04lodgeWith all the discussion in City Hall about homelessness and what to do about it, Up & Coming Weekly got an update from Operation Inasmuch and its shelter for homeless men. The Lodge, as it’s known, is not just a shelter. “It’s a transformation program for homeless men who want to change their lives. Each man commits to create realistic financial, social and spiritual goals, become drug- and alcohol-free, get a job, and treat others in the program with dignity and respect,” says in the Operation Inasmuch website.

The Lodge provides a place for up to 40 men to sleep every night. Internet access, a kitchen, laundry facilities, showers and a dayroom are also provided. Financial planning, Bible studies and other helpful opportunities are available for these men. The Lodge is located across the street from the Operation Inasmuch Ministry Center at 531 Hillsboro St. Learn more online at www.faoiam.org.

Seth’s Wish gets its wish

The city of Fayetteville will not require that local homeless advocacy group Seth’s Wish pay fees or penalties for not obtaining proper permits before renovating its building. Council member Tisha Waddell said she wasn’t comfortable with allowing the fees to be waived. But City Manager Doug Hewett pointed out there was a precedent for the waiver. Waivers were granted to several businesses that suffered damage during Hurricane Matthew, as Seth’s Wish’s building on S. Cool Spring Street did. Waddell and several other Council members said they would be willing to make personal financial contributions. But Council agreed to approve the manager’s recommendation during a dinner meeting June 24.

Seth’s Wish is a volunteer homeless advocacy charity supported by private donors. Find out more at www.sethswish.com.

Violent deaths are down slightly

While murder rates are on the increase in Raleigh and Durham, homicides in the city of Fayetteville are down so far this year, although the typical peak season lies ahead. Fayetteville Police spokesman Sgt. Shawn Strepay said 10 local homicides were investigated during the first half of 2019. He said that compares to 11 murders during the corresponding period of 2018.

Board of Education looking to fill a vacancy

Members of the Cumberland County Board of Education need to fill a vacant seat on their nine-member board. Cumberland County residents who reside in District 6 and are interested in serving are invited to submit a one-page resume and letter of interest to the office of the school board attorney by July 15 at 5 p.m.

Board member Peggy Hall resigned abruptly last month. For more information about the vacancy, visit the Cumberland County Schools website at www.ccs.k12.nc.us. For questions about District 6 residency, call the Cumberland County Board of Elections at 910-678-7733.

Pat McCrory and the Trump administration

President Donald Trump considered former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory for a position in his administration, according to records obtained by the news and information website Axios. But those records show the Trump administration found some “red flags.” The 10-page file on McCrory contained accusations of “favoritism toward Duke Energy” and having “thin skin,” and “comments critical of Trump.”

The headline of an October 2016 Washington Examiner story saying “Pat McCrory says Trump ‘needs to have his mouth washed out’” topped the list of red flags.

McCrory was responding to comments Trump made about women in a recording from 2005. McCrory is one of dozens of Republican politicians and officials identified by the Trump transition team as potential suitors for top posts in the administration.

After losing a tight governor race to Democrat Roy Cooper in 2016, McCrory met with Trump’s transition team in New York City.

Former Republican Rep. Charles Jeter, a supporter of McCrory’s, described him this way: “He can’t fathom that anyone would question his motives,” Jeter said. “And he (has) a tendency to take criticism personally. He’s done it with the press. He’s done it in the legislature.”

Our community has lost a pair of dedicated public servants

Late last month, former Cumberland County Commissioner and educator Bob Lewis died from complications following heart surgery. He was 88. Days earlier, retired Hope Mills police chief John Hodges died.

Lewis served two four-year terms as a commissioner. Before that, he was principal of Seventy-First High School from 1968 to 1976 and later principal at Seventy-First Elementary School until he retired in 1982. Lewis was an acknowledged disciplinarian at Seventy-First High at a time when student misconduct was excessive. “I might have been tough sometimes, but they knew I cared about them,” he once said.

Lewis earned the Purple Heart while fighting during the Korean War as a member of the 1st Marine Division from 1950 to 1954.

Retired Hope Mills police chief Hodges died at the age of 84. He served the town for more than 20 years until his retirement in 2009. Hodges retired from the U.S. Army after a 20-year career before taking the Hope Mills post. The town board of commissioners voted to name the new public safety building being planned for Hodges.

“It’s just a shame that he didn’t live to actually see the building,” Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner said.

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