Where's Sheriff Butler?
Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler is rarely seen in public these days and, except for a recent radio interview, hasn’t been heard from. For his more than 20 years in office, Butler has maintained a high profile presence, until recently. Sheriff’s Office Attorney Ronnie Mitchell has become his surrogate, leading many to wonder why Butler is no longer speaking for himself. When asked if Butler was ill, Sgt. Sean Swain, the office spokesman, said, “The Sheriff is just fine. He has been delegating a lot of events and engagements to others so he can focus on other more pressing issues.” Butler has indicated he’s serving his last four-year term. He was elected to a sixth term in 2014 which puts him about two years out from retirement. If he follows tradition, Butler may decide to step down early and ask county commissioners to appoint a successor. As a lifelong Democrat, he would likely recommend the person he would like to see succeed him.
Revised Congressional Districts
“There’s a lot of cynicism in the country because of the way we draw maps, where people feel their vote doesn’t count, and that the results are predetermined,” says Michael Li, senior counsel for the Brennan Center’s democracy program and a voting-rights expert. The North Carolina situation, in particular, “is a mess,” he added. As the result of a recent appellate court decision, North Carolina Congressional elections were postponed until June 7 because new maps had to be drawn to straighten out unlawful gerrymandering.
It has been alleged that the Republican legislature packed more black voters into districts where they already had a plurality, thus boosting Republican odds by “bleaching” surrounding districts. Eleven of the state’s 13 Congressional districts had to be redrawn. Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County are now in the new 8th and 9th districts. The new Congressmen are Richard Hudson, Republican of Concord and Robert Pittenger, Republican of Charlotte. The districts are adjacent to one another. They stretch horizontally along south-central North Carolina from Rowan County in the west to Cumberland County in the east. Members of Congress David Price, Renee Ellmers and David Rouser no longer represent the Fayetteville area.
Medal of Honor Recipient Honored
Fayetteville’s Airborne & Special Operations Museum will host a Medal of Honor Day Ceremony March 25 at 10 a.m. The late Staff Sgt. Felix M. Conde-Falcon, Company D, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division is the highlighted recipient. Staff Sgt. Conde is the only the 82nd Airborne Division Medal of Honor recipient during the Vietnam War. The 3rd Brigade deployed to Vietnam in 1968 answering the nation’s call in response to the Tet Offensive. President Lyndon Johnson came to Pope Field to see the paratroopers off. Guest speakers for the upcoming event are Col. (Retired) Stan Dodson and Lesley Hayes. Dodson was Conde’s platoon leader and Hayes was the radio operator the day of the action. Some of the platoon members present that day will attend. Immediately after the ceremony, all Vietnam veterans present will be honored and presented with lapel pins thanking them for their service during the war.
Red Cross Dedication
American Red Cross workers are on the ground, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping those who need it most. Whether they’re providing essentials to a family impacted by a home fire in the middle of the night, or supporting affected communities after a severe storm, they’re there nearly every 8 minutes across the country. The Red Cross provides impacted families with essentials like warm meals, a place to stay, and clean-up kits , as well as guidance on how to take the next steps to recover from tragedy. Here in Fayetteville, it’s not unusual for volunteers with the Highlands Chapter of the American Red Cross to get phone calls day and night from the fire department. Families who are burned out of their homes are given temporary lodging in local motels and other necessities as they struggle to get back on their feet. Right now, the Red Cross is hard at work delivering hope and help for people impacted by flooding along the Gulf Coast. Record flooding is occurring along a stretch of the Sabine River, and will result in long-lasting after effects along the Texas and Louisiana border. One night more than 380 people found safe places to stay in 31 Red Cross and community shelters outside flooded communities in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. It’s the fifth major disaster this year alone. Families face a long road to recovery as they wait for the water to recede.