Local News

Hay Street construction project begins

08 thermo crosswalkConstruction is under way to change a section of Hay Street between Winslow Street and Ray Avenue. It will be reduced from two lanes in both directions to one lane each way. Hay Street in that vicinity will be closed to thru traffic for one week for construction. The new lanes will be resurfaced and marked for high visibility. An existing crosswalk in front of City Hall will be removed. In mid-May, a new high-visibility, thermoplastic crosswalk will be installed leading to Hurley Way which is the entrance to Segra Stadium. Pre-formed thermoplastic pavement markings provide durability and visibility to increase the life of markings for crosswalks, bike paths and handicap designated areas.

Cumberland County bridge closing

07 I 95 Eastover bridgeConstruction is underway to upgrade and widen 16 miles of I-95 from Murphy Road (Exit 55) in Cumberland County to Exit 71 near Dunn in Harnett County. NCDOT also plans to begin widening the interstate from Exit 71 to the I-40 (Exit 81) junction in Johnston County later this year. The two segments total 26 miles and involve widening the interstate from its present four lanes to a total of eight lanes. The Baywood Road bridge spanning Interstate 95 in Eastover has been closed to be rebuilt in order to accommodate the highway widening project beneath it. The road will reopen early next year. A detour will send drivers to the nearby Murphy Road overpass (Exit 55) to get around the closure. A N.C. Department of Transportation contractor is widening I-95 between exits 55 and 71. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2024. Visit www.ncdot.gov/projects/Pages/ for more information about both projects.

Fiber optic installation begins in Cumberland County

05 fiberoptic construction 2MetroNet has begun a two-year project of installing nearly 1,000 miles of fiber optic infrastructure throughout Cumberland County. The work includes installing equipment underground in public rights-of-way, as well as on utility poles. MetroNet began construction in areas of West Fayetteville between Raeford Road and Stoney Point Road in January. Residents are being notified as construction plans unfold in their neighborhoods. MetroNet says it will minimize any impact to personal property as it works within utility easement areas. The Public Works Commission emphasizes that the work is not managed by PWC. Residents interested in MetroNet construction activity can inquire online at www.metronetinc.com/iwantfiber or by telephone by calling 1-877-386-3876.

General Assembly to consider adding 'right-to-work' to N.C. Constitution

04 construction worker by CJ Maya ReaganThe General Assembly will consider a measure to enshrine North Carolina’s right-to-work policies in the state constitution.
Sens. Carl Ford, R-Rowan, and Jim Burgin, R-Harnett, have introduced a bill — Senate Bill 624 — that would guarantee N.C. workers would not be forced to join a labor union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. Workers also could not be forced to remain apart from a union as a condition of employment.

In essence, employees have the right — but not the obligation — to join a labor union.

North Carolina has had such a “right-to-work” law in place since 1947, but it could be repealed by a future General Assembly. Putting this language in the state constitution would all but guarantee that North Carolina would remain a right-to-work state for the foreseeable future.

Today, 27 states have right-to-work laws, primarily in the South and Midwest. In other states, companies and labor unions can enter into contracts requiring employees to join the union or at least pay union dues. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation estimates that such arrangements, known as a “closed shop” and allowed under federal law, siphon off $4.5 billion in employee pay each year.

In a recent Civitas poll commissioned by the John Locke Foundation, 71% of likely 2022 voters would support such a constitutional amendment. Only 13% oppose the measure.

But getting to a vote might prove a challenge. In North Carolina, proposed constitutional amendments must pass with three-fifths majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. This is the same hurdle as a veto override, and Republican leaders have struggled to garner enough votes for their priorities. Only a simple majority of the state’s voters is needed to approve the new amendment.

Gov. Roy Cooper may also prove an obstacle.

In 2018, when the General Assembly put forward six constitutional amendments, Cooper sued to block two of them from going on the ballot. Both would have restricted his power — one on his ability to make judicial appointments, and the other on his control of the State Board of Elections.

Both ended up on the ballot, but neither was approved. The other four passed with strong majorities.

One of those amendments put a voter ID requirement in the state constitution, but identification is still not required to vote in North Carolina after the courts blocked the law to implement it.

Pictured above: Senate Bill 624 would guarantee N.C. workers could not be forced to join a labor union or pay union fees as a condition of employment. (Carolina Journal photo  by Maya Reagan). 

Student-athletes clear hurdles created by COVID pandemic

18 story noWhile the 2020-21 school year will be one to remember for struggles, disappointments, and frustration for many student-athletes across North Carolina and the nation because of COVID, there is a different story that has unfolded at Methodist University here in Fayetteville.

•MU had an undefeated regular season and hosted the USA South Athletic Conference football championship game under its newly installed, state-of-the art stadium lights.

•MU’s golf teams — both the men’s and women’s — are currently ranked in the Top 2 in the nation and the university recently completed upgrades to its private 18-hole, 6,502-yard golf course that is located on the university campus.

•MU’s soccer teams took to “the pitch” this year at the new Nancy and Murray Duggins Soccer Stadium, a facility already being lauded as not only one of the best NCAA Division III soccer facilities in the region, but as one of the best in the nation.

As Methodist’s teams wrap up this unprecedented spring season, additional conference tournaments are being held and Methodist teams and individual student-athletes will continue to be honored for their efforts in the classroom and on the field.

“We are so proud of our staff, coaches, athletic trainers and student-athletes for all they have done and will continue to do on a daily basis,” said Dave Eavenson, vice president and director of athletics at MU. “This had been a tremendous challenge for everyone, but we face challenges head on and work through those challenges together here at MU. It is one of the things that makes Methodist a great place to be. One day at a time we continue to do everything we can to make Methodist proud on and off the fields and courts of play.”

As all athletic competition was postponed by the NCAA and conference in the fall, just handling the logistics of playing all 20 of Methodist’s intercollegiate sports in the spring has been of championship caliber. A typical Saturday alone — not even considering games each day during the week — could include six competitions at MU’s on-campus athletic facilities and another six on the road.

MU’s student-athletes have certainly risen to the occasion, following all of the strict testing and safety protocols to keep each other and their on-campus community safe. But they have also pushed each other to succeed in the classroom and against strong competition.
Multiple Monarchs are chosen by the conference for player-of-the-week awards in their sport and many have already been chosen as all-conference honorees. In addition, the Monarchs remain focused on their classroom assignments and goals, with several MU athletes representing each sport earning scholar-athlete recognition for academic success every semester.

While hanging national and conference championship banners is nothing new to Methodist University Athletics, this has certainly been an unprecedented season for all. At MU, it will be remembered not for disappointments or frustration, but rather student-athletes facing unique hurdles and excelling at championship levels both in the classroom
and out.

To learn more about Methodist University Athletics and its 20 NCAA sports, please visit mumonarchs.com



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