Local News

Fiber optic installation begins in Cumberland County

05 fiberoptic construction 2MetroNet has begun a two-year project of installing nearly 1,000 miles of fiber optic infrastructure throughout Cumberland County. The work includes installing equipment underground in public rights-of-way, as well as on utility poles. MetroNet began construction in areas of West Fayetteville between Raeford Road and Stoney Point Road in January. Residents are being notified as construction plans unfold in their neighborhoods. MetroNet says it will minimize any impact to personal property as it works within utility easement areas. The Public Works Commission emphasizes that the work is not managed by PWC. Residents interested in MetroNet construction activity can inquire online at www.metronetinc.com/iwantfiber or by telephone by calling 1-877-386-3876.

General Assembly to consider adding 'right-to-work' to N.C. Constitution

04 construction worker by CJ Maya ReaganThe General Assembly will consider a measure to enshrine North Carolina’s right-to-work policies in the state constitution.
Sens. Carl Ford, R-Rowan, and Jim Burgin, R-Harnett, have introduced a bill — Senate Bill 624 — that would guarantee N.C. workers would not be forced to join a labor union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. Workers also could not be forced to remain apart from a union as a condition of employment.

In essence, employees have the right — but not the obligation — to join a labor union.

North Carolina has had such a “right-to-work” law in place since 1947, but it could be repealed by a future General Assembly. Putting this language in the state constitution would all but guarantee that North Carolina would remain a right-to-work state for the foreseeable future.

Today, 27 states have right-to-work laws, primarily in the South and Midwest. In other states, companies and labor unions can enter into contracts requiring employees to join the union or at least pay union dues. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation estimates that such arrangements, known as a “closed shop” and allowed under federal law, siphon off $4.5 billion in employee pay each year.

In a recent Civitas poll commissioned by the John Locke Foundation, 71% of likely 2022 voters would support such a constitutional amendment. Only 13% oppose the measure.

But getting to a vote might prove a challenge. In North Carolina, proposed constitutional amendments must pass with three-fifths majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. This is the same hurdle as a veto override, and Republican leaders have struggled to garner enough votes for their priorities. Only a simple majority of the state’s voters is needed to approve the new amendment.

Gov. Roy Cooper may also prove an obstacle.

In 2018, when the General Assembly put forward six constitutional amendments, Cooper sued to block two of them from going on the ballot. Both would have restricted his power — one on his ability to make judicial appointments, and the other on his control of the State Board of Elections.

Both ended up on the ballot, but neither was approved. The other four passed with strong majorities.

One of those amendments put a voter ID requirement in the state constitution, but identification is still not required to vote in North Carolina after the courts blocked the law to implement it.

Pictured above: Senate Bill 624 would guarantee N.C. workers could not be forced to join a labor union or pay union fees as a condition of employment. (Carolina Journal photo  by Maya Reagan). 

Student-athletes clear hurdles created by COVID pandemic

18 story noWhile the 2020-21 school year will be one to remember for struggles, disappointments, and frustration for many student-athletes across North Carolina and the nation because of COVID, there is a different story that has unfolded at Methodist University here in Fayetteville.

•MU had an undefeated regular season and hosted the USA South Athletic Conference football championship game under its newly installed, state-of-the art stadium lights.

•MU’s golf teams — both the men’s and women’s — are currently ranked in the Top 2 in the nation and the university recently completed upgrades to its private 18-hole, 6,502-yard golf course that is located on the university campus.

•MU’s soccer teams took to “the pitch” this year at the new Nancy and Murray Duggins Soccer Stadium, a facility already being lauded as not only one of the best NCAA Division III soccer facilities in the region, but as one of the best in the nation.

As Methodist’s teams wrap up this unprecedented spring season, additional conference tournaments are being held and Methodist teams and individual student-athletes will continue to be honored for their efforts in the classroom and on the field.

“We are so proud of our staff, coaches, athletic trainers and student-athletes for all they have done and will continue to do on a daily basis,” said Dave Eavenson, vice president and director of athletics at MU. “This had been a tremendous challenge for everyone, but we face challenges head on and work through those challenges together here at MU. It is one of the things that makes Methodist a great place to be. One day at a time we continue to do everything we can to make Methodist proud on and off the fields and courts of play.”

As all athletic competition was postponed by the NCAA and conference in the fall, just handling the logistics of playing all 20 of Methodist’s intercollegiate sports in the spring has been of championship caliber. A typical Saturday alone — not even considering games each day during the week — could include six competitions at MU’s on-campus athletic facilities and another six on the road.

MU’s student-athletes have certainly risen to the occasion, following all of the strict testing and safety protocols to keep each other and their on-campus community safe. But they have also pushed each other to succeed in the classroom and against strong competition.
Multiple Monarchs are chosen by the conference for player-of-the-week awards in their sport and many have already been chosen as all-conference honorees. In addition, the Monarchs remain focused on their classroom assignments and goals, with several MU athletes representing each sport earning scholar-athlete recognition for academic success every semester.

While hanging national and conference championship banners is nothing new to Methodist University Athletics, this has certainly been an unprecedented season for all. At MU, it will be remembered not for disappointments or frustration, but rather student-athletes facing unique hurdles and excelling at championship levels both in the classroom
and out.

To learn more about Methodist University Athletics and its 20 NCAA sports, please visit mumonarchs.com


Health Science students make a difference in their communities

16 JustinScott FirstYearPA 03 12 21 9For an institution known nationally for its world-class liberal arts education, Methodist University’s Health Science programs have for 25 years forged their own reputation of excellence and become an integral segment of the health care community in the state and region.

MU’s Physician Assistant Program has graduated more than 650 PA’s since the program’s inception with more than half of the class of 2020 remaining in Southeastern North Carolina to alleviate the shortage of health care providers. MU graduates are answering the call by choosing to stay in North Carolina in order to make a difference in their

Justin Scott is from Robeson County and a first year student in MU’s Physician Assistant program. He served as an EMT before deciding to enter the PA Program. He wants to see his patients' recovery journey through to the end and discovered within himself a passion of caring for patients.

“Being a PA allows me the continuity of care from the initial encounter all the way up if they are being transferred to another center, or being discharged from the hospital,” Scott said. “I like the idea of being able to build relationships with my patients.”

Scott wants to make an impact in the community, but first he must study hard and get through the difficult, but rewarding, program at MU. Students are introduced to a wealth of knowledge from expert faculty, and in the first two years they will study physiology and anatomy, behavioral medicine, cardiology, OBGYN, and emergency medicine.

When one classmate is weak on a particular topic, another classmate who may be strong in that area will step in and help. The PA class cohort of students forge close bonds and often become life-long friends.

“There are days when an exam may be particularly difficult and a classmate will step in to encourage you,” he said. “It’s because they know exactly what you’re going through. It helps build some close relationships.”

Kara Hiendlmayr knows the challenges to be excellent that Scott is going through. Hiendlmayr graduated from MU’s PA program in 2018 and today is practicing as a physician’s assistant in cardiology at the Fayetteville Heart Center.

Hiendlmayr, who is from Maine, was a pharmacy student and had a revelation she wanted more out of her health care profession.

“I wanted a more proximal role in health care and listening to the patient,” she said. “I love patient care and wanted more of a complete role in their care than simply dispensing medication … MU’s PA Program trains you to be many things. After graduation you can go into family medicine, OB-GYN, or cardiology for example. You’ll acquire experience and training to go in any direction. You graduate with options.”

Today, Hiendlmayr lives in Fayetteville, but also travels to work in Dunn, where she enjoys making a difference in people’s lives providing full comprehensive health care.
Like Hiendlmayr, Scott loves the options afforded to him through the vast training at MU. He enjoys working with children, but lately has been leaning towards the area of cardiology. He was standing in the MU Cavender Lab and was holding a human heart in his hands when he fell in love with cardiology. He remembers the moment his goals shifted with keen fascination.

“The human heart is fascinating, the number of things that can go wrong and affect your whole body is numerous,” he said. “How to treat those has been a highlight of study for me so far.”

Dr. Christina Perry, the PA program director at MU said she remembers that day Scott stood there holding a heart in his hands.

“The look on his face was one of complete fascination and excitement,” she said.

It was MU’s experiential learning that opened the door for Scott. “It’s one thing to hear a lecture with a slide show, and another to hold a heart in your hands,” he said.

The Cavender Lab is one of the strategic assets that sets the MU program apart from many in the region. While dissections are often carried out by professors at other schools, at Methodist the students perform the dissections, gaining valuable hands-on experience.

Though MU has state-of-the-art facilities, it’s the program’s faculty that Scott and Hiendlmayr credit the most for their passions of giving back and serving the community. The faculty in MU’s PA Program train and encourage their students to love and connect to their community. Giving back and connecting makes them better health care providers.

To learn more about the PA Program at MU, visit Methodist.edu/paprogram

Pictured above: Justin Scott is a first year student in the Physician Assistant Program.

MU offers 100 percent online programs for working adults and military families

15 story noThe 2020-21 academic year ushered in a significant growth in the number of entirely online programs at colleges and universities. At Methodist University, six programs began accepting students last year, and an additional eight programs recently began accepting applications and will enroll students for the 2021-22 academic year.
“Many adult students are looking for a fully-online degree program due to family and work obligations, military deployments, relocations, or current health and safety concerns,” said Dr. Beth Carter, the associate vice president for Academic Affairs at MU who oversees online programs and a satellite campus at Fort Bragg.
“The online program also allows former students to return to complete a degree they started but were unable to finish, or to continue their education and complete a graduate degree.”
Serving Our Community
Methodist University, as a leader in health sciences education, has been graduating health care professionals in its on-campus programs for years. Alumni of the Health Care Administration program can now return to MU’s online Master of Health Administration program, fully online and tailored to working adults.
Graduates in other majors looking to work in the health care administration field can opt for the Graduate Certificate in Health Care Administration, which can be completed in as little as two semesters. Students seeking bachelor’s degrees in the health sciences can apply to the Health Care Administration undergraduate program, and registered nurses working in the field can apply to the RN-to-BSN program. These bachelor-level health sciences programs are accepting applications now and will begin classes in the fall.
“Methodist University will offer these four programs fully online to prepare health care professionals to manage, lead, and improve the health of individuals and communities. Internships, field work and clinical rotations will be required in these programs to provide real-world experiences,” Carter said.
In-Demand Degrees
In addition to its health sciences programs, Methodist University’s first fully online programs included a Master of Business Administration program and a bachelor’s program in Psychology, with optional concentrations in Human Performance or Counseling/Clinical Psychology. Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Psychology were the first bachelor’s program to be offered, primarily due to regional and national demand.
“Psychology was one of the main programs requested from surveys of the surrounding area about interest in online programs,” said Dr. Mark Kline, associate professor of Psychology and chair of the Psychology and Sociology Department at MU. “Nationwide, Psychology tends to be one of the largest majors at most schools.”
What’s Next?
An interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in Professional Leadership and Ethics and an Associate of Arts in General Studies begin accepting applications this month, and over the past several weeks, bachelor’s programs in Computer Information Technology and Social Work have invited students to apply. Students interested in obtaining an undergraduate degree in a business-related field can now apply to bachelor’s programs in Accounting, Business Administration, and Marketing. An optional concentration in Health Care Administration can be added to any of these business programs.
“This online program will educate, train and support the next generation of exceptional Social Work practices as does the current in-person program,” said Dr. Carla Fagan, associate professor of Social Work and department chair. “The online Social Work program provides the opportunity for adult learners to earn a degree almost completely from home and complete an internship in their local community. In addition, members of our military community can earn or continue their degrees from Methodist while deployed or when transferred to their new duty stations.”
Active-duty military and their dependents are good fits for Methodist University Online programs. Dr. Stanley T. Wearden, president of Methodist University, targeted both expanding online programs and improving service to the military community as goals of his administration during his 2019 inaugural address. Advancements in these areas have led to the University’s being awarded gold status as a Military Friendly® School for
Taught By the Best
The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred demand for fully online programs at all levels. Although more and more people have been vaccinated, concerns linger concerning the duration of their efficacy and their effectiveness against more virulent strains. These concerns help fuel the expansion of Methodist University Online’s offerings.
Unlike many of the major players in online education, though, Methodist University Online courses are taught primarily by MU’s full-time faculty, not adjuncts. In the 2020-21 academic year to date, 88 percent of courses taught in the Methodist University Online program have had full-time faculty at the helm. Full-time faculty usually have terminal degrees, such as a Ph.D., in their field; experience in advanced research; and, often, public and private sector careers in which they have practiced their disciplines.
Programs are offered in six eight-week terms per year, and complete program information, including how to apply, can be found on Methodist University Online’s microsite, online.methodist.edu.

Pictured above: For those looking for online options for starting or finishing a degree Methodist University offers 14 degree programs, including health sciences, business administration, psychology and criminal justice. Programs offered in six different eight-week terms per year. ore information can be found on the Methodist website. 


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