Local News

Marksmen announce new head coach, assistant coach

19aMarksmen tab Ryan Cruthers as Director of Hockey Operations, Head Coach

The Fayetteville Marksmen, proud members of the Southern Professional Hockey League, have signed Ryan Cruthers as the director of hockey operations and seventh head coach in team history.
Cruthers, 39, from Farmingdale, New York, served last season as the assistant coach for the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede.

“I’m excited to be a member of this new Marksmen family and take it to new heights,” said Cruthers.

Cruthers’s coaching experience has included multiple stops at the top levels of American junior hockey. He was the head coach and assistant general manager of the USHL’s Chicago Steel during the 2017-18 season and the following year was tabbed as bench boss for the NAHL’s Corpus Christi Ice Rays.

Most recently, Cruthers helped engineer a USPHL-Premier expansion franchise with the Columbia Infantry before undertaking the assistant coach’s post in Sioux Falls.

“We could not be happier for Ryan and his family,” said Stampede general manager Tony Gasparini. “He had an instrumental part toward our success both on and off the ice, in particular, working with two of our defensemen who were picked last week in Nashville at the NHL Draft.”

From 2015-22, Cruthers was one of the architects of the Charlotte Rush championship teams in the USPHL. The Rush won their first of two USPHL-Elite national championships under Cruthers in 2017, just his second season with the organization. In 2021, both the Charlotte Elite and Premier divisions captured national titles while he served as general manager and Premier head coach.

For two games during the 2017-18 season he filled-in as the interim head coach for the Marksmen and earned a record of 1-0-1.

“Ryan is going to put us in a position to have a successful season again this year and is going to drive us in the right direction on and off the ice,” said Marksmen owner and CEO Chuck Norris.

Prior to his coaching career, Cruthers was a force on the wing with eight seasons of ECHL experience. In 429 ECHL games and 32 AHL games, he logged four separate 20-goal seasons and led the 2009-10 Reading Royals in points (71).

Consistently touted as a leader, Cruthers was captain of the Royals from 2010-12 and then donned the “C” for the Orlando Solar Bears in 2012-13. He was the captain and first rostered player in Solar Bears history.

“I think your playing career – as a coach – helps you relate to what the players and team are going through at different times… success is built on relationships, and I’ve already started building these relationships with our players,” said Cruthers.

A standout at Robert Morris University, Cruthers was a four-year NCAA Division-I letterwinner. He captained the Colonials in his senior season, a year where he was also a preliminary nominee for the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s top men’s college hockey player. Prior to starring with R.M.U., Cruthers played his first two college seasons as the United States Military Academy at West Point.

“I am passionate about the military and what the Marksmen stand for and we’re founded from,” said Cruthers.

“[Cruthers] is not a coach looking for a chance, he’s proven how valuable he is already at the NCAA Division-I level, the ECHL, and the top two tiers of North American junior hockey. That type of experience is hard to find in the SPHL, but we’ve been able to capture it with him,” said Norris.

Cruthers will lead the Marksmen during opening weekend on Friday, Oct. 20 at Roanoke and Saturday, Oct. 21 at home vs. Roanoke.

“Our fans will have a team they can relate to, a daily commitment to excellence both on the ice and in the community,” said Cruthers. “My goal is the entire Fayetteville community can feel the positive direction in which we are heading.”

19bMarksmen sign two-time SPHL Champion Kyle Sharkey as Assistant Coach

The Fayetteville Marksmen also announced they have agreed to terms with Kyle Sharkey as assistant coach for the 2023-24 season.

Sharkey, 30, a native of Moore, Oklahoma, served as an assistant coach with NAHL’s Minot, North Dakota Minotauros last season.

“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the Marksmen,” said Sharkey. “My family and I are looking forward to making Fayetteville home and can’t wait to be a part of the community.”
Sharkey logged 150 SPHL games as a player and notched 130 points (50g, 80a), all with the Huntsville Havoc. In 2018-19, Sharkey finished third in points for the eventual President’s Cup champion Havoc.

A two-time SPHL champion, Sharkey also contributed for the 2017-18 championship Havoc team, and served as an alternate captain for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on the Pointers 2015-16 NCAA division-III championship squad.

“[Sharkey] brings a championship pedigree as a player and has valuable experience in the SPHL,” said head coach Ryan Cruthers. “He is eager to grow as a coach and will have an immediate impact on our team.”
With Sharkey’s experience, the Marksmen round out the 2023-24 coaching staff with a combined eight championships between two coaches.

I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running,” said Sharkey, “and helping to build a culture we will be proud of for years to come.”

What is the role of computer programming in the AI era?

15As computer science instructors, people often ask us if this or that GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is going to take away all the programing jobs. We know that some people are worried, but human programmers are not going away anytime soon. Human creativity is not so easily replaceable.

GPT models are great at generating text, but they can’t come close to the creativity and problem-solving abilities of humans. Computer programming requires imaginative thinking, finding solutions and translating ideas into code. These are skills the models can’t do alone — but they can make a programmer much more productive.

Spreadsheets have auto-completion and auto-calculation routines built in, and they’ve replaced hand-calculating long list of numbers — but they can’t replace the person who looks at the spreadsheet and decides what to do with those numbers.

Weighing Costs and Benefits

Programming is more than just writing lines of code. It involves making complex decisions. While GPT models can offer suggestions or assist with specific aspects, the buck stops with human programmers and their judgment. A model can suggest solutions, but it’s up to you to select the best solution.

Adaptability is a Human Trait

Programming languages change over time. Skilled programmers adapt to these changes, continuously learning and updating their knowledge. The most important thing we try to teach our students is to “learn how to learn” because the hottest thing today won’t be the hottest thing tomorrow.

GPT models, on the other hand, rely on existing data and patterns. They can’t learn new skills or adapt to changing circumstances. That’s up to us.

Collaboration Between Humans and Models

Instead of seeing GPT models as adversaries, we tell our students to look at them as tools. They can offer suggestions, provide code examples, and much more. By working alongside GPT models, programmers can leverage their capabilities while contributing their unique insights and expertise.

In fact, we’re using these kinds of models to help our novice programmers, not just by letting them ask questions about “How do I write programs?” but also exploring the model to figure out what are the right questions to ask.

We found that when students knew what kind of web page they wanted to make, for example, they would keep asking the model for help until they came up with a web page that matched what they had imagined. It truly was a group effort between programmer and model.

The field of computer programming

GPT models have made remarkable strides in generating text and supporting specific tasks. However, they aren’t positioned to replace human programmers. The field of computer programming thrives on human creativity, problem-solving abilities, critical thinking and adaptability to evolving technologies.

By recognizing the collaborative potential of GPT models, programmers can harness their strengths and prove that humans have to be the ones doing the thinking. We invite you to learn more about computer programming at FTCC. We’re registering students now for fall semester and would love to serve you. For more information visit https://www.faytechcc.edu/academics/computer-information-technology-programs/

Editor's note: David Teter and Andrew Norris are Information Technology faculty members at Fayetteville Technical Community College.

Candidates file for local elections

11Municipal elections determine the makeup of local governments. These elected officials make decisions about development, policing, budgets, local taxation, and other issues that affect voters’ daily lives such as trash service.


Fayetteville’s mayoral incumbent Mitch Colvin is being challenged by Freddie de la Cruz, Charles Evans and Quancidine Hinson-Gribble. Colvin has been Fayetteville’s mayor since November 2017.
De la Cruz challenged Colvin in 2022 but was defeated.

Evans ran for the 7th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022 but was defeated. He is a former member of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners and served on the Fayetteville City Council representing District 2.

Hinson-Gribble lost a bid for mayor in 2017.

The District 1 seat incumbent Kathy Keefe Jensen, will be challenged by Jose Alejandro Rodriguez.

The District 2 seat, which consists of Downtown Fayetteville, is being challenged. Incumbent Shakeyla Ingram is being challenged by six other people. Gail Morfesis, Larry Marshall, Laura Rodrigues Mussler, Janene (Dublin) Ackles, Malik Eilliam Davis and Anastasia J. Vann have filed.

The District 3 seat incumbent Mario (Be) Benavente, will be challenged by Michele A. Dillon.

District 4 Incumbent D.J. Haire is being challenged by Stuart A. Collick.

District 5 Incumbent Johnny Dawkins is being challenged by three other candidates: Fred G. LaChance III, Justin Herbe and Lynne Bissette Greene.

District 9 Incumbent Deno Hondros is being challenged by Fredlisha R. Lansana.

District 6’s Derrick Thompson, District 7’s Brenda McNair, and District 8’s Courtney Banks-McLaughlin are not being challenged.


Mayor Jackie Warner is being challenged by former town commissioner Jessie Bellflowers.

The Board of Commissioners will be a packed race.

In the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners race, incumbents Bryan A. Marley, Kenjuana McCray, Jerry Legge, Grilley Mitchell and Joanne Scarola have filed. Ronald Starling, Patrick Mitchell, Ronnie Strong, Pat Edwards, Mark Hess, Deanna L. Rosario, H. Elyse Craver and Karen Smith Saracen have also filed.


The mayoral seat, currently held by Kia Anthony, is being challenged by Fredricka Sutherland. Sutherland is a previous board member for the town of Spring Lake.

For the Board of Alderman, incumbents Robyn Chadwick, Sona L. Cooper, Adrian Jones Thompson, Marvin Lackman and Raul Palacios will be facing challengers Daniel B. Gerald, Jackie Lee Jackson, James P. O’Garra and Katrina Bratcher.


Mayor Charles McLaurin will not be facing any challengers in this election.

For Town Council, incumbent Stan Crumpler, incumbent Cheryl Hudson and Fredrick A. Williams have all filed.


Wayne G. Lucas will be the only one running for Mayor.

For Town Commissioner, incumbents John C. Wheeler and R. Dwayne Dunning Sr. and challengers Chris Stone, Sue Brigman, Larry C. Lovick and James Danny Nelson filed for seats on the town board.


Willie Burnette will be running for an uncontested reelection for Mayor.

Board of Commissioners incumbents George Cooper Jr., Ronald McNeill and Scarlet M. Hall will be facing challengers Angela Burnette Lambert and Joseph Smith.


Frances B. Collier will be the only one running for reelection of mayor.

Incumbent board members Barbara C. Denning, Larry Overby, Betsy Small, Ronnie Maness, and Jonathan Collier will be running.


Incumbent Mark Lee will be facing challengers Ralph A. Vogt and Joseph Manuel for town commissioner.


The Mayoral seat is up and will be fought between Johnny Lanthorn and George E. Strater.

Jennifer Dixon Weaver and Kevin A. Herring are running for reelection of their commissioner seats.


The Cumberland-Eastover Sanitary District board also has a board member seat open. Dani Osborne, from Eastover, is the only one running for the seat.

The city of Fayetteville primary is scheduled for Oct. 10. One Stop Voting starts Sept. 21. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Sept. 11.

The municipal election is Nov. 7. One-Stop Voting starts on Oct. 19. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 9.

NC Works Career Center to host hiring event for key positions in Spring Lake

10Works Career Center Fayetteville will host a hiring event July 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Spring Lake Town Hall, located at 300 Ruth Street in Spring Lake. This event aims to address the long-standing workforce vacancies in the town, with a primary focus on six key positions.

The Spring Lake community has been experiencing exceptional growth, and in order to meet the demands of the expanding population, several key positions need to be filled. The hiring event will provide an opportunity for qualified individuals to explore career options and connect with potential employers.

The following positions are the primary focus of this event:

  • Finance Director: A crucial role in managing the town’s financial operations and providing strategic guidance on fiscal matters.
  • Police Officer: A dedicated and skilled individual who will help ensure the safety and security of the Spring Lake community.
  • Firefighter: A heroic and committed professional responsible for protecting lives and property in emergency situations.
  • Accounts Payable Technician: An organized and detail-oriented individual who will contribute to the town’s financial management by accurately processing invoices and payments.
  • Meter Reader Fulltime: A diligent and reliable person responsible for recording utility consumption and maintaining accurate meter readings.
  • Meter Reader Part-time: An opportunity for those seeking part-time employment to contribute to the community by recording utility consumption and maintaining accurate meter readings.

Job seekers who are interested in any of these positions are encouraged to send their resumes to Event Coordinator Dwight Butler at dwight.butler@commerce.nc.gov.

Resumes received in advance will be shared with participating employers, giving them an opportunity to review candidates before the event.10a

“This hiring event is a wonderful opportunity for job seekers to connect with employers in the Spring Lake area,” said Butler. “We are excited to facilitate these valuable connections and help the community grow by filling these long-standing vacancies.”

The NC Works Career Center Fayetteville team will be on-site during the event to offer guidance, answer questions, and provide assistance with the application process. Job seekers are advised to come prepared with multiple copies of their resumes and dress in professional attire.

For further information about the hiring event, please contact Butler or visit the NC Works Career Center Fayetteville website at www.ncworks.gov/fayetteville

NC Works Career Center Fayetteville

NC Works Career Center is a dedicated resource for job seekers and employers in the Fayetteville area. They provide a range of employment services, including job search assistance, resume writing support and recruitment assistance for businesses.

Child Advocacy Center welcomes new director

9The Child Advocacy Center welcomed new Executive Director Jasie Landeros to their nonprofit organization’s team July 1. Landeros is assuming leadership from Roberta Humphries who retired after 14 years at CAC.

Born and raised in Wade, Landeros is a Cape Fear High School graduate with strong ties to Cumberland County and the military community. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from UNC Wilmington, she taught elementary school for a number of years, even working in gifted education.

While Landeros’ spouse was stationed in Florida, Landeros ran the Prevention & Outreach Program for the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, where she focused on spreading awareness of child abuse through the education of children and adults. That program spanned across two counties.

Upon her family’s transition back to Fort Liberty, Landeros returned to teaching for Cumberland County Schools before applying for her new position at the CAC. She credits her excellent leadership and mentorship at ECCAC for her interest in taking this unique career path.

Landeros is eager to continue the success Humphries began during her tenure. Humphries effectively doubled the size of the CAC’s staff during that time period.

“Roberta’s done great work paving the way for the CAC,” Landeros shares, “and now she’s passing the torch, which I plan to handle with love and care. Her dedication and devotion to the mission of the CAC has so obviously impacted the legacy she’s leaving behind.”

Landeros hopes to continue with the organization’s forward-moving progress by connecting with their community partners and agencies to influence the advocacy of child abuse prevention efforts.
On the heels of facilitating several successful initiatives for Internet Safety Awareness Month in June, the CAC is currently in the throes of planning their annual Pinwheel Masquerade Ball & Auction for October. This organization’s staff of ten heavily depends on their board of directors and volunteers to facilitate this signature fundraiser and other events and initiatives throughout the year.

“Through our various community-focused efforts, I want to make child abuse a topic we openly talk about to children and adults–not something scary that we shy away from–and ensure everyone knows what the CAC is and what we do,” Landeros emphasizes.

“Ultimately, my focus is on increasing therapy services for children facing the healing process and on fostering key relationships and connections throughout Cumberland County via our schools, faith-based institutions, and more,” she concludes.

This mother, military spouse, and self-described “passionate advocate for children” is also issuing an open invitation to the county’s residents to consider donating their time, funds or resources to the CAC’s mission of working with community partners to respond to and prevent child abuse. The public may learn more about that mission and how individuals can get involved here: cacyfaync.org.

About the Child Advocacy Center

The CAC is a place of healing and hope. Joining hands with 19 community agencies, CAC provides a safe and child-friendly place to interview, investigate and provide support for abused children. The CAC also provides prevention education for parents and professionals in the community. The CAC looks to a future where all children live in a safe and nurturing environment, free from abuse.
To learn more, visit www.cacfaync.org.


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