Local News

Local Principal of the Year to compete as regional nominee

06 Suzanne OwenFor the second time in as many weeks, Cumberland County Schools has another Sandhills Regional winner.

The district’s 2021 Principal of the Year, Suzanne Owen, has been named the Wells Fargo 2021 Sandhills Regional Principal of the Year.

The Cliffdale Elementary School leader will move forward to compete against seven other regional finalists from across North Carolina.

The next round of competition will be held on March 12 at the Umstead Hotel in Cary. The 2021 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year will be announced on May 21 in a special ceremony.

Pictured: Suzanne Owen

Cape Fear Valley Health System imposes visitor restrictions

05 cape fear valley med ctrTo protect staff and patients from risk of COVID-19, all Cape Fear Valley Health System locations, including hospitals and outpatient clinics, are closed completely to visitors until further notice with a few exceptions.

Labor & Delivery: Laboring mothers may have one support person/coach for the duration of their stay.

Pediatric patients: A legal minor may have one parent or guardian with him/her.

Patients who need healthcare decision makers or require communication assistance may have one assistance person
with them.

End-of-life patients may have one one-hour visit with up to four people.

Visitors with symptoms of a fever or respiratory illness including cough or shortness of breath, should remain home. Hospitals will screen visitors for signs and symptoms of illness.

Fort Bragg names Family of the Year

01 01 Bragg Family by AS ACSSgt. 1st Class Justin and Tawni Dixon were named the 2020 Family of the Year for Fort Bragg in a ceremony at the Main Post Chapel Dec. 2.

The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, Commanding General of the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. Following the ceremony, Kurilla and the Dixon family officially kicked off the holiday season by flipping the switch to light up the 20-foot Fraser fir Christmas tree at the Main Post Parade Field.

The Family of the Year award recognizes the contributions and sacrifices made by military families. The award is in its 18th year.

“Tawni and Sgt. 1st Class Dixon’s work with our families and single soldiers during the no-notice deployment in January and throughout the COVID pandemic has been so crucial during a very stressful period,” Kurilla said. “This kind of personal engagement is going to pay enormous dividends for our families in the coming months.”

Sgt. 1st Class Dixon and his wife were nominated by their unit’s chain of command along with 28 other families across Fort Bragg.

“Both Sgt. 1st Class Dixon and his wife, Tawni, have been instrumental in the success of 3-319 AFAR over the past two years,” said Lt. Col. Benjamin Shepherd, 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment commander.

Sgt. 1st Class Dixon served as the battalion’s digital master gunner and operations sergeant while Tawni served as the Soldier and Family Readiness Group leader for Headquarters Battery during the no-notice deployment on New Year’s Eve, supporting over 270 paratroopers and their families.

“I am incredibly thankful for the sacrifices their family has made, and I’m proud to see them receive this honor,” Shepherd said.

Sgt. 1st Class Dixon was recognized for volunteering over 350 hours in the development of a program for wounded warriors. Dixon leads fishing expeditions for veterans with injuries and PTSD. Dixon makes contact with the veterans, takes them to the lake to go fishing. Many veterans will exchange stories and share their experiences which often proves therapeutic for them, Dixon said.

“I volunteer my time and take them out on the water and it’s a stress relief thing for many,” Dixon said.

Veterans interested in learning more can contact the main organization ‘Operation North Star’ on Facebook. There are also a couple of other groups — ‘Airborne Fishing Vets’ and ‘Fishing Buddies for Veterans.’

The project started a year and half ago when Dixon participated in Warriors on the Water, a fishing tournament held twice a year, with active duty and veterans.

“I thought this is really great and I saw the positive impact it had on the vets that participated and thought why don't we just do it all year round instead of twice a year, I have the means to do it and we’ve been blessed so I kind of wanted to give back,” he said. “There’s no reason not to do it if I'm available.”

Dixon has received a donation of fishing supplies so that the veterans he takes out don't have to worry about purchasing bait or fishing poles.

Tawni Dixon was recognized for her role as the SFRG leader, maintaining dialogue between the battalion and the SFRG advisors, and in preparation for the battalion's return, she helped build care packages for redeploying single paratroopers.

In this effort, the battalion FRG collected over $7,000 in sundry items, linens, hygiene items and snacks to ensure their returning soldiers residing in the barracks came home to a care package.

Her most recent participation was a canned food drive with three battalions and one local apartment complex that resulted in the collection of 1,683 canned goods that were donated to the Armed Services YMCA — a resource on Fort Bragg.

“All of our Fort Bragg families are special, but this one was chosen based on their command nomination for not only the leadership and resilience they demonstrate in their day-to-day lives, but also their commitment to family,” said Catherine Mansfield, Family of the Year coordinator with Army Community Service. “It’s a great honor to be named the Fort Bragg Family of the Year, and we are thrilled to have the Dixons as this year’s winner. They represent the true spirit of our military families.”

The FOY award started in 2003 as the culmination of Military Family Month, a designation made by the President in 1996 to recognize the commitment, dedication and sacrifices made by military families.
Mansfield emphasized the importance of this annual event and said having worked in Family Programs for the Army for 30-plus years, she has seen first-hand the sacrifices military families make and how they exhibit undeniable strength and resilience, and this event recognizes that.

Dixon said receiving the award was incredibly shocking and humbling for him because of how many other worthy families are on Fort Bragg who volunteer and give back as well.

“Just to even be nominated and to win in general and we certainly didn't do this all by ourselves, it’s an incredible team effort,” the Dixons said. “We just kind of feel humble to be recognized and we represent all of the families together in receiving this award.”

Pictured above: Sgt. 1st Class Justin and Tawni Dixon were named Fort Bragg's Family of the Year. The Dixon's were recognized by the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg Commanding General Lt. Gen. Michael Kurilla in a ceremony Dec. 2. (Top photo by Audra Satterlee, Army Community Services.  Bottom photo courtesy Dixon family.)

01 02 E10BAA72 9F9E 46DF 960A 7AA71A8E348F

County Commissioners sworn in, elect new chair and vice chair

13 01 Charles Evans 2Three Cumberland County Commissioners took the oath of office Dec. 7 during a special Board of Commissioners meeting.

Commissioners Michael Boose and Jimmy Keefe were sworn in after being re-elected, and Toni Stewart took the oath of office for the first time. Boose, Keefe and Stewart represent District 2.

The new board then elected Charles Evans to serve as chairman for the year. Glenn Adams was re-elected as the board’s vice chairman.

Boose is a Fayetteville attorney who was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2016 and served on the Board of Education for 18 years, where he was elected the board chair for four terms. Boose has practiced law for more than 35 years.

Keefe is a business owner and military veteran who was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2008. He served as chairman in 2013 after serving as vice chairman in 2012. Keefe was also elected to two terms on the Fayetteville City Council from 2001-2005.

Stewart, who earned her doctorate in Biblical Counseling from Family Bible College of Fayetteville, serves as the Special Project Manager at True Vine Ministries. She formerly served as the Executive Director of the Hope Center women’s shelter.

Evans was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 and 2018 as an at-large representative. He was the board’s vice chair in 2017 and served two terms on the Fayetteville City Council from 2005-2009. He is a disabled veteran and executive director of Life is Worth Living-Project Fresh Start.

Adams is an attorney elected from District 1 in 2014. This will be his third term as the vice chairman. He was the chairman in 2017. He is an attorney and serves as the Chairman of Action Pathways Incorporated and the Cumberland County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.

During his remarks, Evans outlined his priorities for the year. He said he wants to establish a plan to identify and assist the homeless in our community “with a one-stop center designed to help members of our homeless community locate and access resources throughout Cumberland County.”

Other priorities include:
•supporting clean and healthy water in the Gray’s Creek area, as well as throughout Cumberland County
•encouraging the development and construction of a Performing Arts Center
•completing a new 911 and Emergency Operations Center and a state-of-the-art Fire and Rescue training center in partnership with Fayetteville Technical Community College
•enhancing communication and transparency by re-establishing the facilities, finance and policy committees and live streaming those meetings
•working with the nine municipalities and the legislative delegation “to ensure our collective voices are heard and that they impact the decisions that impact our lives.”

During the meeting, Adams presented outgoing Commissioner Marshall Faircloth with a plaque and thanked him for his years of service as a commissioner. Faircloth thanked the commissioners and county staff for their work in serving our citizens.

Commissioners Jeannette Council and Larry Lancaster complete the seven-member board.

The board is scheduled to hold its next regular meeting Dec. 21 at 6:45 p.m.

Pictured above: Charles Evans, Chairman of the Cumberland County Commission.

Pictured below left to right, Row 1: Glenn Adams, Michael C. Boose. Row 2: Jeanette M. Council, Jimmy Keefe. Row 3: Larry L. Lancaster, Dr. Toni Stewart.

13 02 adamsglenn1522   13 03 boosemichael1505   13 04 counciljeannette1514   13 05 keefejimmy1518   13 06 lancasterlarry1496   13 07 drtonistewart


Board of Education swears in new members, selects leaders

12 02 Alicia Chisolm 214x300For the second consecutive year, Alicia Chisolm will serve as the chair of the Cumberland County Board of Education and Greg West will serve as the vice-chair. The Board approved leadership roles for 2021 during its regular monthly meeting Dec. 8. 

“I am humbled by the opportunity to continue serving in this capacity,” said Chisolm. “This unprecedented year has brought many challenges, but we have worked together — as a Board, school system and community — to support the needs of the whole child. Despite the challenges, we will continue providing our students with a safe, positive and rigorous learning environment to help them reach their maximum potential.”

At the beginning of the meeting, Deanna Jones and Nathan Warfel were sworn in after winning their seats during the Nov. 3 general election.

Jones, an Army veteran, served for 27 years. She is an active participant on various local and state education committees.

Warfel, who received his entire K-12 education in CCS, is a South View High School graduate. He holds a law degree from the Charlotte School of Law and works in the Cumberland County Public Defender’s Office.

Board members Alicia Chisolm, Carrie Sutton, Donna Vann and Susan Williams, were re-elected to serve another term on the Board during the Nov. 3 general election.

Charles McKellar and Judy Musgrave will continue to serve as at-large members of the Board.


Pictured above: Alicia Chisolm, Cumberland County Board of Education Chairperson

Pictured Below left to right, Row 1:Greg West, Deanna Jones.  Row 2: Nathan Warfel, Carrie Sutton.  Row 3: Donna Vann, Susan Williams. Row 4: Charles McKellar, Judy Musgrave.

12 02 Greg West 2018   12 03 Deanna Jones BOE District 2 225x300   12 04 Image of Board Member Nathan Warfel 300x300   12 05 Carrie Sutton 2018   12 06 Donna Vann 265x300   12 07 Susan Williams 2018   12 08 Charles McKellar   12 09 Judy Musgrave 2018























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