Local News

Montia Shardae School of Esthetics: First private and black-owned esthetics school in Fayetteville

17The beauty industry is booming! A quick scroll on social media or a stroll down the street will bring to mind dozens of salons, from hair to skin. Estheticians are in high demand. The skin is a multi-billion dollar business, from makeup to facials to waxing. Local esthetician and industry veteran Montia Shardea has taken the past two years to pivot into a role she feels was the most logical step: school owner. Located at 2620 Bragg Blvd, Suite W, The Montia Shardea School of Esthetics is not only the first private esthetics school in Fayetteville but also the first black-owned, a title she doesn’t hold lightly.
There are flexible schedule options for students, offering day and night school. Instructors prepare students not just for real-world application, but graduates are state board-ready. Shardea also prepares students for entrepreneurship, offering branding and marketing classes as part of the curriculum. Currently, the school has a 99% pass rate for the state boards, an accomplishment in its own right. Shardea and her instructors pride themselves on the comprehensive curriculum they offer. There is a three-step process for those who wish to apply, the first being taking a tour of the beautiful and bright facility. Although the school doesn’t accept financial aid there are options for paying tuition.
Shardea, who started her career in Fayetteville, is a licensed cosmetologist and licensed instructor who has been in the industry for almost 17 years. She attended Paul Mitchell The School Fayetteville in its very early years and was one of the first round of graduates from the prestigious school. After moving to Los Angeles, she received her master’s degree in Makeup and decided to get her instructor license. She taught at 5 schools before deciding to open up her own.
“[This is ] the first privately owned esthetic school here in Fayetteville North Carolina, which was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life. I definitely wouldn’t change it because it wasn’t a me thing, it was a God thing and so I did it because it was an assignment given to me. We can definitely tell that the fruit is here. The proof is in the pudding, we have more than 30 licensed estheticians that are now thriving, doing their thing A to Z, whether they have their own spas or they are partnered with other people. All of that comes from the same fruit, right here, the Montia Shardea School of Esthetics. I am the only private school for esthetics. Some people think, ‘well I have an esthetic program,’ but that's not the same. This is not a cosmetology school and esthetic added, this is an esthetic school … God gave me the esthetic route and I’m so proud,” Shardae said. “During the process, I just couldn’t believe that it was never done before. Why hasn’t anybody looked up, there’s really no playbook, but why hasn’t anybody tried? There are definitely not a lot of African Americans doing what we do every day and we have skin issues too. I knew when I opened it, there would be two sides to it. With success, it’s not always pretty. It’s not always, yeah you’re going to make money, you drive this and you have that, it’s the other side, where people hate you just for breathing. This was not overnight. I was already teaching for a school, I already had my academy before the school. The school is just the bigger side of things. However the academy was already there, I was already a licensed instructor.
"To women who may see or hear this, you have to go through the process, the growing pains, being broke, and knowing what that feels like. I know how to manage money now. I opened all of this with my money. I didn’t go to a bank and say hey I need $20,000 dollars. It’s cool if you do go that route, but I didn’t. This school still took 2 years to open. Longevity is where I thrive. This is forever. Even when I’m not here. Montia Shardea is built for legacy, it’s not for me, it’s for my instructors, and my students, you know who we are, we are building pillars and putting up flags everywhere, not just North Carolina. Fayetteville needed this. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a thing.”
For more information about the Montia Shardae School of Esthetics visit the website https://montiashardaeesthetics.com/.

(Photo courtesy of Montia Shardae)

My Future So Bright: Workforce development program for Fayetteville City youth

14The time of the teen worker is upon us. With flexible schedules void of any real organization and free time to spare, local teens are joining the local workforce this summer again for the first time. While fashioned with mostly perky attitudes, most have never had any workforce development training to perform their jobs adequately. That is where My Future So Bright summer work program comes in for the win—a program designed to equip teens with skills that are needed in the workplace. The first two weeks of the program focus on key areas in workforce development to build foundational skills.
• Self-Management: Understanding the importance of personal responsibility, time management, and goal setting.
• Work Ethics: Emphasizing the value of integrity, reliability, and a strong work ethic in professional settings.
• Communication Skills: Developing effective verbal and written communication abilities is crucial for any workplace environment.
• Financial Literacy: Gaining knowledge on managing finances, budgeting, and understanding financial responsibilities.
• Workplace Etiquette and Professionalism: Learning the norms and expectations of professional behavior, including dress code, punctuality, and workplace interactions.
• Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Appreciating and embracing diversity in the workplace and understanding the importance of creating an inclusive environment.
• Career Exploration and Resume Writing: Exploring different career paths and industries and learning how to create impactful resumes that highlight their skills and experiences.
• Interview Techniques and Networking: Practicing interview skills and learning the importance of networking to build professional relationships.
• Technology and Digital Literacy: Enhancing their ability to use modern technology and digital tools effectively in the workplace.
• Mock Interviews: Participating in mock interviews to build confidence and gain feedback.
After the completion of the first part of the summer program, teens put their skills to the test and join the summer workforce. My Future So Bright partners with local businesses in the community to bring the teens from training to employment. Teens are ready for employment in several fields and can continue to develop the skills learned in the workshops.
• Administrative Assistants: Leveraging their communication, organizational, and technology skills to support office operations.
• Customer Service Representatives: Utilizing their interpersonal skills and professionalism to provide excellent service in retail, hospitality, and other customer-facing roles.
• Sales Associates: Applying their knowledge of communication and work ethics to engage with customers and drive sales in retail environments.
• Internships: Taking advantage of hands-on experience and industry-specific training gained through the program to secure internships in various fields.
• Project Assistants: Supporting project teams with their organizational skills and ability to manage tasks effectively.
• Marketing and Social Media Assistants: Utilizing their creativity and digital skills to assist in marketing campaigns and social media management.
• Community Service Volunteers: Gaining experience through volunteer work in various community service projects, helping to build a sense of responsibility and community engagement.
My Future So Bright is an initiative of the Mid-Carolina Workforce Development Board, a City of Fayetteville-funded organization. MCWD Board team member, Fayetteville native and E.E. Smith graduate, Jennifer
McArthur is enthusiastic about the program, its community impact and the teens that are joining the workforce with the skills needed to succeed.
“The concept of 'My Future’s So Bright' emerged from the dedicated efforts of Verna Jones. Her commitment to empowering youth and fostering workforce development inspired the creation of this program. The program's mission is to create a supportive environment where participants can develop essential professional skills, build self-confidence, and explore various career paths. By partnering with local businesses and community organizations, 'My Future’s So Bright' aims to foster a network of support and guidance that helps participants transition smoothly into the workforce … The primary goal for each workshop is to provide participants with a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge that will benefit them throughout their personal and professional lives.” McArthur boasted of the program.
While this year’s session is over, now is the time to get involved, whether as an interested teen, potential workshop hosts, or employer. For teens wishing to enter the program, there are qualifications and an application process that MUST be completed to be accepted.
• Be between the ages of 14 and 15.
Reside within the city limits of Fayetteville.
• Legally authorized to work in the United States.
• Demonstrate a genuine interest in gaining work experience and developing professional skills.
Application Process
• Application Form: Interested teens must complete an application form, which can be obtained from the Mid-Carolina Workforce Development Board office.
• Interview: Selected applicants will be invited to participate in an interview to further assess their suitability for the program.
Application Process and Timeline
• Application Availability: Applications will be made available in early February to allow more time for interested teens to prepare their submissions.
• Application Deadline: The deadline for submitting completed applications has been extended to the end of March.
• Interviews: Interviews for selected candidates will be conducted throughout April.
• Notification of Acceptance: Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by early May.
• Program Start Date: The MFSB summer work program will commence in early June and continue through the end of July.
To request an application, contact Mid-Carolina Regional Council, 6205 Raeford Road Fayetteville in person or by phone at 910-323-4191.
Employers interested in partnering with the My Future So Bright Summer program can contact NCWorks Career Center via phone at 910-912-2400 and ask to speak to a Business Service Representative.
Employers can get involved with the program in different ways. They can become host/job shadowing sites. These employers offer the teens hands-on experience in the workforce. Employers can sponsor events or workshops that the program runs to teach the foundational skills. These can include networking events and career-building workshops. Employers can also become mentors.
This position is vital to the program and an important part of how it can connect with the teens and provide guidance and support. No matter what form employers choose to participate in the My Future So Bright program, it is impactful and meaningful in the work being done.
This year’s programs have been a success, and participants can be found all over the city, putting their skills to use. McArthur attributes the success of this year to its employer partners and many more.
“I would like to extend heartfelt gratitude and recognition to several outstanding individuals and partners who have been instrumental to the 'My Future So Bright' summer work program this year. Raymond Godsave, Manager of the NCWorks Career Center, ensured that there was dedicated space set apart from their normal daily operations for our program participants to attend workshops. His support has been invaluable in providing a conducive learning environment. Danielle
McClamb and Jordyn Horse, the Youth Service Team, and Torris Ferguson, the Business Service Representative for the NCWorks Career Center, played a crucial role in hosting the youth job fair on May 4.
"This event allowed the program to connect with youth candidates interested in being part of 'My Future So Bright.' Veronica Rozier and Orin Gill, the Business Services team of the Mid-Carolina Workforce Development Board worked with successful business owners within the community. Their efforts enabled these professionals to share their insights and experiences in their respective industries with our participants, and they also worked diligently with each employer regarding job placement for program participants.
"A special thanks to Justin Hembree, Samantha Wullenwaber, and Verna Jones, the executive leadership team of Mid-Carolina, for their unwavering support of the vision and mission of the 'My Future’s So Bright' Summer Work Program. Eric Stevenson of Madison Counseling Firm and Xavier DeBrough deserve recognition for their dedicated work with our participants on the development of essential soft skills. We are incredibly grateful to Samuel Gordon Jr. of SWG Home Inspections, Esther Torres of Move with Esther, Karlette Beasley of Ideal Real Estate powered by LPT Realty, LLC, Latonia Parks of Top Bragg Realty & Property Management, The UPS Store #7705 & Cold Stone Creamery Hope Mills with the support of Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ – Fayetteville, Ta’Tianna Bonilla of I Love Balloons, LLC, Tamiko Singleton of Fayetteville Natural Hair Expo, Jessica Jones and Tinyca Bryan of Becoming Counseling Services, PLLC, Dr. Ernest & Pastor Cynthia Jones of True Vine Ministries, and Al Lampkins of Veterans Bridge Home and Community Blueprint for sponsoring lunches for our youth program participants.
"We also appreciate the contributions of Alexis Hargraves with Jane's Beautiful Angels, Nurturing Healthcare Solutions, and Leathia's Helping Hands of Virginia for donating and providing grab bags to the program. Many thanks to Sherry Bryon of Truist Bank, Kathy Jensen of An Affair to Remember, Eric Washington of Washington Apparel Company, Ebony Chisolm, Marvin Price of Fayetteville Technical Community College, Sylvia Glanton of Personameant Solutions, LLC, Patti Jordan, Barbara Robinson, Brooke Vann of Fayetteville State University, Dr. Gayle Gill and DaQuaria Shepard of The Carter Clinic, P.A., for hosting various breakout sessions and activities.
"Finally, I extend my gratitude to Ta’Tianna Bonilla, Marcus Doss, Karlette Beasley, and Latonia Parks for sharing their entrepreneurial journeys and insights into being business owners within our community. Each of these individuals and organizations has played a significant role in making the 'My Future’s So Bright' program a success, and their contributions are deeply appreciated.”

(Photo: The graduates of 2023's My Future So Bright program pose for a photo. Photo courtesy of City of Fayetteville Flickr.)

PWC hosts tour of water treatment facility for state officials

The Fayetteville Public Works Commission hosted a tour of the Hoffer Water Treatment Facility on July 8 for Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, DEQ staff members, State Senator Val Applewhite, Mayor Mitch Colvin, County Commission Chairman Glenn Adams, and executive staff members for the city and county. PWC hosted the tour at the request of DEQ to brief attendees on the progress PWC has made in meeting the recently announced Environmental Protection Agency regulatory requirements for PFAS as well as provide feedback on how the state can help.
“I applaud the actions Fayetteville PWC is taking to protect the residents of Fayetteville and Cumberland County from the health impacts of forever chemicals by proactively working to remove PFAS from their drinking water,” said DEQ Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser. “DEQ continues to work on statewide efforts to support utilities and reduce PFAS going into drinking water supplies.” For the past 10 years, PWC has been sampling for unregulated chemicals within our source water supply and has been an advocate for preventing industrial contaminants from entering the Cape Fear River Basin. In 2021, PWC conducted a pilot study and determined Granular Activated Carbon filtration was the most effective option for removing PFAS. This year, construction began on several water treatment upgrades to meet these emerging threats.
The first part of the improvements under construction is an upgrade to PWC’s current Powder Activated Carbon treatment capabilities to allow for higher dosage than what is currently possible. While PAC is not as efficient or economical as GAC, it can effectively remove modest amounts of PFAS and other contaminants. The PAC upgrade is expected to be completed in 2026.
PWC is planning to send the GAC upgrades to bid in 2025 and the target construction completion date is in 2028. The current projected cost for the GAC upgrades is $80 million. While planning for the upgrades, PWC staff have sought funding to reduce the financial burden for the upgrades on our customers. PWC has been notified that more than $30.5 million has been awarded for the GAC upgrades and the pilot study, which includes $11.5 million in grants and $19 million in low interest loans.
“We are grateful for the visit by Secretary Biser and our local elected officials to see what we are doing and to ask about our needs from the state,” said Timothy Bryant, CEO/General Manager of Fayetteville PWC. “We have been working closely with our partners in NCDEQ to request an additional $9.5 million for our PAC upgrades. We are also actively pursuing federal funds to help us with the remaining $49.5 million needed for the GAC upgrade.”
PWC is a municipally owned utility that provides electric and water service to over 121,000 customers in Fayetteville/Cumberland County. PWC is customer-focused, locally owned & operated and takes pride in being a good neighbor who is committed to quality services, reliability, conservation, safety and the environment. A member of the Partnership for Safe Drinking Water, PWC has the distinction of being the first NC utility to receive the Director’s Award for outstanding commitment to quality drinking water and have maintained that level of excellence for more than 24 consecutive years.
Why this matters: Fayetteville and Cumberland County residents need to be aware of the proactive actions our Hometown Utility PWC is taking to remove PFAS from their drinking water and other potentially negative health impacts caused by toxins in forever chemicals.

Hope Mills switching gears after abrupt end to shared services with Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office

8The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners have made the decision to host its own records management system server for its police officers after the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office abruptly terminated its long-standing agreement with the town.
According to a news release from the town, Hope Mills had contracted with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office since 2011 to share a records management system server and information technology services. The contract had been renewed annually over the past 13 years, until the sheriff’s office notified the town last week that it would not renew the contract, Mayor Jessie Bellflowers told CityView.
The sheriff’s office offered the town a 90-day contract so the Hope Mills Police Department could transfer data from its servers, the release states. That contract began July 2, according to the release.
The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners held a special meeting Friday to address the issue. Mayor Pro Tem Kenjuana McCray was not present to vote but called in to the meeting. The board unanimously approved spending just under $300,000 on a contract with CentralSquare, a Florida-based software company. Police Chief Stephen Dollinger said the police department already works with CentralSquare for its record management system, but did not clarify further its relationship with the company.
Town Manager Chancer McLaughlin said the town was not required to issue a request for proposals because that requirement can be waived “in emergency situations.” According to the UNC School of Government, local governments can, but are not required to, issue requests for proposals for information technology purchases.
The proposed budget ordinance amendment for the town’s fiscal year 2024-25 budget states the cost will come from the town’s fund balance.
What triggered the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office’s change of heart remains unclear. Questions sent by CityView to the sheriff’s office remained unanswered as of Tuesday evening, and McLaughlin did not respond to a request for comment.
Bellflowers said he viewed the change in server ownership as an important measure the town should have taken long ago.
“We’re being very proactive to do this,” Bellflowers said.
Recent meetings of the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners have been marked by tension between Cumberland County Sheriff Ennis Wright and the town’s public officials. Bellflowers and Commissioners Joanne Scarola and Bryan Marley had choice words for Wright at a June meeting about the sheriff’s sudden choice to pull school resource officers and crossing guards from many public schools. CityView previously reported on a heated memorandum Dollinger sent to McLaughlin about the SRO conundrum.
Bellflowers gave a public apology to Wright at the July 1 Board of Commissioners meeting, as CityView previously reported. The next day, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office posted apology letters from Bellflowers and Dollinger on its Facebook page.
Both letters include requests for the Sheriff’s Office to give Hope Mills at least six months to transfer its data.
“Over the next 6 months, we are planning to purchase a server to manage the data and respectfully, just asking for time while we purchase a server and complete the data transfer process,” Bellflowers wrote.
In his letter, Dollinger asked the sheriff to allow the town to stay on the sheriff’s office’s server until the end of the year.
“I am respectfully asking you to reconsider only the timing of our removal from the server, and request that the Town of Hope Mills be allowed to remain on the server until the end of this year to complete the transfer of all our data efficiently,” he wrote.
The town began transferring that data Monday, according to Bellflowers. It is unclear how long that transfer will take.

Summer heat: Signs your dog may be dehydrated

19Water is essential for mammals' bodies to operate at peak capacity. The American Kennel Club says water is necessary to lubricate joints, facilitate digestion, regulate body temperature, and cushion internal organs, among many other functions. Similar to humans, pets that fail to consume enough water can face dire consequences.
Dehydration is a medical term for when the body has lost more fluid than it has taken in. Dehydration can occur at any time, but it is even more common during the warm weather months. Dogs quickly can become very sick from dehydration. That is why every pet owner should learn how to recognize the symptoms of dehydration in their dogs.
The Veterinary Emergency Group says symptoms of mild dehydration can include:
• Dry nose, although this also can be a signal of other problems, like fever.
• Excessive drooling occurs as the dog tries to cool down its body.
• A dehydrated dog can exhibit signs of fatigue, including a reluctance to move around much.
• Sticky gums
As the dog becomes more dehydrated, the following symptoms can develop:
• Loss of elasticity of the skin.
• Loss of appetite.
• Thickening of the dog's saliva.
• Gums may go from sticky to dry.
• Excessive panting may begin.
• Vomiting or diarrhea also may occur.
• Dehydration causes the body to redistribute fluid lost, and fluid may be pulled from the eyes, causing the eyes to appear sunken.
If a dog appears to be dehydrated, you can start offering small amounts of water to slowly rehydrate the animal, says Northeast Veterinary Referral Hospital. It's important to call the veterinarian and get further advice regarding how to address dehydration. Some vets may suggest offering an electrolyte-enhanced fluid like Pedialyte so electrolyte loss does not affect organs. The vet may want you to come into the office so the dog can receive intravenous fluids, says the American Kennel Club.
The best way to treat dehydration is to prevent it in the first place. Provide dogs with a constant supply of clean, clear water at all times. The amount of water needs to increase if the dog is spending time outdoors in hot weather or exercising.
Cats also are prone to dehydration and can exhibit the same symptoms as dogs. So cat owners also must be diligent in checking for dehydration symptoms in their pets.


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