05news digest 3 28Fayetteville’s Cross Creek Park, sometimes called Lafayette Park, off Green Street downtown, was heavily damaged during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. For 1 1/2 years, the ruins of what was a beautiful walkway from Green Street across Cross Creek to the Marquis de Lafayette statue have gone unattended by the city. Parks and Recreation director Michael Gibson said Federal Emergency Management Agency has confirmed that the damage qualified for $250,000 in federal reimbursement.

Workers recently removed the bridge. Fencing was also removed, exposing park visitors to an unprotected, steep, 20-foot creek bank. “Parks and Recreation staff will be putting up a barrier at this location,” said city spokesman Nathan Walls.

Firefighters to administer Naloxone

Until recently, Fayetteville Fire Chief Ben Major opposed equipping fire engines with naloxone, commonly sold under the brand name Narcan. It is a nasal-mist medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdose. Brian Pearce, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center emergency medical service director, agreed that firefighter safety was a primary consideration. Pearce administers regulations of the county medical director and said the final decision was the fire chief’s.

All city firefighters are trained EMTs.

“The Fayetteville Fire/Emergency Management Department wants to help to mitigate and reduce opioid overdoses in our community,” Major said. “Our first responders assist with a wide range of emergency response, and we are happy to use naloxone as another tool to help save lives.” He added that supplies and equipment were evaluated in December and were purchased earlier this year, saying, “Departmentwide training began this month.”

The Fayetteville Police Department was among the first law enforcement agencies in the state to issue naloxone to patrol officers. The department says nearly 200 lives have been saved since then.

The VA names new Fayetteville director

The Department of Veterans Affairs has named retired Army Col. James Laterza the new director of the Fayetteville VA Medical Center. He succeeds Elizabeth Goolsby, who retired last year. Laterza will oversee delivery of health care services to nearly 74,000 veterans in a 19-county area of southeastern North Carolina. The medical center specializes in general medicine, surgery and mental health. It also operates 10 community clinics and the new quarter-billion-dollar health care center on Raeford Road.

Laterza’s most recent appointment before retiring from the U.S. Army was commander of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

“He has more than two decades of health care experience with The United States Army, and his passion to serve our veterans is unmatched,” said DeAnne Seekins, Mid-Atlantic Health Care network director.

Updating the Homeless Initiative Program

Cumberland County Community Development and City of Fayetteville Economic and Community Development departments are seeking proposals for sponsorship of services for the Fayetteville/ Cumberland County Homeless Initiative Program.

The program provides support that addresses gaps in housing and supportive services for homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless.

City and county community development departments hope to contract with an applicant that demonstrates the capacity and performance record to provide supportive services to homeless families. The maximum local funding amount available for services is $200,000. It would target homeless families lacking stable housing. The deadline to receive proposals is 4 p.m., Friday, April 6.

Lafayette Society adoption

The Lafayette Society of Fayetteville has adopted the Noncommissioned Officer Academy of the JFK Special Warfare Center & School at Fort Bragg. The society developed a medallion (Medaille de Lafayette) to honor the city’s namesake. It is awarded to the NCO Academy noncommissioned officer selected by his peers as embodying the best example of “patriotism, generosity and leadership.”

SFC Jacob Foxen received the medallion during the graduation ceremony this month for 22 students in the most recent class.

The Lafayette Society was founded by the late Martha Duell in 1981 with the goal of raising funds for a statue of the Revolutionary War figure to be erected in Cross Creek Park. The statue was dedicated in 1983 as part of Fayetteville’s bicentennial celebration.

Local water treatment issues

Fayetteville’s Public Works Commission says its system “did not meet the treatment technique requirements at our water treatment plant on January 6, 2018.”

Low water pressure resulted from numerous water main breaks during the coldest eight-day period this past winter. Local temperatures were well below freezing during the week. A boil water advisory was in effect during the period. Tests taken at the time did not indicate the presence of bacteria in the water. N.C. state law required that PWC advise the public of the information.

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