08NewsDigestThe state of North Carolina has rejected environmental plans by Duke Energy and three other power companies to build the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It’s an interstate pipeline to carry natural gas from West Virginia into southern North Carolina.

The letter of disapproval from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is the first decision on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline from any state or federal government agency in its three states. Duke Energy is also expecting a decision this month from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on whether the $5 billion pipeline is necessary.

The 600-mile underground pipeline, which would plow through eight North Carolina counties including Cumberland, does not meet the state’s standards for erosion and sediment control. The project also needs an air-quality permit for a compressor, a machine that pushes the gas through the pipeline. And it needs a water-quality permit allowing developers to drill through streams and wetlands.

Duke Energy has been buying up land along the proposed pipeline route but has been stymied by some property owners in the Wade and Cedar Creek communities of Cumberland County.

“At the very least, (this) represents a significant hurdle the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will have to overcome,” said Doug Jackson, spokesman for the Sierra Club. The pipeline would carry natural gas from a giant depository spanning Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York. The gas would be extracted from shale through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Fort Bragg, North Carolina

The United States has some of the largest and most advanced military bases in the world. Fort Bragg is considered one of the eight most advanced military installations operated by the U.S., according to TheVeteransSite.com. Fort Bragg’s size alone makes it one of the most renowned military bases not only in the country but around the world. It houses 238,646 people over its 163,000 acres, making Fort Bragg the world’s largest military base regarding population as of this year. Other than the massive number of military personnel, students, families, civilian employees and other people who call Fort Bragg home, the army post is known for serving as a place that fostered the development of military tactics during World War II.

The base is home to several elite Army units including the four-star Forces Command, the 82nd Airborne Division and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. More general officers are stationed at Fort Bragg than any other installation, making it second only to the Pentagon. The post is often referred to as the Pentagon South.

AUSA National Convention

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pulled no punches last week during the annual convention of the Association of the U.S. Army. He said in no uncertain terms that they should “be ready” with military options should diplomacy fail with North Korea. When asked what the U.S. military could do to make war with North Korea less likely, Mattis said, “You have got to be ready to ensure that we have military options that our president can employ, if needed.”

The former Marine general said the U.S. is currently pursuing a “diplomatically led effort” that has seen the U.N. Security Council twice vote unanimously to sanction North Korea. “The international community has spoken, but that means the U.S. Army must stand ready.” In the event of war, the 82nd Airborne Division would be among the first elements to get the call. The division’s ability to rapidly deploy forces around the world is a critical component of the Global Response Force. Marines on Okinawa would also immediately join the fight. U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley put the threat of war in perspective during a news conference at the Army convention, saying there are “no risk-free options” in dealing with North Korea.

“It would be horrible, there’s no question about it,” Milley said of a war with North Korea.

A New Fayetteville Neighborhood

Fayetteville Area Habitat for Humanity hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the first phase of the construction of Oakridge Estates in West Fayetteville. The Oakridge Estates project is a collaborative effort between Habitat, the City of Fayetteville and the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development to build 49 single-family homes on 14.2 acres in what was once a rundown mobile home park.

“This community needs affordable housing now more than ever,” said Mayor Nat Robertson. It marks a historic partnership between the organizations in providing affordable housing in underserved and disinvested communities.

Veterans Day Vietnam Moving Wall

To celebrate Fayetteville’s Heroes Homecoming, the Airborne & Special Operations Museum Foundation will again host The Moving Wall on the museum’s parade field Thursday, Nov. 9, through Sunday, Nov. 12. The half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will allow visitors to experience seeing the more than 58,000 names of those servicemen and women who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.

Rolling Thunder and other volunteers will assist with locating names for visitors. The Moving Wall will be open to the public 24 hours each day. A torchlight ceremony will be held Nov. 9 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Gold Star family members will walk the length of The Moving Wall to the Iron Mike statue where the torch will be passed to each member as they say the name of their loved one. Rolling Thunder will also have a Missing Man table during the ceremony.

The ASOM Foundation is selling 30-inch flags for $5 each to be displayed on the museum’s grounds.

“Having a veterans’ flags in a place of honor directly in front of The Moving Wall (will) help give these veterans the added recognition they deserve,” said Mike Lynch, executive director of the museum’s foundation.

The Invisible Empire

The Klan is still alive in North Carolina. The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan headquartered in Pelham recently distributed position papers at a Friday night Gray’s Creek High School football game.

School officials said they had no advance knowledge of the distribution. Gray’s Creek principal Lisa Stewart told reporters that the distribution of the fliers violated school system policy and that the matter was being investigated. A spokesman for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said it is not investigating the incident.

“Whites in America need to unite and start coming together,” an unidentified Klan official told a Charlotte television station. The man apparently told the WBTV reporter he didn’t want to be identified by name. “White people have always had the KKK, and we’re not going anywhere,” he concluded. Pelham has long been a haven for the Klan. The unincorporated village is on the Virginia state line just below Danville in Caswell County. It was named for Confederate Army Col. John Pelham.


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