05Anthony Grant  Fayetteville Police Department’s Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit has charged a man with a rape and robbery that occurred more than three decades ago in Fayetteville.

Detectives investigated the case Oct. 24, 1987, but it went unsolved. The cold case unit recently reopened it after sending the sexual assault kit for DNA testing.

Anthony Keith Grant, 52, of the 2100 block of North Charleston, South Carolina, has been charged with second-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and common law robbery.

The woman was an employee of Trade Station Convenience Store on Pamalee Drive, where she was raped, according to Officer J.K. Strickland, a spokesman for the FPD. He said Grant allegedly also committed a robbery of the business.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office arrested Grant. He is being held in Charleston awaiting extradition to Cumberland County. The sexual assault kit from this case was tested utilizing federal grant funding.

Defense department funding of the wall

More than 50 U.S. House Democrats are pushing back against President Donald Trump’s proposal to use Defense Department funds to pay for a wall on the southern border. They have signed a letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Washington, asking that he use the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act to assure that the administration “cannot utilize a fake national emergency to co-opt the military into the construction of the president’s wall.”

The authorization bill is not expected to pass until late this year. If Trump proceeds with the declaration, it will likely be challenged in court, which could delay implementation of the administration’s potential plans.

The president has not ruled out using his executive powers to bring an end to the impasse. The White House was preparing a draft proclamation for Trump to declare a national emergency and has reportedly identified more than $7 billion in potential funds for his wall should he go that route.

CNN reported that the Army Corps of Engineers would be deployed to construct the wall, some of it on private property. That would likely require condemnation under eminent domain laws, which is permitted if it is for public use.

Cumberland County school supporters recognized

School board members, educators, students and community partners annually celebrate the work that mentors do every day to help students succeed in the classroom and beyond. Cumberland County Schools recently held its annual appreciation breakfast at the Educational Resource Center to recognize mentors who volunteer their time to support students.

The committee was unable to narrow it down to one winner and announced two individuals as Mentors of the Year — James Chrishon, a mentor at J.W. Coon Elementary School, and Ben Simmons, a mentor at Ramsey Street High School.

“It’s really humbling to receive this award from Cumberland County Schools and be amongst a group of mentors that give so much to schools and the community,” said Chrishon.

Sixteen nominees for the Mentor of the Year award were recognized during the breakfast. “We are grateful to our mentors for investing their time and resources in our students,” said Dr. Natasha Scott, executive director of CCS Student Services.

Rural bridge replacements

A pair of rural bridges in eastern Cumberland County are scheduled for replacement on a road that has been closed to traffic for 10 months. The North Carolina Department of Transportation this month signed off on two contracts totaling $4.7 million to a group of companies that will design and build seven new bridges and demolish the existing structures.

Two of the old structures are on Hollow Creek Road, where they cross Sandy Creek near Autryville. The road has been closed since April 2018.

The bridges being replaced are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. This means that, while remaining safe for travel, the bridges are increasingly requiring maintenance and road closures, and they no longer meet today’s traffic demands.

Seven bridges across Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Harnett and Robeson counties are to be replaced over the next two years. The work will start after Feb. 25 and last through summer 2021.

School breakfast program expanded

Twelve school districts across North Carolina have received funding from the governor’s office to expand access to school breakfast. Cumberland County Schools was one of them.

Bill Hefner Elementary, Cumberland Road Elementary, Rockfish Elementary, J.W. Seabrook Elementary, Ashley Elementary, Morganton Road Elementary and Alderman Road Elementary schools will use the funding to increase access to breakfast. This funding is provided in partnership with No Kid Hungry and The Dairy Alliance.

Almost 900,000 students in traditional public schools across the state are eligible for free or reduced- price school meals — 60 percent of the student population. Cumberland County Schools officials say 75 percent of the students in the district are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

Photo: Anthony Grant

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