08SwimmingWill indoor public pools become year-round facilities?

With a fourth public swimming pool in the offing, it may be that Fayetteville’s two newest pools will soon become year-round facilities. City council is considering purchasing portable enclosures for the pools at Westover and College Lakes Recreation Centers.

Parks and Recreation Director Michael Gibson said both pools were designed to accommodate tent-like inflatable domes supported by lightweight crossbars. Once installed, they could be raised and lowered with little effort to enclose the pools, making them useable in cold weather.

The city administration is developing guidelines and procedures to accommodate high school swim teams and other aquatic clubs that have expressed interest in utilizing the pools. Swim club supporters note that the only local indoor pool of adequate size is located at Fayetteville State University.

The hope is that Cumberland County Schools will be interested in joining with the city to finance the enclosures. Gibson estimates they would cost as much as $65,000 each. Additional annual operating expenses are estimated at $20,000 a year. The pools currently are open four months out of the year.

Career criminals imprisoned

Two Fayetteville men have been given lengthy federal prison terms as violent, repeat offenders. Dontrell Wright, 24, and Calvin Spearman, 23, both of Fayetteville, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan.

Wright will spend 19 years in prison. Spearman was sentenced to 14.5 years. Both men will also spend 5 years of supervised release.

Eastern North Carolina U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon Jr. said the defendants were named in a seven-count indictment in September of last year for robbing two local Subway restaurants and a
Pizza Hut in January 2017.

Wright and Spearman pled guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and aiding and abetting. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of North Carolina has implemented the Take Back North Carolina Initiative. The program emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with local law enforcement and district attorney’s offices to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking and crimes against law enforcement.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Hope Mills Police Department, the Fayetteville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Fayetteville man named VA Secretary

President Trump has named Robert Wilkie to be the nation’s next Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Wilkie, a Fayetteville native, has been acting VA secretary since late March.

His appointment is subject to Senate confirmation. Wilkie has also been serving in the Department of Defense as undersecretary for personnel and readiness. Prior to that, Wilkie was senior
advisor to Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, and held numerous roles during the administration of President George W. Bush.

“Robert is one of the most honorable and decent human beings I’ve ever worked with,” said Tillis. “Anyone who knows him has seen his drive to serve his country and his passion for honoring our nation’s veterans and service members, qualities that will be tremendous assets at the VA.”

Wilkie replaces the previous VA secretary, David Shulkin.

The VA is the nation’s second-largest government agency, charged with caring for 9 million veterans and more than 1,700 government-run health care facilities.

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