Local News

Tuberculosis scare a false alarm

07TUBERCULOSIS 2The Cumberland County Department of Public Health has been notified by the state that a local individual thought to have been infected with tuberculosis did not in fact have TB. Parents, faculty and staff at Village Christian Academy were so advised in late April. The Cumberland County Health Department received updated information and a recommendation from the Public Health Division of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services about a TB contact investigation conducted in February. Some individuals at the school were believed to have been exposed to a case of infectious tuberculosis. An investigation conducted by the state revealed that the individual was not infected.

The determination was made just as a scheduled second round of testing was to begin. Initial positive lab tests needed to be confirmed by growing the TB germ in culture, which can take six weeks from the time a specimen has been collected. None of the specimens collected, including the specimen that had the initial positive test, have grown the TB germ.

“We are notifying everyone that a second round of testing is not needed, based on results received from the state lab,” said Cumberland County Interim Health Director Duane Holder. “The contact investigation and first round of skin testing was the best course of action to protect potentially exposed students, faculty and staff,” he said.

“The Health Department acted according to state protocol … we had to wait six weeks for the culture results from the state lab.”

Consumption, or the White Plague, as TB was once known, has been around since the dawn of man. In 2014, a DNA study of a tuberculosis genome reconstructed from remains in southern Peru suggested that human tuberculosis is less than 6,000 years old. But there is evidence that the first tuberculosis infection happened about 9,000 years ago.

By the 1960s, industrialized nations were seeing the health benefits of economic improvement, better sanitation, more widespread education and particularly the establishment of public health practices for tuberculosis control. The rate of deaths from tuberculosis in England and Wales dropped from 190 per 100,000 population in 1900 to seven per 100,000 in the early 1960s. In the United States during the same period, it dropped from 194 per 100,000 to approximately six per 100,000. In the popular mind, tuberculosis was then a disease of the past.

However, in the mid-1980s, the number of deaths caused by TB began to rise again in developed countries. The disease’s resurgence was attributed in part to increased immigration of people from regions where tuberculosis was prevalent, and the spread of HIV. In the early 2000s, as a result of the rapid implementation of global efforts to combat the disease, the incidence rates stabilized. Globally today, the mortality rate from tuberculosis remains between 1.6 million and two million deaths per year. Anyone with questions about TB testing should contact the Cumberland County Health Department at 910-433-3638 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Special election in 9th Congressional District set for May 14

06votersA new election in the 9th Congressional District, which includes part of Cumberland County, will be held Tuesday, May 14. Only registered Republican and unaffiliated voters can vote in the primary election. One-stop early voting began April 24 and runs through May 10, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Board of Elections Office, 227 Fountainhead Lane.

A second primary will be held Sept. 10, if necessary, followed by the general election Nov. 5. If a second primary is not necessary, the general election for the 9th Congressional District will be Sept. 10.

The 9th Congressional District covers most of eastern and southern Cumberland County. The State Board of Elections ordered the new election in the 9th Congressional District after determining that irregularities occurred to such an extent that they tainted the results of the general election last November and cast doubt on its fairness.

The Cumberland County Board of Elections office is located in the E. Newton Smith Center on Fountainhead Lane, Fayetteville. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 910-678-7733 or go to co.cumberland.nc.us/election-board for more information. 

Fort Bragg food spoilage compensation

A week after a cyberattack exercise shut down electricity on Fort Bragg, leadership is offering soldiers and their families a chance to recoup their losses. Post residents can file claims with the judge advocate general’s office, according to a May 2 Facebook post.

“Following the exercise, we’ve received a number of inquiries about claims for food that spoiled as a result of the power outage,” the statement said.

The simulated cyberattack, meant to coincide with an 82nd Airborne Division deployment exercise, was meant to test the community’s ability to rebound from an attack. The outage began the night of April 24 and lasted for about 12 hours, affecting everything from food to refrigerated medications, both those stored in homes but also at pharmacies on post.

Post officials issued an apology later that afternoon. JAG’s claims division is accepting reports for reimbursements. Peter Straub, the chief of the division, can be reached at 910-396-7505 or peter.j.straub.civ@mail.mil.

Army border support

The Pentagon may send another 300 troops to the U.S. southern border in support roles that could put them in contact with migrants and thus mark a break from current practice, officials said. Charles Summers, a spokesman for Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, said the proposal was developed as a response to a call from the Department of Homeland Security for additional military assistance. The new troops would be in support roles such as driving buses with detained migrants and providing meals to them.

There currently are about 2,900 active-duty soldiers at the border, plus about 2,000 National Guard troops. The policy includes a prohibition on direct contact with migrants, which is meant to emphasize that the military is not in a law enforcement role.

Summers said the proposal being considered by Shanahan would include an “amendment” to the current policy on avoiding contact with migrants.

Fayetteville Beautiful annual cleanup

The annual Fayetteville Beautiful citywidevcleanup is scheduled for Saturday, May 11.vDedicated to reducing litter, encouraging wastevreduction and promoting beautification projectsvthrough community engagement, FayettevillevBeautiful asks residents to pick up litter by signingvup at Fayettevillebeautiful.com, which is highlightedvon the Fayetteville Beautiful homepagevwith the words “Citywide Cleanup Map” in red.

Volunteers should meet at the entrance to CrossvCreek Park on Green Street from 8-9:30 a.m. Orangevbags, gloves and bottled water will be provided.

During last year’s event, 478 volunteers pickedvup 9,722 pounds of litter. Over the years, duringv14 citywide cleanups, more than 147 tons of littervhave been collected along 216 miles of roads.vFayetteville Beautiful, in partnership with KeepvAmerica Beautiful and Keep NC Beautiful, encouragesvcitizens to create and maintain a cleanervand more beautiful Fayetteville.

City citizen service

The city of Fayetteville has some vacancies to fill on a couple of citizen commissions. The Millennial Advisory Commission is new and has 13 openings. The Redevelopment Commission has one opening. Applications will be accepted until midnight May 16. Qualified applicants will be presented to City Council’s appointments committee in May. The Council will approve board and commission members at a regular meeting in June. The city accepts applications via the city website at www.fayettevillenc.gov.

Motorcycle security

The Fayetteville Police Department’s Property Unit reminds motorcycle owners to secure their bikes properly to avoid theft as warmer weather sets in. Most motorcycle larcenies reported to police occur in apartment complexes, where motorcycles have been left unsecured in the open. Owners are encouraged to lock their bikes to protect their investments. They are advised to park in well-lit areas.

Thefts of vans and trucks are often associated with the theft of motorcycles. Thieves sometimes use trucks to facilitate motorcycle thefts during this time of the year.

If you observe anything that appears to be suspicious, especially if you see vehicles driving slowly through an apartment complex during the hours of darkness or someone loading a motorcycle into a van, call 911.

Best of Fayetteville 2019 Vote Now!

Do you have a favorite car wash/stylist/restaurant? Do you just love a particular nonprofit orgBOF2019VOTENONOMS resizeanization/entertainment venue/veterinarian? Now is your chance to tell us about it. Once a year, we reach out to our readers through our Best of Fayetteville readership survey to ask what you love most about this area.

We don’t pre-sell advertising to promote or nominate specific businesses and organizations for Best of Fayetteville. But we do encourage them to promote themselves and encourage their friends, family and customers to vote in Best of Fayetteville.

We do not sell or require businesses or organizations to participate with advertising purchases in pre-contest special sections to get their business officially printed on the ballot.

We do not have pre-ballot advertising sales.

After the survey is complete and the ballots are tallied, there is only ONE winner in each category. The winners are given the opportunity to purchase advertising/marketing programs to thank their customers and supporters and to market and brand their companies, capitalizing on and taking advantage of their Best of Fayetteville achievement.

Voting lasts through May 24. Visit http://uandc.brainboxdev.com/ and fill out a ballot online. Or, find a paper edition of Up & Coming Weekly and fill out the ballot and mail it in.

Once all the votes are counted, we throw a big party congratulating the winners, and we publish an entire issue celebrating them that resides on our website and in businesses all year long.

Minor league baseball players not in it for the money

09Woodpeckers PlayerMinor league baseball functions as a farm system for the major leagues, which pay the players and set their salaries and bonuses. Players in the majors start at $545,000 per year this season, and the pay goes up from there, thanks to the Major League Baseball Players Association.

In the minor leagues, players don’t have a union and perform under a standard league contract that provides a fixed salary starting at $1,100 per month. Major League Baseball is considering a significant increase in salaries for minor league players, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported in March.

According to Passan, MLB officials suggested raising the pay for minor league players during a recent meeting with the group that oversees the minors. But the pay situation is likely to remain as is for now, thanks to a deal the team owners got from Congress in the omnibus spending bill passed in March.

There have been years of criticism and lawsuits regarding minor league wages. The Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly in the process of considering a 50% pay increase for all players affiliated with their MiLB clubs. “We have received many questions regarding the decision of the Toronto Blue Jays to increase the salaries of minor league players,” MLB said in a statement to ESPN.

The major league commissioner’s office is presently in negotiations with the National Association of Professional Baseball on the terms of a new agreement to replace a contract that expires in September 2020. “The working conditions of minor league players, including their compensation, facilities and benefits, is an important area of discussion in those negotiations,” the league said.

With rare exception, major league clubs do not own minor league teams but have affiliation contracts with them. The Fayetteville Woodpeckers organization is one of the exceptions. The team is owned and operated by the Houston Astros, which is beneficial to the Woodpeckers organization and the city of Fayetteville. The city has a 30-year agreement with the Astros to provide minor league baseball at the new stadium.

Parent major league clubs pay minor league players’ salaries and benefits and provide bats and balls. The minor league teams pay for in-season travel and other operational expenses. The maximum a first-year minor leaguer can make is $1,100 a month. After the first year, there is no monthly maximum so the player can make more.

The major league teams negotiate all the contracts. Hometown families sometimes adopt minor league players and provide sleeping quarters and meals. “The Woodpeckers are all living in a high-end apartment building in Fayetteville,” team President Mark Zarthar said. He would not say whether the players pay rent.

At the Single A level, it’s difficult for a player to make ends meet. This is the reason that when players are drafted, they often ask for larger signing bonuses. As players move up in the organization, new contracts are negotiated. Minor leaguers are not paid well until at least the next level. AAA players make much higher salaries.

What is SEGRA?

08SEGRA logoSEGRA is the name of a new communications company made up of a pair of established affiliates. Lumos Networks Corp. and Spirit Communications merged, and the two companies have rebranded as SEGRA. It’s pronounced with a short e — SEH-GRUH.

“This new brand marks the official launch of a single company with a mission and culture that are dedicated to providing winning solutions for our customers,” said SEGRA CEO Timothy G. Biltz.

In April 2018, EQT Partners completed the purchase of a majority stake in Spirit Communications and announced it would combine Spirit assets with Lumos. EQT says on its website that it “invests in good companies across the world with a mission to help them develop into great and sustainable companies.”

Over the last year, the two firms have integrated their operations, expanded their fiber-optic network and product sets, and made further investments in existing and new markets in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast. New markets include Fayetteville, Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina.

SEGRA is powering organizations of all sizes with state-of-the-art voice, data and internet services. It has an advanced fiber infrastructure network of more than 21,000 miles that connects more than 9,000 on-net locations and 44 data centers throughout nine states. It is one of the East Coast’s largest fiber networks.

The expanded company said its customers will begin to see the SEGRA logo on company vehicles, buildings and elsewhere over the next few months. Baseball fields are a part of the identity process. SEGRA bought the naming rights for two SEGRA stadiums. SEGRA Park in Columbia, South Carolina, was formerly known as Spirit Communications Park.

It is the home of the Columbia Fireflies, a minor league baseball team playing in the South Atlantic League. SEGRA Stadium in Fayetteville was patterned after the Columbia ballpark. Now they share a name. Neither SEGRA nor the city of Fayetteville would disclose the signature naming longevity term or purchase price. Based on similar stadium projects, SEGRA’s purchase likely topped the $1 million mark.

SEGRA Park in Columbia and SEGRA Stadium in Fayetteville both are 365-day-per-year multi-use sports and entertainment venues. They were designed for baseball, concerts, soccer, football and other activities. SEGRA Stadium is smaller than SEGRA Park. The Columbia venue seats approximately 9,000 for sporting events, while the Fayetteville stadium can accommodate 6,000.

“SEGRA is making an investment by expanding their business into Fayetteville, providing a state-of-theart fiber network that will improve connectivity for current businesses and also potentially increasing our economic development efforts as we continue to attract new businesses to our city,” Mayor Mitch Colvin said.

The Houston Astros organization said that with SEGRA having the ballpark’s naming rights and operating as its official communications services partner, the stadium may be the most connected venue in minor league baseball. The new state-of-the-art stadium is outfitted with cutting edge 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi coverage powered by redundant 10 Gbps fiber connectivity, allowing fans to enhance their game-day experience with seamless, lightning-speed video and social media, Houston Astros officials said.

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