Local News

Cybersecurity education available

07 N2003P36001CIn recent years, cybersecurity as a profession has found itself at a crossroads. Since its origins in the 1980s, practitioners have drifted into computer security, information security or cybersecurity from other disciplines, mainly information technology and engineering, as well as entering through more academic or formal routes. However, with the increase in cybersecurity threats and attacks, the demand for professionals can no longer be met by practitioners drifting in from other professions or by limiting the choice to those lucky enough to have been able to pursue master’s degrees.

Just last month, Cumberland County Workforce Development commemorated graduates of a Cybersecurity Pre-Apprenticeship program. The program is for young adults ages 14 through 25. It was held at the Cumberland County N.C. Works Career Center last fall. Raleigh-based ISG Cybersecurity Talent Development teamed up with Cumberland County Workforce Development to present the program. Eighteen students graduated in the inaugural class.

ISG launched the Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program in 2016 to help entry-level apprentices advance from mid- to senior-level skills in two years. The apprenticeship program helps meet industry demand for cybersecurity professionals and helps young people establish a career path in the field. Graduates will enter the next phase at Fayetteville Technical Community College to obtain certifications for continued education in cybersecurity. FTCC’s Systems Security and Analysis program prepares graduates for employment in the technology sector as cybersecurity analysts, cybersecurity managers, support technicians, system administrators and engineers.
In 2015, Fayetteville Technical Community College President Dr. Larry Keen and Methodist University President Dr. Ben Hancock signed an agreement that allows a seamless transfer process for students interested in continuing cyber and information security studies. FTCC students who receive their Associate in Applied Science degrees in Information Systems Security are fully qualified to enter Methodist’s Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity program, which offers a Bachelor of Science degree.
“We’re very excited for all of the positive things that will come from this agreement,” Hancock said. “For some students, this will be the best fit — to start out their careers at FTCC and then come to Methodist.”

FTCC students must have received a C or better grade in those classes.

“This is the first IT preapprentice program in North Carolina. Once these young adults complete this program, which will take them less than two years, they will be certified in cybersecurity with the ability to earn a mini-mum of $45,000 annually,” said Cumberland County Workforce Development Director Nedra Rodriguez.

“The cybersecurity course was very informative and helped me understand more about computers,” said Ian McLaurin, a Cape Fear High School graduate who is one of the cybersecurity graduates.

The next cybersecurity pre-apprentice program at Fayetteville’s N.C. Works Career Center at 414 Ray Ave. starts in April.

The Cumberland County N.C. Works Career assists veterans and job seekers with the resources they need to succeed. For more information about the career center, go to co.cumberland.nc.us/career-center.

The Workforce Development Board is appointed and governed by the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners.

Building Business Rally a success

05 01 Building Business Rally 2A business development gathering begun as an annual event four years ago by Fayetteville’s Public Works Commission succeeded beyond expectations this year. “Of the 500 or so attendees, 300 were representatives of local businesses,” said PWC spokeswoman Carolyn Justice-Hinson.

They took advantage of the opportunity to learn about the estimated $1 billion local governments and major companies have budgeted that they would like to spend locally. The Building Business Rally, held  at the Ramada Plaza Hotel Jan. 30, made area business owners aware that Fayetteville and Cumberland County organizations depend on local companies to provide relevant and necessary goods and services. “Local engagement is what government agencies emphasize,” when making purchases large and small, Justice-Hinson added.

“Learning about correct sources in the community was of great value,” said Anthony Day of WMK Tiles.

A website is available for business owners for follow up: Faybids.com.   

05 02 N1611P25011CEarly voting

Early voting for the March 3 primary election ends Feb. 29 at all seven locations in Cumberland County. They are the Board of Elections office, Cliffdale Recreation Center, North Regional Branch Library, Hope Mills Recreation Center, East Regional Branch Library, J.D. Pone Recreation Center and Smith Recreation Center. Voters will not be required to show photo identification for the March 3, primary election. A federal court blocked North Carolina’s voter photo ID requirement from taking effect. The injunction will remain in place until further orders of the court. The March primary is for various federal, state and local offices including president, governor, North Carolina House districts 43, 44 and 45, judicial district 12 and two Cumberland County Board of Commissioners seats. Citizens who wish to vote must report to their home precinct. Polls for all precincts will open at 6:30 a.m. March 3 and close at 7:30 p.m. Call 910-678-7733 or go to co.cumberland.nc.us/election-board for more information.

05 03 fayettevillepoliceofficersHome buying assistance for police officers

The city of Fayetteville has received a $50,000 check from First Horizon Bank for the Good Neighbor Homebuyer Loan Program. This program, to be administered by the city’s Economic and Community Development Department, is designed to offer city police officers a depreciating loan of up to $20,000 for a down payment and closing costs. The homes must be in Fayetteville’s revitalization corridors of Murchison Road or B Street.

“This provides our officers with a great opportunity to receive assistance with a home purchase within the city,” said Police Chief Gina Hawkins. “I am very thankful for First Horizon Bank’s graciousness in providing the money ... for this effort,” Mayor Mitch Colvin added, “We encourage other businesses and organizations to consider such beneficial partnerships.”

05 04 fire station 15 2Fayetteville has been fire-fatality free for more than a year

For the first time in 10 years, there were no fire-related deaths in the city of Fayetteville in 2019. Across North Carolina last year, there were 117 fire-related deaths. The Fayetteville Fire Department responded to more than 29,000 calls for service in 2019. Four hundred sixteen calls were structure fires.  The reduction in fire fatalities has been attributed primarily to the rapid response of the fire department and the dedication of residents who have smoke alarms and early detection devices in their homes.
“The importance of an early indication of fire in a dwelling is immeasurable,” said Fire Chief Mike Hill.

The Fayetteville Fire Department will install smoke alarms free of charge. The Fayetteville Fire Department is rated class 1 by the Insurance Service Office, which is the best possible rating. A class 1 rating describes how well a fire department protects the community. Insurance companies also use the score to help set insurance rates.

05 05 82nd Abn Columbia trainingSouth America airborne exercise

Approximately 75 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division and 40 personnel from U.S. Army South wrapped up an airborne assault exercise Jan. 29. During the field maneuver, U.S. and Colombian paratroopers performed an airborne training insertion from C-130 Hercules aircraft, followed by tactical exercises designed to simulate the securing of an airfield. U.S. and Colombian personnel worked together to build interoperability and strategic and tactical expertise.

“We are honored to train with Colombia — a close friend of the U.S. and Global Partner to NATO,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, which routinely conducts multinational exercises throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen partnerships.

05 06 Tiny HomesTiny homes for homeless veterans

Super Bowl-bound Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, 24, spends much of his spare time volunteering with a Kansas City-based organization that supports homeless veterans. One of the project’s initiatives is a community of 49 tiny homes built to get down-on-their-luck veterans off the streets. Fayetteville City Council recently heard a presentation from a Greensboro-based firm that builds tiny homes, some of which are set aside for homeless vets.

“It’s awesome, just to be a part of this … and help out some veterans of our country,” Mahomes said. “It’s something that’s truly special.”

Along with these 240- to 350-square-foot homes, occupants are provided with utilities and food. Mahomes’ volunteer work is separate from his personal charity. His foundation focuses on aiding underprivileged children by supporting 15 different local youth charities. With less than a week until Super Bowl Sunday, Kansas City is ready to cheer on Mahomes as he leads his team into its final game of the season.

Multiservice homeless center proposed

07 homeless personFayetteville City Council is considering spending nearly $4 million on a facility to help the homeless. The money is available to the city in state grant funds. City Council invited officials of Raleigh’s Oak City Cares to make a presentation at a recent public meeting. Oak City Cares is an organization that bills itself as a multiservice agency that provides a day center and services to help the homeless.

The “concept is to coordinate rather than compete with other agencies,” said Oak City Cares Executive Director Kathryn Johnson.

Wake County provided $7 million, and the city of Raleigh gave $3.4 million for the multipurpose center in downtown Raleigh, according to Rick Miller, retired regional director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh, which operates the facility.

Wake County provided an old warehouse as a shell building for the center. Catholic Charities employees operate the facility, which raised $2.5 million in a private fundraising effort. The funds are paying the nonprofit agency’s share of operating costs for the first few years and provide $400,000 in reserve funds, Johnson told Council.

Local Fayetteville agencies that serve the homeless insist a multimillion-dollar complex would be a waste of money since the services offered by such a facility are already available in the community. Fayetteville’s Operation Inasmuch has many of the programs and facilities provided by Oak City Cares. FOI’s website says its 40-bed lodge has led more than 200 men to get jobs, assisted over 100 men to find stable housing, provided individualized case management, offered job search and interview training and reduced the homeless population. Just as Oak City Cares does, the Operation Inasmuch lodge provides shower facilities, laundry services and computer access.

Unlike the capital city area where city and county governments worked together, Cumberland County Commissioners have said they have no interest in joining the city in a multipurpose center for the homeless. Other groups are also active in Fayetteville in meeting the needs of people living on the streets. Street people who live a public, transient lifestyle on the streets of a city are among the homeless and are often mentally ill. Organizations here that serve the homeless agree the city should focus on job creation and providing affordable housing.

City Council also heard from the director of Communities in Communities, which builds and leases tiny homes for those in need. It’s a Greensboro-based company that replaces vacant and blighted properties in the Triad with small houses of 500 to 1,000 square feet. Scott Jones outlined cottage communities in pocket neighborhoods that have been developed in High Point and Greensboro with a new development underway in Winston-Salem. “They are designed to serve the needs of the chronic homeless,” Jones said. “The idea is to replace tent-living with small homes that are practical and affordable.”

Rent is subsidized based on the occupants’ earnings. City officials took no action on the proposals and did not schedule a subsequent meeting.

New performing arts center for Fayetteville?

06 01 Memorial auditorium and arenaSpectra Venue Management, the company that manages Fayetteville’s Crown Complex, has selected Conventions, Sports, and Leisure International to conduct a market analysis and feasibility study for a new venue to replace the Crown Theatre and Crown Arena. Memorial auditorium and arena will be closed in October 2022. The study will analyze and determine whether a new facility is feasible, and if so, its type, size and location. Results of the market analysis and feasibility study are expected by May of this year. The study is being paid for by Spectra Venue Management, utilizing funds that were set aside in its 2017 management agreement with Cumberland County. “We are excited for CSL to get started on this project,” Trent Merritt, Spectra’s regional vice president, said. CSL clients in North Carolina include Hickory Performing Arts Center; Keenan Stadium at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; the Charlotte Coliseum; and proposed venues in Wilmington and Mooresville. CSL will establish a date, time and location for public forums for those who wish to provide insight or feedback on the project.

County extension of water lines to Grays Creek underway

06 02 chemours2Several dozen Grays Creek residents were on hand at a county commission meeting this month when the board agreed to spend $376,000 for engineering work on a water line extension. The need for public water came to the surface two-and-a-half years ago when GenX, a potential carcinogen, was found in Grays Creek water wells. The culprit is the huge Chemours chemical plant on the Cumberland/Bladen County line. Chemours has provided bottled water and water filtration systems to some homes in the area. The project is a $10.5 million water line extension commissioners approved Jan. 6. GenX has also been reported in the Cape Fear River and in drinking water supplies of communities downstream from Chemours that get their water from the river. Residents claim the contamination has reduced property values and that Chemours should be held responsible for the cost of the water line extension.

SBA provides loans for Hurricane Dorian repairs

The U.S. Small Business Administration says Working Capital Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations in some North Carolina communities as a result of Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 6 - 10, 2019. Locally, loans are available in Cumberland, Bladen, Harnett and Hoke counties. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of the hurricane. Disaster loans are not available to 06 03 hurricane dorin 2agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers. The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 4% for small businesses and 2.75% for private nonprofit organizations, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at Disasterloan.sba.gov. Disaster loan information may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
Fayetteville airport opens new concourse

The new concourse features an open rotunda with large viewing windows, a new waiting area with in-seat charging stations and three new boarding gates. American Airlines is utilizing the new 06 04 Fayetteville Regional Airportconcourse, servicing its daily flights to and from Charlotte. The concourse will soon feature a new restaurant, which is expected to open in the spring. The facility is Phase 1 of a $45 million renovation project at Fayetteville Regional Project.
“The opening of the new concourse is a big milestone for us,” said Airport Director Bradley Whited. “No major improvements have been made to the airport terminal since its opening in 1969.”
Plans to start Phase 2 are already underway, including renovation of the front façade, a refreshed interior, a new TSA checkpoint, renovated ticketing and baggage wings and an updated second floor. Offering service to two major airline hubs, travelers have access to more than 230 one-stop destinations.

Public countywide education program set

A local state of education event scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 4, will shine a spotlight on various educational institutions in Cumberland County. During the event at J.W. Seabrook Auditorium on the campus of Fayetteville State University, participants will learn about major initiatives and strategic priorities in Cumberland County schools. Leaders from Fayetteville State, Methodist University and Fayetteville Technical Community College will also be featured. The program begins at 6 p.m.
06 05 State of Education of CC 2 1200x496 copy

A decade in review

11 01 Official portrait of Barack ObamaI thought it would be easy to write a review for 2019, and then I realized that we are at the end of another decade. So, this is a review of last year and the previous decade. It was a decade of great achievement and dizzying ups and downs.

At the end of 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 10,428. The unemployment rate was 9.9%. In the United States, the average family median income was $50,599. The five most famous letters in the alphabet were the vowels a, e, i, o and u. The No. 1 cause of death was the heart attack. The number of murders in the U.S. from guns was 11,493, or 36%. The number of suicides from guns was 18,735, or 59.8%. In 2009, there were 784,507 abortions reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Obama’s net worth was estimated between $1 million and $5 million. Businessman Donald Trump’s net worth was $1.6 billion.

In 2010, Obama was the president. Apple rolled out the first iPad. During this decade, American troops killed Osama bin Laden. “Curiosity Rover” landed on Mars. Once the lion of the auto industry, Detroit ultimately filed for bankruptcy. Obama shut down the full federal government with budget sequestration. The Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, went into effect. Same-sex marriages became legal across the country. Trump was elected the 45th president. Since day 10 of his presidency, Trump and his campaign have faced one investigation after another and impeachment.

Over the decade, microphones, cameras and opinion polls often trumped science, facts, evidence and common sense. Political drama seemed to rule the decade. It split the country, families and friends. The internet, television, radio and print used our information and devices to target us for ideological and political gain. Media messiahs played on our fears, and we turned to “news” commentators to decipher, dilute 11 02 Donald Trump official portraitand help digest talking points and fuel the 24-hour news cycle.

Technologically, we boomed. For the first time, we saw self-driving cars, 4G, tablets, augmented reality, multi-use space rockets, solar-panel roofs, human-like robots, genetic engineering, the hoverboard, Instagram, smartwatches, drones, biomechanics, biomedicine, the bionic eye, fake news, the cloud, and a book salesman disrupted just about everything with a little business called Amazon.

As of October 2019, Fayetteville is the fourth largest city in North Carolina with an estimated population of 209,468. Fort Bragg drove Fayetteville’s economy to the tune of about $4.5 billion and is the area’s largest employer. Other producers of jobs in the area included the education and health care systems, Walmart and Goodyear Tire. Fort Bragg is also home to America’s bravest men and women that the world has ever met.

Fayetteville continued to showcase spectacular art, music and culture. The Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Gilbert Theater and the Arts Council entertained us with talent from all ages. The Dogwood Festival, The Zombie Walk and A Dickens Holiday brought tens of thousands downtown for fantastic and fun family entertainment. The Crown Coliseum hosted great events from WWE to great concerts like America, Chicago and Mannheim Steamroller to great conventions like ComicCon. 

11 03 Apple Watch Series 4 44mm Aluminum Cellular goldwhiteFayetteville is the machine of evolution. In April, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers moved into the new $37.8 million ballpark, but for some reason, the city leaders could not figure out how or where to park cars. More bars and restaurants opened and closed and proved it is easier to drink a cold beer than it is to change the fact that people along the Cape Fear River cannot drink their well water due to GenX. More of I-295 opened, connecting I-95 to Cliffdale Road. Fort Bragg families declared a housing crisis that prompted visits by the Sectary of the Army and first lady Melania Trump.

At the end of this writing in 2019, for the most part, we as a nation and community are better off than we were in 2009. The Dow Jones average is approaching 30,000. (Editor's Note: At the close of 2019, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 28,538.44.) The average U.S. family median income is $66,465. The unemployment rate at the end of 2019 is 3.6%. The five most famous letters in the alphabet are the nouns l, g, b, t and q. Heart attacks are still the No. 1 cause of death.

In 2017, when the last full report is available, the number of gun-related homicides was 12,830, or  35%. There were 22,274 gun-related suicides, or  61%. The reported number of abortions was 427,111. Abortion has declined to the lowest since the year after Row versus Wade in 1973. Pregnancies have decreased. Maybe it was not because of demonstrations, prochoice, prolife, stricter laws, tough talk, lectures or marching in the streets. The drop may be because women have more accessibility to various forms of contraception since the Affordable Care Act required most private health insurance plans to cover the contraceptive cost. 

11 04 N1108P60005C

In 2019, Obama’s net worth is $70 million, and Donald Trump’s net worth is $3.1 billion.

According to Representative Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., “the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change”. If true, you may want to consider asking your accountant about filing extensions on your taxes for the next 11 years.
Seriously, although the No. 1 cause of death is the heart attack, that may change as the internet of things continues to mesh with our digital world. As electronic devices continue to get cheaper, smaller and more prevalent, all of the devices are collecting our information. Artificial intelligence is tracking and processing our actions and reactions without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Sadly, many of us are the last generation to know what privacy really means as we all travel through the roaring 20s and into the new digital revolution.

If movies are a metaphor for our society, then we should try to be a little more like Mr. Rogers and less like the Joker to make our life, home, town and country the best it has ever been. We should live every day like it is the last while planning on living forever.

May grace, love and blessings be with you for decades to come.


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