06 news digestsMany Cumberland County thoroughfares have undergone a major transformation in recent years with the elimination of center turn lanes and the installation of medians. The North Carolina Department of Transportation says it’s in the interest of highway safety. 

A major project already funded includes the planned upgrading of Raeford Road. DOT plans to install center medians from Robeson Street in the Highland Village area to south of Raeford Road’s intersection with Cliffdale Road in 71st Township. 

Another regional project not previously announced includes Robeson Street from Blount Street near downtown to Raeford Road. The roadway will be reduced to four lanes with the elimination of the center lane and installation of a dividing median. Sidewalks will be installed on both sides of the street, along with bicycle lanes.

More Hurricane Matthew recovery funding

ReBuild North Carolina has awarded more than $286,000 to 22 families whose homes were damaged during Hurricane Matthew. The grants come through North Carolina’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding. The families are in Cumberland, Robeson, Edgecombe and Wayne counties. The money will be used to repair their homes and to reimburse homeowners for work that is already completed. This funding is in addition to over $743 million already on the ground for small business recovery, public infrastructure repair and direct payments to homeowners including over $98 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency individual assistance. 

“Recovery is picking up steam with more repairs getting underway and more families getting money back for home repairs,” said Mike Sprayberry, director of North Carolina Emergency Management. 

The state is awaiting federal guidelines that will outline the use of an additional $168 million. Cumberland, Robeson, Edgecombe and Wayne counties have all had mandatory areawide environmental reviews approved allowing grant funds to flow. 

ReBuild North Carolina has completed 483 home damage inspections and begun or completed 574 site-specific environmental reviews. CDBG-DR funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development is available to help low-to-moderate income families and individuals repair or rebuild following damage from Hurricane Matthew. 

Service members beware

Military men and women could be at risk of losing their security clearances if they don’t keep their personal finances in good shape. That’s because of changes in rules for the security clearance process, according to advocates. Under new guidelines, officials will conduct continuous monitoring of federal employees who have roles in national security, including service members. 

Historically, individuals were up for periodic reviews every five to 10 years, depending on the type of clearance. The new, continuous evaluation will include a system that automatically pulls data on workers’ financial and criminal records, and eventually, data from social media. 

“This new process might impact your DoD security clearance and prevent you from being deemed deployable, which could greatly impact your military career unless you can prove to DoD that you were the victim of identity theft, fraud or a mistake, and that you’re currently living within your means and are making a good-faith effort to resolve your unpaid debts,” stated a recent blog from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

Under the new system, military members are going to have to face the consequences of those late payments or missed payments quicker than they would have.

Renowned fashionista coming to Fayetteville

Fashion designer Dorothy Grant will be in Fayetteville Saturday, Sept. 15, to present a runway show at the Arts Council gallery on Hay Street. Grant, an international designer who is Kaigani Haida from Alaska, is recognized for her Haida-inspired womenswear and menswear, scarves and leather accessories. 

“Dorothy Grant is an artist, designer and visionary whose creations have graced the red carpet at the Oscars,” said Deborah Martin Mintz, executive director of the Arts Council. 

The event is being staged in conjunction with the current exhibition “Contemporary Art Forms by America’s First People.” It includes portrait paintings, pottery, baskets and textiles by some acclaimed American Indian artists. 

Grant will be available to meet the public at the Arts Council event, which will include a Champagne toast. The event will run 4-6 p.m. Sept. 15 at 301 Hay St. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at www.theartscouncil.com, or by calling the Arts Council at 910-323-1776. Proceeds go toward funding Native American make-and-take crafts at the 40th International Folk Festival on Sept. 28-30 in downtown Fayetteville.

PWC celebrates

Oct. 4 has been declared PWC Day by the city-owned utility. Events include tours of the Butler-Warner Generation Plant in Eastover as well as tours of Public Works water and wastewater plants.  

“We’ll also have an up-close look at the power restoration, water main rehabilitation, PWC’s customer call center, emergency operations and new initiatives that will impact your utilities services,” said PWC representative Carolyn Justice-Hinsons. 

The day will begin at 8 a.m. at the PWC Operations Center at 955 Old Wilmington Rd. Lunch and transportation to the various PWC facilities will be provided. Justice-Hinson said transportation will be available during the day should visitors need to leave at any point.

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