06Splash Pad 2 Seeking reprieve from the summer heat wave

The Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation Department has taken steps to provide comfort zones during the summer heat wave. Splash pads now remain open daily until 8 p.m. Splash pads are located at Kiwanis, Massey Hill and Myers Park recreation centers. The Splash pad at J.S. Spivey Recreation Center is closed for repairs and will re-open when the maintenance is completed. Public swimming pools on Langdon Street, at College Lakes Recreation Center and Westover Recreation Center are open Tuesday-Sunday.

Recreation centers also provide reprieve from the heat with air conditioned, public facilities.

Local government takes time off

Fayetteville City Council takes July off each year, primarily so members and administrators can take vacations. City spokesman Kevin Arata said the specifics are privileged for security reasons. When City Manager Doug Hewett takes time off, an assistant manager fills in.

“Someone is always designated to be in charge,” said Arata. “And even when Doug’s out, he’s still usually checking email, and council members still call.”

Cumberland County Commissioners also cancel monthly meetings in July.

“Members of the management team try to schedule leave during July when the commissioners are not meeting,” said Assistant County Manager Sally Shutt. “This leave is coordinated so that either the county manager or one of the assistant county managers is always in the office.” When the county manager is out of the office, she assigns an assistant county manager to be in charge, Shutt added.

Animal control department

Cumberland County has a new animal control director. County Manager Amy Cannon has appointed Elaine B. Smith to succeed Dr. John Lauby, who left the department in April. Smith was selected for the position after a recruitment process that attracted applicants from across the country. She has served as the county’s animal control enforcement supervisor in charge of 21 animal control officers.

“We welcome Mrs. Smith to our leadership team and look forward to working closely with her as we tackle new and existing challenges in animal care and control here in Cumberland County,” said Tracy Jackson, assistant county manager.

Smith’s professional experience includes working for the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the nonprofit Fayetteville Animal Protection Society. She is a graduate of North Carolina State University.

A proud military family

Army 2nd Lt. Austin Miller is a new platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. He is shown with his family, which includes President Trump’s choice to lead American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Army Lt. Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller said American troops were needed in Afghanistan to ensure major terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida and the Islamic State, remain unable to launch major attacks against the United States from that country.

He said a revamped war strategy has made progress, but he doesn’t see an end to the 17-year conflict any time soon. Miller’s last assignment was as chief of Joint Special Operations Command. “I can’t guarantee you any timeline or an end date,” Miller told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a hearing to consider his appointment and nomination to four-star general.

Army Gen. John Nicholson, a former 82nd Airborne Division commander, has led troops in Afghanistan since March 2016. Miller is expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks and take command in August or September, officials said.

A tribute to a great American

The Washington Post recently ran an article by Steve Hendrix titled “Bob Dole’s final mission.” It’s about former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole and what the patriot’s life is like at age 94.

“Each Saturday, before Bob Dole sets off on his latest vocation, he has cornflakes, a little sugar on top, and a bottle of chocolate Boost. It takes less time to get dressed now that the former Republican presidential candidate allows a nurse to help him. But it remains a rough half-hour for a body racked by war injuries and age. Then comes the 20-minute drive to a monument the former senator all but built himself,” wrote Hendrix, who spent a day with Dole.

Hendrix also wrote in his piece that “There, from a handicapped parking spot, Dole eases into a wheelchair as the greetings begin — ‘Oh my gosh, Bob Dole!’– finally rolling into his place in the shade just outside the main entrance to the National World War II Memorial. And then they come, bus after bus, wheelchair after wheelchair, battalions of his bent brothers, stooped with years but steeped in pride.”

North Carolinians came to appreciate Sen. Dole for a couple of reasons: his military and government service and his wife Elizabeth’s service as a U.S. senator from the Tar Heel State. She is a Salisbury, North Carolina, native.

“Bob Dole has been coming for years to greet these groups of aging veterans, brought at no cost from throughout the country by the nonprofit Honor Flight Network. As Sen. Dole’s mission- driven life has faded into history — combat hero, champion for the disabled, Senate majority leader, 1996 Republican presidential candidate — this final calling has remained, sometimes derailed by the doctors, but still a duty to be fulfilled,” Hendrix observed.

“He has watched the number of World War II veterans decline over the years, from half the bus to just a few per group, the sun setting on the ‘greatest generation’ that saved the world. ‘I just met a fellow who was 103 years old, he (Dole) says. ‘Sometimes I’m the kid.’ Maybe it keeps him young,” Hendrix wrote.

Dole’s wife told The Washington Post reporter that her husband is wired to serve. “She joins him frequently on the Saturday outings, helping to direct the receiving line, doubling the number of Senator Doles in the pictures and stories visitors take home. ‘It’s great, all these tremendous men and women,’ she says. ‘Bob has a goal. He wants to make a positive difference in one person’s life every day.’”

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