06 01 cumberland rd fire deptFive rural Cumberland County fire departments will receive over $1 million in funding as part of a 2018 federal grant program, according to the Cumberland County Fire Chiefs Association. A combined $1.6 million was awarded to the Stedman, Bethany, Wade, Spring Lake and Stoney Point fire departments through a fire and emergency response grants program. Stedman, Bethany and Wade community fire departments collaboratively applied for and received a joint grant for $530,847 to purchase new self-contained breathing air packs. “The grant for lifesaving air packs not only relieves our taxpayers of the financial burden but also places our fire departments in compliance with the National Fire Protection Association national standard,” said Stedman Fire Chief Justin Nobles. Seventy-six self-contained individual breathing air packs with spare bottles will be purchased, Nobles said. The Spring Lake and Stoney Point Fire Departments were awarded grants to hire additional firefighters, said Freddy Johnson Sr., president of the Cumberland County Fire Chiefs Association and chief of the Stoney Point department.

06 02 Matthew JoskowitzFort Bragg paratrooper dies

Army officials continue to investigate the circumstances that led to a paratrooper’s death on post at Fort Bragg. Sgt. Matthew D. Joskowitz, 24, died on Halloween night in his barracks. The soldier’s death was not training related, according to division spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Burns, who said he was unable to discuss the facts of the case as the investigation is ongoing. The paratrooper from Hackensack, New Jersey, was an infantryman assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

“Sgt Joskowitz represents the very best of our nation,” Lt. Col. Christopher Brawley, his battalion commander, said in a statement. “He was revered by his fellow paratroopers and was a superb noncommissioned officer. We are focusing on caring for his friends and family as they mourn this tragic loss.”

Joskowitz enlisted into the Army in May 2014 and spent his five-year career at Fort Bragg.

06 03 CumberlandCountySchoolsNEWlogo“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Sgt Matthew Joskowitz,” Capt. Christopher Cioffoletti, his company commander, said in a statement. “A rising star in our battalion, Sgt. Joskowitz was motivated by a deep love for both his country and his fellow paratroopers,” Cioffoletti added.

High school choice opportunities

An estimated 1,000 people attended Cumberland County Schools Choice Fair Nov. 2 to learn about the educational options the school district has to offer students. Educators and student ambassadors manned information booths that lined the walls of E.E. Smith High School’s atrium, cafeteria and gymnasium. Parents stopped to ask questions of the representatives in their quest to find that ‘perfect fit’ for their children. Choice program options range from engineering and fire science to the arts and foreign languages. The choice application season just began, and parents interviewed seemed to like the idea of one-stop shopping for their children’s education during the three-hour event. “This has been great,” said Kaia Frye, who attended the fair to learn about the opportunities available to her daughter, an eighth grader at John Griffin Middle School. “This has helped us get information firsthand and talk to students who are currently in the program about their experiences,” she said. Frye said her daughter plans to apply at Cumberland International Early College High School. For more information about CCS’ Choice Program and its educational options, visit www.choice.ccs.k12.nc.us.

06 04 Geneen Ballenger 2Death from child neglect

A 7-year-old boy who died in last spring didn’t have proper care officials say. The youngster wasn’t breathing when first responders arrived at a Fayetteville home April 15, the city’s police department said. Officers said the boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Based on the investigation and reports from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, it was determined that the child was not receiving proper care,” the Fayetteville Police Department said. The child’s grandmother, Geneen Ballenger, 53, has been charged with felony involuntary manslaughter in connection with the case. Ballenger was arrested late last month. She posted a $25,000 bond and was released pending trial. Records indicated her next court date is Nov. 21.

Picture 2: Sgt. Matthew D. Joskowitz

Picture 4: Geneen Ballenger

06 05 Noonday Kitchen copy

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