Local News

WBC hosts first annual Women of Power Brunch

11 Women of Power BrunchA brunch for women leaders by women leaders. The Women’s Business Center of Fayetteville, part of the Center for Economic Empowerment & Development, will be hosting a networking event at the end of October that will focus on connecting women entrepreneurs with each other. The theme for the first annual Women of Power Brunch is the “State of Women in Business.”

Caitlin Chastain, the Business Consultant for the Women's Business Center of Fayetteville, says the goal of the event is to create an overall understanding of how women in the county are doing.

“We want to create a dialogue of what is going on with women in business, what is going on with women in leadership in Fayetteville,” Chastain said. “We really want to start recognizing women entrepreneurs and women in business in our city that often get overlooked.”

Another one of the goals of this networking brunch is to create mentorships for younger women and for women who are new to the area, including military wives.

Chastain hopes women will leave with a sense of motivation, inspiration and an understanding and awareness of how they can better themselves. By doing that, these women can then better the community.

“They can get educated on facts in our community on women in leadership, get inspired by entrepreneurial stories, and can have fun networking,” Chastian said.

According to the U.S. Census, women-owned businesses make up little more than 41% of all businesses in Cumberland County. In Fayetteville, that number rises to at least 43%.

This event also launches the partnership between An Affair to Remember and the WBC of Fayetteville to celebrate and acknowledge female leaders making a difference in the local community.

The owner of An Affair to Remember is Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Jensen and she will be speaking at the bruncheon about her Women of Power Society, a group that hosts a local local fashion show, and her entrepreneurial path to success.

Jensen will be announcing the theme of her Women of Power Fashion Show for 2022.She will also be accepting nominations for next year's Women of Power class that will walk at the Affair to Remember Fashion Show.

Lashanda Shaw, a local real estate agent and owner of Lashanda Shaw Realty, will also be speaking at the event. She will be focusing on her doctoral dissertation about the lack of women leaders in Cumberland County.

Suzy Hrabovsky, the Executive Director of CEED and the 2021 Woman of Power Alum, will also speak.

Brunch will be provided by Dorothy’s Catering. The event will take place on Monday, Oct. 25 and will be at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person.

Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-of-power-brunch-tickets-172208800157 until Oct. 24.

Fayetteville rental assistance money runs out

05 ERAPThe Fayetteville City Manager announced at last week’s City Council meeting that the money for the emergency rental assistance program have been used as of Oct. 7. The city did not plan for that money to be fully used until December.

“I am asking you to recharge that pot of money with an additional two million dollars in what we call an ERAP 2.1,” City Manager Doug Hewitt told the council. “Once that money is in the pipeline, that additional two million dollars. then we'll go back to the federal government and ask for an additional three billion dollars to be able to draw down to recharge that for a total of over 10 or 11 million dollars that we hope to be able to provide to our residents in Cumberland County.”

However, many people voiced concerns that even though they were awarded money, they have not received it. Hewitt told the council that the average time to distribute money after it has been awarded is around 3 weeks, but they need more staff to help cut down those costs.

City Council unanimously approved to request a little more than 2 million dollars from the U.S. Department of the Treasury as well as allocate $280,000 to Innovative Emergency Management Inc. to hire more staff to reduce the wait times and issues that people have been having.

Fayetteville police officer struck by vehicle

Chante OatesA Fayetteville Police Officer was hit and dragged by a car while investigating a hit-and-run, Oct. 12.

The suspect, Chante Oates, 24, allegedly hit her grandmother and then hit her grandmother's home with her car while driving while intoxicated.

After crashing into the home, Oates drove to Beuer Street. The officer attempted to stop her, but Oates allegedly hit the officer and ran over her leg.

The officer was transported to the hospital and is recovering.

Oates is facing a number of charges including assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, assault on a law enforcement officer inflicting serious injury and driving while impaired. She is currently being held in the Cumberland County jail on a $153,500 bond.

Military sexual assault reporting pilot program will launch at Fort Bragg

04 FT Bragg Sharp GO BagSix Army posts, including Fort Bragg, have been selected for a one-year pilot program that creates additional locations for soldiers to report sexual harassment and assault.

They will have all the resources needed for personal recovery and prosecution.

The “fusion directorate” is part of the planned redesign of the Army’s Response and Prevention program, known as SHARP.

A pair of recent independent reports found the Army was failing the soldiers who report these crimes.
The directorate creates facilities that will include care providers, investigators, and criminal prosecutors, “allowing them to...keep victims better informed at each step of an emotional and complex process,” the Army said.

The program serves as an additional resource for soldiers that is outside of the chain of command.

“Soldiers and civilians must feel comfortable raising allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, and quickly receive the care and services they need,” said Lt. Gen. Gary M. Brito, the deputy chief of staff for the Army’s personnel office.

Congress is poised to pass a measure that paves the way for this change in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

If the soldier chooses to make an unrestricted report, which does attempt to hold their perpetrator accountable, the chain of command receives all the same information that it would from any other method of reporting.

Raises approved for Superintendent

03 Cumberland County SchoolThe Cumberland County Board of Education narrowly voted to approve bonuses for Superintendent Marvin Connely Jr. and his cabinet for the upcoming year.

Connely will receive a $10,000 bonus. The nine employees on Connely’s cabinet will each receive a $5,000 bonus.

The Cabinet includes Dr. Mary Black, Ruben Reyes, Joe Desormeaux, Nick Sojka, Clyde Locklear, Lindsay Whitley, Betty Musselwhite, Dr. Stacey Wilson-Norman, and Ron Phipps. 

The raises and the one-year contract renewals come after the Board did their annual review of the Superintendent and the Cabinet and found they were doing a “satisfactory job.”

The board approved the raises and the one-year extnded contracts with a five-to-four vote. Board members Alicia Chisolm, Donna Vann, Nathan Warfel, Greg West and Susan Williams voted for the approval while board members Deanna Jones, Charles McKellar, Judy Musgrave and Carrie Sutton voted against it.

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