- Monday, 19 August 2019
- Written by Jeff Thompson
Development plans are underway on a proposed project to widen 25 miles of I-95 to eight lanes between Exit 56 in Cumberland County and I-40, Exit 81, in Johnston County, including all of Harnett County. Proposed work includes rebuilding at least six interchanges with new overpasses, loops and ramps. Additionally, service roads will be realigned or shifted to meet modern design standards. The portion of I-95 being proposed for this project has the highest traffic volumes in the state, reaching nearly 60,000 vehicles a day, according to a 2016 survey. The proposal should ease congestion and accommodate future growth in traffic along the north-south interstate. I-95 is also scheduled for widening to eight lanes in Robeson County and lower Cumberland County between mile marker 22 in Lumberton to mile marker 40. Construction of this segment isn’t scheduled to begin until 2028.
Hospital executive named to national agency
Dr. Roxie Wells has been elected to the American Hospital Association’s Board of Trustees. The term is for three years beginning Jan. 1, 2020. Wells is president of Cape Fear Valley Hoke Healthcare, where she manages Hoke Hospital and its associated outpatient clinics. She also serves as an associate chief medical officer for the health system. The Fayetteville State University graduate received her medical degree from East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine in Greenville. She Joined Cape Fear Valley Health in 2010 as a family practice physician at Stedman Medical Care. Wells’ work led to partnerships with Bladen County Health Department and EMS, as well as increased access to primary care services in the primarily rural county.
State Trooper recovering from serious injuries
On the morning of July 22, Trooper Chris Wooten was seriously injured as a result of a collision in Charlotte. Wooten was pursuing a motorist on his motorcycle when he was struck by a truck. He has been hospitalized receiving around-the-clock care because of the serious nature of his injuries. He was recently transferred from Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte to Shepherd Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta where his treatment process continues.
“The overwhelming amount of support offered by our law enforcement partners, medical staff, other first responders and the public is unmatched and truly expresses the appreciation for Chris’ law enforcement service,” said Colonel Glenn McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol.
For those wishing to provide financial assistance to the Wooten family, an account under Christopher and Sharon Wooten Special Account has been established at the North Carolina State Employees Credit Union.
Register of Deeds office honored
The Cumberland County Register of Deeds office received an International Association of Government Officials Innovator Award at the association’s annual conference held in Houston, Texas, in July. The Register of Deeds received the honor in recognition of technology upgrades to better serve customers. The upgrades include electronic recordings, online vital records, instant recording of real estate records, three marriage license kiosks and the ability to submit the date for a marriage license online.
“It is an honor for our office to be recognized by an organization that has members in most states across the United States as well as a number of foreign countries,” Register of Deeds Lee Warren said.
In addition to technology upgrades, the selection committee also considered the Register of Deeds annual Book Bag Drive for homeless children in Cumberland County Schools. The book bag drive has benefited an estimated 650 homeless school children. The Highlands Chapter of the American Red Cross also received funds to help families who have experienced disasters.
Hurricane season is upon us
Hurricane season is here, and Cape Fear Valley Health System has a jump on preparations, thanks to a new emergency water pump system. Costing nearly $380,000, the system went online in late July. It is located on Cape Fear Valley Medical Center’s campus and includes two new water wells and three large storage tanks. The upgrades were paid for by a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation’s Disaster Recovery Program.
“We’re really excited about the new system,” said James Bullard, Cape Fear Valley Health’s emergency management coordinator, “especially since all the water will be potable.”
Cape Fear Valley sought to upgrade its backup water system in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The storm knocked out water pressure to the medical center’s main campus for nearly a week, crippling services to patients. Bottled water was brought in by the truckloads for patients and visitors. The new system pulls water from new wells behind Cape Fear Valley Medical Center at a rate of more than 200 gallons per minute. The water is stored in three large 8,000-gallon storage tanks where it is filtered and treated.
- Monday, 12 August 2019
- Written by Jeff Thompson
The city of Fayetteville’s hometown utility has received the American Public Power Association’s E.F. Scattergood System Achievement Award. The award honors the Public Works Commission and other APPA member systems that have enhanced the prestige of public power utilities through sustained achievement and customer service. It’s considered the most prestigious award given by the public power association.
“It was a great honor to accept the award for PWC,” said PWC Chairman Darsweil Rogers at the national conference in Austin, Texas. “Anytime our public power peers acknowledge the hard work of the staff, it reaffirms what the commissioners already know, which is that we have a talented and dedicated group of employees serving our community.”
PWC’s achievements noted in the award included a system-wide conversion to advanced electric meters and the conversion to LED streetlights. It installed four free electric vehicle charging stations. Time-of-use electric rates, a new customer web portal providing customers direct access to utility usage data, advanced customer payment options, and incentive programs were PWC customer-focused initiatives that were also recognized by the APPA. PWC has also begun the installation of North Carolina’s first public solar power farm.
Community support and involvement also contributed to PWC’s recognition, including PWC’s partnering with Fayetteville Technical Community College to establish a local lineworker program and being recognized 13 times by the local United Way.
“While the award is given by APPA, because of its focus on customer service it is a reflection on PWC as a total organization providing electric, water, wastewater service as Fayetteville’s Hometown Utility,” said PWC CEO/General Manager David Trego. This is the second time PWC has been recognized with the APPA’s top award.
During the APPA national conference, PWC also received the Energy Innovator Award. The award recognizes utility programs that have demonstrated advances in the development of creative, energy-efficient techniques or technologies, providing better service to electricity customers or projects that increase the efficiency of utility operations or resource efficiency. PWC has developed an innovative way to locate electrical faults in its electricity distribution system. “This method is about reliable electric service because it enables us to identify locations where electrical faults occur when it is not possible to see where the problem exists.” said Rick Anderson, PWC electric system engineering manager.
This has allowed the utility to limit outage durations, reduce callouts and enhance the quality of life for its community. Improved reliability has resulted in savings on labor costs, vehicle maintenance, fuel, vegetation management and electrical component maintenance. In addition to benefiting PWC operations, the method will be available to other utilities while potentially benefiting public power customers throughout the nation. PWC has earned the Energy Innovator Award three times since 2010.
Recent events are reminders that hurricane season has begun. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Florence in 2018 are reminders that inland North Carolina is susceptible to storm damage. PWC offers online plans to help you and your family stay safe in the event of a hurricane or another emergency. At Fayetteville PWC, an emergency plan of operations is in place and can be implemented on a moment’s notice. For information, go to the Storm Central page at FayPWC.com.