06McCready posterThe North Carolina Board of Elections has set the dates for new elections that will decide the country’s last unsettled congressional race from 2018. The “redo” 9th Congressional District primary election will be held May 14, with the general election tentatively set for Sept. 10.

If no candidate wins more than 30 percent of the vote in the primary, a runoff election will be held Sept. 10, with the general election pushed back to Nov. 5. The 9th District runs from Charlotte to rural Bladen County.

Cumberland County is divided between the 8th and 9th Districts. The state elections board twice refused to certify the November 2018 election results because of concerns about tampering with absentee ballots. The Republican candidate, Mark Harris, has decided not to continue his quest for Congress. Democrat Dan McCready will seek the U.S. House of Representatives seat.

The board of elections ordered a new election when it determined that public confidence had been undermined “to an extent that a new election is warranted.”

Acting Cumberland County Schools superintendent named

Dr. Mary Black, associate superintendent of student support services for Cumberland County Schools, is serving as CCS acting superintendent while Dr. Marvin Connelly Jr. receives medical treatment. Connelly Jr. has a cancerous tumor in his jaw and is undergoing treatment for it but continues to serve as his schedule allows, he said. Connelly Jr. added that the prognosis is good and that he is maintaining a positive outlook. 

Feb. 28, the county school board approved the appointment of an acting superintendent to serve as needed until Connelly Jr. recovers and returns fully to work.

County schools’ proposed FY20 budget

Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly Jr. recommended a local budget for the upcoming school year of $89 million. The county Board of Education received the recommendation at its finance committee meeting March 5. The budget requests an increase of $8.9 million in local funding from the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners. In North Carolina, school boards do not have taxing authority.

Connelly’s overall recommended budget for the school system is $508.8 million, which includes state and federal funding. It proposes a pay increase of 3-5 percent for some staff members.

“To adequately address the needs of the whole child, and plan for the success of all students, we must increase the number of social workers, school counselors and school nurses that serve our students,” Connelly Jr. said in a prerecorded video presentation. 

Cumberland County’s pupil population has not grown in many years. It remains at approximately 53,000 students.

Local tuberculosis case being investigated

The Cumberland County Health Department is investigating a confirmed case of tuberculosis involving a person at Village Christian Academy on S. McPherson Church Road.

The health department was notified about the confirmed case last month and is required by law to conduct an inquiry following North Carolina TB Control Program protocols.

The private school’s administration is working closely with health officials to take appropriate action. Officials said there is a select group of people who may have been exposed to the disease.

People with prolonged, frequent or close contact with someone who has TB are at high risk of becoming infected. The disease has an estimated 22 percent infection rate, according to the World Health Organization.

The Cumberland County Health Department did not say whether the infected individual is a student or an adult. With the proper treatment, TB is almost always curable.

WebMD says doctors prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria that cause the disease. Patients with TB must take medications for six to nine months.

For questions or concerns regarding exposure, contact Duane Holder, interim health director for the county health department, at 910-433-3600.

Local government public relations

The county of Cumberland, the city of Fayetteville and nine partner organizations have launched a project to cultivate communitywide branding. The idea is to better communicate the community’s strengths, assets, diversity and vision.

The Fayetteville Cumberland Collaborative Branding Committee is leading this effort and includes representatives from the city, county, Tourism Development Authority, Vision 2026, Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and other agencies.

The FCCBC commissioned North Star Destination Strategies of Nashville, Tennessee, to help create a new community brand, apparently designed to replace History, Heroes and a Hometown Feeling.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not around,” said Will Ketchum, president of North Star. “Branding is what you do to change or refine that message.”

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