young people online.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said it’s not yet clear how long the shutdown will last. The Army, which is the biggest military service, has had the most difficulty bringing in needed recruits in recent years. It met the goal in 2019 for the first time in 13 years. The target goal for recruits was lowered from 76,500 in 2018 to about 68,000 last year.

Dear Loyal Readers




Greetings Readers, Friends and Associates.

These are trying times. However, we are Americans. We are resilient and possess the intestinal fortitude and determination to get through this COVID-19 crisis. It’s in our DNA.

As a community newspaper and member of the North Carolina Press Association, Up & Coming Weekly will continue to be published and distributed throughout Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and all the Cumberland County municipalities during this critical time. In addition, U&CW is available FREE online by subscription at
www.upandcomingweekly.com. After all, what would a Wednesday morning be like not reading Margaret Dickson’s stimulating column or scratching our heads to one of Pitt Dickey’s imaginative creations or wondering why Karl Merritt isn’t writing for The Wall Street Journal or why he hasn’t won a Pulitzer Prize for embracing humanity?

We will continue to keep you updated on the COVID-19 situation, local news, views and, of course, the features and articles by the writers you have gotten to know and enjoy over the last two decades.
We encourage residents to visit www.coronavirus.gov, a centralized resource that includes up-to-date factual information on the COVID-19 situation. Don’t depend on the erratic, sporadic and flawed information flooding the social media networks.

Thank you, advertisers, for your continued trust and support. Keep your message out in the community and know we are here for you. Contact us first if you have message to get out or story to tell.

We know we could not exist without our readers. You are the greatest — and the most significant reason Up & Coming Weekly newspaper is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Please continue to support the people, businesses, organizations and institutions that support us — and you. Their messages, products and services serve you and support this community.

Many of our writers have been with us for over two decades and some just a few years. We know that we wouldn’t be who we are without you. You give voice to organizations, people and causes that matter. You make us think, make us laugh and keep us informed. Thank you for your dedication to our community and to our readers. Your love for this community and for humankind shows in every issue. There is still so much to write about and so many stories to tell. We can’t wait to read what you write next.

We are committed to supporting this community and showcasing and accentuating Fayetteville’s unique quality of life. We know it is our readers, advertisers and writers who are responsible for our 25 years of success, and we will keep serving you. We’ve been through hard things before and come out stronger for it — as individuals and as a community. We will do it this time, too.

Thank you for your continued support.

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FTCC to offer new mobile applications developer program

13 codingFayetteville Technical Community College offers the Mobile Applications Developer associate degree as a concentration under the Information Technology major. This curriculum prepares learners to design and develop mobile applications for Android and IOS mobile devices. Graduates will be proficient in HTML, JavaScript, Java, Swift, and UI/UX. Upon completion of the program, students receive an associate degree in Mobile Applications Developer and will be well equipped to enter the growing field of application software development.

The Computer Programming and Software Development department will offer the Mobile Applications Developer degree starting in Fall 2020. This program will introduce students to Java, JavaScript, HTML, Swift, and Android software development kit. Swift is the primary mobile application development language of Apple, the developer of the iPhone and iPad. Students will learn concepts related to mobile application development needed to create basic applications for the iPhone and the iPad. Students will also be introduced to the Android software development kit, where they will learn how to build basic applications for the devices running the Android operating system.
FTCC offers a broad range of programs of study leading to the award of associate degrees, certificates and diplomas. Many educational choices are available in the field of computer and information technology, where graduates can seek employment as designers, developers, testers, support technicians, system administrators and programmers. Specialty areas include business intelligence, database services, healthcare informatics, security and more.

Specific program areas to explore at FTCC include CISCO Networking Academy, Computer Programming & Software Development, Cyber Defense Education Center, Database Management, Digital Media Technology, Game & Interactive Programming, Network Management, PC Support & Services, Systems Security & Analysis, and Simulation & Game Development. Within each of these program areas are additional specialty programs of study, which allow students broad choices for expansion in becoming well equipped for a great career in the computer technology field.

For students interested in pursuing an exciting career in a high-demand field, FTCC is a wise choice for education in computer and information technology. Summer classes begin May 26.

Visit www.faytechcc.edu to apply now and begin the enrollment process.

For more information about the Mobile Applications Developer program, visit https://www.faytechcc.edu/academics/computer-information-technology-programs/computer-programming-development/. To reach out with questions about pursuing Mobile Applications Developer program at FTCC, call 910-678-8571 or email camerona@faytechcc.edu.

With affordable tuition, a broad range of classes and programs to choose from conveniently offered face-to-face or online, and a high-quality education, FTCC is the smart choice for education. Call us, visit our Fayetteville, Spring Lake or Fort Bragg campus locations or peruse our website at faytechcc.edu. Admissions counselors are standing by to provide personal educational counseling that will lead you to a path for success and fulfillment through pursuit of professional employment opportunities. Make the smart choice for your education — FTCC.

How puzzles promote health and wellness

12 CWPuzzles are fun and entertaining, but their benefits go beyond simple recreation. In fact, playing and solving puzzles on a regular basis can benefit adults and children in various ways.  Puzzles often stimulate problem-solving centers in the brain and can improve brain health. Researchers have found that, by completing crossword puzzles, playing challenging games or doing other puzzle-related activities, individuals may be less likely to develop brain plaques that have been tied to Alzheimer's disease. Data published in the Archives of Neurology found a distinct connection between people who exercised their minds with stimulating activities in their early and middle years and brain health. This group had less Beta-amyloid protein uptake in their brains, which is linked to the onset of Alzheimer's, than those who didn't engage in puzzles during the same time frame.  Beyond their health benefits, puzzles offer some additional perks.

 Puzzles boost vocabulary. Puzzles such as crosswords or codewords/cryptograms introduce people to new words. This helps people expand their vocabulary and can help them improve their spelling.

Puzzles teach patience. Puzzles can be challenging, and such challenges can promote patience in regard to approaching and realizing goals.

 Puzzles can reinforce lessons. Teaching through puzzle play is an effective way to tap into memory retention while making lessons fun.

Puzzles may improve intelligence. Engaging in puzzles can force players to think and reason using general knowledge, memory, spatial imagery and logic. These skills help to sharpen intellect over time. Researchers at the University of Michigan even found that adults could boost their IQs by four points after spending 25 minutes a day doing puzzles.

 Puzzles reinforce concentration. Concentration is required to find words hidden in a word search puzzle or to solve a brainteaser. According to data on
SelfGrowth.com, puzzles naturally induce a state of creative, focused meditation. 

Puzzles improve visual-spatial reasoning. When solving a jigsaw puzzle or working one's way through a maze, players have to look at different shapes and figure out where they fit within the larger picture. Better visual-spacial skills can help with packing, driving and using a map and can be valuable career tools in fields such as architecture. Puzzles are a fun recreational activity that also can boost brain health.

Check out our puzzles on page 22 of our issue and see the benefits for yourself.


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