05NewsDigestLeaf Season is almost here

Fall is here, and trees are losing their leaves and pine needles. During leaf season, which begins later this month, residents can rake leaves to the curb without containerizing them. City of Fayetteville officials note that pine straw and leaves should not be raked into the street but left in the yard near the curb. Residents would be wise to check the city’s website to determine dates that trucks will be in their neighborhoods to pick up leaves and pine straw. These trucks will make only one pass. The city’s pickup schedule is available online at Fayettevillenc.gov/leafseason or by calling (910) 433-1FAY.

Leaf season this year is Nov. 27 through Feb. 7.  If you notice leaves piling up in the street, call the city’s stormwater hotline at (910) 433-1613. People wishing to bag their leaves can pick up free plastic bags at any city fire station or recreation center.

Possible serial rapists jailed

Cumberland County sheriff’s detectives have jailed three suspects on rape charges in a case that first came to the attention of Fayetteville Police. And, deputies have concerns that this case was not an isolated incident. They have reason to suspect that “there may be other victims who have not reported being robbed and assaulted by these three suspects,” said sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Sean Swain.

The youths, ages 17 to 21, have been charged with first-degree rape, armed robbery, kidnapping and conspiracy. Swain said that Nov. 10, the sheriff’s human trafficking detectives were notified by city police of the rape that occurred at 2272 Carbine St. The victim had posted about her sexual assault on Facebook. She recounted the event that had taken place a week earlier, explaining that she had posted an ad for companionship online. She was contacted by one of three men asking for a date. When she arrived at the Carbine Street address, she said she was greeted by James Haywood III. He escorted her to a rear bedroom where Jason Hammonds and Branden McKenzie were waiting. Swain said the three youths allegedly displayed handguns and demanded the victim’s money. She was then told to remove her clothes, after which the suspects forced her to perform sexual acts. The woman told police she didn’t know where to turn since she was new to Fayetteville, so she told her story on Facebook live.

“Detectives were able to corroborate the victim’s account and arrested the three suspects,” Swain said. James Haywood III, 21, Jason Hammonds, 18, and Brandon McKenzie, 17, were arrested.  Hammonds was charged additionally with possession of a firearm by a felon. Their bail bonds range from $1.5 million to $2 million.

Swain asks that anyone with information on similar instances call the sheriff’s office.

2017 Fayetteville homicide No. 25

The owner of a pair of Bragg Boulevard properties was killed in a shootout involving an apparently disgruntled patron and a security guard. The victim, Akash Talati, 40, owned the DiamondZ strip club. He was one of five people who were shot, Fayetteville police said. Acquaintances said Talati also owned the Knights Inn Motel across the street.

The assailant, Markeese Dewitt, 23, had been escorted out of the club for becoming unruly, but returned moments later and exchanged gunfire with the security guard, who was one of five people wounded. Dewitt was shot several times by security officer Raymond Young, 30. The others wounded have been identified as Andelo Nelson, 20, an employee of the business, and Joshua Caldwell, 27, a bystander. Their conditions are not life-threatening. All the victims were shot outside the front entrance to the club, said Fayetteville Police Sgt. Shawn Strepay. Dewitt faces numerous charges once he’s released from the hospital.

Misconduct in the military

Army Col. Larry Dewey, the commander of Fort Bragg’s 16th Military Police Brigade, isn’t Bragg’s first top cop to lose his job in recent years. Dewey was suspended from duty in mid-October, according to the 18th Airborne Corps, the unit’s higher headquarters. Officials refused to release any details about the nature of the ongoing investigation. Dewey took command of the brigade in July.

One of his recent predecessors, Col. Chad McRee, was removed from the same post as brigade commander after investigators confirmed that he had been kissing soldiers’ wives on the lips at public events. He lost his job, but he remained in the Army for two years and retired in April 2015. McRee never was court-martialed. An investigation into McRee’s behavior was launched when an anonymous letter complained about his conduct. McRee had made it a habit to plant unwelcome kisses on the lips of subordinates’ wives. The 16th Military Police Brigade provides garrison law enforcement and force protection at Fort Bragg and three other 18th Airborne Corps.                                           

GenX violation results in citation

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has cited Chemours Fayetteville Works facility with violating the conditions of its wastewater discharge permit because the company failed to report an Oct. 6 chemical spill. The notice demands that Chemours submit within 10 days to DEQ information about the duration and quantity of the dimer acid fluoride and any other chemicals spilled, as well as a description of all actions taken by the company to stop the spill.

“It is both unlawful and unacceptable for a company to fail to report a chemical spill to the state and public as soon as possible,” said Michael Regan, secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality.

The Chemours permit requires that DEQ is notified within 24 hours of any discharge of significant amounts of chemical as well as any noncompliance that potentially threatens public health or the environment.

DEQ questioned Chemours officials in early November after receiving preliminary data from water samples the state agency collected that indicated elevated concentrations of GenX at Chemours’ primary wastewater discharge outfall.  The company admitted that a spill had occurred. “We will take all appropriate enforcement action to hold Chemours accountable for failing to comply with its permit,” added Regan.


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