05NewsDigest May17 23The City of Fayetteville can’t say when the Tokay Senior Fitness Center operated by the Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation Department will re-open. The specialty center sustained extensive smoke damage during an electrical fire. It’s been closed since March 27. City spokesman Nathan Walls told Up & Coming Weekly that “there are too many variables to predict a reopening date.” The popular older adult fitness center has work out equipment including treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines and Nautilus equipment. Seniors use the facility for physical rehabilitation and regular fitness regimens often as prescribed by physicians. Group exercise classes are also offered. Those classes are temporarily being held at the Smith Recreation Center, 1520 Slater Avenue. The exercise equipment room at the Smith Center is open for senior citizen patrons at 7 a.m. Monday-Friday.

Talk About a Major Motoring Inconvenience…
Local motorists accustomed to travelling Bragg Boulevard in an approach to downtown Fayetteville are trying to get used to a long detour. Drivers traveling toward downtown on Bragg Boulevard (N.C. 24) should be aware that a roadway closure between West Rowan Street and the Rowan Street bridge is in effect through June 15. DOT is detouring traffic to allow for the installation of a sewer line. The detour is marked, suggesting that inbound motorists turn left onto the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway, to Ramsey Street. Then take a right to downtown. There are alternate routes as well. Inbound downtown drivers may want to use Fort Bragg Road, or they can turn right onto the MLK Jr. Freeway over to Hay Street and on into downtown.

Blackwell Seeks Superior Court Clerk’s Office
Cindy Blackwell, a former Chief Assistant Clerk of Cumberland County Superior Court, announces she will seek the Democratic nomination for the Clerk’s position. “The Clerk of Court serves an important role for our citizens and our court system,” she said in making her announcement. “Every day thousands of citizens access our courts, whether it’s to pay a seat-belt ticket, make a child-support payment or to execute a departed loved-one’s estate,” she added. Blackwell left the office in early 2014 when Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons passed over Blackwell and appointed District Court Judge Kim Tucker to succeed retired Clerk Linda Priest. Blackwell then accepted a position with the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts in Raleigh. “I have the background, the experience and understanding to serve you,” Blackwell said in news release announcing her candidacy.

Gander Mountain in Fayetteville Likely to Stay Open
Gander Mountain, a chain of hunting and outdoor stores, is not shutting down after being bought in a bankruptcy sale, according to the new owner, Marcus Lemonis of Camping World. He said reports that all the stores are closing are untrue and that at least 70 Gander Mountain locations will remain open. In North Carolina, Gander Mountain stores in Fayetteville and Winston-Salem will stay open. The others, including Raleigh, are still up in the air. Camping World has until Oct. 6 to determine which Gander Mountain locations it would like to keep. Lemonis is best known as host of CNBC’s reality series “The Profit.”

Lawyers for the Man Convicted of Killing Shaniya Davis Want a New Trial
Mario McNeill’s claim that he is entitled to a new trial for raping and murdering 5-year-old Shaniya Davis in 2009 “is bogus.” That’s the opinion of North Carolina Assistant Attorney General Anne M. Middleton. In oral arguments for a new trial before the North Carolina Supreme Court, Middleton recounted that McNeill told his attorneys, Allen Rogers and Coy Brewer, that he wanted to provide police information helpful to them. In so doing, she said, McNeill waived his attorney-client privilege. Brewer and Rogers then told authorities where they could find Shaniya Davis’s body, hoping the death penalty would be taken off the table. District Attorney Billy West offered McNeill a chance to plead guilty to avoid the death sentence, Middleton said, but he chose not to accept it. He went to trial in 2013 and was subsequently convicted and sentenced to death. Shaniya’s mother had sold her to McNeill in repayment of a $200 drug debt. Appellate lawyer Andrew DeSimone told the court that Rogers and Brewer were obliged to keep the information McNeill provided them by their client secret. The justices will review the oral arguments and written briefs, and decide whether McNeill should get a new trial.

Crisis Intervention Resources
Residents wishing to apply for Crisis Intervention Fund assistance should go to the Salvation Army Community Center at 220 E. Russell Street. The Salvation Army Center at 1047 Southern Ave. is temporarily closed because of recent flooding. The program is administered by the Cumberland County Department of Social Services for individuals and families experiencing a heating or cooling-related crisis. The CIP program is in effect until all funds are exhausted, or June 30. Money is paid directly to utility providers on behalf of approved applicants. Applications are accepted Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Detailed information is available from the Salvation Army at 910-483-8119.

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