Local News

Informed citizens become leaders

07 christi07 na wocintechchat com 0Nfqp0WiJqc unsplashThe city of Fayetteville’s Economic and Community Development Department has an idea to encourage residents to get involved in local government. Community Voices is a training program designed to empower residents to become leaders in their communities. The program is cosponsored by North Carolina A&T State University’s Cooperative Extension Program and N.C. State University’s cooperative extension program. The local program takes place Thursday, March 26, from 6-8 p.m. at the Arts Council headquarters on Hay Street.

Participants will learn how a group can make a difference working together and how to connect to resources that can help reach a shared vision. They will also learn about systematic problem-solving methods to help address community issues and needs. The city says the project is an effort to help community citizens come together to build the future for their families and the community. The main goal is to develop skilled groups of leaders who can work together, problem solve and work as partners with resource people to carry out initiatives that will meet the needs and concerns of their community.

Fayetteville City Councilwoman Tisha Waddell has become an advocate for citizens working together, often imploring residents who attend council meetings to get involved. Her vision as shown in her official biography “is one of inclusion for all citizens, working together toward safe, productive neighborhoods with support resources for both seniors and youth alike.”

City council and county commission members will concede nothing gets their collective attention more than groups of residents who turn out at official meetings to advocate for their neighborhoods.

A recent controversy over a proposed prison inmate re-entry halfway house resulted in several dozen citizens showing up at a public meeting objecting to the plan. Observers believed city officials would table the proposal because of the public concern. Surprisingly, the city council decided to deny the project. The Community Voices concept is not a new one, but it is new to the Fayetteville area. It is designed to develop leaders at the grassroots level by encouraging uninvolved citizens and organizations to develop skills to solve problems in their communities. Participants can expect to develop an underlying philosophy and belief that the group can make a difference if members work together and have a shared vision of what they want to achieve as a group.

Participants will learn about systematic problem-solving methods to help members address community issues and needs and develop an organizational structure to continue working on the group vision. They will develop skills to structure group organizations to continue working together as a community on the municipal and county levels after the training is completed. They will engage in a series of learning experiences and then analyze those experiences to see how they apply to life situations. Community Voices and its companion program, Voices Reaching Vision, were created by Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T with a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Super Tuesday

06 01 super tuesday logoOnly two states had more Democratic delegates at stake than North Carolina in yesterday’s Democratic presidential primary. North Carolina has 122 delegates at the summer convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With 14 states competing yesterday, along with American Samoa and Democrats abroad, a third of all the convention delegates were determined. Only California, with nearly 500, and Texas, with 261, had more up for grabs on Super Tuesday than North Carolina. And regardless of the Tar Heel Primary outcome, so-called automatic delegates — once known as super-delegates — can support whomever they want. “As much as people will say it’s confusing and arcane, it is — I won’t argue about that,” said Josh Putnam, a Wilmington-based political scientist who tracks the delegate selection process. “but it’s a system that has tended to work.” Unlike long-ago, Democratic primaries are no longer winner-take-all. Delegates are apportioned in two ways — statewide and by congressional district. In North Carolina, 38 delegates will be awarded proportionately based on statewide results. If a candidate gets 50% of the statewide vote, they get 50% of the statewide delegates. But there’s a catch: a candidate must get 15% of the statewide vote to qualify for any delegates. There were 15 Democrats on the presidential ballot in North Carolina; seven were no longer in the race. But their votes will count. That potentially could dilute the numbers for other candidates, making it harder to reach the 15% threshold.

06 02 jeremy perkins 7FOSJVtUtac unsplashInmate re-entry institution

Fayetteville City Council late last month rejected a request from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to build a 100-room halfway house for federal prison inmates whose terms of incarceration are ending. Council voted 5-4 to deny a special use permit for the property in the 900 block of Cain Road. Fourth District Councilman D.J. Haire made the motion, which was seconded by 2nd District Councilmember Tisha Waddell to refuse the request, saying the private contractor had failed to satisfy the criteria for a permit. Residential re-entry centers, also known as halfway houses, provide a structured, supervised environment as well as employment counseling, job placement, financial management assistance and other services.

According to City Clerk Pamela Magill, 23 residents signed up to object. Mayor Mitch Colvin ended the lengthy comments from residents after an hour and asked council to consider a solution. Following an awkward moment of silence, Haire made the motion to deny. The property in question is located in Haire’s district.

06 03 Taurean JohnsonTriple murder case cleared

Bladen County sheriff’s investigators have charged a Clarkton man accused in a triple murder. Taurean Reshaul Johnson, 36, turned himself in a day after the shooting incidents, the sheriff’s office said.  He is charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, sheriff’s officials posted on the department’s Facebook page. Clarkton is about 50 miles south of Fayetteville. Johnson is accused of entering a home on Tina Lane, off N.C. 211 in Clarkton, and shooting several people. The home is in a mobile home park in a rural area northeast of town. Three people — Catrice Lacole Murchison, 30; Ronnie Lebert Kelly, 27; and Guy Lennon Barden Jr., 60,  were killed. An as yet unnamed 69-year-old woman survived. All four people are believed to have lived at the home, deputies said.

06 04 marcus neto gioH4gHo0 g unsplashSummer concert series announced

A six-month summer series of riverside concerts gets underway in April. Rock’n On the River will feature vintage rock ’n roll tribute bands. The events will be staged the third Friday evening of each month from April through September, presented by Healy Wholesale and Up & Coming Weekly. The concerts will be held at Campbellton Landing on the east side of the Person Street bridge. Performers will include Mostly Crue, a tribute band of Mötley Crüe, which will perform April 17.

Beer, drinks and food sales start at 5:30 p.m. Shows begin at 6 p.m. Coolers and other containers are not allowed. No pets are permitted other than service animals. Sponsoring partners include 96.5 BOB-FM, Sandy’s Automotive, The Care Clinic, Deep Creek Grill, Boose Law Firm and Nobles Pound Financial Planning. Additional bands will include Trial by Fire; Bad, Inc.; North Tower; Heartbreaker; Tuesday’s Gone and Rivermist. Visit https://www.facebook.com/Rockn-On-The-River-271048666818630/ for details about the concert series.

06 05 Military ChildcarePrioritizing military kids

A new policy on improving child development centers on military installations is expected to be issued soon by defense officials, said Defense Secretary Mark Esper. He didn’t elaborate on the new policy, which he mentioned during remarks to troops and families this month at U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.
“This is a family business,” he said, regardless of which branch of service. He noted that families are an important part of sustaining a service member’s career, whether it’s three years or 20 years.

“It’s difficult to find quality, affordable childcare outside the gate,” said Patty Barron, director of family readiness for the Association of the U.S. Army. For years, military leaders have said the common thread they hear when visiting service members is the unavailability of affordable childcare. Child development centers are known nationally for their quality, and parents’ fees are subsidized by taxpayer dollars to make the care more affordable for military families.

Picture 3: Taurean Johnson 
 

FTCC math students rise

14 CollegeCommunity colleges around the globe are tasked with creating a comprehensive curriculum, and Fayetteville Technical Community College is no different. We have created programs and coursework meant to enrich the lives of our students and to help them reach their goals, with the understanding that all students come through our doors differently prepared for the rigors of such study. In the mathematics department, we have developed a new approach to the curriculum under the advice of the North Carolina Community College System. This approach is commonly referred to as RISE, which is short for Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence.

The RISE program at FTCC places students in a series of courses based on their past experiences with mathematics content. Students exhibiting proficiency with pre-college skills are placed directly into a first-year mathematics course. However, not all students have a skill set that is college ready. Researchers have argued for years that some students do not need a full treatment of pre-college coursework — simply a level of support to reinforce their efforts in a mathematics course, while others may need a deeper treatment. In recognition of these arguments, in the Fall of 2019, FTCC began offering support courses to supplement students needing that little bit of a push, while also creating a new precollege course with content mastery at its core. All courses in the RISE program are taught by our world-class faculty and are offered both on campus and online.

Since the implementation of the RISE program at FTCC, our students have experienced unprecedented success. More students are completing their mathematics requirements at a faster pace while maintaining the standards of excellence espoused by the administration of the college. Students say that the support they get through the faculty working with the RISE program provides “just-in-time” remediation, boosting their knowledge of the material and building their confidence as budding consumers of mathematics. Although we are still in the initial phase of this program, we fully expect to see our students progress into other courses with a firm foundation in mathematics and ultimately leave our institution prepared to use this skill set in the career of their choice.

At FTCC, we strive to make your dreams a reality. Whether you are a seasoned academic or relatively new to higher education, we have a pathway built just for you. Learn more about all the programs we have to offer at FTCC by visiting our website at www.faytechcc.edu. FTCC offers over 280 academic programs of study in the fields of arts and humanities, math and sciences, business, computer technology, engineering/applied technology, health and public service. There’s something for everyone, and your dreams are our mission at Fayetteville Technical Community College.

FTCC ranks fifth in nation for military education support

09 Soldiers studyingFayetteville Technical Community College has again been ranked among the top five Military Friendly® large community colleges in the nation for 2020-21. The prestigious designation by the national Military Friendly® Schools Program affirms FTCC’s commitment to providing military members, veterans and their families with high-quality educational services that are affordable and convenient.

A wide range of classes and programs are available in a variety of settings on FTCC’s campuses at Fort Bragg and online. The school awards appropriate credits for prior military learning and follows up with comprehensive services to meet the special educational needs of military personnel and their families. FTCC’s All American Veterans Center on the school’s main campus provides educational assistance and support to veterans. A Transition Tech program provides industry-focused training for military members who are preparing for civilian life.

The North Carolina Military Business Center headquartered at Fayetteville Tech works to support the integration of skilled transitioning military personnel and veterans into the civilian workforce.

The mission of the NCMBC is to leverage military and other federal business opportunities to expand the economy, grow jobs and improve quality of life in North Carolina. “FTCC is pleased to be recognized again nationally as one of the best Military Friendly colleges in the large community college ratings,” said Dr. Mark Sorrells, FTCC’s senior vice president for Academic and Student Services.

The Military Friendly® Schools rankings are compiled each year by Viqtory, an independent media firm that promotes economic opportunities for veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses. The 2020-21 Military Friendly® Schools list will be included in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine, which is published by Viqtory and is also available at www.militaryfriendly.com. The term “military” refers to all people in the military community, including active duty, reserve and National Guard service members, veterans and military spouses. It’s a trademarked name because there are several copycat military lists and ratings programs that don’t possess the rigor and history of Military Friendly®.

The ratings are based on extensive data from public sources and responses from a proprietary survey. Final ratings are determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans. More than 1,000 schools participated in the 2020-21 survey, with 695 earning the Military Friendly® designation.
The rankings distinguish the top 10 Military Friendly® schools in several categories, including large community colleges. Top 10 schools, such as FTCC, are awarded gold status, as are those that score within 10% of the 10th-ranked school. Visit https://www.faytechcc.edu/military-veterans to learn more about FTCC’s programs for the military and veterans.

Fayetteville Technical Community College was established in 1961 and serves over 38,000 students annually by providing over 280 occupational, technical, general education, college transfer and continuing education programs to meet the needs of students and the community. It is the fourth-largest community college in the state and boasts one of the largest Continuing Education departments. Visit FTCC’s website at www.faytechcc.edu.

U.S. troops in Africa

08 African SahelThe Pentagon is reviewing whether there needs to be a troop withdrawal in Africa. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, united against a Trump administration plan to withdraw U.S. troops from part of Africa, pushed back in an exchange with Defense Secretary Mark Esper during a recent meeting. Graham and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., led the charge telling Esper that Congress would not support a U.S. troop withdrawal from the Sahel region in Africa, laying out the reasons to keep the troop presence there. At one point, Graham allegedly told Esper that he could “make your life hell.”  Graham denied making the comment.

Several other lawmakers laid out their case forcefully. “From a broad security standpoint, the Sahel is a tinderbox of terrorist activity and where violent extremist organizations look to use the space to recruit, adapt and evolve,” AFRICOM spokesman Air Force Col. Chris Karns said.

Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, AFRICOM commander, is on record saying that violent extremist group activity in the region has increased 250% since 2018.

The Sahel is the geographic zone in sub-Saharan Africa between the Atlantic ocean and the Red Sea. It includes several nations plagued by international terrorist groups, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. More than a dozen terrorist groups with links to the Islamic State or al-Qaida, like Boko Haram and al Shabaab, are operating there and other parts of Africa.

The upsurge in violence from extremist groups in West Africa is moving south from Mali into Burkina Faso, a former French colony that suffered more than 2,200 civilian deaths in 2019 — a steep increase from the nearly 300 civilian deaths in 2018. Thousands of people in Burkina Faso have been displaced because of the violence. Most recent estimates from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicate that more than 500,000 people were displaced between January 2019 and January 2020 in Burkina Faso.

Graham and Coons argued that the number of American troops there is small, the cost to deploy them is low and withdrawal would abandon a major ally in France, whose army is leading the fight against the terrorists there. The U.S. has approximately 6,000 troops in Africa, including 1,000 special operations troops in the Sahel, the region where four Fort Bragg Green Berets lost their lives two years ago. American forces train local troops, provide aerial refueling to French military planes and collect intelligence.
The senators noted that this is the exact model the Trump administration has been pressing for, where another country leads militarily while the U.S. backs the effort. Graham said it would make no sense to abandon an area where that arrangement is working. Esper explained that he is trying to carry out the National Defense Strategy, which cites Russia and China as the biggest strategic competitors to the U.S., and is attempting to shift American troop priorities accordingly.      

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