Col. Larry Dewey of the 16th Military Police Brigade at Fort Bragg has resumed command after he was investigated and cleared of misconduct charges, an Army spokesman said. The Army never gave details of Dewey’s alleged misconduct of which he has been exonerated.
Local government leadership elected
Mayor Mitch Colvin and Mayor Pro Tem Ted Mohn lead the newly elected Fayetteville City Council. Mohn was chosen by acclimation at a special meeting following members’ swearing-in ceremony at Fayetteville State University. In his address to a packed Seabrook Auditorium, Colvin pledged efforts to renew relationships with Cumberland County commissioners. “We will work together to build bridges,” he said. “We’re in the midst of monumental change.”
Colvin promised no new taxes during the mayoral campaign and surprised a lot of people by saying he would ask residents to approve a general obligation bond referendum for infrastructure improvements, most notably stormwater drainage.
Cumberland County commissioners named Larry Lancaster their new chairman. “It’s a remarkable honor to be chosen chairman of the county commissioners, and I accept this responsibility out of great respect of this board and the citizens of Cumberland County,” Lancaster said. He said water quality will be a top priority in the coming year and that the commissioners will do everything they can to address the need for safe drinking water in areas with contaminated water.
Commissioner Jeannette Council was selected vice chairman. She has served four terms as the board’s vice chair and three terms as its chairperson.
Hoke County teacher beaten
Hoke County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested the man accused of assaulting a West Hoke Elementary School teacher. Michael L. Nivens, 34, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery in the unprovoked beating of a West Hoke Elementary School teacher. He was apprehended in Robeson County after deputies received a tip from the public.
“The attack on this teacher, who faithfully serves our Hoke County kids, was senseless and totally unnecessary,” Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said. He did not identify the teacher but said a black male entered the school building and asked the teacher about a former employee. He then beat the victim by striking her in the head, face and hands with an unknown object. The woman was admitted to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center with serious injuries. Nivens is also accused of breaking into four Hoke County churches and faces additional counts of breaking and entering a place of worship and conspiracy.
Training to deal with active violence
Public safety agencies from the city of Fayetteville and Cumberland County formed an Active Violence Task Force several years ago to jointly develop a unified response plan for the community. The AVTF has representation from all area law enforcement agencies plus the city of Fayetteville Fire Department, Cumberland County Rural Fire Departments, Cape Fear Valley Health Systems and the towns of Spring Lake and Hope Mills. A unified response plan has been developed and verbally agreed to by Fayetteville police and fire chiefs, the Cumberland County sheriff, the president of Cumberland County Fire Chiefs Association, the chief of Cape Fear Valley Health Systems’ Ambulance Service, as well as the police and fire chiefs of Spring Lake and Hope Mills. The AVTF and a hand-selected cadre of instructors completed a training course this month.
Hurricane Matthew recovery
Cumberland County and city of Fayetteville residents who sustained damage to their homes during Hurricane Matthew may still be eligible for additional financial assistance through federally funded Community Development Disaster Recovery Block Grant funds. This assistance is made possible by North Carolina’s $237 million in CDBG funding awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The money is set aside to assist residents with housing repairs, homeowner reimbursement and other housing-related needs.
For information about how to apply, visit rebuild. nc.gov/apply. To begin the application process, residents must schedule appointments by calling (910) 550-1155 during normal business hours. The Cumberland County application center is located at the Department of Social Services building, 1225 Ramsey St. The application center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., but is closed Dec. 25-27 and Jan. 1 and 15.
Jim Arp is a retired Army officer and a veteran Fayetteville city councilman. Several months ago, he became concerned that he was overweight, so he started walking – and hasn’t stopped. Arp said he’s lost 35 pounds so far. He’s taken walking to an extreme, and now averages three to five miles a day. On weekends, he sometimes walks ten miles at a clip all over town. At some point, Arp began to wave at people along his treks, and many waved back. He eventually became known as the “waving walker.”
The council member decided he wanted to highlight the friendliness of Fayetteville. “All we hear is the bad news,” he said. “This could turn things around.” So, Arp is promoting Fayetteville Friendly, asking all of us to make conscious efforts to be friendlier. He plans to use social media to promote the idea of encouraging all of us to be kind, every day. “If we take three weeks to make daily random acts of kindness, it’ll become a habit,” he said.