Local News

Education opportunities available for military students

14 51097067233 93575c0d7b oWhile rank signifies hierarchy and chain of command in the military, it can also be a distinction of excellence and superiority for service to those in the military. In relation to the latter, Methodist University is uniquely qualified, distinguished and honored.
In 2021, MU was awarded Gold Rank status — as a university that sets an excellent example with its programs and initiatives — by MilitaryFriendly® Schools. Methodist is recognized by this national organization annually and is scheduled to receive another superior ranking for its services to military families later this month.
“Our new Gold MilitaryFriendly® designation, recognizes a university-wide effort and commitment to increase educational opportunities, services, and programs to meet the unique needs of our military-affiliated student population,” said Billy Buckner, director of MU’s Fort Bragg Office. “We are dedicated to serving service members, veterans, and their families with compassion and support they deserve.”
Annual recognition is telling, but there are other obvious differences that make MU the best choice for military families. For instance, MU’s main campus is just a few miles from Fort Bragg and Pope Army Airfield and the university offers classes on post with its Fort Bragg Office.
MU’s Fort Bragg Office is staffed with experienced members who understand the military, and faculty at MU’s main campus work with the time challenges often associated with a life spent in service. With an office on post, experienced staff, and educators who understand the unique requirements and needs of service members and their families, MU is uniquely positioned to “Serve Those Who Serve.”
Methodist University also has a continued commitment to America’s veterans through participation in the GI Bill®’s Yellow Ribbon Program. This significant commitment upholds a long history of MU support for our veterans and their academic and career endeavors.
MU continues to find ways to enhance its academic offerings and develop military-centric degree programs that best meet the needs of its students. In January 2021, Methodist began offering 100-percent online degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels that best serve veterans, spouses and their families.
Catalina Jara Hurtado is a wife and mother who drives trucks for the Army. She will graduate from MU this May with a Business Administration degree. She wants to work in human resources and loves to solve problems. She was recently promoted to Sergeant and has the responsibility of leading 10 soldiers.
The staff at MU’s campus at Fort Bragg helped Jara Hurtado with her classes and transfer credits. She received dozens of transfer credits for her military training and education and academic work at other educational institutions. This helped cut her education time almost in half and enables her to earn her degree in two and half years. Jara Hurtado praises Mara Baker, MU’s Fort Bragg admission’s counselor, with helping her take advantage of transfer credits and tuition adjustments.
“She was very helpful. Mara answered every question I had and walked me through everything I needed to do,” said Jara Hurtado.
Jara Hurtado wasn’t surprised to discover MU had earned Gold Rank status. She experienced MU’s commitment to military families first-hand. The nature of her job often calls her away on missions at unexpected times. She knew military life wouldn’t always coincide with university deadlines, but MU’s professors — some who are veterans themselves — are empathetic and helpful.
“Whenever I have a schedule conflict, I contact the professors and they are very friendly and understanding,” she said. “They’re always trying to help me, and I’ve never had any issues with any professors because of my job.”
Another benefit for MU students is having access to the nearby Davis Memorial Library with its vast collection of books and research resources. Jara Hurtado said when she started her MU journey, she visited the library often, but then discovered the power of accessing the catalog online, a big benefit when working from home.
“You can access the library from home with your MU account. I do almost all my homework research online now,” Jara Hurtado said.
The fully online programs are just one example of MU’s eagerness to bring its world-class education to the military and their families. In addition to new Methodist University fully-online programs, students can continue to attend classes in a variety of modalities to include evening classes where they can earn BS degrees in Entrepreneurship, Environmental & Occupational Management, Leadership Communication, Health Care Administration, Business Administration and Political Science.
“Methodist University Online is a huge benefit for our military-affiliated student population and affords students the flexibility and convenience they need to balance family, work, and school,” said Buckner. “Also, MU Online truly addresses the needs of our Special Operations Forces and other service members who serve in military occupational specialties who cannot attend in-person classes because of their military duties.”
For more information, contact MU at Fort Bragg: 910-436-3624 or methodist.edu/bragg. Registration for summer classes is open now, and classes begin May 3.

Pictured above: Catalina Jara Hurtado, a sergeant in the Army, will graduate in May with a Business Adminitsration Degree. 

FTCC helps students find their way forward

13 ManWheelchairHC1403 sourceHave you ever wanted to attend college but felt as if your disability prohibited you from accomplishing your academic goals? If you answered yes, now is the time to pursue your educational dreams. Fayetteville Technical Community College renders its services to students who require accommodations based on mental, emotional or physical impairments through its own Disability Support Services Office.

The DSSO is an exclusive entity within Student Services at FTCC, and we take great pride in assisting students (online and on campus) who have disabilities since we are a renowned equal opportunity, learning and educational institution.

The academic rigor of curriculum courses does not change based on the diagnosis or disorder of the student. The services and accommodations provided by our department are implemented to promote fairness within education.

The purpose of quality education is to retain knowledge and to foster career opportunities through a mastery level of academic retention. FTCC policies and procedures, which can be found on the FTCC website, comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

It is essential to FTCC that our students do not undergo discrimination or exclusion from participating in college events and programs and are not denied curriculum or non-curriculum educational activities and opportunities based on any form of a medically diagnosed disability. All prospective students applying to FTCC are welcome to visit the DSSO to obtain information before enrolling into programs that the college has to offer. Our team will be glad to answer any questions regarding ADA compliance and services provided to the public.

When applying to FTCC, future students are provided with information about where and how to apply for disability services. Once a student submits the proper documentation through the DSSO, accommodations will be granted. The DSSO promptly sends accommodations to the faculty members after the student completes required actions. It is the student’s responsibility to follow a simple step-by-step process to renew accommodations for each semester.

The appropriate documents to receive and to maintain academic accommodations consist of a valid medical evaluation that must come from a licensed psychological or medical provider within the last five years. If students cannot provide required medical information, some temporary services may be determined and arranged on a case-by-case basis.

Those receiving services provided by the DSSO should have no concern about their data being vulnerable to public exposure as the department responsibly guarantees secure, ethical and legal protocols for protecting students’ welfare. Students’ medical information is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and is considered confidential. Our department is located in the Tony Rand Student Center, Room 127. Please do not hesitate to contact the DSSO at any time with questions, comments or concerns regarding student accommodations, ADA compliance, or professional assistance. FTCC looks forward to the opportunity to help you find your way forward.

New boutique offers natural products for health, wellness

11 minx 2Minxdiva’s Essentials, a health and wellness boutique, is Cool Spring Downtown Districts’ latest addition in Fayetteville.

The wellness store located on the second floor of 308-B Hay Street specializes in natural products like sea moss gel, raw organic sea moss, natural soaps and candles.

“I am a Fayetteville native, and it's always been a dream of mine to be on Hay Street,” owner Ebony McAllister said. “It really just fell in my lap, I wasn’t looking for it so when the opportunity presented itself, I took it.”

One of Minxdiva’s most popular products is sea moss gel. “Sea moss is a hot commodity now,” McAllister said. “It is a superfood that contains about 92 out of the 100 minerals our body needs. It’s a natural multivitamin.”

Sea moss, a type of edible algae or seaweed can be primarily found between North America and Europe.

“You can make it yourself; people can add it to their smoothies, use on hair and face for skin issues,” McAllister said. “I know it works because everyone who comes and gets it, comes back for more.”

Her discovery of sea moss was made on her journey of finding natural products for herself.

McAllister calls her brand “The Borderline Vegan” because she’s not fully vegan and still eats certain foods. She is extremely conscious of her body and says her path as an educator teaching nutrition in schools led to her research of the food industry.

Minxdiva’s Essentials also offers meal planning guides for those looking for natural substitutes to processed foods.

“I am more anti-chemicals than I am anti-meat,” McAllister said.

Emphasizing the power of information, she said true change starts from within and so she opened a store to share products that are true to her with the community.

“Your body doesn't recognize chemicals, whether it's food, lotions, soaps,” she said. “I believe man can’t make anything that can replace nature.”

For more information about the Minxdiva’s Essentials, visit https://www.minxdiva.com.

Legacy of Buffalo Soldiers remembered by local Motorcycle Club

02 BSMC 1 inside pageThe history of the Buffalo Soldiers is full of courage, sacrifice and heroism.

Following the Civil War, Congress passed the Army Organization Act in 1866 allowing African Americans to enlist in the regular peacetime military. All-Black Cavalry and Infantry Regiments were created including the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry. Serving on the frontier, these units were at the forefront of our nation’s western expansion —protecting settlers, stage coaches, wagons trains and railroad crews. Much of their time was spent battling Native American Indians who were resisting federal government policies. Black soldiers, some of whom had fought for the Union Army in the Civil War, were now fighting another minority group in the name of the United States government.

The irony isn’t lost on Anor “Chief” Burnside, a retired Army soldier and member of the Fayetteville Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club.

“The majority of them were stationed out west to fight Indians and to help build roads and safeguard travelers,” Burnside said. “They had a lot to prove to America, to be brave enough to serve the country at the same time they were being discriminated against in other parts of the country.”

Burnside retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 5 in 2017 after serving 34 years. He said the Buffalo Soldiers served as inspiration to many people of color who followed their example and served honorably in the military services.

“Buffalo Soldiers paved the way for folks like me to join the Army and achieve the rank I did,” he said. “We owe a debt of gratitude to them.”

According to www.history.com Buffalo Soldiers participated in at least 177 conflicts in the Indian Wars, earning a reputation as steadfast and fierce fighters. One legend has it that the name Buffalo Soldiers came from the American Indians themselves, showing reverence to the Cavalry soldiers.

In the late 1890s, the Buffalo Soldiers were fighting in the Spanish-American War charging up San Juan Hill. The 9 th and 10 th Cavalry Regiments served in the Philippines in the early 1900s.

In 1907, the United States Military Academy Detachment of Cavalry was changed to a "colored" unit so West Point cadets could learn their riding skills from Black non-commissioned officers, who were considered among the best. The detachment, made up of soldiers from the 9 th and 10 th Cavalry would go on the instruct future officers on riding, mounted drill and cavalry tactics for four decades.

During World War I, Buffalo Soldiers defended the Mexican border. Both Regiments were integrated into the 2nd Cavalry Division in 1940. While discrimination was likely a factor during the Jim Crow era, troops from the 9 th and 10 th Cavalry Regiments were moved into service roles and both Regiments were deactivated in 1944.

The legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers still continued into World War II. The 92 nd Division, known as the “Buffalo Division,” saw combat during the invasion of Italy. Another division that included the original 25th Infantry Regiment fought in the Pacific theater.

In 1948, President Harry Truman issued an Executive Order eliminating racial discrimination in the U.S. armed forces, and the last of the all-Black units were disbanded in 1951 during the Korean War, and the soldiers integrated into other units.

Through the years, Buffalo Soldiers compiled a distinguished record of service and sacrifice winning numerous unit awards and individual commendations. According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, 18 Buffalo Soldiers received the Medal of Honor for actions during the Indian Campaigns from 1865-1899. By additional accounts, 5 Medals of Honor would be awarded to Buffalo Soldiers for actions during the Spanish-American War. Also, 2 Medals of Honor would be awarded to soldiers of the 92 nd Division during World War II; and 2 Medals of Honor would be awarded to soldiers of the 24th Infantry Regiment during the Korean War.

Today, the Buffalo Soldiers’ legacy of service to the nation endures in books, movies, monuments, museum exhibits, and with the help of organizations such as the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club.

“We are a national organization,” Burnside said. “The name Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club was chosen to honor and pay respect to the 9th and 10th Cavalry — the Buffalo Soldiers.”

What is now known as the National Association of Buffalo Soldiers & Troopers Motorcycle Club began with a single club in Chicago in 1993. Participation and interest grew and more chapters around the country were established. The NABSTMC now has more than 100 chapters worldwide and is active in a number of charitable efforts. The NABSTMC also provides mentors to youth and educational programs in order to share the heritage of African Americans.

The Fayetteville Chapter, the first in North Carolina, was established in 2001. It was soon followed by chapters in Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington.

“We are open to anyone who believes and supports our values and advocates the history of the 9th and 10th- the Buffalo Soldiers,” Burnside said. “Our chapter is made up of active and retired military. We have some police officers that are active. Our organization is made up of professional men and women of all backgrounds who believe in educating people on the history of Buffalo Soldiers, giving back to the community and being good role models.”

Setting the example is something the BSMC members take seriously.

The Fayetteville BSMC host a number of outreach endeavors to include charity rides, funeral escorts and even pick up litter along their adopted three-mile stretch of Highway 162 in Hope Mills.

“We’re all about giving back to our community,” Burnside said. “We call it ‘doing good in the hood.’ We’re all about educating the public on the rich history of the Buffalo Soldiers, their accomplishments and contributions, things they did to make the Army and this country great.”

Their biggest fundraiser of the year is scheduled for April 10 and all riders are invited to participate. The Buffalo Soldiers 11th Annual Pony Express Charity Ride will start at Fort Bragg Harley-Davidson on Sycamore Dairy Road. Registration starts at 9 a.m. and kick stands go up at 10 a.m. There will be refreshments, door prizes and raffles. The event is expected to be complete by 3 p.m. The registration fee is $20 and all proceeds will benefit local community charities. For more information call 205-902-4642.

“The Pony Express Ride raises money to support scholarships, and it helps fund our Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas toy giveaway,” Burnside said.
While being a force for good in the community is reward in itself, Burnside said members also value the time on the road together.

“As a chapter, we try to ride as often as we possibly can,” he said. “On the third Saturday of the month, after our meeting, we will ride to fellowship.”

Club members also take part in other Club rides as a show of support. For the upcoming Pony Express Charity Ride, Burnside expects riders from BSMC chapters as far away as Florida. “It’s all about that wind therapy,” Burnside said. “We enjoy that camaraderie of coming together and feeling the wind in your face.”

“Today we’re riding our iron horses and trying to be a good example,” Burnside said.

For more information on the Fayetteville Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club or the 11th Annual Pony Express Charity Ride, visit www.ncbuffalosoldiers.com or www.facebook.com/NCBuffaloSoldiersMC.

COVID-19 vaccine now available to local youth

09 vaccine youthCumberland County and Fort Bragg are now vaccinating individuals ages 16 and up with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fort Bragg began providing COVID-19 vaccinations to TRICARE beneficiaries age 16 and up on April 6 at the Fort Bragg Fairgrounds.

Beneficiaries should schedule an appointment on the vaccination appointment website at https://informatics-stage.health.mil/COVAX/. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Fort Bragg is currently using the Pfizer vaccine which requires two doses separated by a minimum of 21 days. Those needing the initial dose, the vaccine will be administered Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those eligible for the second dose, can receive their vaccination Tuesday through Saturday from 1-5 p.m.

The Cumberland County Department of Public Health begins vaccinating all individuals ages 16 and older April 7. This includes all individuals in previous Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Individuals 16 and older may schedule appointments by visiting the County’s COVID-19 vaccine page at www.co.cumberland.nc.us/home to make an appointment.

The Health Department reported last week that two Cumberland County residents have died of COVID-19 since March 26, bringing the total to 292 deaths. As of April 2,there have been 25,853 cases in Cumberland County residents reported since the onset of the pandemic. Cumberland County’s COVID-19 positive test rate is at 7.1%.

The NCDHHS reports that 15.5% of Cumberland County’s population is at least partially vaccinated and 11.6% is fully vaccinated. The most recent data on the NCDHHS Dashboard is current through March 31.

There are 14 providers in Cumberland County offering vaccinations at 20 locations. Find your spot at https://myspot.nc.gov/.

Vaccine Clinic Information

Cumberland County continues to offer free drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinics to individuals age 16 and older at the Crown Complex. An online application form available on the county website allows individuals to choose their own appointment date and time for the first dose and second dose of the vaccine. Second doses are automatically scheduled after the first dose is received.

Cumberland County is aware of a technical glitch that has caused individuals with scheduled second dose appointments on April 7 at 11 a.m.-1 p.m. to be cancelled. Individuals previously scheduled in this time block can attend their appointment during their originally scheduled timeslot. We are working to resend email and text appointment confirmations to these individuals.

The clinic schedule for this week follows.

Tuesday, April 6: Second doses by appointment only, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4. There will be no standby lane.

Wednesday, April 7: First and second doses by appointment only, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for all individuals (age 16 and up). There will be no standby lane.

Friday, April 9: First doses by appointment only, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Standby lane will run from 3-5 p.m. for all individuals (age 16 and up).

Visit the website to make an appointment or call 910-678-7657 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. if you need assistance with the form or have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals who need transportation to and from the vaccination site can call 910-678-7619 for assistance, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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