A husband and wife are both dead after a domestic disturbance on Shiloh Court on Monday night, Aug. 23, according to the Fayetteville Police Department. Officers were sent to a home in the 1900 block of Shiloh Court about 8:30 p.m. Monday, a news release said. Tanisha Donnette Raeford, 47, had been stabbed and was pronounced dead at the scene.
A man identified as a suspect in the stabbing was seen leaving the scene, the release said. About 9 p.m., the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office sent deputies to investigate a vehicle crash that was reported in the area of A B Carter Road and John B. Carter Road. They found John Lee Douglas, 53, dead at the scene, the release said.
A police spokesperson said Tuesday that Raeford and Douglas were married. Investigators said the stabbing and vehicle crash are related and followed a domestic disturbance involving Raeford and Douglas.
Douglas is the suspect in the stabbing of Raeford, the news release said. The Police Department’s Homicide Unit is investigating the case. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Detective J. Olsen at 910-709-1958 or CrimeStoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477) or http://fay-nccrimestoppers.org.
A Bladen County jailer driving a vehicle equipped with police lights and sirens is charged with trying to stop a woman driver Tuesday at Skibo Road and Swain Street, according to the Fayetteville Police Department.
Stephon Singleton, 51, is charged with using blue lights to stop or yield a driver and impersonating a law enforcement officer, a news release said. Singleton is a jailer at the Bladen County Detention Center.
Singleton was driving a silver Hyundai Sonata about 2 p.m. Tuesday when he tried to pull over a woman driving a Toyota Scion at Skibo Road and Swain Street, the release said. Singleton’s vehicle was equipped with law enforcement lights and sirens. He had an armor vest with “sheriff” emblazoned on it in the rear window and a ball cap with “sheriff” in the front windshield, the release said.
When Singleton got out of his vehicle, the woman driving the Scion realized he was not a police officer based on his clothing, she told investigators. The woman then drove away. She got behind Singleton’s Sonata and called 911, the release said. Dispatchers sent a message to Fayetteville police officers telling them to be on the lookout for the suspect vehicle. It was spotted at Hay and Robeson streets, the release said.
Singleton was arrested and taken to the Cumberland County Detention Center, where he was held on a secured bond. Investigators said anyone who may have been stopped by the driver of a Hyundai Sonata should contact CrimeStoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477) or http://fay-nccrimestoppers.org.
After delaying action at two previous meetings on a plan to restructure city elections, the Fayetteville City Council voted 6-4 Monday night against calling a referendum on the Vote Yes Fayetteville initiative.
Voting against the restructuring of the way City Council are elected were Mayor Mitch Colvin and council members Shakeyla Ingram, Mario Benavente, D.J. Haire, Derrick Thompson and Courtney Banks-McLaughlin.
Those in favor of a referendum on the plan were Deno Hondros, Brenda McNair, Kathy Jensen and Johnny Dawkins.
The Vote Yes initiative would restructure the election process for City Council members. Instead of electing all nine members by district, four members would be elected at large and five would be elected from districts. The mayor would continue to be elected citywide.
"I was real disappointed in tonight's vote," said Bobby Hurst, one of the organizers of the Vote Yes Fayetteville initiative.
During Monday’s meeting, City Attorney Karen McDonald said questions persist about the validity of a petition calling for the referendum that was submitted by the Vote Yes Fayetteville advocacy group. McDonald said the council had directed her to contact the Cumberland County Board of Elections to inquire about whether petition organizers had followed the rules.
“I did that on Aug. 9,” McDonald said. “I did receive a response from the interim director for the Board of Elections on Aug. 16. And to this point, there appears to be — based on the response — that there remains a question regarding the validity of the petition that was submitted to the City Council for consideration.”
Angie Amaro is interim director of the county Board of Elections.
Newly elected Councilman Mario Benavente then made a motion that the City Council not proceed to put the referendum on the November ballot. Thompson, another newcomer to the council, seconded the motion.
Mayor pro tem Dawkins then questioned McDonald, saying it appears that the letter confirming the petition is valid. He asked if she had any comment on the letter from the elections board.
“The letter said, in response to my letter — what she said specifically — my question was pursuant to (state) Statute 163-218,” McDonald said. “That statute requires a notice of circulation and the date of registration. The Board of Elections and Miss Amaro confirmed that no such registration or notice of circulation was submitted. “Given the statute, as previously stated, the statute says that is required, so therefore there remains a question as to the validity of the petition.”
Dawkins asked McDonald if there was any case law on a state statute that deals with city charter amendments.
“I don’t think there is any case law on that,” she said. “When we talked about case law, the discussion was about the case law as it relates to 163-218 and whether it applies to these types of petitions.”
Dawkins replied: “So, we don’t know if the statute applies to the petition. Is that your guidance?”
McDonald said, “No, my guidance is that when you look at 163-218, it says a notice of circulation of a petition calling for any election or referendum shall be registered with the county Board of Elections in which the petition is to be filed. And the date of registration of the notice shall be the date of issuance and commission of circulation of the petition.
“And because we have not received that,” she added, “because the council has not received that, it appears to me to be a legitimate question as to the validity of the petition.”
Dawkins asked about her correspondence with Cumberland County Attorney Rick Moorefield. McDonald said she had not received any correspondence from Moorefield but had a conversation with him in which he told her that there was no notice of circulation.
Dawkins said his concern is that “it appears that the petition was valid, and there also appears to be a problem with the petition itself.”
“Chances are, there will probably be litigation either way,” he said. “I wanted to let the people decide and let the people vote. But I understand the concern the council has.”
Hondros said all the council members had campaigned in the July 26 election on transparency and accountability. He said he campaigned on being the voice of the people.
“The referendum is the voice of the people,” Hondros said. “Now they should decide.”
The council then voted on the motion to reject putting the referendum on the November ballot, with the ensuing 6-4 vote. Hurst said Fayetteville lawyer Neil Yarborough had told his committee that the notice of circulation procedure does not apply to the Vote Yes petition. He said the group could not get a clarification on the issue from the lawyer for the N.C. State Board of Elections or from Moorefield.
“Everything was done right by the rules," Hurst said.
The issue was removed from the council's agenda at a June 27 work session and its Aug. 8 meeting after questions were raised about whether the advocacy group promoting the change had filed all the necessary paperwork to put the referendum on the ballot. CityView TODAY publisher Tony Chavonne is among the organizers of the Vote Yes initiative.
The Spring Lake Board of Aldermen on Monday night, Aug. 22, approved the Spring Lake Land Use Plan, which will be used to guide growth in the town over the next several years.
Addie Corder, a planner with the Cumberland County Planning Department, presented the plan. The plan helps create a vision for the town and its municipal area of influence area, which includes unincorporated areas toward North Fayetteville and is bounded by Harnett County and Fort Bragg.
“This area plan services 12,500 acres and serves a little over 12,000 residents,’’ Corder said. “It is also unique in that it is landlocked by Harnett County and Fort Bragg.”
Corder presented the overall vision of the plan, which included the theme “A destination not a drive-through” and a mission statement, which outlined a thriving Main Street, high-quality housing, economic opportunity, activities for families and residents and a sense of community.
Five categories were broken down for goals to include downtown, housing, quality of life, economic development and public services. She pointed out demographics, which included a younger, more diverse community, and a large number of renters in the town.
“Something that makes Spring Lake unique from other areas in the county is that the area is very renter driven. Seventy-nine percent of units are renter occupied,” said Corder who added that the county average was 48% renter occupied.
Corder said 41% of residents were in the armed forces. She also outlined the process for the Spring Lake Land Use Plan, which began in May 2021 and included several community engagement activities and online outreach efforts.
One of the engagement activities took place at the community kickoff meeting last October, where more than 100 residents participated. The planning staff conducted a SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats at the meeting, which helped identify feedback.
“To highlight some of the feedback we got, for a strength, people noted that there was significant potential in this plan area with vacant buildings and vacant land to be developed and redeveloped,’’ she said. “Some threats that people identified were high taxes, high water bills and road connectivity issues.”
Corder said that after the community kickoff meeting, more residents, economic development professionals and business owners participated in stakeholder meetings and plan review sessions. The website, which was a new addition to the county planning process, received more than 5,000 visits for a range of engagements, including gathering information on land use and background, answering values surveys and submitting other feedback to planning staff on the draft plan.
Other key elements included future land use maps and classifications and an overview of the new flex areas, which are a new land use classification for Spring Lake and Cumberland County. Flex areas allow for a wider variety of zoning districts in areas that are undeveloped or underdeveloped and allow for areas to be more “flexible” when looking at development. Planners would still consider the use of conditional zoning to ensure the new use is in harmony with the existing and surrounding uses.
Planner Anastasia Nelson said the plan concentrated more on increasing density and infill than the last plan in 2002. Alderman Marvin Lackman thanked residents who provided input for the plan and attended the various sessions throughout the past year.
“There are a lot of recommendations that were taken from the citizens’ concerns, their voices,’’ he said. “For the citizens out there, your voices were heard.”
The adopted plan will influence zoning decisions in Spring Lake for the next several years. It also included recommendations and policies the town can use to help shape development and redevelopment and a list of grant resources that can possibly be used to fund various projects within the plan.
No one spoke in favor or against the land use plan during a public hearing, and the motion to approve passed unanimously by the board. For more information on the land use plan, visit Spring Lake Area Land Use Plan (arcgis.com).
In other business, the board appointed Patricia Hickmon as the interim town clerk. Hickmon, who has been employed by the town since 2003, serves as the inspections clerk and executive assistant in the Inspections Department.
Hickmon also updated the board on pending site and building plans and the 28 businesses that have opened in Spring Lake since July 2021. Two businesses that have submitted site plans include the coffee shop 7 Brew for the former Biscuit Kitchen site on Bragg Boulevard and Dunkin’ Donuts, also on Bragg Boulevard.
Interim Town Manager Joe Durham and Hickmon serve as administrative officers who can approve town site plans, subdivision plans and other non-residential site plans in compliance with Chapter 160D of the N.C. General Statutes and the Chapter 42 zoning ordinance for the town. The board met in closed session under the N.C. General Statutes for personnel at 5 p.m. and voted to come out of the closed session with no action taken right before the regularly scheduled meeting started.
Fayetteville police officers bought school supplies to contribute to a back-to-school giveaway Aug. 20 at the Fort Bragg Harley Davidson dealership on Sycamore Dairy Road, according to a news release.
Several officers donated the supplies to children headed back to class next week, the Fayetteville Police Department release said. They purchased seven boxes of pencils, 28 packs of college-ruled notebook paper, 22 packs of crayons, nine packs of erasers, 16 folders, 13 notebooks, four packs of glue sticks, and 10 bottles of hand sanitizer, the release said.
The officers stopped by the giveaway during their work shifts to talk with the schoolchildren and their families and deliver the donations. Meanwhile, another group of children was scheduled to get a helping hand from the Carolina Panthers football team and a local family ministry. That giveaway was planned from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Balm in Gilead Family Counseling Ministries, 3110 Doc Bennett Road, according to a Cumberland County Schools news release.
During the drive-thru giveaway, students in need were scheduled to receive free backpacks, school supplies and hot meals while they last, the news release said. The Carolina Panthers donated 5,000 bookbags and school supplies for CCS students, the release said.