05Johnny Dawkins Fayetteville City Councilman Johnny Dawkins is on the mend at home following heart surgery. He is recovering from quadruple heart bypass surgery that took place at Duke Heart Center in Durham Dec. 28. He returned home New Year’s Day. The surgery, he said, took five hours.

“They gave me four new coronary artery bypass grafts,” he said. Dawkins added that he has no intention of resigning from City Council.

He said Dr. Jacob Schroder, a thoracic surgeon who practices at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, performed the surgery. Doctors discovered arterial blockages after he had a cardiac catheterization — a procedure that took place after he continued to have jaw pain while exercising on an elliptical machine.

Dawkins is a member of the Duke Cancer Institute’s Brain Tumor Board of Advisors. He served on City Council from 2003 to 2005 and ran again successfully in 2016.

Local hospital official resigns

Arkansas Children’s Hospital has hired Brent Thompson to lead its legal services division as senior vice president and chief legal officer. Thompson currently serves as chief legal officer for Cape Fear Valley Health System in Fayetteville, a system with more than 900 licensed beds and 6,000 employees.

“Brent was drawn to our mission of championing children because one of his two sons spent several days in an NICU right after birth,” said Arkansas Children’s President and CEO Marcy Doderer.

Thompson earned a law degree at the University of Tulsa College of Law and is also an alumnus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman. He has extensive experience in litigation, hospital policies and procedures and hospital compliance with federal laws.

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Fayetteville’s Child Advocacy Center, the Fayetteville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and the Methodist University social work department are co-sponsoring three presentations on the subject. Russell G. Wilson, an expert in human trafficking, will make the presentations.

Wilson graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed his first research project in Cambodia looking at the factors of resiliency for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.

His first session will be Thursday, Jan. 24, from 2-4 p.m., at Lafayette Baptist Church, 501 Hope Mills Rd. The intended audience is law enforcement, social workers and mental health professionals. That evening, from 6:30-8 p.m., Wilson will give an address at the Kiwanis Recreation Center, 352 Devers St. The intended audience is the community at large.

Friday, Jan. 25, from 10 a.m.-noon, the final session will be at Fayetteville State University’s Shaw Auditorium, 1200 Murchison St. Faculty and students are encouraged to attend.

The programs are offered free of charge, but registration is required at the Child Advocacy website. For more details or to register, visit CACFayNC.org.

Flick your BIC

BIC USA is observing its 60th anniversary and has allocated $60,000 of an original $100,000 donation in 2018 to DonorsChoose.org to fund in-school handwriting projects and classroom requests. The company said the money will reach nearly 800 elementary and middle school students in underserved areas, including a school in Fayetteville.

“At BIC, we are committed to education and serving our communities,” said Linda Palladino, senior brand manager of BIC Consumer Products.

DonorsChoose.org is a nonprofit organization that considers teacher requests and allows individuals and companies to donate directly to classroom projects. Funding from BIC USA and DonorsChoose.org will help students in Cumberland and six other North Carolina counties to learn the art of handwriting and develop skills to become better readers through projects designed to spark their creativity.

Specific projects supported in North Carolina include “Essential Learning with Play-Dough” at Cumberland Road Elementary School in Fayetteville.

“According to Hanover Research, 15 minutes of daily writing promotes individuality, enhances motor skills and improves cognitive development,” said Linda Palladino, senior brand manager for BIC Consumer Products USA.

Fayetteville Minor League Baseball

Fayetteville’s downtown baseball stadium is one of three brand-new minor league ballparks opening this coming season. According to BallparkDigest.com, inaugural Minor League Baseball games have been announced for all three ballparks. They include home openers for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (High A; Carolina League), Amarillo Sod Poodles (Class AA; Texas League) and the Las Vegas Aviators (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League). After beginning the season on the road, the Woodpeckers will open their ballpark with an April 18 matchup against the Carolina Mudcats.

The Woodpeckers spent the past two seasons at Campbell University’s Jim Perry Stadium.

The new stadium in Fayetteville will also host several events in addition to Woodpeckers’ games. It has already been announced as the home of the annual Big South Conference baseball tournament from 2019-2021. In both Amarillo, Texas, and Fayetteville, affiliated Minor League Baseball action returns after a considerable absence.

Fayetteville has not had a Minor League Baseball club since the Cape Fear Crocs (Low A; Sally League) moved to Lakewood, New Jersey, after the 2000 campaign. The Sod Poodles are the first Amarillo-based affiliated minor league team since the Texas League’s Gold Sox relocated to Beaumont, Texas, after the 1982 season.

Photo: Johnny Dawkins

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