Local News

Spring Has Sprung with Pinwheels Popping Up in Cumberland County

CAC April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and to raise awareness, gardens of bright blue pinwheels are being "planted" in various locations across Cumberland County. The pinwheel represents a happy, safe and carefree childhood that every child deserves. More than a million pinwheels have been displayed nationwide since the campaign started in April 2008, adopted by Prevent Child Abuse America.

 The Child Advocacy Center is leading the campaign locally, coordinating with schools, organizations, businesses and agencies to sponsor the "gardens." This is the 13th year that the CAC has coordinated the campaign in Cumberland County, and each year, the numbers have grown.

 Pinwheels for Prevention started as a grassroots campaign from Prevent Child Abuse America. The blue pinwheels serve as a reminder of the bright and happy future that every child deserves. The purpose of planting the pinwheels is to raise awareness and change the public's belief and behavior about child abuse and neglect.

 The CAC is partnering with seven other places within the community for pinwheel garden planting ceremonies. Join them during your lunch break at any of the following locations:

  • Town of Hope Mills, March 30 at noon
  • Festival Park, March 31 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Fayetteville Technical Community College, April 3 at noon
  • Methodist University, April 4 at noon
  • Cumberland County Schools, Central Services, April 4 at 2 p.m.
  • Town of Spring Lake, April 5 at noon
  • Fayetteville State University, April 6 at noon

 The CAC is also decorating several black flowerpots downtown with pinwheels and signs about April being Child Abuse Prevention Month.

 Downtown Fayetteville merchants are coming together to help the CAC spread awareness about Child Abuse Prevention Month this April. Visitors can #ShopBlueDowntown on select days in April and help 20 businesses raise awareness and funds for the CAC in various ways.

 The CAC is hosting 'Monday with a Book' each week of April. Parents and children can visit their website or social media outlets on Facebook or Instagram to listen to the body safety books.

 Pinwheel garden kits and more pinwheel gear are still available at www.cacfaync.org.

 "We hope that during the month of April, you will find ways to celebrate the children in your life," said a representative from the CAC. "As you see, the pinwheels spinning in the sun this April, be reminded that the pinwheels represent the bright future for our children and our community. We want all children to live in stable, loving and stimulating environments – at home, at school and in the community."

 For more information on the CAC or to get involved, please visit the website at www.cacfaync.org

Ways to prepare your home for bug season

17It can be tempting to think that bugs simply disappear in the cooler months. The truth is that many bug species have evolved to survive all year long, sometimes hiding in the warm nooks and crannies in and around homes. Others go into a hibernation-like state.

“Bugs can be a lot smarter and more resilient than you may realize. Even if you don’t see household pests right now, some may still be waiting in your home for those first warm days to signal them to become active, search for food and find a mate,” says Emma Klingman, senior products research at Zevo, a maker of pest control products with naturally-inspired ingredients you can feel good about.

To prep your home for bug season and outsmart pests, follow these steps:

Tidy up: Household pests love snacking just as much as people do, but you don’t need to play host to them. After meals, wipe down tables, counters and other kitchen surfaces. Be sure to regularly sweep and vacuum crumbs, as well as mop up to eliminate sticky food residue. Keep a tightly-fitting lid on your garbage bin, and rinse cans and jars before recycling them.

Be ready: Even an immaculate home will face pest problems at some point. That’s why it is important to have tools on hand to catch a problem early, before it becomes a much bigger one. Some sprays target and shut down biological pathways found in insects, not in people or pets.

Likewise, some traps use a UV and blue light system to attract and capture flying insects, and they have a discreet design that can serve as a bouncer at your home’s entry points. It’s also smart to use these traps in potential problem areas, such as near trash cans and fruit bowls and near toilet bowls and drains.

Safeguard the yard: Defending your yard from pesky pests will not only improve the comfort of your home’s outdoor spaces, it will help prevent insects from finding their way indoors. Be sure to eliminate standing water by properly tending to your lawn and by periodically clearing downspouts of debris. Any water feature in your garden should use running water. If you have a patio or deck, consider screening it in. If you don’t love the look of screened walls, installing ceiling fans can be an effective alternative. Run the fans whenever you entertain to deter unwanted guests, such as mosquitos, from crashing the party.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to apply bug repellent when spending time outdoors. Find a formula that will be easy to use, such as products with a pump spray, aerosol or lotion options. Many products will offer several hours of protection from mosquitoes and ticks and are lightweight, odorless and not sticky.

For more tips and information, visit https://zevoinsect.com.

“As we usher in gorgeous spring weather, it can be an especially challenging time of year to keep bugs at bay at home. But with the right tools and strategies, you can help prevent and combat infestations as they arise,” says Klingman.

DOD announces six new measures to enhance well-being of military force and their families

11bSecretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on March 22 unveiled a comprehensive plan aimed at improving the lives of our dedicated military force and their families.

The new plan consists of six additional actions that address essential needs in education, childcare, parental leave and career advancement. The Department of Defense is committed to working with Congress and other stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of these measures.

Secretary Austin is directing the implementation of the following:

Universal Prekindergarten at DoD Education Activity (DoDEA) Schools: The DoD is collaborating with Congress to secure funding for universal prekindergarten at DoDEA schools. The program is set to undergo a phased implementation over a five-year period, providing high-quality early education for military children.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for Service Members: To alleviate financial pressure on service members with dependents, the DoD will enable access to Dependent Care FSAs, allowing them to set aside up to $5,000 in pretax income through payroll deductions for eligible dependent care expenses.

New Military Parental Leave Benefits: The DoD is actively promoting new parental leave benefits that provide 12 weeks of paid, non-chargeable leave to service members welcoming a child into their family through birth, adoption, or long-term foster-care placement. This initiative supports the well-being and work-life balance of our military families.

Improvements to the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP): The DoD is committed to enhancing the EFMP to better support the unique needs of exceptional military families. Further improvements and streamlined processes will ensure that these families receive the necessary resources and assistance.

Expanded Spouse Eligibility for My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) Financial Assistance: To support career advancement for military spouses, eligibility for MyCAA financial assistance will be expanded to E-6 and O-3 ranks. This program provides up to $4,000 in aid for obtaining a license, certificate, or associate degree.

Portability and Best Practices for Professional Licenses: The DoD will continue efforts to make professional licenses portable for military families, working with states to encourage sharing of licensure best practices and approval of occupational licensure compacts. This initiative aims to reduce barriers to employment for military spouses.

Secretary Austin is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for our military force and their families through these new measures. The DoD will collaborate with Congress and state partners to ensure the successful implementation and ongoing support of these initiatives.

The memorandum on Strengthening Our Support to Service Members and Their Families can be found at https://media.defense.gov/2023/Mar/22/2003184739/-1/-1/1/strengthening-our-support-to-service-members-and-their-families.PDF.

PWC honored with two United Way Spirit of NC Awards

11aUnited Way of Cumberland County announced March 22 that Fayetteville PWC has been awarded the 2022 Spirit of North Carolina for building momentum and sustainability through engaged leadership and employees.

Fayetteville PWC has modeled a dedication to community service through their fundraising, volunteer and advocacy efforts. This is the 17th year in a row they have received an award for their outstanding dedication to United Way and the community.

Carolyn Justice–Hinson, the PWC Communications/Community Relations Officer, also won the United Way Community Ambassador award. This is the first year this award has been presented. She received this honor for all the hard work she has dedicated to helping spread United Way’s name and mission not only within her organization but into the community.

Justice-Hinson currently serves on the board and chaired their Over the Edge fundraiser held on March 11.
United Way of North Carolina’s annual Spirit of North Carolina Award celebrates organizations and individuals for their exemplary partnership demonstrated through fundraising and volunteer efforts, outstanding leadership, and creative team building.

Additionally, organizations focusing on DEI values and individuals who are champions of United Way were also celebrated. United Way of North Carolina recognized 74 winners representing 17 local United Ways at three regional events.

“The Spirit of North Carolina Awards shine a light on our incredible partners, who are supporting United Way’s work and helping us achieve our goals,” said Melissa Reid, Director of Resource Development for United Way of Cumberland County. “Congratulations to all the winners who have collectively made a huge impact in the lives of our neighbors across the state.”

Fayetteville PWC and Justice-Hinson were recognized for keeping the spirit of United Way within their organization all year long and not just at campaign time. They run the most successful workplace campaign in the county, they volunteer throughout the year and donate water to events. This year, they even held a meal packing event as their United Way kickoff where they packed 35,000 meal packets which went to help local families.

“We are honored to have Fayetteville PWC and Carolyn Justice–Hinson as key stakeholders for a shared future where every North Carolinian thrives and reaches their full potential,” said Amy Navejas, Executive Director for United Way of Cumberland County.

For more information about the Spirit of North Carolina Award and a complete list of winners, visit unitedwaync.org/spirit-north-carolina-award-winners.

United Way of Cumberland County improves lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good. United Way of Cumberland County strives to advance the common good by focusing on the building blocks for a good life: education, financial stability, health and critical basic needs. At United Way, we recognize that lasting changes are achieved by addressing the underlying causes of problems. United Way partners with other nonprofit agencies to improve lives in Cumberland County.

Cooper allows anti-rioting, hotel safety bills to become law

10Governor Roy Cooper allowed two bills, H.B. 40, Anti-Rioting, and S.B. 53, Hotel Safety, to become law without his signature.

The Prevent Rioting and Civil Disorder bill would make rioting a felony if it resulted in over $2,500 worth of property damage, involved dangerous weapons or substances, or resulted in someone’s death. It would also make assaulting a police officer or emergency personnel a felony.

The previous version of the bill was met with strong opposition from Democrats and social justice advocates, who called it racist and intended to muzzle the exercise of First Amendment rights.
Cooper’s statement in a press release shows that he begrudgingly let it become law.

“I acknowledge that changes were made to modify this legislation’s effect after my veto of a similar bill last year,” he said. “Property damage and violence are already illegal and my continuing concerns about the erosion of the First Amendment and the disparate impacts on communities of color will prevent me from signing this legislation.”

All Republicans voted in favor of the bill. In contrast, 16 out of 17 Democratic senators voted against the bill — the sole Democratic senator who supported H.B. 40 was Sen. Mary Wills Bode, D-Granville.
In the state House, one of the lead sponsors of the bill is Rep. Shelly Willingham, D-Edgecombe. Willingham, a former law enforcement officer, supported the bill despite opposition from most in his party.
Legislators have renewed their push for the bill this year because of millions of dollars in property damage in Raleigh and across North Carolina during 2020 protests after the death of George Floyd.

“Nearly three years after violent protests devastated communities and businesses in North Carolina, I am pleased that this bipartisan legislation will finally become law,” said House Speaker Tim Moore in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

“While the First Amendment guarantees the right to peacefully protest, those who hijack otherwise peaceful demonstrations to cause chaos and destruction in our communities must be held accountable, and law enforcement must have our support to do just that. This bill has had bipartisan support since it was first introduced, and our communities will be safer now that this bill will finally become law,” said Moore.

Cooper also had mixed feelings about the Hotel Safety bill and explained his reasoning for not signing it.

“This bill was given broad support in the legislature and there are potential positive modifications being discussed by legislators,” he remarked. “However, safe housing is sometimes only available from temporary shelter such as hotels, and I remain concerned that this bill will legalize unfair treatment for those who need protection, and this will prevent me from signing it.”

Cooper vetoed similar legislation in 2021. This go around, the House voted 83-29 for the legislation, and it passed in the Senate last month by a 28-16 vote.

S.B. 53 states that landlord-tenant rules, which make it more difficult to remove an occupant, don’t apply when a person is staying at a hotel, motel, or RV park for fewer than 90 consecutive days.

The rules normally apply for home and apartment renters, sometimes requiring legal action to complete evictions. The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association also supported the measure.

Editor's note: Alex Baltzegar contributed to this article.


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