06news digest Crystal MatthewsA woman identified by Fayetteville Police as the mother of a juvenile who was killed about 10:30 a.m., Oct. 21, is in the Cumberland County jail charged with her son’s murder. Police “responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at the Fairfield Inn & Suites at 4249 Ramsey St.,” said Police Sgt. Shawn Strepay.

He said a hotel guest called 911 to report what was described as a physical disturbance in a thirdfloor room. Strepay said officers found Zamarie Chance, 9, badly injured and unresponsive. He died soon after arriving at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. His mother, Crystal M. Matthews, 35, of the 6000 block of Whitemoss Court, a community of quarter-million-dollar homes off Andrews Road, was charged with first-degree murder and felony child abuse. She was taken into custody at the scene and later jailed without bond.

Mall to close for Thanksgiving

Fayetteville’s Cross Creek mall will be closed Thanksgiving Day. All CBL & Associates shopping malls across the country will not be open on Thanksgiving Day. Cross Creek Mall is a CBL property. Owners say their decision is in response to “Black Friday creep,” which has resulted in retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving to gain a competitive edge. It’s the company’s second year of closing on the holiday. There is a caveat to CBL’s decision: Anchor stores and others with separate entrances will be allowed to open if they like. That is unusual because management’s rules generally apply to all stores, big and small. Cross Creek Mall will open at 6 a.m. Friday.

Veterans Affairs proposes new choices

The Department of Veterans Affairs is suggesting that Congress overhaul how veterans receive health care in the private sector. The VA wants to do away with the widely criticized “30-day/40-mile” rule. The new plan is called the Veterans Coordinated Access & Rewarding Experiences Act, or CARE. It would give veterans and their VA physicians flexibility in choosing whether they receive care at a VA facility or from a privatesector provider.

“We want veterans to work with their VA physicians to make informed decisions that are best for their clinical needs, whether in the VA or in the community,” said VA Secretary David Shulkin.

He announced earlier this year that he intended to do away with the rule that allows veterans to go outside the VA for health care only if they had to wait more than 30 days for an appointment or if they live more than 40 miles from a VA clinic. The rule was implemented as part of the Veterans Choice Program in 2014. It has been criticized by some veterans as complicated, bureaucratic and restrictive. Some health care providers claim the VA has been slow to reimburse them for services provided under the program.

Air Force workhorse retired

The last C-130H Hercules cargo plane in the active-duty Air Force bade sayonara to Japan this month. The aircraft was the last of its kind assigned to the Yokota-based 36th Airlift Squadron, which has been trading out its 14 H-models for newer J-models in recent months.

“It’s sad to see it go,” said Lt. Col. John Kerr, shortly before he took the controls of the plane for the long flight to Montana. Some H-models are being reassigned to Air National Guard units. Others are being retired.

It wasn’t too long ago that Pope Field said goodbye to its C-130H models. The 440th Airlift Wing had 16 of them supporting worldwide airborne response and providing training missions for the XVIII Airborne Corps and 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. The 440th was an Air Force Reserve unit that was transferred to Pope as the result of the 2006 Base Realignment and Closure Act.

Despite opposition from North Carolina congressmen and senators, the 440th was inactivated as an Air Force cost savings measure. And Pope’s last C-130 departed in June 2016. The 440th was deactivated three months later. Pope is now an Army airfield hosted by Fort Bragg. As for Lt. Col. Kerr, his trip home was also his last flight. He’s retiring from the Air Force and is looking for work in commercial aviation, he said.

Womack Army Medical Center’s holiday schedule

Fort Bragg’s hospital has published its holiday schedule. All primary care and specialty care clinics will be closed on Veterans Day, Nov. 10. This includes Byars Medical Clinic, Clark Health Clinic, Joel Health and Dental Clinic, Robinson Health Clinic, Womack Family Medicine Residency Clinic, Fayetteville Medical Home, Hope Mills Medical Home and Linden Oaks Medical Home.

The hospital will take the usual two days off for Thanksgiving, Nov. 23 and 24. All primary care and specialty care clinics will be closed for Thanksgiving, including the clinics mentioned above. There will, however, be a consolidated care clinic Nov. 24 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and a flu vaccination clinic from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Womack Family Medicine Residency Clinic. The consolidated care clinic will operate by appointment only. The appointment line phone number is (910) 907-2778. The flu vaccination clinic will be on a walk-in basis.

This year’s Christmas Holiday will be observed from Friday, Dec. 22, through Monday the 25. All primary care and specialty care clinics will be closed Dec. 22 through 25 for Christmas. On New Year’s Day, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, all primary care and specialty care clinics will be closed. To make an appointment at a clinic, log on to www.TRICAREOnline.com or call (910) 907-2778. The Emergency Department is always open for medical emergencies.                 

Chemours is cooperating with the state

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has directed Chemours to provide bottled water to nine more well owners near the company’s Fayetteville facility. This is because the most recent preliminary test results show GenX above the provisional state health goal in residential drinking wells. That makes 35 residential well owners living near Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility on the Bladen County line who are receiving bottled water because of GenX detections in their well water.

DEQ is sending all well owners test results as well as health and other information. “Bottled water is a short-term fix, and we’re working with the counties and the company to find a long-term solution for families who rely on these wells,” said Michael Regan, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. DEQ is working on longer-term water solutions for residents with affected wells, most of whom live north of the facility. Among the possibilities are installing home water filter systems or connecting affected homes to uncontaminated wells or a nearby public water supply. “We all count on having access to a clean, reliable source of drinking water, and these well owners deserve no less,” Regan added.


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