Cities across the U.S. have experienced a surge in homicides in 2016, continuing a grim rise that began last year. Murders are up in roughly 30 big cities nationwide so far in 2016, according to data released by the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Nearly a dozen metropolitan areas — including Chicago, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Memphis, Nashville, and San Antonio — have had sizable increases. Mid-size cities like Fayetteville have not been immune. Homicides here so far this year are up 30 percent over 2015. Nineteen murders were recorded in Fayetteville last year. There have already been 25 homicides this year.
School Proficiency Improves
The state reports that Cumberland County Schools have shown overall proficiency improvement for the third consecutive year as did many of North Carolina’s school districts. Eighty-five precent of Cumberland County Schools met or exceeded growth expectations. Statewide, schools 73 percent of schools met or exceeded growth expectations.
“I am pleased with the results,” said School Superintendent Dr. Frank Till. The local high school graduation rate rose minimally, and remains just under 82 percent. The state high school graduation rate reached a new high of nearly 86 percent. Only four of Cumberland County’s 16 high schools scored a 100 percent graduation rate, and all of them are academic magnet schools. They are Reid Ross Classical High School, Cumberland International Early College, Cross Creek Early College and Howard Health & Life Sciences High School.
Fayetteville’s Hospitality Industry
Visit N.C., a public/private state agency, evaluates the economic impact of travel and tourism in North Carolina annually. The studies are prepared for Visit N.C. by the U.S. Travel Association which prefers to use the word travel rather than tourism because of the latter’s vagueness. The most recent figures indicate that travelers through and to Cumberland County generated over $504 million last year. That can be attributed in part to Fayetteville’s strategic location on I-95, the main east coast interstate corridor and Fort Bragg. Travel expenditures in Cumberland County generated state and local tax revenues of $37.84 million, which the report indicates represents $116.83 in tax savings to each county resident. The tax savings is calculated by taking total local and state tax revenues collected from travelers and dividing them by the number of residents in Cumberland County, according to John Meroski, Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO. The tax receipts are primarily those from sales taxes as well as hotel/motel room occupancy taxes. “Travel spending in Cumberland County has grown steadily for the last 15 years,” said Meroski.