Local News

Improved Fayetteville fire protection

08 Fay FirefightersThe Fayetteville Fire Department has been awarded a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The grant will fund all salary and benefit costs for 18 additional firefighters for three years, after which the city will be responsible for funding the employees. “We currently staff a minimum of three fire fighters on all fire engines and ladder trucks,” Fire Chief Mike Hill said. Five of the department’s 15 fire stations house single units — stations 2, 12, 16, 15 and 19. The new positions will be assigned to these stations so they will have a minimum of four firefighters on their respective engines. “This ensures that we provide a minimum of four firefighters on the initial arriving response force,” Hill said.

“This is much safer for the firefighters and more efficient as they initiate critical tasking elements” prior to the arrival of additional engines. Hill told Up & Coming Weekly he hopes to have the new positions on board for training in December and available for assignment by July 2021.

Commissioners Amend Incentives Agreement, Approve Contracts

07 County Commissioner logoDuring its regular board meeting on Sept. 21, the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners amended an economic development incentives agreement with Campbell Soup Supply Company and approved contracts for Workforce Development Services and Sheriff’s Office uniforms.

Commissioners approved extending the deadline by one year to Dec. 31, 2020, for the company to add at least 100 new employees. The company requested the extension because construction on its new distribution facility in the Cedar Creek Business Center was significantly delayed by hurricanes. The company projects it will have hired 112 employees by the deadline. The board also approved an associated budget amendment for $248,000 for the economic incentive payment due in March 2021 based on the contract terms of reimbursing the company 75% of the county tax.

The board also approved contracts for workforce development services for fiscal year 2021. Two Hawk Workforce Services, LLC, a North Carolina limited liability company headquartered in Lumberton, was selected by the Workforce Development Board to be the provider of both program delivery and one stop operator services. Each of these contracts commences October 1, 2020, for a term ending June 30, 2021, with an option for two one-year extensions.

FTCC selected for early childhood education project

06 little girl book bagFayetteville Technical Community College has been chosen for a project aimed at better preparing early childhood education teachers to meet the needs of children in their communities.

The project focuses on helping instructors with associate degrees to be better prepared to assist young children, including those with diverse cultures, languages and abilities, and their families. It’s guided by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and supported by a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Beginning next spring a team from FTCC will work with the FPG Child Development Institute to enhance the department’s courses to ensure they provide practical experiences, diversity and inclusion for all students. Instructor Karly Walker will lead FTCC’s team.

“We are overjoyed in being selected to participate,” said Dr. Rondell Bennett, chair of the Early Childhood Education Department at Fayetteville Tech. “This opportunity will further enhance what we are already doing.” FTCC is one of three North Carolina community colleges selected for participation in the employee development plan.

FTCC offers skills for navigating a remote career

14 remote meetingThe financial crisis of little more than a decade ago masked a technological revolution, and everyone shelled out small fortunes for smartphones. The scientific fantasy embodied in "Star Trek’s" tricorder had become everyday overnight.

Today, the revolution has been digital rather than technological. This time, the revolution is coming for your job and staging its coup in your home. And it’s happening faster than we originally predicted. Only a decade ago, we were still struggling with what to call the phenomenon of working while not being at work. Telecommuting? Teleworking? E-work? Flex work? Virtual work?

Eventually, what the job market collectively settled on calling “remote work” was something that 44% of global companies didn’t allow as recently as 2018. Contemporary predictions estimated that by 2020, around 50% of the United States workforce would clock their hours from home. An UpWork study from 2017 postulated that more people will work remotely than not by 2027.

Little did they then know that their predictions would be realized before the end of 2020’s Q1. According to a Gallup study, by midMarch, 49% of workers in the U.S. reported having worked from home in the past seven days. Mere weeks later in April, that statistic leapt to 63% — even while some states announced plans to reopen.

Shortly thereafter, several companies announced that they would be shifting most if not all of their workforces to remote or in-office/remote hybrid arrangements.

This means that if your role is a good candidate for remote and flexibly-scheduled work, then you’re potentially competing against 7.8 billion other people for the job. Potential employers will be sizing you up online well in advance of ever offering an interview. Here are three skills to become a digital-based, remote working master and maintain an attractive digital portrait:

Mastering Communication Channels
If nothing else, the sudden shift to remote work has illuminated how time-intensive, in-person meetings could be replaced by a well-written email. There are now means far beyond email for keeping up (Slack, Zoom, Google Meetings, Jira, even video games like Red Dead Redemption), not to mention calendar, content and project management platforms.

Knowing When to Switch Platforms
When it comes to the platforms, apps or software you use to do your work, one size rarely fits all. This became clear to me when my students and I had to make the shift from face-to-face classes to “online-only.” Blackboard served us very well for some remote-based learning but not for everything or everyone. In the end, we added several other digital platforms as satellite learning channels to Blackboard. We shifted to an environment where coursework could be completed as long as you had an internet connection. Our virtual classroom worked because we took stock of what needed to be learned and achieved and then asked what tools work best for achieving those goals.

Designing Your Digital Self to become Discoverable
Search engines favor accounts which publish frequently and regularly. Engagement via likes, shares and external links is also important. To appear in the first page of a search engine’s results involves an amalgam of algorithms, web crawlers, cross-linking, keywords and content.

Maintain your dominance by picking a topical lane (or two) and staying in it. Be consistent, use the same photo for each online account, find a reference guide for what types of content perform best, and make meaningful connections with others online.

Local blood drive seeks donors

12 N1601P38005CIs it safe to donate blood right now? Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said not only is donating blood safe, it’s essential. “People are scared to go to the doctor’s office right now and I really think that’s an unfounded fear.” At most doctor’s offices, you sit out in your car until you’re texted and told you can come in, so nobody’s in the waiting room. “I would think that blood donation sites are in a position where they can adopt those exact same kinds of measures,” he added.

The Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center, in cooperation with Up & Coming Weekly and Carolina Specialties International, is conducting a mobile blood drive Sept. 30 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in Up & Coming Weekly’s rear parking lot at 208 Rowan Street. Donors will receive free COVID-19 antibody tests and gift bags. Residents who pre-register will be eligible to win a door prize.

The Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center is a community program that serves patients in Cumberland, Hoke, Harnett and Bladen Counties through donations made by individual donors, community organizations and businesses. Dianne Carter, Cape Fear Valley’s Mobile Recruitment Coordinator, said our area is critically low in blood supplies and has been for several months. Donations from local high school students stopped abruptly in March as the result of the coronavirus pandemic. Students have historically provided 40% of the blood donated in our area, Carter said.

To qualify as blood donors, individuals must be at least 16 years old with signed parental consent. Teens 17 years of age do not need that consent. Prospective donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Positive proof of identification is required. Be sure to eat a nutritious breakfast or lunch. Donors should be well hydrated in the days before and after a donation. Avoid caffeine. Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be easily rolled up above the elbow.

According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is essential for surgeries, cancer treatments, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets or plasma, this lifesaving care begins with one person making one donation. In our community the Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center receive and distributes blood units, not the Red Cross. All donations made here stay here. “It is very important for the people in our community to donate to maintain a safe, sufficient supply of blood to save lives locally,” Carter said. “It can literally mean life or death.”

The American Cancer Society says more than 1.8 million people nationwide are expected to have been diagnosed with cancer this year. Many of them require blood, sometimes daily, during chemotherapy treatment. “Roughly 38% of Americans are healthy enough to donate and the national average shows only 10% of them are donating,” Carter added. “In our community, only 2% ... are donating at least once a year. We need the other 98% of the community to step up.”
Officials say this area requires 1,200 units of blood per month to meet the needs of Cape Fear Valley Health System patients. The blood type most often requested is type O. Under normal circumstances, “We struggle to collect 900 units of blood a month,” Carter said. But currently only 300-400 units are contributed on average. Carter told Up & Coming Weekly the health system purchases the rest of the blood from other blood banks, but donor centers across the nation are experiencing shortages.

On the day of donation, individuals will complete a brief health questionnaire. Some donor contributions may be temporarily delayed. Tattoos and body piercings received from licensed North Carolina parlors are acceptable, if the tattoos have healed. Tattoos and piercings received outside our state will result in a 12-month deferral. Having a cold or flu or recent surgery or being under a physician’s care will result in delay. Recent or current diagnosis of cancer could result in a delay. Pregnant women have to wait six weeks after delivery to donate.

Some people are permanently rejected: Anyone who has lived in Europe between 1980 and 1996 for periods totaling five years or more or specifically traveled to or lived in the United Kingdom for more than three months between 1980 and 1996 is ineligible. Members of the U.S. military or their dependents stationed six months or more between 1980 and 1990 in Belgium, Netherlands or Germany or six months or more between 1980 and 1996 in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece or Turkey will be denied.

Anyone with questions about eligibility, can call the Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center at 910-615-LIFE or visit www.savingliveslocally.org.

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