Local News

Fort Bragg will redesignate to Fort Liberty on June 2

9aFort Bragg will officially redesignate to Fort Liberty in a ceremony on June 2. The name Liberty honors the heroism, sacrifices, and values of the soldiers, service members, civilians and families who live and serve on the installation. According to a media release, Fort Bragg officials view this as the next chapter in the installation's history and look forward to honoring the stories of military heroes from every generation and walk of life.

A little over a year ago the community was asked to help find a name that would represent the values and characteristics that would have significance for everyone. Many distinguished members from the surrounding area participated and helped make this decision.

The name Fort Liberty was not chosen at random. The word conveys the aspiration of all who serve and has special significance to Fort Bragg units and the surrounding community.9b

For many, the idea that any other name would replace Fort Bragg would mean losing a part of who we have been, who we are, and who we will be in the future when the nation calls.

Those who served on the Naming Commission for Fort Bragg struggled to agree on one name from the more than 50 Medal of Honor recipients who could capture and encompass the scope and spirit of this installation. Each of them is just as deserving as the other.

What resonated among the Commission and community members was the desire to name the installation not after a single person, but a value or characteristic that would have significance for everyone.

A Gold Star mother stood up and said, “We are never going to agree. There are too many people. My son gave his life for liberty.”

And everyone said … Liberty!

Health department to host flu, COVID vaccination clinics; pets can get rabies shots

vet with cat and dog The Cumberland County Department of Public Health will hold a “Vax Your Pet, Vax Yourself” clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 1 at the Health Department, 1235 Ramsey St.

Rabies vaccinations will cost $5 per pet. COVID-19 and flu vaccines will be free, according to a county news release.

Organizations will distribute free items and information about programs and services. The Cumberland County Public Library, Department of Social Services, Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) and the Public Health education team will participate, among others.

Barber Kings barbershop will offer free haircuts.

Pre-paid cards worth $10 to grocery and retail stores will be distributed to the first 35 people who receive a COVID-19 vaccine, flu vaccine, or STD test. In addition, $100 pre-paid cards will be raffled every hour.

The clinic is sponsored in part by the Cornelia “Neill” Bullock Wilkins Charitable Endowment Fund for Health of the Cumberland Community Foundation.
North Carolina law requires the owners of dogs and cats over 4 months old to be vaccinated against rabies. The pets must receive two rabies vaccinations one year apart, then one vaccination every three years thereafter. Owners are subject to a $100 civil penalty for noncomdpliance.

Pet owners are asked to keep dogs leashed and cats in separate carriers or boxes or left in a vehicle with the air conditioning on.

Payment will be by cash only, and exact change of $5 is requested for the vaccination fee.

Flu and COVID vaccinations

Flu shots will be free to everyone regardless of insurance status. A registration form and a copy of insurance cards, when applicable, is required. The insurance company will be billed. Children 18 and younger can receive a free flu vaccine.

The Department of Public Health administers Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations, including monovalent (original) and bivalent (fall boosters) vaccines. Vaccines will be free regardless of insurance status.

The health department also will offer an express clinic for sexually transmitted disease testing. Confidential tests for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and other STDs will be provided free of charge.

For more information about Cumberland County Department of Public Health programs, visit www.cumberlandcountync.gov/departments/public-health.

State commission to present financial report for Spring Lake aldermen

welcome to Spring Lake The Spring Lake Board of Aldermen will hear a financial report presented by the N.C. Local Government Commission at its work session March 27.
The meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the Grady Howard Conference Toom of the municipal complex.

David Erwin, the town’s finance officer and accounting and financial management adviser for the N.C. Department of the State Treasurer, is expected to

give the financial summary for the period ending Feb. 28.
The board last received a midyear budget report in January from Erwin that noted higher expenditures attributed to paying contracted financial staff.
Board members questioned invoices paid for the auditing firm Greg Isley CPA, including mileage, meals and hotel expenses and said the town needs to hire a permanent financial staff.

Also on the agenda for Monday is a discussion of the per-capita contribution to the Mid-Carolina Council of Governments and the return on that investment.

The town paid $2,871 for fiscal year 2022-23, which equals 24 cents for every resident, according to the 2010 census population of 11,964.
Alderwoman Sona Cooper said she added a discussion of those fees to the agenda because the board needs to make sure it is monitoring expenditures across the board.

On Friday, Cooper said she was not sure if the amount paid was correct and she was considering removing the item from the agenda until there was more information.

The Mid-Carolina Regional Council offers services to municipalities in Cumberland, Harnett and Sampson counties. Assistance includes management consultation; short-term staffing; budgeting and capital planning assistance; human resources; grants administration; strategic planning and retreats; and training for elected and appointed officials, according to its website.

The council also offers services for planning, zoning administration, subdivision review, project management and general technical assistance.
Samantha Wullenwaber, deputy executive director of the council, was the interim town manager of Spring Lake from March to December 2021. She also was the budget officer, finance officer and a secondary check-signer for the town.

She began working with the Mid-Carolina Regional Council on Dec. 3 and continued serving as interim town manager through an interlocal agreement among the council, the town and the Local Government Commission.

On March 3, Mid-Carolina submitted a notice of termination of town manager services effective April 3. On March 17, town officials chose to terminate the services early without a public vote.

Wullenwaber worked with the Local Government Commission as it took financial control of Spring Lake in October 2021 and was lauded in an audit report released the same day she was terminated as providing a more detailed financial report than what the town ultimately submitted.

The board is also expected to go into closed session on matters of attorney-client privilege and personnel.

The board also is in the process of interviewing candidates to be a permanent town manager. Fire Chief Jason Williams has served as interim town manager for several months. Williams will return to his job as fire chief after when a town manager is hired.

Interviews for the job are ongoing.

How to prevent being a victim of scams and fraud

18Scams and fraud are more deceiving these days, reaching you in more ways than ever before. The FTC reported 2.8 million fraud reports from consumers in 2021 alone, with reported fraud losses increasing 70% from 2020 and more than $5.8 million.

Identity theft protection expert Carrie Kerskie says being aware of what new cyber and phone fraud trends to look out for is your biggest defense against unwanted fraud.

“The more that we can get this information out there the better,” Kerskie recently told T-Mobile Stories, “Unfortunately when it comes to technology, privacy and identity theft, the same old advice that was given 10, 15 years ago is still the gospel of what you’re supposed to do. And that is outdated. None of it works. It’s not true, it’s not relevant anymore.”

Scammers have expanded from targeting consumers with only traditional email and phone calls. The most recent trending scams are occurring using person-to-person payment platforms or P2P, remote access software and even public Wi-Fi.

Kerskie says the most desirable accounts to criminals include bank accounts, mobile phone accounts, credit card accounts and Amazon accounts. Now, with P2P payment platforms, criminals can get access to your bank account and use it to transfer money within moments.

The latest tactic that concerns Kerskie is using remote access software to gain access to everything on your computer without having to directly ask you for things like your social security number, bank account or credit card number.

While many workers use remote access software safely from their companies’ IT departments, criminals are also using this software in their scams.

Criminals also try to access your information in settings like coffee shops or libraries using public Wi-Fi. A laptop or smartphone using public Wi-Fi can easily fall victim to scams. An easy fix is to use your smartphone’s wireless data and hotspot to help keep your personal information secure.

Kerskie says there are ways to keep scammers and fraud at bay.

Prioritize Privacy: Kerskie says, if it’s easy for you, it’s easy for a criminal. Privacy means having strong and unique passwords with a minimum of 12 characters, and for pins using random numbers and taking advantage of extra security. Enabling multi-factor authentication on your various apps and accounts will also protect yourself from potential threats.

Use Available Resources: Take advantage of the free anti-fraud safeguards offered by your mobile carrier. In the case of T-Mobile's Scam Shield, services include enhanced caller ID, scam ID and blocking, which flags suspicious calls and gives customers the option of blocking those numbers. Additionally, customers can get a free second number to keep their personal number personal, or even change their primary number completely.

Validate or Eliminate: Whatever potential threat you come across via email, text message, letter or even a phone call, try to validate the information. If you cannot confirm the information is true or confirm the senders’ validity, throw it away, block the phone number or email address and report it as spam or junk mail.

As potential cyber threats and fraud evolve, it’s important to understand how they work. Doing so will help you stay safeguarded and protected.

Annual wellness exam is key to a healthy year for older adults

17An annual wellness exam with a health care provider is important for everyone, but especially for older adults. As we age, we are more likely to develop chronic health conditions, according to Dr. J.B. Sobel, chief medical officer for Cigna Medicare.

An annual wellness exam can help detect potential health issues early so they can be addressed before they worsen, he added.

“By meeting with your primary care provider early in the year, you can highlight the things that are important to you, and work together to develop a plan for your care for the year ahead,” Sobel said.
A number of annual check-ups are available at no extra cost to those with Medicare. They include a “Welcome to Medicare” visit for customers who have just reached Medicare eligibility and an “Annual Wellness Exam” for existing customers. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer more extensive annual visits at no extra cost.

Each annual exam may be a little different. Regardless of the type, Sobel offers the following tips to ensure you get the most from your visit.
Prepare. Before you go, write down anything you’d like to discuss with your health care provider, including changes to your health over the past year. Bring your prescription and over-the-counter medications with you. Ask plenty of questions and take notes. You might even want to take along a family member, trusted friend or caregiver to ensure you understand everything your provider has shared.

Be open and honest. It’s tempting to make things look rosier than they are when talking to your health care provider, but minimizing what you are feeling can lead to an incorrect diagnosis or prescription. Speak openly about unhealthy habits, like smoking or lack of exercise. Being honest is the only way your health care provider can help you reach your goals.

Mind mental health. Your emotional health impacts your physical health. Many people think depression is a natural part of aging, but it doesn’t have to be. Talk to your doctor if you are feeling sad, anxious or hopeless. Treatments, such as talk therapy, medication or both, may be covered by Medicare.

Monitor medications. Adults age 65 and older tend to take more medications than other age groups, increasing the risk for adverse reactions, such as cognitive impairment and falls. It’s a good idea to take your medications to your annual wellness exam and discuss any potential problems or side effects you’re experiencing. Don’t forget about over-the-counter drugs, vitamins or nutritional supplements you take.

Schedule screenings and get vaccines. There are a number of important health screenings and vaccines that you may need depending on your age and gender, such as colon cancer screening, bone density test, mammogram, flu shot or COVID-19 immunization. Ask your provider about the screenings and vaccines you’ve had already and schedule any you need as soon as possible. You may even be able to do that before you leave the office.

Also, don’t forget to visit your eye doctor and dentist. These visits are covered by many Medicare Advantage plans as well. Find out more at www.cignamedicare.com.

“You wouldn’t drive your vehicle without proper preventive maintenance, so please don’t ignore preventive maintenance for your most prized possession — your health,” Sobel said. “An annual wellness exam is a great place to start!”


Latest Articles

  • ‘Ballad of Green Beret’ composer’s guitar on display at ASOM
  • A2Z run to benefit March of Dimes, local NICU
  • Arts Council receives Youth Growth Stock Trust grant to support Artists in Schools initiative
  • Board approves Crown Event Center concept design
  • Cassandra knows best ... maybe
  • Coyote sightings increase as pup season begins
Up & Coming Weekly Calendar

Advertise Your Event: